Newly engaged? Congrats! One of the first and most important steps in the wedding planning process is picking out the perfect venue for you and your fiancé. For brides-to-be leaning towards a hotel wedding venue, we turned to Mark Anderson, catering manager of the Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, to fill us in on the seven things all couples should know about hosting their nuptials at a hotel. Read on for his insider intel!
1. Convenience is key.__
The biggest perk of having your nuptials at a hotel is convenience for both you and your guests. "Hotels are custom designed for wedding celebrations," says Anderson. "The experience is turn-key from the arrival at valet, to beautiful ballrooms, and of course, a gorgeous bridal suite. Your out-of-town guests can simply walk to the celebration rather than sitting on shuttle busses."
2. Hotel venues offer an unmatched wow factor.
"As the Pretty Woman hotel, we offer spectacular locations for photography and impressive spaces for wedding celebrations," Anderson says of the Beverly Wilshire hotel. "It can save thousands. Or, a wedding couple can save a significant amount of money if a ballroom is already gorgeous and doesn't require décor to dress it up."
3. You'll save big money on décor and rentals. __
If your dream hotel wedding venue is a little outside of your price range, don't let that scare you away. You might actually be saving a serious chunk of change on décor items and rentals. "A quality hotel will supply many of the items you might otherwise have to rent," Anderson explains. "Tables, chairs, linens, china, dance floor, votive candles, etc. are all provided and this could save you thousands."
4. Have your guest list ready before you inquire.
Before you and your betrothed start checking out different hotel wedding sites, take some time to write up your guest list first. Knowing exactly how many guests you will need to accommodate before you start looking around will save you a lot of time and energy.
5. Choose your date, then the hotel venue.
Anderson recommends setting your wedding date first and then checking in with your favorite vendors to ensure they are all available on that date. Only then should you move forward with signing a contract with your hotel wedding venue. The earlier you book the better chance you have in snagging your dream date. Six months to a year is best. "Generally, you will put about 20% down at the time you contract and then a second deposit closer to your wedding date," Anderson explains. Bonus tip: Paying for the wedding with a credit card enrolled in a rewards program will later help cover your honeymoon expenses.
6. Use the hotel's catering team as a planning resource.
Even if you have your own team of wedding planners and vendors, don't forget to turn to the hotel's catering team for their recommendations. "Your catering sales person is a wonderful resource of information on both wedding trends and the best vendors in the city," says Anderson. "Vendors or wedding partners can make or break the big day."
7. Ask for competitive rates for your out-of-town guests.
Another wonderful perk about having your nuptials at a hotel is that they can often offer competitive rates for your guests that are driving or flying in for the celebration.