Ask Linley

We Love Our Guests.

We have friends and family coming from all over the country. How can we help make travel to the Vineyard and getting around once they’re here easy and enjoyable?
 – Wedding Jet-Setters   

Whether you are a born-and-bred Islander or planning from afar, the Vineyard will be a destination wedding for many of your guests. Remember that Martha’s Vineyard is an island, so travel and lodging options are limited. Be sure to send out save-the-date cards well in advance of your wedding date, ideally, six to nine months, if you can. Include transportation info and a few accommodations suggestions. Create a wedding website where guests can get information about the Island and your wedding festivities and put the web address on your save the dates.

Once your guests arrive, try to take over the steering wheel as much as possible. If your ceremony is in one location and your reception in another, hire a trolley to transport your guests. If many of them are staying at the same resort, consider arranging door-to-door transportation to pick them up before the ceremony and drop them off after the reception. Be sure to thank your guests for making the voyage. Offer a toast to long-distance travelers and gift them with a special Island memento!

Our guests are staying in different towns on the Island. Any ideas for coordinating meet-ups and activities for them?
– The Cruise Director

They’ve made the trip, they’ve checked into their lodging — now what? The Vineyard offers something for everyone: golf courses and sunset sails, bike paths and hiking trails, fabulous dining and a great music scene. I’m hard pressed to think anyone could actually be bored, but your guests might need some guidance to narrow down their choices and to connect with fellow guests. You could prepare welcome bags to be dropped off at their various accommodations. Include the Welcome to Martha’s Vineyard guide (courtesy of the Vineyard Gazette) to showcase activities such as kayak rentals, art openings and gallery walks, live music, and myriad other options that might float your guests’ boats. Add some bottled water and a snack to the bag and they’ll be ready to hit the town.

And use your social media savvy. Create a Facebook group for your guests so they can connect with each other – and to let them know where they might spy you and your betrothed. While you’re at it, designate a hashtag so that all those Instagrammers can share pics throughout the weekend, and beyond.

We want to make sure that our guests feel comfortable at the outdoor ceremony we’re planning. Anything special we should consider?
    – Beach Bride

From sandy shores to horse pastures, the Vineyard offers a vast assortment of scenic sites for exchanging your “I do’s” outdoors. Each comes with its own set of logistics. Aunt Nellie from Kansas may have never even been to the beach, let alone barefoot in her Sunday best! For an outside ceremony – if it’s short and sweet – your able-bodied guests might be up for standing, but you’ll want to provide seating for elderly or infirm guests. Assign a couple of strapping young ushers to aid these folks in getting to their seats.

Be sure to clearly mark the trail, whether it’s the path to a lighthouse, a scenic overlook, or that special stretch of beach. Post a sign at the trailhead, indicating that’s where your guests can kick off their shoes. A basket of flip-flops would be a nice touch and can be moved to the dance floor for later use by any Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaires with achy feet! A bucket loaded with bottled water and another with bug spray and sunblock are great to offer too. For fall weddings, consider providing a basket of rolled-up shawls as well. Bring them to the reception, where they can be claimed as lovely takeaway gifts.

Several of our guests will be traveling with children. What are a few activities that we could suggest for parents and kids?
        – Kids Incorporated

Whether you have decided to include little ones in your festivities or you just have a handful of folks bringing the family along for the ride, do some legwork to be able to offer suggestions for them. Some of the Island’s hotels offer babysitting services and schedule activities for kids, so it might be good to know which ones. If you do include little ‘uns in your celebration — and think of the oohs and ahs your fairy princesses and tiny dudes in bowties will illicit — you’ll want to be sensitive to their needs.

Fill beach pails with coloring books, stickers, and small toys to keep little hands busy during the reception. Enlist a young friend or two to hang out with them. Kids like to be involved. Consider an activity table, where they can create a poster or giant card for you and your beloved. And perhaps designate an area just for them — a few beanbag chairs, small tables, and streamers would do the trick. A lot more fun than hanging out with the grownups! They’ll feel special — and their parents will be grateful too!