Photo by Hendrickson Photography Weddings
Uggh! Another wedding invite that will require travel!
That’s the reaction most people have when they receive an invite for a wedding that will require travel.
After all, a wedding can cost out of town guests between $500 to $1000 per person when you factor in the airfare, hotel, car rental, activities, food, and lost time at work (some of us work weekends, you know).
In this article, we will go over five very simple, yet effective ways to help your out of town wedding guests save money on travel. And doing these five things will not take up a lot of your time (which you have none of anyway) or money.
See more of the article after the cut!
Let’s start by talking rental homes
One of the biggest expenses for wedding guests is the hotel room. They can cost hundreds of dollars a night for a small 200 square foot room with a closet sized bathroom.
Why not look at alternatives instead. If you have less than 20 or so out of town guests, then consider renting a house instead. For example, this house in Boston (http://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p981595) rents for less than $500 for a weekend and you can sleep up to 10 people.
That works out to less than $50 per person for the entire weekend. Considering the average hotel room rate is over $200 a night in Boston, this house can be quite a savings for wedding guests.
Other advantages of renting a home are:
- Rather than spend money on dining out the entire weekend, some of your guests may prefer to dine in and share a homemade dinner. Most rental homes come with a full kitchen, appliances, and utensils making the process easy, convenient, and cheap.
- Rental homes have larger bedrooms as well, which is something most wedding guests will appreciate. Plus, the common areas allow for late night get-togethers without having to worry about being too loud. The average hotel room according to VRBO.com is 325 square feet vs. the average vacation rental home being 1850 square feet.
Renting a home for wedding guests is a great way for wedding guests to save money while staying in larger and more comfortable accommodations. But what if renting a home is not an option?
In that case, make sure you reserve a block of hotel rooms.
Reserve A Block Of Rooms With A Discounted Room Rate
Why don’t most couples get a block of hotel rooms at hotels? Because they fear having to put up a large deposit to secure the rooms. They also fear losing the deposit if all the rooms are not reserved under the block.
What they don’t know is that they can request something called a courtesy room block at most hotels. The advantage of a courtesy room block is that you get discounted room rates without having to put down a deposit of any kind. And you won’t be held responsible for unused rooms either.
So what’s the catch? There really is none. The only restriction is that many hotels will only let you block 10 rooms at a time. But that really should not be a problem. As soon as you have eight or nine rooms reserved under the block, call the sales manager and have them add an additional ten rooms.
Whether you reserve a wedding room block online or call hotels individually, ask about getting a complimentary room block rather than a traditional one.
Tip: When looking at hotels, give preference to the kind that offers free breakfast, and free wifi. Doing so will save wedding guests between $30 and $50 per day.
Get Free Shuttle Service To Wedding Venue And Airport
Another way to save money is by booking a hotel that provides complimentary shuttle service to your wedding venue. Providing free transportation to the wedding venue will save guests from having to pay for a car rental, gas, and insurance. In addition, guests won’t have to worry about selecting a designated driver.
To find out which hotels offer complimentary shuttle service, simply ask someone at your wedding venue. They deal with hotels all the time and know which ones offer shuttle service for wedding guests.
Tip: If you can’t find a hotel that offers free shuttle service, here are three alternatives:
- Cut a deal with a local cab company to gives discounted fares in exchange for being the exclusive company for wedding guests.
- Rent a regular van and have a family member or friend drive guests back and forth. If that is not a possibility, hire a local college student for a day (you’ll find many by posting your request on craigslist).
- If you have a lot of out of town wedding guests, rent a school bus (around $250 with driver, of course). The disadvantage to this is that you will have to shell out the money ☹
Wedding Gift Bags
While not the biggest of savings, wedding gift bags for out of town guests are much appreciated. Here are some things to consider including in yours:
- Local Travel Guide
- Bottled water with personalized labels
- Breath mints and/or gum
- Microwave popcorn.
- Sniffle tissue packs
- Travel size toiletries such as aspirin, antacid, toothpaste/toothbrush
- Mini lint rollers. Perfect for dark suits and dresses
- Sewing kits
- Hangover remedies.
- A disposable camera.
- Coupons to local attractions
Set Up Share A Room For Single Guests
Want to help your wedding guests cut their lodging costs in half? Send out an email to your single guests asking if they would be interested in sharing a room. As you get responses, start pairing people up, cutting their lodging expenses in half. In some cases, we have even seen four people share a room, saving even more money.
Traveling to a wedding can be quite expensive, leading many guests no option other than to decline the invite. By following some of the advice in this article, you will help lower the cost to attend your wedding.
It will also lower the number of people that will say Uggh! when they open your wedding invite.
Nusair Bawla is the founder of GroupTravel.org, a website that specializes in getting group rates for hotels. Rather than having to make a dozen phone calls to block rooms for wedding guests, fill out one form and have hotels email you their group rates instantly.