If you missed my last post about choosing a great location for your destination wedding, you can read that here.
Planning your wedding is so much fun, but it can be stressful. When you plan a destination wedding, things can be both easier and harder.
Once you’ve decided where you’re going to get married, you need to talk to your guests. Destination weddings tend to be smaller since a vacation is involved, but that just means you won’t be inviting your mom’s first boss that she still sends a Christmas card to, but hasn’t seen in twenty years. Count your blessings!
The guests that do come to your wedding will be the people you’re closest to. They will be your parents, your best friends, your siblings. They’re going to be paying a lot of money to share in your wedding with you, so treating them, and treating them well, will be very important.
Most of you won’t be able to pay for your guests to travel. If you can, you’re a rock star, but if you can’t, don’t feel bad. Most of us wouldn’t be able to pay for flights, hotels, and meals for multiple people for an extended stay in a fabulous location. That’s okay! Your family and friends can handle it, and the number that are willing to is a testament to you and how much they love you. If they can’t come, don’t feel bad. Maybe you can plan a night out when you get home with family and friends who couldn’t make the trip.
For those who do make the trip, I want to share a few things you can do to make them feel special and to help them have a great time.
Before you even tell them about the wedding, find accommodations they will enjoy. If everyone coming is family, or close friends, consider looking into large houses for rent. You could offer up the idea of everyone sharing one large space and splitting the cost instead of everyone getting a hotel room. If you don’t think that will work, do research into local hotels and hold a block of rooms at a discounted price for your guests. Having everyone stay in the same location will make it possible for them to carpool to events or plan things together. If you do a little research ahead of time, it’ll make things easier for them.
Depending on how long everyone is in town for, you could plan a group activity. Wherever you’re going, there’s bound to be a lot to do. Think of something the majority of your guests would enjoy, whether it’s surfing in Hawaii, a museum tour in DC, or hiking in the mountains, take time for everyone to get together. Plan it well in advance, and if possible, you can pay for it. Your guests will appreciate the time with you and your soon-to-be spouse in a low-key environment.
You know the location. Maybe it’s not a place you’ve been to often, or at all, but you’re planning your wedding there. You know it better than your guests are likely to. Put together a visitor’s guide of your favorite places and things to do. You can email it to all your guests before the wedding so they can plan ahead, and include a copy in a gift basket you leave in the room for them. This way they have built in ideas to stay busy without having to figure it all out themselves.
One of the sweetest things you can do for your guests is give them a gift. They traveled to be with you for your wedding. They’re the people you’re closest to in the world. You love them, I know you do. So give them a gift. Maybe take whatever you would normally have as a favor and include it in a gift basket. Take a few local items, a couple things that mean something to you, and a few useful items for their trip. Most hotels will be happy to leave gift baskets in the rooms your guests will be checking in to.
If you’re going to a beach location, add sunscreen and a hat to a small beach bag with a map of the area that has all your favorite beaches marked. You could throw in a few bottles of water or a bottle of wine, too.
If you’re headed into the city, give a gift card to a favorite local restaurant. Add in a flyer about the museum down the street and a pint glass from the local brewery you always stop by first.
If you’re keeping it quiet at a lakeside retreat, give your guests a welcome basket with snacks and bottles of water (reusable with your name and date could be fun and useful). If a grocery store is far away, they’ll really appreciate the food. Add in walking or driving directions to your favorite spots to keep them entertained.
The hardest thing with any wedding is feeling like you got to visit with all your guests. For a destination wedding, you might luck out and have a longer period of time with your guests. If you do, try to be there with them. Plan a trip to the spa with your mom, sister, and girlfriends. Plan a date night with your dad. Spend time with your grandma when everyone else is out doing something else. No matter what you think, your life will be different when you get married. You’ll still see the people you love, but it might be more of a challenge, and it might not be one on one. Take some time to see the people you love the most and tell them how much you appreciate them sharing your special day with you.
They love you!
No matter what you do, your guests love you. They want to be there with you, and adding in a little something extra that they don’t expect will be a nice surprise when they show up to celebrate. Have fun with it!
What would you do to treat your guests?
I never should have gotten involved. I was smarter than that. But she was impossible to resist. And after I stopped resisting, I wanted more and more of her, from her, with her. It was my fault. I knew better. I still couldn’t stop myself.