Hotels Vs. Restaurants: Which Reception Venue Is Better For Your Small Wedding?

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Hotels Vs. Restaurants: Which Reception Venue Is Better For Your Small Wedding?

16 January 2018
 Categories: , Blog

Browse any wedding magazine or site -- or even any lifestyle blog written by someone who's described their wedding and reception --, and you'll see lovely floral wreaths and garlands strung around tents on sunny days, likely near the ocean or a lake. These are beautiful spreads, but if you're more the type who prefers all-inclusive deals and having things already taken care of for you, pulling together a bohemian tent wedding reception can be complicated. A hotel ballroom or restaurant may be more your style when you arrange for your reception. Which one is better for you depends on a few things, especially if you are planning a small gathering.

It's a Really Small Gathering

If your reception is on the small side of what typical weddings look like, such as having maybe 100 people instead of 500, you could go with either a restaurant that allows parties to rent the entire place out for several hours, or you could arrange for a small hotel ballroom. However, if you have a truly small reception, like 20 people, a hotel ballroom might be excessive. Restaurants often have private rooms that you can rent for gatherings like this, so you'd save money and have a much more intimate gathering.

Flexible Seating

You may want to go with a hotel ballroom if you want to design a seating plan of your own. Restaurants have more limited space and tend to want tables to stay in the same general area. It is possible that the hotels near you will have policies that make arranging tables more restrictive than you'd like, but overall, if you want more choice, the hotel ballroom will be more of a blank canvas for you.

Specific Meal Options

Restaurants offer the big advantage of having specific cuisines that you want to be served at your reception. If you go to a hotel for the reception and have the hotel kitchen cater the party (many hotels have wedding packages that include food and a wait service), you'll likely have a few basic dishes like chicken breasts, vegetables, and rice. If you really want a specific cuisine, be it barbecue, Italian, Chinese, or more, then a restaurant is a better choice of venue.

Given how stressful planning a wedding and reception can be, any place you hold the party has to work out for you. Even if it's not perfect, you have to be comfortable in it. See what restaurants and hotel ballrooms in your area have for weddings, and also check out companies that have reception halls meant specifically for gatherings of this nature. To learn more, visit a website like