Accommodating Overseas Wedding Guests Without Adding to the Stress
In North America, most of us have family that lives abroad, be that close relatives like grandparents, siblings, cousins, or further removed relations whom you still stay in touch with. This is a great perk when traveling or when looking to experience and understand other cultures, however, when planning a big event like a wedding, these relationships can become difficult to manage.
Of course, you want your family to be present on your special day, but you already have your hand full with other duties, from choosing the wedding party attire, discussing the menu with the caterers or finalizing flower themes. And everything is overshadowed by the need to stick to the budget and the realization that the deadline (the wedding) is not a sliding one that can be pushed by a couple of days.
When you invite family from overseas, you want to ensure that they feel welcome, appreciated, and taken care of, as they have made a commitment to come, often by way of temporal and financial expenditures. How does one plan a wedding to best accommodate for such guests without adding too much more to your plate?
Choose the Right Location
Though your small town or home city might hold a lot of significance to you, unless it has an airport, it can be difficult for your family to reach affordably. Plan on having a wedding reception in Montreal or some other major city and it will be much easier on you and your family members. You don’t have to worry about airport pickups or transfers, and they will have a great selection of transportation options, a range of accommodations to choose from, and alternate entertainment to bookend their trip. No more playing “nanny” for you, just send out a little guide a few weeks before the wedding of things to see and do in the city, and let them explore during their downtime. They will appreciate your effort and thought with the recommendation, but be more understanding of your inability to be with them all the time.
Designate a Contact Point for Them
It’s normal that a bride and groom will miss calls the day before and after the wedding. They are clearly busy with the large event going on. Designate a “liaison” for each side of the family whose job it will be to make sure that out of country guests are safe, comfortable, and taken care of. This person should have approximate arrival times, contact information, and hotel information for family members from abroad and be comfortable with having said guests call them when they need to. Knowing how to delegate is important if you want to have a stress-free wedding.
Create a Care Package
When they arrive at their hotel rooms or apartments, have a member of your party drop off a “care package” with local goodies and other essentials that the hotel might have missed, like quality toiletries, snacks, and a rough schedule of events along with locations. These can be made much in advance and shows again that you are appreciative of their presence at your important day.
Talk to Them Beforehand
A few weeks before your wedding, make a point of calling your overseas family members and chatting to them about how excited you are and your plans for making them welcome at your wedding. This is a good time to get travel and accommodation information from them, give your liaison’s contact information, and take away the pressure of having to take special care of them on the day itself. To them it will be clear that you think that they are important to you, even if you don’t have a chance to spend much one on one time with them at the wedding.
By taking time beforehand to set the stage and tastefully delegating tasks to your friends on the ground, you’ll find that having your family members from abroad will truly make your day more special and beautiful rather than stressful.