When your parents or grandparents got married, there was a good chance that their closest relatives and friends lived nearby -- in the neighborhood. Attending the wedding was easy, and everyone headed home afterward. This scenario is not too common nowadays. Many families have spread out across the country, or even the world, making travel a significant component of modern weddings. As a result, couples must take accommodations into consideration when planning their nuptials.
Couples cannot expect relatives to travel to their wedding, party into the wee hours of the morning and then be responsible for finding a place to stay. It is common courtesy for hotel rooms to be made available to out-of-town guests. Although most couples reserve a block of rooms for guests, a bride and groom really looking to go above and beyond will choose to cover the cost of these rooms as a gift.
To ensure there will be available rooms for guests, it is important to contact an area hotel (or hotels) well in advance of your wedding. To start, find out if the reception site you will be using has an agreement or relationship with an area hotel. In some cases, nearby businesses will offer a courtesy discount to facilitate foot traffic. A wedding consultant should know about packages that may include discounts on lodging.
If there is no package deal, start cold-calling hotels. If you have a discount program or frequency rewards card with a particular hotel chain, start with them first. Most hotels require a minium of 10 rooms be reserved to secure a "block." There's a good chance the greater the number of rooms reserved, the more competitive the nightly rate will be. Find out about cancellation policies or when guests need to make a reservation in order to secure the discounted rate.
You can include information about hotel reservations right in your wedding invitation, including a code or number to mention to get the wedding discount. If you're tech-savvy, you may have a link to the hotel's booking Web site or information on your wedding Web page. Either way, be sure there is ample time for guests to make a decision concerning their hotel reservations.
As an added courtesy to guests, you can arrange shuttle bus service between the reception site and the hotel. This way guests who may have imbibed too much during the party do not need to worry about transportation to the hotel. However, they will have to make arrangements to retrieve their cars the following day.
It may pay to have your wedding on a Sunday so guests are entitled to the free breakfast many hotels offer to business customers during the week. Otherwise, find out if there will be a meal available to guests the following day and offer to pay for it. The more pleasantries you can provide to your guests, the more they will feel pampered and believe the decision to travel for your wedding was the right one.