Hello + Happy Thursday! Today we’re talking about how to welcome guests to your wedding. When you’re a wedding guest, it feels nice to be welcomed and included, right? Today we’re going to show you how to make sure your guests feel welcomed, whether they’re traveling from across the country or around the corner. When A & I tied the knot, we were blessed by the number of guests who traveled far and wide to attend. Our wedding took place in Michigan, yet we had guests from Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Montana, New York, Illinois, and Texas – that’s eight states! Luckily, all of our out-of-town guests previously lived in the area, so they already knew the best places to eat, where to stay, and the best places to see downtown. What about your wedding? Will there be out of town guests who are unfamiliar with the area? Are there things you can do to make them feel a little more comfortable? How can you make local guests feel just as welcome? We have all the answers – and more! – in today’s post. We’ll tell you how to welcome your guests with twelve helpful tips including DIY wedding welcome bags, a clever ceremony program idea, transporting to and from the reception, and more! Read on for the full scoop…
How to Welcome Guests to a Wedding
1. Send save the dates.
Give guests (particularly out-of-town guests) adequate notice with save the date cards sent approximately six months before your wedding. You don’t need to include specifics yet – just the city, state, and date.
2. Include an accommodations card with wedding invitations.
When you send invitations, add an accommodations card for out-of-town guests. The card should include at least one recommended hotel. Remember to check online reviews first and if possible, go in person to check it out. Let the hotel know about the wedding and see if you they can offer a block of rooms; some hotels offer a discount, too, depending on the number of guests who reserve a room. And, as always, all invitations should include a map.
3. Offer wedding welcome bags to out-of-town guests.
Want to make your own DIY wedding welcome bags? It’s EASY! Here’s what you need:
– A Bag, Box, or Tote Bag
– Decorative tag for the bags
– Card to welcome guests
– An Itinerary
– Bottled Water
– Favorite local treat (such as cookies)
– A Map
Simply fill the welcome bags and bring them to the hotel a few days before the wedding. Most hotels will deliver the bags to guests’ rooms for you, so they’re waiting when they check in. (They’ll love it!)
4. Arrange for day-of transportation to and from the hotel.
A & I went to a wedding in Chicago where the bride and groom pre-paid for a driver to take wedding guests from the hotel to the reception (and back to the hotel at the end of the night). They arranged specific pick up and drop off times throughout the evening. It was such a nice surprise and saved guests the hassle of parking or navigating around the city.
5. Greet guests with a welcome sign at the ceremony / reception.
Let them know they’ve found the right place with a custom sign.
6. Tell your story with unique ceremony programs.
Get guests more acquainted with your unique story. These ceremony programs tell how you met, how + where he proposed, and even gives details about your wedding party!
7. Include a thank you card…
… at each guest’s seat. What a lovely sentiment!
8. Use escort cards.
Guests will know you’ve been excitedly awaiting their arrival with escort cards. They’re always a nice touch!
9. Give wedding favors with local flair.
Nothing welcomes guests more than handmade wedding favors, especially locally made favorites. Consider locally crafted coffee, honey, jam, jelly, candles, or candy. Plus, you support local business! (Also, refer to this post.)
10. Greet each guest.
Spend time with your guests, whether it’s with a welcoming line as guests enter your reception, after dinner walking table-to-table with your groom, or out on the dance floor.
11. Provide comfortable must-haves at your wedding.
Feeling welcomed and comfortable often go hand-in-hand. You can make your guests feel more comfortable at your reception, especially if it’s held outdoors, by providing a few items such as inexpensive flip flops for a beach wedding, a blanket for chilly weather, mosquito repellent, and much more. (I cover these and more in my book.)
12. Send sincere thank you notes after the wedding.
Make sure you follow-up with a thank you note that is hand-written and from the heart. Check out these thank you tips to get started.
Discussion: What would you add to the list? Tell us below!