Richmond Wedding Venue Spotlight: The Berkeley Hotel
After sitting down with Emily Kelsey, the Catering & Events Sales Manager at the Berkeley Hotel, I fell head over heels in love with this boutique hotel! Every room is different, and being located directly across from fun RVA nightlife isn’t a bad deal, either! The Berkeley Hotel is a perfect Richmond wedding venue!
Tell us a little about your hotel!
The Berkeley is a fifty-five room boutique hotel in Historic Shockoe Slip. We have a really great old Richmond vibe, and we couldn’t ask for a better location. Our guest rooms are wonderful, and we are the only hotel in this area with terrace rooms.
The Berkeley is owned by two brothers who are so lovely and very involved in making this place warm, welcoming, and full of love and laughter. We have three rental spaces and have done some really wonderful and unique events. With a new Executive Chef, new F&B director and myself as a new addition, we are going to do ah-ma-zing things in 2016!
How did you get started in this business?
I have been running kitchens for fifteen years. A huge part of what I did was catering and events, mostly weddings. However, I was always back of house, making the vision that was sold come to life. I only came to The Berkeley in February, and this is my first hotel experience. I am bringing with me a huge toolbox of skills from years past. I LOVE food and the connection people have with it. I love how food can bring so much nostalgia, and I love seeing the smiles on peoples faces when they have a heart-warming experience. Hotels are such a natural fit for me, and I am so excited to continue my journey with weddings.
What’s your favorite wedding story?
My favorite wedding was one I did at Panorama Farms near Charlottesville. Charlottesville has a very large farm wedding market, and while each one is very beautiful and full of love, they’re often very similar in decor, style, etc. This one wedding, however, was so different. The couple wanted all their guests to enjoy the day and take their time. It was all day event! Light hors d’oeurves before the 1:00 ceremony on the mountain side followed by heavier tastings and cocktails by the barn. There were kid stations, tables for board games, corn hole . . . just so much laughter. We did a sit down dinner with dancing and cake later, but no one was rushed. Everyone got to visit with the couple, the couple actually got to eat and relax and it was the most perfect day.
Why do you like working with weddings?
Weddings have always been one of my favorite events to do. From the first visit to the wedding itself, you get so involved in a couples love story. I take that so seriously. I want every couple to look back on their wedding and remember that the day was full of love, the food was wonderful, and they had the time of their lives. I love knowing I played a part in that day, taking the stress away and replacing it with warmth. I am a romantic at heart and this is my calling, for sure.
From a vendor’s perspective, what is the one best piece of advice you can offer to engaged couples?
I know this is easier said thqn done but this wedding is YOUR wedding. It isn’t Aunt Mary’s. It isn’t your parents. This is the day you get to marry your best friend. Do it the way you want it done. When it comes down to it, everyone will be crying when you say “I do” and will want to share it with you regardless of how you do it.
How far in advance should couples book your services?
The Berkeley is smaller and doesn’t book as quickly as other venues. For room blocks, 8-12 months for peak season. For event space, 4-6 months is totally doable.
What inspired you the most / where do you find inspiration?
My love for food and making people smile is what inspires me. I make stuffing from scratch now, but every time I see a box of Stovetop, I remember Thanksgiving growing up. That’s what food can do. That’s what events can do.
What do you like to do when you are away from work?
When I am not working, I am spending every second I can with my family outside. My husband and kids are my whole heart.
What would we be surprised to learn about you?
I have six brothers and was raised by military parents. I also spent fifteen years in a kitchen, so while I am polished and professional all the time at work, I speak like a sailor at home and have been told a time or two that my sarcasm is unrivaled.
Thanks for answering our questions, Emily! If you would like to learn more about the Berkeley Hotel, please visit www.berkeleyhotel.com.