helping out-of-town wedding guests
To make your wedding a wonderful occasion for all that attend, it’s necessary to help out-of-town guests get acquainted with the area that your ceremony and reception will take place.
Communication is very important and much can be done before the big day to help guests feel comfortable with their trip.
Begin good communication by announcing your engagement to out-of-town family and friends as soon as you begin telling the locals. Those very close to you will be happy to hear the good news from you or your fiancé first and this will make distance less of an issue. Furthermore, keep them updated.
save the date cards
Once your wedding date is definite and there is no chance for a change in plans, you can send out "save the date" cards to those who will be invited to your wedding. These cards are becoming more popular and can be as elaborate or as simple as you want them to be. They state the date of your wedding, your name, and your fiancé's name. "Formal invitation to follow" is usually printed at the bottom and your engagement picture is optional.
As soon as you have an estimate on the number of out-of-town guests that will be attending your wedding, you should reserve a block of rooms at a local hotel. Look for a quality one that is near the reception site and not too expensive. Check out the hotel in person and ask to speak to a manager, events coordinator, or sales manager. You may need to call ahead to make sure the person you wish to talk to is available.
Ask questions so that you know the hotel policies and get everything in writing. Most hotels will give a group discount when guests call to make their reservations is they mention the name of the wedding party and this information needs to be passed along.
It's certainly not mandatory but it's a nice (and very convenient) gesture to arrange for childcare for the time during the ceremony, reception, or both, particularly if the wedding is for adults only. Most parents are comfortable if the services are provided on site or very close to the venue with someone they are familiar with. If you hire a professional, do your homework and check references.
To make your wishes known for an adult-only wedding, do not put the children's' names on the inner or outer envelopes of the invitations. If you can, include the information on the response card to get an estimate on how many children will need babysitting. Also, add spaces for the ages of the kids so that you can pass on the information to the caregiver so that she will have an idea of the supplies needed to care for and entertain the kids.
directions & maps
It's very intimidating to drive around a city that you're not familiar with. This is why you should help your out-of-town guests as much as possible to get orientated and find their way to your ceremony and reception. It's now common for couples to include travel and hotel information on separate cards or papers and enclose them with the wedding invitations. The cards should contain any info that will be helpful to guests, such as hotel, driving directions, and maps.
As a courtesy, consider recommending places that your guests may find interesting while visiting your city. You don't need to get too detailed. A short list of attractions and descriptions should suffice.