Are you getting married? Congratulations! You have a wonderfully exciting time in front of you with the planning of one of the most enjoyable parties you can invite family and friends to. When you have set both the date and the minister/leader of the ceremony, the next challenge will be: the venue for the reception!

It’s no wonder that the party venue is usually one of the biggest challenges in wedding planning. The wish list soon gets to be very long: not too far away from the wedding ceremony, atmospheric and decorative, room for high chairs / long tables / round tables, a stage, good sound and lighting facilities and a dance floor. Not to mention what possibilities there are of getting help with the wedding dinner, serving staff and plates and such. If you also have guests from far away and can’t fit them all in at your in-laws, it is always appreciated to have a good and close alternative for overnight stays. The solution is simple – book the party room at the hotel and check off the entire wish list!

Felicia och Andreas invited everyone to their New Year’s Eve wedding at Quality Hotel Friends

One couple who had a wedding party at a hotel is Felicia and Andreas Frisk. Felicia tells us how hard it was to set the date of the wedding with Andreas’s full-packed schedule as a hockey player. When a 3-day gap around New Year’s appeared, the idea of a New Year’s wedding was born – a proposal that was very positively received by the wedding guests, who were all excited to have such nice plans for New Year’s Eve. But if you think it’s hard finding a party venue in the first place, it’s nothing compared to choosing such a particular date as the 31st of December for it:

– Most places were either closed on New Year’s Eve or it would be very expensive – many hundreds of thousands of Swedish crowns to book a restaurant or party venue. We started driving around in the car and thought ‘maybe here’ or ‘maybe there’. Then I went in and read about the Quality Hotel Friends restaurant and e-mailed them, says Felicia.

When the restaurant was found to be already booked, Felicia and Andreas came to look at the hotel’s party venues instead. And Quality Hotel Friends would soon prove to be a better idea than they had thought at first.

– We wanted to buy everything for our wedding, and what could be better than a place people can stay? After the party they could just take the elevator up to their rooms and then meet up the following day for a big breakfast with us. I had never thought that the wedding could be in the hotel’s party room, just at the restaurant. Just a happy coincidence! says Felicia.

Andreas proposed to Felicia on February 12th, 2016, and on New Year’s Eve the same year they married in Sundbyberg’s church. They held the wedding party at Quality Hotel Friends in Solna. Photo: Jari Sengström

”We wanted a cosy and relaxed atmosphere”

Many people do not know about the fantastic possibilities of organising parties in hotels. Meeting rooms and banquet rooms are often designed for possibilities and flexibility, which at first glance may feel impersonal and unromantic – a common reason why many people do not see hotels as an alternative for their wedding party. But the potential is huge.

– When I first walked into the room, my heart skipped a beat. It was massive – too big for our 50 guests – and I started thinking about how we could decorate straight away. Maybe we could use a folding screen and divide the room in half to make it the perfect size. We wanted a cosy and relaxed atmosphere. They arranged great lighting inside the room with light sources reflected on the wall. ‘What colour do you want?’ asked our project manager, Anna, and then I had to choose. Many guests said it was ‘so cosy, it was like being at home’, says Felicia.

Received help from the hotel’s project leader

Organising a wedding is anything but simple. The to-do list grows quickly and many questions about logistics, the dinner and party pop up. At Quality Hotel Friends, Felicia and Andreas were helped with all planning by Anna Walter, project manager. Felicia tells us:

– Anna, what a person! We got her contact details and were told she was the project manager but she became my own personal wedding coordinator. I sent long emails with many questions, and she responded to everything. I sent pictures for inspiration and she sent drawings. We met 3 times but e-mailed each other about a thousand times. I would not have had that at a restaurant. And restaurants do not have staff constantly either, but a hotel does. It was a really great advantage that all the staff were there.

You can read Anna’s best tips for if you want to have a hotel wedding here. An important part of the wedding party is also of course the dinner itself, both when it comes to deciding on the menu and the price. Since Felicia and Andreas already knew they wanted a three-course meal served, the hotel chefs gave them 5-6 suggestions of ready-made menus and the wedding couple then just had to put together the dishes they wanted.

We really loved the food! It was also an advantage to have a wedding party at a hotel because they are used to serving food to large groups. I think there is a whole other level to the food than if you compare it with for example catering or something. The same goes for the drinks. In some of the places we checked out at first, you needed to order drinks beforehand when there are going to be a lot of people. But at a hotel they usually have a little more variety and you can order large quantities – which was only another bonus for us in terms of price, as we only needed to pay per glass instead of for whole bottles, Felicia says.

”The room was like an unpainted canvas. Only your imagination sets the limit.” – Felicia Frisk. Photo: Jari Sengström

With the lighting and decorations they created a cosy atmosphere in the room. Photo: Jari Sengström

”There are no basically limits to what can be solved”

In the pursuit of the perfect venue for a wedding reception there are naturally a few things that you need to bear in mind. A big advantage of having a wedding party at a hotel is that everything is already in place. You do not have to sort technical equipment and worry about sound, lights, microphones and speakers. There are also more possibilities for preparing and storing decorations and supplies. In the case of Felicia and Andreas, they were able to arrive the day before and prepare the room, which saved them a lot of time and stress on the wedding day – as the day itself is usually stressful enough as it is anyway! Quality Hotel Friends also had a lot of decorations that the wedding couple were able to use, as well as a portable bar that could easily be prepared and rolled in once the party started. When we ask Felicia what the best thing was, she answers without hesitation:

– Anna, of course. That everything was already in place, but above all to have someone to turn to. When we were on our way back from having photos taken, we were going to go back to the hotel, and we did not want our guests to see us before the church service. So I called Anna and she slipped us in round the back. She made sure everything turned out brilliantly. All the little details, from the greetings in the hotel room, to the fact that they fixed an extra conference room with champagne and large windows where we could see the clock strike 12 and all the fireworks on New Year’s Day. We got a separate dressing room. The guests’ jackets disappeared into another room that became a wardrobe we didn’t have to worry about. Sound and lighting we had assumed we would have to buy separately if we had been at a restaurant, but now everything was included just as we wanted it. There are basically no limits to what can be solved. Everything is already there at a hotel!

Skoleken (the shoe game – a Swedish wedding tradition) is a must during the wedding dinner. Get to know the happy couple and see how well they know each other! Photo: Private

Do not forget the guestbook – a simple and fun way to remember your day. Photo: Private

Felicias top-three tips before the wedding:

# 1 I can definitely recommend having a change of clothing for the party, you will get sweaty in a long skirt!

# 2 It’s your guests who make the party, so only invite those you realy like and want there. We didn’t invite the whole family out of obligation, only the ones we wanted to be there.

# 3 After the marriage ceremony, we had the mingle and the toast in the church. Then we went to the hotel and went up to the room to have a little break and then went to the party room. But it felt completely unnecessary. Be sure to hang out with the guests while they are there, you can hang out with each other for the rest of your life.

Felicia and Andreas returned to the suite at Quality Hotel Friends to celebrate their first wedding anniversary. Photo: Private

Many benefits of a wedding party at a hotel

”Should I get married at a hotel?” you ask yourself. Absolutely! say we. With the wedding party at the hotel you have every possibility of tailoring the evening to your needs – with everything from welcome drinks, dance floors and decorations. But the main advantage is of course that you get a professional, well-working team to help with everything from planning and technical equipment to serving and kitchen staff. A hotel has both the resources and lots of experience with organising parties. In addition, guests from far away can sleep over, and what could be better than being able to go straight from the dance floor to a luxurious wedding suite with your newly-wed wife or husband? Sleep late and then meet friends and family for a big breakfast the following day.

Good locations, spaces to mingle and whole floors for parties

Just the closest members, or the whole extended family? Buffet or table service? At Strawberry there are many possibilities for planning your wedding party just the way you want it, regardless of the length of your guest list. Many of our hotels offer flexible rooms where you can easily divide a room with folding walls or screens to match the size according to your needs. As one of the Nordic region’s largest hotel groups, you will find more than 100 destinations, in both major cities and small towns. Choose from exclusive central locations with the city’s pulse right outside the front door, charming hotel gems in small towns, airport hotels and spa hotels. Book a restaurant, rent a party venue, or a whole floor!

With beautifully set round tables, it is easier for guests to talk to each other. Here at Quality Hotel Edvard Grieg in Bergen.

Lighting is an easy way to set the mood in the party room. Check with your hotel which options are available for lighting. This example is from Clarion Hotel Post in Gothenburg.

Birthday parties, student graduation parties, weddings or exhibitions – at Strawberry there are many possibilities! Choose from all our possible conference hotels in the Nordic and Baltic countries.

More reading for you

Read our guide for the ultimate wedding at a hotel