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Enhancing the Staycation Experience for Wedding Guests

With statewide shutdowns and increased travel restrictions, many couples are opting to celebrate their wedding close to home. However, that’s not to say they aren’t just as special. Thanks to the pandemic, many people are discovering the beauty of home and all that their local area has to offer. As a result, engaged couples are making the most of their nuptials and turning it into a full staycation experience for themselves and their guests.

Typically, it’s a wedding professional’s responsibility to plan out extracurricular activities or, at the very least, provide recommendations. The guest experience is our bread and butter, but it’s important to note that there’s far more than fun and enjoyment on the line this year. We need to keep our clients and their guests as safe as possible while they celebrate together.

Here are a couple of ways to safely enhance the staycation experience for wedding guests.

Get familiar with all your area has to offer

The idea of a staycation typically involves enjoying activities that are nearby and often overlooked. In any situation, it’s important to know the activities in town and build some strong connections with local businesses to offer plenty of things to do. Guests appreciate recommendations of what to do (and what not to do) when arriving at a new location. They don’t want to do wedding stuff the whole time; maybe a couple wants to have a quiet date night together during their stay or perhaps a family needs to occupy the kids during the day.

Of course, the pandemic makes it a bit difficult to take advantage of many activities at this time. Wedding professionals must do their due diligence to research local attractions that are low-risk and have strict COVID guidelines in place. For example, an outdoor winery that mandates social distancing between groups or a museum that has restricted capacity to facilitate social distancing.

Plan some low-key gatherings

Many people are wary about entering restaurants and bars, presenting a challenge when it comes to planning activities beyond the wedding. Bars are closing down early, so late-night drinks aren’t always an option. Brunch at the swanky café downtown might limit party size, so that could be off the table. All that means is that you need to get creative with your planning to host a safe, enjoyable gathering for guests to attend.

Consider scheduling a private shuttle to take guests to a nearby park or a hot air balloon ride that overlooks the city. Work with the guests’ hotel to see if you can host a socially-distanced get-together in their plaza and bring in a food truck and bartender (and heaters, if necessary!). More often than not, many of the activities we do at weddings can inspire low-risk activities that keep guests engaged and entertained while off-premise.

A staycation doesn’t have to mean guests are stuck in their hotel rooms until the big day, relying on room service and the downstairs bar to have a little fun. Instead, there are many ways to fill up their schedule for their stay in a safe fashion that is mindful of the situation. Get creative, prioritize social distancing, hand out masks, and showcase all that makes your area special!

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Dixie Bagley is the owner of The Farm in Rome, Georgia - a European farm estate with lodging set in the north western Georgia mountains. The venue focuses on working with couples who want to give their guests a relaxed, but thoughtful countryside weekend wedding experience. Having been in the wedding industry for 12 years, Dixie is a master of multi-tasking and wants to make everyone feel at ease. Dixie holds a degree in exercise science from the American Council of Exercise and is Certified Wedding Planner & Venue Coach for The Bridal Society.

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