A wedding is one of lifes most joyous occasions, an event youll want to share with friends and relatives. These days, however, 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 a hotel.
Hotel managers and innkeepers offer this advice:
- Make reservations as soon as your wedding date is set. (See Wedding Dates for guidance.) A minimum of six months notice is recommended; busier hotels and inns may require a year. The hotel will hold the rooms available (at the group rate) until a specified cut-off date, usually three to four weeks before the wedding. After that date, rooms will be subject to availability and 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 brides or grooms 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. Dont forget to include them, or 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, whether you need one car or a double-decker bus. Hotel staff can often 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 the weekends events, a sewing kit, aspirin and information on local events and attractions.
Family and friends will travel far and wide to be with you on your special day. Its important for you to plan ahead for their arrival, to ensure that their time in the Sacramento area is as enjoyable and comfortable as possible, whether they are staying for a night, for the entire weekend or longer.
If possible, arrange a block of rooms at a conveniently located hotel so guests can attend functions together. In addition, youll want to research different methods of transportation (planes, trains, automobiles) and provide this information to your guests well in advance of their visit. Include this information, and a map, with your invitation. For maps of the Sacramento area, go online at www.mapquest.com. Whether your out-of-town guests are traveling 50 miles or 500, a little planning on your part can express your appreciation and perhaps relieve some post-travel stress. Here are a few suggestions:
- A glad you can make it letter outlining the events of the weekend. Include phone numbers that might be helpful to people who are not familiar with the area.
- A gift basket in each guests room can be the perfect welcome gift . With a small number of out-of-towners, you may be able to customize each basket perhaps a mini-spa gift certificate for someone who enjoys being pampered or a gym pass for the fitness enthusiast. Its probably best to make standard baskets for all if your out-of-town guest list is large.
- For families traveling with children, a kiddypack could be just the answer your guests are looking for. Coloring books, crayons and cards may be the perfect stress reliever.