Finding Wedding Bliss in Moscow

Courtesy of Ararat Park Hyatt

Moscow's five-star hotels will help you create a wedding to remember.

It's a cliché because it's true: your wedding day will be one of the best days of your life, but also one of the most stressful. Luckily, the Russian capital boasts an increasing number of services to make life easier. To ensure your reception goes off without a hitch, head to any one of the five-star hotels in Moscow to help you throw the party of a lifetime.

The Ritz Carlton is without a doubt the jewel in Moscow's five-star crown. Its opulent interior, top-notch service and special perks will make any wedding a day to remember. The hotel offers florists for flower arrangements, an expert chef to craft a customized menu, and can help with table seating and even produce a commemorative video of the event. The event will set you back a tidy sum — pricing starts at 5,200 rubles per guest, excluding VAT. Extras like videos (100,000 rubles) and functioning sound equipment (150,000 rubles) can shoot the price through the roof. And yet demand is high — popular dates are reserved up to a year ahead of time, so unless you are planning your wedding for a winter weekday, it would be best to book well in advance.

The Hyatt Ararat is another exquisite hotel located in the very heart of the Russian capital. Aside from the usual — a terrace overlooking Red Square, premier service — the hotel appears specially made for weddings, boasting a Gregorian chapel on site. The hotel offers the services of a personal wedding manager, to help with everything from choice of tablecloths to music. Most couples opt for the "Biblioteka" room, which will set you back 30,000 rubles plus the cost of dinner (4,000-5,000 rubles per person + VAT) and wine (2,800 rubles per person + VAT). A special treat is the "One Perfect Day, Two Perfect Nights" package, which gives a newly-married couple the gift of two nights at any Park Hyatt or Hyatt Resort hotel worldwide after celebrating their wedding at the Ararat in Moscow, if more than 60 guests attend their wedding. The Ararat, named after the peak on which Noah allegedly landed his ark, appeals to the superstitious. The hotel staff says aside from peak popularity in spring and summer, newlyweds are also drawn to "magical" dates, like 10/10/10, 11/1/11 and 11/11/11 and so on. Those looking ahead to 12/12/12 should book now.

Anyone looking for a more modern spin will find plenty at the Swissotel, a 34-story high-rise that towers over Moscow. The hotel has a number of rooms to choose from, like the spacious "Davos hall" on the 29th floor, which offers panoramic views of the city, glowing beautifully (and romantically) as the summer sun sets. Or there's the hotel garden, available for an extra 200,000 rubles. The price for a basic package starts at 4,700 rubles per person and includes welcome cocktail, wedding dinner and cake, as well as a photo shoot at the "City Space" bar on the 34th floor. If you order a banquet for more than 50 people, a night in a luxurious room with a panoramic view of the city is offered to the newlyweds for free. Additional offers, like limousine service and a team of entertainers, are also available.

The Sheraton Palace off Ulitsa Tverskaya is another fancy option. Choose from three venues for your gala reception: the spacious "Vladimir" restaurant, or one of two smaller (but recently renovated) halls,  "Moscow" and "Saint Petersburg." Whichever room you choose, be sure to stop by the hotel's magnificent marble staircase, highlighted with glass parapets and gilded walls, for a unique photo opportunity. The hotel offers a complementary personal wedding manager to ensure everything goes according to plan. The price is right too — 3,000 rubles per person for food, or 5,000 for food and drink. And there's an added perk: all newlywed couples get a night in the hotel for free after the celebration.

The nicest place to hold a wedding in Moscow might actually be outside the city. Located on Moscow's outskirts, Le Meridien Moscow Country Club is surrounded by lakes and birch forests, giving an unparalleled atmosphere of quiet and mystique. Le Meridien can take care of decoration, entertainment and other important pre–wedding arrangements, and offers additional services like spa procedures for the bride and groom and personalized wedding cake. Rates for the wedding menu start at 3,500 rubles per guest and if your guests expect to stay overnight, a standard room costs 8,500 rubles, including breakfast. There's a plus for the happy couple: book at least ten rooms for your guests and the Wedding Suite is yours as a gift, complete with romantic breakfast.

On the other end of the spectrum, there's the President Hotel, for those hoping to celebrate their wedding in the atmosphere of Soviet days of yore. Formerly called the Oktyabrskaya hotel, the site was built for the Soviet elite and remains the conference hall of choice for Moscow chinovniki. It's been renovated since, and boasts a nice location in the historical center of Moscow, as well as exceptional service. The reception room includes a huge, open terrace that wraps around the hall, with views onto the Moskva River, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior and, unless one averts their eyes, Tsereteli's infamous Peter the Great monument. The minimum price for a wedding package is 5,350 rubles per person for various appetizers, a special menu from the chef, a unique wedding cake and an open bar for four hours. Reserve for at least 25 people and the newlywed couple gets a free night's stay.

Moscow Guide Summer 2011
Moscow Guide Summer 2011
The Moscow Summer Guide is dedicated to the wedding theme, because traditionally summer in Moscow is a time of weddings. The journal tells about the best hotels that cater to newly-weds, and about the locations that young couples traditionally visit on their wedding days. The publication gives advice on choosing a wedding dress and offers an overview of spas that young couples must certainly visit on the eve of the big ceremony. The publication informs the reader about the best cultural events in Moscow this summer.
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