Ask the Expert | Room Blocks 101 | Where will they Stay?

Room Block 101 - Taylor'd Events Group - Where Will They Stay-

You know how we like to dive into the most glamorous of Wedding Planning topics, so here we are bringing you some words of wisdom from our friends over at Where Will They Stay.  Room Blocks don’t generally come to mind as part of wedding planning, but after booking a venue this is one of the first things you should check off the list. Many couples have a large group of guests traveling in nowadays. Opting for room blocks allows you to simplify logistics such as transportation or pre/post wedding events by keeping all of your guests together.  Luckily, we have the Where Will They Stay team on speed dial and they help us pull together hotel options for many of our couples. We are so thankful to have them sharing some of their wisdom on our blog today!

 

Contract vs. Courtesy Block - Where Will They Stay- - Taylor'd Events Group

 

  1. How soon should guests reach out about room blocks? Does it differ based on the location of their wedding (as in, are some cities harder to find room blocks for than others).

We recommend starting the hotel booking process a year in advance, but our average client contacts us 9 months in advance. The important part is that the ceremony/venue location has been decided on, as that is often the key factor in where you’d like your guests to stay.

Different cities have different challenges- college towns may be impacted by graduation dates or football games; mid-large size cities could be hosting conferences, and popular tourism cities can be impacted by their high or low seasons. Your wedding venue representative or the local tourism bureau can often be helpful in double checking your desired dates against what may be going in the city that could make it harder to find hotel rooms or drive up the pricing to higher than normal.


  • How many hotels do you suggest guests reserve? Is there a number per overall guest count?Feedback from our clients over the years has been that the couple and wedding guests have the best experience when everyone is at the same hotel. That way friends and family get the chance to reunite/get to know each other before the big day comes! Whether it’s hanging out at the hotel bar, at the pool, or just running into friends in the elevator- those experiences offer the chance for memorable meet-ups. In cases where pricing needs of family/friends might be different, we see clients offering two hotel choices- one at a higher price point and one at a lower.
  • Are there ever reasons you don’t suggest a couple does a contract block?  It really depends on the specific scenario, but to answer a slightly different question- if the best choice of hotels is a contracted block, we recommend being really clear with guests about the importance of staying at the chosen hotel on the Save the Date card, invite and on the wedding website. Also- extras like offering shuttle service to/from the wedding venue from there or hosting a supplemental event there like a rehearsal dinner, or brunch will help encourage family and friends to stay there and minimize any risk of not filling a block of rooms contracted.

 

 

One Final Room Block Tip from me!

Creating a Contract or Courtesy Block allows you to pull a list of which guests are staying at which hotel. If you are doing Welcome Bags or Notes this is an important thing to have. You can label all the guest bags with their confirmation numbers and arrival dates making it that much more likely that every guest will get their bags.

“Winery Romance” at Weddings in Woodinville 2017

Weddings in Woodinville | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Novelty Hill Januik Winery

Friends, this year we had the unique opportunity to take on TWO VENUES for the 2017 Weddings in Woodinville. If you missed it, head here to see Alex’s take on “Minimal, but Dramatic” at Hollywood Schoolhouse. Enough about that, let’s focus in on Jen’s take on “Winery Romance” at Novelty Hill Januik.

Jen loves colors and when the show arrives she is ready for Spring and to start showing off color!   The theme for this year was Winery Romance, was inspired by the romantic elegance of Spain and France with bold colors and metallic accents to showcase the modern lines of the winery. Our tables showed off ways to mix bold colors — blues, greens, pops of pinks, orange and reds that paired with brass candlesticks.

Weddings in Woodinville | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Novelty Hill Januik Winery

Weddings in Woodinville | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Novelty Hill Januik Winery

Weddings in Woodinville | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Novelty Hill Januik Winery
Weddings in Woodinville | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Novelty Hill Januik Winery

Weddings in Woodinville | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Novelty Hill Januik Winery

Weddings in Woodinville | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Novelty Hill Januik Winery

Weddings in Woodinville | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Novelty Hill Januik Winery

Weddings in Woodinville | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Novelty Hill Januik Winery

Weddings in Woodinville | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Novelty Hill Januik Winery

Weddings in Woodinville | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Novelty Hill Januik Winery

I Do Bridal provided us the perfect STATEMENT dress in the ceremony area. Who wants to wear a floral dress? Someone give us a “YES!” What about an outfit change? This would be such a fun reception dress.

Weddings in Woodinville | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Novelty Hill Januik Winery

Weddings in Woodinville | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Novelty Hill Januik Winery

Our model was all dolled up by Anne Timss Makeup and Beauty then buttoned into this fabulous lace dress. We loved showing off how the elegant lace pairs so perfectly with the modern lines of Novelty Hill Januik Winery.Weddings in Woodinville | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Novelty Hill Januik Winery

Weddings in Woodinville | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Novelty Hill Januik Winery
Weddings in Woodinville | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Novelty Hill Januik Winery

To compliment the colorful and creative vibe of the “Winery Romance” Midori Bakery went all out and hung a cake from the ceiling.

Weddings in Woodinville | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Novelty Hill Januik Winery

Weddings in Woodinville | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Novelty Hill Januik Winery

This year Chef Seth showcased their smoker and came out from behind the kitchen to show off his skills and it was a great hit!

Weddings in Woodinville | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Novelty Hill Januik Winery

Weddings in Woodinville | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Novelty Hill Januik Winery

Weddings in Woodinville | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Novelty Hill Januik Winery

The Bridal Suite at Novelty Hill Januik Winery is one of our favorites. Endless natural light and those big gorgeous windows for photos.

Weddings in Woodinville | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Novelty Hill Januik Winery

Weddings in Woodinville | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Novelty Hill Januik Winery

The Cellar Room is used on the Wedding Day as the Groom’s Room. It is also a stunning rehearsal dinner space, or perfect for a small gathering. We loved how Fena Flowers dressed it up for the show this year.

Weddings in Woodinville | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Novelty Hill Januik Winery

Weddings in Woodinville | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Novelty Hill Januik Winery

Once again, the 12 Lounge was a huge hit with make your own Banh Mi sandwiches and of course Midori went all out with another grooms cake example. This year we were lucky enough to have Groot from Guardian of the Galaxy.

Weddings in Woodinville | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Novelty Hill Januik Winery

Weddings in Woodinville | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Novelty Hill Januik Winery

Weddings in Woodinville | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Novelty Hill Januik Winery

To all of our couples, potential couples, peers, and friends — THANK YOU for joining us at another Weddings in Woodinville. We are already planning for next year and will be back in one venue. The real question here — will we be influenced by Jen’s love of bright colors or the rest of the teams love of subtle pops? You’ll have to come and see next year!

{Planner: Jen of Taylor’d Events Group | Venue: Novelty Hill Januik Winery |Photographer: Alante Photography |Floral: Fena Flowers | DJ: Bugsie Productions | Hair and Makeup: Anne Timss Makeup and Hair| Rentals: Pedersen’s Event Rentals | Cake: Midori Bakery | Invitations & Signage: Perfect Press Invitations | Jeweler: T. Anthony Jewelers | Dresses: I DO Bridal | Gift Boxes: Hummingbird and Holly | Mobile Cocktails: Perfect Pour Cocktail Co. | Indoor Mini Golf: Golf-to-Go | Transportation: Butler Seattle – Valet, Transportation and Tour Specialists}

 

Wedding Etiquette || Service Charge vs. Gratuity

Wedding Etiquette - Service Charge versus Gratuity - Taylor'd Events Group

It is all too common for couples to receive back their banquet event order (BEO) from the caterer and be incredibly confused that the $50 per person dinner now has multiple layers of taxes, fees, and gratuity added on. For almost every couple I work with, we end up chatting about the difference between the service charge and gratuity. So here we are… Let’s break these fees down.

Explain this “Service Charge”

The service charge is a mandatory and automatic fee that is added to your catering or venue contract. This charge and any other fees are almost always listed in the fine print on the bottom of the documents when you get those initial price brochures. Most Seattle caterers, venues and hotels charge a 20-22% charge (The full range I have seen is 18-24%). This is applied to the entire bill — food, beverage, staffing, any upgrade charges.

What does the Service Charge pay for?

The exact breakdown of what this service charge covers is different for each caterer/venue. If you want a list of that vendor’s specific breakdown, don’t be afraid to ask for an itemized breakdown. Speaking in general terms, the service charge covers the venue/caterer’s labor and administrative costs. An “Event Production Fee” or “the cost of doing business” are some other options of how to think of it. Some examples of where this fee goes are dishwashing, facility maintenance, packing for the event, travel time to and from the event, walk-throughs, floorplans, the sales staff’s time they spent planning with you, etc.

Service Charge Vs. Gratuity - Taylor'd Events Group

Before booking a caterer/venue, be sure that their proposal has the “all-inclusive cost” and all fees and taxes are included in that estimate. If you don’t receive this “all-inclusive cost”, but sign your contract, you will get your full all-inclusive bill that is about 30% (22% service charge + Seattle Tax of 9.6%) higher than what you had budgeted for.

PRO TIP:: When you receive your initial quote that states $60.00++, those two pluses signify all those taxes and fees. Be sure to ask to see an example of a final quote.

What is gratuity?

Definition:: Something given voluntarily or beyond obligation for someone who has performed a service.

Just as you would tip your waitstaff at a restaurant or your hairstylist for great service, you tip your waitstaff and bartenders. (Have more questions about Tipping… check out our tips on that here.) Gratuity to the staff isn’t something you are obligated to do, however, I will say that is pretty customary. Double check your catering contract, as some caterers include this in their initial estimate. Others will leave a line on the final invoice where you can write in the gratuity either before or after the event and run it through with the final payment. If you would prefer to provide the gratuity in cash, place it in a sealed envelope and have a family member or friend give it to the lead server at the end of the night.

Sales Tax

Please remember in the the State of Washington sales tax is charged on top of both the subtotal and the service charge. Some basic math looks like this::

Catering Bill Breakdown - Taylor'd Events Group

What other questions does this bring up? Leave us a comment below and we will answer!

All about Jen

Last, but not least, let’s talk a bit about Jen, our fearless leader. Jen started Taylor’d Events over 10 years ago. This little company has helped hundreds of couples over the years pull off one of the most meaningful days of their lives. Beyond just Jen was one of the Co-Founders of Wedding Network USA, a Founding Board Member of Weddings in Woodinville, a contributor to many national publications, and an amazing speaker traveling to conferences around the country. I am probably forgetting something in there (I have no idea if she sleeps, BTW). It’s hard to keep tabs on all the things she is up to. Just last week we were dreaming up a new conference — more on that to come.

Besides Wedding Planner Educator and her own couples. Jen is busy leading all of us here at Taylor’d Events. Madi, Ashley, Brittney and I [Hey! Alex here!] all agree that we wouldn’t be where we are today with Jen. She’s been the most open and honest boss lady. From letting us into her business and allowing us to all take our own small piece of ownership in Taylor’d Events to sharing her guidance, connections, and smarts. We are beyond thankful for you, Jen.

Why am I telling you all of this? Jen has always been active in helping the wedding industry, providing guidance, and helping many professionals in the area build their businesses. She has limited the number of couples she is taking and is focusing on launching her newest adventure, Wedding Planner Educator and The Taylor’d Plan. We couldn’t be more proud or supportive of her. Knowing all the guidance she has provided us… there are other wedding planners out there that deserve to grow their business and reach new heights. Those new heights are exactly what she has provided to us.

Jen’s current couples all share her love of destination weddings. You’ll see gorgeous weddings coming from our couples heading over to Maui or some of Jen’s favorite PNW destination venues. We aren’t complaining either, we love tagging along and helping these couples tie the knot somewhere meaningful.

All About Jen - Taylor'd Events Group -Wedding Planner Educator

 

Indian Fusion Wedding at Hangar 30

 

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30
At the onset of planning, Jeena and Shaffiq were living in Dubai finishing up their final months before a trans-continental move back to Seattle. They were looking for a simple affair that was centered around the comfort of their guests and allowed for a ceremony in Jeena’s childhood church. Mixing in a few southern Indian traditions and keeping in mind that many of the groom’s guests were traveling from Dubai we set out to create the perfect day for them with their guests in mind.

The day started off with the Bride and her bridesmaids getting ready at her family home. We were so honored to be present and a part of so many of these moments. I will NEVER forget Jeena playing a song for her loved ones or the blessings and prayers showered upon the Bride just a few short moments before we headed to the church.

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

Shaffiq and his groomsman had a relaxing morning together. The groomsmen even managed to sneak off and practice their surprise performance later in the evening.

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

Opting to not see each other before the ceremony, J+S exchanged notes while tucked just out of sight right before walking down the ceremony.

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

Their ceremony was in Jeena’s family church. We adored learning about all the traditions they were incorporating, how they saw their ceremony flowing, and we always love when a couple adds that special touch of asking a friend to sing in the ceremony.

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

After looking at multiple venues early on in the planning process, Magnuson Park Hangar 30 was “the one.” Don’t get me wrong — They thought I had lost it when I initially suggested an airplane hangar. The venue allowed for the perfect blank slate to create their vision and also had a lovely connection to many aviation influences in their lives. We couldn’t be more thrilled they believed our promises and that we were able to deliver the unique space they had envisioned.

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

Upon arrival, the guests had the opportunity for caricature drawings, photo booth, and Shaffiq’s favorite —  Blackjack and Roulette tables. All the guests received custom monogrammed poker chips to play with. We also incorporated a signature drink that had the couple and guests reminiscing about one of the couple’s favorite bars in Dubai.

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

Dinner was served family style and the menu was entirely inspired by different meals they had enjoyed during their time together. A dish the bride’s family made growing up, another from one of their first dates – Each dish had its own story. We spiced up the dining room mixing square, round, and long family style tables. With formalities before and after the meal, J+S were able to hear from multiple loved ones, enjoy heartfelt dances, and even mix in a few surprises.

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

After a quick outfit change, the bridal party surprised the couple with their choreographed dances.

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

Thanks to Austin Beaver, the guests partied well into the night. Oh, and YES, a Confetti Cannon was a MUST for this celebration. Plentiful late night snack options kept the guests dancing until the wee hours of the morning. No craving was going unsatisfied — Dante’s Hotdogs, a Tater Tot bar, and a S’mores station.

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

Indian Fusion Wedding | Taylor'd Events Group | Alante Photography | Magnuson Park Hangar 30

Many thanks to the incredible team of wedding professionals who pulled out all the stops to craft the couple’s vision and given them a day they will never forget.

ALSO PUBLISHED on::

Maharani Weddings — Part 1 
Maharani Weddings — Part 2
Maharani Weddings — Part 3

{Planner:: Alex with Taylor’d Events Group | Photography: Alante Photography || Videography: Bogle Productions | Ceremony Venue: Kent United Methodist Church | Reception Venue: Magnuson Park Hangar 30  | Florist: Floressence | Cake and Desserts: The Sweetside Seattle | Rentals: CORT Party Rentals, CORT Events, and  Benchmark Productions | Linens: BBJ Linens | Catering: Foodz Catering |DJ and Lighting: Austin Beaver | Drapery: Prop Gallery Events | Hair and Makeup: Salon Maison | Entertainment: Over the Line Art, 321 Foto Photo Booth, Lucky Lady Events| Late Night Food: Dante’s Inferno Hot Dogs |Wedding Invitations: Appy Couple | Day-of Stationary: Perfect Press Invitations| Logo Design: Crowberry Co | Transportation: Creative Bus | Valet: Butler Valet | Suits: The Black Tux | Dress: Hayley Paige from Marcella’s La Boutique}

All About Madi | Seattle Wedding Planner

Madi, our longest tenured Associate Planner has years of experience under her belt. She has been a part of our biggest and our smallest weddings at this point. Only a few years into her planning career and she already has private residence weddings, airplane hangars, downtown hotels, and destination weddings under her belt. So honored to have this gal on our team and couldn’t be more thrilled to tell you a bit more about her. 
 
Madi started out as an intern the same summer that Alex started with Taylor’d Events. Swapping back and forth between weddings with Jen and with Alex — we threw her right into the thick of things from the beginning. In fact, Madi’s first wedding with Alex was at the Sleeping Lady Resort in Leavenworth, WA. Our way of “welcoming” Madi to the world of wedding planning was to send her to a tough venue and have her work a full wedding weekend. Let’s just say, she quickly learned that this job isn’t as glamorous as J-Lo makes it seem in The Wedding Planner
 
Lucky for us, all the challenges didn’t scare her away and Madi has been taking on weddings as part of the Taylor’d Events Team ever since. Madi has some serious passion for getting to know her couples. I am always utterly impressed by the littlest details she observes about her couples. She is always noting their likes and dislikes then weaving those into small surprises and perfect moments for her couples. Thanks for always inspiring me to make this experience special! Enough with the rambling… A little more about Madi below. 

 

 

“Alex made our wedding day exactly what I had pictured (even though a wedding was something we had ever pictured for ourselves).  We wanted a non-traditional, casual, fun day and that was exactly what we got.”