These days many people travel far and wide to attend weddings and anything you can do to assist your guests with their travel arrangements is sure to be appreciated. While blocking off rooms at a hotel is an easy way to help out your guests, keep in mind that these days with AirBNB and hotel rewards programs, many of your guests will prefer to handle their own accommodations. So don’t feel that you need to please EVERYONE. The majority of your wedding guests are adults and will be able to get themselves to your city, book accommodations, and get themselves to the wedding, so don’t stress! However if you do choose to offer a block of rooms for those who’d rather not do their own research, here are some tips:
– Call a large variety of hotels about 9-12 months before your wedding date and ask what the rates are for a wedding block and compare. It’s best to choose 2 different hotels in 2 different price points.
– Go visit the hotels you plan to choose! You want to be sure there’s no massive construction or renovation happening and that the rooms and common areas are actually nice.
– Some hotels do charge for attrition so be sure to ask about it. What is an attrition charge? Basically it means that if you block a certain number of rooms, you are required to fill a percentage of that number or else you will be charged for any rooms you do not fill. Since very few hotels still charge for attrition, I usually advise my clients to go elsewhere and choose a different hotel if they come across this.
– Make sure to reserve a variety of room types such as king rooms, double or queen rooms, and suites.
– There is always a cut-off date, usually 3-4 weeks before your event date so be sure to let your guests know either on your save-the-date, or on your wedding website. Even still, you’ll find many guests completely forget and then call you 2 weeks before your wedding to tell you that the wedding block no longer exists and they don’t know what to do. Good times.
– Ask about hotel transportation. Some hotels have a shuttle that runs to and from the airport and some may have a shuttle that is available for use to the guests at anytime to bring them around the city. Huge bonus! But please don’t plan on using these types of shuttle services to bring your guests to and from your ceremony or reception. Often these shuttles only fit 6-8 people, and since anyone at the hotel is allowed to use it, the shuttle may not be available when your guests need to get to your ceremony. It’s a much safer idea to hire a large passenger shuttle for this purpose.
– Finally, make sure that whoever handles the room blocks at the hotel has all your contact information and will notify you if the room block fills up OR if the whole hotel is filling up so that you can adjust the number of rooms in the block if necessary.
Guests always appreciate the time and effort that couples put into making the wedding weekend as easy on everyone as possible. Once you’ve set up the room blocks and given your guests the information, step back and let them handle it from there. You’ll find that people will still have trouble, and try to call or email you to ask if you can find them a better rate at another hotel, or if the hotel offers childcare or has a pool, or how many miles it is from xyz tourist attraction, etc. If they do, just nicely email them back with the link to the hotel’s website, a phone number, and a link to Google maps. You can’t help everyone and play travel agent or you’ll drive yourself insane. After-all, you still have an entire wedding to plan!