One of the many responsibilities of wedding planning is reserving a block of rooms in a hotel for out-of-town guests—or for locals who want to spend the night so they can party without a worry. You might also need to include this in your planning list if you’re going to have a destination wedding. When it comes to booking hotel blocks for weddings, this bridal guide has all the details so you know what to do and what to avoid.
Find a Hotel
First and foremost, you need to find a hotel. To simplify this process, open your maps application of choice, such as Google Maps. In the app, you can type in the address of your ceremony or reception site and apply filters to view all the hotels that fall within set parameters. Ideally, the hotel should be no more than 20 minutes from the venue.
As you narrow your options based on distance, take time to review the ratings and accommodations of each hotel. Do you need to reserve a block in an extended-stay hotel with a kitchenette in each room, or are basic suites acceptable? If you’re having a destination wedding, people may be more inclined to stay longer and make a vacation out of the trip. Alternatively, if you solely need to meet the needs of some out-of-town individuals, standard suites are usually just fine.
Everyday Bride Tip
When looking at hotels, it’s important to evaluate prices to find a place offering a fair rate. Some hotels even offer wedding block packages and include transportation for guests on the day of the wedding.
Do: Know How Many Guests Will Stay
Let’s kick off the dos and don’ts of arranging hotel blocks for your wedding with something you should do—know how many rooms you’ll need!
Jot down the names of everyone you’re inviting to the wedding, then make a list of people who will likely stay at the hotel. Remember, this isn’t just for out-of-town guests; people who live fairly close by may also choose to spend the night.
Knowing this information can help you narrow down your hotel options, as most only allow you to block up to 30 rooms. However, some larger hotels may allow for more since they have the space to make this accommodation. Ideally, you should know precisely how many of your guests will stay at the hotel before you reserve rooms to ensure you don’t overdo it when scheduling.
Contact Your Guests
It’s always better to verify how many people will stay at the hotel rather than make assumptions. Guests who live only an hour away may opt to spend the night so they don’t have to make the long drive home after a night of partying. Reach out to the guests you believe will stay at the hotel to determine the number of rooms you will need, or request that they include that information when they RSVP.
Everyday Bride Tip
When evaluating your options, investigate whether each hotel has a required minimum number of rooms or length of stay. Some guests may choose to stay beyond the block date, which is often okay as long as they pay for the extra nights. Generally, hotels provide a discount to guests during the reserved dates.
Don’t: Wait Until the Last Second
While blocking rooms too early could mean wasted money if you overestimate how many guests will stay, waiting until the last second can create unnecessary stress for you and your guests. Ideally, you should reserve your hotel space three to eight months before your wedding. This gives you ample time to find out who will stay so you can book the appropriate number of rooms.
If you plan to get married during the height of wedding season in an area known for tourism, you may have to block off rooms even sooner. It’s best to call your preferred hotel as soon as possible to gauge how busy they typically are during the time of your wedding. If the hotel confirms that they are busier around the time your wedding occurs, reach out to guests sooner so you can reserve the correct number of rooms.
Do: Understand the Policy
When reserving a set number of rooms in a hotel, most planning experts strongly recommend that couples understand all aspects surrounding the room-blocking agreement. Most importantly, you should ask about the following:
- Cancelation fees
- Release dates for unsold rooms
- The amenities guests can expect
- Whether there’s an attrition clause
While discussing this, find out if there is a single point of contact you and your guests can reach out to if there are any questions. Occasionally, this is one of the wedding deposits you need to prepare for, as the hotel may request you pay upfront to ensure the rooms are reserved.
What’s an Attrition Clause?
An attrition clause refers to the minimum number of guests you must have when reserving rooms. Hotels won’t put a hold on rooms if you only need two or three—in this instance, guests can book their stays when making travel arrangements.
Everyday Bride Tip
It’s always best to have everything recorded on paper, so find out whether the hotel has a business contract you can sign to solidify the deal. Get a copy of the agreement and store it with your wedding paperwork.
Don’t: Forget About Transportation
Some hotels offer a driving service to shuttle guests between the venue and the hotel as part of the blocking package, but other times, transportation services involve an upcharge. As you evaluate your options, note the price of transportation and whether it’s included or an upgrade.
Hiring This Service
If the hotel doesn’t offer transportation services, consider hiring an outside company. Adequately planning wedding transportation for the bridal party and guests ensures everyone gets to and from the party safely and easily. If your hotel doesn’t offer this service, hire a shuttle or party bus driver to transport guests.
Everyday Bride Tip
When it comes to transportation services, most couples rent party vans or shuttles for guests. These options are often reasonably priced, and many guests can fit inside each vehicle.
A Tip for Out-of-Town Guests
Before your out-of-town guests arrive for the big day, compile a list of fun things they can do around the area. If people have to fly in or take a lengthy road trip, they might decide to stay a few extra days and they’ll need something to do. Consider a wide range of activities based on different interests and what’s popular in your area; for example, if you live in Chicago, you could list out the following:
- Top places to shop
- Delicious restaurants
- Fascinating museums
- Outdoor excursions
Add this information to your wedding website so everyone can easily access the details before and during their trip. While your wedding will definitely be the highlight of their vacation, it might not be the only thing they do. With a bit of guidance on where to go, their trip will become even more memorable.
Make Welcome Gifts
Many couples create welcome goodie bags and have hotel staff give them to guests as they check-in. There are all sorts of creative wedding welcome bag ideas for you to choose from, including a snack basket and a hangover kit. These gifts are a heartfelt way to thank guests who traveled from afar to support you on one of life’s biggest adventures.
A Final Note
Planning a wedding involves a lot of work, and there are countless details to focus on to ensure everything goes smoothly. As you evaluate hotels, remember to prioritize prices and each location’s distance from the wedding venue. If you know some of your guests will have an extended stay while others will not, you can book what the majority needs and provide recommendations for individuals who will only stay for a night or two.
Start looking at hotels early so you can book the needed number of rooms without feeling stressed and soak up every moment of premarital bliss!