Wedding Planning - Save Your Guests Money on Travel
I got engaged this February and am getting married this June - that's a 4-month engagement! Needless to say, wedding planning has been quite a challenge. Given the time constraint, I just wanted to do the bare minimum. However, when it came to family and friends traveling across the country, I wanted to do the research to help my guests save as much as possible. Here's what I found. I hope it will help other engaged couples.
This one is the most obvious. Since many wedding venues are hotels, it is relatively easy to reserve a block of rooms at a discount. As a result, hotel discounts have become a customary part of the wedding planning. However, as more and more couples (including me and my fiancé) opt for outdoor weddings or off-the-beaten-path venues, the challenge of finding hotel discounts arises. Discounts vary widely and hotel selection is location-specific, but I will caution wedding organizers to look out for hotels that require a guarantee. If your guests choose to stay elsewhere and you don’t meet the minimum, you and your fiancé will be on the hook financially for the difference. Also, we found a site that enables you to enter your location and how many rooms you want to block off. The hotels then bid on your “business” so you can select which discounts / hotels work best for you.
Some of our guests will need to fly into town for our wedding, and since airfare is not cheap these days, I wanted to find a way to save them some money. I found that while all airlines offer group discounts, many require a deposit (I did not want to go the such lengths) and/or require the entire group to fly on the same itinerary (this was simply not realistic). There was, however, one airline that offered reasonable discount terms. American Airlines allows you to fill out an online form and issues a simple discount code. To qualify, you just need a minimum of 10 travelers flying to a common location! [With airlines making most of their money on fees these days, it might also be helpful to provide airline fee tips on your wedding website to help them avoid expensive bag fees.]
Not all wedding venues are easily accessible on foot or by public transportation. My wedding venue is nestled in the mountains so I definitely wanted to try to find some discounts. Unfortunately, I am not confident I was able to find anything significant. Most of the car rental companies have a group discount request form (or email to contact for a request), but I was simply issued a discount code that did not specify how much my guests would save nor what rate the discount would be applied to. Hertz sent me some “discounted” rates for those dates, but they seemed quite high – I thought the prices were higher than I’ve paid to rent a car in the same area. The good news is that it was pretty easy to request a discount code and let your guests decide for themselves.