Wedding lodging tips<br><a href=http://www.emilieink.com target=_blank>Alina McGinty</a>

Wedding guest accommodations may not officially be the responsibility of the bride and groom, but your guests will need a place to hit the pillow long after their feet have hit the dance floor.

You want your loved ones to feel welcome, so book lodging early to make sure their stay is hassle-free. Many couples choose to reserve a block of rooms at a nearby hotel – you can often secure a discount, plus it’s fun and convenient to have most guests staying at the same place.

A few tips to keep in mind:

  • Set up a group rate at a hotel that’s affordable for most of your guests and close to your reception site so guests don’t have to drive at all or too far after the festivities wind down. Ask whether the hotel offers a shuttle service so your guests don’t have to worry about transportation. Your reception venue may contract with a particular hotel for discounted rates.
  • Before calling hotels, look through your guest list and count up the minimum number of rooms you know you’ll need, then add how many more you may want to book. Don’t forget to include yourselves and the bridal party in the final tally. You may be required to book at least 10 rooms to get a discount. If you’re reserving more than 30 or 40 rooms, consider arranging blocks at more than one hotel to give guests a choice in their rates and rooms (think college buddies versus wealthy aunts).
  • Do some online research to arm yourself with negotiating power. Check out rates at the websites of hotels you plan to call, as well as on travel sites like hotels.com. You’ll know right away whether you’re getting a deal.
  • When you’re ready to request quotes, you’ll likely deal with the sales department rather than the front desk staff. You may want to avoid the “W” word. If you say the room block is for a family reunion or other non-nuptial event, you might snag a better rate.
  • Be sure to ask whether there’s a minimum on the number of nights. Especially on holiday weekends, hotels may require a two-night stay to book a block.
  • Ask whether you’ll need to put down a deposit. Some facilities require that your guests ultimately book a minimum number of rooms, and if they don’t, you may be on the hook for the rest.
  • Don’t forget the details. Inquire about the types of rooms (i.e. size and number of beds), whether breakfast is included, how long the quoted rate is good for, what date you must cancel by to recover any deposit, and whether guests get the same rate if they arrive earlier or leave later than the nights you’ve reserved.
  • Once you’ve negotiated a rate you’re happy with, get it in writing.
  • Let your guests know where you’ve reserved rooms. If you’ve planned ahead, you can send this information with your save-the-dates. Also be sure to include it on your wedding website.

Hotels certainly aren’t the only option for housing wedding guests. Also check area inns and B&Bs, or consider renting a house for close family and the wedding party. Sites like airbnb.com and homeaway.com provide local listings for apartments, condos, cottages and other privately owned accommodations.

Last but not least, assembling welcome bags for out-of-town guests is a great way to show your appreciation.

Posted in Local Tips & Trends

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