I don't believe your book does enough justice to this great resource I tapped into; the local convention and visitor bureau. This is an especially great resource if you are having a lot of out-of-twn guests. I called the Minneapolis CVB several weeks ago, first to ask if there was any major convention or event going on the weekend of my "event." Then, they asked what type of event I was planning, so I broke down and told them. Lo and behold, the representative said she would transfer me to the CVB's "wedding coordinator." This woman was a God-send! She immediately asked for key info about my event: the dates, how large a space I would need, type of reception and, most importantly, how many hotel rooms I would need.
Then, the wedding coordinator said she would create a blast e-mail to all the hotels in the area, effectively putting my event "out for bid." Since all the hotels would know other hotels got the same information, it creates a bit of competition. Sure enough, hotels started calling and emailing ME, instead of the other way around! They gave me great room rates, room blocks, reception space info, etc. I settled on a large downtown business hotel that offered me room rates of only $109 with free guest parking and a full reception package at $43 per person, including an open bar cocktail hour, hors d'oeuvres, champagne toast, seated dinner and free parking for guests. I even negotiated a lower food and beverage minimum and a $3 per person discount on the wedding package.
I would have never thought to even call this hotel because it is upscale, and I thought it would be way out of budget! I'd urge all brides to call their local CVB, especially if you tell them you need a block of hotel rooms. They also can give you free city guides for out-of-towners, maps and more. Please pass this tip onto other brides, especially those getting married in large metro areas.
-As seen in "Bridal Bargains," featured on Oprah.