Photo: Max Wanger
Greet your arriving out-of-town wedding guests with a care package of hand-picked items to help them feel right at home in their hotel rooms. Be sure to include a mix of essential items (water, snacks, local maps) and just-for-fun treats and you'll create the perfect kickoff to the wedding weekend.
Step 1: Choose a vessel
Pick something inexpensive to stash all the goodies in, like a canvas tote bag (ideal since guests will be able to reuse it later), gable box, or colorful paper bag. Personalize the bag with your wedding logo and wedding date, but try to keep it stylish yet generic, so guests will be more likely to use it after the wedding.
Step 2: Offer a beverage (or two!)
Bottled water is a must — guests will appreciate not having to shell out for expensive mini-bar water — but dont forget the booze. Some ideas: a miniature bottle of champagne, bottles of locally brewed beer, or some other beverage unique to your locale.
Step 3: Add snacks
Your guests will be weary from the travel, so perk up their spirits with some yummy treats. Offer something savory (locally made chips, baggies of popcorn) along with something sweet (your mom's homemade cookies, fresh fruit) to please all palates.
Step 4: Include a wedding itinerary
Chances are your guests didn't have a chance to print out all the wedding details from your website, so provide a weekend itinerary for them. This way, they will know exactly where and when they'll need to be. Include contact information, a timeline, key locations and dress code notes, along with any other important details specific to your event.
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Step 5: Print a local map
Include personalized recommendations (restaurants, hair and nail salons, bars), a copy of the local magazine or newspaper, and sightseeing brochures from the visitors bureau.
Step 6: Don't forget a souvenir
Stash a sweet little memento so guests will have a keepsake from the trip: lobster lollipops for a New England celebration, a cable-car keychain if you're marrying in San Francisco. Another idea: pre-stamped postcards so guests can write a quick note and drop it in the mailbox without having to hunt for postage.
Step 7: Add hangover helpers and/or weather-proof essentials
Include in the mix some items your guests might have forgotten to pack: mini tubes of sunscreen, bug spray, lip balm, Emergen-C packets, and mini tubes of Advil in case they party a little too hard at the reception.
Step 8: Write a quick thank-you note
Go the extra mile and pen a note to thank your guests for coming to the wedding. Expressing how grateful you are that they're here to share your wedding day will go a long way in making guests feel appreciated and special.