If you're considering a hotel reception, consider this: It may be one of the costliest—and smartest—moves of your wedding experience. I say costly in order to be realistic, not to scare you off. This is the Big Ticket Item, ladies. However, if you and your betrothed are expecting a big crowd and want to ensure a smooth celebration, regardless of Minnesota weather and tipsy guests, a hotel may be the way to go. Or, if you're like me, a hotel could be the perfect place to organize your Wedding Central: rehearsal dinner, family lounge, bridesmaid prep, wedding reception, post-party pass out, and farewell brunch in the same spot. Some savvy couples even include their ceremony in the more stylish venues.
Others prefer to stay elsewhere (but close by), to avoid the groomsmen who insist on "decorating" the newlywed suite. C'mon, guys. That's one tradition we'd prefer to bid adieu!
For guests, even in-town friends, a hotel wedding can mean easy booking and a great getaway. If you choose a hotel with affordable group rates, such as the Saint Paul Hotel, your loved ones will thank you.
In February, my husband, Sean, and I left our tots with grandma and grandpa in South Minny (thank you!) and spent the night at the Saint Paul following the Friday-evening wedding of my colleague and friend, Erica. She and Andrew tied the knot at the remarkable Our Lady of Victory Chapel at St. Kate's. The lovely, low-key reception took place at the Landmark Center in downtown St. Paul, kitty-corner from the hotel. The wedding rate was too good to pass up, and we thoroughly enjoyed our Summit EPAs, knowing we need only slip across the street when the party wrapped up. Nice. Check out more details from Andrew and Erica's winter wedding.
Elsewhere around town, Sean and I have enjoyed toasting happy couples at the Radisson Plaza Hotel Minneapolis (Barry and Alyssa, 2004: fab dance floor, good proximity to Nicollet Mall and downtown dining), and the Minneapolis Marriott West in St. Louis Park (Joel and Laurie, 2007: large, comfortable space, and glatt kosher kitchen).
My own wedding ceremony and reception took place in 2002 in Danville, Calif.—on the Town Green later made famous by Capt. Sully Sullenberger. Our rehearsal dinner, guest accommodations, and Sean's bachelor party all took place at the San Ramon Marriott, and I highly recommend the Marriott experience. My mother and I gulped when we saw the catering estimate—even for a small rehearsal dinner—but it was worth it. Our guests loved the convenience, the staff, and the bar!