Ten reasons to have your wedding reception at a hotel

The Ritz-Carlton, San Juan
I’m getting married this fall, and I chose to have my wedding reception at a hotel. This is not because I’m a travel writer (and they have no idea that’s what I do; I’m not getting any special treatment). The reason was actually that I’m getting married in my hometown of Minneapolis, but I live in New York and my fiance is from Cleveland, so between us, we have a lot of out-of-town guests coming. A hotel reception seemed like a good way to simplify everyone’s travel situation.

My decision to host the reception at a hotel has proven more and more helpful as time has gone on. Here are just ten of the reasons having a hotel reception turned out to be the best idea ever:

1. They want you there.

Hotels earn a lot of their revenue from events like weddings. Not only does having your reception in a hotel bring them cash from the room rental, but they also know that even your local friends will want to crash there afterward, meaning they’ll have more rooms occupied. In my research with other possible venues, at times I felt like they weren’t really that into hosting what will surely be the greatest wedding of all time — and does any bride want to deal with feeling like an inconvenience? No.

2. They know what they’re doing.

Because weddings are so lucrative, hotels host a lot of them. Cathy Smith from The Knot informed me that about one out of five wedding receptions take place at a hotel/resort, “the second most popular venue type behind banquet halls.” Hotels know what they’re doing. Even if you have big ideas and crazy requests, they’ve probably heard worse.

3. They’ll sort out the dinner details.

While hiring a specific caterer may be hugely important to some brides, for me, I just want things to be easy. Most hotels will require you to use their caterer (though usually not for the cake), so I chose a hotel I know has terrific food. They’re providing the staff, the tables, the plates, the linens, the bar … a million details were instantly eliminated from my to-do list when I decide on using a hotel. All I had to do was taste the food and tell them how much of it I wanted.4. It’s convenient for out-of-towners.

As I mentioned, this was my original reason for choosing a hotel. Thanks to public transportation and the close proximity of the church, my out-of-towners don’t actually even have to rent cars. Any way I can help them save a buck is worth it to me.

5. You’ll worry less about people getting home okay.

Drunk driving is always a worry with events like weddings, as is getting home when you’ve been dancing for hours and you’re just plain tired. Even my local guests, when they heard the wedding was at a hotel, inquired about the …

6. Group rate.

Because a whole bunch of my friends and family want hotel rooms, they’re getting them for less. Awesome.

7. Parking.

In the case of a downtown wedding, which mine is, parking can be a nightmare. Fortunately, the hotel has ample parking and has agreed to provide it for free.

8. Recommended vendors.

Hotels have worked with just about everyone in town, from florists to photographers. They may even have ideas you hadn’t thought of, like a photo booth or building a stage for your band. Working with vendors who’ve already done hundreds of weddings at your venue makes everything a lot easier. Ask your hotel who they recommend.

9. Free perks.

Hotels want weddings, and you may be able to get some amazing perks like a free room for gifts, a free honeymoon suite for the night, a complimentary champagne toast, an hour of open bar … these are all things hotels will use to entice you to go with their hotel. If they don’t offer them, ask for them.

10. Ceremony included.

My wedding is not a destination wedding, and I’m not having my ceremony at the hotel, but in the case of destination weddings, many will do your ceremony, complete with flowers, an officiant and all the setup, for free.

[Photo credit: Annie Scott]