Wedding venues are an interesting beast- there are so many options, so many ways to celebrate your wedding day. Zayna Fratto, who is the Wedding Executive for Melbourne’s Langham Hotel, kindly answered our questions on just some of what The Langham Hotel can offer for couples getting married.
Tell us about yourself?
My passion for planning events started at a young age when I was involved in social events in high school. My attention to detail and keen organizational skills combined with my love of weddings, makes event planning a perfect fit for me. I love working with each couple to ensure that their special day is everything they want it to be.
How did you become a wedding co-ordinator? Do you have a background in the wedding industry?
I have a Bachelor of Business from Victoria University and majored in Event Management. I began my events career working on corporate events and incentive programs. I was then given the opportunity to work on weddings and loved it.
What do you love about your profession?
A wedding celebration will be a day a bride and groom will remember their whole life. They will continue to share stories about their day with their children and grandchildren and I am honored to be a part of that.
The biggest difference when moving from corporate events to wedding celebrations is realizing that they are so much more important. They are a one off event, the need to get it right the first time is paramount, it is someone’s life savings not an annual budget and it involves a bride’s and groom’s closest friends and family.
What do you love about helping brides and grooms co-ordinate their wedding?
I love being able to make the reception fit their day; especially working with them to select their linen, centerpiece and menu to match in with their overall wedding theme. I also really enjoy meeting the bride and groom’s parents. They are always very excited and seeing the smiles on their faces when walking into the reception for the first time is priceless.
What services do you offer?
At The Langham, Melbourne, we think about all the different touches that make the bride’s and groom’s wedding so much easier. We offer shoe shining services, stunning photography locations within the hotel, laundry services, chauffeur services, valet parking, Bridal Party VIP cards that offer a 20% discount on any treatments within our award winning Chuan Spa, a special accommodation rate for the family and friends of the wedding couple, and exclusive offers at our annual Bridal Showcases.
We also like to leave our brides and grooms with something special during their stay. For the bride, we provide a gorgeous Langham signature pink and gold wedding dress garment bag to take the wedding dress home in, and we also leave a surprise Wedgwood gift and bottle of sparkling wine for the newlyweds to enjoy on their wedding night in their complimentary room.
Do you offer packages suited to different budgets?
We have three main packages. All our packages are based on fairytale experiences. We have designed the Dreams Come True package for the Princess who wants it all, the Once Upon a Time package for the Princess who wants a chic cocktail soirée and the Happily Ever After package for the Princess who wants a classical celebration with a traditional high tea.
How should a couple approach the planning process with you – do they need to have a portfolio of ideas, or do you prefer to develop their ideas with them?
I like when the bride and groom come to me with their wedding idea. Weddings are something a bride thinks about for a very long time so I prefer to sit back and be taken on a journey listening to what the bride and groom would like for their special day. I then make recommendations on how we can work with the couple to make their fairytale wedding come alive.
Is everything from the cake, to the flowers, to the reception decorating done in-house or are couples able to bring in other vendors as well?
The food, beverage, accommodation and reception styling are all inclusive in our wedding packages. Items such as wedding cakes, entertainment and wedding stationary are items the bride and groom bring in from external suppliers. We assist them with providing a list of preferred suppliers for these elements.
The ceremony and reception areas – can you give us a brief description of these and what numbers they hold?
The Yarra Room is perfect for intimate wedding celebrations. It is located on the podium level of the hotel with marvelous views of Melbourne and a balcony overlooking the Yarra River (capacity 56 guests for a sit down dinner). As with the rest of the hotel, the Yarra Room is beautifully furnished, with deep wooden panels, French silk upholstered walls and delicate Wedgwood crystal chandeliers.
Alto is located on the top most floor of the hotel with amazing views of Melbourne’s skyline. It is particularly stunning at dusk! The beauty about Alto is that the entire floor is exclusively reserved for the wedding celebration, ensuring a private and intimate affair. Alto also opens up onto a spacious balcony overlooking the city skyline. It is the perfect spot for wedding photography and wedding ceremonies. Alto has a capacity of 110 for a sit down dinner.
For grander wedding celebrations, The Clarendon Ballroom is The Langham, Melbourne’s room of choice. Located on the podium level of the hotel, it is exquisitely furnished in the luxury and grandeur synonymous with the Langham’s rich heritage as Europe’s original grand hotel. Six magnificent Wedgwood crystal chandeliers hang gracefully from the high ceiling, while warm polished timber panelling and French silk line the walls. The Ballroom also has an elegantly-appointed pre-function area, perfect for pre-reception drinks and a grand entrance for the bride. The Ballroom has a capacity of 220 guests.
Ceremonies can also be held within the hotel in the Yarra Room, Alto and on our stunning Pool Deck at Chuan Spa. Each venue has different capacities and layout options.
How much does your creativity come into the planning? Other than budget, what sort of parameters do you work within?
It depends on the couple. Many of them know what they want and I am here to assist them in making it happen. Some of them prefer having me make suggestions and for them to pick one.
Factors such as the number of guests at a wedding celebration, the venue they have selected, the budget, and the couple’s background are all elements considered when organizing a wedding celebration.
Do you offer packages for wedding guests to stay at The Langham? What do they include?
Yes, for the full Langham treatment, we invite wedding guests to experience our wonderful hospitality with an exclusive family and friend’s rate for an overnight stay. The rate includes breakfast for two in our award-winning Melba restaurant, valet parking and late check out at 2pm. Therefore they are able to enjoy the entire weekend at our luxurious hotel and in the city of Melbourne.
(The hotel provides the wedding couples with small cards to include in their wedding invitation that outlines details on how the wedding guests can make an accommodation booking)
Would you share with us some particularly lovely ideas you’ve used for table decorations?
The idea of floating tea light candles and floating florals is my favorite. It adds depth to a room and if you imagine walking into the Ballroom and having 240 floating tea lights at different levels, it’s just amazing! It really has that wow factor that people love.
Do you have any tips for brides and grooms when using a particular venue such as yours for their nuptials?
When selecting a venue it needs to be the right fit for the bride and groom as a couple. It needs to match with the theme they want to have for their special day. The bride and groom need to think about the wedding reception as more than just food and beverage. Most of their wedding day is spent in the reception venue so it is very important they have considered the location, how the entrance sets the tone, the lighting in the venue and how it can create different settings through the evening and finally the team they are going to work with on their special day.
What do you love about Australian brides?
They are easy to work with. If you provide them with information and a timeline most of them follow it. A bride and groom are usually stressed, confused and overwhelmed by all the different pieces a wedding involves so I find if you provide them with support and information it makes the process a lot less stressful and they are really able to enjoy the lead up to their special day.
Thank you for joining me today Zayna! The Langham, Melbourne will be hosting a Wedding Showcase at the hotel tomorrow evening (February 28) from 6.30pm – 8.30pm. Registrations for the Showcase can be made through The Langham Hotel’s website. Check out The Langham Hotel’s website for more information on having your wedding celebration at the hotel!