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How are you getting deposits?

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So we found an all-inclusive rate we like and have a great group rate. We have to either give them a deposit of $1,000 or have each person attending give $25.00 to hold the rooms at the rate we found. 
We are trying to find the best way to deal with this deposit. $1,000 is a lot of money to give up front. Would it be in poor taste to just ask everyone for the $25.00 pp deposit right away? We haven't even sent save the dates yet so I'm thinking it's tacky to just say "Hey I know I haven't sent you any invites yet but can you give me $25 pp if you think you are coming?" 
So how did you guys go about putting a deposit on group rates and such? Did you just put money down on your own or did you collect the money from everyone first. 
For those who put the deposit down yourself, did you put the information on the save-the-date and then request the dates have deposits in by a certain date? Did you request they write a check to you so you can get the money back?
Just trying to figure out the best way to do it. 

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