Wedding Hotel-Block Debacle

So far the majority of our wedding planning has gone smoothly. The vendors we’ve wanted have been available, I found a dress I’m in love with and our families have been supportive of our decision to get married in Chicago. Unfortunately, we ran into our first snafu this week with our hotel block.

From the beginning booking a block of rooms at a hotel near our reception has been a nightmare. It turns out there is a huge kitchen and bath conference in town the same weekend as our wedding and hotels across the city are holding rooms for the attendees at very high rates.

Being an avid traveler and frequent hotel stay-er, Luke graciously agreed to take on working with a hotel to book a block of rooms. We were thrilled to find a Marriott three blocks from the reception that would give us a rate of $149/night. The only glitch was that we could only book 15 rooms at a time.

After verbally confirming with several of their sales people that we would keep the $149 rate for any additional rooms beyond the first 15, we locked in the block and immediately emailed all our out-of-town guests to ask them to resreve rooms quickly. We filled those first 15 rooms within a week and called to have an additional 15 opened.

That’s when it all went downhill. The Marriott sales person we were working with informed us that the rate was jumping to $200/night!! Umm, excuse me? Didn’t we go over this several times before booking?? I immediately called the head of sales for the region to figure out why the rate we were promised was now off the table.

We were told that it was a system mistake that we were given the original rate of $149 because with the conference in town, the hotel wasn’t supposed to go below $200. Annoyingly enough, they even tried to flip the scenario by telling me that we were “lucky” that we got the lower rate for our first 15 rooms. Let’s just say they didn’t get too far with that positioning.

After arguing with the sales person on the phone, it became clear that we were screwed out of luck and there was no way the remainder of our guest could book at the $149 rate. I couldn’t believe Marriott offered NO solution to the mistake THEY made! No points, no budging on the new rate, no comp meals- nothing.

Being the problem-solver that he is, Luke contacted Hilton sales and we were able to book a block of rooms at an Embassy Suites close to the reception for $179/night. It’s not ideal, but it’s the best rate we can find. Plus Luke says Hilton has been a dream to work with. We wish we had gone with them in the first place since now our guests will be split in two hotels.

I was really upset when this all went down- because I felt really taken advantage of by Marriott and even moreso, I felt guilty about the increased rate our guest will have to pay.

We chose to get married in Chicago because it’s where I feel the most connected to my church (I sing in the choir), it’s where Luke and I fell in love and as the youngest, my siblings have already done the big wedding back home. However, I know that asking my guests to make the trip to Chicago for our nuptuals is a big undertaking both financially and time wise. I really wanted to make it as easy as possible on everyone.

Anyway…..I’ve decided to let it go and go back to focusing on the fun and exciting parts of wedding planning. If some people can’t make our wedding because of the cost, I’ll completely understand. For those who do come, we’ll just have to make sure it’s a really fun weekend for them!

Thanks for letting me get this off my chest! :)