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How do I Handle Wedding Room Blocks?

Honey Dew Events answers your general room block questions from why to how.

Mirbeau Inn & Spa, photo by Erin Northcutt Photography; fall wedding

Most of the couples I work with live out of town, so a common conversation we have is about room blocks. Are they necessary? When do we book them? How many rooms do we need? Much like the rest of the planning process, the answers to these questions are different for e every wedding. However, I’ve compiled a list of general recommendations to get you started:

  1. If more than a third of your guests are out of town, yes, you need room blocks. Room blocks are meant to take the stress off of your out of town guests by contracting a predetermined price and set number of rooms that they can reserve from.

  2. Start by booking 10 rooms at two different hotels that are centrally located to your venue, for a total of 20 rooms. Choose two different types of hotels to accommodate different experiences that your guests may be looking for. For example, a middle of the road chain hotel that offers budget-friendly rooms, and an upscale hotel with spa and restaurant offerings for those guests making a weekend trip around your wedding. Your contact person at each hotel will keep a list of rooms booked and you may add to that block on an as needed basis. Most hotels are great about keeping you informed along the way, but it’s also a good idea to check in every few months to ensure that reservations are running smoothly.

  3. Reserve two nights in your room block. If your wedding party and/or immediate family is out of town, this means they will need somewhere to stay the night before the wedding day as well. They have prior obligations the day before, i.e. rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, so you want to make sure no one feels pressed for time or has to inconveniently book two separate rooms.

  4. Make sure the contract promises a “social room block.” A social room block takes the commitment out of the equation. If you don’t fill every room in the block, the rooms will simply be released to the general population typically 30-45 days before the event. With a social room block, you are not required to pay for any rooms that are not booked.

  5. Book your block(s) 10-12 months in advance. Giving your guests ample time to book is important, but this rule of thumb is most important to ensure that there are rooms available in the area. If you are getting married during high wedding season, your venue is located in a popular location, or there are few hotels to choose from, it’s important to check this off your list sooner rather than later. However, don’t be frustrated if you aren’t able to book more than 12 months in advance as many hotels don’t open their calendars up earlier than one year.

  6. Communicate the room block locations on your wedding website and/or invitation. When listing the locations, make sure you also offer a link to the reservation and/or the phrase guests should mention when making reservations over the phone. The direct link and/or phrase is what triggers the special rate reserved for your guests.

Do you have more questions about room blocks, or still feeling stuck on what to do about your particular wedding accommodations? I offer hourly consultations to answer questions such as these!


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