Accommodations for Your Guests
With out-of-town guests comes the need for accommodations. You will need to make sure that those who are coming from afar know where to stay and how much it will cost. A happy and informed wedding guest is always better than a grumpy, tired, and broke guest!
Hotel Room Blocks
Some hotels will offer lower rates for a group of rooms. Grouping your out-of-town guests in one hotel has several advantages in additional to possible lower rates:
Your guests can mingle with the other guests during the downtime between events you have invited them to on your wedding weekend.
Guests staying at the same hotel can make car pooling to and from the festivities easier.
It will be easier for you to provide transportation with a limo or shuttle company, especially if you are fearful of guests becoming too inebriated.
Grouping everyone at the same hotel is preferable; however, some guests may not be able to afford the hotels you've chosen. Be sure to provide at least three price points for your guests at hotels that surround your ceremony and reception sites. Other guests may have specific preferences based on mileage points they have received through their credit cards. Whatever accommodations your guests end up with, some may simply want their privacy.
While it is true that some hotels provide great rates for blocking rooms, some guests may find better rates online. Some websites may provide lower pricing at the same hotel. Your wedding block typically will make sure the rooms are available up to thirty days prior to your wedding. Check your wedding block contract carefully!
Friends and Family
Weddings are the best times for family reunions. If your family is scattered all over the country, be prepared for having some of them stay with you locally if you have the space in your homes. Some parents would not dare ask grandparents to stay in a hotel or even an uncle for that matter. Feel fortunate if your families have homes large enough to house several out-of-town guests. Be wise and utilize the space accordingly. Not only will this save time and money for your guests, but it will also give them an opportunity to spend more time together.
If you have friends that will be coming in from out of town as well, also be prepared for budget issues. If your best friend is unable to attend due to the cost of hotel expenses and airplane tickets, be prepared to take on the expense yourself, especially if you have asked her to be your maid of honor. Most brides and their families are unable to afford the expense of hotel rooms for all their guests. Get creative and rent out homes for the weekend or ask friends locally to open their homes to relatives and friends. Don't expect everyone to be able to lend a helping hand. You know your friends and family the best. If a family member or a friend offers help, this is probably not the time to say “no thanks”!
Nothing says “gracious host” more than a nice hospitality gift bag at the hotel upon arrival. Whether you have a small bag filled with a water bottle, mints, and snacks to a large gift basket filled with local fruits, cheeses, and wines, your guests will be thrilled that you even took the time. Most hotel rooms are stocked with overpriced snacks and drinks. Get your guests excited about the event by adding a short note letting them know the sequence of events for the weekend and some local restaurants and hot spots they might want to check out while they are in town.