One might say that nothing is more important than the guests at your wedding. With more and more guests living “out of town,” finding appropriate accommodations for them has become an important detail in planning a wedding. The difference between finding a comfortable, convenient place and just “any place,” is what marks the difference between the hostess who pays attention to detail and one who does not. Certainly the prospective bride and groom are under no obligation to find places for their guests to stay, but ensuring that guests will remember their lodging pleasantly, adds to the general ambiance of a well-planned wedding. 

Keep in mind that guests traveling to your wedding are already incurring an expense, so the cost of lodging is one aspect which needs to be kept in mind. It may help if you select more than one location, one more and one less expensive and give guests a choice. It’s more fun if all the guests can stay together at a single venue. If given a choice, guests may select the location which suits their particular needs. If possible, it would be nice, in the options you present to them, to blend comfort, convenience, cost and a bit of local color. 

Hotel owners “caution” couples about planning a wedding on a holiday weekend. On weekends such as Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, and Columbus Day, couples willencounter minimum stay policies at most hotels. These dates are in high demand and are the “bread and butter” of such businesses, so asking them to “break the rules” really causes them serious hardship. Lodging owners understand that on top of lodging expenses, your guests will incur a variety of other expenses, including travel, special attire, and gifts. Unless you are planning a Destination-Weekend-Wedding, most guests, paying their own way, will want only one night’s reservation. Keep the weekend “rule” in mind to be fair to your guests and to those providing your accommodations. 

If you believe your guests are interested in a luxurious venue, looking at the local hotel(s), which may offer a pool, exercise room, in-room TV, fax and modem services, as well as other amenities, may be a good choice. Despite the fact that they may be pricey, hotels often offer discounts when you block a number of rooms. The hotel, in most cases, will ask for your credit card number to hold rooms at a reduced rate. You will need to direct your guests to ask for the rooms being held under your name. If your budget allows, you may consider subsidizing the guest room fees. 

If you wish to truly indulge a small number of guests (perhaps just you and your immediate family, or you and your bridal party), consider is a self-contained retreat that offers hotel-quality amenities. These “pearls” may be a bit more difficult to find, but they do exist and may offer everything from sauna, steam room, hot tubs and pool to high-speed Internet access. Hearty, homemade country breakfasts, large common spaces and beautiful grounds are often a part of the package . . . pricey, but so elegant and so special.

Young couples, couples with children, singles and other guests may appreciate a lower-cost location, so you may wish to reserve rooms in a reasonably priced venue, or in one or more local Bed and Breakfasts. 

The selections you make should be based on the nature of your guests and whatever you believe will make them most comfortable. As always, it behooves you to check around, compare prices and accommodations. Because rooms tend to be booked early especially on weekends, holidays and in the “height of the season,” working on this detail in plenty of time, will ensure that you are not disappointed. 

Once you have decided on the choices of lodgings, you will need to decide on how to send each guest information regarding those choices. Some hotels will provide a copy of their brochure or printed directions which you may include in your invitation. You may wish to design your own directions and include them along with transportation details, in your invitation, in a Save-the-Date, or in another separate mailing. 

It is a really nice touch to include a welcome gift in each of your guest’s rooms. The gift may be simple, or elaborate, depending on your budget. A bouquet of flowers, a basket of fruit, snacks, or a split of champagne are all appropriate and will no doubt be appreciated. You may also wish to include a list of the other guests who are staying at that location, and make written recommendations about places to eat and things to do in the area. 

In arranging the details of lodging, you may also want to address the issues of transportation, getting your guests to and from the airport/bus depot and to and from your reception and ceremony location(s). Some hotels offer shuttle service, so be sure to ask. Hiring a limousine or minivans are two other alternatives. You may also feel comfortable asking friends and family, who you know have cars, to offer their services. 

When making arrangements for lodging, be sure to remember to also do so, should you require them, for yourself . . . for before your wedding day and for after the reception.Most couples prefer to spend the night locally and then leave for their honeymoon on the following morning. Many hotels and motels offer special deals on honeymoon suites. Some include breakfast and/or wedding baskets. Some offer reduced fees, or, especially if you block a large number of rooms, your honeymoon suite may be included at no charge. Don’t hesitate to ask about packages, when you book lodging for your guests. 

Paying attention to the details of guest accommodations is just another way of showing your guests that you care and that you appreciate the efforts they have made to be a part of your special day.