Those who care about you most—even if they are far away—will make sure they're present to support you and celebrate on your wedding day. Return the favor by making sure they're properly cared for while in town. The first step to this? Including everything your guests need to know about their trip on your wedding website, so that they're prepared before and after they arrive. For everything that follows, we tapped wedding planner Lisa Costin of A Charming Fete to share additional tips on how to keep those out-of-town loved ones happy.
Consider how they'll get around.
"Transportation options are a wonderful perk and can make a difference on how late guests stay at the reception, and whether or not they indulge in that signature cocktail," Costin said. She suggested including a special accommodations card within the invite with information about taxi and shuttle options. "If transportation will be provided from hotel to ceremony and/or reception, you can note this so guests can plan ahead," she added. No one likes to scramble to find a way to get from one place to the other at the very last minute. "Some brides choose to arrange shuttles for added guest convenience if the hotels are located a far distance from reception to encourage guests to relax and have fun and not worry about driving back to the hotel in the late evening." Costin recommended leaving a schedule with the front desk of the venue and on your website so that it's always accessible.
Map out places for guests to stay.
"Based on the number of out-of-town guests, we almost always recommend securing at least two different hotel blocks at different price points," Costin said. "We often negotiate a discounted room rate with local hotels for our brides based on number of rooms required." If you're selecting hotels, you'll want them to be close to the wedding venue, as well as museums, shopping, restaurants, and more so loved ones can go out and explore. She said to keep in mind, however, that some guest will prefer boutique-style hotels with charm, and others will require luxury, so keep those considerations in mind as you're mapping out places for your guests to catch some Z's.
Be a city guide.
Your guests will thank you for establishing a suggested schedule for them throughout the wedding weekend. After all, they may not have visited this location before, or they may not know the area very well. "We've done welcome cocktails, dinner parties and brunches all prior to the wedding day itself," Costin said. "We've also scheduled group tours at local museums to encourage group activity. The bride and groom would also be present at some of these events, allotting more face time with family and friends who've traveled from afar. We love providing city guide recommendations [and] hot spots to check out," she explained. "Small things like a welcome basket with local goodies and a well-organized itinerary with a schedule of events are always a nice touch."
This story originally appeared on Martha Stewart Weddings.