Right royal dream wedding
Updated: 2013-10-26 08:04
By Zhang Zhao (China Daily)
In the former British Concession, the architecture of the Ritz-Carlton in Tianjin pays tribute to the history of the area, providing the right backdrop for a Western royal wedding. Photos provided to China Daily
It's everything a girl will want for the happiest day in her life - a horse-drawn carriage, a banquet in a palatial garden, and a ritzy banquet in a magnificent ballroom. Zhang Zhao reports from Tianjin.
Cinderella and her Prince Charming, Prince William and his blushing bride Kate they all had what every couple wish for - the dream wedding with a castle, a parade in a golden carriage complete with liveried footmen and cheering well-wishers, and a glittering banquet in a palatial hall.
For those who dream, their wishes may well come true now, with the opening of the Ritz-Carlton Tianjin, which is branding itself the "wedding hotel", according to Vincent Billiard, the general manager.
Right in the heart of the business district where the old British Concession was, the hotel's architecture pays tribute to the history of the area, and is built like a British palace, with hints of Kensington and Buckingham.
The dark red facade is certainly palatial and the signature Rolls-Royces in front sets the tone immediately.
But the selling point of The Ritz-Carlton in Tianjin is its Wedding Salon, a one-stop shop offering detailed planning and tailor-made luxury for that once in a lifetime experience.
In fact, one day after its official opening, the first wedding was held on Oct 19, in the afternoon, following the local custom.
After arriving in the Rolls-Royce limousine the hotel sent to welcome them, the bride and groom got into a horse-drawn carriage for a parade around the castle-like hotel's driveway, a highlight of the wedding package.
The carriage was specially made to order in a factory in Henan province and is a replica of the one used in the wedding of Prince William two years ago. But the Ritz-Carlton added some new gadgets, including hidden speakers and a pair of stands to hold champagne goblets for the newlyweds.
The wedding ceremony and dinner banquet were held in the hotel's 1,050-square-meter ballroom, one of the largest of its kind in the city, with the venue draped in flowers and greenery to recreate a pastoral fairy-tale setting.
To enable every bride and groom to enter in style, a special lift that can accommodate a limousine will bring the couple up to the ballroom for their grand entrance. The first couple chose to make their entrance in their own bright-red Ferrari, although the hotel can offer to chauffeur other brides and grooms up in a Rolls Royce.
It was certainly a breathtaking spectacle as the Ferrari roared into the ballroom to the appreciative roar of applause of the gathered guests.
Wang Cixuan, the bride, says the wedding ceremony exceeded her expectations even though she and her husband "had very high standards".
"They had thought about every detail, so we had nothing to worry about," she says. "All I had to do was make myself up nicely."
Wang says the carriage parade was an exciting highlight.
"I never imagined my wedding would be so," she says. "I was laughing all the way, just thinking how beautiful the photos and the video would be."
Wang has chosen the "Royal Romance", one of the wedding packages offered by Ritz-Carlton, and it combined royal luxury styles borrowed from Europe and the local Tianjin traditions.
There are also the "Timeless Love" and "Love in Bloom" packages to choose from.
Many other hotels also provide wedding services but the Ritz-Carlton is different because it "gives customers a personalized theme", says Qu Shijing, assistant director of catering and conference services.
In appearances alone, the hotel stands out among its growing number of competitors. Ritz-Carlton Hotel Tianjin was designed by a team of world-class designers and its decor is an elegant blend of Western styles and Chinese aesthetics.
But the luxury experience does not refer only to the beautiful building and its interior decor, according to general manager Billard.
"When we talk about luxury service here, we talk about genuinely caring our customers, their comfort and well-being. Our personalized service means creating unique experiences for our guests," he says. "We want to create souvenirs for them in their mind so they will never forget their stay at the Ritz-Carlton.
For one couple, at least, they will never forget the dream wedding that the Ritz-Carlton Tianjin organized for them.
Billard has the last word when he says: "We may be a luxury hotel, but we are very approachable and anyone can come and enjoy a great experience."