If you’re having guests travel from out of town for your wedding, it’s a nice gesture to help them find a place to stay throughout the festivities. Couples often put together a list of suggestions for places to stay in the area or work with local hotels to reserve a room block (a set number of rooms reserved for a discounted price) on behalf of their out-of-town guests. Check out our comprehensive guide on how to book hotel rooms for your wedding guests to learn the ins and outs of this sometimes-tricky task.

How to Choose Hotels for Your Wedding Guests

There are five simple factors that can help you determine what hotel(s) are right for your guests:

  1. Distance From Venue(s): Look for accommodations within walking distance, but not more than ten miles of your wedding venues(s).
  2. Number Of Out-Of-Town Guests: While you might not have all of your RSVPs in hand by the time you start thinking about where your guests will stay, you’ll want to estimate in advance how many rooms you’ll need to reserve for guests traveling from out of town.
  3. Amenities: Consider the amenities available at certain hotels that might make your guests’ stay more comfortable, such as an on-site restaurant, bar, or gym or shuttle services.
  4. Price Point(s): To be considerate of your guests’ budgets and preferences, it’s important to reserve rooms at a variety of price points. We recommend choosing options that increase in price in $50 increments.
  5. Reviews: Be sure to read plenty of reviews about the hotel before recommending it to your guests (or reserving room blocks) to help ensure that your guests will be comfortable during their stay.

To get started, explore accommodations in your area on Zola.

How to Book Hotel Rooms for Your Wedding Guests

Couples who decide to go with a hotel for their wedding accommodations will sometimes reserve room blocks at multiple hotels, at different price points, so that guests have options on how much they’d like to spend.

Wedding Hotel Booking Jargon

  • Closed/Guaranteed Blocks: A closed block is a set of rooms that you reserve and agree to pay for regardless of whether they are used—a “guaranteed” amount of money for the hotel. These rooms are usually filled by you and your spouse-to-be, the wedding party, and close relatives. They are often booked at a discounted rate because you’re booking multiple rooms at once.
  • Open/Courtesy Blocks: Open blocks, also known as courtesy blocks, are rooms that are made available by the hotel for your guests. Your guests pay for the rooms themselves and usually have to book by a certain date in order to take advantage of the room block and any associated discounted rate. The rooms that your guests don’t fill by the cut-off date are released and made available for anyone to book at the hotel’s regular rate.
  • Attrition Clause: When you are unable to fill all the rooms in a closed room block, there is a percentage-based fee associated with hotel’s estimated loss of business. This is sometimes called the “minimum commitment.”
  • Allowable Shrinkage: The maximum number of rooms that you can release from your closed or open room block without incurring an extra fee.

Ways to Book Wedding Hotels

  1. Online. Many large chain hotels offer the option to book a room block on their website. While it’s more convenient, the downside to this option is that it can be difficult to find answers to any questions you may have, and you forego the opportunity to negotiate rates.
  2. Over The Phone. Call the front desk and let them know you’d like to book a hotel block for a wedding. Most hotels are familiar with this process, so the representative should be able to walk you through each step. As we mentioned previously, this booking method is ideal for negotiating price.

Pro Tip: It’s best to reserve rooms with different bed sizes—king, queen, and single—to make sure that there are options to fit each guests’ needs.

Negotiation Tips

  • Go in with a plan. Make sure you’ve thought about what you’ll ideally get out of booking with this hotel, whether it’s a shuttle ride between the hotel and your reception, late-night bar access, or complimentary wifi and rooms on the same floor.
  • Be prepared to concede. Negotiation means compromise on both parts, so remember that you might not end up with absolutely everything you had hoped to secure with your hotel booking. You could get everything you wanted at a higher rate than you wished to pay, or fewer things at a more favorable rate.
  • Be prepared to walk away. If the hotel’s terms aren’t what you’re looking for and they are unwilling to negotiate, be prepared to end the conversation without a reservation. This hotel may not be a fit for you, or maybe you need to take some time to think it over before you book.
  • Make sure you’re talking to the person in charge. Your might end up speaking with someone who isn’t able to make specific adjustments to the hotel’s standard contract, so make sure you request to speak to someone who can make those decisions at the start.
  • Avoid mentioning your budget. It’s best not to mention a specific figure that you’ll be able to spend for a couple of reasons: 1) You could misjudge how much it costs to reserve a room block at this hotel; 2) The hotel might quote you rates at the top of your price range right away, leaving you with little room to negotiate down.
  • Ask nicely. When you’re discussing contract details, it can be tough to stay calm and kind. Our advice is to ask politely if there’s room to negotiate on the details that are important to you and to take your time before making any big decisions.

When to Book Hotel Rooms for Your Wedding Guests

The short answer is simple: book the hotel block as early as you can. Hotels tend to book up in popular areas quickly, so it’s best to get your event on the books well in advance of your wedding day. Bear in mind that the earlier you reserve your room blocks, the better the rate might be and the more time your guests have to book a room before the reservation cut-off date.

Questions to Ask When Booking Hotel Rooms for Your Wedding Guests

  1. What is your group rate for a closed/guaranteed room block?
  2. For how many nights is this rate applicable?
  3. Do you offer courtesy room blocks? What is the rate?
  4. Is there a minimum stay requirement?
  5. Is an allowable shrinkage clause included in our contract?
  6. Is there a maximum number of rooms we can book?
  7. Can we add more rooms to the block if we need to?
  8. What would the cut-off day be for our guests to take advantage of our hotel room block?
  9. Is there an attrition clause built into the contract?
  10. How can I pay for our closed/guaranteed room block? Do I need to pay all at once or can I pay in increments?
  11. Do you offer a discounted rate for a newlywed/honeymoon suite?
  12. What time is check-in? If necessary, could my guests check in early?
  13. What time is checkout?
  14. What amenities are complimentary with our stay (parking, breakfast, wifi, pool access)?
  15. Do you have spaces available for us to rent on-site (for a welcome cocktail hour, farewell brunch, etc.)?
  16. Is there a shuttle that our guests can make use of during their stay? Can we rent the shuttle for transport to and from our venue?
  17. Is it possible to leave wedding welcome bags for guests?
  18. Do you have a restaurant or bar on-site? What are the hours?

How to Share Hotel Information With Your Wedding Guests

Once you’ve secured your room blocks, share the details with your guests about where to book on your wedding website and/or on the details card in your invitation suite (if applicable). Make sure to include the following information for every hotel where you’ve reserved a block of rooms:

  • Hotel name, address, and phone number.
  • Your reservation name (“The Jones Wedding”).
  • Booking deadline.
  • Room rate (optional).