The Merchant has always been a special place to me having celebrated my 21st birthday with a girly night away in one of the exquisite Art Deco suites with my mum. The Merchant’s Christmas afternoon tea is also my favorite festive tradition. Every year my mum, sister and nana enjoy listening to the sounds of the Christmas tunes whilst feasting on our petit fours and taking in the atmosphere of the Great Room. I knew as soon as I got engaged it was a venue I wanted to visit and made an appointment to check it out straight away! On all of my trips to the Merchant I have experienced exceptional service, incredible food and a little taste of luxury. Exactly what I want for my special day. However I was worried given its status as the only AA 5 star rated hotel in Belfast that my dream venue would be way out of the budget! I was pleasantly surprised to learn at our initial meeting with the wedding coordinator that the Merchant offer much more reasonable packages than expected, especially in the winter months.
Our wedding coordinator, Rebecca, took the time to go through all the possibilities the Merchant offered for our Big Day. We love that we can also hold our ceremony in the gorgeous Rita Duffy suite as we don’t want our guests having to make a long journey between the ceremony and reception venues. More time to savor the amazing cocktails straight after the ceremony! Rebecca has continued to be fantastic since making our booking. All my emails , even when I have a silly little question, are answered promptly and I love meeting up to chat over any new ideas I have. I have no doubt she will take care of all the finer details of the wedding day and ensure everything runs smoothly. The fact the wedding teams’ focus will be solely on our day, given the Merchant’s strict one wedding a day police, is also a huge advantage. Tony and I were both in agreement we didn’t want to chose a venue where there was the possibility of 3 weddings happening simultaneously. Nobody wants to run into another bride on their wedding day or have guests walking into the wrong room!
On our tour of the hotel Tony and I were blown away by the exquisite architecture and decor of the building itself. We both felt a major plus of the Merchant was that even if the heavens were to open (as is more than likely in Northern Ireland, in November) the interior of the Merchant is so stunning that there will be lots of places to take unique photos inside. And if we are blessed with a dry day there is the option to venture into Cathedral Quarter to take some quirky urban shots or the Merchant’s rooftop itself overlooking the heart of Belfast. The central location means it is also very accessible for all of our guests and I can’t wait to celebrate our anniversaries in years to come with a meal in Bert’s Jazz Bar or a luxurious day at the spa.
And now for the cake! This proved to be one of the hardest decisions so far as there are so many amazing and innovative bakers and wedding cake makers in Northern Ireland. However, after meeting up with Marta at her store in Enniskillen we knew the long journey had been worth it and we had found our star baker! Over a cup of tea we discussed my ideas whilst tasting Marta’s delicious samples. I was struck by how light her cakes were and also the vast choice of exciting flavours. The chocolate salted caramel was a particular hit. Another box that Lough Erne Cakes ticked was the fact they offer so much more than just the traditional wedding cake, as we hope to create a dessert table with lots of little treats for our guests to enjoy. As you can see from the the photo above (apologies if you’re on diet), Lough Erne Cakes can whip up mini cupcakes, large cupcakes, cake pops, meringue kisses, macaroons and even marshmallows in any of the large range of flavours they have to offer, such as white chocolate and raspberry or the festive gingerbread. We are so excited to be working with Lough Erne Cakes and cannot wait to see (and taste) Marta’s creation on the Big Day.
Check out the fantastic offer Lough Erne Cakes are running over on my Facebook page!
The Blogging Bride NI