There are about 5,000 things that come together to make a wedding great, but one of my favorite things to think about is the guest experience. It was on the forefront of just about every single decision I made when planning my own wedding, and it’s something I often point out when helping friends plan theirs. It’s your day, but in my opinion your guests enjoying themselves to the fullest will make your day that much better. So, while we are talking about planning the best hill country destination wedding today, we’re really talking about planning the best hill country destination wedding from a guests’ perspective. It’s why this list is going to look a little different from any others if you were to Google “how to plan a destination wedding” or “tips for planning a destination wedding.” -Landan
When we built The Chandelier on our families’ land, we knew one of the greatest benefits to it was the location. Being located just minutes from Gruene, TX, and convenient to just about everything in New Braunfels, TX, was something we knew our couples would love. What we didn’t realize is that it would afford us the ability to have couples come from all over to get married. We have so many couples from New Braunfels and the surrounding area, but we also get couples from Dallas, Houston, and out of state treating it as a destination wedding. We wanted to be able to help our couples plan the best hill country destination wedding ever, so here we are.
In all honesty though, the tips we came up with are valid for any couple getting married at The Chandelier. They are just especially helpful for couples who don’t live in New Braunfels or who have a lot of guests coming from out of town.
Use the resources available to have the best team on your side.
When you book with The Chandelier, we have a list of recommended vendors that we’ll share with you. If you’re from out of town, or just don’t know where to start when looking for vendors in the area, it’s the perfect place to find vendors. There are some great vendors that aren’t on the list, but we love every single person that’s on it and they’ve proven themselves great time and again. Whether it’s having a DJ/band that knows how to get the party started or a caterer that’s prompt and delicious, having professional vendors on your side will help ensure that you – and your guests – have a wonderful night.
Have a point person for your guests to contact.
Whether it’s getting lost on the way to the venue, reconfirming the time they’re supposed to be somewhere, questioning the best way to get to town, or wondering what attire is the most appropriate for an event, guests have questions that come up, and they seem to have even more questions whenever they’re somewhere they may have never been before. Rather than them reaching out to the bride or groom (or making up an answer because they don’t want to be a bother), provide your guests with a contact person that knows the plan and can answer their questions. Things aren’t quite as confusing in Gruene as they would be for a destination wedding in another country, but it’s still something to consider as a convenience and for peace of mind.
Have additional planned events for guests to partake in, even if they’re casual.
I think most people know about the idea of doing a larger rehearsal dinner, a welcome party, or a post-wedding brunch, and we love all of those ideas. But another idea is to have more casual options for people to join in on if they want to. For example, if the groomsmen were planning on floating down the Guadalupe River one day during the wedding weekend or if you knew the bridal party was going to hit up a winery together then you can try this out as the day after the wedding, guests could be invited to join in. It doesn’t have to be a formal hosted event, but rather an opportunity for guests to add something into their itinerary to not only enhance their vacation experience, but also get to hang out with other people attending the wedding.
Personalize your recommendations.
This is one of my personal favorite things to do that most people don’t think of. Making recommendations for the area – like restaurants, bars, and activities – is pretty common for weddings. What isn’t common is personalizing those recommendations based on people involved in the wedding. Is your Mother a foodie? Let people know her favorite restaurant to eat at in town. Your groom loves the outdoors? Sounds like his recommendation might be a hike in Panther Canyon. This allows your guests to not only connect to your wedding location, but to connect with you personally. And if your family doesn’t have actual favorites that’s okay – just “assign” them what you think they’d love or is representative of them.
Have a wedding website where everything is centrally accessible.
There are so many pieces of information that you’re sharing with your guests. Creating a wedding website where they know they can look if they have questions is a helpful resource for them and you. And if you’re taking our advice about giving your guests a contact person, this is the best place to include that info, too. Beyond that, wedding websites are one of the first ways your guests can get an impression of your wedding and what you have planned, so they can be fun to design and share your story on.
Take advantage of being in Gruene and New Braunfels.
You chose The Chandelier and The Texas Hill Country for a reason. There are so many different things to do in Gruene and New Braunfels year around, so definitely take advantage of them. Whether it’s visiting Gruene Hall, which is the Oldest Dance Hall in Texas, suggesting Natural Bridge Caverns and the Wildlife Ranch for an outdoor adventure, floating one of the two rivers in town, hitting up Wurstfest if your wedding happens to fall during one of the 10 days it’s running, or visiting Schlitterbahn for the day, there are so many fun things both you and your guests can do. If you’re making a weekend out of your wedding, pick something that you and your new spouse will love and make memories that you’ll never forget. As an added bonus, you can always plan a vacation back to Gruene to look back on your wedding for years to come.
If the Texas Hill Country is important to you, incorporate it.
If there are things you absolutely love about the Texas Hill Country, embrace them. Incorporated dried wildflowers, serve Texas-made wine, liquor, or beer, bring out Whataburger as your late night snack, have mini Blue Bell Ice Cream cups with your wedding cake, put the shape of Texas on your invitations and koozies, incorporate a Texas BBQ themed dinner, use y’all anywhere you can or have antlers in your table settings. Whatever it is you love about Texas, and specifically the hill country, find a way to incorporate it into your day. Texas will always love you back.
Let’s get planning, y’all.