Wedding Etiquette Forum

How to have guests pay us [Tactfully!] for their rooms that we had to prepay? (Destination wedding!)

Hi all, first poster here—but I can't seem to find a good solution to this, I'm wondering if anyone has any ideas; would be SO grateful! 

In short, we're having our wedding in Marrakesh, and we've privatized 3 riads (basically like local-style B&Bs) for our guests to stay. Unfortunately, though, the way it works there is that when you privatize a riad, we have to pay in one lump sum—the guests cannot pay the riad directly, and we definitely cannot afford to cover everyone's rooms! 

So we're looking for some sort of system/way to collect payment for rooms, but of course in a tactful way—we don't just want to ask guests to PayPal us/give us money directly, as that seems really tacky (even if we explain the situation, it's just awkward).

To complicate matters further, another thing with riads is that every room is unique (and we have 23 available rooms total), and accordingly have different price points. For this, we can either feature the room details on our SquareSpace site (time consuming, but would be more convenient for guests), or we could direct guests to see the room details on the riads' own websites.

In sum, has anyone else ever dealt with something like this (particularly any form of needing to collect money from your guests tactfully), or otherwise have any other ideas? Again, I would be SO grateful for any thoughts you all might have! 


All the best,
Ashley


PS — So far, the only ideas we've come up with are these, but they each present some possible issues:
  • SquareSpace/Stripe "business" payment: As noted above, we could do payment processing through our SquareSpace site, with each room listed as a sort of "product." But in this case, we'd need to keep a really close eye on each room as they're booked, and remove them from the site as soon as they're booked.
  • PayPal/new "business" bank account/LLC: This would be a bit of a pain/kind of roundabout, but we could set up a little LLC (with some name like "Marrakesh Riad Bookings" or whatever), and direct payments through that. Seems a little deceptive, though we'd be open about it—again, it just feels tacky if we're asking people to send money to us personally.
  • A real hotel booking system: This seems the hardest/maybe least affordable, but we could maybe find some sort of actual booking software/web tool. Kind of seems like overkill for this small purpose though! 
PPS — One last complication: It would be *really* ideal if guests could put down a ~30% down payment (as we had to do with the riads already ourselves), and pay the final remainder closer to the wedding. Especially with some guests being potentially nervous about COVID/shelling out the full amount upfront, this would be really helpful (and help our cash flow situation for other wedding expenses!)... but again, this makes creating some sort of payment system even more complicated! 

Re: How to have guests pay us [Tactfully!] for their rooms that we had to prepay? (Destination wedding!)

  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    akinseth said:
    Hi all, first poster here—but I can't seem to find a good solution to this, I'm wondering if anyone has any ideas; would be SO grateful! 

    In short, we're having our wedding in Marrakesh, and we've privatized 3 riads (basically like local-style B&Bs) for our guests to stay. Unfortunately, though, the way it works there is that when you privatize a riad, we have to pay in one lump sum—the guests cannot pay the riad directly, and we definitely cannot afford to cover everyone's rooms! 

    So we're looking for some sort of system/way to collect payment for rooms, but of course in a tactful way—we don't just want to ask guests to PayPal us/give us money directly, as that seems really tacky (even if we explain the situation, it's just awkward).

    To complicate matters further, another thing with riads is that every room is unique (and we have 23 available rooms total), and accordingly have different price points. For this, we can either feature the room details on our SquareSpace site (time consuming, but would be more convenient for guests), or we could direct guests to see the room details on the riads' own websites.

    In sum, has anyone else ever dealt with something like this (particularly any form of needing to collect money from your guests tactfully), or otherwise have any other ideas? Again, I would be SO grateful for any thoughts you all might have! 


    All the best,
    Ashley


    PS — So far, the only ideas we've come up with are these, but they each present some possible issues:
    • SquareSpace/Stripe "business" payment: As noted above, we could do payment processing through our SquareSpace site, with each room listed as a sort of "product." But in this case, we'd need to keep a really close eye on each room as they're booked, and remove them from the site as soon as they're booked.
    • PayPal/new "business" bank account/LLC: This would be a bit of a pain/kind of roundabout, but we could set up a little LLC (with some name like "Marrakesh Riad Bookings" or whatever), and direct payments through that. Seems a little deceptive, though we'd be open about it—again, it just feels tacky if we're asking people to send money to us personally.
    • A real hotel booking system: This seems the hardest/maybe least affordable, but we could maybe find some sort of actual booking software/web tool. Kind of seems like overkill for this small purpose though! 
    PPS — One last complication: It would be *really* ideal if guests could put down a ~30% down payment (as we had to do with the riads already ourselves), and pay the final remainder closer to the wedding. Especially with some guests being potentially nervous about COVID/shelling out the full amount upfront, this would be really helpful (and help our cash flow situation for other wedding expenses!)... but again, this makes creating some sort of payment system even more complicated! 

    Honestly, I can't see a way to do this that 1) isn't tacky and 2) doesn't set you up for problems.

    To the latter, what are you going to do if someone has to cancel? What if someone says they'll pay you next week but never does? You don't want to put yourself in a position of being a debt collector or eating costs when plan change. What do you do if you don't have enough bookings or you have too many? It puts you in such a bad position with friends and family.

    To the former, your ideas about setting up website business payment make it seem like you are going to be making money off this or that you're trying to hide that it's going to you. I'm assuming you wouldn't do that, but the implication is still there. Asking for paypal/venmo is at least transparent, but you're right that it feels wrong to be asking guests for money. 

    My strongest advice is to just not do this. Avoid putting yourself in a financial situation with guests. Don't privatize it at all. If you're concerned that rooms will be sold out early, you could share these as recommended accommodations and put a note that *rooms typically book X months in advance. If people don't get a room in time, they can find their own hotel or alternative option. 
    banana468charlotte989875climbingsingleJen4948
  • Since it seems from your post that you're perhaps already committed to the riads, can you hire the services of a travel coordinator/agent of some sort who could be your point person for this? If you are committed to this, you'll need to accept and plan for the cost of all of it, and if you receive any money from the people staying there to consider that as a bonus. It will undoubtly be a headache-inducing committment.
    charlotte989875ILoveBeachMusicshort+sassy
  • akinseth said:
    Hi all, first poster here—but I can't seem to find a good solution to this, I'm wondering if anyone has any ideas; would be SO grateful! 

    In short, we're having our wedding in Marrakesh, and we've privatized 3 riads (basically like local-style B&Bs) for our guests to stay. Unfortunately, though, the way it works there is that when you privatize a riad, we have to pay in one lump sum—the guests cannot pay the riad directly, and we definitely cannot afford to cover everyone's rooms! 

    So we're looking for some sort of system/way to collect payment for rooms, but of course in a tactful way—we don't just want to ask guests to PayPal us/give us money directly, as that seems really tacky (even if we explain the situation, it's just awkward).

    To complicate matters further, another thing with riads is that every room is unique (and we have 23 available rooms total), and accordingly have different price points. For this, we can either feature the room details on our SquareSpace site (time consuming, but would be more convenient for guests), or we could direct guests to see the room details on the riads' own websites.

    In sum, has anyone else ever dealt with something like this (particularly any form of needing to collect money from your guests tactfully), or otherwise have any other ideas? Again, I would be SO grateful for any thoughts you all might have! 


    All the best,
    Ashley


    PS — So far, the only ideas we've come up with are these, but they each present some possible issues:
    • SquareSpace/Stripe "business" payment: As noted above, we could do payment processing through our SquareSpace site, with each room listed as a sort of "product." But in this case, we'd need to keep a really close eye on each room as they're booked, and remove them from the site as soon as they're booked.
    • PayPal/new "business" bank account/LLC: This would be a bit of a pain/kind of roundabout, but we could set up a little LLC (with some name like "Marrakesh Riad Bookings" or whatever), and direct payments through that. Seems a little deceptive, though we'd be open about it—again, it just feels tacky if we're asking people to send money to us personally.
    • A real hotel booking system: This seems the hardest/maybe least affordable, but we could maybe find some sort of actual booking software/web tool. Kind of seems like overkill for this small purpose though! 
    PPS — One last complication: It would be *really* ideal if guests could put down a ~30% down payment (as we had to do with the riads already ourselves), and pay the final remainder closer to the wedding. Especially with some guests being potentially nervous about COVID/shelling out the full amount upfront, this would be really helpful (and help our cash flow situation for other wedding expenses!)... but again, this makes creating some sort of payment system even more complicated! 

    Yikes. 

    A few questions- do your guests have to stay in the riads or can they book elsewhere? If you don’t privatize/ rent the entirety of the riad canneople not from your wedding book there? Can your guests book directly?

    if this is truly the only lodging I think your best bet is to hire a coordinator (or the owner of the lodging) to directly coordinate payments. This takes you as the middle-man out of the equation and you’re not on the hook for managing your guests stays. If that’s not possible I think you budget to pay the costs of the riad into your total cost. I just don’t see any other way to tactfully ask your guests to pay you. 
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Ninth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    I think, unfortunately, you have to either hold your wedding elsewhere or adjust your wedding budget for the costs of the riads and be prepared to treat them as unrecoverable regardless of whether your guests stay in the riads. There's no polite or tactful way to ask your guests to pay you for any of the costs of their hospitality.

    ei34charlotte989875
  • ei34ei34 member
    Ninth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    If there's a way to back out of the riads I would.  Guests are normally responsible for paying for their own hotel rooms, but I don't think there is a tactful way to ask guests to pay you directly.  Are the riads the only lodging for hundreds of miles?  
    MyNameIsNotcharlotte989875
  • akinsethakinseth member
    First Comment
    edited January 13
    Thanks all, but unfortunately the riads and desert venue are already booked/we're definitely not able to change at this point, and guests do know they're paying for their own rooms (and are very excited for the destination/vacation and about the riads—everyone wants to pay for the most expensive ones!). So people are in the loop/totally on board (and it's only about 50 guests total), but I just don't love the aesthetic options.

    That said, after giving it some thought, I think the best solution will be to use our SquareSpace wedding site and repurpose the "store"/booking "business" features to list each room as a separate "product," with all the images and info for each one—and then each time one is selected, that one will be sold out automatically. This way there's no obvious/tacky "you're sending money to the hosts" or confusion over who's getting what room/who booked first; it'll basically function like a booking platform (albeit a labor-intensive one for me!!).

    But anyway, I'm very grateful for all your thoughts and definitely understand where you guys are coming from! I'll keep your thoughts in mind as I design this feature as "tactfully" as possible :smile:
  • maine7mobmaine7mob Maine, USA member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments Third Anniversary First Answer
    I know it's hard to avoid the tacky implications of this, but I think you've come up with a good solution. The hotel thing is one reason I'm not a fan of DW; they kind of blur the line between host and guest responsibilities. But the truth is that it isn't tacky to expect guests to pay for their accommodations, however they are set up, so you don't need to feel bad about this.

    I think I would encourage future couples who are planning DW to just make a list of places the guests can book, and to refrain from getting involved in making paid reservations whenever possible.
    short+sassy
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