Tell us what makes The Peninsula Chicago different from other wedding companies.
The Peninsula Chicago strives to differentiate ourselves based on the attention to detail that we provide, as well as the ways that we can customize our wedding couples’ special day. Our legendary Peninsula service is the main reason why couples choose to have their wedding at The Peninsula Chicago. The majority of our staff has been at the hotel for 10+ years and have truly come to know our guests. It feels to many of our guests that they are ‘coming home,’ when they come back to stay at the hotel. We strive to personalize guests’ stays and we love helping to create memorable moments that last a lifetime.
Couples booking weddings for 100 guests or more will receive a complimentary overnight suite accommodation for the couple as well as access to the hotel’s 1946 vintage Packard automobile for wedding photos and short rides to and from the ceremony. Couples are also invited back on their 1st year anniversary for a complimentary overnight stay.
What is your best advice for engaged couples?
I always tell engaged couples to let go and enjoy their wedding day. The day goes by far too quickly. Find moments where you can enjoy time together. I suggest having private time at the beginning of cocktail hour for just the two of you to enjoy a Champagne toast and have something to eat while you reflect after the ceremony. As much as you can, be in the moment and let the wedding professionals take on the worry about timing and the small details.
What is your favorite trend for weddings currently?
I love the trend of keeping the party going after the traditional reception. We’ve helped to create weddings with passed desserts on the dance floor after cake is served, late night food when everyone is hungry after dancing, and even an after-dinner drink as a celebratory surprise. Some couples even take advantage of having a DJ take over after the band is finished – just to keep the energy going.
What is one of the most unique elements you have seen in a wedding?
We had a wedding recently where the immediate family sent out paper birds to other family and friends around the world so that they could write a well-wish or message to the wedding couple. The florist then took all the paper birds and hung them from the ceiling in the ballroom. They were all different colors; it was beautiful. The couple took them home after the reception to read the well-wishes. It was a unique touch for this couple.
Do you do anything that is signature to your brand?
At The Peninsula Chicago, we describe our service approach as ‘Midwestern Hospitality combined with Far Eastern Graciousness,’ which is defined by the warm, genuine, caring nature one would find in people from the Midwest together with the reserved, discreet, refined type of service one would find in Asia. The Peninsula Hotels are based in Asia, so you will find a number of Asian influences throughout the hotel. Some of these touches can be incorporated into weddings with Asian influences in our food, such as our specialty dim sum during cocktail hour as an example.
What do you think is essential for any wedding?
It is essential to include special touches that are meaningful to you during your wedding day. For example, if you love French fries, have a French fry bar for a late-night snack. Or if you and your fiancé shared a certain cocktail during your first date, make sure that special cocktail is available to guests.
How far in advance should couples book your business?
Couples normally book about a year in advance. However, sometimes there are dates that become available closer in! We will try our best to work with your ideal timeline.
Jennifer Clarke, Director of Weddings