Archive for January, 2010

Meet Bob Mikolitch of The Fairmont Hotel!

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

The Fairmont Hotel is a gorgeous hotel and event space in Washington, DC’s West End, and a favorite for weddings for its beautiful entrenched Colonnade with garden views through French windows, as well as for its elegant, inviting  Grand Ballroom. Bob Mikolitch, Director of Catering, manages wedding and special events at this wonderful hotel, and we are excited to have him stop by to share more about himself and the Fairmont!

bobfairmont

CL: I always find it so interesting to learn what brought people into the wedding industry. Have you always been in the event planning business?

Bob: I was a waiter at night at a nightclub, kind of the “Studio 54” of Boston (an elementary schoolteacher by day).  I was having a ball working on promotions and events so I was accepted into a training program with Sheraton and clawed my way to the middle.

CL: Tell us some of the things that makes the Fairmont such a special place to have a wedding.

Bob: With our unique Courtyard Garden and Colonnade, and the passion of our Hotel Team, we all enjoy “working outside” and creating special events and memories. Our herb garden, rooftop bee hives and other authentically local elements influence so much of what we do and our guests really seem to enjoy it.

CL: What is your favorite event space at the Fairmont?

Bob: We are fortunate to have great event space but I would have to say our Lobby, Courtyard Garden, and Colonnade really set us apart. We call the Garden our “urban oasis.”  It is landscaped throughout the entire year and I can’t say which season I like better. We have cherry blossoms in the spring, great color in the summer, gold foliage in the fall, and thousands of twinkling lights in the winter.

CL: We’ve seen TLC’s “Masters of Reception” and how crazy it can get behind the scenes. Do you have a strategy to keeping all the details of a wedding at the hotel straight?

Bob: It’s a total team effort and I am fortunate in that each of our colleagues and managers take their responsibilities seriously. They enjoy pre-planning and the chance to be creative.  My job is to listen to what our clients want and communicate that vision to the team.  I am still a “check list” kind of guy and that helps keep me organized during the event process.

CL: What is your favorite first dance song?

Bob: I am sentimental, so “At Last” or “Someone to Watch Over Me.”

CL: Do you have a favorite moment in a wedding reception?

Bob: It has to be the first time you see your client in her wedding dress on her wedding day and she winks. You work together all year and the bride is normally in casual or business attire, and then on the day of the wedding she walks in and it’s “Audrey Hepburn.”

CL: How do spend your time away from Fairmont?

Bob: In this industry, you really treasure private time, so one of my favorite things to do is to hike in Rock Creek with my partner and the dog on a Sunday afternoon.

CL: Last but not least, where do you stand – the Beatles or the Rolling Stones?

Bob: Rollings Stones most definitely, many a night rocking out years ago to “Sympathy for the Devil.”  But don’t forget Iron Butterfly “In A Gadda Da Vida”!

{Real Wedding} Courtney & Jeff, Halcyon House

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010
We are so excited for our first “Real Wedding” feature!  Please welcome Courtney & Jeff,  married at the Halcyon House: (all images by Delia Sullivan)

CL: We love to hear what makes a couple decide where to hold their reception, so what made you choose Halcyon House for your wedding? Did you also have your ceremony there?

C&J: We looked at many venues all over the city.  The moment I walked into the Halcyon House, I just knew that’s what we wanted – it was a unique and gorgeous setting, gave you the option of having many different spaces (inside upstairs, inside downstairs, backyard) to work with, has beautiful views of the Potomac, Arlington, and Georgetown, and the artwork around the place made enough of a statement that flowers weren’t even totally necessary inside upstairs.  We just did our reception there – our ceremony was at Dahlgren Chapel on Georgetown’s campus, which meant the guests that wanted to could walk to the reception from the ceremony and, on the beautiful day we had, many did!

Courtney & Jeff at the Halcyon House

CL: Dahlgren Chapel is such a handsome setting for a wedding and it was a perfect day for a walk to Halcyon House from there! Now on to some romance!  How did the two of you meet?

C&J: Jeff was my “mentor” at my first job out of college, a consulting firm in Northern Virginia.  Needless to say, he went beyond the “call of duty”…we started dating probably 1 month after I began working there – and 6 years later got married.

CL: Share some of your favorite details about your wedding day.

C&J: Up until the DAY BEFORE the wedding, the weather was predicting horrible forecasts, saying it was going to be raining all day long, which really would have changed our event (we took a gamble in wanting to use the backyard, which we couldn’t have if it rained – can’t tent the backyard at Halcyon).  I don’t think I will ever get over how BEAUTIFUL it was on the day of the wedding.  The weather was perfect, and there was a harvest moon that night!  My other favorite “detail” was that I didn’t have to worry about the “details” with Chris and my caterer there to run the show.  Everything really went so seamlessly – it was unbelievable.  Lastly, we decided to use a room upstairs for the dance floor, which was unusual for the Halcyon House (normally use the downstairs), and I think Chris even said he had never done that…but I loved the space and the music and my favorite memories are from that dance floor.

Courtney & Jeff at the Halcyon House

Courtney & Jeff at the Halcyon House

CL: We’re so glad to hear what an incredible day you had – it was great to be a part of it! How did you choose your first dance song?

C&J: Jeff and I aren’t the most “traditional” couple, and personally I wasn’t even that in to the 1st dance…so we strayed from the more typical “slow” song, and chose “Love and Happiness” by Al Green.  He’s one of Jeff’s favorites, and I’ve now been listening to him for 6 years – we just thought the more up-tempo song fit our personalities better.

Courtney & Jeff at the Halcyon House

CL:  Al Green is an excellent choice.  You can’t go wrong with R&B. We’re curious -  did you take dance lessons for your first dance?

C&J: I totally intended to – but then life got way too busy – so no!  We didn’t even practice on our own – definitely had to down a glass of wine before heading out on the dance floor with all those eyes on us!  But I have to say, Jeff and I both enjoy dancing so our non-scripted dance was just as fun and impressive, in my opinion!

CL:  You guys looked great out there! Did you dance all night? What was one of the best moments you remember on the dance floor?

C&J: Yes I was on the dance floor for most of the night – Jeff would come and go (a lot of his friends weren’t dancing).  Many favorite moments – seeing our Priest getting down with everyone!  Dancing with my Yale girls to a Madonna song (could have been any of them) really took me back to college.  Father-daughter dance was special to me – my poor dad has NO dance skills, but he for once didn’t care and I will always remember that.  I think the funniest moment of the night was when someone dropped and broke a glass on the dance floor right in the middle of everyone dancing (and at this point everyone already had their shoes off)…and everyone was having so much fun that nobody stopped!  Some poor staff member had to wade through the crowd to pick up the glass.  Definitely indicative of Chris’s music selection and how much everyone was enjoying themselves.

Courtney & Jeff at the Halcyon HouseCourtney & Jeff at the Halcyon House

CL: Who designed your gown? Tell us a little about how you chose it!

C&J: My gown was by Ramona Keveza, I got it at Harriet Kassman’s (which unfortunately just closed).  It was very unique, and I’d venture to say the “hit” of the evening – it was mermaid style and actually had black lace around the top and bottom of the gown, a black ribbon around my waist as well….everyone LOVED it!  As I said above, I’m not the “traditional” bride type, but I definitely knew as soon as I put it on (and lucky for me it was the first and only day I went dress shopping) that it was perfect – a beautiful gown that also had its own unique style – something that people would remember.

Courtney & Jeff at the Halcyon House

CL:  It was certainly one of my favorite gowns of the season! Where did you honeymoon?

C&J: Ugh, we went on a “mini-moon” to my family’s beach house in the Outer Banks – I had to propose my dissertation the following week!  Honeymoon destination/time is still TBD because of my Ph.D work – but I think it will be this coming Spring/Summer, and we’ve been talking Bali lately…

CL:  Even better – you get two trips instead of one, and Bali sounds incredible.

Thanks for sharing some of the details of your wonderful wedding, it was a pleasure working with you both!

All images by Delia Sullivan