Destination Weddings

Planning a sort-of destination wedding

Hi friends,
I'm new to TK. My FW and I are planning our wedding for May or June 2019, in my small hometown a few hours from the US border in Ontario on a Saturday evening. This will be (relatively) local for me and most of my friends and family (within 2 hours drive). I also have some family and friends on both coasts of Canada. My FW is American (central state) and has most of her family on the east coast of the US. She also has family in Europe, who we anticipate will likely attend.
Obviously this is not an ideal situation and we have tried to arrange things so that the wedding will be nearby for the maximum number of people, but it will involve a significant amount of travel for many of our guests. We want to minimize their inconvenience as much as possible and be gracious hosts. It's likely that her European family will want to stay for a while after the wedding (long flight for just a weekend) so we aren't planning a honeymoon in order to accommodate them.
We would really appreciate feedback on the ideas that we've come up with and any suggestions that you can think of.
1) We are considering hiring a shuttle from the closest major airport (~3 hours' drive) to the town the day before the wedding. We would reach out to those who are would have to fly in and let them know about this so that they can incorporate this into their travel arrangements if they choose.
2) There is a hotel in town within walking distance (literally 5 min) from our venue, which we will be booking hotel blocks at. Last I checked, rooms run about $100/night there. There are also lots of cottages within walking distance that people who are going to stay longer might want to book, and we will be providing that information.
3) I used to work in tourism in this town and will be putting together an info package of things to do/restaurants etc. It's a pretty small town, so it'll be a short list.
4) How early should we send STDs? We would like to incorporate engagement pictures, but might not have the opportunity to do our shoot until about a year before the wedding. Is 10 months before appropriate?

Does anyone have any suggestions for other things that we could do to make this easier for our guests?
Thanks!



[Deleted User]

Re: Planning a sort-of destination wedding

  • 1) I don't think you should bother. They just need to rent cars, and there's no way round it. Coordinating this for multiple long distance flights is a nightmare. 

    I think 10 months is fine, and you don't need to do anything else except host them well!
  • SP29SP29
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    Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!

    It is good that you are trying to accommodate the majority of your guests, having guests coming in from various locations is pretty common these days.

    As for the airport shuttle- I would not worry about this. As far as your wedding goes, you are only responsible for hosting your guests for your wedding. Invite them to the ceremony, then host them with a reception right after with a meal appropriate to the time of day. If you wish to additionally host a welcome event (dinner or cocktails later in the evening) the day before, or a breakfast the morning after, you are welcome to do this, but also not required. It is considerate of you to create a room block or two at nearby hotels, as well as to provide additional information about the area (we did this on our wedding website- which airport to fly in to, links to car rental services, information on public transit, list of things to do in the area, our hotel blocks), but it is not your responsibility to figure out travel plans for your guests. They are adults- let them figure our their flights, length of stay, accommodations and how to get around.

    The airport shuttle likely won't work anyway, because it sounds like you have guests flying in from various locations, so their flights are not going to arrive all at the same time (or even day!). If guests are staying for a length of time, they may choose to extend their stay either before or after your wedding- let them decide what works best for their schedule (and what days are cheapest to fly) versus encouraging a particular day because of a shuttle. Unless your area has excellent public transit, most guests will rent a car anyway, which can be done from the airport. And if they are not renting a car, I would presume they are making other arrangements prior with family.

    Save the dates should be sent around 9-12 months out, no earlier, with invitations being sent 6-10 weeks out (international mail does take longer, but if your guests have STDs, then they already know about the event) with an RSVP date not more than 3 weeks out from your wedding. If you want to include an engagement photo on your STD, that is fine. Once you have booked a venue for a specific date, you can also spread your wedding date by word of mouth when speaking with your friends and family from out of town.
    short+sassy
  • You might want to mention on your wedding website that US Passports are necessary to travel to Canada these days.
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    southernbelle0915[Deleted User]short+sassy
  • SP29SP29
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
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    MobKaz said:
      Are car rental agencies "attached" to airports in Ontario as they are in the states?  I wonder if some kind of "group rate" would be possible if you have that many guests that require renting a car.  Are there other shuttle options, such as a train or bus to get from the airport to your wedding town?

    I applaud your efforts to be considerate. 
    Yes, they are.
  • Wow, you're really going above & beyond to accommodate your guests, which is great! I would definitely put information on the distance from the airport to the town on your website. I assume most people will be able to use the GPS app on their phone, but if there's anything they need to do so their phones work in Canada, they might want to know about that too. Or make sure the rental agencies can also provide a GPS. 

    I don't think the shuttle is totally necessary, but you know your guests. Do you have anyone coming who might be uncomfortable making that 3 hour drive alone? Is there a place in town to rent a car that they could get shuttled to?
  • Some of her family (a group of about 6 or 7) will be flying in together. They speak limited English and would have to drive on one of the busiest and most congested highways in North America for part of the trip. I think it is worth it for us to arrange it so that they don't have to do that after a long flight. And if we let our other flying guests know about the timing of the shuttle, they can choose to make their travel arrangements based on that if they wish. The shuttle company I'm looking at has space for about 10 people.
  • Unfortunately, there aren't any other buses or trains from the airport straight to my town. It is very small and out of the way.
  • Some of her family (a group of about 6 or 7) will be flying in together. They speak limited English and would have to drive on one of the busiest and most congested highways in North America for part of the trip. I think it is worth it for us to arrange it so that they don't have to do that after a long flight. And if we let our other flying guests know about the timing of the shuttle, they can choose to make their travel arrangements based on that if they wish. The shuttle company I'm looking at has space for about 10 people.
    I think this would be good, since those guests might struggle with renting a car and driving. Then you can get an idea of who else might want to plan their trip around the shuttles and plan accordingly :)
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