Sometimes your dearest are not always nearest. To be sure out-of-town guests are part of the celebration, consider reserving a block of rooms for the weekend at an inn or hotel.
Make reservations as soon as your wedding date is set. A minimum of six months notice is recommended; busier hotels and inns may require a year. The hotel will hold the rooms at the group rate until a specified cut-off date, usually three to four weeks prior to the wedding. After that date, rooms will be subject to availability at the going rate. Some hotels provide an updated reservation list every few weeks. Many accommodation sites offer special package rates if you also hold food and beverage functions such as brunch, bridesmaids’ luncheon or reception on site. Most also include a complimentary hospitality suite or bridal suite if you reserve a certain number of rooms. Often, the bride or groom’s parents choose to make the hotel or inn their headquarters for the weekend of the wedding, so they can relax and spend time with relatives. Don’t forget to include them, and yourself, in the head count. Ask what other services, such as transportation to and from the airport, are available. If all your guests are staying at the same hotel, they can assist each other in getting to and from the various wedding events. Most hotels, however, work with local limousine or executive car services and will be happy to arrange transportation for your guests. Hotel staff can also help with recommendations on everything from caterers to florists. Consider your guests’ needs when selecting a site. An inn or bed-and-breakfast offers privacy and a cozy, homelike environment. Hotels offer other amenities such as exercise rooms and workout equipment. Will individual rooms suffice, or do you need suites for families with young children? Can the hotel provide wheelchairs, portable cribs or baby-sitting services? Visit each site personally. Is the property attractive and convenient? Is the staff friendly, helpful and knowledgeable? Be considerate of guests’ travel budgets. Offer alternative places to stay, at several price ranges. Provide guests with written room and rate information along with a map or directions, and phone numbers. (Some hotels can provide this for you.) If possible, plan a welcoming basket to make your guests’ stay as comfortable and convenient as possible. Helpful items might include snacks, toiletries, fresh flowers, an itinerary of events, sewing kit, aspirin and information on local events and attractions.
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