How we planned a trip for 22 people, including kids
For our 10th wedding anniversary, a group of 20 people joined us in Las Vegas.
We’re a pretty laid-back and somewhat organized couple. Our goal was to spend time with our friends and share our happiness. We decided to keep the plan as simple as possible and to think about our guests every step of the way.
We divided and conquered, like we usually do. Hubby worked on getting the best prices for flights. He even extended the courtesy to some of the guests. Early on, a group of us decided to share a hotel suite. He worked on that with two of them. I was in charge of the ceremony and one major outing.
Communication was key. We created a Facebook page and updated it regularly. No detail was too small: the hotel we opted for, specials for flights and hotels, etc. We also invited guests to share their arrival and departure times in case they’d want to carpool.
And we asked for input
A lot of us were going to Vegas for the first time. We wanted to make sure that everyone was happy. Also, this was the best way to find activities/restaurants we may not have considered.
Now here’s a piece of advice. Whether people travel with you for a wedding, a birthday or, in my case, a vow renewal, you don’t get to act like a dictator. You get one special day, tops. That’s it. Not an entire weekend. Let your guests pick some of the activities.
We established a clear schedule
We had the luxury to plan the trip around a set date: the ceremony. We didn’t have to decide on a date as a group. (In other words, we didn’t have to go through the 9 circles of hell.)
The official schedule for that weekend was pretty straight forward; it only contained the major activities: the ceremony, the reception lunch and the day trip to the Grand Canyon. That was it. Every other hang-out would be organized on location. We left a lot of room for spontaneity.
We also determined a muster point: the hotel where we stayed. The group would always leave from there. We thought it would be easier to meet at the same location every time.
Our guests were free to do as they pleased
Asking everyone to be together at all times is unrealistic (and borderline controlling).
It was clear that the only “mandatory” activity was the renewal ceremony. Even the lunch that followed was optional. Let’s be serious, the restaurant was the Heart Attack Grill. We couldn’t force anyone to get their arteries clogged up.
Given that some people were travelling with kids. Their ability to have family time and to partake in family friendly activities was important. Hubby and his boys needed some well overdue #Baz time. A couple had booked tickets for a show. Others needed naps. We wouldn’t have been able to factor in all of that.
But they could hang out with us if they preferred to
We were on full “hosting” mode. We didn’t plan any “couple’s time”. Guests were free to join us at anytime. For a simple reason, they made an effort to be with us on our special day; in turn, we needed to be available to hang out. That’s how we managed to spend time with everyone.
What we could have done better
Communications on location could have been better. We missed a couple of texts and phone calls.