If you have a party coming up then please take a moment and download and print this awesome checklist!
- Determine Date/Time/Place
- If needed ask for helpers
- Create a Guest List
- Pick a RSVP Date
- Chose a theme
- Determine your Budget
- Send Invitations
- determine decor
- pick centerpieces
- chose table settings
- Plan your menu
- plan activites/entertainment
- Make a Shopping List
- Confirm your guest list
- Book Photographer (if needed)
- Go Shopping
- Determine your Schedule
- Plan for Parking
- Chose a Space for Coats/Bags
- Pick a Gift Spot (if needed)
- Plan your Food Display
- Make Place Cards or Signage
- Clean the Party Location
- Make or Purchase food
- Set out Decorations
- Set Table
- Prepare Drinks
- Do any Last Minute Touches
- Get Ready for the Party
Reserving a room block for your next big event be it a wedding, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, anniversary, family reunion, or even a conference is the best way to ensure that your guests have a place to stay by your venue and at a discounted rate! Doing a block booking gives you all sorts of deals like free wifi, parking, discounted room rates for your guests or even a free room for the wedding/anniversary couple or conference chair person. Here is everything you need to know to complete a block booking.
How do you block hotel rooms for a wedding or special event?
When looking into hotels there a few key points to keep in mind:
- Price Point
- Amenities (do you need parking available, wifi, a gym or pool, bridal suite, etc)
- Distance to your venue
- Or if you are in need of a venue does the hotel have one available
- Free bridal suite included in booking enough rooms
- Extra discounts for people who book early
If you’re having a wedding with a lot of out-of-town guests try to block at two different hotels with two different price points. That way your guests can have a selection of prices to play around with for their travel budget. This is also helpful as hotels might not be able to offer you a big enough block to cover all of your guests.
How do you Begin your Hotel Block Booking Process?
Start by searching online. Look up hotels that are close to your venue and check out what a normal price is there around the time of your event. Narrow down your search to two or three hotels that meet your criteria. You can then contact their booking managers to coordinate the block.
When you call remember to give them the dates you want to reserve. You may want to reserve blocks for a day before and a day after your event if you have out of town guests looking to make a weekend trip out of their travel. You should also give them any special requests like dropping off welcome bags in guests rooms or having them at the desk when they check in. Start by blocking a smaller number of rooms, you can add more later but discuss this with the booking manager they might also allow you to block a larger number and release them as time goes on. Especially if you are booking during a busy season for the hotel, you don’t want to lose spots to other guests.
You can also use free hotel room block series like Skipper or Group Travel to do the work for you. They let you search all the major hotels near your venue, helps you negotiate the price, and you can even reserve your block right through them.
How do you Negotiate your Hotel Block?
Now that you’ve found a room block that works for your event it’s time to negotiate the contract with the hotel. There are certain key words to know when review the contract terms. Here they are:
- Allowable Shrinkage Clause: The percentage of rooms that are allowed to go unbooked.
Your target percentage is between 10–20 percent. Which means, if you’ve blocked 20 rooms but 2–4 go unbooked, you will not be penalized with a fee.
- Attrition Rate or Minimum Commitment: The percentage of rooms that must be filled in order to avoid paying a penalty fee which should be between 80–90 percent. Example: If the entire room block is not used, you’ll owe the hotel damages for all unused rooms based on a minimum commitment of 80 percent. This means that if you do not book the minimum amount of rooms agreed to, you will owe for up to 80 percent of the room block.
- Mitigation Clause or Resell Clause: The hotel will try to book unused rooms in your block so that you are no longer responsible for them you in essence release them, and they are sold to other customers and there for you aren’t paying for rooms that other guests are renting.
How Should you Communicate your Block Information to Guests?
The best way to let them know about the block booking options is to include it all in your wedding website. That way they can know all of the information and options available. You can point your guests to your website in your invitation. You can include information such as: please visit our website at http://www.wedding.com to see more information about our wedding and accommodations. It’s also nice to include directions to and from the venue to the hotel or transportation information on the website.
I’m a big fan of using water bottle labels. I think they add a special little touch to a normal party item. They are simple and cheap to have made and so much fun! You can have them made, printed and sent to you or you download them and print them yourself. You can have generic ones or customized ones.
I have had water bottle labels at both my bachelorette and my baby shower. This shows what a fan I am! I also just designed some that I will be having at my son’s first birthday party! If you are looking for water bottle labels head over to Etsy! Even if you’re not having me design them for you chose from one of the other million mom and pop shops out there, there are a million designs to chose from for every occasion and you’re probably helping out a starving college student or a stay at home mom! There are a lot of great designs out there to chose from!
Are you getting married? Having a wedding shower? A baby shower? Childs first birthday party? A Bar or Bat Mitzvah? Sweet 16? Quinceanera? All of these major life events tend to come with gifts which mean that there will be lots of thank you note writing after words. But don’t worry though your hand may cramp these helpful tips will help make the writing process a little easier for you! Make sure you keep a detailed list as to who gave you what gift then go for it and home addresses!
Step 1: Greeting
Dear Laura and Mark,
Step 2: Tell them why you’re writing
Adam and I wanted to thank you for celebrating with us last weekend.
Step 3: Mention the gift
We really love the INSERT GIFT HERE you gave us.
Step 4: Tell them why you love the gift
It really will come in handy in the upcoming months.
Step 5: Thank them again
Thank you for helping us (Insert statement such as: starting our new married life, or welcoming our new baby).
Step 6: Closing Statement
We are so blessed to be surrounded by such great family and friends.
Melody and Adam
Your bridesmaids are there for you through thick and thin, keeping you calm on your big day and plan all of those lead up activities like your shower and bachelorette party! Not to mention paying for that dress you so lovingly picked out for them, the shoes, plane tickets, hotel, not to mention they hair, nails, and make-up on the big day! So of course when that day comes it’s time to give them back something as a little thank you gift. Giving bridesmaids and groomsmen gifts is a traditional practice which everyone expects so probably a good idea not to skip this one! Here are some helpful tips to make that gift buying and giving process a little easier!
When to Shop
Well this is really up to you. It shouldn’t be something you leave to the last minute but it’s also not something you want to run right out and do until all of your bridesmaids are guaranteed! If you have been good about planning your wedding out there should be a bit of a lag time in between when invitations go out and when the bulk of them arrive. During this time there may also feel like a lag in what you should be doing planning wise where you feel you should be doing but just aren’t sure what that could be. That is a great time to pick out these gifts! That should give you at least a month or two to keep you eye out for something fabulous for your bridesmaids!
What to spend on the gifts really depends on your wedding budget. But again this is one area where your wedding budget cuts really shouldn’t come from. Think about how much money each of these ladies is spending on your wedding and the lead-up! Of course it won’t be a one for one situation you won’t be buying each lady $500 in gifts but around $100-$150 would be a good range for their gifts. Of course if you have a smaller wedding party you might be able to afford a more expensive gift for each bridesmaid. And possibly a more extravagant gift for your Maid of Honor to thank her for all of her extra work!
What to Buy
There are a few methods to consider when purchasing gifts for your bridesmaids. The first is to purchase all of the ladies something similar that they can all wear on the day. I’ve seen a lot of different examples of this: necklaces, bracelets, earnings, toms shoes to dance in after, bathrobe that say bridesmaid, etc. I could keep going on. If you are picking out one of these items that everyone will receive try to make it something nice that the ladies will actually wear again and not something that will just match your wedding theme.
On the other hand you can go with personalized items for each lady. This is a little bit of a tougher process as you can’t just go buy one item and be done. You actually have to think about each of your bridesmaids and personalize a gift to her. If you are on a time crunch I wouldn’t recommend this method. However if you do want to go the personalized route but make it a little bit easier you can purchase a personalized beach bag like you see in the image above and then personalize the gift you put inside, something smaller but personalized.
When to Give
When do you give the gift to all of your ladies? Well tradition states that the gifts should be presented to the bridesmaids at the rehearsal dinner. The bride would toast all of her bridesmaids and give them each their gift at the party. If you don’t want to go with tradition go ahead bunk it! On the wedding day when you are all sitting around getting ready eating a light snack give them their gift then! If your bachelorette party is two nights before the wedding give it to your ladies then. You don’t need to follow tradition here just make sure whatever you give your ladies it is given with love and gratitude for everything that they have done to help you make your day so special!