Adam Bral and Anna Lewandowska had their guests in mind when they set up hotel blocks for their wedding.
The gorgeous victorian hotel seemed like the perfect place to make guest feel at home. But disaster struck when the couple later learned that, by court order, the hotel was shut down.
This little snafu made headlines when some of the guests ended up sleeping on the floor and in the bathrooms(!) Obviously this is a rare circumstance–but it does show how booking or not booking hotel blocks for a wedding can play a big role when it comes to planning, making your guests feel comfortable, and what kind of wedding arrangements make the most sense for you.
Do I need to book wedding blocks?
The answer, as always, is never a simple yes or no. Hotel blocks can be more useful for certain weddings over others. Many experts, however, consider it a courtesy to book hotels for out of town guests that may have to travel far and be unfamiliar with the area.
The reason is simple: by booking hotels, your guests will feel more at ease and like you really want them there–searching for hotels for some may feel at little onerous.
Of course, whether or not you need to book hotel blocks is up for debate. If you are having an intimate wedding, or inviting almost all in town guests, it’s probably not needed. But there are two circumstances when you really do need to look into hotel blocks for your wedding:
● Destination Weddings (either international, or a location that the majority of your guests will be flying to)
● A region or location that people would be unfamiliar with (remote, rural places)
● Cities that have very limited accommodations (busy holiday weekend, etc.)
Does booking a hotel block mean I have to pay for it?
Absolutely not. This is a common misconception. While it’s possible some couples with a very generous budget might opt, in certain circumstances, to pay for part or all of the accommodations (usually the bridal party, not the entire guest list), booking a hotel block has nothing to do with that.
Hotel blocks are simply ways of reserving spaces for guests. They also sometimes offer the incentive of discounts. And even if the idea of hotel blocking is driving your crazy, there are always resources to help–Guestboard offers resources to book their hotel rooms, with additional discounts and deals.
Are there different types of wedding blocks I should look out for?
One concern many couples have is that they will be responsible for any unused rooms. The good news is that isn’t the case if you know what to ask for. Most hotels should offer something that is called an open courtesy room block, which is created especially for special events like weddings.
Within these blocks, a good hotel will offer a discount rate which should be provided upon booking.
Contract blocks, though, are also common. While it may vary, contract blocks are usually required for blocks of over thirty rooms. So if you’re planning on booking for a lot of guests, you may have to go down this route.
If you do, you’ll need to be sure to understand the full terms of the contract, including:
● Deposit amount
● Cut-off date
● Cancellation Policy
How can I avoid a mishap?
Researching a hotel, its policies, and its discount rates is the best way. Be sure to book well in advance, and ask about a cancellation policy, or any fees you could be held responsible for so you avoid a hotel block mishap like Adam and Anna endured.
It may seem simple, but make sure guests actually know that reduced-rate rooms are available! A wedding website is static, but a central message board like Guestboard can be helpful, where you can post important updates and allow the guests to coordinate with one another if they want to split the cost of a room.
What are the options if I don’t go with a typical open courtesy block?
While in most cases an open courtesy block is ideal for a wedding, there is potential room for negotiation when you’re looking at signing a contract for a block. You should always shop around and gather quotes from other hotels. Be prepared to reference these quotes when talking to future hotels–you’d be surprised at how many places will be willing to negotiate the price, services provided (such as food or wine service or even free transportation to a venue) or flexibility in check-out times.
Looking for even more ways to help your guests save some money? The new Deals feature on Guestboard offers discounts on transportation, hotels, flights, clothing and more– everything a guest could need.