What You Can Do When They Say ‘I Do!’

When planning a wedding, it's important to keep your guests' finances in mind, especially the ones who are traveling from out of town — and especially if it's over a holiday.

The cost of attending a wedding can be significant, but there are some small steps you can take to make your family and friends' stay easier on them and their pocketbook.

"Weddings are an exciting time for everyone. When preparing for a wedding, out-of-town guests can feel overwhelmed, but the happy couple can take steps to make participating in the wedding easy and affordable," says Jenny Heger, account manager for AmericInn. "I've worked with couples planning weddings before, and planning ahead shows your guests you care."

Here are some thoughts to ease travel costs for out-of-town wedding guests and maybe make it easier on the Chanukah gelt:

· Hotel: Choose an affordable hotel located near the site of the wedding or reception. Guests will then have an easy time finding their way to the big event.

Guests are sure to appreciate amenities included in their stay, such as pool use, a complimentary breakfast and free Internet access. A hotel is also a refuge from all the wedding activities and can be a place of relaxation.

Make sure the one you choose is quiet and well-managed. For example, some are built with special soundproofing so those noisy middle-of-the-night neighbors who forgot their key won't annoy you or, worse, awaken you.

Also make sure to see if the establishments are child-friendly if you know guests are bringing little ones.

· Dining: Eating is something that can be fun when your guests travel to a new town, but as they flip through the local directory, they might be overwhelmed by the large number of options.

One useful item for out-of-town guests is a list of local restaurants that you enjoy, including a general description of food and menu prices. Choose low- to mid-level restaurants, and consider providing coupons to any local favorites.

As a thank-you gift, you could even provide a small gift certificate to help with the bill and show your appreciation to them for traveling to your wedding.

It also helps if you have guests coming in with specific dietary restrictions. Calling a local Jewish newspaper can help alert you to kosher dining possibilities in the region.

· Transportation: Providing guests with numbers to rental companies can help save them time and frustration. Some companies give coupons for groups traveling to a celebration, so consider talking to the company prior to the event.

And don't forget about public transportation! Providing bus, cab, train and subway information can save time and money for all. And it wouldn't hurt to throw in a token or two for those using public transport.

· Activities: Traveling for a wedding is, in fact, a vacation of sorts, and guests might want to enjoy some other activities in your area. Why not make a list of fun and interesting activities so they can get a true sense of your hometown? Free parks and museums provide some of the best of local culture and are budget-friendly.

· Keeping It Close: After coming all the way to your wedding, guests don't want to have to travel all around town, potentially getting lost. When choosing a hotel, and suggesting restaurants and activities, try to keep these locations relatively close.

Sometimes, a simple walk through town to a local coffee shop is the perfect option.

Adds Heger: "Providing affordable ideas and suggestions can go a long way for many guests who are stuck with choosing whether to come to an important family event and maybe not being able to afford it.

"These ideas not only show that you care, but ensure that everyone is able to participate in your big day," the account manager concludes.

This column was prepared in cooperation with ARA Content.



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