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So. The wedding is almost planned, and suddenly someone (your mom, your well meaning BFF, your… damn partner) brings up hotel blocks. Do you have a blocked booked? It seems like a thing people do. Should you do it? Or is it just one more thing to add to the list?

Short answer: only you know for sure.

Longer answer: hotel blocks are fantastic when you want as many people as possible in one place for logistical or transportation reasons, if you’re hoping people will stay near the actual wedding, if everything else is going to be booked up, or if you just want to offer your guests some guidance. Lucky you, though. Hotel blocks are the perfect job to give to that person (aforementioned mom or BFF?) who’s been begging for a project all of their own to help with. There is just enough complexity to make it a rewarding task, but not so much you’ll want (or even care to) to micromanage. So what do you need to know about hotel blocks? Well. It turns out there is a lot you can know, and all of it is covered here. But if you only read one thing, make sure it’s about different kinds of hotel blocks… and make a note of the genuinely scary attrition rate clause. Because you don’t want to be stuck paying out of pocket for twenty rooms that your guests didn’t book.

WHEN TO RESERVE Location of the wedding and time of year are both key factors that determine when you should get this done. Is your wedding happening in a small town with limited accommodation, during a holiday weekend, or concurrent with a sporting event/convention? Book early! Getting married in New England during the fall colors? Book early! A beach town in the summer? You guessed it, book early! Essentially, once you book your venue, it’s time to start researching hotel options.

THE MOST COMMON TYPES OF BLOCKS CLOSED (AKA GUARANTEED) BLOCKS: The hotel requires a deposit in order to block off rooms and will hold you financially responsible for any unsold rooms. Sometimes it’s a percentage, sometimes it’s a real number—this is what’s called the attrition rate. This is the type of block associated with nightmares of making sure that every room gets filled up. The ONLY time I recommend doing a closed or guaranteed block is when the hotel is literally the only game in town and you are as close to certain as possible that all rooms will be snapped up.

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