Married in Maryland: Welcome Your Guests to Our Great State
Mar 19, 2012 05:04PM
● By Anonymous
Before the Big Day
Unlike the guests who live near you, out-of-towners start preparing for your wedding months before it actually occurs. To ensure that they’re ready and able to attend your wedding, give them plenty of notice. The two best ways to do that are to send a save-the-date card early in the process and to create a wedding website. This are two trends that are more popular than ever—in fact, more than 70 percent of couples report creating a website for their nuptials, according to market research company The Wedding Report. On the website, include hotel, airline, and transportation information—such as whether your guests would be best suited flying into BWI, Reagan, or the Philadelphia airport, as well as it’s best for them to rent a car or if a shuttle will take them to the hotel. You could also post local attractions, the wedding schedule, and information about the bridal party on the website.
The save-the-date card should be sent anywhere between six to eight months before the wedding (depending on how far your guests have to travel and how expensive you think it might be) and include, at minimum, the date and place of your wedding, as well as the URL of your wedding website.
Some couples, based on their available time and budget, choose to treat traveling guests like any others. If possible, though, think about what would make their time inMaryland easier and more entertaining so they really remember and enjoy their visit.
It’s a kind gesture to pick up guests at the airport, if you can, or arrange transportation for them. Often, a close friend or family member, such as an aunt or uncle, can be available the day before or early the day of the wedding to travel to and from the airport to pick up travelers (provided you offer gas money, of course!) To make things easier, ask guests to send you their arrival time—you can even include it on the RSVP card if you have a large amount of out-of-town guests—and create groupings for transportation.
The big question for most brides and grooms is whether it’s necessary to invite out-of-towners to the rehearsal dinner. Tradition dictates they are to be included; however, it’s not mandatory. For weddings, though, it’s often better to be inclusive than exclusive—instead of a small, expensive rehearsal dinner, consider a casual barbecue, a pizza night, or something else that will allow you to include the out-of-town guests without breaking the bank.
If this isn’t possible, try to set aside some time to spend with those who traveled to be with you. Invite them to eat breakfast with you the morning of the wedding or have drinks before the rehearsal actually starts. Let each and every one know how grateful you are they traveled the distance.
Share Local Attractions
Once your guests have arrived and settled, they’ll need things to do. While it’s not your job to entertain them endlessly, it is thoughtful to provide them with some things to do while they’re visitingMaryland. Print up a card that includes tourism information, and ask the front desk to hand them out when the guests check in. Here are some of our favorite ideas:
- Point them to the sights. In Annapolis, this could include the Naval Academy, the State House, and the Banneker-Douglass Museum. On the Shore, show them the way to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, and the Massey Air Museum.
- On the water. Let your guests know how to sail on the Chesapeake Bay, Choptank River, South River, or any other of Maryland’s plentiful waterways. Include information about nearby beaches, as well, such as Sandy Point State Park.
- The best places for blue crabs and crabcakes. Everyone has their own opinion on this—we wouldn’t dare try to name “the best,” but let your guests know where you think they should dine.
- Local bar and restaurant specials. Your guests might be interested in a night out on the town, so share your favorite happy hour specials or where you like to go for a cocktail on a Friday night.
- Local athletic schedules. Sports lovers might want to take in a game or two, whether it’s pro football, baseball, or hockey, or a minor league game. Copy down the schedule for the O’s, Nats, ’Skins, Ravens, Caps, as well as the Bayhawks, Baysox, and Shorebirds.
- Directions to Washington, D.C., and Baltimore. We happen to think there’s plenty to do in Annapolis and on the Eastern Shore, but some guests might be interested in visiting our nation’s capital or Maryland’s largest city while they’re in the area. Offer up a map of the region, marking the fastest roads to Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, as well as the closest and easiest public transportation options.
Put Together a Welcome Bag
The easiest way to say “thank you” to your guests is by putting together a small gift bag for their hotel room. It not only makes them feel welcome, but also gives them a little extra taste of your wedding andMaryland in general. Here are some great ideas for the welcome bags:
- A copy of What’s Up? Annapolis or What’s Up? Eastern Shore magazine
- Sample-sizedOldBaywith your favorite crabcake recipe attached
- Fischer’s caramel popcorn, anOceanCitystaple
- Postcard showing a scene from downtownAnnapolisor theChesapeake Bay
- Coffee or tea made inMarylandwith a crab-emblazoned mug
- Utz potato chips (plain or crab-flavored)
- A bottle of Old Dominion, Fordham, Evolution, orEastern Shorebeer (Just make sure all your out-of-town guests are over 21!)
- Customized water bottles
- Sample-sized/Travel pack of painkiller, such as Aleve or Tylenol (for the morning after the wedding!)
- Guide to the town your wedding is held in (Annapolisbrides can pick up guides at the visitor’s bureau)
- A schedule of wedding events, such as the rehearsal dinner, ceremony time, reception length, and post-wedding party or brunch time.
- Names and phone numbers of one to two people staying in the same location who are either members of the bridal party or family and can answer any questions a guest might have.
Just think of how happy your guests will be when they check in to your hotel and are offered a fun-filled welcome bag! It sets the tone for the rest of the wedding celebration, making your Marylandmarriage an extra-special event—for you and all your guests.