Wedding venue spotlight: The Merchant Hotel, Belfast
The Merchant Hotel, Skipper Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland
The Merchant is often considered one of the most luxurious hotels in Ireland – and Europe – boasting consistent five star reviews and I can’t recall hearing anyone ever describe it as anything but fantastic. There’s a reason for this.
What you want to know…
The Venue: Located in Belfast’s hip Cathedral Quarter, it is the perfect representation of old world charm with modern elegance. The Rita Duffy room is a more traditional room available which can accommodate 165 people, featuring floor to ceiling windows filled with natural light. Alternatively, the Roof Garden overlooking Belfast city and Cave Hill, is used for smaller ceremonies. There are seven additional rooms available.
Accommodation: The bride and groom can stay in a deluxe room as part of their wedding package and can upgrade to suites for a price, but there are nine room options in total to peruse. The Elegance Package (£60pp) is based on 10 bedroom bookings and is a serious break in cost.
Food: A minimum three course menu is available for the basic package. I can personally testify the food is out of this world. Sample dishes include seared scallops with cauliflower purée and black pudding beignets, beef wellington with madeira sauce and desserts including eton mess and salted caramel gateaux.
How much? The hotel offers six types of packages for couples including a bespoke package for smaller ceremonies. The Classic package (£55 per person).
As the prices increase, so do the prizes. The Indulgence Package (£85 per person) includes a five course menu is included, Rolls Royce transportation for the newlyweds and two spa treatments are included before the big day.
What you get: Each package is different, but every one includes a red carpet arrival, dancefloor, personalised menu cards and MC. The maximum capacity is 160 people. The luxury packages also include a complimentary six-week gym membership for the bride and groom before the big day, a red carpet arrival and a wine and tasting menu for six people.
Something to think about: The Merchant is licensed for on-site civil ceremonies so you can celebrate your day from start to finish in the same spot. Also their award-winning cocktail bar boats a menu of 150 different drinks – each as delicious as the last. The Merchant is a busy venue which hosts an average of 365 weddings per year, but they operate under a strict one ceremony per day policy so you won’t run into another bride in the hallway.
Perks: The hotel offers a Rolls Royce chauffeur service available (think of the pictures!) with prices starting at £85. The spa is well worth a visit. There are three on-site wedding planners who work around the clock on the ceremony. The retractable roof garden also allows flexibility in your setting depending on the weather.
The catch: If you’re based outside Northern Ireland, converting everything to sterling can be a pain. Worth it though.