Brides – Be a Great Host for Your Out of Town Guests

 

A good, thoughtful bride always takes into consideration making her out–of–town guests as comfortable as possible, and that includes helping with hotel reservations.   That’s especially important if you hope people will stay near your actual wedding and especially important if your guests are not familiar with our area.

The location of your wedding and time of year are both key factors that determine when you should tackle this task.  If your wedding is on the outskirts of St. Louis with limited accommodations during a holiday weekend or concurrent with a sporting event, book early.  If you are getting married in our “wine country” area or perhaps Hermann in October, that might be as much as a year in advance!

There are two types of blocks:

A Closed Block is one that requires a deposit in order to block and hold a specific number of rooms.   Sometimes you will be responsible for any unsold rooms and other times it’s a percentage of the room rate.

An Open Block frees you of being financially responsible for unsold rooms.  I like to refer to it as a courtesy block, and most accommodations have a cut-off date (30 to 90 days in advance) when those rooms are released at then available market price.

In Downtime St. Louis where there are a large number of accommodations to choose from you should keep in mind price and location, and ideally be within ten miles of your wedding venue.  I always recommend that accommodations be close to other attractions and restaurants so that guests who arrive early have something to do.   Also verify check-in time to allow your guests early enough check in to get ready for the wedding.  This is especially important if they are driving into town and have spent some time travelling.

In the St. Louis county area accommodations that I particularly like are the Residence Inn/Fairfield Inn (www.marriott.com/stlouis) both by Marriott.   They offer a shuttle service within a 5 mile radius that will pick up your guests from your reception and bring them back to their hotels.  It’s included in your bookings up to 9pm, but if you need some later pickups, say after the reception ends, you can work with them for a modest price to pick up guests at the end of the reception.  Guests love this as they can feel free to drink without any issues and not worry about getting lost late at night.  In addition, they offer a reservation link that you can provide your guests for either hotel whereby your guests can quickly and easily select the accommodations that fit their needs and budget.  Contact Tiffany Timbrook if you would like to reserve rooms are schedule a personal tour of their hotels at 314-762-1600 or email her at TTimbrook@midashospitality.com

Many brides also like to book a hotel room/suite for their “prep” time prior to the ceremony.  I asked Patrick Pope of Patrick Pope Photography (www.PatrickPopePhotography.com),  “What do you recommend for the bride and groom for get ready locations?  Should they be separate locations?” Here is what he suggested:  “Hotel rooms are a great place to get ready. What works very well is for the ladies to have a room on one floor while the guys have a room on a different floor. Being on different floors means there’s practically no chance of accidentally seeing one another, but as a photographer I can easily run up and down to get photos of both groups while they get ready. By having the same photographer photograph both it gives a consistent look to the photos. Most hotels also have good places in the lobby or an open area that are great for quick portraits or for first-look photos with the father of the bride.”

As you consider making these hotel arrangements, here are some additional questions to ask:

What is the group rate with taxes and fees?

What about parking?

What is Check Out Time?

Is there a Minimum stay required?

What  kind of amenities come standard?

It there a bar or restaurant onsite?

Room Types?  Queens, Kings, Family Rooms etc.

Some hotels offer Free Rooms or a complimentary Bridal Suite for the night of the wedding.   If you’re booking a large number of rooms at one property, you might be eligible for a free room or bridal suite.

And finally, it is always nice to provide a “WELCOME BASKET” for your guests.  That can include maps, snacks, a bottle of wine, and a schedule of pre-wedding activities with locations and details.

Finally, get the word out to your out -of-town guests.  Many brides include this on the wedding website, but if not, send them a brief message.  Here’s an example:  We’ve reserved a block of rooms at x at a rate of $XXX per night. You can reserve one of these rooms by calling 212-555-1234 or visiting www.registrationlink.com.   In order to secure the discounted rate, please book by (specific date).  Additional information is available on our wedding website at xxx.com.