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Fairmont Wedding Tips and Trends

Publish Date : 11-Jan-2012
TORONTO 11, January, 2012

~ Luxury Hotel Brand’s Bridal Experts Dish on All of the Best Wedding Trends ~ 

Fairmont is known worldwide as a place of special occasions, from the copper-roofed Fairmont Peace Hotel in Shanghai, to royal-favorite The Savoy in London, to Toronto’s Grand Dame Fairmont Royal York. Many of Fairmont’s storied properties have hosted “first dances” for close to a century, and all are on the front lines when it comes to knowing what modern brides want.  Here are a few trends Fairmont wedding experts predict will be big in 2012.

Every Wedding is a Destination Wedding – While destination weddings used to conjure images of white sand beaches and swaying palm trees, modern couples getting married close to home may still have friends and family flying in from all over the world. Many of Fairmont’s city center properties have seen more weddings book 2- and 3-night room blocks along with Sunday brunches to make sure out-of-towners have a vacation too. Gift bags have also stepped up to include more than water and an itinerary – considerate couples book neighborhood walking tours for guests and offer hand-picked restaurant recommendations and tips for local attractions.

“Couples want to make sure they’re taking care of guests who spend a considerable amount of time and money to be there for them on their big day,” said Wayne Harth, Director of Catering at Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park.   “We’ve had brides arrange guided architectural tours and trolley cars to take guests around Chicago while the bridal party prepares for the evening festivities.”

Close-knit, But Not On a Shoestring – Intimate weddings give couples more time to spend with the people they care about most, and more money to spend on luxuries, both big and small.  A growing number of couples are choosing to limit their guest list to 100 or less, but their nuptials still boast the budget of a much larger wedding.

“Our brides are having smaller weddings, but spending more per person, whether it’s on elegant menus or setting up elaborate play areas for kids. We had one couple set-up a fully supervised adjacent room with Wii games, arcade machines, sweet table and disco,” said Bruce Russell, London Wedding Planner for Weddings at The Savoy by Bruce Russell.  “Another thing we’ve done to upgrade smaller weddings is to offer a la carte reception menus featuring six appetizers, six entrees and five desserts – all selected by guests on the day of the wedding. It’s a convenience and a luxury that invitees really appreciate.”

Keep People Dancing with Passed Small Bites – There’s no better way to make a DJ lonely than by rolling out limited food stations that immediately build up long lines - keeping people away from the music and quickly deflating a lively atmosphere. Instead of killing the party on the dance floor, forgo food stations for passed small bites that will keep guests dancing all night long.

“Passing tapas and desserts on the dance floor has become extremely popular and is a great way to keep the party going,” said Tracey Gavin, Senior Catering Sales Manager at The Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston.  “As an added perk, you can get creative with the food you present, whether it’s mini ice cream cones or cheeseburger sliders. It’s definitely a memorable touch.”

Groom’s Role Grows – While many catering managers used to see grooms only twice – at the first meeting and on their wedding day – many men are becoming more involved in the planning process, particularly when it comes to menus and desserts. Formerly a regional staple in the Southeastern U.S., the groom’s cake has slowly been inching its way north and even as far as the UK and Europe, and taking different forms as it migrates.  Whether it’s part of a “cake-scape” of different designs and flavors, a surprise gift from the bride featuring a favorite sports team, or just the classic chocolate treat of the groom’s choice, many couples are forgoing the traditional one size-fits-all confection.

 “For the most part, brides still run the show, but we’ve seen a growing level of involvement from men in every aspect of the wedding,” said Ashley Pigott, Conference Services & Catering Manager for The Fairmont Royal York in Toronto. “As grooms get more and more involved with picking dinner menus, music, and more, desserts have become a prime opportunity for them to show off their own style and preferences.”

Spicing up the Dessert Table - Having cupcakes instead of a wedding cake has been fashionable for years now, but some couples are getting even more creative with their dessert table by bringing out their inner child. Tiered donut cakes, old fashioned candy bars and huge spreads of cookies have taken over, giving guests an assortment of sweet treats to choose from.
“Many couples want a range of tastes and colors on their dessert table and are branching out beyond the traditional tiered wedding cakes and perfectly decorated cupcakes,” said Jenny Hytonen, Wedding Manager from The Fairmont Palliser. “One wedding we did had a whimsical candy bar filled with lollipops, gumdrops, licorice, taffy and more, and guests went wild for it.”

Decorating from Above – A stunning centerpiece may look great in photos, but many times they end up obscuring views and getting in the way of conversation.  So, instead of arranging votives and flowers on tables, some couples are hanging their centerpieces from the ceilings – creating a dramatic effect that finally lets guests sitting across from each other see eye-to-eye.

“We had one bride with an Alice in Wonderland theme for her reception who wanted magical décor for her guests, so we hung creative Mad-Hatter style top hats and candles from our Hacienda Trellis - it created a stunning effect.” said Amanda Wingert, Senior Catering Manager at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. “The hanging decorations have definitely become a popular feature and we’ve started to see a range of variations on the standard lantern and floral centerpieces.”

Future brides and grooms interested in more information on weddings at Fairmont can visit Fairmont Weddings online.  For a look at real Fairmont weddings as well as tips, tricks and ideas from Fairmont’s wedding experts, visit the brand’s social media site Everyone’s An Original.