It’s Time To Stop Booking Blocked Hotel Rooms At Weddings And Save Thousands By Using Common Sense

save money hotels wedding


As we gear up for yet another wedding season, it’s time to take a moment to reflect, review the lessons we’ve learned, and get our game plan together for this round of nuptials.

I have to say that I enjoyed last year a lot. My wife and I attended five weddings in 2018 and had a great time at all of them. From a family wedding in San Antonio to a friend’s in rural Pennsylvania, each one was unique and provided countless hazy memories.

We seem to be averaging about three to five weddings a year at this point and already have four on the calendar for this season, with three engaged couples who have yet to set a date rounding out the scouting report for 2020.

One thing we all know about attending tons of weddings is that they’re expensive. Of the five this year, three involved getting on a plane, which seriously ramps up the cost and makes for a whirlwind weekend followed by a vicious Monday hangover.

The one place that I’ve found to save on the cost of attending weddings has been the lodging. However, as I learned this year, it can offend a lot of people if you don’t stay at the recommended hotel. Therefore, I ask you brides—and, I guess grooms who have influence—please let us save a little coin and stay where we want.

I promise not to tag any pictures of their generic décor with #JackLovesDiane2019.

Luckily for me, the wife and I agree that we do not need to slumber in a luxurious suite for a weekend in our friend’s hometown. In all honesty, we are going to arrive Friday just in time to drop our shit, get changed, and rush to the rehearsal.

Afterward, we will go to the dinner, hit up a bar, then come back to the room. Based on how much we drank, we may fool around but will likely pass out since the two of us got up early for work that day (but we will definitely be “doing it” tomorrow).

On the big day, we get up, go for a quick run to justify all we will eat and drink that night, get ready, and eventually head to the venue. If she’s in the wedding, she will have to skip the run and get ready with the bride (sucks to be her) and I will usually play golf (which doesn’t suck for me).

After the ceremony, it’s the reception, the after bar, the hotel lobby, and maybe following through on the previous night’s procrastination. On Sunday, we grab a quick breakfast and head to the airport to get back just in time to hit the grocery store before crashing. At no point during this weekend did we ever spend time enjoying the amenities of the hotel.

We have saved a significant amount of money by going with our standard Hilton Honors members discount at the local hotel. However, it led to some friction last season. When we attended a family wedding in Texas, the recommended hotel was a beautiful historic spot in the center of town.

While this was a great place and sure makes for a very glamorous weekend, it was $300 a night, and we were already flying from the East Coast to attend. As a result, we stayed at the Hilton one block away for $90 a night.

Once this information was discovered by my wife’s family, there was massive panic that we were having money problems. My mother-in-law called the Mrs. in a frenzy assuring her that if we couldn’t afford to come to the wedding, everyone would understand.

I jumped at this offer but was immediately overruled. I was informed, “If we miss my cousin’s wedding, we will have to hear about it at every Christmas for the rest of our lives.” Fair enough, but I could have bought three of the kegerators I’ve been eyeing for the amount we would have spent. We assured everyone that we were okay on money but that three evenings in a $300-a-night hotel was just wasteful and we would be happy campers one block away.

Seriously, I get it; a lot of planning goes into a wedding and that includes blocking off rooms at a picturesque hotel. I also know that it is now basically a requirement to have a goodie bag at check-in—a cute and personalized bag full of suggestions of fun stuff to do during your hour and a half of downtime, a few snacks, and aspirin (because we “may” drink a lot).

We had those at our wedding too and when people didn’t stay at the suggested hotel that meant an additional stop to drop off goodie bags, which is admittedly a pain in the ass.

Of course, you have to be a little flexible and understanding with your guests. While this is your guy’s big day and you can therefore justify splurging on a beautiful hotel suite for yourselves, this is just another one of many weddings your guests have to attend.

You will in no way remember at which hotel one of the hundreds of people that attended your wedding stayed at. They, in return, will not judge your nuptials based on a decision they made based on hotel cost and quality.

I know that you may be concerned about us not getting a gift bag. You’re worried sick about us not knowing what to do with those two hours you didn’t schedule for us. But as I explained at length to our friends in upstate New York, we will survive. We are big kids now who will be able to use Google to find a bar and we will be able to use all the money we saved on the room to buy our own aspirin.

At the end of the day, it’s going to be ok; your guest will think that your wedding is just as magical regardless of where they pass out afterward.

I know that I’m not giving your enchanting weekend my all. I wish I could take the whole week off and enjoy all the amenities of your hand-picked lodging. I would love nothing more than a stream of Instagrams at the spa or of me basking in the sun by the pool repeatedly tagging #JackLovesDiane2019.

Unfortunately, I can’t, but that’s ok. It’s still going to be a lot of fun, we are going to have tons of fond memories, and you’re going to have a great wedding! All I’m asking is you allow me to save a few bucks and bank some points on my way to Platinum status.