When planning your big day, opt for someplace small, yet just as special
By Tamara Heber-Percy
Shaped and styled by the personality of its creators and offering bespoke service, dashing design and banquets worthy of a baron, a boutique hotel can provide the ideal wedding venue for the bride who’s looking for someplace unique. The founder of Mr & Mrs Smith, Tamara Heber-Percy, tells you three reasons why…
Boutique hotels vs. chain hotels
When you’ve seen one chain-hotel wedding, you’ve seen them all. Most offer a standard cookie-cutter wedding, a carbon copy of the ceremonies and celebrations of a thousand other newlyweds who’ve already trodden that function-room floor. Boutique hotels, by contrast, are small, stylish and independently run. There’s no pick-a-package mentality, and you’ll frequently find you can tailor your wedding to your taste, ensuring that the event is unique, memorable and oh-so-very you. Plus, there’s the added element of style: Boutique hotels offer a backdrop that marries with your taste as ideally as you complement your intended Mr. or Mrs.
Boutique hotels vs. private houses
Setting romance aside for a moment, weddings are costly, administratively troublesome and often an organizational nightmare. Take those rose-tinted spectacles off: When you choose to take on project management of a home-based event, you’re pitting yourselves against a flotilla of potential mishaps. Suppliers don’t deliver on time, the marquee floor is ankle-breakingly uneven, power generators siphon money directly from your bank account into the ether and then sputter to a halt midspeech, and those makeshift mass-catering kitchens never turn out perfect potatoes. And then there’s that one phrase that strikes terror into the heart of any wedding guest: chemical toilets.
A boutique-hotel wedding can remove the perils without sacrificing the personality. Most hotels are experienced wedding hosts, not only adept at arranging catering, entertainment, photography, cakes, transport, accommodation, table centers and flowers—more or less every conceivable aspect of your big day—but also ensuring it all runs as efficiently as Swiss clockwork. The generators won’t pack up, rain won’t soak through the marquee and stop play, and many boutique hotels will have their own in-house wedding organizer to inform, instruct and inspire.
Boutique hotels vs. public landmarks
Weddings booked at public landmarks tend to come with a set of rules and regulations the size of an encyclopedia: where you can and can’t say your vows, where you can and can’t take your pictures, what times are acceptable for the ceremony, whether the general public will be milling about taking photos of you in your finery—it can be as precise (and restrictive) as a military parade. And you’ll likely be charged a pretty penny for the pleasure of finding off-site parking, trying to shepherd your guests to the right entrance and putting up with tired-looking occasional chairs.
Boutique hotels tend to be much less regimented and intimidating. Most will allow you to arrange whatever you want, wherever you want, until any time and at any volume you choose. Many are licensed as wedding venues, so there’s no need to organize a separate church or registry service on top of the celebration itself—this also means less likelihood of losing guests en route from pew to party. Boutique hotels also solve the age-old problem of accommodation: As the partying winds down, guests can just head upstairs to bed rather than abstaining from alcohol in order to drive, or fighting with one another over the last cabs.