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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Now I Lay Me Down

So who knew that finding a place for our myriad out-of-town guests to stay for a reasonable price was so difficult?!??!
I certainly didn't, until now.

Chris and I went to visit the Hampton Inn & Suites in Suisun City (a scant 4 miles to our venue) to view all the rooms, check out the premises, and make a decision about whether or not to commit to having our guests stay there.
That part went fine; the hotel is very new (not even open a year yet) and modern.  The amenities are good (pool, free wireless, free breakfast, and a fitness room) and the service personnel were friendly.

The problem came when we got down to some numbers.
And it wasn't entirely a 'problem' it was just....confusing.
See, I'm not a business person.
I'm not an event planner.
I'm not a hotelier.
I'm a clinical psychology graduate student.

We sat down to hammer out additional questions and I'm trying to keep my cool and see what we can do to make sure we're getting the absolute best price and deal possible since everything I read tells me all about how much people gouge brides and grooms when they're planning things for weddings.
Hard as I tried, I had difficulty understanding what exactly their policies are regarding reserving blocks of rooms.  I want to have enough rooms that everyone who needs one gets one, but I don't want to overbook by so much that I end up having to shell out my own hard-earned cash for rooms that will sit empty.

They wanted me to tell them how many rooms I wanted, and of what type they were.  That's a toughie.  We've got a 150-person guest list.  About 75% are out of towners, which means about 100 people who'll need a place to stay.  Well, how many people will put 4 in a room?  And how many people will stay with a friend? And how many non-out-of-towners will want to stay here anyways so that they don't have to deal with driving the hour+ home depending on where, generally, they live in the Bay Area.  How many family people who are military service members might want to stay on nearby Travis Air Force Base at a much lower rate?
And to qualify for the group rate, people must book 2 months before the wedding...which means we need to send our invitations much earlier than previously planned.

These questions and more made my head spin.
Then comes the questions I actually asked and got no satisfactory response to: (1) How much room do I have to change my mind/numbers after the contract is signed? [The contract must be signed in the next 6 weeks, btw.], (2) Why can't I get the meeting room for the rehearsal dinner comp'd if half the people in the hotel are solely there because of me?, (3) Do I have to split it up according to room type?, (4) What's the deal with people using their military rate?

I kept getting all these caveats and some "poor me" business from the lady who showed us everything, playing up how this is as low as she can go and how I'm getting such a good deal.

I'm not so sure I'm impressed by the deal, but it's hard to tell.

I just want a place for Chris and I to stay the night of the wedding and a place for our guests to stay that is close to the wedding and reasonably priced.

I do not want to get taken for a ride just because we're a wedding and not a family reunion.3

This is the kind of wedding chore I do NOT enjoy.  Blech.


  1. I may have some advice for you, based on our experience. Ask me if you would like it. I'm sure it varies hotel to hotel but we struggled with this too.