When planning weddings at hotels there are some indispensable tips that every bride wishes she had known before, instead of having to learn from experience. From guest numbers to budgets there is a lot to consider. Here are some of our wedding planning tips to help you when looking at hotels for your big day:
Before deciding between your favourite hotels, decide the number of guests you will be inviting. The first of our tips is planning for between 25 to 30 square feet per guest for a seated dinner, band and dance floor reception. Generally, about 30 percent of the people you invite will be unable to attend.
On your guest list, our tips are to add immediate family, the bridal party and best friends on top of the list. Then add those people you cannot imagine celebrating your wedding without. Finally, list others you would like to be with you. If you need to cut numbers, start from the bottom or remove plus-one invitations.
Check your dates
Before you book hotels, one of the most important tips in your planning is to check whether your wedding date falls on the same day as a conference or other local event that could affect traffic and hotel room availability.
Prepare for the weather conditions at your venue. In high summer include in your planning cool, shaded areas and plenty of water. In winter, check that barns or loft weddings will be adequately heated. Tips to ensure your guests comfort include insect repellents and aloe vera gel to deal with mosquitoes and flies.
Hotels always ask you to sign an agreement. Before you do this, one of our tips is to negotiate any extras to be included in the total price, for example an extra hour for cocktails or an upgrade on the room. Vendors are more likely to flexible before they secure your booking.
Extras at the table
You will need to feed your photographer and their assistant, band members and other vendors at your wedding. Planning with your caterer for a leaner menu for this group can help you budget.
Probably the most important of our hotels wedding tips is to use a wedding planner app, or a ring binder, keep all your correspondence and notes in one place. Set up a dedicated email address for your wedding plans and store all important contact numbers in your phone. Keep a written record of all amendments to your agreements.
Typically, you need one bartender per 50 guests to keep the line at a minimum. If you’re serving a signature cocktail that cannot be made ahead of time add to your planning an extra server just for this task.
Balance the budget
As a rough guide, spend no more than forty-eight percent of your total budget on the reception and no more than 8 percent each for flowers; clothing, entertainment and photography. 2 percent each for invitations and gifts and 8 percent for miscellaneous items like a wedding co-ordinator. Allocate the remaining 10 percent of your money for contingencies. However, if a designer gown and fabulous food are what really matter, our tips suggest planning for simpler invitations and floral arrangements.
Have an honest conversation with your wedding vendors about what it is you want. Their job will be to tell you what you can and cannot make work given your wedding budget.
Not a Saturday
Friday and Sunday weddings can cost about thirty percent less than Saturday weddings.
Children or not
You can welcome children with open arms or choose to have an adult only wedding. To prevent hurt feelings, it’s wise to avoid allowing some families to bring children while excluding others.
As soon as you’ve picked a date, start to look for hotels in a wide variety of price points. Many hotels allow you to reserve rooms at a reduced rate under a special wedding block. If there are cancellation penalties for unbooked rooms, look elsewhere.
Provide accurate driving directions
Ask your ceremony and reception sites for printouts or digital copies of recommended driving directions and include these on your wedding website.
Easily overlooked, but another of our tips is to ask your wedding venue if there are any restrictions such as dress code or flash photography.
Keep an emergency contact sheet with your vendor contacts easily to hand on your wedding day. This can help if your driver is lost or you want the photographer to take additional photographs.
In your final month of planning, if you are overwhelmed by your to-do list, the last of our tips suggests you cross off the extras, like hand-painting extra decorations or other non-essential extra.