Bride-to-Be Blogger Danielle: Securing Guest Lodging

Last weekend, Tim and went to Rehoboth Beach to try to line up lodging options for our guest. We started out by meeting with a realtor at Jack Lingo Realtors, who was amazing, helpful and gave us all the answers we were hoping to hear about helping our guests rent houses and condos for our wedding weekend. She was willing to make suggestions that would keep our guests close together, and said that many of the owners would be flexible on in- and out-dates, since it was prior to Memorial Day weekend. So that part was easy, but we also knew that most of our guests would want the simplicity of staying in a hotel, especially those flying in and those who are not able to make a long weekend out of it and who would only stay in town one or two nights.

So our next order of business was to visit several hotels in the area. We had a list of six hotels that we wanted to see, to not only to take a peek, but also to learn more about blocking rooms for large groups. If you remember from my last post, we were concerned about keeping everyone in one general area to help with transportation to and from the wedding. So while one of the hotels on our list was just fine in terms of rooms, amenities and service, we decided to forego it once we saw that the other five hotels were very close to one another either along the boardwalk or in “downtown Rehoboth,” along Rehoboth Avenue.

The weekend was somewhat fruitful. We eliminated another hotel because we were not thrilled with the rooms, the configuration, or the location. So that brought us down to four potential hotels. The Henlopen Hotel allowed us to block off all their available rooms, but that was only 16, due to two other wedding parties the same weekend as ours. However, it was a relatively nice hotel, with reasonable rates, and right on the boardwalk, so we wanted to keep that option.

We had estimated that we needed 70 rooms (high estimate), so that left us with about 45 more to book. We found another very nice hotel, also right on the boardwalk, that assures us it will have availability, but it has not yet set its 2011 rates. Best case scenario, we should have them by week’s end; worst case, within a month.  Depending on what rates they can offer us, we are going to block off 10-20 there. A third hotel — the largest in town — has plenty of availability, good rates, but it is a little bit on the older and dingier side. Still, we are blocking off 40 rooms there in case we need all of them, and we can release them whenever we know we no longer need them.

Finally, we’re waiting to hear back from the nicest hotel in town to see if they’d be willing to make an exception and allow us to block rooms off that late into the season. If not, we may simply recommend it as an option to guests who are looking for more of a boutique hotel experience.

Whew! Kind of crazy, and a lot of different options here, but I’m confident that we can handle the logistics since they’re all close together.

We also found out lots of great tips and information on transportation, parking and more. We also tried a couple of potential rehearsal dinner restaurants, so I feel we actually did accomplish a lot, even though I am a little frustrated that I cannot officially put a check in a box.

How many hotel blocks are too many for guests of one wedding? Would you opt for a hotel that is not as nice to keep everyone together? Are you okay with adding more logistics to your plans or do you prefer to keep everything as simple as possible?

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