Chances are good that a large percentage of your wedding guests will travel to attend your wedding. From your Great Aunt Martha who is flying in from Florida to your dozens of cousins from Vancouver, you are truly grateful that so many people are spending a lot of time and money to be present for your big day.
While you’d love to spend one-on-one time with all of your out-of-town guests, you’ll be so busy preparing for that walk down the aisle that it probably won’t happen. Thankfully, there are plenty of fun and creative ways to show your appreciation for your friends and families who drove or flew a long way to watch you say “I do.”
Offer suggestions for “down time”
Since your out-of-town guests may not be familiar with local attractions and ways to stay busy during lulls in the nuptial action, leave a list of things to do in their hotel rooms. For example, if you are getting married in or near New York City, you might suggest that your guests experience the thrill of a Broadway show. To make it easy for everyone to get the tickets they need without standing on endless lines, suggest that they book ahead online. They can browse through current shows and buy tickets from their hotel room.
Leave a gift basket
Traveling is tiring, so imagine how happy your friends and relatives will be to find a treat waiting for them in their hotel rooms. You can arrange with the hotel manager to leave anything from bouquets of cheerful flowers and baskets of fresh local fruit to paper plates filled with your famous oatmeal raisin cookies. To make it more personal, consider enlisting the help of a creative friend or two to make goodie bags filled with a few items you know each guest adores. For example, leave a gift card for a free massage at the hotel spa for your friend who loves to be pampered, and a bottle of chilled wine and two glasses for your aunt and uncle who love visiting wineries.
One of the best ways to show your out-of-town guests how much you appreciate them is to tell them. During the reception, raise your glass and give a heartfelt thank you and toast to the people who have made the effort to come to your wedding. Name as many as you can and ask them to stand up as you mention them. You can also have a song dedicated to your out-of-town guests and ask them all to head to the dance floor to enjoy a dance together. Also, make an effort to get around to every one of them during the reception to thank them for coming and let them know how much it means to you and your groom that they came all that way to see you get married.
Arrange for an after-wedding gift
Before you head out on your honeymoon, go to the hotel where your guests are staying and drop off “thank you for coming” gift bags. Consider buying personalized beach bags or tote bags for the out-of-towners — they can use them to hold the various goodies they picked up along the way. You can also fill each bag with an item or two for each person. These can include a deck of cards for the plane ride home, a personalized hangover kit or small boxes of candy.