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Whether you're getting married in your hometown or having a destination wedding, there will be some out-of-town guests traveling to be a part of your big day. It's up to the bride and groom to provide travel information, with accommodation and hotel recommendations, to their guests, well in advance of the actual wedding weekend.
For a hometown wedding, I suggest sending the hotel suggestions, along with the details of any group discounts you've secured, with the save-the-dates. If you're doing a destination wedding, all the travel and accommodations information should be included in a bigger packet that's sent out to all of your guests at least two weeks before the wedding invitations are mailed. The goal is to let your guests do their research and figure out if they can afford to come to your wedding before they're forced to mark "accept" or "decline" on your RSVP card.
Unless you're getting married somewhere that requires you to fill a certain number of rooms as part of your contract, provide your guests with a variety of different price-point options for their accommodations. Some of your guests will only be in town for the one or two nights of your wedding activities, while others may turn the trip to your wedding into their own vacation. How long they can afford to stay may depend on how expensive their accommodations are, so it's better to let people make their own decisions.
Depending on the time of year you're getting married, and where you're getting married, room prices fluctuate. By providing your guests a variety of options, you're giving them wiggle room to find a way to afford to attend your wedding, even if they can't afford to stay at the venue in which the wedding party is staying.
Try to offer at least three different levels of accommodations options:
Pricey ($250 and up): Offer one posh hotel option, with four-plus stars, for your guests who cannot live without 24-hour room service, and an on-site spa. It's best if this is a chain hotel where some of your guests might be able to use their points if they want to.
Mid-Tier ($150 to $250): These accommodations should be fairly updated and comfortable, but won't break the bank for the average couple. They'll usually have a restaurant on premises, but not always. Some have kitchenettes. There will be staff on-site 24 hours, in case they need assistance.
Budget (Less than $150): There are plenty of rooms available for $100 or less, if all your guests want is a clean, safe place to stay with absolutely no bells or whistles. Some couples have no desire to spend money on luxurious accommodations when they only plan to be inside them to sleep, and they don't need concierge services.
Also keep in mind that in many wedding destination locations, there are plenty of privately-owned guest houses, villas, and casitas available for rent that cost less than a hotel room when rented for five nights or more.
Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events and author of How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional. Sandy is the star of TLC's reality show Wedding Island, about her destination wedding planning company, Weddings in Vieques.