Why you Need to Prepare your Guests
Having an elopement entails a lot of planning and communication, I've learned this so much as I've been preparing for my own! One detail that often gets overlooked in the elopement or intimate wedding planning process is the guests. I've found that the part of the day that gets the most chaotic, as with most weddings, is trying to keep everyone informed and on the same page. So I've become super passionate about creating a resource that helps prepare your elopement guests for your elopement! If you want to plan an elopement that runs smoothly, with everyone all in the right place, at the right time, and all thoroughly prepared; this is for you!!
Most likely, your friends and family have not attended an elopement, or an intimate wedding such as the one you're planning. Some people may not even know what exactly it is you're doing, since the term "elopement" has evolved drastically over the last couple of years! Things like what to wear, what to bring, where to park, and what not to do, can be so easily communicated before everyone starts pestering you for answers as you try and enjoy the engagement season. Providing everyone in attendance with the right resources can make all the difference in the world, and lift the burden of taking care of everyone else on YOUR day!
How to Share Information with your Guests
Okay so we've established that communication is key! But how exactly do you tell your guests the logistics? Below are a few ideas on how to share your elopement details with your guests.
- Email. Keep it simple and use an interface everyone is familiar with! Create an email list with all of your wedding guests and send out a series of emails leading up to the day! This is great if you have a small amount of guests (I would say up to 30).
- Through a website. Wedding planning popularized this idea with free sites on the Knot, Minted, or Wedding Wire! You can compile all the information like; addresses, menu, and accommodations, etc. As well as being able to personalize the site and include things like your engagement photos!
- Through text. Keep it simple with group messages or personal text! This is an easy option if you have very few people joining you on your elopement. Otherwise it can get confusing with too many people! Simply write out a message, or even send a picture of an invite you created.
- Through a facebook group. This is a fun way to keep everyone in the loop, and also connect your guests to one another (carpooling anyone?) You can create a group or an event and add all of your guests to the list! This only works well if most everyone is actually on the platform though!
- Through a Guest Guide. Put together an all-inclusive guide for your guests to read through and refer back to as the day approaches. Email it or print it, or both! This is the best way to give you guests the ultimate personalized experience and help them feel included and prepared.
How to Keep Everyone on the Same Page
Once you decide on the method of communication for sending out your elopement information, break it down into segments! Try not to overwhelm anyone with too much information at once. I recommend creating a timeline for sending out the details, and including the next steps in the process! That way you (hopefully) won't be answering too many questions over and over. But rather keep everyone on the same page. A guest guide can be a great way to break down the information overload and give your friends and family a resource to easily refer back to!
What information to include when preparing guests
Now let's get into what information to include when preparing your guests. You understand why you have to do it, and how to do it, but what information about your day should you include? Every elopement is different, but I like to send the information in two stages. The first with the essential information so everyone can block off their calendars and start booking accommodation and travel. The second will be everything they need to know about their day. Below is a full list of topics that I would recommend you include when informing your guests.
The first thing to do after you've decided on your guest list is to let them know the most important details. I would send this information as soon as you have you date, location and key vendors (photographer and/or planner). Below I've listed this information out that will help relieve some of the questions they will have leading up to the day.
- Accommodation recommendations
- Some information and guidance on the idea of your day
When it comes to information and guidance, I love to share the vibe of the day. Remember, elopements and intimate weddings are different than what most people are used to. They are untraditional, which means most people are going to be confused. So you need to prepare them and get them excited for your plans!
Things like "we are going for a backard BBQ vibe, so be ready for some yummy hot dogs and hamburgers!" or "while we are celebrating more intimately with our guest list, we are still getting fancy! bring your heels!" or "while our plans are evolving, our plan is to get married by the ocean, followed by a delicious sit down dinner". Expand on what they can expect from your day, so they can look forward to what is to come!
2. All the details
Once you get closer to your day (I'd recommend about a month out), you will need to share with them more details about your day. If your guests are invited to your elopement or intimate wedding, their experience and preparedness is just as important to keep the day stress free. So preparing them ahead of time will not only make them have an even better time, but you as well!
- A reminder of date and location
- The time to arrive by and where
- The full day timeline
- Some experiences and recommendations around the area
- What to wear or pack (every elopement has a different dress code)
All of this information is so beyond helpful and will set your mind at ease. Everyone will know where to go, what to do, and show up with a smile!
A New Hampshire + Vermont based adventure elopement and intimate wedding photographer team for the adventurous souls. We specialize in New England and destinations worldwide, empowering you to create the most beautiful, adventurous day and give you the memories you'll be able to look back on for all the years to come.
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