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The Guest Book: Thanking Your Guests in Style

Words by Sarah Padilla

 

You've been showered, pampered and preened, and the big day is here. Now it's your turn to return the favor- literally. Destination wedding guests deserve extra TLC when it comes to thanking them for sharing your special day. Even if you cover part of their expense, destination weddings are still a huge investment of time and energy for your guests. Your priority when kicking off the festivities should be to make them feel valued and appreciated. 

Welcome Baskets: Welcome baskets are a popular way to greet friends and family. Placed in guests' hotel rooms prior to their arrival, baskets may be stocked with snacks and drinks, brochures for local attractions, the wedding itinerary and a hand written thank-you note. Technology-savvy couples may even put together a welcome DVD with a personal message. Baskets are often customized to echo the wedding theme or locale. And while items need not be extravagant; they should be things that your guests will use. A few examples include: 

- Beach/Cruise Wedding: Help your guests have fun in the sun by stocking a straw tote with beach essentials like sunscreen, fans and tabloid magazines. Throw in a set of flip flop playing cards or coasters by Carrie Olsen Garrard.

- Mountain Wedding: A winter wedding high in the hills calls for gourmet coffee, hot chocolates and toasty gloves piled high into a cowboy hat or rustic looking basket. Customized travel candles in fresh pine are available at The Candle Favor.

- Big City Wedding: Fill the hotel's ice bucket with a pocket guidebook, subway tokens and soothing foot cream. Help your guests unwind from a day of sightseeing with personalized cosmopolitan drink mixes and some chocolate sushi from Beau-coup and Chocolate Sushi.

Wedding Favors: Wedding favors offer an additional opportunity to infuse the wedding with your personality, but there are a few guidelines to follow when choosing destination favors.

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- "Keep in mind that your guests are traveling," says Winnie Ying, director of marketing for Beau-coup, a California based wedding favor retailer. "Practicality and portability are important features. If it's something they can use in the future, guests are more likely to go to the trouble of lugging it back home."

- Keep in mind that you will be traveling and will have to get the favors to your destination. You'll want to avoid items that are bulky, heavy or fragile. Another option is to purchase your favors from a local vendor to avoid having to transport them.

Winnie says that some of the most popular favors for destination weddings include luggage tags, travel candles and pocket incense kits. Treats such as candy or cookies are always appreciated. Inflatable beach balls are a sure bet to help liven up any reception. Sparklers with a personalized matchbox make a bang by giving your guests both a memory and a memento. In the end, isn't that what it's really all about? 

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