Wondering whether a private venue or hotel venue is the best fit for your Puerto Vallarta wedding? You, my friend, are not alone in this conundrum.
There is often not a simple answer to the common debate of private vs hotel. There are, however, a few things to know in order to evaluate your priorities within the context of each venue option. Then you can determine what works best for you.
The Advantages + Challenges: Hotel Venues
You’ll learn all about the pros (+) and challenges (-) of hotel wedding venues to help you decide if a hotel wedding is right for you!
This is the most obvious advantage to a hotel wedding, and it has absolute merit. Guests retain a level of independence and are able to pop down to the celebration at the last moment. They can also pop back up to their rooms for a quick shoe change, to freshen up, to use their private restroom, if desired, and to depart the celebration at any time.
Minimal or No Space Fees +
Most hotels offer a variety of spaces – from sandy beachfronts to spacious gardens to pretty patios. The majority of these possible venue spaces are available to you for free or for a minimal cost when lodged at the hotel.
Exceptions do occur, so make sure to ask about space costs when considering a venue.
Back Up +
Back up space, back up staff, back up everything. Well, maybe not everything, but I’m referring to an overall sense of support in the case that something goes unpredictably wrong.
A hotel is prepared to service hundreds of people in varying situations 24-hours a day. This means there is on-site security, multiple first aid kits, large covered indoor spaces, extra veggies in the fridge, bellboys at the ring of, well, a bell. You name it.
Don’t get me wrong. These resources are not all at your wild whim simply because you are the bride. In the case of a true emergency, though, the infrastructure of a hotel can provide valuable support in executing solutions.
Noise Regulations + / –
The topic of party end time can shift between pro and con depending on the individual resort and its regulations. When common areas are utilized as a wedding venue, curfews are often enforced quite strictly as noise levels can be a nuisance to other hotel guests.
In Puerto Vallarta, the noise restriction at hotels is most commonly set at 11pm. There are a couple hotels that call the party as early as 10:30pm and just a few with areas far enough away from hotel guests that the party can extend later into the night.
Food Quality + / –
Foodies and all cuisine-lovers, take this advice to heart. If considering a wedding at a hotel, ALWAYS request a food tasting to experience the quality and presentation of the meal you serve to guests. While you may be pleasantly surprised at certain hotels, others will leave you wishing for street tacos rather than the “gourmet” plate in front of you.
If food is a wedding priority, make sure that you understand and are comfortable with the dining experience the hotel offers.
If you are unable to make a trip for a tasting and food is a high priority, request photos of the plate presentation and even ask for a reference to speak to another couple (or two) about their experience.
Customization + / –
Hotels have a bad rap for cookie-cutter wedding packages. Many hotel planners coordinate hundreds of weddings a year which means, quite frankly, that they are simply unable to customize every single detail of every single wedding. Thus the infamous “package.”
As the wedding customization culture grew over the last decade, hotels have needed to shift slightly to accommodate. While it won’t happen at every hotel, and you most likely won’t get every t crossed and every i dotted like you would with a private planner, hotel planners are now much more in-tune with helping couples semi-customize, so don’t be afraid to ask!
If you are interested in a highly-elevated wedding design but prefer the event take place at a hotel for the convenience, hire a private wedding planner (like me!) who works well at the venue.
External Vendor Fees –
Most hotels require couples to utilize a specific list of vendors for their weddings. A deviation from the vendor list results in a hefty fee paid to the hotel in order to provide access to a “non-authorized” vendor.
While there are a few hotels that are an exception and allow you to contract your own vendors, ensure that you understand all vendor policies before signing a wedding contract with a hotel to avoid any misunderstandings during the planning.
This may very well be the biggest disadvantage couples face when selecting a hotel venue. While a few hotels have completely private spaces, the majority use common areas within guest view for wedding events.
Choosing a hotel means sacrificing privacy. Period. As a bride, you will walk through hotel hallways in your dress on the way to the ceremony. You will have onlookers (even if peeking from around a palm tree) when you say I Do. For some couples, the idea of uninvited observers is a nightmare, for others, it’s part of the experience.
If this doesn’t sit well with you, ask questions about what measures the hotel takes to protect your celebration. Many will place PRIVATE EVENT signs in the area. Often times a security guard will stand at the event entrance to provide additional support.
Mentally prepare yourself for a few curious stragglers trying to catch a wedding peek. Don’t allow them to become your focus or distract from the people who are actually there to celebrate you!
Are you considering a wedding at a hotel? What other questions do you have about hotel wedding venues?