(Closed) Planning Our Wedding in CA With Guests Across the U.S.

posted 8 years ago in Money
Post # 3
Member
2208 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

I’m planning in a similar situation. My recommendations:

– choose a location that will actually be interesting for your guests. I’m doing the coast north of wine country, so people actually want to come (fly into SF, drive through Sonoma, stay on coast…sounds nice, right?). It feels great for people to actually be excited, not just coming out of obligation.

– send out Save-The-Date Cards, and do it as soon as you can.

– really, really consider a coordinator, or at least a day of coordinator. Life savers, worth every penny.

– consider your guests’ accomodations and transportation while making plans.

Post # 4
Member
26 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: June 2010

We are in the reverse situation. Planning on the east coast but FI’s family and friends are all in CA. Agree with @monitajb, make sure to provide as much info as you can for out-of-town guests – maybe block hotel rooms or create website where you can list fun things to do in the area.

Also, it is really nice that since it is somewhat of a “desintation” wedding, we are finding that many of our guests are deciding to extend their trips and come a few days before the wedding which will give us much more time to spend with those we don’t see as often.

 

 

Post # 5
Member
838 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

Well you are pretty much having a destination wedding so make sure you get your STD’s out as soon as possible.

Post # 6
Member
408 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2010

I totally agree with PP – send out all information as early as possible, send out save the dates at least 6 months prior (I would recommend even earlier if you really want people to come), make a wedding website providing information about hotels, transportation (airports), weather, etc!

Our wedding is in Texas and we have been planning form D.C. and Chicago. Family and friends are flying from everywhere: california, seattle, new york, florida, etc. Theyve all said the best thing we did was get the date and travel information to them in enough time that allowed proper planning!

Post # 7
Member
950 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

We’re in a VERY similar situation (planning for wedding in LA; family & friends in HI, CO, MA, WA, SF, & DC…only 20% are local!) & I totally agree with PPs.

  • DEFINITELY send your Save-The-Date Cards as soon as possible (end of March would be great!)…more notice, more likely to say ‘yes’
  • If it’s in your wedding vision, make your venue or area near your venue a vacation destination site (@monitajb is having hers on the north coast – wine country; I’m having mine at the Disneyland Hotel)…it will encourage people to come, not only to your wedding, but also a place they’ve wanted to visit
  • Set up a website with ALL your info.  As soon as you book it, put up a page on your website, so others can see it.  You can also set up an RSS point so that people can “subscribe” to your website & get notified as soon as any change/addition is made. Include fun info about your area so that people are more inclined to go
  • Book hotel blocks & try to find airline/car rental deals especially for your guests…include this info on either the STD’s (if you have time & already know your info) or website, as well as invites’ insert.  The easier you make it for others, the better.

As for help from your LDBMs, if they are online savvy, you could set up DIY instructions for tasks you’d like help on (my Maid/Matron of Honor did this for her 1001 crane Mon for her wedding – she did a DIY tutorial & sent it out to all her family members & BMs to each make 10 origami cranes…cut her origami work by 80%) or get online pics of all the accessories you want opinions on.  You can also make a skype date for your BMs to have a discussion, if that’s how your ladies roll.  Right now, my mom & I are emailing pics of Flower Girl dresses as well as her MOB dress…Future Mother-In-Law has also joined the online convo, so she can “match” my mom.  It’s definitely not your “traditional” planning process, but there have been no kinks so far (knock on wood!)…Good Luck!

Post # 8
Member
2695 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2010

We are in the same boat as you.  I sent out Save-The-Date Cards 6 months out and also created a website with hotel and travel information.  We set-up blocks of hotel rooms at the 6 month mark too so that people could go ahead and book their rooms.  Be sure to choose hotels in different price ranges.  If you have your reception at a hotel be sure to find out if you get discounted rooms for wedding guests.

We are planning wedding weekend activities for the guests to do and I added that to our wedding website and to an enclosure card with the formal invites.  We are doing rehearsal dinner on Friday night with welcome cocktails later in the evening at the hotel, Golf on Saturday morning and wine tasting that afternoon.  Wedding/reception Saturday night with a brunch on Sunday morning.  I’m not paying for all these activities just the Rehearsal dinner, wedding reception and brunch.

Post # 9
Member
2695 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2010

Oh yes, one more thing. Transportation. Try to have your event close to airports to help cut the cost for them.  We were invited to a wedding this year at a ski resort so we were going to have to fly in and driver over two hours to get there.  So that meant spending lots of money in transportation.  My girlfriend is getting married in Seattle and the venue is near the rail-system so we can fly in and get on the rail and not spend much on a rental car/gas.

Post # 11
Member
2208 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

Just look for a hotel that will allow you to set some rooms aside under a name, and will then release the rooms if they haven’t been booked by, say, 2 weeks out.

Also, So Cal is a big place, but make sure before you set a date when there isn’t a big event going on nearby. Locals certainly can survive a marathon or convention, but it can wreak havoc on people who don’t know how to drive there or need a hotel.

Post # 12
Member
203 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

As an old married lady on the other side of things LaughingI have a couple suggestions considering I am an East Coast guest heading to a California wedding in September.

It is a wedding of one of my closest male friends from college. He’s known my husband from day one so there is no way we aren’t going to the wedding. But I found out they moved up their date to the same month of a wedding I am in, our anniversary and it is being held at a very expensive resort (I am talking rooms starting at $500 a night.)

I’m anticipating this trip will be so expensive we’ve cancelled a Caribbean vacation we were planning in June. From my perspective these are things that I could use from the bride now to help me plan:

1. A STD with all the pertinent information (I stalked down their wedding Web site but it has two different dates listed causing me to scratch my head)

2. Alternate hotel blocks bc I can’t swing $500 a night hotel room after flying across the country. I want to come early and make a vacation so suggestions on places to stay, transportation options and tourist attractions would be a huge help.

3. Let me know now if there is something the day after the wedding I might want to stick around for.

Hope that helps with some advice from someone who just went through it and is now a guest.

re: booking rooms. Most hotels do not require you pay for rooms. But read the fine print carefully some blocks can result in you paying for unbooked rooms or any damages etc. (I have a friend who had to pay for rooms the hotel refunded for other guests bc her guests were loud).

Typically, you call the hotels you are interested in reserving rooms at, tell them how many, when and they quote you a price. A good question to ask as well is if they offer a complimentary shuttle and free parking. Then you sign a contract, Like I said check the fine print to avoid getting caught holding the bag.

Post # 13
Member
414 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2011

Hi,

We have similar situation where our guests are from east coast and Asia

1.  Lodging   We’re going to pay for our relatives’ hotel for a few nights in SF since they are coming all the way from Asia or somewhere in America.  If it is in your budget, it may be worth considering to show your appreciation for their time and travel fee.

2.  Transportation  We’re asking our relatives to rent their own cars since I personally do not have time to drive them.  My parents may consider renting a van but that aint enug to hold everyone. They’re on their own for rides

3. Touristy stuff  We plan to show them around the bay area since most of them have not been here before, or have not been here for a long time.  Wedding day will be more of family reunion week where we have to play host family.  that’s partly the reason i dont plan to have a honeymoon right away, i need to rest after my wedding and touring the bay area… rest… wan’t wait

 

Post # 14
Member
55 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

This is a great string of questions & replies – I echo all your points made previously!  I’m planning a wedding in San Diego while living in Pasadena, working in Hawaii (yes, working), and most of our guests will be coming from non-CA locations (East Coast, Europe, New Zealand).  We have been very diligent about updating our website and making sure people know how the weekend’s going to go.  My parents & my aunt/uncle are both renting houses in San Diego, and we’ll be using those as bases of operation for many activities, along with the hotel.  

Hotel: I found our hotel by using the San Diego Convention & visitor’s bureau.  They requested proposals from a number of hotels in the neighborhood near the wedding venue, and then all I had to do was review the proposals & call up the ones I was interested in.  I specifically wanted hotel rooms at around $100 a night, with some restaurants or shops nearby if people wanted to walk somewhere.  Thus I ended up in the Golden Triangle area of SD – not as picturesque as say, La Jolla, but a heck of a lot cheaper! It made it SO much easier to not have to cold call.  And the Visitors Bureau followed up with me to make sure the hotels were cooperating. As the date draws closer, my contact at the Visitors Bureau will be working with me to gather local maps, coupon books, etc. to put in the Out of Town bags.  

A couple of other thoughts:Communication is the key to a successful event (and I speak from non-wedding event experience – I’m hoping that it translates to weddings as well!).  Hire a planner if you can, a DOC at the very least, because you know that there will be many folks unfamiliar with the area & thus unable to run errands for you. I LOVE my planner & seriously don’t know what I’d do without her.  Good luck & enjoy!!!!

Post # 15
Member
101 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

Also, be sure to consider a date that either does or doesn’t overlap with a holiday, whichever way you decide works for you!  Remember:

If it’s on a holiday weekend:

  • people might get a “free” extra day off of work to use towards their travels, but
  • might have to pay more for flights/hotel on a holiday weekend and
  • some people might have yearly traditional vacation plans on big holidays (like a camping trip or reunion over the 4th of July, etc.).

We live in AZ, but are planning our wedding in CA. My family is mostly in CA, but not all in the area that the wedding is being held. FI’s family is mostly in ND. And we have family all over the country (NJ, NY, CO, IL, MN, AZ, CA).

We are hoping that the oceanside wedding during the summer will give Arizonans a nice break from the heat, all the non-coastal guests a chance to see the ocean, and people with families can use this as a possible extension of their family summer vacation while the kids are out of school.

 

Post # 16
Member
1079 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

We tried to be really considerate of costs for guests. Besides various options for hotels (block out rooms), look into local condos that groups can share, and try to make it possible for everyone to not rent cars. That means carpools / shuttles to and from the airport, one ceremony/reception site, and shuttles from town to the site. Also, if people stay downtown they wouldn’t have to have a car to go out for dinner, entertain kids, etc. I went to a family reunion where if you left the hotel to go anywhere you had to have a car – that wasn’t a great idea. We’ve posted all our info on our website and created a facebook event page so people can post when they’re arriving, if they’re renting a car, and whether they can offer / need rides.

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