As you meticulously plan every detail of your wedding to ensure a flawless ceremony and reception, there’s another essential aspect that deserves your attention: accommodations for your guests.
Welcoming your loved ones from near and far means ensuring their comfort and convenience throughout the weekend. This is where setting up a room block comes into play! An often overlooked yet crucial component of your wedding planning process, proper accommodations can elevate your guests’ experience while traveling to celebrate your love.
To ensure you’re prepared to set up a room block for your big day, we asked a handful of industry experts to share their best tips. Here’s what they had to say.
Since it’s an easy task, setting up a room block might fall to the bottom of your to-do list. However, it’s vital to check this one off as soon as possible so you aren’t left scrambling closer to your wedding day!
“Contact the hotels as early on as possible to find out if the hotel has enough rooms to accommodate the number of anticipated guests you believe will need a room,” advises Kelley Nudo of Momental Designs. “If the hotel does not have enough rooms to accommodate the number of rooms your guests will potentially need, you might want to consider setting up a second room block at another location.”
Greg Carlyle of Millennium Event Center concurs with a word of caution: “If your wedding falls during a holiday or if there is a major local event occurring that weekend, be sure to book your rooms as early as possible. The sales department can keep you up to date on reservations so you’ll know if you need to reserve more rooms.”
To keep it simple and stress-free, aim to set up your room block months in advance so guests have time to get their reservations in with plenty of time.
Though you may want to book the hotel closest to your venue, it’s wise to visit the property before making any reservations. This way, you can get a feel for the space and its amenities.
“Before you book a block of rooms at a hotel, ask the hotel sales staff to take you on a site visit,” recommends Kawania Wooten of Howerton+Wooten Events. “Ask to see what a hotel room looks like. Does it look fairly new or run down? Is the bathroom clean? How does the hotel room (and the hallways) smell? Keep your guests’ experience in mind because their experience at the hotel is an extension of your overall wedding experience.”
Visiting your preferred hotel beforehand will give you peace of mind knowing your guests will have an enjoyable experience while they’re in town to celebrate you.
Understand your commitment
Weddings already come with a steep price tag — the last thing you want is to tack on a bill for unreserved rooms at the end of it. To avoid unnecessary expenses, confirm you have enough people staying in the hotel block and read the fine print before finalizing your reservation.
“Be careful when setting up your room block, as you don’t want to over-commit, and you don’t want to under-commit,” warns Cathy O’Connell of COJ Events. “You are usually committed to selling at least 90% of the rooms you book, or you must pay for those that don’t sell. Review your guest list carefully to determine who will stay where you tell them to stay, and then add a percentage more.”
Vijay Goel of Bite Catering Couture agrees, with a note of encouragement to “make sure you’re signing up for a room block minimum that you’re comfortable with so you don’t end up holding the bill for unbooked rooms.”
So before calling any hotels, take a moment to walk through your guest list and confirm who will need a room. A solid ballpark figure should suffice!
Delegate the task
Setting up a hotel block shouldn’t take up too much of your time, but having someone else take over is okay if you’ve got enough on your plate. Consider asking a close family member or friend to help you if you’re stuck.
“A simple call to the hotel and speaking with a manager will reserve rooms for the wedding weekend,” notes Sarah Jobe of Twickenham House and Hall. “Although this is an easy task for the couple to arrange, delegating this detail to a family member or friend is a simple way for them to feel involved and valued when planning the big day.”
Stress is the enemy of wedding planning, so if you need a break, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of your loved ones for help.
Include information with your invites
Once you set up your hotel block, it’s time to let your guests know it exists and how they can secure a room. Including it on your wedding website is a great start, but you’ll also want to provide details inside your invitations.
“My clients print accommodation cards and insert them into their invitation suite,” reveals Lilia Shatnaya of Plume and Stone Invitation Studio. “The information usually has when to book the hotel by, how to contact the hotel, the room code, and information on whether or not the hotel will provide a shuttle to and from the venue.”
The more informed you keep your loved ones, the better your chance of ensuring your room block gets filled. (And the easier it is for your guests to plan!)
Keep in touch with your hotel
To avoid paying for unused rooms, check in with your hotel to see how the room block is progressing. That way, you’ll know whether rooms are filling up or if you need to follow up with certain family and friends with a friendly reminder.
“It’s important to keep up with who is booking where,” emphasizes Keith Willard of Keith Willard Events. “Ask your hotel salesperson to send you monthly reports so you know who has booked and who hasn’t. If you have an uncle or a brother that is notorious for being late in booking, you’ll get a head start when you don’t see their name!”
And remember—if contacting different guests about their lodging is stressful, ask a close family member or friend to help you make the rounds.
Setting up a room block for your wedding is a testament to your thoughtfulness and care for your guests. By ensuring they have a place to stay, you allow them to fully immerse themselves in the magic of your wedding, forging connections and creating memories that will linger long after the confetti has settled!
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.