Directions & Maps
Send guests travel information well in advance, especially if they have to book rail or air tickets. Suggestions of the nearest airport or cheapest way to obtain tickets are very welcome. Remember that out of town guests may not have a car available to them, so include numbers of local taxi firms. It is a nice thought to arrange for a coach or minibus to collect them from their hotel and take them to the ceremony venue, and then on to the reception.
Be sure to include information on parking for guests who will be driving. You could also detail the charges of local car parks. If parking near the reception or ceremony venue is difficult or very limited, you should let guests know. You might consider providing transport such as a coach or minibuses to transport all your guests from one venue to another.
It’s a good idea to include a colour copy of a map in each invitation. Our create your own pocket outers are perfect for extra information. The more details you include, the less phone calls you’ll get from people wanting to know how to get there.
Ceremony cards are often sent in addition to reception cards, in place of an invitation to both events. They are useful for occasions in which most guests are invited to the reception and fewer to the ceremony. The design of the ceremony cards should match the reception cards
Traditionally, details of the wedding gift list weren’t mentioned in the invitation — guests were expected to telephone the bride’s parents and ask them for gift ideas. These days, however, it is standard practice to give details of a gift list in an invitation. It’s best to keep this discreet, with just a mention of where your gift list is held and how guests can access the details, should they wish to.
Bear in mind that some guests might take this opportunity to have a holiday. If your wedding is to take place near a popular tourist spot — anything from Stonehenge and Snowden to Brighton Pavilion or Blackpool Pleasure Gardens — include some tourist leaflets with your information pack, or leave them in their rooms for when they arrive.
Doing something afterwards
Most couples report the day flashing by in a blur, and their good intentions to talk to everyone flying out of the window. why not hold a simple get-together such as a barbeque or picnic, the next day. Not only will it give you a chance to thank everyone for coming, but you’ll be able to talk about the day to your hearts’ content! Guests often appreciate being able to catch the bride and groom at a less hectic time, especially if they have travelled a long way to be there. If you can make getting to your wedding that much easier for your guests, they’ll be able to enjoy your day with you that much more — so a little advance planning is definitely worth it!
This is the time to let your guests know about any decisions you have made regarding the day. For instance, if you are having a cash bar in the evening, you may want to add:
A cash bar (which accepts Visa, Amex and Switch also) will be open from 7.30. Please note there are no bank facilities in Lower Netherington. Cigarettes are available at the Dog and Duckling next door.
Cars will be valet-parked, please let the attendant know if you will be leaving your car overnight/leaving early.
The bride and groom have been planning this wedding for a long time, and will be enjoying every second of it. Therefore, there will be no ‘going-away’ and sandwiches will be served at midnight.
Many guests will want to stay overnight after the evening reception, and possibly also the night before the wedding, so a list of local hotels and guesthouses is very helpful. Print out their names and addresses, along with contact details and rates for single and double rooms.
Hotels will often block reserve rooms, as long as they are confirmed by a certain date. This usually allows you to negotiate a more favourable rate, especially during off-peak seasons. If you do arrange a deal with any hotels, remind guests to inform the hotel that they are part of your wedding party when they book.
Make sure you include as many venues as possible — there will always be someone who leaves it until the last minute and will phone in a panic if they can’t find anywhere to stay. A good range of prices should also be included. Some guests might be looking for the least expensive accommodation they can find, while others might like to splash out on a glamorous hotel for the night.
Also include a list of restaurants, covering a range of budgets and styles.
If you have pre-booked rooms in a hotel for out of town guests, it’s always appreciated if you leave a message of welcome in their rooms. It’s also a good idea to give your guests the name and phone number of someone you have appointed as a ‘guest liaison’, who can be contacted with questions and queries. If most of your out of town guests are arriving the evening before the wedding, suggest a time they can meet in a hotel bar and get acquainted before the wedding. This is particularly appreciated if you’re having a rehearsal dinner with your wedding party and can’t spend time with them yourself.
It is not correct to refer to morning dress on an invitation, although other forms of dress, such as black tie or lounge suites, are fine.
Reply cards and envelopes
t’s not essential to include a reply card in your invitation, and is perfectly acceptable to expect guests to use their own stationery to reply. However, a good way of getting responses quickly is to include a card that can be completed and posted back to you. You could also include a stamped, addressed envelope.
Printing costs can be high so, as an alternative, you could buy a set of ready-printed RSVP cards, or just buy plain inserts and print them yourself.
It’s also a good idea to add a date by which you would like to receive the replies. The wording for this could be ‘the favour of a reply is requested before (date)’. You need to give yourself the maximum amount of time to invite other people if you find you’ve got the space, and to organise seating plans and place cards. A sensible date is one or two months before the event, or whatever makes sense for your arrangements.
After this date, start ringing around any stragglers to get their answer.
If any of your guests aren’t familiar with the traditions of your wedding, let them know beforehand what the layout of the day might be, as this will enable them to relax and enjoy the day more.
An out of town guest reception a couple of days before the wedding is an enjoyable way to catch up with friends and family. If possible, have it somewhere special locally, which would make a story for the guests when they go home, such as a hotel where someone famous has stayed, or the clubhouse of a well-known local sports team.