The vows have been said, dinner has been eaten, and you’ve danced the night away. When you’re ready to call it a night—your first as a married couple!—you’ll want to lay your head somewhere comfortable and convenient. But the right wedding night hotel can be so much more than just a crash pad. If you book strategically, it can also serve as a hair and makeup site, a place to store gifts, and even a gathering spot for coffee and breakfast the next morning.
To get the lowdown on how to book the best room possible, we turned to wedding planner Bianca Hall. Read on for Hall’s expert intel on booking your wedding night hotel—including who pays for it, how many nights you should really reserve, and tips for getting an upgrade.
Meet the Expert
Bianca Hall is a full-service wedding planner with and co-owner of Chicago-based Estera Events.
Who Pays for the Wedding Night Hotel?
Per Hall, there’s no traditional answer to this question. Some couples cover the cost themselves, while, in other circumstances, the parents covering the cost of the wedding may also cover the cost of the couple’s wedding night hotel. (Another parent or relative might also cover the cost as a gift to the couple.) If you’re hosting your wedding at a resort or in a hotel ballroom, though, check with your coordinator: They may cover the cost of your room on your wedding night—but likely not for additional nights before and after—as a courtesy inclusion in your overall package.
How to Choose Your Wedding Night Hotel
Determine exactly what you’ll need.
Before confirming your room, plot out everything you’ll need and want it to be. If you’ll be using the space as a gathering spot for hair and makeup the morning of your wedding, something with a kitchenette would be especially helpful. (That way, bridal party members aren’t dumping food waste in the bathroom.) If your venue has a separate bridal suite or designated space for this, you’ll have more flexibility in prioritizing other desires—like, say, a big bathtub for a luxurious post-reception soak.
No matter your unique specifications, peace, and quiet will be a priority. Ask your hotel for a room on a higher floor, and away from any ongoing construction.
Think ahead on amenities.
If you and most members of your wedding party will be coming in from out of town, chances are higher that you may forget a few essentials, or simply not want to pack everything you could possibly need. In these instances, a full-service hotel can come in handy. They’ll have extra toiletries, ironing boards and laundry, and room service available for last-minute coffee and mimosa orders. The concierge can also help you navigate what might be an unfamiliar destination, and offer suggestions for nearby breakfast and lunch spots.
On the other end of the spectrum, you might be in need of a spot to host welcome drinks or a post-wedding brunch. In these instances, an Airbnb or rental home will offer a kitchen and the extra space necessary—and maybe even a backyard!—without an additional cost.
If you do go the rental route, choose one where the primary suite and bathroom is separate from the other activity hubs of the house. That way, you’ll always have a private space to call your own.
Know that location doesn’t necessarily trump all.
Consider the logistics of the day. Where will you head right after getting ready, and what will be the last place you hit up before heading to bed? If either of those destinations is particularly out of the way, it might make more sense to book a room closer to one of those locales than your reception venue. That said, if you’re marrying in a city, the location of your wedding night hotel doesn’t matter as much. Car services such as Uber and Lyft can whisk you to where you need to be with ease.
Think strategically about splurging.
Yes, it’s your wedding night, and you deserve a comfortable place to stay. But if you plan on partying into the wee hours of the morning, then getting up early to hit up brunch or head off to your honeymoon, you might not actually use the room long enough to make an expensive suite financially worthwhile. Instead, consider saving the upgrade for a time you’ll be able to fully appreciate and make use of your accommodations—like, say, your honeymoon.
When to Book Your Wedding Night Hotel
“We usually recommend securing this when you secure your wedding room block for guests, says Hall. “That’s typically 8 to 12 months prior to your wedding.”
Wedding Night Hotel FAQs
Do we have to stay in the same hotel as our room block?
Not necessarily. While many couples opt to stay alongside their guests, others choose somewhere more private—and more upscale. This gives the couple an opportunity to recharge and relax, but it also ensures that guests won’t feel pressured to spend beyond their budget when it comes to lodging. (A win-win!) The one exception is a destination wedding—particularly one where the reception is taking place at the same resort your guests will be booking rooms at. “If you’re inviting people to another country to celebrate you, it would be strange if you stayed somewhere else,” says Hall.
We’re leaving for our honeymoon early the next morning. Should we stay by the airport?
“I personally would hate to leave a beautiful wedding and go to a roadside airport hotel,” says Hall, who recommends booking a later flight if it allows you to spend your wedding night somewhere more enjoyable. If you do opt to stay closer to family but know you’ll need to leave extra early, drop a key with a parent or member of your wedding party. Ask them to clear out and take home any additional items—i.e. your wedding dress—that you won’t be taking on your honeymoon ahead of checkout.
How many nights should we reserve?
While it’s called your wedding night hotel, you’ll also want to book it for the evening before your wedding if you plan on getting ready there ahead of your ceremony. “If you wait until the day of your wedding, you likely aren't going to be able to check-in until later in the day, so getting ready in the suite won't be an option,” says Hall. Something else to consider: Morning-after breakfast, goodbyes, and packing time. While the hotel may grant you a late checkout, that will likely only extend your time to early afternoon. If you have a full slate of activities scheduled for the day after your wedding, booking the room for an additional night will ease the stress of having to get everything done at once—and allow you to savor some no-stress alone time as a newly married couple.
Should we book a suite?
If you can afford to do so, it’s generally a good idea—especially if you’re coming from out of town. You’ll likely be traveling with more than usual, and chances are high that parents, relatives, and members of the wedding party will want to stop by at some point. If your accommodations have the extra space of an additional seating area, that can make things easier.
We want to spend the night before our wedding apart. Who sleeps where?
Though Hall notes that fewer and fewer couples are following this tradition these days, she suggests thinking about the next morning when it comes to making your decision. Who needs a bigger space to get ready in, or will be starting the getting ready process earlier? That person should sleep in the bigger room, so they can transition smoothly into the tasks of the next morning.
Wedding Night Hotel Booking Tips
Spend elsewhere to get an upgrade.
“In the current climate of the world, upgrades aren’t being handed out very frequently,” says Hall, who notes that booking a brunch or shower at your hotel of choice may be the way to secure an upgrade on your room. “The more money you’re going to give them, the more likely they are to give you something,” she adds. Otherwise, ask politely the day of, and be realistic. If a more deluxe room is available the night of your wedding and it won’t interfere with any upcoming reservations, the hotel may bump you up free of charge.
Ask housekeeping for a refresh while you’re out.
If you’ll be getting ready in the same room you’ll be sleeping in, the last thing you’ll want is to come back to a space full of half-eaten bagels and bobby pins. Get ahead of the issue by asking your planner or a member of your wedding party to schedule a room refresh with housekeeping while you’re out.
Store other people’s items in another room.
Your room may serve as the command center the day of the wedding, but the day after the wedding, you’re going to want some privacy. To avoid knocks on the door at all hours of the morning as people head back home, have your wedding party members transfer anything they may have brought with them the morning of to a nearby room before they head out for the ceremony.