Greeting out of town wedding guests is a great way to show how much you appreciate their willingness to share in your wedding celebration, but with only a day or two to go before your wedding how will you ever find time to make them feel welcome without personally being there?
The first, most basic way to make your guests feel welcome is to have rooms reserved for them that are near the wedding reception, and preferably near other wedding attendees. This way, people from out of town will have a network of friends and family nearby to lend a helping hand in times of need. For example, Aunt Milly from Denver may be able to get Uncle Fred from Fargo to help her carry her wedding gift. It also means that little Timmy can go back to the hotel with cousin Sarah and her mother, while Timmy's mom and dad stay at your reception.
A really great way to make your guests feel welcome is to place a gift basket or favor for them in their hotel room before they check in. These gifts can be personalized for each attendee, or somewhat generic in nature. You could include items to help them relax and unwind after a long day of traveling; anything from a simple bag of chocolates to an extravagant bottle of wine. You could also include games and activities for any children so they remain occupied while mom and dad get things settled. Along the same lines as the gift basket idea, you could assemble an emergency basket for them as well. Stock this emergency kit with simple items like a tooth brush, tooth paste, deodorant, thread, needles, or other items that come in handy in a pinch.
If you've blown most of your wedding budget and are short on cash, you could leave a collection of pamphlets on area attractions that you particularly enjoy. Make a list of your favorite restaurants with a map showing how to get there from the hotel. Your map could also include areas of interest like nearby shopping malls, playgrounds, dog parks, museums, or other local attractions. Customizing each map for each family will be a sure sign that it was personally prepared with their enjoyment and comfort in mind.
If you do find you have some spare time before your wedding day, you could make a quick trip to the hotel just to drop of a thank you card for each family. Nothing will make them feel more welcome than having a small item hand delivered by the bride. Even if you don't have time to drive all the way to the hotel, you could make a few phone calls in between errands to make sure your wedding guests have everything they need. Make sure to set a strict time limit on the amount of time you spend however so you don't chat the night away!
Greeting your guests doesn't have to be difficult, and with just a small amount of preparation, you can ensure they'll remember your big day fondly. Following through with even one of these ideas will make your wedding something to be talked about, and can fill you with the pride of a job welll done.
Tim Smith runs F-M Brides which offers great ideas for brides and grooms in the Fargo Moorhead area
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