Post # 1
I’m getting married this winter and the sunset is around 5pm. The hotel is on the same property as the venue, but it is about a 10 minute walk. Many of the guests are out of towners and will be staying in the hotel. Many of our guests are coming from somewhere that is a 7-8 hour drive away, or a 1.5 hour flight, so we are not sure if most will be coming the night before or staying the day of, as based on the distance imagine it will be split.
We are finalizing our details before we send out our invitations next month, and we just learned hotel check in is at 4. We were originally planning a 4:30 ceremony start time so that the guests could walk over in the daylight and there would still be some daylight as the ceremony ended and we moved into the cocktail hour space. And a nice sunset post ceremony for some photos (just a few photos, we are doing the majority of our photos earlier in the day) would be a bonus! We are now contemplating moving our ceremony start time to 5 to give our guests some more time to check in, but I am really bummed about having the entire wedding in the dark and potentially missing a good sunset for photos, even though I know there is not even a guarentee of a good sunset.
The hotel manager said they try to accomodate 3pm for check in, but cannot guarantee it. Should we risk it and hope guests can check in early and keep it at 4:30? Or am I making a big deal out of nothing? I realize this is only a half hour and I likely think I am just going crazy, but would love to hear what you would do.
Post # 2
I’ve never stayed at a hotel where they didn’t let us check in at least an hour earlier than the posted time! Check out at most hotels is 10-11am, so I typically just plan to arrive after 1pm and have always had a room available.
Do you know how many rooms would be affected?
I probably wouldn’t change the time of the ceremony, especially if the hotel is your venue.
Post # 3
If I’m traveling in, even a 5pm start time would be tough timing to get ready for a wedding. Or are you assuming the guests would be getting ready elsewhere? Generally hotels can accomodate early check in, but if you have a lot of guests who are all going to want to check in early, it might be tough for them to check in, change, do hair and makeup, and get to the venue site on time. Just something to think about!
Post # 4
That is the problem! I don’t know. We are inviting around 90 guests from out of town. But like I said, most are close enough that coming day of is realistic, though some may come the night before. I know I personally would go the night before to not be rushing day of. But I have a flexibilie schedule, no kids, financially able to, etc. If most come thie night before, it shouldn’t be a problem. I just worry if a lot choose to come day of, it may take a while to get everyone checked in!
Post # 5
Yea, I was thinking most would be ready already or close to almost ready and just have to get changed and freshen up. We would let everyone know that the check in time is close to the ceremony time so they should plan for that, but we just think a half hour is cutting it too close!
Post # 6
Plan your ceremony for the time that works best for you. Your guests are all adults, and they can put two and two together. If hotel check-in is at 4 and the ceremony is at 4:30, they will either call themselves to ask about early check-in (and plan accordingly), or come in the night before and stay two nights at the hotel.
Post # 7
I think you are overthinking this.
How they choose to travel and when and how to plan their accommodations are their responsibility unless you are paying for them. Presumably you have given them the information they need (contact information for the hotel including a website that notes when check-in is – 4pm is pretty standard – and the start time of your wedding). They can then use that information to plan what is best for them. If they decide they don’t want to cut it too close, they can decide to come in the day before. If they decide they want to drive in and show up just before the wedding starts, they can do that. If they decide it’s easier to just check in after the ceremony and before the reception and leave their luggage at the front desk or in their trunk, they can do that. If they want to inquire about an early check in, they can do that. They are all adults – they should be used to planning and coordinating schedules in their daily life. This isn’t any different.
That said, if you are that concerned about having photos at a certain time, you can always do photos beforehand and start the ceremony even later. Quite honestly, depending on where you are, winter where I am usually means cloudy and overcast at sunset so I probably wouldn’t have my heart set on it from the start and just consider it a nice bonus if it happens to work out well rather than plan my entire ceremony around it.
Post # 8
Could you do first look photos before the ceremony to make sure you get some daylight/sunset photos?
If people are doing an 8 hr drive or flying in, they would probably be more comfortable if they could have a quick shower before heading to a formal event. That said – I would think a lot of people will be coming in the day before because that’s quite a big trek to do for one night.
Post # 9
Yes we are doing all of our photos prior to the ceremony! So no issues with that; it would just be juts a few bonus photos if the sunset coorperated. I agree; I tend to think most will come the day before, so it sounds like we may be overthinking this.
Post # 10
in The Before Times, an early check-in was fairly easy to get, even with a large group, but these days, you really can’t count on it; hotels are running a skeleton crew for housekeeping and it takes a long time to turn a room over for a new guest.
I wouldn’t recommend changing your ceremony time, but it wouldn’t hurt to identify a guest or two who is checking in the night before and is willing to let someone else borrow their bathroom and mirror for a minute. That way, folks who need a little extra freshen-up time can have somewhere to go. The hotel should know by that morning if they’re going to be able to get everyone in early; if not, just let the front desk know that Aunt Tilly has offered to let people freshen up in her room if they’re in a pinch.
Post # 11
Have you talked to your photographer about your timing? “Sunset” photos are generally not exactly at sunset, and you may be disappointed if you have not consulted with them.
Post # 12
I’m really low maintenance. Once ran a triathlon in the morning, drove 4 hours, and attended a wedding in the evening (the hardest part was getting the number off the back of my calf). So take my opinion with a grain of salt, but if my hotel room wasn’t ready, I’d just find a bathroom somewhere (hotel lobby) to change, comb out my hair, and get ready. No worries about what time you start and hotel check in for me.
Post # 13
I would do whatever is best for you, since the hotel is on the same property as the venue… people typically know when check in times are at hotels, so if your ceremony is at 5 then A. they check in the day before, OR the check in after the ceremony… I am super laid back so I wouldn’t find this too weird..
Post # 14
Yes the original schedule was set by the photographer.
Post # 15
As someone who worked in hotels for many years I can tell you that check in STARTS at 4:00 p.m. That does not mean rooms will be ready at 4:00 p.m. If the hotel has high occupancy or is sold out the night before, not all of the rooms are going to be ready. In normal times, some rooms might not be ready until 5:00 or 6:00. Throw in Covid with extremely low staffing, and It’s almost a given that rooms aren’t going to be ready, and they might not be available until even later.
I would call your hotel contact and ask for an honest estimate of when your block of rooms will be ready for those arriving on the day of your wedding if the hotel is sold out the night before. If your guests have already made their reservations, your contact will know how many rooms are expected on that day. Your contact can also provide a rooming list that will tell you what day each of your guests are arriving.
Once you have all of that information, reply here or send me a private message and I can suggest some options that might help mitigate the check-in issue.