This evening we have the second installment of my February 2013 ‘How I Got Married Twice’ series! I started with How I Met My Husband, followed by How I Got Engaged, and How We Developed Our Wedding Concept. Tonight’s focus is on how we chose our wedding venue, the St. Regis Hotel.
Dear friends of ours were married at the St. Regis, almost 15 years earlier; a happy occasion which Vikas attended and had amazing memories of. While out to dinner with them, we told them how we’d been looking and looking at potential venues all over Manhattan and that nothing seemed quite right. They immediately asked us, “What about the St. Regis?” Vikas and I looked at each other: why hadn’t we thought of it? After a lovely evening with our friends, the next morning we scheduled an appointment with the hotel right away.
Four blocks from Central Park, at the corner of Fifth Avenue and East 55th Street, the 18-story French Beaux-Arts style hotel, the tallest in the city when built, was designed by Trowbridge & Livingston architects. Owner Colonel John Jacob Astor IV spared no interior design detail; marble floors and hallways from the quarries of Caen, France, Louis XV furniture from France, Waterford crystal chandeliers, antique tapestries, oriental rugs, and a library full of 3,000 leather-bound, gold-tooled books. He installed two beautiful burnished bronze entrance doors, rare wood paneling, marble fireplaces, ornamental ceilings, and “modern” innovations engineered by Astor himself, including a telephone in each room, a central air-conditioning and heating system, a fire alarm system, a special design for the “disposition of dust and refuse” which allowed housekeeping to attach a hose to a fixture in the wall of the room to “vacuum” up the dust, and one of the first mail chutes on each floor. When the hotel opened on September 4, 1904, Colonel Astor’s St. Regis Hotel was heralded as a masterpiece.
And so it remains. In 1965 the hotel was named a New York City landmark, and the hotel’s continued refined atmosphere and gracious service render The St. Regis one of the loveliest homes away from home.
Matthew Andersen, the hotel’s Wedding and Catered Event Manager was the gracious host of our first hotel tour that day. In addition to showing us the spaces that would make up our wedding day if we decided to hold it at the St. Regis, he shared some of the hotel’s great history, as mentioned above, and explained how St. Regis brides and grooms receive the highest level of care and attention, from their first meeting, to the ultimate moment of their enchanted gathering. We liked Matthew right away and knew that he would be a great person to work with and to have with us to oversee our wedding day. We were right of course, the St. Regis and Matthew exceeded our expectations is every way – no wonder we went back for a stay to celebrate our first wedding anniversary, and shared memories with him over drinks at the The King Cole Bar. …But more on that later!
Here is a tour of the hotel as we saw it through our eyes, and the eyes of our guests!
The charming turn of the century building entrance, complete with the cab call above the awning and brass concierge stand out front.
The landmark plaque on the outside of the building, visible as you go up either flight of stairs.
Looking up at the ceiling.
An original letter box, and floral arrangements by the hotel’s florist Renny & Reed.
Truly one-of-a-kind, the Milano Suite is wrapped in serene, earthy hues of suede, mohair-velvet, cashmere, and leather. With signature St. Regis Louis XVI-style furniture, an Italian marble fireplace, and hand-carved Venetian glass, it’s an interior design delight.
A classic beauty.
In this photo the marble walls glimmer with candles lining the length of the hall for a special event.
This room could not be more French. We absolutely loved it.
So stately and elegant – perfect for post-ceremony cocktails!
I have never seen a prettier ballroom.
In 1932, the iconic “Old King Cole” painting by Maxfield Parrish was made the centerpiece of the King Cole Bar - a New York institution ever since. Two years later in 1934, bartender Fernand Petiot invented the drink the world knows and loves as the Bloody Mary. After an evening in the rooftop ballroom, the Bar would be a perfect location for an “after party!”
The St. Regis Bentley was not an amenity that Matthew mentioned on our tour, but an elegant surprise, it was there, ready to transport us back home as newly weds the very afternoon after our wedding. We imagined a virtual “Just Married” sign on the back!
At the end of our tour with Matthew, although we said we would get back to him, we could already see that the St. Regis would be a breathtaking location for our “The Romance of Paris in 1930′s New York” wedding concept to take place. The St. Regis had secured a place in our heart!
Stay tuned for many more installments!,
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