Therefore, I have asked one of the team members at The Langham, Chicago to give us, as a guest blogger, a "behind the scenes" account of one aspect of opening our beautiful new hotel in the Windy City.
Gaylord Lamy, the Director of Food and Beverage at The Langham, Chicago shares with us his experience in organizing the first wedding - three days after the 10 July opening - and transforming this event into a memorable occasion for everyone to cherish.
Opening a hotel is not just about getting it to operate efficiently but also to secure a base of business so that it can be as successful as possible after its opening. I applaud the Chicago team to have had the courage to take the wedding booking and make it a resounding success, the result of which immediately helped the hotel's public profile and which I am sure has also brought in more business.
|Prelude to the first wedding held at The Langham, Chicago|
|Conceptual planning with cardboard mockups|
|Unpacking the silverware|
Now originally, we had four different parties interested in a wedding on 13 July —the first three were understandably discouraged by the fact that we would open three days earlier as they were unsure if we would be ready for them. But the last wedding party really held on to that date, and for that we truly appreciate their confidence in us. One of the biggest nail-biting moments was when we invited the bride to the hotel for her wedding tasting. We did it on a Monday, and the wedding was five days later on the following Saturday—it’s really rare to hold a tasting so close to the wedding itself, but the couple fully trusted us with everything, and I'm relieved to say that we pulled it off seamlessly.
|Desserts by Executive Pastry Chef Scott Green at the wedding tasting|
|"French 75" - the bride's choice of cocktail, as seen at the wedding tasting|
All the way to the day of the tasting, 75 per cent of the ballroom was still a storage space. So we set up just one small part of the ballroom for the tasting, which looked beautiful— but if they had peeked behind the wall, it might have been a little scary!
The day of the wedding was the first time any of us had seen the Devonshire Ballroom fully decked out. And I’m delighted and proud to say that it all worked out beautifully through sheer hard work, dogged persistence, long hours, team camaraderie and an unwavering mission to make our first social event the very best the bridal party has ever seen.
|The Devonshire Ballroom magically transformed into a wedding wonderland|
Finally, none of it would have been possible without our fantastic Banquet and Events colleagues and I'm proud to work with each and every one of them as we set The Langham, Chicago up for success.