When your wedding guests have to travel eight hours to see you get married, it’s only polite to make it as convenient as possible for them. And as host of my wedding, it’s nice to be able to offer them a convenient place to stay for a reasonable rate.
If I had the room, I’d absolutely invite everyone to come bunk at my apartment, and we’d all have a giant pre-wedding slumber party. But, unfortunately, everyone will not fit in my 900-square-foot apartment.
Guest accommodations are something you want to think of sooner rather than later. Especially depending on location, date and what extra events might be happening during your wedding weekend. For example, if you live in Morgantown, W.Va., and want to get married on a Mountaineer game day, hotel rooms will probably be at a premium.
After deciding on Oct. 13 for our wedding date, I began calling hotels in the area to get pricing and room availability. USA Today suggests talking to your wedding venue to see if your reception site contracts with a particular hotel to offer discounts or a shuttle service for your guests. If your guests will be drinking, and the hotel doesn’t offer a shuttle service, this might be something you want to arrange yourself.
The representatives that I talked to from area hotels said that they generally don’t block off rooms more than nine months in advance of an event, but they also said that October is a very busy month for them. At that point, we were still about a year away, but I wanted to make sure we had adequate accommodations for everyone, especially since almost everyone attending our wedding is going to be from out of town.
Deciding on what other people will be willing spend on a hotel room is tough. I didn’t want to get rooms that were too far from our venue, Lauxmont Farms in Wrightsville, or from places to eat and shop in York, but I also wanted guests to get a reasonable rate.
In addition to price and location, consider hotel perks that your guests might want to take advantage of, such as a continental breakfast, a pool, a fitness center or an in-hotel restaurant or bar. If your guests are not familiar with the area, some might enjoy just eating at the hotel instead of having to venture out on their own. Or if they will being staying multiple days, a continental breakfast would be a convenient way to save some money. Another perk that some hotels offer is to print a courtesy card that couples can stick in their invitations or save the dates letting guests know about accommodations.
When calling hotels, be sure to check for a discounted rate. Because you are guaranteeing a certain number of guests, some hotels will offer a reduced room rate. Some will also offer a free room to the bride and groom. The hotel we chose will give us a free room only if our party books at least 10 rooms, so make sure you get specifics on this offer. I also found that sometimes the “discounted” rates were the same you could get if you booked online, so be sure that you are actually getting a discount.
To figure out how many rooms we needed, I counted the amount of out-of-town people that would almost certainly attend. I also figured that some of my college friends would share rooms or that some of my family might bunk up together. After speculating how many people would need hotel accommodations, I decided to get 25 rooms for Saturday and 30 rooms for Sunday. The hotel representative gave me an idea of how many single king-bed rooms to get and how many double queen-bed rooms to reserve.
Several sources, such as eHow.com and WeddingWire.com suggest booking rooms at several hotels to give your guests choices. My cousin is getting married in the fall, and he and his fiancee included a card with their save the dates that offered two choices with blocked rooms and a third hotel unrelated to their wedding group.
After blocking the rooms, be sure you get a contract from the hotel, and secure your rooms in writing. Make sure you double check the dates you have reserved, the cost of the room (ours was initially incorrect on our first contract), the style and number of rooms and any fine print. The hotel we chose will not charge us if the rooms we reserve are not filled, but I have read on several wedding boards that some do. Make sure you are clear on this.
Most hotels will hold the rooms for four to six weeks from the event. Our hotel will let our reserved rooms go a month before our wedding. Be sure you let you guests know the deadline to book the rooms and that after that, they will not be guaranteed the wedding group’s discounted rate. Also, be sure to give your guests plenty of time to book their rooms.
My DIY paper roses came out better than I’d hoped