Lucky are the bride and groom who are able to spend more than just a few hours with their closest friends and family members. Some call it an entire "wedding weekend" - where out-of-towners join the newlyweds for pre- and post-wedding events and where memories are made every step of the way.
For the savvy engaged couple, planning ahead means planning for the comfort of your out-of-town guests from the moment they arrive in your hometown. If you're lucky enough to be hosting a destination wedding, then luckier still are the guests who are invited to join you at a favorite beach resort or mountain retreat. From beginning to end, pamper your out-of-town friends and family members, make them feel welcome, keep them updated on itinerary changes, attire, transportation, lodging, and any other details that will be crucial to their stay.
Most often asked: who pays for lodging for out-of-town guests? If you're the fortunate bride and groom whose budget is not a topic of concern, then by all means have your parents pay for hotel rooms for those traveling to spend the wedding weekend with you. But if your finances are limited, it is up to the guest to foot the bill, which often figures into their decision whether or not to attend the event.
It's nice but not necessary to greet each guest in person! For those arriving by plane, have a close friend meet them at the airport and see that they arrive at their hotels safely and easily. Call them if you can for a personal word of welcome.
Once your guests begin arriving, make sure that goodie baskets with a "welcome" note and special treats are placed in each out-of-town guest's hotel room. Fill baskets with local delicacies, your favorite cookies, your groom's favorite candies, a map of the area, an extra copy of the weekend's itinerary, necessary phone numbers and addresses and, if applicable, brochures on local points of interest or other activities that might interest them. Other items to include in their hotel rooms might be a favorite brew of coffee or tea, a relaxing aromatherapy candle, movie tickets if they'll spending an extra day. Include single-use cameras in their rooms in case a camera is forgotten; ask them to deposit them at the hotel desk at the end of the weekend and you'll have a wonderful collection of "candid" photos possibly missed otherwise!
For the guest, fortunate enough to be part of your very special occasion, a thank you note once home is a heartfelt way to express gratitude for showing them such warm hospitality.