Post # 1
I’m going to see venues this weekend, and I’m nervous about how to go. Both Fiance and I are living abroad so us, along with many of our guests, will be coming in from out of town. Obviously closer family will be staying at relatives’ houses, but beyond that we will probably have at least 30 people on FI’s side from down south and they will definintely be needing hotels.
The venue I happen to like the most right now is a hotel, but there are two that also catch my eye that are just restaurants. The benefit of a hotel (or so they say) is a common place where everyone is staying, usually a free room for the bride and groom, discounted rates for guests, and option for post-wedding breakfast. I would assume that a hotel would reserve preferential rates/rooms for people who actually have their weddings there, and in my area (northern NJ) nearly every hotel has weddings in it on weekends.
I am wondering if anyone has found that a hotel venue is a must for lots of Out of Town guests, or if anyone chose a non-hotel venue but was able to negotiate good rates at nearby hotels.
Post # 3
I am planning to ask the hotels in the area of my wedding if they have reduced options for blocking out rooms for weddings. I do not feel the need to get married at a hotel, but the area in which I plan to get married is close to everything, so that reduces travel in the area.
Post # 4
I’m sure there are variations by area, hotel company, and so on, but my understanding is that if you set up a block of rooms whether your wedding is in the same place or not, your guests ofte get a discount when they book. Look at it this way: the hotel is getting some very direct advertising through you, to customers that they otherwise would be unable to reach. Except for very, very large weddings, I can’t imagine having a wedding going on would have a hotel so full they would not be interested in more customers. I say pick your venue for what you want in a venue, figure out the accommodations later on.
Post # 5
My wedding is in an apple orchard…not a hotel in sight! I chose two hotels (in two different price ranges) that were the most conveniently located to the venue we chose for the wedding. I called each hotel and set aside a block of rooms (which is the normal course of things). The room blocks ensure that guests get the negotiated rate (which is cheaper than booking it on their own). You don’t need to get married in a hotel to negotiate discounted rates for your guests.
Post # 6
I had a non-hotel wedding but choose a hotel for guests and got a great room rate. In fact, since the wedding was not in a hotel, I think I was able to get a better rate because I could pick a hotel based on its room prices and not worry about anything else. I found a really great online RFP service and since I too live abroad, sent my paretns to check out our top 3 hotel choices. My mom has decently high hotel standards so I figured if she liked the place, guests would be happy with it as well. We went with an airport Sheraton, a hotel I would never consider for a wedding but the location was good, it was clean, offered a shuttle for Out of Town guests and we were able to get a great rate. Also, with a minimum room night pick up, our room was free. We organized breakfast for Sunday morning and the hotel reserved us a private side room. If you have Out of Town guests who will be staying more than 2 nights, I would suggest being most sensitive to the cost as several nights add up quickly and will deter Out of Town guests more than proximity to wedding or breakfast.
Post # 7
Most hotels don’t require you to book them as a venue to work with you on a room block. Whether you have your wedding there or not, your guests will not get preference on rooms or bookings, that’s simply a matter of making sure they call early enough to get a reservation. If you have a room block, they will fill those rooms first and only release them to the general public at an agreed upon date (usually a few weeks before your event). As for lower rates, they usually are a bit lower than what can easily be found through other travel sites and a direct reservation with them. You work that out with the hotel when you arrange the block.
If your room block fills up early, hotels will typically work with you to add more rooms for the same rate. Basically, if you can help fill their hotel, they are willing to work with you. I suggest if you do it, estimate the number of rooms you’ll fill on the low end because your guests might have different preferences – a brand they prefer, points to burn, found lower rates online, etc. You can always add rooms to the block if they start to fill.