Hotel Wedding Block help!

Hello everyone!  My fiance and I are getting married in Gold Coast this fall.  Turns out the day we had reserved is the same weekend as the American Academy of Opthamology conference and everything is booked, or $300+.  We are now looking at changing our date completely so that more of our family can come. 

Any tips on cheaper hotels, or dates?  It's going to be a Friday wedding so the venue is pretty flexible.  Need a hotel block of at least 40 and under $200 a night would be ideal.

Or should we just say screw it and push the date back to 2017?  Elope? :)

Re: Hotel Wedding Block help!

  • Are you set on a venue in the city?  Friday nights and traffic can be incredibly crazy.  If you have lots of family coming in from OOT, you might want to consider venues closer to the airport to lessen travel hassles.  I'm not sure of any ONE hotel that will block out 40 rooms.  My son booked rooms at The St. James and The Dana and had quotes under $300.

    If you are set for that area, look for hotels that have suites.  In that way, families can "double up" and share rooms, as well as costs.  Other things to consider when booking hotels are additional costs such as parking.  Honestly, there is almost always something going on in the city.  I would guess that the cheapest dates would be mid-January, April, or perhaps late fall prior to Thanksgiving. 

    You can contact the official City of Chicago website to find major events. 
  • Divide and conquer. I got the Residence Inn Marriott (by the Hancock) on a Saturday in September for $159. It sounds like you're going to have to just map every hotel in a reasonable radius and call down the list. 10 rooms here, 20 there.
    Good advice above too.
    Also, if you focus on major chains, perhaps people can use points and find deals outside of your blocks.

  • My wedding is the same day as the Chicago marathon this year, and our venue is in Streeterville.  A majority of guests are OOT and I got the doubletree in Skokie booked for guests and found a Hotwire special for our own hotel room downtown.  I used the website and hotels bid for the block. It's non-committal and I found it easier than calling all the hotels like I had been doing.  I know Skokie isn't close, but the Doubletree offers free parking, which is huge and the added bonus of not having the $300/night price tag!!
  • DD was married last Labor Day. Our hotel blocks were at the Westin and Renaissance. Both were pretty close to $200 a night and parking was $60 a night. I think we had 30 rooms at one and 20 rooms at the other.
  • This is cut and paste from a post I responded to awhile back:

    Depends  on what you mean as "affordable" and what sort of amenities you are looking for. If you need rooms in the summer, the rates will be higher for sure.

    For one of our blocks we used the service (someone on theknot suggested it) it worked out great. You enter the dates you need the block, the highest rate you are willing to pay  and the area in which you are looking for rooms in the City of Chicago, and then hotels send in their bids for your business. You can also pick the number of STARS the hotels has so you don't get bids from flea-bag hotels if you want your guests to stay at 5 star hotels.

    You don't have to pay anything for this service, but if you book any rooms with the hotel that bid on your block, that hotel pays a % of that to the site.

    Make sure you are as DETAILED as possible so you don't wind up with a lot of bids from hotels you are not interested in or their terms. Like, where you are responsible to fill 100% of the rooms because you don't want that. Or you get a 1 star hotel when you want a 5 star.

    Or you can do it the old fashioned way and call around. We did that for our first block, got a hold of a sales manager for the Starwood properties so they were able to give us rates for Aloft, Westin, W, Fairfiled Suites, the new Hyatt in River North. We chose Aloft based on location, price and amenities. It worked out well, they were great to work with and our guests loved the hotel.


    1. If you do not want to be responsible for ANY percentage of rooms used, tell the hotel you will have all guests booked 30 days out from the event and they can release any unused rooms at that time. Or even 60 days if you are super far out. Some will definitely work that into the contract, just depends on how much you want to use the hotel.  PRO: You are not on the hook for unused rooms, CONS: You have to stay on top of your guests to make sure they make the deadline.

    2. Ask for discounted parking for your guests. Parking can range from $30-$75 a night, some hotels are willing to offer discounts. We were able to get our guests discounted parking, so it does not hurt to ask.

    3. DO NOT book with a hotel that requires a deposit. There's no reason to with all the options in the city, there are many hotels that will do a room block for you without it. 

    4. Feel free to ask for a complimentary upgrade for the bride and groom to a suite, it doesn't hurt. (you pay the discounted rate for a regular room, but get the upgrade).

    5. Find out if there are additional charges for the hotel to leave gift bags for your guests (if that is something you are planning on doing).

    If I think of any more I will post them! 
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