Weddings are meant to be a unique and unforgettable experience for everyone. One of the best ways to ensure a special atmosphere (and make all the planning worth it) is to invite guests to stay on-site alongside the wedding party. With everyone united around the same purpose, a wedding with on-property lodging will transform your nuptials into a vibrant community of loved ones. Bringing guests into the fold can create an irreplaceable atmosphere that enhances the guest experience—if you’ve thought everything through.
Determining whether your wedding is right for hosting guests on-site isn’t an easy decision. How do you enjoy the benefits without the drawbacks? What are some of the best tips for creating a seamless experience for the attendees? What are some of the pitfalls to keep an eye on? If you’re contemplating booking a place with on-property rooms for your guests, consider the following guide to make sure you’re doing it right.
Deciding if Your Wedding Should Include On-Site Lodging Options
There are a million problems to solve and now you’re wrestling with one of the biggest—where should guests stay for the wedding? There are many elements to ponder if you’re considering hosting guests on-property, from the practicalities to the ambiance that comes with being in close quarters with loved ones. Asking the right questions can help any couple decide whether the option is right for them. Here’s where to start.
Does the Property Have the Right Accommodations?
The biggest mistake you can make is to force the issue. If you love the wedding venue, but the correlating lodging is sub-par, it’s best to look around for other options. Having guests on-site does come with inherent advantages (more on that in a moment), although not every space is going to work for your friends and family.
The answer is to look carefully at the guest rooms from their perspective. Attendees want to be there to support you on your big day, but they also want to have a great experience that merits the effort. Guests also might feel obligated to stay on-property despite preferring other local accommodations. To ensure it’s worth it for the guests, make sure the property you’re looking at has:
- Ample space for the guests you expect will attend
- Beautiful views to enjoy
- Nearby attractions for downtime
- Easy access to all wedding functions
If the answer is no to any of these, you might need to think long and hard about whether having guests on-property is the right move.
Will It Help Create a Cohesive Event?
Having guests lodging at the wedding site should yield a much more cohesive experience. But this can backfire if the property is tricky to navigate or overly spread out; guests can get lost and others may not physically be able to make it to all the events. That’s why many large resorts are not ideal for hosting wedding guests. A complicated and overly busy property means more things that can go wrong or cause delays.
Instead of big and fancy resorts, the best sites are alluring but straightforward. Guests should be able to easily visualize where wedding events will take place and how they will be utilizing the property. You want them to feel at home the moment they arrive instead of taking time to get acclimated. In an intimate, welcoming atmosphere, attendees can enjoy a much more cohesive and immersive experience. It should also be less stressful for the wedding planners.
Is it the Right Option for Your Specific Party?
The goal is to make your planning easier, not inundate you with fresh problems. To find an appropriate wedding site, you need to know your guests and—most importantly—understand what won’t be a good fit. One option gaining in popularity is getting married at a campground, with guests lodging in neighboring campsites or cabins. For outdoorsy types, this is an amazing option that can create the perfect atmosphere.
But couples also need to be mindful about choosing such lodgings. Are cabins and yurts a good match for your guests, or would they rather stay in luxury tents that still give them an excellent window into nature? Today’s top glamping sites have a much broader appeal and can be excellent options for just about any group. If the venue’s accommodations have only narrow appeal, inviting guests to stay on-site might lead to lower enthusiasm.
The Benefits of Having Guests On-Site
Finding a place that works for you and your guests creates plenty of built-in advantages. Having everyone on-property makes the wedding a small and spirited community that will enhance the celebration in many ways. Here are some of the biggest benefits of having guests stay right on-site at your wedding.
Scheduling Simplicity and Convenience
Even a small wedding is an endless carousel of moving pieces. Simplifying the scenario is a must whenever possible, although there is only so much you can do if guests aren’t staying nearby. Wedding party members forget things, uncles get lost on the way to the rehearsal dinner, and cousins end up having to text the bride for last-second details. Despite all the planning, things can still turn into a mess in a hurry, making it more difficult to enjoy the moment.
Some wedding advisers even point to scheduling as the biggest thing that can go wrong during a wedding. The main culprit—guests not being where they’re supposed to be on time.
Having all your guests in one place lowers the pressure that can build before a wedding. While this helps for the main wedding functions, it also makes it considerably easier to plan the smaller events that can really help a wedding take off. With all the guests having easy access to the event sites, your chances of pulling off a seamless wedding go up dramatically.
Organically Increasing Guest Interaction
A thriving wedding is one filled with guests reconnecting or getting to know one another. Unfortunately, when guests are too dispersed, they can have a hard time forging connections and might choose to keep to themselves instead.
With guests on-site at a wedding, however, it’s easier to facilitate guest interaction because of the communal atmosphere. Attendees are more in sync with the wedding events and have more opportunities to meet friends and family members from the other side of the aisle.
The result is a livelier atmosphere at most destination weddings where guests naturally come together. They get together at low-key breakfasts, meet while walking the grounds, and borrow phone chargers from distant cousins they haven’t talked to in years. By the time of the main wedding ceremony, guests have already had innumerable chances to socialize with each other.
Cost-Effectiveness for Attendees
Anything you can do to ease the financial burden and help with travel budgeting is a positive for your guests. After all, many will be flying, renting cars, buying suits, and more just to be there with you on your big day. Instead of forcing guests to find their own lodgings, a group rate can help offset traveling expenses and show you’re conscientious of the cost.
Couples can also take a few small steps to help even further. Arranging airport shuttles and rides to area attractions will provide convenience and savings; it might even eliminate the need for guests to rent a car, which can quickly add hundreds of dollars in expenses.
Three Ways to Make Sure On-Site Guests Enjoy Downtime
A small touch or two can help your guests relax and enjoy the festivities. Because many attendees won’t be familiar with the destination, it’s also an opportunity for the bride and/or groom to apply the research that went into the wedding planning. Some ways to break the ice and make sure the wedding is worth it for guests include:
1. Suggesting Day Trips and Helping with Accommodations
It takes considerable effort for guests to attend a destination wedding. One way to help maximize the guest experience is by providing day-trip recommendations along with the best ways to get to and from the sites. You might even link them up with other attendees with similar interests, making it easier to carpool and encouraging interaction.
This can give guests something to do while there is downtime, but just make sure you also include the times when they need to be back on-site for wedding functions. It also helps if your site is close to the top features in the area.
2. Preparing Lawn Games
Weddings should be fun and engaging for attendees, which is why many planners make sure there is plenty for guests to do when they aren’t needed for a ceremony.
One way to go is to set out lawn games like cornhole, bocce ball, lawn twister, croquet, and more to get everyone’s blood flowing. These types of games are also great for any age, providing something to do for any families in attendance. And if you are at a beautiful site (you should be), lawn games are a great way for guests to soak up the scenery while meeting everyone.
3. Setting Up a Bonfire
Destination weddings are meant to bring together a small community, and a bonfire is a terrific nightcap after a day of wedding festivities. Roast a few marshmallows, set out a couple of coolers of beverages, and let your guests enjoy each other’s company amid the calming crackle of the flames. A few bales of hay and some cozy blankets can add to the ambiance while creating a welcoming atmosphere for everyone.
If you’re in the right location, there are plenty of other add-ons to a great bonfire. For remote weddings that have minimal light pollution nearby, setting up a simple telescope can be an excellent gathering point for guests. A bonfire is also an opportunity to put out some unique snacks and drinks that will only enhance the experience.
The Right Locale Will Set You Up for Success
Having attendees stay on-site provides a different level of access to the wedding, generating a deeper connection with the couple. To maximize a wedding’s potential, it’s critical to find a site that makes it easy for guests to enjoy. Even your closest friends and relatives want to walk away with an experience that matches the effort and expense of attending. Ultimately, you want guests to fall in love with the location and see what drew you to it in the first place.At Camp Hideaway, our top-notch wedding facilities have everything you need to pull off a flawless wedding. Guests are greeted by sweeping panoramic views of Texas Hill Country and enjoy ceremonies at a gorgeous open-air event hall that has all the modern touches. In addition to rustic ranch houses with a full slate of amenities, guests can stay at luxury tent suites that are ideal for any time of year. Contact our wedding team for more on how Camp Hideaway can be the perfect backdrop for your big day.