There are two parts to this. First, as noted above, getting a block of rooms for a wedding like this is very normal; sometimes the HC get a break on their room and sometimes they don't. No, the HC don't pay for them, but they often get a discount on the block and it's convenient for everyone involved. Second is the invitation as a "gesture." If the couple invited people with the express idea that those people wouldn't come, then they've violated the second law of invitations (the first is "An invitation is not a summons.") That law is "invite only the people you actually want to see and can accommodate." Even inviting frail Aunt Mable, who hasn't left her home in 30 years, you do so being prepared for her to come. People will surprise you and assuming that someone won't come is a great way to mess up your head count.
If you want to send a gesture to someone whom you don't really want at the wedding, then send an announcement after the event. But never, ever invite someone you wouldn't be happy to see, and, conversely, don't leave someone off of the invitation list because you assume that they can't make it. Again, people will surprise you.
And no, just be cause you (generic) got away with inviting people you didn't expect to come, it still isn't right.