Long-distance wedding planning is not for the faint of heart, however, with our experience with the Mandarin, it was made more seamless and resulted in a very successful event with a lot of happy wedding guests and a grateful bride and groom. From the initial consultation when looking at the hotel as our prospective wedding venue to what I will affectionately refer to as “Super Soaker Saturday”, Felicia Wichser, the Social Catering Manager at the Mandarin, was our go-to contact for anything that involved the Mandarin and quite frankly our rock. The epitome of professionalism, attentiveness, and at some times during the wedding process “a good shoulder to cry on”, Mrs. Wichser was one of the key reasons for the success of our event and helped to make our wedding memorable. I appreciated her input in everything that involved our wedding planning, and I will always remember her reassuring smile as I walked down the hallway to my awaiting husband-to-be for our “first-look” photographs. That meant more to me than any amenity or upgrade. She was truly invested in us as people and not as a sale.
Supporting Mrs. Wichser was the dynamic duo of Harold Torres (International Sales Manager) and Ling Zeng (Group Housing Coordinator) that helped make sure that our guests were accommodated. I can not tell you how many times we emailed with both Mr. Torres and Ms. Zeng about our wedding room block, guest reservation questions, and last minute accommodation changes over the months of planning; but with each request made, our questions were managed promptly and efficiently making us feel that our guests were well attended to.
As for the day itself, while the Mandarin moved proverbial mountains for our wedding day (and there were some Everests in there), the only thing that they could not change was the weather. So our planned private beach ceremony converted into an indoor event, but with the guidance and vision of our wedding planner, Lourdes Milian, the Mandarin staff did not miss a beat and our Plan B using Salon 3 of the banquet area was gorgeous. The reception area was equally beautifully transformed, drawing inspiration from the modern elegance of the Mandarin Oriental softened with cool, serene elements from the beach and the ocean (again credits go to our wedding planner). Service through our reception was impeccable from the attentive bar staff (we know this as our friends are at that age where we can tell a good wedding based on the timeliness in getting refills on beverages) to the servers making sure everyone got the correct order and that it met their expectations. I must say though, for me, I am SOOO glad that we had the tasting a few months before because I did not really eat much during our wedding and our tasting was one of the most exciting culinary experiences that I have ever had (I am a die-hard foodie by the way). In addition to the standard offerings that that Mandarin provides as part of the wedding package, Mrs. Wichser and Mrs. Milian suggested to us to consider having a signature beverage during our cocktail hour (we picked original Mojitos) and snacks at the end of the evening (Kobe beef sliders, grilled cheese, and french fries). Both suggestions could not have been more right and augmented our guests’ experience during our reception.
We spent a total of three nights at the Mandarin and brought along our faithful Shih Tzu for the event (oh yeah…. he had a tuxedo and everything). His stay at the Mandarin was nothing but spectacular. He had water and food bowls and a bag packed with kibble and handmade doggie treats. In addition to these amenities, the Mandarin provided a cozy dog bed which he quickly abandoned for the L-shaped couch in our suite and of course our bed, a complimentary dog walk once a day, and a fan adornment to wear on his collar indicating his “residence” at the Mandarin (for which he still wears). Our wedding suite was in one of the Biscayne Suites and this served as one of the main sites of my bridal ready pictures. It is a gorgeous suite with a wall to ceiling window (I will try to post a picture for you to see) that has a wonderful living area and 1.5 bathrooms. If I could have fit that bathtub in my luggage, I totally would have taken it with me, as it was that good. We spent two days in our bridal suite (our wedding night and the following evening), and again would recommend this to anyone considering a wedding weekend at the Mandarin. We were able to enjoy the pool the next day (which of course was beautiful without a cloud in the sky), and that evening when I ordered room service; I was greeted for the first time with a hello “Mrs.” instead of “Miss”.
“So why not the Plaza?” you may ask. Naturally, that would be more befitting for my pen name and would make sense as my now husband and I live in the city BUT we love the beach. “Why Miami?” My parents live there and being a child of a worldly hotelier in the area, who would be better to consult with and to have on our side as we went through the venue selection process. And now to the more important question: “Why the Mandarin Oriental?” Well it is not due to Justin Bieber’s affinity to this Miami hotel, that’s for sure (no disrespect to Justin Bieber but come on now…go to South Beach). It was because the Mandarin encompassed everything that we wanted from our wedding experience including luxurious accommodations, top-notch service, and a feeling of family and personalized care unrivaled by anyone else. We will see you all next year for our one-year anniversary along with our spoiled Shih Tzu and our hopefully well-preserved delicious lemon wedding cake to celebrate!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Contemporary in design and with a prominent waterfront location, the luxurious Mandarin Oriental, Miami features 326 elegant guest rooms and suites - offering dramatic views of the bay and the Miami skyline. Amenities include signature restaurants Azul and La Mar by Gaston Acurio,YAKU by La Mar, MO Bar + Lounge - a dynamic cocktail lounge, an award-winning tri-level spa, the luxury boutique Shanghai Tang and extensive meeting and business facilities. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Mandarin Oriental, Miami Hotel Miami
- Mandarin Oriental Hotel Miami
- Mandarin Miami
- Miami Mandarin Oriental
- Mandarin Oriental, Miami Florida