Photo: Esther Sun Photography
While not as integral to your wedding as the reception venue or caterer, the hotel you choose for your wedding night plays a part in the overall experience of your special day. Of course, a comfortable bed, luxurious amenities, and top-notch service are important, but it's some of the other details that can actually have a bigger impact on your wedding day before and after the ceremony and reception. Here are a few things you should think about when selecting the perfect place to lay your head after you've said "I do."
Will you get a discount if you reserve multiple rooms for your bridal party and guests?
Many hotels will offer the bride and groom a free night, discount, or upgrade if they fill a certain number of rooms with their guests. If the hotel doesn't offer, it's worth asking. If you're blocking off a lot of rooms or staying at a time when the hotel is less busy the hotel might be willing to sweeten the pot to ensure you book there.
How early can you check in?
If you're planning to get ready for the wedding at your hotel room, you'll probably want to check in earlier than the official check-in time (anywhere between 2pm and 5pm depending on the hotel). Make sure to find out if an early check-in is possible or if you'll need to reserve the room for the night before as well. Even if you aren't getting ready at the hotel, it can be helpful to check in early to drop of your stuff for the wedding night so you don't have to deal with it after a long day — and multiple glasses of champagne.
How big is the room and what amenities does it have?
If you're planning to have your whole entourage get prepped in the bridal suite, make sure you won't be overcrowded in a tiny room. At the very least, make sure there's plenty of counter space, multiple electrical outlets, and large mirrors. And if the hotel is older, double check that there's AC; the more bodies in the room, the hotter it will be.
How close is it to the venue?
No couple wants to be stuck in traffic on their wedding day or spend a bunch of time in the car at the end of a long, exciting day. Consider how far the hotel is to where the ceremony and reception will take place, how bad traffic will likely be at the times you'll be commuting, and what kind of transport is available in case you don't want to drive yourself. Consider your budget as well; a closer hotel can save you money by eliminating the need for a limo or other transportation.
Is there room service? How late does it run?
It's cliche but true: Many couples are so busy during the wedding that they don't get time to eat until after the festivities are over. It would be an unpleasant surprise to return to the hotel at 11pm dreaming of a cheeseburger and then find out that room service ends at 9pm. Consider the morning after as well. If the idea of breakfast in bed appeals to you, make sure the place you're staying can deliver.
What time is check-out and can you extend it?
Many brides and grooms rush off to the airport or to a day-after brunch the morning after they say "I do," but if you've got nothing to do but relax, make sure that the hotel's policies will allow it. Find out what time check-out is and see if hotel policy allows you to stay a little longer.
Is there transport to the airport?
If you have an early-morning flight and your relatives aren't exactly volunteering to wake up at dawn post-party and drive you to the airport, it's worth inquiring if the hotel has a shuttle to the airport. Even if it comes at a fee, it's likely cheaper than a cab — and your guests get to sleep in.
Is there a safe?
Chances are, you'll receive at least some cash as wedding gifts. Giving it to a relative who can safeguard it or take it directly to the bank is a great idea, but if you need to hang on to it overnight for any reason, make sure your hotel room has a safe so you can keep your cash secure.