wedding guests in elevator
Embassy Suites by Hilton Minneapolis Airport

Whether you’re hosting 20 or 200 out-of-town guests, blocking hotel rooms for your wedding is definitely worth researching. Basically, you’ll be able to reserve a block (or group) of rooms for your wedding guests at the same hotel. No one else can book these rooms while they’re on hold for your event. It’s really a win-win—your guests won’t have to endlessly research where to stay for your wedding (and will often receive a discounted room rate), and you’ll love the convenience of having all of your loved ones at the same one or two hotels. 

Here’s everything you need to know about blocking hotel rooms for your wedding, from getting started to timing to communicating with your guests. 

Should you block hotel rooms for your wedding?

If you’re hosting more than 20 out-of-town guests, we definitely recommend blocking hotel rooms for your wedding. By blocking hotel rooms, you’re essentially promising to fill the rooms for the agreed-upon timeframe (often the night before and the night of your wedding). Most hotels have a 10-room minimum to reserve a room block, so you’ll want to make sure that at least 10 groups of guests will stay at a hotel for your wedding weekend. 

How do you find hotels where you can book room blocks? 

Couples who are hosting a smaller wedding (150 guests or fewer), likely only need to reserve room blocks at one hotel. Those hosting larger weddings may want to book room blocks at two or more hotels, making sure that one, if not both, is affordable for your budget-conscious guests. If you’re getting married at a hotel or other venue that has accommodations, talk to the venue manager about reserving a block of hotel rooms for your wedding guests—and giving those who reserve early a discount. 

If you’re getting married elsewhere, look for hotels near your venue and give them a call to learn more about their pricing and room block policies—there are also online room block services that can do some of this legwork for you. Once you’ve narrowed down the list, you may want to visit these hotels in person to make sure the rooms and facilities are to your liking. There are also online room blocks services that can help connect with hotels near your venue. 

What’s the difference between courtesy and contracted room blocks? 

As you’re researching hotels, you might hear the terms “courtesy” and “contracted” tossed around—but what do they mean? Well, a courtesy room block is a group of rooms that are held for your guests for a set period of time—you may or may not have to sign a contract and you don't have to put down a deposit to reserve these rooms. After a predetermined cut-off date passes, the rooms will be released to the public. Courtesy blocks are often reserved for smaller groups of under 30 rooms. 

If you’re hoping to reserve more than 30 rooms at a single hotel for your wedding, you’ll probably end up with a contracted room block. This means that you’ll sign a contract and put down a deposit guaranteeing that your guests will book a certain number of rooms for a certain number of nights. If you fall short, you can lose your deposit and/or be charged for unbooked rooms. 

What does all of this language in a hotel room block contract mean? 

Before signing a contract to block hotel rooms for your wedding, make sure to read the terms closely—and ask about any phrases you don’t understand. One of the most-used phrases in hotel room block contracts is the attrition rate. This refers to the percentage of rooms in the reserved block you’re promising to fill, usually between 70 and 90 percent. If you don’t fill that percentage of rooms, you’ll be charged. You may also see the phrase “allowable shrinkage clause” which refers to the percentage of rooms that can be left unfilled. 

When should you block hotel rooms for a wedding?

We recommend blocking hotel rooms for your wedding shortly after booking your venue, at least six months before your wedding. If you’re getting married during a busy time of year in your wedding location and are particularly concerned about hotels filling up, it’s not uncommon for couples to reserve room blocks nine months (or longer!) before the big day. 

When and how should you tell your guests about your room blocks?

A wedding room block isn’t useful unless your guests are aware of it. Therefore, you should definitely include room block details on your wedding website before your save-the-date goes out. That way, when guests check out your wedding website after receiving your save-the-date, they’ll see all of the details on the room blocks. You might also want to email your out-of-town guests directly to provide room block information, if you’re concerned they won’t look at your wedding website. If your room block has a cut-off date, don’t be afraid to send out email reminders as that date nears. Your guests won’t want to lose out on that discounted room rate if they can help it!