Unlike years ago when most of a couple’s family and friends lived in close proximity to one another, today’s guests more often than not travel from a distance to attend a wedding. This fact makes it incumbent upon the caring bridal couple to consider, visit, select and book a block of rooms for the convenience of their out-of-town guests. The couple can begin the process by drawing a mileage circle, with parameters they set, around the wedding venue.
Once the couple decides how far they feel their guests can or may travel, they will need to determine what type of lodging or lodgings they will select. There are standard choices from which to pick, such as hotel, motel, resort, B & B, inn or retreat. Next, the couple needs to determine what lodging of the type or types they have chosen is available within the mileage circle they have drawn. A map is the next tool they will need, with which they can find and list the towns and cities within the mileage circle.
Once the list is compiled, there are several resources they can use, such as telephone directories, local tourism guides, web sites on-line listings like HudsonValleyWeddings.com, on-line hotel chain web sites, on-line B&B’s and directories. Managers of reception venues often can provide the couple with a list of recommended lodging venues, which have been “pre-screened.” It’s best, once the list has been compiled, for the couple to visit the lodging sites. Arrangements for booking can be made when the couple do their visits, or after. Group sales managers are not always on-site to discuss details, so making appointments in advance of visiting would be wise.
Choosing a motel or hotel for wedding guest lodging has several advantages. Guests who stay at a national chain know what to expect and are assured that certain standards will be met. Such venues are usually full-service and include a restaurant, room service, a pool, game area, business center and exercises facility. Such amenities make lodging guests easier, because they can accommodate singles, couples and families. Hotels and motels can often provide connecting or adjoining rooms that are particularly convenient for families with children. Some also offer suites which can be used for before and after get-togethers. In peak seasons and weekends, many restaurants will not take a group reservation for a Friday or Saturday night, but a hotel/motel will usually be able to accommodate their in-house guests.
If possible, it is best to offer guests several choices of lodging. Some people may not want to be where “everyone” is staying, while to some guests being with “everyone” may be a highlight of the event. For a 200-300 person wedding, setting aside a block of 30 hotel/motel rooms is sufficient, but, it is appropriate to also make an ‘inexpensive’ venue available for guests who have budget constraints.
The Hudson Valley continues to grow in popularity as a location for festivals, shows, fairs and other gatherings, so couples would be wise to book and block rooms at least 10 to 12 months in advance of the wedding date. Conflicts are becoming the norm in the Valley and wedding couples will be competing for rooms with graduations, horse shows, car shows and other local events. The popularity of the area is reason enough to check on the availability of lodging before choosing a date at the selected reception location.
An “in-town” lodging has the additional advantage being close to other wedding services such as hair and nail salons. That makes pre-wedding traveling easier. A B&B offers personal touches to your guests and is more cozy than a big hotel. It provides family-type hospitality. The owner is the innkeeper and is usually on-site and actively involved. A B&B provides one-on-one interaction between the innkeeper and guests and the innkeeper can, in essence, set the stage for putting the guests into the right mood for celebrating the wedding day. Rooms at B&Bs are often individually and beautifully decorated. The following questions can be used as a guideline when making the calls. Good record keeping will make the process run more smoothly.
- Hotel name
- Phone Number
- Called On
- Spoke with (contact name & position)
- Check in date
- Check out date
- Check-in time
- Check-out time
- Is there an indoor or outdoor corridor?
- What is the current availability of rooms, or when will availability be posted? (Some places will not give out information and/or book more than one year in advance.)
- Are suites available?
- How much do suites cost?
- Is there a wedding suite?
What does it cost? Is it included with a certain number of booked rooms?How many guests can sleep in a suite?
- How much do standard rooms cost?
- What is the bed arrangement (double, queens, kings, sofa beds) in the rooms?
- When can rooms be blocked?
- Is there a deposit required to block rooms?How much?Cancel by when?Final number when?
- Are there roll-away beds available?
- Are there cribs available?
- Are there bonded babysitters?
- Are there adjoining rooms available?
- Are chairs available for the rooms (for after-wedding get-togethers)?
- Is there a conference rooms available?How much is it to book that room?Are there chairs and tables in the room? How many?Are they included in price of the room?
- Is there a breakfast or brunch available?Is it sit down or buffet?Will it be private for our guests or open to all guests in the venue?How much is it per person?
- May we have a letter of agreement or contract?
Finding appropriate, comfortable and convenient lodging for guests is a way of telling people that their presence at the wedding is eagerly anticipated and appreciated.