Happy Thursday, blog followers! Today we're getting back into planning mode…but not for me, for you! Many weddings today are destination events…even if you're not getting married in the Caribbean (but, um, if anyone needs a wedding planner for their destination Caribbean–or any other warm location–wedding, I'm totally available. Right away. Get me out of this cold!). Oh, sorry–got a little lost in thought there…
Upon deciding on your general guest list, wedding location, venue, and date, you should probably start thinking about looking at hotels for your out of town (and even local) guests.
When considering a hotel for your wedding, it's good to think about the distance of the hotel from the wedding events. The hotel shouldn't be too far from the reception venue–especially if you plan on providing transportation for your guests. Much like wedding toasts, the travel time between the hotel and reception should be short and sweet. It's also a good idea to visit the hotels you're considering recommending to your guests. Pictures online can be deceiving…better to see with your own eyes. However, if you are planning from afar and have hired a wedding planner use their guidance and referrals to help pick the best option.
Some other things to think about; will anyone (aside from your guests) be getting ready there? Will the groom and his groomsmen get ready at home while the bride and her maids get ready at the hotel (or vice versa)? This is good to know because the hotel will ask you how many rooms you'd like in your block. When you set up a room block most hotels don't ask you to pay up front, it is simply an agreement that you make with the hotel to confirm you will “fill the block.” If you do not reserve all the rooms by your cut-off date they will go back into regular inventory and you won't be penalized. Helpful note: put these dates on your calendar as soon as you determine them!
Which brings me to my next point–reserve a block of rooms ASAP! Call the hotels that you think will be the best options and speak with the Sales Manager to find out their room block policy since many vary as to when you can reserve the block. Helpful note: be nice to the sales manager! Try and remember that you are not the only wedding (or event, convention or conference) taking place that weekend and they have certain restrcitions in place that may or may not allow for room blocks that weekend. If you're sending out a save the date, the hotel information should be included on save the date, or referenced in some way (on a wedding website, for instance, if you have one). It doesn't hurt to spread the word to your guests that they should reserve a room sooner than later. This is especially true during certain times of the year. For example, August in Saratoga Springs, or Summer in Lake George–high travel / tourist times.
One more helpful tip for you: if you have a guest who has made a reservation within the room block but needs to cancel the room suggest they check and see if another guest or family member still needs a room and see if the hotel can easily transfer it to them. Once a room is cancelled it goes back into the general inventory and is no longer included in the block!
So that's the 411 on booking hotels for your wedding…I hope this has been helpful for all of those newly engaged couples out there! Have you ever stayed at hotel for a wedding? How was your booking experience?