If you’re getting married, you know that there’s a seemingly endless list of things to attend to—the venue, lodging, menu, décor and about 200 other things.
If you’re considering having the wedding ceremony and reception in the same location, a popular setting for that scenario is often a hotel, since not only do hotels typically have a beautiful ballroom or auditorium to host in, but they also offer the convenience of lodging post-reception.
Many hotels also offer wedding and reception packages, designed not only to save couples a little money but also as an added convenience. If you’re looking at hotel wedding packages, there are questions you’ll want to ask the management before committing to any contracts.
Narrowing down your venue choice can be difficult, but with this comprehensive list of questions, you’ll likely be able to knock out at least a few contenders when you learn they don’t quite meet what you’re looking for.
How Many People Can the Hotel Accommodate?
You’ll want to ask this question not just about the actual lodging, but also about the reception hall space. Depending on the size of your guest list, some hotels can offer different rooms at different costs, but if the smallest room that a hotel offers is still very large, it can make your wedding and reception feel a bit impersonal.
In a similar vein, if their largest room can’t accommodate a busting-at-the-seams guest list, you’ll need to find a larger venue.
Most hotels can accommodate quite a bit of people, at least within the reception hall, so you’ll also want to ask about available rooms and how early people will need to book a suite if they intend on staying after the wedding is over.
Table Décor: Who Chooses?
Some hotels offer linen services onsite, and many have a few different options of color and style to choose from. If you’re looking to save money, this may be a good option, since renting from the hotel itself can often be less expensive than renting table linen and other décor from a professional linen company.
Many hotels offering linen service will include things like set-up and tear-down in their costs, and will include décor such as chairs, tables, linens, centerpieces and more. If you don’t want to use the hotel’s linen services (or linens), make sure to ask if they allow outside vendors for the décor.
Some hotels may require you to use their materials and equipment, as that requirement can earn them more money, and others may allow outside vendors with an additional fee, but some hotels will allow their wedding clients nearly free reign for bringing in outside vendors.
Is Food and Drink Available?
Another key question you’ll want to ask is what the hotel’s policies are regarding food and drink. Do they offer an in-house menu to choose from, and if so, is it subject to substitutions? Do they offer vegetarian, vegan, or other special dietary accommodations?
If you already have a vendor in mind for the food, you’ll want to make sure that the hotel allows outside vendors in general, but also if they are okay with your chosen vendor—some hotels allow outside vendors, but only if they’re off of a list of the hotel’s affiliates.
Make sure that the cake you want is also allowed, and that there are proper accommodations for it, such as a refrigerator to be stored in until it is served. You’ll also want to find out about libations (unless you’re having a dry wedding).
Some hotels offer a full bar with a bartender on staff, while others can supply a bartender but need the alcohol brought in, and vice versa. Find out what’s included, what isn’t, and what’s available for you.
You should also ask about any recommended vendors they’ve worked with before, so that you have a starting point if you have no idea who to get food and drink from.
Are There Rooms Available for Wedding Party Prep?
Many wedding and reception venues will offer a separate room for the wedding parties, which is pretty essential when it comes to preparing for the event. Brides will want a place to do their makeup and hair and get dressed, and of course, they won’t want their spouse-to-be to see them until it’s time to get hitched, so it’s important for these rooms to be separate and at least somewhat private.
Be sure to ask each venue about what their accommodations are for wedding prep as well as reception prep—will you, the newly married couple, have a space to hang out for a few minutes before going on to entertain your guests for the rest of the night?
What About Photography?
Be sure to check out the different areas of the hotel for photo opportunities. If the hotel is located in a densely commercial area, keep that in mind—you probably don’t want a highway or strip mall in your wedding photos.
If indoor photos are fine with you, it’s important to make sure the lighting is good and that the hotel will allow a photographer of your choice to attend—and not just one from their approved list of vendors. Choosing a photographer is a very personal choice, so you shouldn’t be limited by the hotel’s affiliate list.
Does the Hotel Offer Block Discounts for Rooms?
If you have a lot of people driving a long way or coming in from out of town, you’ll want to be able to let guests know that they have a safe place to stay that is conveniently located—and what could be more convenient than in the same hotel that your wedding is at?
Find out if the hotel you are considering offers group or block room booking. Sometimes, hotels will also offer a discount on a block of rooms—for instance, book X number of rooms, and the cost per night will be $XX less than if each guest booked on their own.
If you and your newly minted spouse want to have a comfortable place to stay after the reception—you’ll surely be exhausted—then hosting your wedding at a hotel is perfect. Often, hotels will also offer honeymoon packages if you intend on staying in the same city for your honeymoon. They usually also offer wedding packages for the night of the wedding—many hotels have a honeymoon suite with additional amenities that their standard rooms don’t come with.
Ask about what sort of amenities they offer for honeymoon suite guests—you may be pleased to find out things like a complimentary breakfast or room service are included, or an in-room whirlpool tub and complimentary Champagne.
Will We Have Access to Any Amenities?
Depending on the hotel, you may be allowed access to certain amenities, even if you aren’t staying overnight. It’s best to ask if you’ll be allowed to do things like use the pool, have access to a room to get ready in, or if guests will be allowed to use the secured parking lot versus having to park offsite, or there may be a different lot for event parking versus guest parking.
Be sure to clarify this upfront so that there are no surprises on your big day.
What Happens if the Weather is Bad?
Depending on where you live, inclement weather may not be an issue. In places like New Mexico, for instance, it’s not too rainy and it doesn’t get cold. If you’re having your wedding in New Mexico, you may want to ask about air conditioning, but other than that, you should be fine—particularly if your wedding is being held indoors.
And if you’re having your wedding at a hotel, you probably don’t need to worry much about weather—but you might want to ask if they have any spare umbrellas on hand, just in case.
Is a Wedding Planner Available to Help?
Some hotels have an on-staff wedding planner, who can help make arrangements for your day ahead of time, as well as help coordinate things on the day of your wedding. This can be very beneficial, and more cost effective than hiring a third party wedding planner to take control of the entire event.
Even if a hotel doesn’t have a dedicated wedding planner, you may want to find out if there will be enough staff on hand on the day of your wedding to cover any potential issues that may arise, such as a shortage of table cloths, too few chairs, etc.
What Kind of Music is Offered?
Many people who are planning a wedding have a wedding band or DJ already in mind, but if you haven’t decided yet, you can ask the hotel if they have one they recommend.
Since hotels rent out space for weddings regularly, they should have no trouble giving you information on different musical offerings in the area. Some hotels even have their own house DJs that they can suggest for your wedding. Depending on what sort of music you and your spouse-to-be are interested in, a DJ or band from the hotel itself can be a great help.
What Sets the Hotel Apart from the Rest?
If you’re considering a variety of venues, you should ask the hotel what sets them apart from other venues or hotels.
For example, you may not be able to tell upfront that the reception hall as, for example, a stained glass skylight, or a beautiful fountain. Perhaps they are located close to the airport that out-of-town guests would be flying into, and thus are easy to get to if someone is traveling.
Maybe they offer certain packages that can make your planning process easier. Whatever they may have to offer, this question will help you find out if a certain hotel’s packages are right for what you need.
What is the Area Surrounding the Hotel Like?
If you are considering spending time in the area before or after your wedding, it can be helpful to know what sort of attractions there are in the general area. If the town known for nightlife and great restaurants, or is it more of a quiet suburban area?
Are there things to do during the day, or is it mostly a business area? If you’re looking for a fun, tourist-friendly area, looking for a hotel that has a lot to offer outside of the actual hotel grounds is key.
It’s also good for your guests—if they get there a day or two early, or want to stay for a few days after, they’ll be able to find things to do.
Planning your wedding or reception at a hotel can be fun and convenient, as well as beautiful. Asking the right questions up front before your commit to any contracts, however, is a great way to narrow down your choices and make sure that a certain hotel is the right space for your wedding.
Look at things like location, cost, accommodations, amenities, what the hotel is willing to offer you when it comes to available vendors, and more. Having a hotel wedding reception is a great way to gather your friends and loved ones together for this momentous event, and being able to keep everyone together also allows you the option to have a next-morning brunch outing if you so wish.
Housing all of your guests in one convenient spot lets you keep the party going! If you’re considering having your wedding at a hotel, contact the Barcelona Suites today for more information.