Thursday, July 19, 2012
10 Cost Saving Tips for Using Hotels for your Wedding
With upscale hotels you are usually assigned a hotel wedding coordinator, a person that's generally highly experienced at planning weddings, a person that can help you plan an extraordinary wedding, a person that can help you in planning your wedding and save you money in many different ways. For instance, you may save in transportation costs, you many no longer need a limo to transport wedding guests from the ceremony location to the wedding reception. The hotel may offer shuttle service free of charge from the airport and from other locations and back again.
Many upscale hotels offer your wedding, a luxurious and memorable experience and keeps all your wedding guests together, so there is more time for your guests to enjoy themselves. Your wedding guests can have a good time and reminisce of days gone by and spend time to be entertained and enjoy a great meal and enjoy a few drinks, and also enjoy the hotel's luxurious accommodations.
The following are 10 cost saving tips for using hotels for your wedding.
Tip 1 - Search for Hotels that Bundle Services
The major savings you get for having your hotel is the bundling of services. A lot of wedding categories are grouped together and often are discounted saving you quite a bit of money. By booking your wedding at a hotel or resort and by the hotel bundling many wedding category services, the hotel saves you effort, the vendors are vetted and usually top notch, you may no longer have to worry about finding many wedding vendors yourself. The services bundled include the services of a wedding coordinator, a reception hall, the caterer and the food and the bartenders and the drinks and the wait staff that serve and clear the tables, you also save on the decorations and table centerpieces, the wedding cake and desserts, and for all the chairs and tables, all the plates and dishes. The wedding couple may also save on the wedding musicians or the disc jockey, on a photographer, possibly a wedding officiant, and possibly transportation and providing your wedding guests more time to spend together.
Some hotels even have salons and spas in house, whereby the bridal party can get their hair done and makeup applied. About the only thing that wedding couples have to focus on is who to invite to their wedding and what outfits the bridal party should wear.
Tip 2 - Block a Set of Rooms to get Discounts for Wedding Guests
Most upscale hotels will offer a wedding couple a group discount for blocked rooms. If enough rooms are booked, the wedding couple may even be offered a luxurious honeymoon suite for free. A simple phone call and a little foresight could end up saving you and your wedding guests quite a lot of money. You need to plan in advance at many upscale hotels. The more popular hotels get booked far in advance, sometimes even a year or two in advance. Generally, at least 10 rooms would need to be booked and the cut off for booking is usually about one month prior to the booking date.
When you enter into a booking plan with the hotel, the hotel will inform you how your guests should get signed up with the discount plan. Some hotels use a coding system whereas others may book under the wedding couple's or family names. About a month before the wedding date, the hotel will have a cutoff date and the hotel will open rooms to the general public. You will need to be in contact with the hotel to find out how many guests have been booked and what date is the cutoff. If there are still empty rooms, you might want to touch base with some of your wedding guests to see if you can book enough guests to warrant a discount or a honeymoon suite.
It's a good idea to book rooms at multiple hotels and encourage like minded individuals to use the same hotel. It might not be a good idea to book conservative older generation guests with your fraternity brothers and sorority sisters or divorcees staying together at the same hotel. Check on shuttle service between different hotels.
Tip 3 - Find a Hotel that can Double as your Ceremony Site
In the past decade, many upscale hotels have created a beautiful ceremony space at their hotel. You should check the hotel's ceremony site, the hotel just might have a beautiful location for a wedding ceremony. Check the location out in person though, some hotels have outstanding sites and some hotels offer a very vanilla site. Also check out what chairs and decorations are offered for the wedding ceremony, at some venues you might find chairs and decorations from a rental store to be cheaper than from the hotel. The thing that is great about having a wedding ceremony at your hotel is that you keep all your wedding guests together giving you more time for partying and mingling.
Tip 4 - Check Out Local 2 or 3 Star Hotels for Guests with a Tight Budget
If you have some out-of-towner wedding guests with a tight budget, you might be better off including a hotel in the area that is a lot less expensive, maybe even a 2 or 3 star hotel in the vicinity of the wedding hotel. Don't just book rooms at a 2 or 3 star hotel until they are checked out in person. Many 2 and 3 star hotels are very nice, but just as many of these hotels have issues. The hotel room may be run down or have no air conditioning or have substandard plumbing or in a bad location. Check out any hotel in person before recommending it to wedding guests.
Tip 5 - Rent Linens from a Hotel, Ask for at Least a 10% Discount
Check out what other area hotels might be able to offer you for your wedding, it does not have to be your wedding hotel. Many wedding hotels might be able to rent you linens for your wedding. You might even be able to order a wedding cake, desserts, hors d'oeuvres, decorations, or furniture. Many wedding couples never even think to check with what other hotels can offer in wedding planning, they might be close by your wedding location and provide you with wedding needs and save you quite a bit of money.
Tip 6 - Work with the Wedding Coordinator and Hotel Manager in Ways to Save you Money
As you are planning your wedding, talk to the wedding coordinator or hotel manager and tell them you are looking for ways to save on expenses. Many of the hotels first try to up-sell you, they try to get you to go for the more expensive packages. They may find you cost savings, cheaper linens, less expensive dishes, less expensive wedding decorations or maybe you can bring your own bartenders, wait staff, and allow you to bring in your own alcohol or wedding wine and champagne. You don't always have to go with what the hotel's brochure advertises. Talk things over with the head staff at the hotel, they may offer options to make the wedding more affordable. Make sure you go through the contract in detail before signing and look for savings.
Tip 7 - Look for Wedding Dates that Offer Lower Booking Prices
For many upscale hotels, booking weddings and rooms are cheaper at different times of the year. Before booking a hotel you might want to study the booking costs for different dates. Hotel rates tend to be cheaper in November, January, February, and March. Hotel rates are often varied, with higher rates during holidays and the wedding season such as May and June. Also the day of the week and time of day offer different rates. Saturday night weddings tend to be most expensive and a week day may be less expensive, but sometimes things depend if the hotel is geared toward business clientele. Study a chart of the hotel's open dates booking costs before deciding on a date to book your wedding and wedding guest accommodations.
Tip 8 - Check out Accommodation Alternatives to the Hotel
If you look around the area, there may be an estate house available for your wedding. The estate house may offer many rooms that wedding guests can stay. The estate house sometimes with many wedding guest could end up costing you less than staying at a hotel and possibly be a more beautiful location. Also check out area time shares and bed & breakfasts. Check out other options in the area, you just never know you might have found a beautiful manor that costs just a much or even less than a luxurious hotel and a beautiful place for hotel guests to spend the night and have a beautiful brunch the day after your wedding and an exciting wedding experience for your wedding guests.
Tip 9 - Use Kayak.com to Help Find you a Great Deal
Kayak.com is a great resource to find hotel accommodations. Kayak.com is a website that analyzes hundreds of different hotel, airplane, and auto rental websites in an area you are looking and finds you the best deal within your budget. There is a little secret though in booking with Kayak. First find a great hotel deal using www.kayak.com , but before booking call the hotel and tell them you are looking at a room from a hotel website. You ask the hotel can they find you a better deal or at least a matching deal than was quoted from Kayak. Often the hotel will give you a better or matching deal. The reason to go with the hotel, the hotel keeps better locations for themselves and the guests that sign up personally gets more attention. If the hotel doesn't match or give you a better deal, then revert back and book using kayak. Also check out www.hotel.com .
Tip 10 - Look for Hotels using Google Maps, Mapquest, or Yelp
First look for a Hotel area that features nice upscale hotels in an area. Then from that area, look for hotels that don't advertise. Some upscale hotels don't advertise and are in an area of other upscale hotels. Because the hotel doesn't advertise, the hotel passes the savings to their customers and charges cheaper hotel fees. After finding an area that shows upscale hotels, look at other hotels in the same area either by using google maps, mapquest, or yelp, find other hotels that show up on the map and don't advertise such as wedding directories or does not have a website. Look up the phone number of these un-advertised hotels and see what their rates are and negotiate better deals. It's a sneaky way to sometimes find great deals.
There is a lot to cover in a contract for a wedding hotel. Make sure you get a walk-through before signing a contract, check out the reception area, holding rooms, the kitchen, other areas such as the hotel grounds and lobbies, and check out the hotel rooms and all the bathrooms that go with your wedding space. Also check out transportation situations, valet parking, parking spaces, shuttle use, and bus and train stops. Review the contract thoroughly to be sure everything is understood and understand all restrictions such as the time the venue has to be shut down, decoration restrictions, music restrictions, and what can and cannot be done at the hotel. Make sure all your wedding guests and wedding vendors understand all the restrictions. Make sure you have at least another set of eyes looking with you through the contract.
See you on the other side!