It is almost certain that at least a few of your guests will be traveling to the wedding from out of town. If they have decided to take time off work and travel to your destination then the least you can do is make sure you do your best to take care of them.
Some couples may choose to pay for their out-of-town guests’ lodging, of course, if it fits within their budget. If it does not, here are some guidelines and suggestions to help you along the way.
Contact hotels in your area to see if you can get any discounted rates when booking a group reservation. Many hotels do offer discount packages or sometimes even give you a free room with a certain number of rooms booked. Don’t limit yourself to one hotel but offer two, one moderately priced and one more expensive. This will give your guests the option to choose the one that fits within their budget. Also, consider the location. Is it close to the place you are holding your ceremony and/or reception? If not, then you must consider car rental or shuttle service to accommodate these guests. You cannot leave them stranded at the hotel!
Once the decisions have been made on the accommodations, ensure to put a piece of paper in the invitation with the hotels’ names, rates, addresses, company phone number/email and proximity to the church/venue. Should a car rental or shuttle service be required, include their contact information as well. It is very important to provide all this to your guests so they can make an informed decision on how and where they will be travelling.
If your budget allows, putting a small welcome basket in each hotel room would be a memorable gesture. In addition you can have a small itinerary of the weekend’s events such as the rehearsal dinner or family barbecue or breakfast, should they like to attend. If not, list some local attractions such as area shopping malls, sports stadiums, beaches or parks, and popular restaurants.
If these options seem to have too many added costs, then you can consider opening up the idea to close family and friends to take these guests in while in town. To some this may present an inconvenience, but many will be more than happy to do this. You can arrange to have family cars available to them for use as well. Ideally, this is the perfect solution for out-of-town guests as they only have to pay for their flight, train or car ride to the wedding.
No matter which option you choose, the main thing to keep in mind is that your goal is creating an enjoyable experience for all your guests, something that is possible on any budget. Good luck!