After a couple decides on Congress Hall as a wedding location, they often ask what they should start working on first. Most of the wedding magazines will tell you to book your band, photographer and florist right away (and don’t forget the dress!), and they’re certainly right. However, at Congress Hall we feel that the Save-the-Date cards are, or should be, just as much of a priority as these items, and if you’re debating whether they’re worth the time and effort, consider the following as you make your decision about doing them.
Cape May is a charming town, known for its quaint shops, beautiful bed and breakfasts and romantic restaurants; many couples choose this town for a wedding location because it offers so many amenities but still retains an intimate, small town feel. While these traits are certainly advantages for a wedding, it’s also very important to keep in mind that a small town means smaller hotels, fewer (if any) chain establishments and seasonal operation hours. For weddings booked during the very height of the season (June through September), that means more visitors in town looking for accommodations. For weddings held more in the off-season (October through April) that can mean fewer businesses are open, including hotels. This is why Save-the-Dates are so important-while you want people to keep your wedding date in mind for the event, you can also use these as an opportunity to remind people to reserve accommodations sooner rather than later. Some couples will list accommodations information on the Save-the-Date itself; others will include a separate card for suggestions in the envelope. Either way is great, as long as you draw attention to rooming options and encourage early reservations. Of course, Congress Hall has a room block set aside for you-keep in mind that the rooms are held until either three or five months before the wedding (depending on your wedding date), so if guests try to book after the block is released, they will risk higher stay requirements, as well as potentially higher rates. Therefore, listing our timeline and reservation phone number is a helpful heads-up to guests.
Aside from our properties (keep in mind our cottages, which are three story homes half a block away from CH, and perfect for a bridal party or large family-special wedding rates are available for most of the year), many couples research other hotels in the area-many local hotels are open to room blocks held at their properties for weddings not being held on their sites. Also refer guests to www.capemay.com – the Accommodations Section of the website is amazing and is broken down by type of property (i.e. full house rentals, B&Bs, large hotels) so that your guests can research what works best for them. Remember, there are many options around town, but it is a town, rather than a large city, so encourage people to keep that in mind.
Aside from the practical purposes of sending Save-the-Dates, these are a great way to introduce people to the theme, colors or tone of your wedding and we’ve included a few of our favorites in with this post. KC and Eli paid homage to the charming, Victorian heritage of Cape May, sending out Cape May postcards as Save-the-Dates. Ali and Sean loved the town so much they listed all of their favorite places and features on the piece. Nicole and Tony designed custom pieces featuring our property as well as themselves on our lawn, all done in a fun and colorful way that fit perfectly with their great personalities. Each of these proved that, even though Save-the-Dates need to be functional, they can also be really, really fun, and a great way to get creative before it’s time to pick out invitations and other printed items like menu cards.
Bottom line: if you have a lot of folks travelling to Cape May, doing Save-the-Date cards are extremely helpful for those looking for a room. If you do decide to send them, we suggest doing so at least 6-8 months before the wedding, giving folks plenty of time to start researching overnight stay options.