Hi! My fiancé and I are getting married May of 2023. We are having our ceremony and reception at the same place. The venue is almost exactly 1 hour from our home (and the majority of the guests). Our wedding is small. The guest list is 55 people. With that being said is it wrong of us to not block off/book rooms for guests with everyone being as close as they are?
First off, it is never your responsibility to book rooms because you will held financially liable if they are not filled. A courtesy block which is free to everyone sets aside a group of rooms but is not necessarily cheaper in some cases, people can get deals through their own research on Expedia or Trivago much cheaper for the same rooms. It is not a requirement to have a block and in some cases it is not practical. It’s a new trend that couples are pressured to follow and it works great for some but not others. If a block doesn’t work for you and your guests, don’t worry about it. People have finding their own lodging for years without issues before blocks came into existence so don’t stress.
I personally think guests are capable of finding their own lodging if they need/want it. Like Michelle said you can typically get a better deal on a travel site than with the hotel block code. We did a courtesy block just in case so we are not responsible for paying for any un-booked rooms.
If you're able to find a hotel that will setup a courtesy block, I recommend that! It wouldn't cost you anything, you wouldn't be held liable for unbooked rooms, and it gives your guests an option of a place to stay.
I agree with Lisa. I would call around to see if any hotels near your venue would set up a courtesy block (meaning you pay nothing for it, and are not responsible for unbooked rooms). Also, many hotels offer discounted rates for room blocks, so setting one up could save your traveling guests money. If you can’t find any hotels in the area that will offer a courtesy block, then I wouldn’t worry about it and would just let your guests find their own accommodations. With it only being an hour away, I’m sure a lot of guests will just drive home after the event anyway.
It might be worth calling a few hotels about a courtesy block if you hear on the grapevine that guests are planning on staying over—in my experience, courtesy block rates have been significantly cheaper than the lowest public rate, so it’d be a kind offer for your guests if possible!
The hotel block was one of the more stressful parts of wedding planning for me because 1) you are financially liable if it doesn’t fill 2) it was hard to find a block with enough rooms on my wedding weekend which was really popular (Oct 2021) and in a location that has a lot of weddings (wine country). If you can get by without it, don’t bother. One thing I did that I enjoyed and I recommend is I booked an Airbnb for me to stay at with my bridesmaids and hubby had one with his groomsmen and he joined me after wedding. Was super fun to have a spot to hang out to get ready at, for the after party, and to chill with people the day after the wedding.
We have a similar situation, us, and my FH's side are all 1-2 hours away, and my side is almost all flying in, so I did a hotel block (but we did at a hotel that offered a courtesy block, so we're not financially responsible for unbooked rooms), just to make sure that there was an option. We're getting married in a smaller town, so I didn't want there to be a situation where they ran out of rooms before guests were able to book.
A few of my guests said it's currently cheaper to book outside of the block and I told them to go ahead and do that!