Hotel Block Life Hacks

Kristi Telnov Photography

Kristi Telnov Photography

I am sweating. It’s been quite a summer over here, and I’m pumped to start blogging on a more regular basis now that I bought an air conditioner for my office, yay!

I don’t know what’s in the water right now, but many of my 2020 couples have emailed me asking for guidance on how to tackle a major step in the planning process: Hotel room blocks!

Researching and booking hotel rooms for your wedding can feel daunting (especially when you have picky friends and family flying and driving in), but it doesn’t have to be! This four-part blog series will spotlight three local hotels and the ladies who handle their wedding blocks.

To kick things off, here’s some wisdom from yours truly on finding the best hotel for your wedding, without adding ‘travel agent’ to your resume.

Part I. Advice from me

If you ask me, there is one main things to consider when researching hotels for your wedding: Location!

…Really? I thought it would be price!

The reason I start with location instead of price is because the closer you are to your wedding venue, the easier it will be logistically, which will not only save you money in the long run, but time!

I love when clients get a hotel block within 15 minutes of the venue. It helps with deciding on whether to book transportation (more on that in a future blog post!), keeps guests centrally located, and gives you more time to get ready/take pictures/enjoy your wedding! Think about it: If you found a hotel 10 miles away for $25 cheaper than the one 5 miles away, that’s equal to the cost of an Uber! Might as well be closer.

…But my ceremony is on one side of town, and my reception is on the other! Where is best?

You know when you drive to Kennywood and you park your car closer to the exit, knowing full well the walk will kind of suck? I’m applying the same theory here. Your future self will thank you if you book the hotel closest to the reception! Not sold? You can also find something in the middle too!

…But my situation is more complicated than that!

I feel you. I have a couple with a hike of 20+ miles between their ceremony and reception site, and we decided to have the bridal party only stay close to the ceremony on Friday night/Saturday morning, and then check them into a hotel within walking distance from the reception Saturday night. As their day of coordinator, I’m assisting with luggage transfer, and getting them checked into the honeymoon suite that afternoon!

Another unique situation: One Day of Pgh couple was leaving for their Caribbean honeymoon bright and early the morning after their wedding, held at The Grand Concourse in Station Square. Instead of a 3 a.m. drive out to the airport, they decided to get a room at the hotel connected to the airport, and head over right after their reception. I thought this was a fun way to end the night as husband and wife, and wake up ready to take off!

Got it. Nowwww can we chat about price?

Yes! In my experience, the closer you are to downtown Pittsburgh, the higher the rate will be. Between all of the #SPORTS, college stuff, and the impressive lineup of performances and concerts, Pittsburgh is bound to have something big going on downtown the weekend of your wedding. This means rooms book fast, and rates will reflect the increased demand.

To get ahead of that, cross-check the date you want against the city’s calendar, which tends to repeat every year. Big weekends to steer clear of: Light Up Night, Pittsburgh Marathon, Pride, and the Three Rivers Arts Festival.

…Too Late! My date is already locked in, halp me!

Eh, it happens! Here are some things to ask about to save on other costs.

  • Parking: Ask for the daily parking rate and compare it with others. If it’s free, you have a real contender on your hands.

  • Breakfast: I’m a sucker for a free breakfast! Bonus points if they have a waffle station.

  • Shuttle: Many hotels offer a free shuttle within a certain radius! If you’re venue qualifies, that’s a huge perk!

  • Complimentary bridal suite: If your guests book a certain amount of rooms, yours may be free! Ask about this!

In conclusion, that’s the advice I give to my couples. I’m handing over the rest of this blog series to the actual professionals. Stay tuned!