hotel room with towels and flower on bed to welcome wedding guests

Wedding Room Blocks: The Ultimate Guide

Jul 10, 2023
By Wedding Spot

Wondering how to book wedding room blocks at a hotel or other venue? It turns out that this seemingly simple process actually has an art and a science behind it. Wedding Spot interviewed a handful of experts from the wedding, travel, and hotel industries to give you insider tips on how to perfect this process. Keep reading to learn how you can get the best possible rate and avoid headaches from common mistakes.

What are wedding room blocks?

A wedding room block is a reservation of a grouping of rooms (typically 10 or more) that are usually near each other at the same hotel or venue. Typically, the couple or their planner is in charge of reserving the block at a fixed rate, while the guests are then responsible for booking — and paying for — their individual rooms separately.
As stated in Wedding Spot’s interview with expert wedding planner Lynne Goldberg of Ms. Wedding Planner, utilizing room blocks is highly recommended.

“It is always better to have guests in a block of rooms so the weekend of the wedding the host or planner can address any issues that arise, knowing where the guests and wedding party are residing,” said Goldberg.

Not only that, but room blocks are also a great way to:
● Organize transportation to and from the wedding venue(s)
● Provide a home base for everyone
● Give guests space to mix and mingle outside of wedding events

Plus, booking a hotel room block for a wedding may even involve some perks for couples.

“If the bride and groom are staying in the same hotel as the block,” Goldberg said, “it is a good idea to see if the hotel would be willing to give the bride and groom a free night for every 10 or 20 nights booked in the block or upgrade their room to a suite or an oceanfront view or send up champagne to their room.”

All hotels offer different incentives, so it’s important to check with the sales representative and get the agreement in writing when the room block is contracted. But before you get to that part, there are a handful of steps in between you should know about.

Benefits of creating room blocks for your wedding guests

Creating a room block for your wedding guests has many benefits. Not only will it help them save money on their hotel stay, but it will also help ensure that they don’t miss out on any special events associated with your wedding day. Plus it gives you a chance to extend your wedding theme through welcome gifts or favors (like these eco-friendly ones) and create more opportunities for bonding.

There’s also the savings. Room blocks allow you as the host or coordinator to negotiate better rates than would be available if guests were to book on their own. Choosing hotels in advance will also ensure that all of your guests arrive on time and are able to attend the wedding without unnecessary hiccups.

Additionally, having a room block will make it easier for you to keep track of who is attending your wedding. You can easily check in with the hotel to see who has booked a room and who has not. Room blocks also make it easier for your guests to coordinate with each other and make plans for the wedding weekend.

How many rooms to block for your wedding

While it is difficult to predict exactly how many rooms your wedding will require, it’s important that you book enough ahead of time in order to accommodate all of your guests. If you’re unsure, you can divide the total number of guests by either two or three depending on the number of people in each room (i.e., for 150 guests, book 75-100 rooms). When booking additional rooms for family or friends of the bride and groom, keep in mind that none of the rooms should be over- or under-booked.

Consider the location of the hotel when booking rooms for your wedding. If the hotel is located in a popular tourist destination, it may be more expensive than other hotels in the area. If the hotel is in a remote area, it may be difficult for some of your guests to get to the hotel.

One of the most common problems with wedding room blocks is empty rooms at the end of the night. To avoid this, communicate frequently with each group booking through your block so that everyone is aware of any changes that might occur. Reach out to guests who have not yet booked and remind them about the deadline for booking rooms at your discounted rate.

Make sure that the people you’re waiting on are for sure booking within your block. Reach out to the hotel ASAP if they change their minds!

Couple with a bouquet seeing the sky

Wedding room blocks made simple with Wedding Spot

Learn more

9 pro tips to make booking wedding room blocks a breeze

Take notes on these tips from our interviews with expert wedding planners and travel consultants from across the United States.

1. Use a search tool

Just like couples trying to pick a wedding venue, we recommend using technology to make your room block search a little easier. Wedding Spot recently launched a new hotel room block feature that allows couples to search, request, and select a hotel — all without leaving our website. Users can sort by location, number of guest rooms, and more to narrow down their top options and then send a proposal request with the click of a button.

2. Book your room blocks ASAP

In an interview with Wedding Spot, Thomas Beaman, the owner and operator of professional wedding planning and photography business PA Unveiled, gave this pro tip: “Most hotels allow blocks to open up one year in advance. As soon as you have confirmed your wedding date and wedding venue, contact multiple hotels to get rates. Booking your room block early will give you a better chance at locking in a lower rate, and will give your wedding guests more time for planning travel.”

He also noted that most wedding room block quotes are only valid for a short period of time, so it’s good to make your final decision within that frame.

3. Get an idea of who will need accommodations

You might want to get an estimate of the number of guests who may choose to utilize the room block(s) is to attach a Google Form, Survey Monkey, or other polling service link to your wedding website. This will spare the stress of potentially under-filling — or over-filling — the room block. The wedding website is also usually where couples include room block details after the block is reserved, so it makes sense to use it as a one-stop-shop for all things room block-related.

4. Strategize your outreach

Beaman said that when you message or call hotels to ask about room blocks, group hotel sales representatives often follow a script. Here’s what you should say to get the best rate:
Don’t state your budget. When they ask for your wedding budget, say you’re still figuring it out — even if you have one in mind. The sales rep won’t be able to upsell you to the next package, and instead will give you information on the full range of services available. Plus, your budget may change and you don’t want to waste this valuable research time.
Be open about comparing deals. Beaman also recommended to “let them know that you are reaching out to multiple hotels to figure out the best rate, and to see what services are offered.” Mention this casually at the beginning of your communications — if you wait to say it, it might come off as a sneaky bargaining tactic rather than an honest fact. They know you’re doing it, but stating this upfront can persuade them to get to the best offer sooner rather than later.
Price match their competitors. “Once you get those initial rates and any perks that the hotel offers, do not be shy about calling the other hotels to see if they can offer something similar or even better,” Beaman said. “Depending on the area, you might have a chance to save some money for your guests by doing this.”

When we asked Breanne Kiefner, the owner of travel company Root Adventures, for her advice, she said, “Ask for what you want … sales managers work on commission. There are only so many rooms available, so even on popular weekends, your sales manager is competing with their associates for the rooms available. If you need a cheaper rate, ask for it!” Trust us: Your guests will appreciate it.

5. Understand the different types of room blocks

There are two main types of room blocks: Guaranteed blocks and courtesy blocks.

Guaranteed, also known as confirmed or closed, room blocks require a contract, and those contracts often include additional fees or penalties for cancellations. And, most importantly, couples will be on the hook for some — or all — of the rooms that don’t book.

In an email to Wedding Spot, accredited wedding planner Lynne Kennedy of The Gilded Aisle Weddings Inc. said, “The contract will state what percentage of the block must be booked which typically ranges from 90% to 100%. For example, a contract for 10 room nights with a 90% guarantee requires 9 rooms to be booked. If only 8 rooms are booked, the client will be responsible for paying for that ninth room.”

Courtesy blocks, on the other hand, are a no-commitment option the sales representative may offer. NYC wedding planner and founder of Modern Rebel Shack Egan told Wedding Spot that “a courtesy room block is anywhere between 10-20 rooms that are set aside for your guests usually until a cut-off date. … You are not responsible financially if none of them are booked, it's just a courtesy!”

The tradeoff? “The hotel will most likely release the unbooked rooms (at current market rate) to other customers 30-60 days prior to the date,” said Beaman. So if you don’t mind taking this risk, consider maximizing your flexibility using this tactic.

6. Understand attrition

When we interviewed Keith Willard of Keith Willard Events, he said that attrition is one of the most important things to keep in mind when negotiating room blocks.

“[What] is attrition? Attrition basically means that the hotel is going to forgive a percentage of your unused room block rooms. If you have an attrition of 20% with a room block of 10 room nights, then really you are only financially responsible for 8 of them. I've seen an attrition clause go up to 30%, but most of the time it's going to be 10% or 20%. You want to make sure you have attrition. It's an item that most couples will miss because you don't know what you don't know.”

When you finalize your top hotel choices, ask if attrition is already baked into the contract and what the rate is. Then, consider counter offering with a rate that is 5-10% lower than that.

7. Book wedding room blocks at multiple hotels

Beaman said that booking 2-3 hotels has two main benefits:
Price. Give multiple options for your guests to choose from so they can choose the work within their own budget. “The price should be a difference of at least $50 between the lowest price and the highest price hotels,” Beaman said.
Perks. “Many hotels offer a free room or suite to the couple if they fill up their room block,” Beaman said. “By getting a room block at a second or third hotel, you increase your chances of getting these same perks for parents or grandparents if those blocks fill up.”

But again, when booking, make sure you know the hotel’s policy. Know the minimum number of rooms required to book; contract details, such as cancellation policies; and any perks the hotel may offer for booking a room block. Bring up your concerns and questions before committing.

8. Spot-check your options

Melanie Levin, travel consultant and owner and principal planner of LuckEleven Events, told us that couples should get input from their parents or closest family members before they make their final decision.

“I'd recommend doing a spot-check with important family members to see if they would be interested in staying at the hotel you choose. This will give you an idea of how many guests would choose the room block as well,” Levin said.

9. Auto-schedule guest reminders

Most hotels have a cut-off date for room block booking. Even if you share this information with your guests in your initial instructions or on your wedding website, set up an automated reminder either using an email feature like Google’s built-in scheduler or through a free text message service such as Scheduled.

When should you send it? It depends, but Beaman offered this advice: “If the hotel tells you that rooms will be released to the general public 30 days before your wedding date, you will want to send your guests a message two weeks prior to that date reminding them to book their rooms if they have not done so.”

Things to consider when choosing a hotel for your wedding room blocks

When it comes to choosing a hotel for your wedding room blocks, there are several factors to consider.

First, the size of the hotel and how many rooms they have, in order to ensure that there are enough rooms for all of your guests. You should also factor in the amenities, like a fitness center, swimming pool, or onsite restaurants and bars.

Another key factor is the location. Try to select a hotel situated near the wedding venue or other attractions so that your guests have easy access to the area if they wish to explore.

It’s also important to consider the cost of the hotel rooms. Make sure the hotel is offering a reasonable rate for your guests, as well as any discounts or special offers that may be available.

You should inquire about any additional fees that may be associated with booking a room block, such as a service fee or a minimum number of rooms that must be booked.

Finally, you should research the hotel's policies regarding cancellations and refunds. Make sure that your guests will be able to cancel their reservations without penalty if their plans change. And don’t forget to ask about any additional services the hotel may offer, such as a shuttle service or a complimentary breakfast!

Finding budget-friendly accommodations

Yes, you can find wedding room blocks even on a tight budget. Here are some ways to get the best possible price:
● Before you book any rooms, talk to your wedding planner, or contact different hotels in your area to compare rates
● Ask about any discounts the hotel may offer as well as any extras they can provide for large group bookings
● If you are having a destination wedding, you may want to look for hotels that have easy public transport available to the more popular (and expensive) parts of the location. For example, hotels located off of the Vegas strip are typically more affordable than those that are right on it and require a less than 20-minute car ride to the main attractions
● While researching hotels, it’s important to negotiate rates upfront with each hotel you’re considering. Factors such as location, size of the hotel, amenities, and overall reputation are things you can use when negotiating the room block rate
● Check to see if the hotel offers early bird booking discounts for your guests
● Ask about incentives, such as free parking or discounted meals and drinks at the hotel’s restaurant or bar
● Bundle your room blocks with an event space booking for your rehearsal dinner or wedding welcome party

What to include in your room block agreement with the hotel

Before booking any rooms at a hotel, review the terms of your room block agreement. Be sure to read through the agreement carefully and look for any hidden fees or potential problems. Some important items that should be included in your agreement include:
● guaranteed occupancy
● minimum stay requirements
● blackout dates
● cancellation policy
● group discount rate
● amenities
● complimentary items
● any additional information pertinent to the room block at your specific hotel

You can also ask if there is any fine print about room block bookings most guests overlook.

How to ensure guests have a positive experience when booking through your wedding room blocks

In order to make sure that your wedding guests have a positive experience when booking their rooms through your room block, you’ll need to provide them with clear directions about how to book. You should also give them plenty of time to do so!

Include your room block reservation link or reservation code when sending out invitations and any additional information your guests need to know in order to book their room easily. Post reminders on social media and email guests with detailed, clear, and simple instructions about how to book their rooms.

Make sure you’re available to answer any questions that your guests may have about the booking process. If you have a wedding website, you can include a FAQ page with answers to common questions about the room block.

Hotels should provide easy to use room block management tools (such as Cvent’s Passkey) to help them simplify the booking process while also keeping track of rooms still available.

Last but not least, provide a contact email or phone number for the hotel itself so that guests can reach out to the staff if they have any questions or need assistance with booking their room.

Now you know all about wedding room blocks!

It takes some great research and negotiation skills to navigate hotel room blocks for weddings. But with this helpful advice, you’ll get rates and rooms everyone will love.
Up next, boost your wedding planning knowledge even further with these wedding budget tips.

Featured Blog

Follow Us


Wedding Spot

Wedding Spot

The Wedding Spot blog is designed to help couples navigate every step of the wedding planning journey. From before the engagement to after you say “I do,” our goal is to give you the tips, ideas, and inspiration to prepare for your big day — and all that comes with it.