Destination Weddings: Planning for Your Guests
Help turn your guests' wedding trip into a full-on vacation
By Jennifer Vance
Any couple asking guests to travel to their destination wedding should include activities and resources to make their guests' trip as easy and enjoyable as possible. Suggesting ways guests can have fun on their trip will show your appreciation that they went the extra mile (literally) to celebrate with you.
- What You Need to Know
- An accurate guest list is essential for making group travel arrangements.
- Compile a list of local restaurants, hotels and local attractions for your guests.
- Find the best maps and directions to help your guests get around a foreign locale.
Learn as much about your wedding location as possible and compile the information in a planning folder or spreadsheet. The better you know the locale, the more options and information you can give to your guests.
Contact airlines and hotels for group discounts. When you contact the airlines, specifically let them know this is for a wedding, the number of guests you anticipate attending, from what major airports they will be traveling from, and to what destination. The airline may have a stock rate for weddings, or will calculate a rate based on the information you give. Hotels will either offer to block out a certain number of rooms at a discounted rate (set aside under the wedding party names), or offer a discount code that guests must use when making reservations. In order to get the block room discounted rate, a guest will need to reference your wedding when she makes her reservation.
Decide if you want to invite children to your wedding. Before you do any inviting, speak to friends and family members who might be interested in bringing their children and find out what requirements, if any, they will have, such as on-site childcare, bedding (cribs) and any dietary restrictions. Make sure the venue can accommodate those needs. In addition, find out if the venue's childcare services are bonded (insured), what the costs are, what the availability is, if there are any restrictions (particularly in terms of length of time the services are available) and what types of activities they provide for children. If the venue can't accommodate the needs of guests with children, don't invite children. It isn't fair to invite a guest with his child and then not provide him with any childcare options.
Create a wedding website featuring in-depth details (dates, locations, and times of all major activities, such as the rehearsal dinner, the ceremony, the reception, and any other events), as well as options for accommodations, restaurants, and activities on-site or nearby. Include a section with international travel information, including airline/hotel discount codes, links to the locale's tourism board and childcare assistance.
Research group activities such as golf or tours and list them on the website, offering people the chance to sign up for events together or separately. At the very least, you should throw a welcome party, as well as host dinner the night before the wedding and brunch the day after, but planning additional activities for the day before the wedding is a nice gesture as well. A welcome party is often a casual cocktail party hosted by the bride and groom two nights before the wedding -- it's an opportunity to welcome your guests to town and thank them for coming to the wedding.
Budget for land-based transportation. It is common etiquette to arrange and pay for ground transportation for your guests' arrival and departure, as well as their transportation to and from the wedding ceremony and reception. Inform your guests of whom or what to look for when they arrive at the airport, as well as transportation pick-up and drop-off locations and times for the wedding and reception.
Designate an on-site point person (a wedding coordinator or friend or family member) to answer any questions and assist with any problems a guest might have with regards to the wedding weekend, such as how to find the shuttle that takes him to the ceremony, or who a guest needs to contact if there is a problem with his room reservation. The point person is basically a liaison between the vendors (the hotel, the transportation, the activities) and the guest both before the wedding weekend and during.
Compile a list of where guests are staying and drop off gift baskets to be given to them upon check-in. Include bottles of water, a local map, snacks, a small souvenir, a list of the weekend's events and a letter from you thanking them for joining you on this special occasion.
About the Author
Jennifer Vance is a freelance writer and has worked in the wedding/event planning and photography fields.
Browse By Top DexKnows Cities
- St Paul
Planning a wedding and honeymoon is one of the most memorable times in a couple's life. Many couples combine both events and opt for a destination wedding. ... Read More
Research marriage licenses
Before you get married in an exotic locale, make sure you take all the steps necessary to make that marriage official. If an event planner is helping you with your plans, start by asking them the lowdown on marriage licenses in that country. Otherwise, the country's registrar's website is a good place to go.
View your wedding checklist!
Refers to the time between the high and low seasons of travel, often offering lower rates to travelers than peak times but better weather than the off-season.View the Full Weddings Glossary