Don't get stuck with a bill for unused rooms. 

You’ve invited out-of-towners to your Big Day, and those traveling guests need a place to rest their heads. You set up a hotel block to reserve enough rooms, and your guests book up those spaces. It’s as simple as that, right?

In some cases, yes. In others, unfortunately not. 

Let us introduce you to a little bit of contract language that can be a huge budget buster if accidently overlooked: the attrition clause. If included on your hotel contract, this vital verbiage will spell out the exact percentage of rooms that must be booked to avoid a penalty fee – typically 80-90 percent. The party responsible for the block can owe a hotel for unused rooms if that percentage is not met. Unless you like throwing money out the window, that sounds like something worth combing your contract for, now doesn’t it?

We know you’ve poured countless hours into your color-coded wedding budget worksheet (it’s a thing of beauty, really), so we’re not here to cause more spreadsheet stress. You don’t have to carve out extra funds for empty rooms. Instead, consider a few attrition rate workarounds.

1. Look for a mitigation or resell clause in your contract.

If included, this means the hotel must try to book unused rooms, and if sold, you are no longer held responsible.

2. Check to see how many times the hotel will let you increase your block.

In this scenario, you can hold on to a small amount of rooms at a time and expand bit by bit based on the percentage of rooms filled and your current RSVP count. This approach is slightly risky, because you’re not guaranteed any rooms not already in your block. There’s nothing stopping the hotel from selling out before all of your guests have secured space. However, a little extra paperwork each time you increase and ongoing communication with your hotel can protect you from a pricey overestimation.

3. Secure a back up hotel block.

Look for accommodations that don’t require an attrition rate. Even if it’s not your preferred spot, this back up block will give you a space for spill over if you underestimate the space you need at your original hotel. It can also serve as another price point or hotel brand guests looking to spend less or use reward points from another hotel chain.

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Overall, a hotel block attrition clause is just another reminder to review each and every wedding contract with a fine-tooth comb. Better yet, let someone with a legal eye take a look before you sign on the dotted line. You never know what other unexpected expenses might be hiding in that heap of wedding papers on your desk.