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:
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:
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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:
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 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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.