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July 24, 2011 8:14 AM   Subscribe

How do I make wedding invitation directions?

There are two groups of people coming to our wedding in Lake Lure, NC. One group is coming from Central NJ/Philly area (where we are coming from,) and most will be driving. The other group is from Greensboro, NC and they all know the way.

My fiancee and I are designing our own invitations and I'm stuck on how to "simplify" the driving directions for folks coming from NJ/PA. I mapped the route with Google Maps and took the basic highway directions, and it's ten steps. This is fine, I suppose (thought suggestions would be great,) but how should I make the map? Should I provide a detailed map of the immediate area of Lake Lure, or a large overview map.

Is a driving map for a wedding 12 hours away a stupid thing? We never thought about not having directions, figuring they were sort of token directions. Clearly no one would only use our directions. Right?

Assuming no one will be exclusively using our printed directions, how should I format them WRT detailed directions?
posted by InsanePenguin to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total)
 
Just give the address. I think most people have GPS or will use Google Maps these days. If there's a nearby highway that either group would use to get there, give directions from the exit-- so basically any common directions that people would take no matter which direction they're coming from.

Do you have a wedding website? Google maps has a widget where anyone visiting the site can input their address and it will spit out directions to a location you specify when you customize the widget.
posted by supercres at 8:18 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would recommend having the detailed directions on a simple event website and just have the website address on your invites.
posted by pupstocks at 8:19 AM on July 24, 2011


You only need to give directions from where they get off highway/major roads. A map of the immediate area is most useful, and details about where exactly they should park (i.e., not just "it's 495 Lake Road", but visual markers, where to drive, where to park) and where they should go after they park.
posted by brainmouse at 8:19 AM on July 24, 2011


We struggled with this as well. Fortunately, our venue has a website with detailed directions from every direction-- I ended up just including the link to that page in the (informal) printed invitations.

I think the point of the map is more local, anyway; your guests will know that they have to get on the interstate to get to the vicinity, it's once they're there that things get tricky.
posted by charmcityblues at 8:22 AM on July 24, 2011


Give absolutely basic ideas of how to get to the nearest town, then give details from there. For my wedding in Pittsburgh, with family coming in from Michigan and upstate NY, it looked like this:
Pittsburgh is just off the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-76), which connects directly with the Ohio Turnpike. To the north, I-79 connects with I-80 and the NYS Thruway; to the south, 79 connects with I-70, I-68, and I-64.

(For those coming from upstate NY, we recommend skipping the Thruway and taking I-88 to Binghamton, NY-17 to Waverly—we suggest stopping for lunch at Soprano's—US-220 to Altoona, and US-22 to Pittsburgh.)
And then we gave turn-by-turn directions from the blocked hotel and from Downtown PGH, which we put both on the website and on a paper insert in the invitations.
posted by FlyingMonkey at 8:25 AM on July 24, 2011


Give the address, with basic instructions, and please don't include directions on where NOT to go:
When you get to I-90 North, don't go North, go South, and don't turn onto I-57, go straight.
Keep it simple: Take I-90 South
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 8:42 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Should I provide a detailed map of the immediate area of Lake Lure, or a large overview map.

Assuming you still want to give directions given the comments above, I would include the local detailed map. That's the point where knowing cross-streets is critical. The large overview map will be pretty useless-- printed directions from the internet or a GPS unit can do that part.
posted by parkerjackson at 8:45 AM on July 24, 2011


Keep the directions separate from the invitation itself.

I'm guessing that your guests will be able to figure out the directions using their own preferred method. However, depending on how formal the invitation is, the suggestion to have a little website that includes the directions is a good one. As long as you don't have registry info on the website as well, because you never mention gifts in the same breath as you invite someone.

If you don't feel you have time to slap together a website before you send the invitations out, just send the URL to those who reply.
posted by tel3path at 8:50 AM on July 24, 2011


Ask the venue if people normally get lost going there and why. Unless people regularly get lost going there you don't need detailed instructions.

Option A - Assuming your venue tells you people get there just fine and you have corrborated that by a couple of internet direction searches which give sensible directions based on your knowledge of the local area you can assume that the address is known to GPS and the internet and you just tell people the address. They should be able to figure out the rest.

Option B - If people regularly get lost going there and/or the directions you can find are a bit useless model your directions on the ones you can find on hotel hompages etc - Come off XXmain road at junction XXX, follow......turn......arrive at. Again people ought to be able to get to the main road.
posted by koahiatamadl at 8:53 AM on July 24, 2011


Thanks for all the suggestions, I'll take them to my better half and see what she thinks!
posted by InsanePenguin at 9:23 AM on July 24, 2011


This link explains how to do it using powerpoint, of all things.
posted by np312 at 9:29 AM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Simpler is better. Just give directions from the nearest interstate. Even if folks don't have GPS or use google maps or an equivalent, they can figure out how to navigate from their home to any given interstate. In your case, this appears to be especially useful because both the Philly group and the Greensboro group will be approaching from the east on interstate 40.

Maybe something like:
From interstate 40 West take exit 103 onto US Highway 64 West toward Morgonton / Rutherfordton. Follow on Highway 64 for about 50 miles [include any tricky bits about following 64 here] until you arrive in Lake Lure. [any specific directions for Lake Lure go here, and this might be a good place for a simple drawn map from highway 64 to the actual destination, if there's anything potentially confusing about it.]
Or if you want to be a little more specific for those coming from the Philly area, you could do two overlapping sets of directions like this:
From the East:
From interstate 40 West take exit 103 onto US Highway 64 West toward Morgonton / Rutherfordton. Follow on Highway 64 for about 50 miles [include any tricky bits about following 64 here] until you arrive in Lake Lure. [any specific directions for Lake Lure go here, and this might be a good place for a simple drawn map from highway 64 to the actual destination, if there's anything potentially confusing about it.]

From the North:
Take Interstate 81 south through Virginia to exit 81 for Interstate 77 south toward Charlotte. Follow I 77 south for about 87 miles to exit 51B for Interstate 40 West toward Hickory, then follow directions above for approaching from the East.
posted by dersins at 10:09 AM on July 24, 2011


Is it at all tricky to find the place? If it is, and if you can manage it, enlist the help of a friend who doesn't know the area. Write up your directions, give a copy to your friend and keep one for yourself, then sit in the passenger seat as your friend tries to follow the directions. Keep notes of every time they seem confused, or mutter "did I miss the turnoff— no, there it is", or anything like that. Then edit the directions to add the necessary notes like "no, really, even if it seems too far, keep going until you see the purple mailbox — it's only if you come to the green water tower that you've gone too far".

One of the most stressful experiences I've had of trying to find a place was with a set of directions that seriously needed "stay on the road longer than seems possible" and "no, really, keep going" and "when you see the ABANDON ALL HOPE sign you know you're going the right way!" notes.
posted by Lexica at 10:41 AM on July 24, 2011


If your wedding is going to be during decent weather and most of the people will be coming in during daylight hours, go off and "re-purpose" some of those cheezy advertising signs you see stuck in the grass on medians.

You can experiment with it but we used white printed paper "Baby Bob's B-Day" with an arrow, taped one to each side of sign, wrapped them tightly with blue tinged saran wrap and placed them for the last 4 turns (the party was at a barn in the middle of a field). We even put a couple of cheap blue & white balloons on the signs. Folks said it was really helpful even if they knew they weren't lost.

Once the party is over, go back and remove your signs. If you think you should, put the signs back where you found them or you can keep your area beautiful and dispose of them properly.

(these signs are illegal in my county but they aren't a 'active' crime and the police don't want to bother with them. They never bother me when they see me removing them. It might be different in your area.)
posted by jaimystery at 2:49 PM on July 24, 2011


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