How Early Should I Reserve My Wedding Hotel Block?

Photo by Ten 2 Ten Photography

Q: My FH and I know we want to get married in NYC and the weekend we want, but don’t have our venue booked yet. Is it too early to book hotel blocks for guests? I’m nervous they’re not going to be available!- Sharon

A: You are definitely right to want to reserve your hotel room blocks early for guests, but you’re a bit too early. As soon as you nail down your venue and date that is when you’ll want to start e-mailing hotels. And since I’m assuming you’ll have at least 6+ months from the time you book your venue to your wedding date, this will give you an opportunity to e-mail several hotels near your venue to negotiate the best rate. Typically you’ll need a block of at least 10 rooms at each hotel to get a discounted, reserved rate. Follow the advice below to make sure your hotel room block experience goes great!

  • In addition to picking hotels that are close to your venue (this will make transportation to and from your venue as easy as possible), you’ll also want to make sure you have room prices that will suit every guest. We recommending blocking rooms at 2 different hotels (this will give guests a chance to hang out with each other), making sure to include a lower/middle-range hotel option in addition to any higher end one you might reserve. Tip: It’s best to aim for at least a $50/night price difference between the two.
  • Take the total number of out-of-town guests you’re expecting and divide that by two to figure out how many rooms you’ll need.
  • Ask the hotel ahead of time if they will be able to pass out Welcome Bags for guests, and if there’s a charge.
  • You’ll want to ask the hotel for a courtesy hold vs. a guaranteed one where you might get charged a penalty for unreserved rooms (the exception to this would be a resort for a destination wedding where you know you’ll be able to guarantee X number of rooms based on guests who have told you they’re coming). A courtesy hold means that a hotel will hold the rooms for your expected number of guests until a certain date, at which point any unbooked rooms will be released. You’ll want to note this date on your wedding website or on a separate accommodations card in your wedding invitation suite so guests know there’s a deadline to reserve the special rate guarantee.
  • Make sure to review any contract you receive from a hotel carefully, and that you’re fully aware of what any penalties for non-bookings might mean.
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