Should I Get Married in a Banquet Hall?

Whether or not you should get married in a banquet hall depends on you and your partners’ preferences. Here's how to decide on this type of wedding venue.

By The Zola Team

Should I Get Married in a Banquet Hall
Photo by Wicked Entertainment

The First Look ✨

As you begin searching for the perfect wedding venue, you’ll face plenty of questions, including:

Do I want a big wedding or a small one? What type of venue do I want? Should I get married in a wedding banquet hall?

If you’re currently pondering this last question, you’re not alone. Banquet halls are popular locations for weddings. But with so many other options these days, you may be wondering if it’s the right one for you.

In this comprehensive guide on wedding banquet halls, we’ll go over:

  • Banquet Halls: Pros and Cons
  • Putting Together A List of Criteria for Your Wedding Banquet Hall

Banquet Halls: Pros and Cons

When it comes to weddings, banquet halls are quite traditional. But what exactly is a banquet hall, and should you choose one over other kinds of venues?

The type, size, and timing of your wedding will determine whether it makes sense for you to book a banquet hall or not. And, of course, personal taste will always factor into the equation. It doesn’t matter if a venue ticks all the other boxes if it doesn’t feel like your wedding.

To help you narrow things down, we’ve put together this list of pros and cons for banquet halls.

Wedding Banquet Halls: The Pros

Since banquet halls have been popular locations for many weddings, it stands to reason that there's a long list of benefits for using one.

  • They’re Ideal for Big Weddings. Banquet halls are venues specifically designed to host big, special occasions like weddings. Because banquet halls are roomy, they are generally more convenient to use for large celebrations.

  • There Might Be an On-site Wedding Planner or Coordinator: Because banquet halls are tried-and-true wedding venues, many come equipped with an on-site wedding planner or coordinator to help you with the details. Additionally, your planner can take advantage of being on-location to communicate with your vendors and avoid any confusion or mistakes.

  • You’ll Already Have Some of The Basic Decor Taken Care of: While that industrial loft has plenty of potential as a wedding venue, you’ll need to do a lot of work to transform it into a suitable place for a wedding. All the exposed brick and bare concrete floors in the world won’t make up for the lack of seating or a bar. With a wedding banquet hall, the whole space is already prepped and set up to host a special occasion. Your venue may already come with crystal chandeliers, elegant wallpaper, and an inventory of decorations.

  • Banquet Tables and Chairs: Some of the pricier rentals, such as chairs and tables, can add up quickly in venues that don't already have their own set. Banquet halls are more likely to come furnished with their silk-backed chairs and linen tablecloths. If your wedding banquet hall already has tables and chairs, see if you can negotiate them into your rental package.

  • Bathrooms Included: Suitable venues will have multiple washrooms, so your guests don't have to wait in line to use the toilet after the toasts.

  • There’s More Privacy: A wedding in the park can be beautiful, but the open setting means anyone walking by can gawk or crash your big day. Banquet halls offer more privacy and security for you and your guests, so you can enjoy the festivities in peace.

  • You Never Have to Worry About Inclement Weather: For couples hosting an outdoor wedding, the fear that the weather will be anything less than perfect is one factor in the planning process they can’t control. Even events scheduled in mild seasons can be a bit of a coin flip regarding fickle weather. That's not a problem you'll have with a banquet hall. If your dream is to have a wedding al fresco, some even offer stunning views or lovely outdoor seating. That way, if you get hit with a sudden summer shower, you'll still have a beautiful space indoors reserved as a backup plan.

  • Dressing Rooms and Accommodations Available: A wedding banquet hall most likely has dressing rooms especially set aside for the near newlyweds, so that you can get ready without the chaotic element. See if there are spacious luxury suites you can snag to treat yourself on your big day.

If your banquet hall is attached to a hotel, see if you or your guests can book overnight rooms. That way, you can all dance into the night without needing to worry about the late drive home.

  • It’s More Convenient: Many banquet halls are all-inclusive or offer full-service packages with the reservation. This service means you have less on your wedding planning plate since the venue will take care of almost everything. In many cases, this means that once you've found a venue, you've also got the caterer, florist, music, decor, and cake locked down too. Your rental fee might cover those costs, but you'll want to confirm what is and isn't included before signing the contract.

This banquet hall option is ideal for busy couples who can’t—or don’t want to—go through all the work of finding separate vendors for everything. Having an all-inclusive venue means less confusion and more organization and coordination on the day of. You won’t have to worry about the flowers being sent to the wrong place or realizing you forgot about linens and flatware.

  • It’s Perfect for Destination Weddings: For jet-setting couples who want to celebrate their nuptials in a far-off land or luxurious vacation resort, an all-inclusive banquet hall is an ideal option. Since it would be time-consuming (and costly) to travel to your dream destination, it can be challenging to select the right local caterers, service staff, or wedding bands. A wedding banquet hall that offers full-service destination wedding packages can help take care of all details on-site, from finding an officiant to booking your honeymoon suite. That way, when you arrive, everything will be ready, and you’ll be able to kick back with a pina colada until the ceremony starts.

As you can see, there’s a long list of pros to getting ready in a banquet hall. The space, convenience, and efficiency available at your fingertips will make planning your wedding day a breeze.

Wedding Banquet Halls: The Cons

That said, banquet halls come with their own set of problems. And when it comes to locking in your venue, you want to be sure you know everything you’re signing on for, good and bad. After all, fees for venues and caterers can eat up a significant chunk of your wedding budget. You’ll want to put your money on a location you’ve thoroughly vetted.

So what are the cons of getting married in a banquet hall?

  • It Can Be Costly: A wedding banquet hall these days may cost anywhere from $2,378 to $20,576, according to ValuePenguin as of March 2021. This amount varies depending on several different factors, such as the location and availability of the hall, as well as any extra add-ons you may need. If your banquet hall is a part of an upscale hotel or resort, or you’re booking your wedding during the peak season, costs will go up.

Prices also vary based on the type of banquet you choose for your wedding. Elaborate multi-course meals and a bar stocked with top-shelf liquor will cause your final bill to skyrocket compared to a basic buffet.

  • The Pay Structure of All-inclusive Venues Can Be Confusing: Banquet halls that offer full-service may include a per-person catering cost in addition to the rental fee. This pay scale means that the more people on your guest list, the more you’ll pay on the final tally. While the base fee of an all-inclusive venue may seem like an incredible deal on paper, you should be wary of hidden costs. Options like valet service or other upgrades can have additional charges.

Not all full-service banquet halls include florists, DJs, or the venue coordinator’s fee in the initial cost, so make sure you check what’s bundled in and what isn’t. And if you want the silk-backed chairs over the plain linen, be prepared for a price markup.

  • There May Be More Than One Wedding Going on at the Venue: Big venues like banquet halls are businesses, which means they want to be utilizing all their space efficiently for profit. If you’re getting ready to book your reservation, try to see if any other weddings or events are going on at your venue on the same day.

Besides having to share common spaces (and parking) with another party on your special day, you’ll also have to worry about noise overlap and distracted venue staff.

If there’s another event taking place on the same day, make sure your guests have clear signposts to direct them. You wouldn’t want your friends and family mistakenly attending someone else’s wedding. And imagine if guests from the wedding next door wander in just as your partner starts going down the aisle!

  • They Might Be Inflexible About Creative Decor or Customization: For couples who like to walk off the beaten track, an elegant banquet hall may not have the right aesthetic. Unfortunately, some venues can be frustratingly strict about what you can or cannot change, like furniture arrangements. This restriction can include everything from hanging up decorative fairy lights to something as small as rearranging the layout of the chairs and tables. And if your heart is set on some avant-garde statement pieces or turning the hall into a mini-city of silk-lined tents, you’ll need to run it all by the venue.

A standard banquet hall may not be the best venue for your vision if you want your wedding to reflect your creative personality and tastes.

  • You Might Not Be Able to Use Your Vendors: What if you found a place that makes the most divine raspberry white chocolate truffles, but your wedding banquet hall only allows in-house caterers?

This restriction is one of the downsides to all-inclusive venues or locations that are strict about which caterers they'll allow on the premises. If you feel strongly about being able to pick who makes your wedding cake or what type of meal you’ll be serving, avoid banquet halls that only allow for in-house or preferred vendors.

When you're going over your contract, make sure that if you do have the option to substitute your vendors, there isn't a hidden fee involved.

A wedding banquet hall can be one of the more expensive and inflexible options when compared to other venues. If you have a specific idea of what you’d like your wedding to be like, a strict banquet hall venue may be difficult to work with unless it offers exactly what you want.

That said, booking one can save you on costs elsewhere and on the mental stress of extra wedding planning that a banquet hall can handle for you. Knowing what’s important to you and your partner for your wedding vision will help you decide if the pros of a banquet hall outweigh the cons.

Putting Together A List of Criteria for Your Wedding Banquet Hall

Not all wedding banquet halls are created equal, and some offer services or upgrades that others don’t have. If you’re considering booking a banquet hall for your venue, putting together a list of what you need for your wedding will help narrow down your choices.

Important criteria to keep in mind include:

  • The Guest List: Knowing how many people are on your guest list will determine the amount of capacity you need from a venue. If you need a bigger space than you initially anticipated, a banquet hall may do the trick.

When in doubt, overestimate your guest list (even if it's just by a few people). Try not to be too conservative about how many people on your invite list will RSVP or how many friends your parents may want to add to their list.

  • Your Budget: Your wedding budget goes hand-in-hand with the guest list, especially if your banquet hall uses a per-person pay structure. And when you're choosing a venue, keep in mind that you might need to add florists, caterers, and decorators to the rental tab.

If your banquet hall offers an all-inclusive package, check for any hidden costs or extra charges. Beware of premium upgrades that will turn your reasonable rental fee into a budgeting disaster.

  • Check That Services and Layouts Match Your Needs: Choosing a wedding venue is about more than just the physical space—it's also about the floor plan and what services it offers. If you want to pass appetizers at the reception, but the banquet hall you're considering doesn't have the in-house staff equipped to handle it, you may need to consider another one.

Couples who want a large dance floor for their choreographed dance routine will want to make sure they can rearrange the space to accommodate it. And if you're going to set up a bar for cocktail hour, you may need to check if tables need rearranging.

  • Your Wedding Aesthetic: Sometimes, the reality of a venue falls far from the one you envisioned while browsing online. Make sure you get an accurate representation of what the location is like and whether it matches the style of your dream wedding. If it takes a Herculean effort to transform a dark, old-fashioned banquet hall into a light and modern space, it may not be worth it.

It doesn’t matter if a wedding banquet hall meets most of the other requirements on your list if you end up with a disappointing reception. Ultimately, you’ll want to choose a venue that you’ll be happy to look back on.

Raise a Glass with Zola

There are many pros and cons to getting married in a banquet hall. If decision-making isn’t your forte and you want to prioritize a simple wedding planning process, this venue might be right for you. If you prefer to be more hands-on and creative with your wedding vision, reconsider the types of locations on your list.

Can’t find the right place for you? Zola can help with our stress-free venue search. Streamline the process by checking off location categories that appeal to you, from vineyards to barn houses. We’ll help recommend venues that fit your wedding style, budget, and guest capacity with a simple click of the button.

Check out our list of recommended venues, wedding caterers, and vendors in your area, or use our custom wedding checklist to kick off your planning. With Zola, you never need to start from scratch on your own.

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