Wedding Accommodations

by The Wedding Professor

in Selecting Wedding Vendors,Wedding Accommodations,Wedding Planning Advice

Even brides who will say their vows in the towns where they’ve lived since infancy will likely have at least a handful of out-of-town wedding guests. While no bride is truly responsible for her family and friends’ accommodations, it’s become common practice for marrying couples (or their moms and dads) to reserve what is known as a “block” of rooms when more than one or two guests will need somewhere to lay their heads post-reception.

A low-end hotel might allow you to reserve a block of slightly discounted rooms, while a higher-end resort may be willing to throw in all kinds of sweet extras like free breakfasts, later checkout times, shuttle service to and from the wedding, or a complimentary room for the bride and groom. Ask if guests can be blocked near to or next to one another, and whether you can add more rooms if all the blocked rooms are taken early on. And be sure you know the rates, the cut-off date for reservations – usually 30 days before the wedding, and how your wedding guests can reserve the discounted rooms (e.g., under your name, using a code, etc.). No matter what, you should never, ever have to pay for any rooms that aren’t booked by a certain date. If a hotel or resort manager tells you that this is a requirement, find other accommodations.

The best time to reserve a block of rooms for your wedding guests is any time before two months prior to the wedding. Location is, of course, hugely important – the best accommodations will be close to both the ceremony venue and the reception venue – but also consider the quality of the hotel or resort, whether it’s kid-friendly, and the cost (don’t choose anything too expensive unless you know your guests can afford it). Some brides and grooms will reserve a block of rooms at two different hotels, one that’s more affordable and one that’s more luxurious or one that is closer to the wedding and one that’s closer to local attractions.

Block rooms for as many guests as you think will need rooms, within reason. Some hotels and resorts will only block a certain number of rooms for one event, which is yet another reason some couples block rooms at more than one hotel. Before you sign your contract, called a room block agreement, check online to see if you’re truly getting a discount because the standard room block rate may be higher than the standard discount on travel discount web sites like Expedia or Priceline. In that case, instead of sharing room block information with your wedding guests, simply list the most convenient hotels on your wedding web site with a note that indicates where the best rates can be found.

Welcome baskets covertly slipped into your out-of-town wedding guests’ hotel rooms can make them feel special while alleviating some of the anxiety many travelers can feel in an unfamiliar locale. Though there are companies that specialize in prefab welcome baskets (with or without a theme) it’s easy to make your own. Think of what guests might want in the short and long term, like mini bottles of water, snacks, a guidebook or map, and something fun like a rubber duck. Just keep in mind that some hotels charge a per-bag handout fee.

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