Tips for Planning a Perfect In-Suite Wedding Reception

Watching Ryan's same day photo edits on his laptop

Omnomnom… guests enjoy a cheese and fruit spread from Whole Foods at a Mandalay Bay in-suite wedding reception. Read more about this wedding!

For couples choosing Las Vegas as a destination wedding location many factors can play a role in the location they choose for their reception. These factors include: budget restraints, a desire for a casual setting and wedding guestlist size.

As a result, many couples end up hosting part of their wedding day festivities in a hotel suite. Luckily, with so many hotel choices, Vegas has many fancy-schmancy options to accommodate small in-suite ceremonies, receptions or post-reception cocktail parties. Heck, even I hosted my post-reception cocktail party in a super-size suite at Mandalay Bay!

These rooms offer VIP views, luxurious amenities and a “high roller” experience which will surely make your event one to remember. It’s also a great option for those on a budget or with smaller groups of people looking for an intimate experience. Here are some weddings on Little Vegas Wedding featuring the reception in a hotel suite!

For those with a bigger budget and those who want it the details taken care of, using the in-hotel wedding or catering planner is probably the easiest – but most expensive – option. Consider the convenience carefully! Going with the in-house team could potentially remove a lot of your more personal touches, as you are at the whims of the in-house catering and beverage menu, and their prices!

If you prefer to go the DIY route, or with the help of an outside party planner, you can control a lot more. The costs can be significantly lower, but there can be a lot of added stress with worries over getting the room ready and getting everyone up there in time, and without attracting attention.

Today we’ll explore the different aspects to take into consideration before you hold your in-suite Vegas wedding reception.

mandalay bay in-suite wedding

Saddling up to the bar in a Mandalay Bay Hospitality Suite. More on this wedding

Choosing the Hotel

How many guests do you expect? There are suites that will hold up to a hundred guests, but most will fit 20-40 comfortably.

Stand up or sit down? If you are having a cocktail party, plan on 5 to 6 square feet per person. Remember square footage for Vegas hotel rooms includes the bedroom. Look for suites with a bar to encourage mingling. Most of the suites offer a range of seating instead of tables, so casual stand up cocktail parties are the best option.

Do you have any guests with limited mobility? Vegas hotels may look near to one another on a map, but the distance can be far in fancy footwear or to elderly or young guests.

Looking for VIP amenities and entertainment? Suites vary greatly. Some are upwards of $5000 a night, but can offer your guests a once in a life time experience, from bowling in a suite used by celebrities or an incredible outdoor patio floating high above Vegas. Some suites come with games like foosball or pool tables, others with gorgeous patios and yet others focus more on media and entertainment centres. Some couples hire entertainers to make appearances or to help make their entrance to the party.

Ease of entry. Some hotels have better set ups than others for getting items up to the room without attracting attention. For example, Vdara and MGM Signature have fabulous suites, but they are valet only hotels and have very small lobbies, which might attract unwanted attention if you aren’t going the official route.

Fresh air? At this time, only a few hotels offer open air patios or balconies. If you are really set on this, your selections may be limited.

Start Here: Here are 5 of the more popular suite choices for couples to hold their small wedding receptions, parties and associated events in .

With seating for 25, the media suite had lots of room to mingle

With seating for 25, the Media Suite has lots of room to mingle. More on this wedding

Logistics

Consider getting help. Hiring a wedding or party planner will allow you and your guests to enjoy the day much more. Absolute Beverage and Culinary Pros offer hire by the hour bartenders and runners to help you get items to your room, set things up/clean up or serve up beverages during the night. Scheme Events, Green Orchid and various other Vegas wedding planners offer day-of coordination services and will help set up the party. Of course, you could always see if your Cousin Joey is up to the task, too.

Going completely DIY? Keep a careful schedule of all pick up and return times, and all of your rental receipts and such. When the going gets tough, the tough turn to a schedule. And trust me, if you’re ballsy enough to go DIY on this, you’re going to need it.

mandalay bay in-suite wedding

Dessert reception in a Mandalay Bay Vista Suite. More on this wedding

Catering

What kind of food do you need? Would you prefer post-reception dinner late night snacks only? A full dinner? Dessert or cake cutting only? Only cocktails? Remember you’ll need to keep the food cool or hot. Popular options for casual catering include Whole Foods, Costco, Jason’s Deli, Masterpiece Catering and Albertson’s.

How much booze do you need? For liquor and bar supplies, Lee’s Liquor is convenient with many locations and great prices. Don’t forget if you want a custom beverage, you might need custom bar tools, too. The Kitchn has a useful post to figure out how much you should buy to drink. Consider the people who many not want or be able to drink as well – a fresh fruity lemonade might be nicer than regular old cola

Don’t forget the ice! Hotel ice machines will not provide the amounts you need without running from floor to floor all night. Just buy it and be done with it.

Let them eat cake. Many Las Vegas bakeries, including Retro Bakery, will deliver cakes or cupcakes right to your hotel suite for a small charge. Totally worth it … that is unless you like melted buttercream. There are lots of other delicious options in Vegas too, like cookies, doughnuts and macarons.

mandalay bay in-suite wedding

Enough room for dancing in a Mandalay Bay Hospitality Suite. More on this wedding

Entertainment

How will you entertain your guests? Music is always a great choice, but some rooms come with large screen TVs, pool tables, foosball or other game options. Other couples have had photobooths and dance floors set up (in larger suites.)

Hiring entertainers. For a memorable experience you might consider having an entertainer come to the suite, in the form of an Elvis impersonator, magician, musician or showgirl. In a town of entertainment, the sky is the limit. Another Vegas bride even had Star Wars Stormtroopers and Darth Vader show up!

DIY DJing – Set up your song for your first dance, your favorite tunes and mix in a few Vegas-themed songs from the Ultimate Las Vegas In-Suite Wedding Mix Playlist to play on the in-suite iPod dock or soundsystem. (Note: many hotels are not set up to work with the brand new iPhones)

Using the media in the room. To keep guests busy, you might consider setting up a long photo slideshow of you and your spouse and guests at the party. Many of the newer TVs can be hooked up to phones, computers or even accept USB keys. Some people are just happy watching sports, though.

Budgeting

Staying on budget. To stay on budget, you might consider holding your event Sunday through Wednesday night, when room rates are a bit cheaper. If you find a great deal, don’t be afraid to book a room then release it later. Most rooms are refundable if you cancel them 48 hours ahead of your check-in.

Think of all your costs! Factor in rentals and additional party supplies into your budget and pick ups. Costco and Smart & Final sell disposable cups, plates and cutlery. RSVP Party Rentals and Rebel Party Rentals offer specialty glassware, plates and cutlery, tables as well as lighting, popcorn machines and chocolate fountains and more – everything you might need for a successful party.

How much? For my post-wedding reception afterparty in 2010, we ended up spending about $3500 for deli platters, cake, 2 custom cocktails, wine, beer and a few hard liquor choices (tequila, rum, vodka, whiskey) as well as a bartender for three hours and the Mandalay Bay suite for the night, for 50 people. We had boxes of beer left over that I gave to people in the lobby as we checked out, but ran out of custom cocktails. They were popular!

Media room in the media suite

Media room in the Mandalay Bay Media Suite. More on this wedding

Decor

Do I need extra decoration? The suites often look great on their own, and the views can be fantastic. You probably will not need much more decoration! If you really want to, spend most of your decor budget on one central spot, like a guestbook table or cake display table, where a photograph of it will make a splash instead of a few sparse items around the room.

Closing Thoughts and Tips

Not every hotel is as open to hosting small parties, so your mileage may vary. Many hotels insist you go through their catering department and some have security which makes it a challenge to get many people up to the room without drawing attention. Tips for pulling off a successful suite party include:

  • Getting most of the guests up to the room before 9pm. That magic time is when many hotels post security guards at elevators checking for keycards, making it difficult to get that group of 10 or more people up with you without raising eyebrows. Some other hotel suites are on keycard access only floors – be prepared for this!
  • Bring up food and drinks in small batches, hire a company or planner to do it for you or just tip a porter well to bring it up
  • Keep the music and noise to a reasonable level
  • Make sure you have cash for tips and gratuities! Include a stash of cash to tip housekeeping staff well when you vacate the room, bellmen, or other service staff who help you, including any entertainers, runners or bartenders you hire.
  • Bring garbage bags and ice – the hotel will have some, but there will not be enough
  • Something not working out perfectly? Improvise – that bathtub makes a great beer cooler and people can sit on the bed if they need to
  • Don’t be afraid to move furniture – but move it back after
  • Be flexible – your specific room option may not be available on check-in and the room may not be ready at check-in time
  • Keep the room tidy – lots of photos will be taken and it will make leaving the next day a lot easier
  • These rooms also make great choices for meet and greets, day after brunches, rehearsal meeting spots as well as bachelor and bachelorette parties!

Do you have a tip for anyone planning an insuite reception? Add it in the comments!
And be sure to check out this list of five excellent choices for an in-suite reception in Las Vegas!

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Photos: Ryan Jackson & Personal Photos

1 Comment on Tips for Planning a Perfect In-Suite Wedding Reception

  1. Adri
    June 12, 2013 at 3:41 pm (4 years ago)

    Great article! I am assisting a friend with a Vegas wedding and this article was extremely handy. She had a lot of questions that I did not know how to answer regarding doing an in-suite reception, but now I do :)
    It’s good to have some vendor recommendations to get started (I’m not exactly a DYIer), and I also loved the Vegas playlist.

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