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8 Things I Learned as an Out-of-Town Wedding Guest

Show your wedding guests a great time with these insights from our on-the-road editorial assistant.

Guests outside at reception tables waterfront paper lanterns

Guests outside at reception tables waterfront paper lanterns

Photo: Ahava Studios

Hi there! My name is Jacqueline and I’m an Editorial Assistant at WeddingWire. This past weekend I flew to Nashville for my friend’s wedding. To say the least, it was a night filled with laughter—the officiant even nicknamed the newlyweds “Jerica” (for Josh and Erica) at the altar. It was hilarious.

Not only was it a great time getting together with college friends, I also learned a lot as an out-of-town guest. Are you attending a wedding in the near future and are unsure of what to expect? Here are a few tips I picked up along the way as I attended “Jerica’s” big day!

Pack Accordingly
Since I live in D.C. now, the temperature in Nashville was a drastic change. I went from rainy and chilly weather to sunny skies and 90 degree temperatures. I ended up packing way too much thinking I was going to be cold or too hot. Instead, I wish I had asked my friends who actually live in Nashville to see what they suggest for me to bring. I would have avoided overpacking and having to check my suitcase!

Book Accommodations with Others
Erica’s wedding was also the same weekend as a major half-marathon, which made finding a hotel within budget difficult. Luckily, my other friends who were coming in from out of town had friends who were willing to let us stay at their house for the weekend. It was so nice all staying together and extremely sweet of them to open their home to us. We left a nice bottle of wine and a thank you note for their hospitality.

Buy the Wedding Gift Early
I really didn’t want to show up to Erica’s wedding lugging a big gift. Therefore, I pre-ordered an item off of their online registry a week before the wedding. That way it showed up to their home address. I, of course, bought a guacamole mixing bowl for the newlyweds’ “Taco Tuesdays.” Those two love Mexican food.

Meet Up With Other Out-of-Town Guests
Since my friends who I was staying with were in the wedding party, they were pretty busy with the rehearsal dinner. Therefore, I decided to make plans with the other “out of towners” to stay occupied. We met at a rooftop restaurant for brunch Friday, where we had a few mimosas and then explored Nashville together.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep
A few of my friends stayed out a little too late the night before the wedding and were not feeling so hot the next day. I was happy that I didn’t overdo it the night before and felt refreshed for my friends’ big day. I think they wished they had done the same, too.

Arrive to the Ceremony Early
Even though the invitation said 6 p.m., It is always better to get to the venue earlier. That way you won’t be rushed trying to find a seat before the ceremony starts. We showed up at least 30 minutes before and even enjoyed a complimentary glass of champagne to sip on as we waited for the wedding to begin.

Use Their Hashtag
It was so helpful using the couple’s personalized hashtag. Throughout the whole weekend everyone was taking photos, so the hashtag made it easy to track the photos down. Also, it was fun to look back on all the instagrams during my layover the next day. Check out WeddingWire’s hashtag generator here!

Factor in Your Travel Home
I made the mistake of booking my flight for home the next morning a bit early. My other friends had their flights departing around noon. As for me, my flight took off at 8:20 a.m.. So, waking up the morning after dancing and celebrating the night before felt like I had taken years off of my life. I’m still not sure how I made it on the plane without forgetting anything back at the house. Looking back on it, I definitely will book a later flight.