Having worked with tens of thousands of couples, we can anticipate some of the roadblocks to planning a wedding.
- Is there a convention in town?
This is MAJOR advice that even the venues won’t share. Why? Because they need to sell those dates on their calendar BUT before you book a venue or a hotel for your wedding look ahead and see if there’s a major convention in town. Conventions are booked 5-10 years in advance so even if you’re ahead of the game on booking your wedding hotel- they’ll always have you beat.
Here are a few things to look out for: trade conventions such as A.S.C.O. in Chicago, marathons, major holidays like New Year’s Eve in New York City, music festival’s, etc. Booking over one of these major events doesn’t make it impossible to get hotel rooms but rates will be significantly higher, inventory will be much more limited, and it’s harder to find a hotel that will offer a courtesy block (meaning no financial obligation to fill the rooms).
When this doesn’t apply? If all of your guests are local, then no need to worry about this.
- Are you handing out welcome bags to guests at the hotel?
If you plan on giving your guests a welcome bag with the wedding itinerary and swag consider the hotel porterage fees. Some hotels charge for welcome bag distribution and other hotels can hand it out from the front desk without a fee. There are a lot of variables, for example how many bags? Some hotels will hand out bags from the front desk if it’s 5-10 bags and they have the space for it at the front desk. On the other hand, if it’s 50 or 100 bags, they might require you to pay for in room delivery. Another variable is if the hotel is unionized. If so, they’ll have no wiggle room on this – rules are rules.
Don’t worry- Kleinfeld Hotel Blocks can walk you through this. We’re two steps ahead on this one.
- Will you need a suite?
A few thoughts on this. First, book your suite for at least 2 nights, the night before your wedding and the night of the wedding. No one wants to deal with checking in and checking out when they’re trying to get ready for a wedding. Second consider whether other people will be getting ready in the room with you, if so you’ll need to think about how much additional space you’ll need but also depending on the room, you may need to ask the hotel to prep the room with additional seating and lighting. Finally, if you know you’ll need a suite lock in the discounted rate with your room block, book the suite early and negotiate a potential free suite in the concessions (see below #4).
These are the perks to book a room block with a hotel and could include a lot. Discounted room rates are included no matter which hotel you book but often there are perks that you may not realize are important at first such as waived facility fees which depending on the hotel could be $14-$40 a night extra. Other perks include upgrades for parents or someone special in the wedding party, an amenity such as champs or a fruit plate, and most importantly a potential free night or two in your suite but this is typically based on how many rooms book in your block. These are the ones we negotiate most often but other perks could include a getaway car, access to a hospitality suite, a discounted spa treatment, welcome drinks for the wedding party, comp’d or discounted breakfast for parents, etc.
Each hotel will offer a package based on what’s popular but if there’s something important to you, let us know up front and we’ll address it at the start of negotiations.
- Onsite Support
Consider who will be your onsite contact at the hotel. Some hotels are very small and operated like a one-man-show. We personally don’t recommend these for a wedding because we prefer that you have a dedicated service manager who can answer questions and help get you accommodated for your big day.
Once you book the hotel block, stay in touch with your onsite wedding manager. If you’re booking using our service, copy us on the e-mails too. We recommend checking in with that person several times so everyone is in the loop. Why is this important? Many times, couples book room blocks at hotels that don’t end up getting used, especially if they’re selecting multiple hotels for their wedding. Hotels books hundreds of weddings, they know the stats and if you want to be at the top of their list, you have to stand out.
How to stand out? Stay in touch.
Here’s a few key times when you should loop in your hotel service manager.
- Getting your group weblink/ online booking code
- When you send out invites, let them know the hotel information has been included so they can expect reservations.
- 2 months before your cut-off date (listed in your contract) ask them for the list of guests that have booked. This also allows you to remind any VIP’s to book if they haven’t done so.
- 1 month before the cut-off date, again ask for an updated list.
- 2 weeks before your cut-off date, get an updated list.
- 1 week before your cut-off date, get an updated list and send last reminder to your guests to book.
- 2 weeks before your check-in date. Remind the hotel that you’re coming in, any concessions that were in your contract and anything they should plan for like if you need additional seating in your suite for make-up.
- The week that you’re checking-in let them know what time you’ll be arriving, the list of your VIP guest such as parents or wedding party (pick top 2-3), etc.
- When you check-in, hand the front desk an extra wedding itinerary if you have one. Let them know you’re part of a wedding group and who to contact if guests approach them with any questions. They typically change their shift at 3pm, 10/11pm and 7/8am so feel free to check-in more than once.
Like any relationship, communication is key and one perk to booking with us is that if you have any problems, find that they’re not being as responsive as you’d like, etc. you let us know and we’re on the case. Just an added bonus that we don’t exactly advertise but it’s who we are.
Now go strut because you’re officially ahead of the game!