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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.