Unless all of your family and friends live locally, chances are there will be guests travelling to your wedding and staying in town for a couple days. Since most people will be local for the weekend of your wedding, why not extend your wedding day into an entire weekend festivity? Before you laugh this off as an impossible task that your budget restricts, check out the suggested ideas below.
Oftentimes couples put together a welcome packet or gift bag for out of town guests that the hotel(s) can give them upon check-in. Fill these welcome kits with notes, travel brochures and travel information. For example, write a letter thanking them for coming and including a note that says, “here are our favorite local restaurants, movie theaters, museums or other landmarks. If you would like to meet other guests, we will be meeting in the lobby of the hotel to head for dinner at this local restaurant. “
This allows guests to meet others they don’t know, but also feel comfortable passing on the activity to do their own thing. If you are concerned that guests will be under the wrong impression about who is paying for these activities, you can label events on the itinerary as “pay your own way” or list the admission prices or price range for eateries.
Not sure what activities you can offer based on your location or budget? Get the creative juices flowing.
Night before the wedding
If most of your wedding guests are coming in to town the night before or if everyone lives locally, get together for a gathering. This can be a big event or small, depending on what guests are attending. If you are going to invite most guests though, it is important to invite them all so no one feels excluded. An event the night before the wedding helps break the ice if the people you are inviting are from different parts of your life and don’t know each other well. Gather everyone together at your home or in a hotel conference room for appetizers, drinks or just to mingle. Set up a projector in the backyard and show a movie, or have family and friends make a video montage of photos of the two of you starting from birth all the way up through wedding planning.
You, your spouse-to-be and your respective wedding parties will be busy getting ready, but your guests may have all day to kill time. Provide a list of local landmarks, parks, events happening that day or notable shops. If you know that many of your guests share a similar interest, such as antiquing or museums, ask guests to RSVP and organize a bus trip in the morning. Have a guest or someone who lives local take guests on a walking tour or on a hike in the local park. Just make sure that whatever you schedule leaves guests enough time to get ready and be in their seats on time for the start of the ceremony.
Day after the wedding
Most guests will be heading home this day or want to sleep in after a night of dancing and partying, but holding a goodbye event is a great way to see everyone off and say goodbye to long distance friends and family you don’t see often. Offer a brunch whether it be bagels in your backyard or a catered meal at your favorite restaurant. Have money to spend for one last fun activity? Get everyone together for a fun activity such as a boat cruise or show at a local theater. Keep travel times in mind as many guests will be leaving throughout the day.