Sunday, November 23, 2008
Tobey Dodge is a wonderful event coordinator--gracious, competent, with a great sense of humor--a rare combination! Here she offers some advice on what to do with out-of-town guests, an often overlooked aspect to wedding planning
What to do with Your Traveling Guests
Over the last 20 years I have seen my share of destination weddings, both in town when most guests are from out of town or when most everyone is going out of town to a distant location. Often brides try and figure out activities that the traveling guests will enjoy from the minute they touch down on the tarmac to the last dance of the wedding night. The guests are often picked up by limo or shuttle and whisked away to the hotel or resort where they are staying.
The logistical juggling act begins when the bride and groom attempt to drop gift bags off to the designated hotels while simultaneously attending the carefully choreographed events as the guests trickle into town on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday before the wedding. So keep in mind that families do vary in their attitudes of how much hand-holding they want to do for their nearest and dearest of kin.
If you have special needs guests, or want to have a hang loose kind of weekend, it's best to let your traveling guests know that ahead of time so no one has made assumptions in either direction on what to expect or is expected to be taken care of during their stay.
Some brides might say, "Well there are only 20 guests coming from out of town, they can find their own way". After all, there is GPS, Mapquest etc. to get you where you are going nowadays". To tell you the truth, It really doesn't matter if the wedding is for 40 or 400, you have the same steps to take in preparing for their (guests) arrival and activities. The trick here, is to figure out a balance between letting them wander the woods of Vermont and camp out with the bears to practically wrapping the guests in swaddling from the airport ramp to their wedding dinner table seating assignments.
Even if you have globe trekkers for family and friends, everyone enjoys being taken care of to some degree for a special event like a wedding. You can always post on a wedding website the possible options for the guests to take advantage of during their stay with telephone numbers for their own scheduling needs. When you get into golf games and tennis matches, you are opting to add layers of administration and logistics to the weekend. It's best to assign someone other than immediate wedding party members to do the grunt work to make those kind of activities a reality without too much fuss or muss.