We're getting married in a beautiful secluded lodge style hotel in Wales just an hour from where we live. As part of the deal with the hotel we get a discount on all guest accommodation but all 18 rooms HAVE to be paid for whether they're occupied or not. My problem is both our families are based in Yorkshire along with a lot of the other guests. People will be coming a very long way so will need to stay somewhere, there aren't any alternatives nearby and even with the discount rooms are around £100. My fear is the cost of staying over will put people off from coming at all so I'll be missing guests and have to add the cost of the empty rooms to my bill. I've already had people asking if I know anywhere nearby for their caravan! I don't want to pressure people into coming but I don't want to lose guests either. I'm stuck.
Don't worry, you are not stuck. I think it's important that you discuss this with your closest family and friends, ideally before sending out invitations, or send out something to those people explaining the situation as you have done here. Make a list of your 18 core couples/families on the guest list and get in touch with them first. They will appreciate being considered your VIP guests and won't want to miss the wedding or see you left out of pocket. As you don't want everyone in caravans, start by mentioning the hotel rooms only and make it clear to them that the rooms are discounted and that you need to know if they would like to book a room asap. Give them a date to RSVP by and mention that there are no other guest houses nearby but they should get in touch if they need to. Speak to the venue about whether caravans will be allowed in the grounds or nearby. Then the guests who feel they can't afford it and want to bring a caravan can find out from you where they can pitch up for the night. If any guests on your VIP list say they would rather bring a caravan, move someone else from your main guest list onto the VIP list and contact them in the same way until you have all rooms filled! And if your VIPS still feel the hotel rooms are too much, see if you can negotiate a discount with the venue. I hope that helps! x