17 Terms to Know When Planning Your Wedding at a Hotel

If you are planning to get married at a hotel, here are some terms worth knowing before you sign a contract —

Staffing —

  • Catering Manager. This staff member works with the chef or catering representative to plan and organize all of the F&B (see below) for your wedding and/or event.
  • Bellman (or the Porter or Doorman). This is typically the first staff member you will encounter upon arrival. The bellman may open the door for you when you enter and exit the hotel and assist you with hailing a taxi. This staff member is also typically in charge of assisting hotel guests with transporting luggage to and from their hotel rooms. If you need to check out hours before you depart the hotel, the bellman may store your luggage for you until you are ready to depart.
  • Concierge. This is the hotel staff member who can assist you with various special tasks, such as booking restaurant reservations, transportation services, theater reservations, and luggage assistance.
  • Front Desk Representative (or Front Desk Clerk). This is the staff member who works behind the front desk. This staff member checks you in and out of the hotel, and depending on the size of the hotel, this staff member answers the phone calls that come into the hotel.
  • MOD. MOD is an acronym used by hotel staff — It stands for the “Manager on Duty.”  If you find that you need manager-level assistance after business hours, ask to speak with the “Manager on Duty” or the “MOD.”

Hotel Reservations —

  • Check-In Time. The check-In time is the time the hotel allows you to check in to your hotel room. Check-in time is typically somewhere between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Every hotel is different, so check with your hotel beforehand.  Note:  If you arrive before your check-in time, don’t fret!  If the hotel has a room available earlier than check-in time, they may allow you to check-in early.
  • Check-Out Time. The check-out time is the time deadline for you to be out of your hotel room. Check-out time is typically somewhere between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. To avoid paying for an additional day, we recommend that you know your check-out time in advance or request a “late checkout.”
  • Early Check-Out Fee. The fee the hotel charges you if you check out more than 24 hours prior to your scheduled check-out date. For example, if you are scheduled to check out on July 26, but you decide to leave on July 25 instead, you might be charged an “Early Check Out Fee” that is equal to the cost of a  hotel reservation for one night.
  • Courtesy Block. This is a block of 10 to 20 hotel rooms that a hotel will hold for you (upon your request) without holding you financially responsible. If you don’t reserve all of the hotel rooms by the “cut off date” (see below), the hotel will return the unreserved rooms back into its general inventory for resale.
  • Guaranteed Hotel Room Block. A guaranteed hotel room block is typically required if you ask the hotel to hold more than 10 sleeping rooms per night for your wedding guests. It is definitely a less desirable hotel room block for weddings because you are financially responsible for the rooms not booked by your guests. If your wedding guests don’t book the number of “agreed upon” hotel rooms, the hotel will charge you an attrition (see below for the definition of Attrition) fee. We typically don’t recommend a guaranteed hotel room block unless it is for a destination wedding.
  • Cut-Off Date. The cut-off date is the deadline date to book the hotel rooms for your wedding. This deadline is typically 30 to 45 days in advance of your wedding day. After the “cut-off date” deadline, most hotels will remove the unreserved hotel rooms from your “hotel block” and place them back into the hotel’s general inventory for resale.  Before you sign the contract, I recommend that you ask about the availability of the hotel rooms after your cut-off date.
  • Attrition. When the number of hotel room reservations booked in a group’s hotel room block doesn’t meet the committed number of rooms noted in the contract, you are responsible for making up the difference financially. The difference is called “attrition.”   Here is an example —
    – You sign a contract for a guaranteed block of 40 hotel rooms.
    – The contract for your guaranteed block states that you are responsible for the payment of 90% of the 40 hotel rooms mentioned above.
    – Your hotel guests only book 30 (or 75%) of the 40 hotel rooms, not 90%.
    – Since you committee to 90%  You will be liable for paying for the remaining six (15%) hotel rooms in the guaranteed block.  That 15% is considered attrition.

Catering/Logistics —

  • F&B. F&B is an acronym used by event staff. It stands for Food & Beverage (or Catering).
  • A/V. A/V is an acronym used by event staff. It stands for Audiovisual. Audiovisual includes items such as a microphone, up-lights, a projector, a projection screen and wireless internet.
  • BEO. A BEO (also known as a Banquet Event Order) is a contract between the hotel and the client.  This contract outlines all of the details related to your wedding (ceremony and/or reception). The details may include services such as the set-up, audiovisual, and catering. It also serves as a roadmap for the hotel to use when executing your wedding day and communicating your needs to all of the hotel departments involved.
  • Plus, Plus. When a catering proposal says that your banquet dinner is going to cost “$100++” or “$100 plus, plus,” know that the “plus, plus” means “plus the service charge (or labor charge), plus the tax.” This charge applies to the food & beverage, audiovisual, bartender fees, room rental, and rental items. Always ask about the “plus, plus” when you are quoted a price at a hotel — If you don’t pay attention to the “plus, plus,” you could definitely bust your wedding budget.
  • Guaranteed Late Arrival. In order to make room for last-minute reservations, some hotels will cancel hotel reservations not checked-in after 6:00 p.m. If a guest knows that s/he is going to arrive at the hotel after 6:00 p.m., s/he can guarantee a hotel reservation by providing a credit card with the reservation. If the guest fails to arrive that day for his or her hotel reservation and they fail to notify the hotel, the hotel will more than likely charge the guest’s credit card for one night’s room rate. Note: Pay attention to the terms related to your reservation because your credit card might be charged if you don’t cancel your reservation at least 72 hours prior to your scheduled arrival date.

Love & Soul Always, Kawania



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