As someone who intimately knows the lasting impact a successful wedding can have, my best word of advice is to make this event a reflection of you and your partner. In my role as Senior Catering & Events Manager at Waldorf Astoria Chicago, I’ve seen that a wedding of perfection can be done in any timeframe. Step one, find your partner, is already done! From then on, no matter how long the planning process, a couple will want to make planning as easy and enjoyable as they can. To keep things simple, I recommend looking for a venue that is more of a “one stop shop,” such as hotel. From a budgeting perspective, having a venue with an all-inclusive package, experienced events team, on-site Executive Chef, on-site ceremony space and unique bridal accommodations can drastically ease on the amount of pressure.
Take these offerings, add a dose of style and elegance and a personal touch. What flowers did you see on your first date? Incorporate them into your bouquets and centerpieces. Where did you dine? Customize cocktail hour hors d’oeuvres or sophisticated reception menus to recreate your first meal together. Working hand in hand with a hotel and it’s planning and food & beverage teams makes it easy for a couple to customize every moment of their big day, with hints of you and your partner woven throughout the wedding.
Once all the planning is said and done, a couple should be able to relax and enjoy every moment of their wedding day, and create the same experience for their guests as well. I always recommend looking for a venue that can accommodate bridal parties plus out of town guests. One that has a variety of amenities to choose from –one of a kind restaurants, spa and health facilities. This allows brides and grooms to enjoy the days leading up to the wedding with rejuvenating spa treatments and one-of-a-kind luncheon or dinner experiences, and inviting visiting family and friends to make a weekend out of the special occasion with an overnight stay and everyday amenities. Your guests are made to feel individually special!
Finally, I encourage couples to envision the visual details of their big day, from the aesthetic throughout the day to the photos that will live on for a lifetime, and select a venue that offers their favorite features and photography backgrounds made to impress. When you walk down the street and think of your dream wedding, what does it look like? Details large and small, from city views and unique architecture, down to color palettes and the changing of the seasons, will all lend themselves to the wedding day memories. It truly comes down to what you and your partner will cherish for many loving years to come!
Mariel Iverson is the Senior Catering & Events Manager at Waldorf Astoria Chicago
Photography by: Nick Gerber Photo, Maha Studios, Katherine Salvatori Photography, JPP Studios, Ann & Kam Photography & Cinema