I’ve never been to an out-of-town wedding before. Well, okay, I have, but I was probably ten years old. That doesn’t count. I haven’t traveled to a wedding out-of-state as an adult. As such, I had no idea there was such thing as reserving a block of rooms for your guests.
There’s not a lot of camping around here (plus there are mosquitoes galore that time of year!), and all of our guests couldn’t crash on Mr. Wallaby’s family’s couches…So we needed to reserve a whole lot of rooms for our pretty long out-of-town roster.
While my mom was visiting one week, she and I took on the task of booking a hotel for our family and guests. We’re getting married in Spring, Texas, on the outskirts of Houston. That’s actually a blessing in disguise—the main international airport, IAH, is in the same direction, and it’s only about 20 minutes from the venue! Considering how spread out Houston is, and how bad the traffic can be inside the city proper, this offered a much better driving experience for our guests.
A map of Houston, showing IAH Airport (A) and Oak Tree Manor (B), both in the outskirts of the city. Personal photo via Google Maps.
Unfortunately, the options of accommodations out there in “the sticks” are slim pickings compared to downtown Houston. There are definitely no boutique hotels or even that many chain hotels. A lot of our out-of-town guests will be older relatives, so we wanted them to feel comfortable in the hotel that we choose—at the same time, we wanted to keep the cost reasonable so our friends in their twenties could afford the rooms too.
These were our main criteria for selecting a hotel:
- Must be within 20 minutes of the venue.
- Must have free parking.
- Must be handicap accessible.
- Must be large enough and have enough vacancies to accommodate ~60 guests.
- Must be clean and modern.
- Nightly rate must not be more than $150.
These criteria narrowed our search down to several hotels. Our first pick was the Woodlands Waterway Marriott, which is right in the middle of town and within walking distance of a grocery store and tons of shops and restaurants.
The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel.
My mom and I dropped by to talk to the hotel’s events coordinator, and…dun dun dun… There was a Discount Tire conference happening the weekend of our wedding, and the hotel was completey booked, save three rooms. We thought about reserving those three rooms for older family members who might like to stay at a luxury hotel on the water, but we ultimately decided against it because it seems best to keep everyone in one place, especially for carpooling to the various festivities.
The Waterway Marriott’s events coordinator recommended that we check out another hotel, SpringHill Suites. This hotel is located a bit out of the way from the Woodlands city center, but it is brand new and it’s gotten extremely high reviews on Trip Advisor. (In fact, it is ranked #1 of 16 hotels in The Woodlands on Trip Advisor. Take that, Waterway Marriott!
SpringHill Suites is situated right next to the freeway, so it would be very easy for guests to come and go. There’s plenty of complimentary parking, and there are several restaurants within walking distance. (There’s also a bar inside the hotel where our younger friends can have a drink after the wedding if they want to party on.) It’s also only 10 minutes from the venue and about 20 minutes from the airport—shhhwing! My mom and I were wowed by the interior of the hotel: it has ultra-modern decor and a lot of nice luxurious touches. Unlike the Waterway Marriott, it has a free fitness center, and there is no surcharge for wi-fi. There’s a business center where guests could print out their boarding passes for free. It has a beautiful pool and hot tub, where Mr. W and I could imagine ourselves decompressing after the wedding
A lounge area in SpringHill Suites The Woodlands.
A clean, modern room in SpringHill Suites The Woodlands.
SpringHill Suites The Woodlands‘ late-night bar for thirsty wedding guests.
This hotel offered one more HUGE advantage—there is complimentary hot breakfast and a beautiful large area for guests to enjoy their breakfast. My family wanted to host a brunch for all of our out-of-town guests the morning after the wedding, but we also couldn’t afford to spend too much on the brunch. This makes it very low-stress and doesn’t take a hit at all on our budget: we can catch up with our guests in the hotel’s breakfast lounge, without worrying about planning another large event. Yay!!
We worked with the hotel’s sales manager, Jeanne, to reserve a block of rooms for our guests for the whole weekend. The hotel didn’t require us to put down a deposit, and they created a website where our guests could book their rooms at a discount. (The discounted rate was $103 a night for a suite with a king bed or two queens…not bad!) All in all, it was a simple, worry-free experience—and we were happy to check off another item from our endless to-do list.
Did you reserve a block of rooms for your guests? Were you happy with the accommodations that were available in the area?
- Environmental Engineer
- Wedding Date:
- November 2012
- Oak Tree Manor