I’m at this weird lull in my wedding-planning process where I don’t have a ton of new stuff to talk about, but before I know it, it’s going to be just around the corner and I’ll have a million new topics, so bear with me!
One thing I was super excited about was our hotel room for the wedding. I think this came from realizing that we likely would not be able to go on a honeymoon immediately for a variety of reasons, so I wanted to make sure the hotel room I booked for the wedding would be more than your average bear.
As I mentioned before, our venue is sort of in the middle of nowhere. But it’s so worth it once you get there:
OK, this may be trivial and I could have been making a big deal out of nothing—but—I was having the hardest time deciding where to stay on our wedding night! My plan is to spend Friday night there by myself (or maybe with my sister) and then spend the wedding night there with Mr. B. I want a space big enough for all the girls to eat, drink, and get ready.
I originally thought I wanted to stay in a bed and breakfast (even though I’ve never stayed in one) since it seemed like a romantic place to spend our first night as husband and wife. No B&B has a big bridal room, though. I did find one room I like, but I don’t think it will be big enough: the Oglethorpe Penthouse at The Gastonian.
Image via The Gastonian
It has two working fireplaces and a separate living room and bedroom. It just doesn’t seem big enough for 11 people to get ready at the same time, though.
I then discovered the McMillan Inn, which appears to be a small inn of suites. They have a carriage house that could potentially be big enough:
When I last went to look at the hotel, I went in the evening. It was all a bit dark and I didn’t get to see my room bathed in glorious daylight.
But last weekend we went back! This time we went to look at pretty much all the rooms in the hotel to decide which ones we’d like to have for our families.
All photos personal
Jack had actually never been to the hotel before (good thing he trusts my judgement!) and he was very happy when he stepped inside. We had a sneak peek of the bar while we were waiting…
Yes, we’re covering two topics in one post. I’m a multi-tasker that way.
Before I get to either of these topics, however, I gotta backtrack a little bit and tell you how we got to making decisions on what Mr. A will be wearing and where we’ll be spending our wedding night…because we’re getting both for a STEAL.
At the beginning of February, Mr. A and I (along with my parents) attended our city’s annual charity ball, held every year in our reception venue. Proof of our attendance, you ask? Sure, no prob:
BM Mascara, Mama Dillo, and me all gussied up! The theme was “The Black and White Ball.”
Who would have thought, right? I’ve been so busy thinking about where to hold the wedding, where I’ll stay the night before, where I’ll get ready, where we’ll go on our honeymoon—that I completely forgot about reserving blocks of rooms for our awesome guests.
But no big deal, the wedding is still three months away, right? Plenty of time to book a few rooms, since even though it’s a nice area to visit there’s not a huge demand for tourism in early May. We’re not having a huge wedding, plus a lot of people know friends in town to stay with, so we’ll only need 10–15 rooms maximum.
Well. There are two private universities in the Greenville area, and both of them have graduations that weekend. They’re not huge schools, but it definitely causes an influx of people.
Which didn’t hit me until I clicked on the website of the hotel I planned to reserve rooms in from the beginning and saw that they had zero rooms available the weekend of the wedding. Zero rooms? In a tiny town like Traveler’s Rest? Except…it’s five minutes away from Furman University. Duh.
That would have been the best option since it’s just 15 minutes from the venue, but I immediately rebounded and told myself “That’s OK, I’ll just reserve rooms in Greenville. It will be an extra 15 minutes of travel time for my guests, but they’ll get to experience the area.” On the plus side it is a pretty neat city. I’ve grown quite attached in my five years here!
Downtown hotels are really pricey. I mean, I never would expect my guests to pay $319 a night, even if it’s for a hotel that looks like this:
Image via Uptake
Jack and I live less than 200 metres from our Church and less than two miles away from our reception venue. So, it would make sense to stay at home the night before, especially as our parents don’t live near us so we can’t crash at their houses in our old bedrooms.
But no, we’re not doing that. I like the tradition of not seeing the groom the night before and I’m all for making my wedding last longer than 12 hours, so starting the celebrations early and staying in a nice hotel the night before seemed like a good idea to me!
I started looking at hotels in my city and believe you me, the nice ones are niiiiiiiiice! Absolutely beautiful, posh, Mr & Mrs worthy hotels. I wanted to spent a maximum of £250 for the bridal suite per night and I thought that was pretty reasonable for a good room! In my job I book hotels for meetings and £200 gets a very nice room, so for £250 I could get something swish, right? Wrong.
This is Hotel du Vin.
|Image via Paul Fletcher Photography|
Our reception venue is at the top of that road! Doesn’t it look beautiful in photos? I could imagine having my picture taken outside whilst our Rolls Royce waited to take me to the church…And the suite!
Since our venue is in downtown DC, we have a ton of options for wedding weekend accommodations. With dozens of hotels within walking distance of our venue, we considered not bothering with a room block and giving our guests free rein over where to stay. Yet, there is a hotel option so convenient that I felt like we had to go ahead and secure some rooms…because it is right next door to our venue. Like, the two buildings touch each other.
Before we chose our wedding date, I checked all the event listings and calendars I could find for the Austin area, and couldn’t find anything that coincided with our date. Shortly after I booked our date, I found out that there is t only a home University of Texas football game that weekend (how could I forget to check that?!), there is also a very large Texas school administrators conference happening, which means a large number of hotel rooms are already booked up or being held for the weekend.
Back in December, I booked small room blocks at two Austin hotels for the Friday and Saturday nights of our wedding weekend—one is downtown within walking distance of bars and such, and one is about 15–20 minutes south of town, on the way to the wedding site.
I found out back in April that the block at the downtown hotel was already full, and we were told we’re not able to add more rooms to it, as the hotel was close to sold out and they couldn’t offer any additional rooms at discounted rates!!! The other one still had plenty of rooms available, but that hotel is not downtown, which I think is where a lot of our guests would probably prefer to stay.
The suite I’ve reserved for my wedding day, that is. Once Fiance proposed my mind immediately started swarming with ideas and the ever growing to-do list. The first was to pick a reception spot (one week later…check!). The second was supposed to be “find a church” or “research photographer.” However, that list quickly changed once we made the decision to have our wedding out of town. My mission then switched to booking our hotel suite so I would have a place to get ready in.
Luckily for me, I knew exactly what hotel I wanted to use for our wedding block. The Woodcliff Hotel and Spa is close to our reception venue, is set on top of a hill (which offers beautiful views), and offers complimentary shuttle service to our guests to and from our reception. Fiance and I have stayed there twice to celebrate birthdays. It was no surprise that, once we booked our reception venue, I was immediately looking at the hotel’s website.
Since I won’t be getting ready at the home I live in or the home I grew up in, I knew I wanted to get ready for the most important day of my life (thus far) in a beautiful setting that had enough room for me to feel relaxed. The Woodcliff was the perfect place to look, as they offered a few different suites to choose from. However, after quickly perusing their website, there was only one suite I envisioned getting ready in on my wedding day. The Art Deco.
What’s so special about this suite?
During my planning, I loved hearing other brides’ opinions of their vendors’ work. I really enjoyed reading others’ reviews, but always grew a bit dismayed at the fact that most of the reviews focused on Pittsburgh or Harrisburg vendors. Hopefully this post should help to redirect some focus to the small-town vendors in Western/Central Pennsylvania.
Accommodations: Holiday Inn in Johnstown, PA
Recommend, with special considerations.
We chose to set up a block of rooms for our guests at the Holiday Inn. Additionally, this hotel served as the location for the gentlemen to get ready for the ceremony, and as the wedding-night accommodations for us. Overall, they were an easy vendor to work with. Mr. Snow Cone said that, despite his request that a shuttle arrive at a specific time to take the groomsmen to the church for pre-ceremony portraits, the shuttle ran late for them. Additionally, we paid a bit of extra money to have a “honeymoon suite” as they termed it, which amounted to a regular hotel room with a conference room adjoined to it. Both Mr. Snow Cone and I felt the use of the term “honeymoon suite” was far too generous and frankly misleading. Overall, we had only minor bumps in the road with this hotel, so I’d recommend them but wouldn’t recommend falling for their honeymoon suite.
Bridal attire (gown, veil, and alterations) and BM dresses: The Exquisite Bride in Murrysville, PA
Recommend to everyone I know.
Mr. T’s dad travels a lot for work. This means that he collects hotel and airline points like they’re going out of style. He’s a Marriott guy and he surprised us by booking our hotel in Boston for us! The first night of our honeymoon will be spend lounging in the lap of luxury at the Marriott Long Wharf in Boston!
The hotel sits right on Boston Harbor. How close to Boston Harbor? Any closer and it would need to float.
No, not because of a bad experience. Because of a really, really good one in a non-hotel environment.
This past weekend was Brideslady M’s bachelorette party in good ol’ NYC, which I helped organize and plan. After getting thoroughly annoyed at the amount of money we’d have to spend on two decent hotel rooms for seven or eight girls for two nights, I turned to some alternative sources.
Have you guys ever heard of Vacation Rentals by Owner or Home Away? It’s where Brideslady Bunny Love (formally known as Brideslady G…she requested a name change) found that amazing penthouse that we’ll be staying at in Mexico for our friendymoon, and it seemed like the perfect solution for our little NYC hotel dilemma. If you are unfamiliar with the sites or the concept…it’s just a place where house/apartment owners put their properties up for rent for a day, week, month, whatever. Nine times out of ten, it’s about 10000000% cheaper than getting a hotel room, and it makes it feel like a home away from home because, well, you’re in someone’s home. Not as weird as it sounds.
Anyway, without getting too nasty, not one of the eight properties I contacted via Vacation Rentals by Owner got back to me about possibly renting their space this past weekend. Lame. (And terrible business practices.) At this point, M’s bachelorette was two weeks away, and we still didn’t have a place to stay. Yes, I was freaking out like you wouldn’t believe.
Mr. Treasure and I have been amazed by the ease of the wedding-planning process so far. We booked the first venue we looked at, the first photographer we met with, and the second caterer we talked to. Everything’s been falling into place and we haven’t experienced any wedding-related stress…until now.
Last weekend, Mr. T’s parents looked online at hotel prices for our wedding. The Marriott, where they always stay, was priced at over $400 a night. WHAT?!? They immediately called to inquire and were told that the price hike is due to: 1) Ryder Cup going on in the suburbs and 2) a medical conference* in the Gold Coast.
I began to panic. Booking hotel rooms wasn’t even on our radar and probably wouldn’t have been something on our to-do list for a while. All of a sudden, it had to happen NOW. When I started calling other hotels in the area, most of them quoted me prices like $279 or $309 a night, significantly higher than I hoped our guests would have to pay. Fortunately, I was able to find a few places that were much more affordable. I guess the silver lining is that we got to check something off our to-do list without it ever being on there to begin with.
I’m a child of the internet age, and with that in mind, I have done pretty much the majority of wedding planning thanks to the internet. Sure, there’s a little word-of-mouth thrown in for good measure (for example, our jeweler who is the one my parents use and our venue, which is where Mr. High Wire’s cousins got married). But generally, the way we decide on our vendors is research, obsessively reading reviews, and working with vendors who give timely responses to my emails and requests for additional information.
If they type their emails in a way that makes me think they have this expression, even better:
Image via I Can Haz Cheezburger
You may notice something about our website: I am a bad, bad bride.
I decided that I didn’t want to deal with hotel blocks, and that everyone could put on their grown-up britches and book their own rooms. Why? Well, at work I coordinate the events our company goes to, and the company has a set amount they usually want to spend on hotels. The room blocks are always way more than they’re willing to spend, so they look elsewhere every single time.
My family is pretty cheap.