Hotel Wedding Pros and Cons

Hotel wedding venues have been popular for decades. This expert guide will break down the benefits and downsides of a hotel wedding.

By The Zola Team

Hotel Wedding Pros and Cons
Photo by Zola

The First Look ✨

Many people imagine their dream wedding for years before the big day arrives. From the decorations to the first dance song, there are tons of decisions that must be made in the planning phase. One of the most important choices that couples have to make is their ideal venue.

Hotel wedding venues have been popular for decades. With plenty of space, amenities, and experienced staff, there’s a reason why hotel weddings never go out of style.

In this guide, we’ll be covering how to choose a wedding venue, plus all the different aspects of getting married in a hotel. In particular, you’ll gain an understanding of the pros and cons that come along with this popular wedding venue:

What Makes Hotel Weddings Unique

Every type of wedding venue is going to offer a distinct experience. While many aspects affect your choice of wedding venue, your wedding budget, guest list, and personal taste are some of the highest priorities to consider.

Hotel weddings are no different. If you’re considering a hotel as your ceremony or reception venue, it’s important to understand what this option will provide. Let’s take a look at the basic facts about hotel weddings:

  • You have options: Hotels are a popular choice for a wedding reception and ceremony. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that many hotels offer services and designated spaces for them. Couples will have plenty of options when searching for a hotel venue, whether they’re staying local or planning a destination wedding.
  • Timing is crucial: Wedding season is typically considered June to September. During this time, you can expect most wedding venues to have scarce availability. Hotels are particularly busy throughout the wedding season, and prices for packages and room rentals may be a bit higher during these months.
  • Hotels have wedding packages: Despite price surges during peak wedding season, hotel weddings are fairly affordable; this is because many hotels have a plethora of wedding packages. These packages include bundled prices for large spaces, reduced rates for rooms, and discounts on in-house vendors (such as caterers, pastry chefs, and florists).
  • Room blocks are big: Speaking of discounts, room blocks are an important part of booking a hotel wedding—and they may save you money in the long run. A room block is when a couple books a large number of rooms or suites for their wedding guests (typically this is done for close family and wedding party members). Not only will hotels offer a discount for booking in bulk, but staying at your venue can also cut down on transportation costs. Fortunately, Zola’s online hotel planner makes it easy to set up room blocks with the click of a button.
  • You’ll put down a deposit: As with most wedding venues, hotels usually require a deposit when you book. This money may or may not be refundable, with a cancellation charge at the very least. This deposit is used to hold the space until the wedding date is closer, and you’ll typically pay the remaining balance around 30 days before.
  • You’ll also sign a contract: Along with a deposit, most wedding venues will also require you to sign a contract. This document should cover payment methods, rescheduling policies, restrictions on the space, and any other important information regarding your booking. Since hotels host weddings on such a regular basis, you can expect this part of the process to be organized and thorough.

Hotels are a popular choice for wedding venues, and many of them are prepared (and even eager) to host your big day. Shop around and find a hotel that fits your style, then book the rooms you need, and the rest of the process should be fairly simple.

Hotel Wedding Pros

Now that you’re familiar with the basics, it’s time to get into the details. Consider these factors for why a hotel wedding venue may be your perfect fit.

Less Planning

Planning a wedding is a lot of work, and not all couples want to worry about every little detail of the ceremony or reception. With a hotel wedding venue, you can take a back seat approach to coordinate your special day.

This doesn’t mean that you’ll have no say in the planning process, rather couples who choose a hotel venue can still make choices when it comes to:

  • Music
  • Food
  • Colors and certain decorations
  • Attire

The main difference between a hotel and a private venue comes down to the smaller details. For example, when you choose a hotel as your venue, you won’t have to worry about bringing your own:

  • Chairs
  • Tables
  • Silverware
  • Glassware
  • Tablecloths

Hotel venues take care of the heavy lifting when planning your wedding.

Couples won’t have to worry about filling the space or finding the right decor. The dining area will have everything included, typically at no extra charge. Rather than starting with a blank canvas, a hotel wedding gives you a solid foundation to start with.

Hotels also likely provide their in-house vendors. This means that couples won’t have to test out different caterers or florists. These amenities create a more stress-free planning experience and allow couples to spend more time on other parts of the big day—such as dress shopping, drafting a seating chart, and planning out the music.

If vendors aren’t provided, Zola has you covered. Choose through our pre-screened wedding vendor marketplace to find photographers, cake designers, affordable wedding florists, and more. You can filter by budget, type of service, and location to match with the perfect one—well, the perfect vendor. Your soon-to-be already has “the perfect one” covered.

Convenience

Not only is the planning process more relaxed with a hotel venue, but the actual event may be more convenient, too. Hosting your wedding at a hotel can make several things easier on you and your guests, including:

  • You’ll get a head start on the day: Staying at your venue the night before can help condense your schedule and prevent you from forgetting anything important. Family and wedding party members are also likely to stay the night, meaning that they’re there and ready to help first thing in the morning. Rather than trying to transport everything the day of, staying at the hotel helps simplify your entire schedule.
  • Hotels have ceremony spaces: Many couples hold their ceremony and reception at their hotel venue. This significantly reduces transportation costs and allows everyone to relax, without worrying about getting from point A to point B. Most hotels will have separate spaces for your ceremony and reception, allowing for the same change of scenery—without all the hassle.
  • Guests can stay the night: After a long night of celebration, few people will want to be making the trek home—especially out-of-town guests. With a hotel package, you’ll be able to provide lodging for your guests at the end of the wedding. Your loved ones will love you for this.
  • Transportation services: Hotels often have a list of services that make your life easier. Guests can typically get easy transportation through the hotel’s car or wedding limo services, and these locations also tend to be hot spots for Uber or Lyft. Couples will have no trouble finding a ride to the airport following the big day, so the honeymoon relaxation can begin a little early. Guests who do decide to drive themselves will have no trouble finding parking at a hotel venue either.
  • Dressing rooms: If you’re not planning to stay the night before your wedding, hotels also have ample space for people to get dressed. The couple, wedding party, and family members will be given rooms where they can get ready privately. This is also a great place to stage wedding photos, such as the first look or wedding party group shots.
  • Rehearsal dinner: Since most hotels have on-site restaurants, couples can also host their rehearsal dinner at this location. This may be included in the wedding package you choose, which can further reduce your overall wedding costs.

Not only will your planning process be easier with a hotel venue, but the big day will be less stressful, too. Just be sure to check with the hotel’s wedding package to find the perfect option for you.

Cost

Cost is another factor that greatly affects your choice of venue. While some hotels can be pretty pricey, this type of venue generally comes with a lower price tag than private locations. Things to consider when weighing the price of a hotel venue include:

  • Package options: Wedding packages aren’t one-size-fits-all. Many hotels offer a variety of different deals, depending on the services you’re looking for, as well as the size and scope of your wedding. Hotels typically offer discounts on rooms for their wedding packages, including wedding suites and honeymoon deals. If you want to get a total upfront, without having to crunch any numbers, a hotel venue is a great option.
  • No rentals: In addition to setting up your tables and chairs, you’ll also save money on renting these pieces. Couples who choose a private venue may be paying hundreds or even thousands more for chair, table, and silverware rentals. When you get married at a hotel, they’ll have this set up already at no additional cost to you.

A hotel venue may cost a lot up front, but consider what you’re getting for your money. When rooms, tables, and multiple event spaces are included in this total, you’ll quickly realize just how much you’re saving with a hotel venue.

Spacious

Not only are hotel weddings easy, but they’re also incredibly spacious. When you book a private venue, you run the risk of limited space depending on the location. Hotels, on the other hand? They’re made for large gatherings.

With a hotel venue, you’ll likely have separate rooms for different parts of the day. This includes:

  • A ceremony space
  • A cocktail hour area
  • A formal dining room
  • Outdoor photography spots
  • A stage and dance floor

So, if you want a venue with plenty of room, a hotel is the way to go. From formal dining areas to full-size dance floors, hotels are designed to comfortably accommodate large events.

Hotel Wedding Cons

The list of pros with a hotel wedding venue can be pretty enticing, but no location is perfect. Hotel weddings won’t work for every couple, and it’s important to understand the challenges that you may face when considering this type of venue.

Less Flexibility

With the benefit of convenience comes a lack of flexibility. When you choose a hotel as your wedding venue, you forgo the freedom of selecting the decor.

Hotels offer beautiful architecture and quality decor, but this can still feel limiting for creative couples. From the ceremony’s altar to the reception’s table settings, hotels tend to use their own set of decorations when they host weddings. The reason for this is because it’s easier for everyone.

Hotel venues have certain protocols that they must follow, and staff is trained to set up the decor they typically use. Some hotels may also have deals with certain catering companies and other vendors, making it difficult for couples to personalize their experience.

Some hotels allow outside decor or vendors, but they’ll often charge an additional fee for it. While this can work for some couples’ budgets, others may prefer a venue with a little more flexibility.

The bottom line? If you want a say in your choice of decor and vendors, a hotel wedding won’t be ideal for you. Some hotels may allow these changes, but fees will typically be charged for any outside furniture, decorations, and food.

Restrictions

Similar to the planning process, your actual wedding day may be subject to certain restrictions put in place by the venue. Hotels tend to have time limits on their spaces, and couples who are planning a late-night celebration may be disappointed with these constraints.

Some hotels also require guests to book a stay in their rooms, as part of the wedding package. This is done so that the hotel can get their money’s worth from hosting the event. Booking room blocks also helps avoid issues with privacy, although the event will rarely be fully private (unless you rent out the entire building).

Although some guests won’t mind staying the night, this rule can be inconvenient for others. Attending the wedding without staying at the hotel can also lead to additional charges for these guests, which is something you don’t want to spring on your loved ones at the last minute.

Not Private

The final issue you may have with a hotel wedding venue is a lack of privacy. Unlike other venues, hotels are typically not reserved for a singular event.

Not only do you run the risk of bumping into other guests, but larger hotels can have other weddings occurring at the same time as yours. While this won’t affect your reception space, this can lead to awkward situations around the location. The lack of privacy can prove to be particularly tricky when it comes time to take photos. After all, nobody wants a bunch of strangers photo-bombing their wedding pictures.

If privacy is a big concern for you and your fiance, then a hotel venue won’t be your best option.

Hotels vs. Other Wedding Venues: Which Should I Choose?

At the end of the day, the perfect venue will depend on the couple choosing it. In addition to hotels, there are several other venue options available, including:

  • The beach
  • Country club
  • Place of worship
  • Banquet hall
  • Restaurant or museum
  • Backyard

Unlike outdoor venues, hotels are reliable regardless of the weather. Many hotels also provide outdoor spaces for a hybrid approach, but couples can rest easy knowing that there is a clear backup plan if inclement weather occurs. This versatility makes hotels a viable option for all weddings, especially those in rainy climates.

Hotels can also accommodate large groups of people, the way many private venues cannot. If your guest list is looking lengthier than expected, a hotel may be your best option for fitting everyone comfortably.

Should you need help managing this extensive guest list, Zola can help. Zola’s guest list manager automatically tracks RSVPs, guest mailing addresses, and meal orders, then streamlines this information with your wedding website. Plus, when it comes time to arrange the dinner seating, your guest list manager can assist with that too.

Book Your Hotel Wedding Venue at Zola

Having these tips and tricks under your belt is helpful, but using Zola is going to be your ace in the hole.

Here at Zola, we’re all about making wedding planning easy. Couples can find the perfect hotel venue using our list of pre-screened vendors—with options available in cities all over the country. Our online hotel planner and guest list are just a few other tools that make planning your wedding a walk in the park—or rather, a stroll through the hotel lobby.

You’ve got enough on your plate. From our free wedding website builder to designer-friendly save the dates, simplify all aspects of your wedding planning at Zola.

Simplify Your Wedding Planning at Zola