Hotel Weddings Are Becoming The Inn Thing
Hotel Weddings Are Becoming The Inn Thing
Why Many Hotels Make a Great Choice for a Wedding
When you are searching for a wedding venue, check what your area hotels have to offer. Many four and five star hotels have become pretty good at running weddings. Many hotels have hired outstanding wedding coordinators that have experience pulling together a wedding. They often also have hired a really good culinary chef that runs the catering in the hotel. They really know how to cook and display food for your wedding event.
Many hotels have even designed a beautiful ceremony spot, either looking over a nice background area or have created a focal point on the hotel grounds to host a wedding outdoors and have created a nice space indoors to host a wedding in the event of inclement weather. The situation is set up nicely at the hotel, you can host a wedding, have a nice spot for a cocktail hour and then host a wedding reception afterward, everything is together, there is no travel involved after the wedding begins. Plus many of your guests have hotel rooms can have hotel rooms right at the event.
The thing that is nice about weddings at hotels. Hotels bundle services of many different wedding vendors, because of the bundling of services, the cost of many wedding vendors are a lot less than if you would use a wedding vendor separately and the bulk ordering of food and items helps bring the cost of weddings down. Matter of fact, hotel weddings have moved into second place behind banquet hall venues as the most popular place to host a wedding.
When you are checking out a hotel to host a wedding, seek out the hotel's hotel wedding coordinator, in some instances it might be a hotel manager. The hotel wedding coordinator can do most of the planning for your wedding. The only thing the bride has to do, she has to buy her wedding dress, and make sure the bridal party has their outfits. The only thing she might have to do, is help put together her wedding guest list, and show up for the rehearsal and wedding.
Why are weddings at hotels becoming a great choice? Hotels want you there, they are experienced at running weddings, they know what they are doing, they are convenient for out of town wedding guests. You also have one less worry about guests transportation needs. You don't have to worry about guests drinking and driving. You also can get a group rate, guests can get a nice discount for their hotel room. Guests tend to have a good time, meet with old friends and make new ones. Parking comes with the hotel too. Much of the time parking is free. Hotels also tend to have good wedding vendors, they tend to hire vendors that have proven themselves or have top notched vendors on a preferred list.
Hotel Wedding Coordinator Responsibilities
Hotels in recent year have put an emphasis on hiring wedding coordinators, often they hire wedding coordinators that have had extensive training and who have a number of years working as a wedding planner. The coordinators are responsible for facilitating, mediating, and managing a wedding on behalf of a client, usually the bride. The hotel wedding coordinators is responsible to perform tasks, such as planning, coordinating, managing, and executing all the different aspects of a wedding couple's wedding.
The responsibilities and duties of the hotel wedding coordinator is to assist in formulating a suitable venue for the wedding ceremony and reception location and often a pre-wedding reception cocktail hour. Often they assist the bride and formulate a wedding theme or wedding decor which might be a color scheme. The coordinator and the bride create a wedding schedule, she/he might get involved in designing wedding invitations and help draw up a wedding guest list, formulate a wedding budget, and get involved in sending wedding invitations out and receiving back the RSVP responses.
The hotel wedding coordinator needs to effectively communicate with the chef or caterer of the hotel and plan the wedding meal including food entrees. side dishes, desserts, hors d'oeuvres, drinks including alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks, such as sodas, juices, coffees and teas. He/she oversees venue reservations, coordinating with hotel entertainment , photographic, and video needs.
For the wedding, the hotel wedding coordinator needs to purchase and make flower requisitions for bridal bouquets as well as flowers for the bridal party and family requisitioning bouquets, boutonnieres, carnations, and venue floral decorations. They are responsible for hiring dj's and.or wedding musicians, caterers, bartenders, and wait staff needs. The coordinator might have to coordinate keynote speakers for the wedding. She is also responsible for hiring a photographer and possibly a videographer. He she may also be responsible for transportation arrangements for bridal party members and arriving guests and may arrange transportation such as a shuttle or limousine to pick up guests from an area airport.
A good hotel wedding coordinator needs to have both written and oral communication skills. They need to be strong negotiators and have good networking skills. They need to be a good team player, command respect from wedding vendors and those under their control. They need a calm temperament, and have excellent public speaking skills. They need to have strong organization skills and the ability to work and meet deadlines. They should work well under pressure and have a keen attention to detail and possess pretty good math skills.
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Bride's Interview with Hotel Coordinator
Many wedding couple's never consider a wedding at a hotel, they think a hotel wedding is just too expensive. They hear the price and think the cost is too high. In actuality the price has many other wedding costs in it. When you break the costs down into each of the wedding categories, the prices end out being pretty good. Embedded in the price are the wedding ceremony, wedding reception, cocktail hour, bar costs, the caterer and food, wedding cake, the hors d'oeuvres, desserts, coffee and tea, the photographer, the videographer, the dj's, the wedding musicians, the flowers, the invitations, the wedding favors, the decorations, and the limos and shuttle transportation. When you add all costs, the hotel often is a better deal for the wedding couple than for the couple to plan their wedding independently saving them significant money.
One caveat, some resort hotels have become well known, the costs may be higher, if budget is an issue, you might avoid hosting your wedding at this type of venue, at these resorts you might be paying extra because they are well known. The key in finding a hotel to host your wedding, is to check a number of hotel venues out and then choose the one that is best for you.
The couple needs to find hotels in the area in which they would like to host their wedding. There are a number of websites online that can help them find hotels in their area. One recommended site is called www.findhotelsnearanaddress.com . There are other online sites that can also help them in their hotel search. Another website that can help in their search is www.google.com/hotels . Others recommended websites online include priceline, expedia, hotels, kayak, travelzoo, orbitz, tripadvisor, and agoda and a few wedding directories also show hotels such as mywedding, weddingwire, and eventective (put www. in the beginning and .com at the end) using the search bar.
When you make an appointment with the hotel ask for the wedding coordinator or sales manager, they are the ones they can get you the best discounts, avoid making arrangements with the front desk or reservations desk.
When you first meet with the hotel wedding coordinator you should know your targeted wedding date, your approximate budget by wedding category, and the amount of wedding guests you are planning to invite. When you divulge your budget, only give the budget for the caterer and reception budget in the beginning. At first when you meet you have what is called an interview meeting, you give a high level talk of what you are envisioning for the wedding, then let the hotel wedding coordinator do most of the talking at first and give you an overview of how hotel weddings are run and the different hotel wedding packages they have.
Early on you want to ask for pictures of other weddings the hotel has had, You want to see how the hotel is decorated for both the ceremony and reception venue. If you like what you see then ask for a tour. On the tour, bring along a camera to take pictures and you want to see all the areas you would have control of the venue space. You want to see the ceremony locations, cocktail hour locations, the different wedding venues, the entrance areas, private areas, the foyer, the restrooms, the kitchen areas, and food preparation areas. Also ask if there a holding room for the bride and is there another space for other bridal party members and wedding vendors.
There are a lot of things to cover with the hotel wedding coordinator. There might be both an outdoor wedding site and an indoor wedding spot if there is inclement weather. There might be multiple reception areas, which one to choose for the decor and amount of wedding guests. You want to view all the areas you would control and discuss possibilities. You want to discuss how will the place be decorated, what decorations the hotel does and the hotel allows. What decorations are allowed such as what type of lighting, candles, hanging fabrics, and flower decorations. Also ask if there are private areas in which old friends can talk.
You also want to check out the rooms personally in which wedding guests may book, you also want to check out bridal suites to see if they are acceptable. If the venue looks like a possibility after your tour, you want to continue your discussion to review the other options the hotel has.
Some hotels are very strict on wedding vendors and some hotels are not strict at all. Some hotels have hired wedding vendors and some have a preferred list of wedding vendors. If you book with the hotel you might have to choose a wedding vendor from their preferred list. Most of the vendors on a hotel list tend to be pretty good and have proven themselves to the hotel. Regardless, you should ask to talk to the hotel vendors to be sure you are comfortable with them working your wedding. If you have a vendor you really want to use, you might ask how might the vendor you have chosen get on their preferred vendor list. The hotel might decline or may instruct the vendor how to get on their list.
Continuing with the hotel wedding coordinator, you need to understand any restrictions the hotel has. At what times you have control of the venue, how much time is there to set up the ceremony site and the reception venue (typically 2 hours or more)? Are there any music restrictions? Are opened flames allowed (candles)? Are wedding sparklers allowed or confetti canons, or balloon drops allowed? How much time is allowed for cleanup? Do the premises have to be empty at a certain time?
Also the wedding hotel coordinator need to review wedding photography needs, will a photography booth be wanted, and are there video or slideshow needs? Also he/she needs to review the music needs for the wedding, will there be a DJ or other wedding musicians, a dance band, a string quartet, or a violinist and a flutist, or a pianist in the lobby, or are there other music needs.
Some hotel wedding coordinators will have set up part of the interview meeting with you meeting with the head chef or caterer to review and discuss the food entree possibilities. Often, they will set a date to enable you to have a food tasting to help you decide on entrees and also what hors d'oeuvres and appetizers to serve. The caterer might also discuss providing a wedding cake, dessert options, coffee and tea options and food and decorative options on the side such as having a salad bar, buffet table options, ice cream bar, chocolate fountains, candy bar, or providing an ice sculpture.
You also might have an appointment with a bartender, or hotel manager and discuss bar options and setup. What might the bar setup be, an open bar or a cash bar and at what times the bar is to be opened and closed during the wedding reception? Will you serve wine, beer, or signature drinks at your wedding?
When meeting back with the hotel wedding coordinator, a number of other items need to be discussed. What linens will be used and how they might be decorated, do the linens need to satisfy a color scheme? The amount of tables, chairs, head table, buffet tables, wedding cake table, gift table plus and serving stations and tables for desserts and coffee need to be discussed.
The hotel wedding coordinator will review other services he/she can provide. Some coordinators get involved in wedding invitations and help their client formulate a wedding guest list and help in the design of the wedding invitations and handle the RSVP returns too. Some help in designing a seating plan and many hotels have a seating plan template that can help lay out table seating arrangements. Some help put together wedding favors and some help put together a wedding program for the ceremony.
Some hotel wedding coordinators uses one of hotel decorations that the hotel has and some can come up with a wedding table centerpiece design, and decorate the venue further with colored flood lighting to give a certain ambiance to the space or may use pin light or white or colored Christmas lights or utilize hanging fabrics, or use lighted candles to further decorate the venue. Some venues do have decorating restrictions.
The hotel wedding coordinator also needs to address wait staff needs. How much help is needed for the chef or caterer in the kitchen, how many bartenders, waiters, waitresses, busboys, dish washers, valets, electricians for the music are needed and other staff needs such as an attendant for restrooms and coat rack. Also an idea on alcohol bar needs will need to be discussed.
Finally, it is contract time. You and the hotel wedding coordinator will go through the contract, it is recommended to have a witness along, to have an extra pair of eyes to help review the contract. Make sure everything discussed orally is on the written contract too. Bring along someone who tends to be thorough along with you to review the contract, it may be your mother, sister, brother, maid of honor, bridesmaid, cousin, or best friend when you review and sign the contract, review everything carefully in the contract, make sure you understand all services to be performed and all fee structures in the contract and understand any fine print too.
Before signing the contract understand the hotel's liability insurance and cancellation policy. Most states provide a day or two in which you can rescind the contract, understand how much time you have until the contract after signed is fully valid. Make sure you have a copy of the contract to take with you.
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Booking Hotel Rooms for Out of Town Guests
If you are working with the hotel's wedding coordinator, find who is best to work with to reserve a block of rooms for your wedding guests. Often it is a event coordinator or sales manager is best to work with, online hotel reservations or the front desk can't get you the best discounts. For weddings, many hotels offer a free or deeply discounted bridal suite if a certain threshold amount of rooms are booked.
Different hotels have their own threshold amount. It may be 6, 10, 15, or something other in the amount of rooms that would need to be booked. At the nicer hotels you may need to reserve a block of rooms 6 months in advance of your wedding date. If you get an answer machine, leave a message including your name, date for the rooms to be reserved, the number of rooms you will need for wedding guests, typically 10, and ask what is the cutoff date that the rooms will be released to the general bucket if not booked, (typically the rooms get released if not booked 3 weeks prior to the wedding).
The hotel tends to confirm your reservation within 24 hours of your reservation, different hotels have their own procedures. If the rooms are not booked by the cutoff date, the rooms will be released back to the general public and if a guest books for the room, they will probably have to pay the full price for their room.
Check with the hotel regularly beginning two months before the wedding and especially one week before the cutoff date. If all the rooms get booked, and you need more rooms ask the hotel if you can book more rooms at the discount. If you are short on booked rooms, see if you can find more guests to book at the hotel so you can get the bridal discount. Often even wedding guests that are located nearby love a wedding and would love to party and stay at the hotel.
When you are reserving a group of rooms for wedding guests, gather all the information on the hotel. You want to forward all the hotel information for the wedding couple's wedding invitations. Include a short description of the hotel, the name of the hotel, the address of the hotel, hotel phone number, and website address of the hotel. If the ceremony site is other than the hotel, provide the distance between the hotel and the wedding ceremony venue and the directions between the venues, and include the date the hotel needs to be booked by to get a discount (the cutoff date).
Also check on transportation possibilities, is there a shuttle to and from the airport that goes to the hotel. If not check on a limo, taxi, train, or van possibilities. Include in the invitation any amenities the hotel has, does it include a spa, pool, gym, shops, or fine dining. Does the hotel offer a continental breakfast or offer Wifi, mention this if it does. Also, does the hotel offer a late night bar or disco, mention these things too!
You might find a few guests that aren't able to afford the hotel in which the wedding is taking place. If this is the case you might want to book a block of rooms at a less expensive but still nice hotel, motel, or bed & breakfast in the area. See if you can arrange for a shuttle to drop guests off at this other accommodation. Also you might check with family or friends if they can house a couple of wedding guests for a night or two.
If guest are staying longer than just one night, ask the hotel if they can offer discounts for staying extra nights. For coming to your wedding, a good idea is to leave a gift basket for your wedding guests!
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How To Make a Gift Basket
Create a Gift Basket for Out of Town Guests
For those who have traveled far to attend your wedding, a good idea is to create a gift basket for them, to thank them for coming and sharing your special day. Leave a little welcome and thank you note inside the basket. You can either have the front desk present them with the basket upon their arrival or have the gift basket waiting for them in their room.
There are many types of gift baskets that you can prepare, how elaborate you get depends on your financial situation. You want to present a gift basket that is typically you. The gift basket could be wine, spirits, fruits, bath lotions and oils, cheese pepperoni and crackers, jelly jams and breads, soaps, assorted teas and coffees, liqueur candies, chocolates, or some little crafts made from one of you.
One idea is to create a gift basket that includes an area map, travel guide, a weekend itinerary sheet, travel magazine, bottled or flavored water, breath mints, life savers or gum, assorted munchies, tissue, note pad and pen, travel size toiletries, aspirin, tums, tooth brush and tooth paste, a disposable camera, playing cards, sunscreen, and coupons to local attractions.
The munchies and drinks often gets really appreciated. Hotels often have high markups on vending machine products, you can save your guests, sometimes $10-$20 on spending money for snacks and drinks. Make sure your gift basket looks pretty and store the gift basket in a place that won't get exposed to hot and cold temperatures, away from the sun and away from prying eyes.
Gift Basket for Out of Town Guests
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