Post # 1
We are inviting 150 guests to our wedding, which is at a small historic hotel. The hotel is apparentally very popular and books up early with weddings from other nearby venues. We are responsible for 85% of the costs of any rooms that are not filled, which makes me feel very nervous about booking too many rooms. If guests use the block, they receive a pretty good discount and we all get a free brunch together the next morning, which seems like a great way to spend extra time with out of town guests.
How many rooms would you feel comfortable blocking for 150 guests when about 1/3 will be from out of town? The room price will be $150, which is 20-30 dollars more than the nearby chain hotel.
Post # 2
Can you block a number and then adjust it as you get closer? Like block 20 rooms for now, and then if they fill up, add more, if they don’t then release some?
If you have to block them all at once, I would just count the number invites you sent to out of towners. If only about 50 guests are coming from out of town, at MOST you would need 25 rooms. But if some of those are familys, you would need a lot less. So if you only sent like 18 invites, I would just book 12-13 rooms, depending on if you think they are coming. If you just invited couples, I would still book about 20 rooms, and if they all come, just have some of them double up for the night.
We blocked 40 rooms off at our hotels (we are inviting 325 ppl and about half of them are coming from out of town). We then called family and close friends who are in the wedding and told them if they were thinking about coming to book ASAP, so they could release more to us, and also to make sure that they got a room. You could do something similar. Just send an email with a link for VIPs and ask them to book ASAP, especially if they can cancel if something comes up (ours can cancel 48hrs in advance and no one gets charged for the room). And ask if you can have more if they are available as more people book.
Post # 3
I second previous Pp. can you release some early?
If not, I would call each of your out of town guests. Explain the situation, explain their alternatives (cheaper hotel v. Brunch the next am and venue location). Explain that you are 80% liable for any unused rooms. Ask them if they would like you to reserve one for them. Tell them it is no pressure either way, but the hotel does book out far in advance.
If they say yes, include them. If not, don’t.
Post # 4
We ended up with 135 at our wedding, probably half were out of town. We ended up booking all 35 rooms and 5 cabins at our venue and we needed more. Even people who lived nearby wanted a room so they didn’t have to cab it. The place we had the wedding was also a bit more than other hotels nearby but no one complained about it, they all wanted to stay where the action was.
Post # 5
I would poll your close family, out of towners and the bridal party and ask them if they are willing to book a room there. Then reduce that number to 80% (because some people flake, take forever, etc) to create your initial block. Remind folks every month or so that they have this option.