Venue: Hilton

January 21, 2010

Progress is being made on possible venue choices.   I contacted a nearby Hilton to see what a reception in their ballroom would cost. The Hilton name was randomly chosen.  I am probably a victim of marketing, but that was the first big hotel chain that came to me.   Plus, Paris is pretty rich and has a cute chihuahua so I assume their ballrooms will be nice and dog-friendly.  Or maybe just nice.

To remain competitive, the rates of similar caliber hotels should be consistent.

I called the Hilton wedding hotline, answered a few questions about the size of my party (~150), how many rooms will be reserved (25-30, probably more), and the date (10/10/10 is available at most places, harrah!). When they asked which particular hotels I have in mind, my only request was “none of those Inns or Courtyards.”

So here it is. The breakdown (simplified). I was surprised and delighted to learn the ballroom and bride/groom’s suite are complimentary. Then as I read through the mandatory catering menu, my joy dissipated linearly as the entrees added up. I think flabbergasted adequately describes my reaction to the alcohol menu.

A party there will result in cheese, crackers and booze, OR salmon, steak and ice tea. Something tells me my law school friends will enjoy their crackers very much.


  • Ballroom
  • Bride and groom’s suite with champagne and chocolate covered strawberries (almost worth it)
  • Tables, chairs, linens, candles
  • Dance floor (muy importante)
  • Cake table, cutting service (wtf is that?), gifts table

Reasons why the above list is complimentary.

  • Plated dinner of: salad/soup, salmon/sirloin, chocolate mousse torte — $60/guest
  • Cheese and fruits station, grilled veggies station, antipasti, hors d’oeuvres (one piece per person), tenderloin carving station — $85/guest.  Plus $75 for an attendant.
  • Alcohol has 3 tiers (low, medium, high) as well as many choices in serving (cash bar, pay per person on host’s tab, bar package for 4 hours per person).  With H2B’s family and our friends in attendance, the most cost efficient way is definitely the bar package.
  • Hotel tier — $39.50/person
  • Call tier — $45.50/person
  • Premium tier — $49.50/person
  • Just beer and wine — $35/person
  • + bartender at $100

Pretty high figures there.  Lets keep on.

Assuming we go with the nicest of choices, $85 food + $50 drinks for 150 people  = $20,250.  That’s about the amount of the average American wedding.  Of course this does not include the wedding ceremony, DJ or other decorations, but pretty much covers essential things.

Oh wait, the fine print reads “add 21% service charge and 8.25% tax to all food and beverage packages.”

$26,000.  BAM!  Down the toilet 24 hours after the party.



4 Responses to “Venue: Hilton”

  1. Liz Says:

    Yup, weddings are expensive.

    BTW, cutting service means the cost of cutting the cake for you. A lot of places will charge you $1-$5 per slice they cut and serve to your guests, which is FREAKING RIDICULOUS. I think that should be FREE. Which I guess it is at the Hilton, but I feel like it’s something all venues should do anyway.

  2. Jessica Says:

    You should also ask to find out what those prices mean for the # of servers! It can be cheaper if you’re okay with doing more of the planning/organizing (and not have it at a hotel). I do think you should consider non-hotel venues as well…anyway, we can talk about it more this weekend. =)

    Damn, $26,000 is a seriously expensive party, haha. Add on your ‘favors’, photography, and flowers and you’re on your way to $40k!! From what I’ve read, the best way of cutting cost is to cut people, haha. But I suppose yall are pretty set on that, right?

    • Pretty set on that, I’d rather have the people I care about there and more cheese and crackers for them to eat ;). Well, I project that number may be reduced slightly due to the traveling. Most of H2B’s family are on the east coast and may not make it.

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