Hotel Wedding Receptions: Pros and Cons

The reception venue is the most important choice you will need to make about your wedding celebration. The location will set the tone, influence the menu, and of course determine the cost of the reception. Hotels are among the most popular sites for weddings; this is a look at the pros and cons of hosting your wedding in a hotel.

Pro: Easy to Plan. A hotel will have all of the tables, chairs, linens, china, and so on that you need for your wedding reception. Some hotel ballrooms have special features like grand chandeliers, which are great if you plan to wear a formal ballgown with crystal bridal jewelry. You will not need to worry about any type of rentals, which makes both planning and day of wedding logistics much easier.

Con: Cookie Cutter. It can be hard to personalize a hotel wedding. You will have little control over the decor, the menu, and the timing of the reception. Since you will be required to use their restaurant for the catering, the menu options will be limited, and may be fairly predictable. If food is a priority for your wedding, the hotel experience may not be for you. It is also not the best choice for the bride who loves wedding details with a handcrafted charm like unique bridal jewelry and DIY centerpieces.

Pro: Very Convenient. The best thing about a hotel is the convenience for you and your guests. After the reception, the newlyweds can just head upstairs to the honeymoon suite. If the guests want to keep the party going, they can hang out in the hotel lounge or bar. Sometimes the parents of the bride or groom opt to rent a suite where a drop in after-party can take place. You can reserve blocks of hotel rooms for your guests, saving them money and eliminating the worry about drinking and driving. And in the morning, the post-wedding brunch can be held right there in the same hotel. Most hotels even have free shuttle service to and from the airport for out-of-town guests.

Con: Multiple Weddings. A hotel generally hosts more than one event at the same time. Having two receptions going on side by side can tend to detract from the intimacy of your wedding. You may hear their music, you might run into another bride in the ladies room, and if your party is better, you may even have guests from the neighboring wedding wander into yours. There is also something less than elegant about the event board in the hotel lobby that lists your wedding as one of many events. It can make it feel less unique and special.

Pro: Experienced Staff. Since hotels routinely host weddings, conferences, and other functions, the staff is highly experienced at organizing large events. If you want to greet your guests with welcome bags when they arrive in town, the hotel desk can hand them out at check in. They will also have the large kitchen needed to handle special requests like Kosher or vegetarian meals for guests. You can expect your reception to run smoothly, with little work on your part.

Con: Less Personal Attention. Unlike a smaller venue which will be concentrating on hosting a limited number of events, a hotel has many functions in the works every weekend. This means that the site coordinator will have less time to devote their personal attention to you and your wedding. The bride who wants a lot of input on planning her wedding from a coordinator may not get what she is looking for at a hotel. On the plus side, if you are comfortable letting the hotel run your wedding according to their established formula, it is likely to come off without a hitch.

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