There's a very good chance that at least some, if not most, of your guests will be traveling to your wedding. Even locals may want to make it a special night out complete with a hotel stay! Here are some tips to help you make sure your guests have the most stress-free travel planning process.
Keeping in mind that typical hotel check-in is around 3pm, traveling wedding-goers should have enough information to decide how many nights they will need to book. The mid-afternoon check-in times also happen to be around the time your guests are probably going to need to be headed to the ceremony so they will need time to check-in, get themselves all fancy, and then travel to your wedding venue.
Encourage your guests to enjoy the whole weekend, if they can, and arrive the night before and make a fun trip out of it. Some things to help them along the way will be booking room blocks and offering transportation. Lucky for you, we’ll be going over all of these elements in today’s blog post!
So what exactly is a room block? It’s a booking tool to secure a set number of hotel rooms for your future event where you are allowed to set a pre-negotiated rate, which your guests will have access to pay until a specific date close to your wedding. After this date, the rooms go on sale to the general public.
You'll want to start this process fairly early to make sure you guarantee rooms, especially if you are getting married during peak season in a popular area of town. The first step will be counting how many rooms you will need. Remember to count couples and families as one room. There are a few factors to consider when considering your guest count, and keep in mind it’s typical for hotels to do a 10 room minimum.
“How do I tell my guests about the room block information?” It’s a great time to announce your room block information when invites get sent out. Utilizing your invitations to distribute other information can be a huge time saver! You can do this with an accommodation card in the invite with details or make note of where to find the details on your wedding website. Be sure to include
Hotel name and address
Your room block code (which you receive when you reserve)
Outlined any transportation information.
There are two types of room blocks. A courtesy room block and a guaranteed room block.
Courtesy Room Block - You are not financially responsible for any rooms not sold.
Guaranteed Room Block - You are responsible for paying for all or a percentage of the rooms that are not sold.
We highly recommend going for a courtesy room block to avoid any unforeseen financial responsibility. Many hotels will limit courtesy room blocks to no more than 30 or 40 rooms. We always try and negotiate for courtesy blocks when possible, as chasing RSVP’s is a task all in itself and people’s plans can often change. So having the added stress of being financially responsible for unused hotel rooms is something we actively recommend against.
If you think you will be needing more than that 30-40 rooms, be sure to communicate with your desired hotel on their restrictions. Depending on their availability, it’s always great to consider booking two hotels as an added back up.
When choosing hotels, consider proximity and price. You want a hotel as close as possible to your wedding venue to limit travel (more on this later). When comparing costs for your hotel room block, we recommend a $100-$200 range to offer comfortable and convenient options but also not putting too much financial stress on your travelers. In the instance of needing two hotels to accommodate your guest list, you always have the option of choosing two in different budget and amenity points if you think some of your guests would be more comfortable in one over the other. Don’t have time to shop around? Well you can always have your coordinator handle this task! But in the meantime use one of these websites to help narrow down your search:
If you are wanting your guests to receive welcome bags, ask the hotel if they are able to distribute them as guests check in or even have them waiting in rooms! Some hotels also offer perks based on how many rooms you book. Always ask. You never know what you might be missing out on!
Finally, if you don't have enough guests to make the hotel’s minimum room block, simply providing a list of local hotels to your guests is helpful too!
Considering transportation for your guests can add so many great options in terms of safety and convenience! It’s common to have hourly minimums, with 4 hours being the most common. This add-on can help with things like:
Assuring your guests arrive to ceremony on time with a set departure time of provided transportation
Removing any stress of drinking and driving. We always want you and your guests to have an amazing time, but getting back to the hotel safely is a top priority!
Offering multiple departure times throughout the night (that way if Grandma and your sister with four kids wants to leave early, they can.)
A good time to book transportation is about 3 to 6 months ahead of time. If you and your bridal party are getting ready off site from your ceremony venue or if you’re having your ceremony at a different location than your reception, considering transportation for just you and your bridal party can also be a massive bonus for safety, convenience and scheduling! It’s always helpful to keep bridal party migration patterns simple and concise so no stragglers go missing between events.
Additional Transportation Ideas for Guests
If a full transportation isn’t in the works, and your venue allows overnight parking, there are alternatives to help provide your guests with a safe way back to the hotel or home! One such option is Uber Events. With Uber Events you can book a certain number of vouchers with a monetary value that you set and for a certain date range. We suggest about $20 - $30 per voucher. You can provide your guests with the voucher code at the end of the night (✨HINT✨: Your coordinator can distribute these!) and send people safely on their way.