Not what to do on the wedding night, but where
March 10, 2015 10:48 PM   Subscribe

Trying to decide between getting a hotel room or going home after our wedding. On your wedding night, where did you stay? Did it make a difference?

My fiancé and I are weighing the options of where to stay on our wedding night and are having trouble deciding. Our reception venue is a short fifteen minute drive from our home, so it would be incredibly easy to spend the night back at our place. There’s something sweet about starting our married life together in our home. But I worry that coming home right after the reception will kill some of the vibes of the night, and send us back into the “real world” of clutter, to-do lists, etc. The other option is to book a hotel room. Having a king size bed, soaking tub, and room service is really appealing. But it does feel frivolous to sleep in an expensive hotel room when our place is a short drive away. Possibly relevant info: we are going on a honeymoon, but not until a few days after the wedding.

Where did you spend your wedding night? Was it worth it to have a hotel suite? Or, if you went home, were you grateful to sleep in your own bed at the end of the day? Would also love any other suggestions for how to make wedding night awesome!
posted by lakemarie to Grab Bag (34 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Went straight home, no regrets! It's a little mundane, but we valued the comfort of it over trying to make another special memory in an already packed day.
posted by heresiarch at 10:55 PM on March 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

We had our reception at a hotel and they comped us a room, so we stayed there, even though it was 3 blocks from our home. We loved it! A few people came to our apartment the next day and it was great, but not having to deal with cleanup was awesome.
posted by bedhead at 10:59 PM on March 10, 2015

Get a nice hotel room. Not because it'll be better than home, but because you'll be, by definition, nowhere near or accessible to friends and family.

Our hotel room was minutes from our house, but functionally it was light years away from my "we have no filter or barriers" family.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:03 PM on March 10, 2015 [5 favorites]

Our wedding was a similar distance from home, and we stayed in a hotel. I wouldn't want to do it any other way. However, we left for the honeymoon the next morning, so it was kind of a different situation.
posted by primethyme at 11:04 PM on March 10, 2015

My friends found it convenient to have a hotel room near the reception--they could drink a little without worrying about a designated driver.
I and a few other family guests also got rooms.
It was fun--we stayed up really late and had more wedding cake!
posted by calgirl at 11:12 PM on March 10, 2015

We got a hotel room and it was a dumb decision. We just did it because everyone seemed to expect that's what you do after your wedding. In retrospect, there was nothing about it that was better than going home and we would have been too tired to really appreciate it even if we'd booked the fanciest room ever. And then the next morning of course we had to check out by 10am, when we'd rather have stayed in bed all morning.

I vote you save yourselves some money and use it to do something fun on your honeymoon.
posted by lollusc at 11:17 PM on March 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I was part of a wedding party where the Just Marrieds went back to their home for the wedding night. The Maid of Honor was a sister to one of the brides and she'd arranged for some of us to come clean and decorate their house a little bit after they'd left in the morning while they were doing pre-wedding photos. We made sure the kitchen was clean and the sheets were fresh and placed a bunch of gift baskets around (wine on the counter, breakfast in the fridge, fruit on the table, flowers in the bedroom, candles in lots of places waiting to be lit, etc.) Also someone else who'd done it before took their dog for the weekend. The brides had done all their makeup and dressing things elsewhere after leaving in the morning so there wasn't any of that to clean up. Evidently it worked out brilliantly and I loved that this was a way I could contribute that wasn't standing up with bridemaids in an ugly dress or giving a speech or being an usher.

But I think it's worth it to make it at least a little special. If you don't have a "posse" to fancy-up your home for you, and can afford the hotel room, it's a nice thing to do for yourself. Weddings are pretty frivolous already so this isn't particularly moreso.
posted by Mizu at 11:18 PM on March 10, 2015 [7 favorites]

We stayed in a fancy suite for our honeymoon night and the next night and it was so wonderful to have a beautiful and special place to go to that was just ours.
posted by saradarlin at 11:33 PM on March 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

We stayed in a pretty nice, but not super fancy hotel. When we walked into reception in our wedding regalia they immediately upgraded our room. I'd say simply being able to order room service for breakfast the next morning made it worth it.
posted by zsazsa at 12:21 AM on March 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: But it does feel frivolous to sleep in an expensive hotel room when our place is a short drive away.

Weddings are for being frivolous! Pick a decent hotel and stay there. Obviously if you don't really like hotels, then go home, but if there's one time in life for being a bit decadent, it's your wedding night.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 1:01 AM on March 11, 2015 [3 favorites]

We went home and it was great. Woke up in our own bed and cuddled with our cat. Best decision ever.
posted by lydhre at 3:33 AM on March 11, 2015

We lived in West London, got married in Central London (two miles away) and got a hotel room near the reception.

Honestly, I'm very glad we did. It meant that after all the hullabaloo of the day and evening, we could stumble into a bed nearby and just rest without coming home and thinking "Oh yeah, the dishes need washing" or whatever...
posted by almostwitty at 4:03 AM on March 11, 2015

Having a king size bed, soaking tub, and room service is really appealing.

We thought so too, but as soon as I had my dress off I was asleep before the enormous soaking tub had even filled up. However, we were able to eat breakfast with our friends and family that had stayed as well, the next morning, so it was kind of a trade off. Reading the above comments, had I thought about sleeping in and not having to be on anyone else's time table, that's totally the way I'd go.
posted by librarianamy at 4:33 AM on March 11, 2015

Yes, we were going to just go home (we literally could've WALKED home) but my parents gave us a night at the hotel they were staying at as a gift, and you know, it was so nice to come back to a lovely, comfy, clean room after such a wonderful and crazy day.
posted by caoimhe at 4:43 AM on March 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

We had a hotel room, and it felt surprisingly special to walk into the lobby in our fancy wedding clothes and have a bunch of complete strangers all be extra nice to us. The hotel had even prepared a little fruit basket and bottle of chilled Prosecco for us, although I fell asleep trying to peel the tangerine, so I can't say we really took full advantage of the setting. Seeing as our alternative would have been the spare room at my parents' house, the hotel room felt more appropriate in that instance, but I might've preferred my own bed had that been a viable option. That said, weddings are special occasions, and you should feel free to do whatever you feel is best.
posted by Diagonalize at 4:52 AM on March 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

We went to a nice hotel and did a fancy brunch the next morning. Our place was insanely cluttered with wedding stuff, it would have been a downer. Hotel tip: unplug their alarm clock. Still bitter the alarm went off in the middle of the night after a long, tiring wedding day!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:00 AM on March 11, 2015

My lovely wife and I got a nice hotel room near the wedding venue, and we enjoyed it, but also did so for practical reasons. In our case, we were flying out to our honeymoon the next day, and we were driven to the hotel, with our luggage, by my brother, who was my best man. It was then a simple matter to grab a taxi to the airport the next morning.
posted by Gelatin at 5:21 AM on March 11, 2015

Cool Papa Bell: "because you'll be, by definition, nowhere near or accessible to friends and family."

This times a hundred. We didn't even tell anyone where we were staying to reduce the temptation to arrange some group activity the morning after.

Also we didn't have to be out till noon. Many places will acquiesce to a late check out.
posted by Mitheral at 5:23 AM on March 11, 2015

We went home because all of our family had booked rooms and we wanted time away from everyone, to ourselves, without awful WINK-WINK comments from older relatives or my younger cousins knocking on the door or whatever. We went back to our house and had an excellent evening and spent the whole next day in pajamas, watching movies and eating takeout while starting our thank-you notes.
posted by SeedStitch at 5:35 AM on March 11, 2015

Best answer: But it does feel frivolous to sleep in an expensive hotel room when our place is a short drive away.

We also lived nearby, but we were at an after party until pretty late, and we stayed i a fancy hotel downtown. It was great just to breeze into the lobby, go up to our room, and NOT be in a house where we were likely to fall into old habits (e.g., turn on TV or check email), or feel pressure to tidy up "for just a minute" or something.

Plus: we used like five awesome hotel towels!
posted by wenestvedt at 6:07 AM on March 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

We lived about 15 minutes from our reception site as well. We stayed in a hotel room the night after. Frankly, we were tired and drunk and didn't relish the idea of lugging flower arrangements, my dress, clothes, presents, cards, etc etc into the car and driving home and unpacking on our wedding night. We also waited a week between our wedding and going on the honeymoon - so this felt like something a little special right after we were married.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 6:18 AM on March 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

After our wedding, we went home and shed fancy clothing all over the apartment, and then collapsed on the bed for about an hour exhausted. We were so drained from the event that all I wanted was to be someplace that was familiar and comforting. I think I couldn't even speak for three hours, that's how emotionally tired I was. A hotel would have been misery and complete meltdown. Dealing with checking into a hotel, being around strangers, navigating a new environment, looking over a room service menu--all of that would have been way too much for me. Being home was the best thing ever right then. I have never appreciated my own apartment more than that day.
posted by epanalepsis at 6:43 AM on March 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Hotel, hotel, hotel. After our morning wedding, by the time we got to the hotel -- maybe 5 or 6pm -- we were EXHAUSTED and STARVING. It was a night for a gigantic, freshly made bed, room service, a long shower and using all the towels without ever having to wonder about how any of this stuff was going to get cleaned up.
posted by BlahLaLa at 6:57 AM on March 11, 2015

Fancy hotel. Lounged around in fluffy bathrobes and fell asleep.
posted by matildaben at 7:25 AM on March 11, 2015

We stayed at a fancy hotel even though the wedding was local to us. The only regret I have is that we didn't stay for a second night.

It would have made logistics weird with the present opening and other stuff we had going on the day after the wedding. But having to be out by check-out time meant that we didn't really get to sleep-in/luxuriate in our newly married happy bubble as long as I would have liked.
posted by sparklemotion at 7:41 AM on March 11, 2015

Our wedding was in the morning and the reception was a luncheon, due to reasons associated with my husband's family's business associates. It felt a little anti-climactic for the celebration to be over by 2pm, so we invited everyone back to our house to continue the party into the night. So we stayed at home that night.

Because we were accompanied all night until we fell into bed, and because our friends came over first thing in the morning with a potluck brunch, it worked out just fine for us to be at home. If it had just been the two of us arriving home at an early hour with no one to continue celebrating with, it would have quickly fallen into "I'll just tidy some dishes; I'll just check my email - oops I forgot to pay this bill", etc. If it looked like it was going to go that direction we would have booked a hotel room for sure.
posted by vignettist at 7:50 AM on March 11, 2015

So, the first time, we had to get a hotel (we were getting legal married in another state that was some drive from here), so I Hotwired us something nice (though the Baltimore Sheraton had double beds instead of queens, what the heck), and her girlfriend came in and we made a weekend of it (the new X-men movie and a fancy dinner made an excellent double feature afterwards). Scheduling the weekend was a bit of a pain, but it was nice to not just drive to the courthouse, be all 'we're married now' and then go home to the dog and the roommate and stuff. It felt much more like an occasion because of how we had to do it.

For the social wedding a couple months later, we rented a house for the venue, and staying on site was part of the package, and it was really, really nice to just be able to have the party in place after the reception, then fall over after everyone left (and fall over we did. We weren't drunk, but we had been steadily drinking all afternoon and evening, and we were dehydrated. Protip, drink something that doesn't have a proof on your wedding day.) We partied until midnight, and I was very glad not to have to drive home and deal with the roommate and the dog etc and wake up to a messy apartment.

If it's in your budget, I am firmly in camp get-a-room. :)
posted by joycehealy at 8:00 AM on March 11, 2015

Hotel room, for sure. I would have hated to come back to cats and dogs and unopened mail and dirty laundry. I would have also hated to feel pressured to clean the house beforehand, when I'm already busy with wedding prep.

We weren't as tired (or drunk) as we thought we'd be when we got back to the room and had a really nice, romantic evening before leaving for our honeymoon the next day. It was a pretty seamless transition and we weren't jolted back into the reality of mundane life.

(Hopefully) you're only going to do this once. Why not treat yourself? Unless the expense is going to impact your ability to pay bills or buy food, I say go for it.
posted by desjardins at 8:01 AM on March 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

We went home and it was awesome. We were leaving early the next morning for our honeymoon and just wanted to relax in our own bed. The biggest thing was wondering what would happen with our clothes if we stayed in a hotel and went right to the airport. It would have required us to ask someone to drop off our stuff at the hotel before, and to pick up stuff afterwards, and that just seemed like it wasn't worth it.

Plus the carrying over the threshold thing was fun!
posted by cabingirl at 8:10 AM on March 11, 2015

We got a nice hotel room and I fretted a little about the cost, since our real honeymoon was a few weeks later, but it was WONDERFUL. Some of my best memories of my wedding day are walking around the hotel grounds that night still in my dress, because I didn't want to take it off. We had a lunch reception and didn't think we'd be hungry for dinner, only to get to our hotel at 9pm and realize we were starving, so we ordered room service and walked around and random strangers congratulated us and there was MAGICAL FOOD when we got back.

We thought so too, but as soon as I had my dress off I was asleep before the enormous soaking tub had even filled up.

Hah!! This happened to me too, but still no regrets.
posted by nakedmolerats at 8:16 AM on March 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

We went home and it was nice. We stopped at our favorite neighborhood burrito place (yes, in my dress), got takeout, changed clothes and ate, and collapsed with exhaustion in our own bed. We were up so late at the wedding that we wouldn't have taken advantage of any amenities in a hotel, and we got to sleep in our own bed and wake up late with no check-out stress. We also didn't have to get a dogsitter before going away and leaving him again for a week two days later.

Maybe if some of the circumstances were different - if it had been an early wedding, if it hadn't been for the dog, if we hadn't been horribly behind on packing, if the reception had been at a hotel in the first place. But I sleep poorly in hotels, and that was my number-one driving factor. I was already exhausted, and we had a weekend of social engagements before leaving on our honeymoon, so it was definitely the right choice for us under those circumstances.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:25 AM on March 11, 2015

We went home and collapsed into bed, exhausted, and got up at the crack of dawn to drive several hours to the port for our honeymoon cruise. It was the perfect choice for us--no stress about that evening, and looking forward to a week away from everyone where we could focus on each other.
posted by telophase at 8:30 AM on March 11, 2015

We went home and watched Mythbusters and slept in our own bed, and then left for the honeymoon the next day. It was nice.

I think the key is to do what you want, not what you feel like you should do.
posted by oblique red at 8:40 AM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Our wedding was out of town (about 3 hours away from home), so my answer is obviously influenced by that fact. The area is one we knew well, and there were family and friends who would've happily lent us their place for a night, in addition to hotels. In prepping for the wedding, certain planning items were just deferred to one or the other of us with the expectation that that person would take care of it, make sure it was done, and the other person didn't need to be involved or consulted. Where we stayed on the wedding night turned into one of those items, and it was my responsibility.

So I did a bit of thinking and decided I didn't want to borrow someone else's house for that night, and then some digging on B&B's and hotels in the area where the wedding was, and found a small hotel a little off the beaten track that was about 20 minutes away from the dinner site and, conveniently, on the way home. The hotel was delighted to hear we were spending our wedding night there, and put us in their largest suite and added a couple of little touches that were really nice, especially given that we were there one night and arrived late in the evening and left the next morning (i.e., they had no real reason to go above and beyond, but did anyways). The next morning we grabbed breakfast and headed for home. So the positives from my perspective:

-no concerns about family/friends dropping by and/or being nuisances (may not be a concern for you, but some couples have pranksters who like to hassle the couple of the wedding night);
-no clean-up - we arrived to a clean room, spent the night, and left the next morning without having to worry about the dishes, the laundry, making the bed, letting the dog out, etc. It sounds small, but it meant a night where the normal bits of day to day life just weren't intruding. All we had to worry about was the check-out time and making sure the dress and tux were packed;
-being somewhere different made it feel special to both of us (and having hotel staff go the extra distance helped that feeling too - knowing that there were people around who could take care of an issue if it arose was nice);
-being able to put our bags in the car the next morning and just drive away (even if it was going back to our normal lives) felt like a wonderful thing.

One thing my wife and I did learn from the whole wedding experience is that it's your day, and it should be about what you want and are comfortable with, not what everyone's expectations are. So I would put that idea front and centre in your planning, and the above is just my thoughts on how it went for us and why it was nice. I have no doubts that spending the night in our own home would've been nice too!
posted by nubs at 11:53 AM on March 18, 2015

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