When my fiance and I got engaged one of the first questions was "How is my family going to get here?"
He and I live in Wisconsin and plan to have our wedding here. I moved to Wisconsin about a year and a half ago but he and his family have lived here for generations. On the other hand 90% of my family and friends live in Ohio and have lived there for generations. Either way, half or all of the guest list has to make a trek.
There are a few options that have been brought up to me but I feel like you wonderful brides could give new input.
1: The obvious "They have to pay their own way" deal. My fiance and I find this to be budget friendly but also extremely rude. I don't want to force my guests to pay a couple hundred for a weekend.
2. Giving travel vouchers. Since it is so expensive to get here, why not treat our guests to a gift card that can pay for their food or ride on the way. Give some gas money if they choose to drive or an airline rewards thing. Obviously it won't pay for everything but its a nice thank you for coming. At the same time that is strain on our budget.
3. Renting a charter bus. Renting out a charter bus for a couple days is actually fairly cheap compared to the other two. It can fit just about everyone on my side of the family and forces our guests to give timely notice. "We need your RSVP we can pay for your ride here or else you have to pay it yourself." On the other hand many people in my list don't know each other so they may feel awkward for a 13 hour bus ride.
Thanks for your help!