7 Steps to The Perfectly Planned Hotel Wedding Reception
The car pulls up to the entrance, you two step out and Philip greets you with champagne. You’ve arrived at the hotel wedding venue on this AMAZING day. You remember your friends Jess and Will’s wedding reception at a different hotel and… how everything went a bit crazy.
That buffet running out of food wasn’t right!
But, you’ve got it sorted because you followed the seven key steps any bride and groom should take when considering the perfect hotel for a wedding reception.
If Jess and Will aren’t your friends, and you didn’t go to their crazy wedding were Dave did his usual crazy thing, here are seven steps to having the most magical day.
1. The Location/Space
You want your wedding venue to be accessible for all of your guests, whether they live in Dublin or are coming to the city.
There are plenty of choices too. Hotels, resorts, restaurants, clubs and halls, and other venues. But, there are things to think about too:
- How will your guests get to and from the church/venue/reception?
- Are people going to want to stay the night? (even locals like to treat themselves)
- Do you have guests with special access or dietary requirements?
These are especially true when looking for the best wedding venue in Dublin. It needs to be in a location where people know and it’s easy to get to, but exclusivity and uniqueness is also important.
Depending on the number of guests coming to the hotel you might make different choices over which reception rooms and lawns/gardens for guests will mingle in and wait for their photos, where you’ll cut the cake, which room you’ll have the wedding breakfast in, and where the speeches will take place.
One key factor that will shape your decisions is your budget.
Having your wedding reception at a hotel might seem pricey. It doesn’t have to be. You generally get everything included in the different packages on offer and, no matter what hotel you choose in the Irish capital, the venue is going to have an option that suits your budget.
There’s no need to hire an external caterer, hire tables and chairs, hire staff, or worry about anything else on the day. That’s why you’re choosing a hotel: so that everything is taken care of and you don’t need to worry.
If you love the minutiae and controlling everything makes you happy then hiring a professional organizer/planner for the day is going to be the best option (as long as it’s within budget). This person isn’t going to be cheap, but they’ll take care of everything and you’re not going to need to manage anyone. (Well, apart from uncle Eric. He always needs managing!)
Lots of people don’t think this is important or fail to realize their mind is subconsciously checking off certain spots in the wedding venue when they visit on an open day.
When you look back after being married 20+ years and you want to reminisce about your favorite day, having wonderful photos to look back on and re-live those memories of the day are priceless.
Having a brilliant photographer can work wonders, but having an abundance of indoor and outdoor locations for him or her to choose from can turn really great photos into magical experiences.
That’s why lots of couples choose old stately homes that are hundreds of years old: they have an abundance of character, old stone walls, gardens/lawns, patios, staircases, and a general feel of calm.
Keep in mind that when you’re having photos is the time when guests who aren’t can become bored (and hungry).
4. Management team
Most guides won’t mention this and they’ll assume that once things are planned everything will go off without a hitch. They’re wrong. Things always happen. Whether these are big things — or small things that nibble away and become an annoyance when they all stack up — one person needs to get a handle on them.
Having a proactive member of the hotel management team look after you on your special day is sensible.
In most hotels in Ireland, this person also acts as a Master of Ceremonies and will work with you to coordinate guests and vendors (your “go-to” person for the day). Keep in mind, however, that they’re not a professional wedding planner or organizer, so their role and how well they do their job (in your eyes) could be limited.
You won’t need a caterer or any staff, but what about the cake, music and DJ? These are all extra things that require thinking about.
Hotels usually won’t charge additional fees for these and will have a list of a few they recommend.
Music and entertainment: once the speeches and wedding breakfast is over it’s important to create the “vibe” and “buzz” to ensure everyone has a good time.
The cake cutting is often seen as an emotional time for older generations and is when lots of guests gather around to take photos. Having a reliable vendor to produce a beautiful cake is a must.
Then there is always the choice of having a children’s entertainer or a bouncy castle (if you’ve decided to invite children on the day).
6. Rooms for people to stay
People wanting to spend the night isn’t just limited to out of town guests. Locals might also decide to make an event of things and stay over.
People who aren’t local to Dublin will appreciate you taking the time to block reserve some rooms with the hotel, as these usually come with a reduced rate. This also creates a community of friends and family who are staying over.
There’s also the added benefit that guests who are staying over can be easily managed during the day’s events.
7. Food and drinks
These are by far the most important things for your wedding guests on the day. It has the potential to go delightfully right or very wrong. As you’ve chosen a hotel to host your big day celebrations they’re going to take care of most things, and you should let them.
Key stages to concentrate on for your guests are:
- on arrival
- the time before eating
- time to refresh between daytime and evening events
That’s why lots of times people choose to have their speeches at the end of the meal.
Guests can sometimes wait a long time between arriving at the church or hall for the ceremony and actually eating something substantial (a meal).
For most people this is a considerable amount of time, but for young people and older generations it can become troublesome.
Not to mention when one of your uncles makes an absolute idiot of himself because he got drunk before anyone sat down for the wedding breakfast. You definitely don’t want to be talked about like Jess and Will’s big day!
Conclusion: Make it your day
There are some important points in this guide.
If you hire someone to take care of everything for the day then that will make things sooo much easier, but these professionals aren’t cheap.
So, lots of couples choose to leave the day’s events to the management team at the hotel. This is a sensible decision and it won’t be the first wedding they’ll have managed.
Keep these seven steps in mind when you’re thinking about — or asking for help and advice — when planning your dream wedding.
A note from Write Stop
Anything that focuses on an experience — like staying in a hotel, playing golf, a spa break or having a birthday party/celebration — should encourage the reader to think about the emotions they’ll experience from reading the words in front of them.
Yes, this is guest post content. Some people wouldn’t much thought into that and just “bash out” a thousand words or so on the keyboard. For us, if this post appears on a website with traffic then wouldn’t you want the person reading it to feel a connection and then click through and view the hotel’s website? 😉