Who Pays for Hotel Rooms for Wedding Guests?

Your out-of-town guests need a place to stay. Here's how to figure out who pays.
kim forrest the knot
Kim Forrest
kim forrest the knot
Kim Forrest
Senior Editor
  • Kim writes and edits articles for The Knot Worldwide, specializing in etiquette and planning advice
  • Kim manages freelance writers for The Knot Worldwide
  • Prior to The Knot Worldwide, Kim was Associate Bridal Editor at Washingtonian magazine and Associate Fashion Editor at Conde Nast’s Brides Local magazines
Updated Jun 03, 2022
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If most of your wedding guests and wedding party are from out of town, they'll likely need to book hotels or other accommodations (especially if you're hosting a destination wedding where everyone will travel to attend!). You may be wondering "Who pays for hotel rooms for wedding guests?", and it's a good question. You're asking them to travel to your wedding, after all—so maybe you should shell out for their lodging. Or perhaps it's the guest's responsibility to pay for their own hotel rooms. What's the proper etiquette here? We're here to help you figure out

Who pays for hotel rooms for wedding guests?

Traditionally, guests are responsible for paying for their own hotel rooms, it's not an expense that comes out of the couple's wedding budget. According to a recent study from The Knot, guests spent an average of $190 per person on their accommodations if they're driving to the wedding location, or $340 if they're flying, which would certainly add up if a couple was required to pay for everyone's hotel rooms! And usually when you have out-of-towners in for your wedding, you are able to reserve a block of rooms for them at a discount (more on that below), so you will be helping them save some cash. The best thing you can do is make sure there are a variety of options for all budgets. And if a guest is unable to attend your wedding due to budget constraints, you should respect their decision.

Who pays for hotel rooms for wedding party members?

Some may be under the impression that the bride's family is supposed to pay for the out-of-town bridesmaids, while the groom's family pays for the visiting groomsmen, but generally, the attendants are responsible for paying their own way, just as they also pay for what they'll be wearing to your wedding. That said, if you're willing to pay for some (or all) of their accommodations considering the amount of money they're already putting toward your festivities, that's a very nice gesture, and they likely won't object. Etiquette note: You shouldn't force your wedding party members to stay at a particular hotel (especially if it's an expensive one), but give them options to find one that works for their budgets.

How do I book hotel room blocks?

There are many reasons why booking wedding room blocks is a good idea. First, it reserves a block of rooms for your guests if they book within a given time frame, so you'll know that there are rooms available for your entire crew. Second, hotels offer often a discounted rate to those who book rooms as part of the block—a major bonus.

If you're hosting a lot of out-of-town guests, we recommend booking room blocks at a couple of hotel options at different price points. It's best to do this shortly after you've booked your wedding venue and officially "set the date" for your big day—hotels book up quickly these days! Fortunately, Hotel Planner can do most of the work for you, identifying hotels near your venue, negotiating group rates and more. Or, if you'd rather do the legwork yourself, reach out to a few hotels near your wedding venue, and schedule a tour and meeting with a group sales manager who can explain the room block process to you. A few questions to ask before signing a room block contract with a hotel:

  • When is the cut-off date for guests to book rooms from the block at a discounted rate?
  • What is the discount?
  • Can I see what a guest room looks like?
  • Do you provide airport transportation or other shuttle services? (Some hotels may be able to provide a shuttle service to and from your wedding venue.)
  • What is your cancellation policy?
  • Do we have to put down a deposit? If so, how much is it and what are the terms for us to get it back?
  • Is there an allowable shrinkage clause? (This refers to the percentage of guest rooms that can go unbooked without penalty/fee.)
  • Is there an attrition clause? (This means the percentage or number of rooms that must be filled in order to avoid paying a penalty.)
  • Does the contract have a resell clause? (If you're unable to book all the rooms in your block, the hotel will try to resell them to others so you don't have to pay for them.)
  • Can I host pre- or post-wedding events (rehearsal dinner, post-wedding brunch) at the hotel (if interested)?
  • Will you be able to hand out welcome bags when my guests check in? (Some hotels can be finicky about this.)

How do I let wedding guests know about wedding accommodations?

Your wedding website should the one-stop shop for travel and accommodation information. We recommend setting up your wedding website as soon as you've set the date and venue for your big day, and adding hotel room block information when you have it—preferably before your save-the-dates are sent out to everyone on your guest list. Put your wedding website address on your save-the-dates so your family members and friends can easily refer to it as they plan their travel.

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