Wow and Welcome Your Guests During Your Wedding Weekend
John Gandy Events provides tips for being gracious towards your invitees
These days, many people travel to weddings, and the celebration often extends beyond one day. With their guests in mind, couples are creating complete weekend experiences from arrival to departure.
The team at John Gandy Events specializes in wedding weekends. They help plan welcome parties, rehearsal dinners, after parties, bridal brunches, ceremonies, receptions and more. With 33 years in the wedding and events business, Gandy has a wealth of knowledge on how to best welcome your guests.
“Guests simply want uncomplicated fun and to be entertained, but more than that, they want knowledge of what to do and where to go next,” Gandy said. “Education is key, and if they are not worrying about where or what to do, they can actually be in the moment and enjoy the celebration.”
Getting guests informed starts months before the wedding date and includes providing them with accommodations information. Typically, this information is provided via a wedding website.
When you have guests traveling to attend your wedding, a list of accommodation options should be made available. It’s wise to provide a range of price options close to the venue. From this list, select one or two hotels at which to reserve a block of rooms.
There are two room block options, courtesy and guaranteed. A courtesy block is where the hotel will hold a certain amount of rooms for you until a certain date with no financial liability. When the designated date arrives, you can release unwanted rooms or secure rooms with a credit card. When rooms are available, hotels will add to your block as necessary. A guaranteed block is similar except you are supplying a credit card from the start and signing up to pay for a certain number of rooms whether they are utilized or not.
With guests arriving at different times, the best way to welcome them right away is with the sweet surprise of the welcome gift. Fill a bag, box or basket with local goodies, snacks, beverages and more. For educational purposes, include an itinerary for the weekend and brochures from local area attractions, including your favorites.
For beach weddings, Gandy has seen couples provide customized beach bags, towels, sun hats, sunglasses and more. Gandy also advises sending a bottle of champagne to each guest room. Always include a note of thanks to each guest.
You’ve provided the itinerary and things to do, so you’ll want to include transportation options. Work with a planner or professional transportation company to determine what’s available and what the schedules are in the area.
Some hotels offer free shuttles to and from the venue or around town. Some cities have public transportation or trolley options. Many couples select to establish a discount code for the weekend with a ride-share company. Another option is to book transportation, especially to the ceremony or from the ceremony to the reception.
Be sure to include transportation options on the wedding website, the itinerary and on signage at the venue.
Destination weddings in particular tend to offer inclusive weekends with many events, but no matter your locale, you can decide to host events throughout a weekend. Gandy and his team help couples to determine the events and activities that would be best suited for the couple and their guests.
“Always treat your guests as you would welcome them into your home,” Gandy said. “Make them feel comfortable, provide great food and drinks and make sure they are entertained. If you keep these things in mind, your guests will have a good time.”
The content of the piece is guided by the sponsor.
Feature photo courtesy of Kylene & Ryan Studios.