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Stay Informed

By: Merry Mayor

When you think about it, the main goal of all the days filled with planning the perfect wedding and reception is to make great memories for you, your families and your guests.
But some guests deserve extra special attention—namely those that have traveled from distant cities, states and at times even countries to share this special time with you.
Here are a few ways to ensure your out of town guests remember your wedding as fun and hassle-free.
Eisenhower Photography
The Essentials
First, of course, you will want to take care of the essentials—hotels and transportation. No, we don’t mean you need to cover their hotel and travel costs. But couples should at least provide their out-of-town guests with information about hotels. Give travelers possible hotel options in a wide range of prices and locations. Even if your wedding and reception is taking place outside of the city center, you may also want to offer guests a downtown hotel choice.
If you have a large number of guests coming from the same city, see if you can negotiate a discount rate with one airline. You can also block rooms at a couple of hotels in various price ranges so that your guests have a choice when it comes to spending money on their accommodations.

Pre-planning information regarding travel and hotel bookings is traditionally not included in the invitation. Instead, include it under separate cover in a fun newsletter format, being sure to include San Diego attractions and highlights, or post this information on a personal wedding Web site. You may also want to include rental car information in this newsletter.
Holly Ireland Photography
Your Guests’ Arrival
After a long flight, what your guests will most likely need is a little TLC.
If possible, arrange for a close family member or friend to pick up out-of-town guests at the airport. They can even give them a mini-tour of the city and help get them settled.
If this isn’t an option, don’t despair. A full-service hotel can be your best ally in making your guests comfortable. Many hotels will provide free shuttle service between the airport and the hotel.
In addition, concierges can take care of a lot of the little problems that come up, for example, if your aunt forgot to pack a slip to wear with her dress, or your grandfather’s glasses broke.

Provide Extras
Even if you won’t be able to spend as much time as you like with your out-of-town guests, you can let them know that you are thinking of them and are thrilled they traveled a distance to be a part of your special day.
A nice touch is to have a special gift basket waiting in their hotel room. While including sightseeing information and edible treats are always good bets, why not personalize it a bit? What you include will of course depend on your budget, but start by identifying your guests.
Is he or she a reader? You might want to include several magazines—don’t forget one local magazine such as San Diego Home and Garden—or a gripping thriller or new political book. Whatever you think might catch their fancy.
Maybe you will want to take this chance to pamper your cousin with a massage or pedicure by including gift certificates for the hotel’s spa service. For the consumate shopper, you may want to include a list of the hot shopping sites and where the best bargains can be found.
For those traveling with kids (or even those without kids!), include small games that are easy to travel with such as Set, Wizard, or Quiddler. Each has won multiple awards, sells for less than $10, and will also keep the kids and adults of all ages entertained.
Eisenhower Photography
Cherish This Time
Weddings are an occasion to spend time with those you love. Yes, of course your newly minted spouse is important, but ensuring that you have time to cherish with your out-of-town guests is also key to getting the most out of your wedding celebration.
While it may be difficult to add another social event to your already crowded calendar, try to include your out-of-town guests wherever possible. If you have the budget, invite them to the rehearsal dinner. This also gives them the chance to meet and socialize with your wedding party and soon-to-be spouse’s family.
Depending on your guests and your relationship, you might even consider including them in some of the last-minute preparations you will inevitably have.

Wedding Day Logistics
If you have a large number of people arriving from out of town, consider hiring a shuttle or bus to transport all of your guests. This will allow them to relax and enjoy your wedding and reception and even drink a few cocktails without worrying about having to drive afterwards.
If you have just a few out of town guests, a nice idea is to arrange for a family member or close friend to pick them up and take them home.

Remember Them with Words
A gracious touch is to mention these special guests in a toast at your wedding, letting them know how much it means to both of you that they were able to be there.

By: Kristen Castillo

Guests arriving from out of town are likely to be exhausted after a day of traveling to your wedding location. Delays, inclement weather, or early morning flights can really do a number on a traveler’s energy level. Perk them up with a basket full of goodies awaiting them in their guest rooms. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, but a thoughtful combination of treats and toiletries is sure to boost even the most depleted of energy levels. The best gift baskets are the ones that com plement the style or theme of the wedding, so read on for a few tips to creating beautiful baskets.
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SOUTH OF THE BORDER
Kick things up with a cool salsa-themed gift basket. Little ones will love miniature maracas or castinettes, and the ladies will be intrigued by large paper flowers that can serve as gift tags. Small jars of salsa along with snack-sized bags of corn chips, lime or margarita flavored gourmet jellybeans will take care of the munchies. Toss in a bottle or two of Jarritos Mexican Soda Pop or a couple of cans of Jumex juice and your guests will feel like they’ve stepped into a south-of-the-border fiesta.HOMETOWN FAVORITES
Everyone’s hometown is famous for something, whether it be an athletic team, the scenery, or some sort of gourmet food. A hometown favorite is the perfect way to greet your guests while giving them a taste of local flavor. If your area is famous for athletics, fill each basket with typical sports munchies like popcorn, peanuts, pretzels, and soda. A ball cap, T-shirt, or luggage tag with the team logo will also be appreciated. Round things out with a pack of sports trading cards or if money is no object, tickets to see the home team.
Bob Hoffman Photography & Makeup
AGED TO PERFECTION
Pack a gift basket full of all the things that get better with age. A small bottle of wine or splits of champagne paired with a couple of personalized glasses are perfect for an in-room happy hour. A few wedges of specialty cheese, a box of crackers, and a small container of mixed nuts are the perfect accompaniment to whichever vintage you pack. And though chocolate rarely lasts long enough to age, it’s perfect at any time so include a small box of truffles or other gourmet chocolate to create the ultimate in indulgence.
Bob Hoffman Photography & Video
CHILDHOOD DREAMS
Your guests can rediscover their inner child with a basket filled with childhood favorites. A small Etch-A-Sketch or other travel game will help to pass the time, and kid-friendly candies like gummy bears, Pixy Stix, or M&Ms are great bedtime snacks. You can even add a small bottle of bubble bath for a bit of sudsy fun, and a few novelty-shaped scented soaps. Use crayons to write a brief greeting and copy photographs of the two of you as children to attach to the outside of the basket or bag to tie your theme together.
Bob Hoffman Photography & Video
NIGHT CAP
After a day of traveling it’s sometimes difficult to unwind when faced with bedtime in a strange location. Help your guests relax with a basket dedicated to all things relaxing. A few decaffeinated herbal tea bags inside a sturdy mug can be paired with a bath soap or aroma therapy bath oil for a soothing before-bed treat. Individual packets of hot cocoa with a tiny airplane-sized bottle of toffee or peppermint liquor are also welcome additions. But if you really want to treat your guests, arrange with the hotel to have freshly baked cookies and glasses of cold milk delivered to all your guests’ rooms before bedtime.

The important thing to remember when creating a gift basket is to include anything you think would make your guests feel more at home. The collection doesn’t need to be fancy, but it should be fun and functional. Your guests will appreciate your thoughtfulness.