Every couple wants their big day to be intimate, personal, and most of all, memorable. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has long been the backdrop of special occasions and has played a starring role in the most luxurious weddings worldwide. Beyond providing elegant, distinctive venues, Fairmont hotels globally are on top of the latest trends, ready to make the wishes of modern brides and grooms come true. As couples seek less traditional celebrations, with fun food, creative cocktails and engaging themes, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts are at the ready to creatively deliver romantic, unforgettable moments.
Less Formal, More Fun
Many couples are bypassing traditional wedding conventions, and are opting for a more relaxed, social atmosphere. Weddingbells magazine notes that “standard, plated wedding fare is being replaced with interactive food stations, family-style meals and fun finger food.” Also, “when it comes to appetizers and late-night snack stations, comfort food is rapidly becoming a wedding staple.”
Food and entertainment are the most important part of the big day at The Savoy, A Fairmont Managed Hotel, in London. Guests can circulate and enjoy watching chefs at food stations live-carving roast beef or rolling sushi, a very popular option. Cheese stations and dessert stations with the renowned Savoy tea, éclairs and cakes are also a big hit. Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, in the Canadian Rockies, has a delicious range of food stations, from a Slider Bar serving pulled pork, veggie, bison or beef sliders, a Poutine Station, a Death by Chocolate Bar and a Mountain Guide Cheese Fondue, hosted by one of the resident Mountain Heritage Guides who can discuss the history of the area during the reception.
At Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, appetizers are on the move with a roving charcuterie and cheese cart, guided by a hotel chef. Late night munchies are also a must, and in a nod to the city’s food cart trend, the hotel offers stations featuring a variety of ethnic favourites. The most requested item is the nacho log, which can span up to 25 feet, depending on the size of the wedding.
Fairmont Zimbali Lodge & Resort, South Africa sees fewer couples planning lavish wedding dinners, and more opting instead for laid-back lunches, and simple family-style meals. At Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, which houses several grand ballrooms, the trend is towards more unique floor plans. Long Tuscan-style tables have become very popular and are graced with elaborate floral arrangements that run the length of the table, creating an elegant family-style atmosphere. Increasing numbers of couples at Fairmont Pittsburgh are mixing bridal tables and sweetheart tables and sitting instead at traditional rounds with their guests. The event feels more inclusive and conversation is easier for the bride and groom and their bridal party.
Let Them Eat Cake…Or…Not
According to Destination Weddings & Honeymoons, “traditional cakes…are a thing of the past. Now couples are looking for everything from dessert bars to cake pops.”
Fairmont Newport Beach, California offers couples a choice of themed desserts like You Had Me at “Doughnut”, California Waffle House and The Vintage Bake Shop, featuring cookies, fudge and mini-pies as fun options. This return to “nostalgic desserts” fits the larger trend of incorporating beloved comfort foods into the evening affair.
Some couples opt for a different kind of “cake” entirely…one that is anything but sweet. This twist is taking off in locations such as London’s The Savoy, where a tiered “cake” features different types of cheese, and Fairmont Zimbali Lodge & Resort, where a cake made of cheese served with crackers and preserves is a very popular option. Fairmont Newport Beach, California offers a Wedding Cheese Cake Tower, with a selection of local Californian cheeses, Fairmont rooftop honey and dried fruits, with dark malt wheat bread, herb and plain crackers.
They’ll Toast to That Trend
Signature cocktails that update a classic tipple to create a special wedding day drink are another way to put a unique stamp on the occasion.
At Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, his and her themed cocktails are de rigueur, and couples can meet with a hotel mixologist to create a spin on their favorite, or opt to have it color themed. Hands down, the most requested drink from the groom’s side is the whisky sour – or a derivative of it.
Specialty cocktail bars are also a huge hit at weddings. Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise has featured champagne bars and Caesar (the Canadian version of the Bloody Mary) bars, and guests at Fairmont Newport Beach, California may be treated to a mimosa bar. Adding a fun twist at Fairmont Zimbali Lodge & Resort, funky drinks tables keep guests entertained using glasses with lids and straws, straws wrapped around glasses, striped and patterned straws, and large drink dispensers for guests to help themselves from.
Stay on Theme
Fairmont hotels, often destinations in and of themselves, are known as authentic gateways to their destinations, embracing and celebrating the unique attributes of each area. It’s no surprise that many weddings at Fairmont are themed around the specific locale.
Couples marrying at Fairmont St Andrews, Scotland, for example, have the option of incorporating touches like tartan, pipers and a traditional Scottish Ceilidh, all complemented by the stunning sea and mountain backdrop.
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, nestled in the snow-capped peaks of the Canadian Rockies, is postcard perfect in the colder months, and a very popular destination for couples keen for a Winter Wonderland themed wedding. The hotel offers a huge range of activities for wedding parties and guests, including sleigh rides, skating parties, canoeing and snowshoe scavenger hunts. Décor plays off the breathtaking beauty of the surrounding winter landscape, and touches like ice sculptures and an Ice Bar reception complete the enchanting setting.
Kenya’s Fairmont Mara Safari Club is the ideal venue for a wedding in the wild. Couples can celebrate their big day with the animal kingdom’s Big Five, under the African sky, in a romantic setting. A traditional Maasai marriage ceremony can be arranged, which includes donning traditional tribal regalia complete with Maasai dance and chanting. A laibon pours milk on the feet of the couple; joyful singing and dancing accompany the traditional union as the guests join in. For an intimate celebration, a sundowner at Aitong Hills is perfect. It begins with a gentle game drive to a scenic spot where chairs, lamps, campfire and a bush bar is set up. The serving of elegant ‘bush’ cocktails and tasty canapés against the unforgettable backdrop of the African sunset adds to the magic of the special occasion.
Fairmont Jaipur, India’s magnificent architecture and regal ambiance make it ideal for hosting aRoyal Wedding theme. This modern day “living palace” in India features grand murals, spectacular chandeliers, delicate frescos, archways and octagonal towers, reflecting classic Mughal architecture and Rujputana culture. The palace features the city’s largest grand ballroom and also its largest rooftop terrace, which overlooks the surrounding dunes and ruins. Many other lavish touches can be incorporated to further the imperial feel of the day, including a varmala ceremony while floating across the fabled city in a hot-air balloon, a regal entourage of camels and horses, a royal procession of attendants and musicians and a traditional Rajasthani or Persian feast.
With more couples embracing and including touches and traditions that reflect their heritage in their “big day”, hotels like Fairmont San Jose, California have seen a steady rise in the number of ethnically diverse weddings, including Asian, Persian and Indian ceremonies. Exclusive wedding experiences have been crafted to reflect cultural and family traditions, which can be tailored to a modern couple’s tastes and preferences. For example, the hotel can accommodate striking, contemporary Indian weddings which often include traditional wedding day rituals like Baarat, a horse procession.
Grand Entrances and Glamorous Exits
With the growing popularity of choreographed dances and performances, the bar has been raised for wedding parties making a standout arrival. Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, a beach front hotel at the gateway to Abu Dhabi, can help take it to the next level, using a camel for the bride and groom parade, having the couple arrive by boat or Jet Ski or placing the traditional mandap on the beach area.
Photographers are ready to capture the unforgettable moment when an expectant groom lays eyes on his beloved at Ottawa’s Fairmont Château Laurier. This special “First Look”, taking place before the bride walks down the aisle, can be accommodated in unique locations around the hotel, from a secret, tucked away turret, to the outdoor terrace with spectacular fall colors as the backdrop, or on the balcony of the Art Deco pool.
After the grand occasion, jet-setting is the perfect start to married life. Fairmont Vancouver Airportis hosting more and more weddings as convenience plays an increasingly important role in the overall planning process. It offers a seamless transition to the honeymoon phase, as couples can stroll right from the hotel to their flight check-in, in as little as 99 steps. Aviation enthusiasts are also thrilled to watch planes land as they tie the knot!
Before and Happily Ever After…
Couples can include Fairmont from the earliest planning stages, and even beyond the big day. Before the question is even popped, Fairmont Pacific Rim in Vancouver can help make it perfect. The hotel’s Proposal Planner helps suitors with newly enhanced proposal packages designed to guarantee an “I DO.” The hotel offers three signature packages with à la carte options and the ‘perfect proposal’ is exclusively designed with a personalised consultation, unique and customised proposal ideas, and a detailed proposal plan with exclusive concierge services.