Hi, loves! Emma here. When you really think about it, your guests play a huge role in the outcome of your big day. The cake, flowers, colors, themes, ceremony, reception — all of it — are designed with your celebration in mind. Without any guests, where’s the celebration? Family and friends being present to share in your joy is what it’s all about and this article was inspired by a recent Ask Emmaline question that rolled in from bride-to-be, Kelsey. She asks,
Dear Emmaline, I have many guests flying in from out of state to attend my wedding and I want to do something special for them to say thank you. Do you have any ideas?
Great question, Kelsey! Saying thank you is so much more than just a few words. To really show guests how much you appreciate them taking time off of work, traveling, paying for accommodations, getting a sitter, bringing a gift, etc. etc., you can do it all through your actions at your wedding. With a few tips, you can make guests feel welcomed and appreciated from the beginning of the ceremony through the late-night snack and last dance of the reception. A thank you card sent after the wedding is essential, but it isn’t the only way to show your appreciation. Here’s how it’s done…
7 Ways to Thank Guests at a Wedding
1. Welcome Bags
Make up welcome bags for out-of-town guests filled with local souvenirs, maps, things to do in town, candy, bottled water, etc. Have them waiting at the front desk of the hotel before they check in. This has become popular, so the front desk should have no problem following through on this for you. (Be sure to give them a tip.)
A thank you note
Inside the welcome bag, include a note telling your guests you are excited they are in town and you can’t wait to see them at the wedding.
A wedding itinerary
A day-of itinerary is another great way to keep guests in the know. By being in the know, they’ll feel more welcomed.
A “recovery” kit
For after the long night of partying at your reception! See what’s in it and get yours here.
2. Note / Sign
You needn’t do all of these (you want to be sincere without overdoing it), but choose ONE of the following:
Hand-held ceremony fans will keep guests cool in hot outdoor ceremonies (or even hot indoor ceremonies, when it gets stuffy). It even includes a sweet note on the back! You can get them here.
A welcome sign is a beautiful addition to your ceremony or reception space. It also lets your guests know they’re in the right place.
3. Keep guests comfortable
Hosting a great wedding with comfortable seating, shelter from weather, and a few niceties are some ways to show your gratitude. If you go the extra mile, guests will take notice.
Include bottled water stands for hot ceremonies outdoors
Keep buckets ice stocked with small bottles of water for guests to grab and enjoy outside. It gets SO HOT in an outdoor wedding, especially when you are sitting in the sun.
Sunglasses are a fun addition
Buy ’em in bulk. You can’t beat the price. Place them in a basket and let guests grab them and go!
Pashminas for Cold Weather
Chilly outdoors? Provide a ‘borrow a blanket’ station with pashminas your guests can grab and warm up with. These pashmina scarves from Deighan Design are one example: they’re soft, available in a ton of colors (to coordinate with your wedding color palette), and they’re amazingly affordable!
Don’t forget a sign so they feel inclined to take one! You can find one here.
Rain in the forecast? A few cheap umbrellas (IKEA has plenty) for guests to borrow is one way to show your appreciation.
For those achy-breaky feet at dance time. Heels are not always a girl’s best friend. Buy a bunch of cheap flip flops (Old Navy is notorious for tons of sizes, colors, and inexpensive flip flops to fit the bill!) Place them in a basket with size tags and a sign for guests to take.
For an outdoor wedding in, you know, the woods, make sure there’s plenty of bug spray available. There’s nothing like a reception being chased away by mosquitoes. Pests! Grab some travel size sprays and/or wipes and have in a basket. Also, plenty of citronella candles also help to do the trick!
Read this post on how to plan a perfect wedding bathroom. You’d be surprised how many times this detail is overlooked!
4. Dinner, drinks & dancing
Show appreciation by serving a delicious meal, plenty of drinks, and fantastic music for dancing.
A wedding favor is a must! You may think your guests won’t notice, or you might even think it’s a waste of money… but it is totally worth the effort. Guests notice (and appreciate) a good favor.
A wedding favor doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Candy, a sweets bar, or small bags filled with treats like popcorn, cookies, or these edible wedding favors are some examples.
One of my all-time favorites? These coffee favors! (Get the full post here.)
P.S. You can find a bunch of wedding or bridal shower favor ideas here.
5. Don’t be a bridezilla
Seriously. Being a Bridezilla looks awful on anyone! Just relax, smile, and enjoy the beautiful day. Need a little boost? Read over this post on 50 Wedding Acts of Kindness and keep calm.
6. Have fun
Chat. Mingle. Dance! Hang out with your guests and enjoy their presence. Participate in fun traditions like the garter or bouquet toss. Stop by each table, or say a few words on the mic before dinner. Spending time with guests is the best way to show your appreciation.
7. Send personal thank you cards after the wedding
And, last but not least, send a heartfelt thank you card after the wedding. While thank you cards do show gratitude for a wedding gift, they ought to also show appreciation for attending your wedding. Be sincere and specific in your wording. Also, hand-write each note: it goes a long way.
You can make cards with these sweet stamps from Felicette:
Enclose a note and a photo of you from the wedding day, holding a cute thank you sign. You can find some here.
*TIP: When sending thank you notes, use a custom stamp for your return address. It’ll save you plenty of time!