Couples who elect to have an out-of-town wedding frequently do so in an endeavour to prolong their wedding day experience into more of a weekend event. Alternatively, they may opt for this choice to accommodate guests from different parts of the country in one central location. The most important aspect of planning an out-of-town wedding is the preparation involved. Your guests are left at your mercy and it is vital that you find appropriate accommodation in the area. You may choose to present guests with a list of options (maybe combining luxury options with more affordable ones) and allow them to make the final booking and payment arrangements. Or, you may organise accommodation with one or two establishments only and limit the guests’ options. Decide whether you will pay for all or any of the guests and make this explicit well ahead of time, so that the payment factor does not influence their decision to attend your wedding. Liaise with the accommodation providers in the area so that they are prepared and available for your guests. You may be able to negotiate bulk discounts if you establish a good relationship with them at the outset.

If your guests will be driving to the venue in their own cars (which some invariably are), include a map and directions in words (i.e. turn right after 300m) in your wedding invitation. Depending on the area, GPS coordinates may also be necessary. Keep in mind that not all of your guests will be able to spend a night at your wedding- or accommodation venue (if these are to be different places). Be sure to brief them on road safety and directions at night well ahead of time. If your wedding venue is very isolated or far from major city centres, decide on whether you will be able to afford a coach or shuttle to transport guests there. This will prevent them from having to park fleets of vehicles on the premises and will likely be an easier and more convenient option for them.

If you are only having a few close friends and family spending the night at your venue, you are more able to extend the celebrations to the next day. A champagne breakfast or watching the sunrise over filter coffee with your nearest and dearest is a fantastic start to your married life together. If you have to depart for your honeymoon directly after the reception, or first thing in the morning, organise such an event for those staying at the lodge / guesthouse to make this a special day and to prolong the excitement of your wedding.

It is wise to include a list of nearby attractions and activities, as well as directions and contact details in your invitation, or when people RSVP. Using these, guests can make a family weekend or a getaway out of your event.

An out-of-town wedding is fun, exciting and innovative for both the bridal couple and their guests. It allows you flexibility and the enjoyment of prolonging your celebrations without the hassle and threat of guests having to travel long distances. Although it invariably ends up being more expensive if you are paying for transport and / or accommodation, the pro’s need to be weighed up against your budget, as this truly is a treat for family, friends and you, as the bridal couple, alike.

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