Do I really need a hotel for my wedding guests?

Inviting all your friends and family to share your special day is an exciting idea, but when it comes to the logistics of booking a wedding hotel, things can get stressful quickly. How soon should you start planning your stay? Would you consider Airbnb for your wedding? What exactly should you be aware of when it comes to transportation to and from your wedding and reception?

Below, a professional wedding planner and a newlywed reveal their tips for booking a wedding hotel block, questions to ask when vetting potential hoteliers, and how early you should actually look for accommodation to keep your guests and Things become easier on yourself. Plus, they reveal tips for booking wedding day transport that can save you money and the hassle of over-planning.

When should you actually plan hotel neighborhoods and transportation?

Willa Dunn, an experienced wedding planner at Wild Heights Events, says booking a hotel early is an easy way to ease the overall stress of wedding planning.

“It’s a simple thing that gives peace of mind to family members eager to book,” Dunn said. “I recommend two hotel neighborhoods: One is a standard, familiar chain hotel that is affordable for guests traveling to the area; Affordable; secondly, if you want to offer a boutique or more curated selection that reflects you as a couple or the city where you are getting married. ”

Dunn says when booking a hotel, be sure to ask about upgrades, available transportation (if available), welcome baskets, breakfast included, discounted group rates and whether the hotel can extend the booking date.

Once you've booked your hotel block, you can focus on providing transportation to your guests. "With transportation, the timing can be a little trickier because you have more schedules to figure out," Dunn said. "The earlier the better, but about three months is usually a safe bet because you need to consider how many guests are going to need [transportation] and where they're staying."

Of course, if you're looking for something other than a traditional hotel, Dunn says you can look to Airbnb to host your guests. Most importantly, Dunn says it's important to keep guest fees in mind when booking a wedding hotel.

“Provide variety so they don’t get bored,” Dunn said. “Offer a place that includes breakfast or is close to the venue or other fun options for their trip.”

How it works in reality

Danielle, 27, recently held her wedding in New Jersey with 214 guests. She booked rooms at two different hotels and provided shuttle service to each hotel. She said it was the only part of wedding planning that didn't stress her out.

“It felt like the one thing I had zero control over,” she said. “I did my part and got the room and booked the transportation, but my guests need to make reservations and make sure they have the shuttle ready on time.”

That being said, Danielle recommends telling your immediate family and bridal party to reserve a room as soon as you save your wedding venue. “Send everyone an email with the details, even if it takes months for the invitations to go out,” she said. "This gives everyone a chance to secure their room. Then, once they're all locked down, don't be afraid to push other guests."

In addition to giving guests a friendly reminder to reserve their room, Danielle prepared a welcome box in each room that included the day's schedule. It includes being reminded when the shuttle is leaving for the wedding so no one is late or left behind.

As for one thing she says to avoid, it's not getting into a situation where you have guests staying at a luxury hotel. "Weddings everywhere are expensive, even for guests. The last thing you want is for your guests to feel overwhelmed by the cost of attending your wedding, rather than showing up and enjoying the weekend."

Best tips for reducing hassle

While booking a wedding hotel and coordinating transportation should be relatively painless, Dunn has a few tips to help reduce the overall hassle. Her secret? Work with a travel planner.

"Travel agents don't charge a fee; they're paid by the hotel, so outsourcing is a very simple task," Dunn said. “Because of their relationships with hotels and transportation companies, they are often able to offer you additional perks or upgrades.”

It's best to ask if the hotel has a partnership with a transportation company. It's Dunn's go-to way to alleviate extra stress because the company has some familiarity with travel, schedules and staff, which she calls "an added bonus."


Willa Dunn, wedding planner and owner of Wild Heights Events