Since opening in 2001 in the heart of Chicago's Magnificent Mile, The Peninsula Hotel has not only been the recipient of countless industry accolades including the AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five Star award but has played host to couples seeking to transform the hotel's 11,250 square feet of event space and state-of-the-art guestrooms and suites into an unforgettable wedding day that is limited only by their imaginations.
Now that marriage equality is the law of the land, The Peninsula has catered to its fair share of his and his and hers and hers nuptials.
Using celebrated designers Kehoe and an in-house team of the very best chefs and staff Chicago has to offer, the hotel's Grand Ballroom and everything down to the wholly unique color-interchangeable chandeliers in the Avenue cocktail bar can be transformed into a Fall wonderland or just elegant simplicity highlighted by the venue's floor-to-ceiling postcard views of city.
Greg Hyder is the director of catering for the Peninsula Hotel. He has been with the organization for 16 years. Since he was there when the china and furniture were being picked out before the hotel's opening, it has become his second home.
"This year we've done about five same-sex weddings," he told Windy City Times. "I'm very proud of that and I want to do more. Since it just became legal, we are seeing a lot more interest. It's a market that is very exciting for us and, as a gay man myself, it's very important to me that we welcome everyone and that they know they can feel comfortable with us."
Weddings can be held in just about any space The Peninsula offersat its outdoor terrace complete with a wall on which the names of the happy couple can be projected or even alongside the luxurious indoor swimming pool which is part of a full-service spa offering work out and relaxation rooms serving as perfect settings to cope with any pre-wedding nerves or host a bachelor/bachelorette party.
For the wedding night, The Peninsula's suites are equipped to ensure that a couple never have to leave the comfort of each other's arms. Smart tablets available in a range of languages can adjust the lighting, temperature, order room service or change the channel of the 60 inch flatscreen televisions which adjust to any angle desired. An in-room nutritional bar is fully stocked with any snacks or drinks the heart desires.
Hyder urged couples to understand that they don't have to be super-rich to enjoy The Peninsula's facilities.
"We have weddings to fit every budget," he said. "I just did a beautiful wedding for two gentlemen at one long table. In general hotels can intimidate customers, but the reality is we have everything you need. You don't have to rent anything or incur any of those extra costs involved."
For more information, visit chicago.peninsula.com/en/default .