Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A what?!?!

Today I worked on getting room blocks for our guests for our quasi-destination wedding. The only time it's been suggested that I block some rooms off for our guests was by our reception site coordinator, and he suggested that to us the only time that we've met him. (Full disclosure, my DOC might have said something to me about room blocks when I met with her too, but I don't remember.) That was approximately 6 months ago.

Today, as I'm on the cusp of putting our STDs in the mail, I'm also spot checking our wedding website to make sure that all systems are a go. Upon inspection of the "Accommodation Ideas" tab I remember that I should get to those room blocks and update the site. The first call I made was to our reception venue, seeing as it is a hotel, they can only block off 10 rooms only 7 of them are at their lowest rate: $190, and all rooms require a 3 night minimum. The worst part, all of the suites are already booked and they will only give us a 50% discounted rate for our room. I thought they would comp our room considering the cash we're going to drop there in 6 months.

This is supposed to illustrate a pouting bride, she looks like she's pouting to me.

Majorly disappointed but not completely surprised (I knew that not many people would be staying at the reception hotel because it's expensive and in very high demand), I moved on to a hotel that we've previously stayed at that was quaint and affordable. They can only block 10 rooms and the most affordable room is going to be $179 (not including the 10.5% tax), 2 night minimum, and there will be a $1,000 deposit required by us right now.

Red lights are flashing in my brain, alarms are sounding. This. Is. A. Disaster. I don't have to worry about pleasing anyone anymore because no one is going to come to our wedding. For most people it's a 3 hour drive and they are going to spend at least $300 on lodging. No one is going to come. I freak out and call my honey. Thankfully, he came to my rescue and worked his magic reducing our reception site hotel's policy to a 2 night minimum from the crazy 3-day holiday minimum, as well as finding a few hotels that are willing to accept room blocks without putting deposits down or penalizing us if all rooms aren't filled.

I feel blind-sided. I honestly haven't read anything about this kind of practice about room blocks. I feel like our reception site should have given us a heads up that their suites were already booked at some point or that when I signed the contract that someone would have asked if we would like a suite to be blocked for us or that if we wanted a suite there we couldn't have one because they were already booked. Furthermore, in none of my wedding timelines or planners does it say anything about getting room blocks for guests.

I've been to at least 4 weddings that are quasi-destination, like ours, and we've always received group discounts. I wonder if they've been putting $1,000 deposits down all over town and it's just not a big deal and maybe I'm making it a big deal.

Are the hotel deposits something that are normally done through the course of business but not talked about? Did you book any room blocks for your out of town guests?


Born to be Mrs. Beever said...

We actually stopped into the hotel right near our venue this past weekend to start looking into room blocks. The thing for us is that we only have about 17 families that will be coming in from out of state and according to my groom, most of his side will probably shack up in a friend or family member's house. So our hotel chocie did the opposite...they told us we had to block a minimum of like 13 (or 16?) rooms and when we started looking at who might be booking rooms, we realized we probably won't meet a 13 room minimum which means no discount. Luckily, the two Courtyard Marriot's we were looking to block rooms at offer their standard rooms on our wedding weekend for $89 and $99 a night! Woo-hoo! The fiance still thinks that is too expensive...he's an idiot! I'm sorry to hear about your dilemma...and yes, these are the little details that brides don't always think about unfortunately. I had room blocks on my to-do list from the beginning...and it now it seems we may not even need them (sigh)

Annie @ MarryYouMe said...

Hi there - I saw you had subscribed to my blog and wandered over and saw that you are getting married at La Playa which is where I got married! Let me know if you need any vendor advice, tips, etc!

Chocolate Lover said...

We have been talking about this recently too, since we have a bunch of international guests. I didn't realize it could get so complicated and messy! Glad it got sorted out for you guys!

Chic 'n Cheap Living said...

I contacted small and large hotels and the policy varies. However, for the most part we did NOT have to put down a deposit/expose ourselves. A few Hilton family hotels (Embassy, Doubletree) guaranteed our rate for a longer period of time if we did put a deposit (refunded to us after the 10th room was booked). We were not suggested minimum number of nights, it was a night by night thing.

Always talk to the group coordinator more than once. They are usually willing to negotiate. I ended up signing a contract, but saw a Travelzoo rate on the hotel's website that was $10 cheaper/night and told our guests. Most booked at the lower rate vs. our group rate and it worked out well.

PartyPlannerGal said...

Yay for your fiance for busting out his mad negotiation skillz! Sigh. I thought I'd have awhile to start worrying about this, but it looks like I need to start looking into hotels since we will be having many, many people from out of town.

New Mexican Bride said...

Wow sounds frustrating! Glad you were able to get it all figured out. I have been thinking about saving some rooms too, I better look into it!

Jennifer said...

Hey, just an option, and I don't know if they'll have a 3-night minimum for the holiday weekend, but I've reserved rooms at the Hilton Garden Inn, and they let you do it all online.
and go to Groups & Meetings. No money down, they hold til 2 weeks before the wedding. I got a 2 night min at $179/night for a non-holiday weekend. I hope this helps!

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