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Creating the Best Door County Wedding for Your Guests

According to an unofficial Door County Living poll, the primary goal for couples planning a wedding is creating a memorable event for their guests. One bride-to-be went so far as to say, “Honestly, I couldn’t care less about whether I have a good time. Seeing my parents, siblings, other family and all of our friends having a great time is the most important thing to me.” 

Selfless comments aside, it’s one thing to want your guests to have the best time, but it’s another thing to make sure it happens. Here are a few small ways to ensure your guests have an unforgettable time at your Door County wedding.

Turn your wedding into a vacation.

As you’re likely aware, Door County’s reputation as a tourism destination means that many lodging properties have two- and three-night minimums during the summer and fall months. The easiest way to get around this is to set your guests’ expectations appropriately right away by encouraging them to make a long weekend (or more!) out of the wedding experience. There’s more than enough happening on the peninsula to keep just about anyone busy, and they’ll get some time to enjoy a place that’s special to you. 

Plan a few things, but give guests plenty of free time.

If you have friends and family heading to Door County for several days, you might be tempted — or even feel obligated — to have plans made for them the second they hit the county line. One groom said, “We planned two events in addition to our actual wedding: a casual get-together at a bar the evening before the wedding, and a buffet brunch the day after. This gave people time to explore Door County, and it made for a very chill experience for everyone.”

Give suggestions for activities on your website, or include them in your wedding invitations.

Having a short list of things you love to do in Door County on your wedding website or as an insert with your wedding invitations can go a long way, especially with guests who have never visited the peninsula. If you have a story about why you love a particular restaurant or hiking trail, include it. It helps people make the connection about why you love this place so much. 

It’s also a good idea to add links to your site (the Door County Visitor Bureau website comes to mind) so that guests can get more information before they arrive.  Also encourage guests to pick up a copy of the Peninsula Pulse when they arrive in the county because it will have the most up-to-date listings for events, festival calendars and live music. 

Make it easy for them.

It sounds obvious, but the best way to ensure guests have a great time is to remove challenges for them. If your wedding venue is on uneven footing — on a beach or in a forest — let guests know that high heels probably aren’t the best idea. If your ceremony will be held outside and the weather could be chilly, suggest wearing extra layers. If you have a lot of out-of-town guests, have directions to venues ready for them, and designate a person they can call if they have any questions. Arrange transportation so there’s nothing for them to worry about. If it makes sense, prepare guest bags that include water and snacks so they don’t have to worry about finding a gas station or grocery store. Most of the time, it’s not about the food, or the music, or the favors they take home — it’s about a seamless, stress-free experience.

The Door County Trolley

is a reliable way to transport guests, and also makes for awesome photos with the iconic red trolleys.

Add some simple interactive details to the evening.

Put some thought into simple activities during the evening can add more fun for guests, such as a ‘grammable photo station or photo booth, a table with entertainment options for the younger kids, providing a variety of lawn games or simply offering various areas to gather so those who don’t want to dance all night can still have a corner to socialize or relax. Thoughtful touches like s'mores kits and take-home can koozies are small but memorable touches that are unexpected treats.

Send them home with something local.

If you’re giving out wedding favors, think about things that have ties to Door County. Because we’re known for our cherry crop, you can never go wrong with something cherry-related: small jars of cherry jam, chocolate-covered cherries or cherry bounce. Couples we know have sent guests home with miniature containers of Door County maple syrup from Jorns’ Sugar Bush, handmade granola from Kick Ash Granola, chocolate truffles from DC Chocolate Design, peanut brittle from Uncle Tom’s in Ellison Bay and jars of pickled ramps from their parents’ Egg Harbor garden.

Aleah Kidd