Today we're exploring the world of room blocks. There's a very good chance that at least some, if not most, of your guests will be traveling to your wedding. Even locals may want to make it a special night out and stay the night at a nearby hotel. Most guests traveling will need at least two nights. Keep in mind that check in is at 3pm and most weddings start around that time. Guests will need time to check in and travel to your wedding venue. They may want to do this the night before and make a weekend out of it.
You'll want to start this process fairly early to make sure you guarantee rooms, especially if you are getting married during peak season in a popular area of town. The first step will be counting how many rooms you will need. Count as if everyone is showing up. Remember to count couples and families as one room. Most hotels do a 10 room minimum.
There are two types of room blocks. A courtesy room block and a guaranteed room block.
Courtesy Room Block - You a setting up a pre-negotiated rate, which your guests will pay, and setting aside a block of rooms until a specific date close to your wedding. After this date, the rooms to on sale to the general public. You are not financially responsible for any rooms not sold.
Guaranteed Room Block - You a setting up a pre-negotiated rate, which your guests will pay, and setting aside a block of rooms until a specific date close to your wedding. After this date, the rooms to on sale to the general public and you are responsible for paying for the rooms that are not sold.
We highly recommend going for a courtesy room block to avoid any unforeseen financial responsibility. Most hotels won't do a courtesy room block for more than 30 or 40 rooms. If that's the case and you need more rooms than that, consider booking two hotels.
When choosing hotels, consider proximity and price. You want a hotel as close as possible to your wedding venue to limit travel (more on this later). When comparing costs for your hotel room block the average rate should be between $100 -$200. Take into account where your guests might be financially. You may also choose to do two hotels, one on the higher end, one on the lower end. Instead of shopping around, use one of these websites to help narrow down your search:
If it works in your budget, you may want to also consider transportation for your guests to and from the venue. Most transportation companies hire with a minimum of four hours. You can hire them to be available to take your guests to the venue and return them to the hotel throughout the night (that way if Grandma and your sister with four kids wants to leave early, they can.)
It also doesn't hurt to ask the hotel if they are willing to distribute welcome bags to each room or at check in. Some hotels also offer perks based on how many rooms you book. Always ask. You never know what you might be missing out on unless you ask.
You will want to announce to your guests in your invitations (or around the time you send your invites) that there will be a room block available. You can do this with an accommodation card in the invite with details, your room block code (which you receive when you reserve), and any transportation information. These details would do well to go on your website under travel too.
Finally, if you don't have enough guests to make the minimum 10 room block, giving a list of local hotels to your guests is helpful. For example, for my wedding (50 guests), most of our guests are staying onsite at the venue (a large Airbnb). We need less than the minimum 10 rooms so we are providing transportation for the last four hours of the wedding to two popular intersections in the area with multiple hotel options at each stop.
As always, if you have any questions regarding anything in this blog post, please feel free to reach out. We love answering questions and are happy to help! We hope this post was helpful in checking off the "Travel and Accommodations" part of your wedding checklist.