The Hillgrove Hotel; taking over the gay wedding market?

Civil Partnerships, Gay Weddings and Marriage Referendum 2015 are all big topics of conversation in Ireland right now.I think I’ve always made my own views { Bláithín’s } very clear on the matter: everyone, regardless of race or sexual orientation should have the right to freely marry who they wish if they are in love and to receive 100% of the same rights that any opposite sex couple take for granted.

{On a personal level I’m dying to ‘buy a hat’ for my own brother’s wedding {when the marriage referendum is successful} and celebrate his love to the most amazing man!}

In Ireland, Civil Partnerships have only been possible since 2011, so same sex weddings are relatively new and sometimes a tricky area for same sex couples to negotiate. It’s sad to say that not all businesses and people are as supportive of same sex couples as this person thinks they should be, but that’s really a blog for a different day. Today, I want to keep it positive and focus on a wedding venue that is very supportive and that is The Hillgrove Hotel in Monaghan.

On Friday, I got a phone call from a  staff member of The Hillgrove Hotel, wondering if I might be available on Monday, December 2nd to come and check out a Gay Wedding Showcase that they were putting on as part of the TV Show ‘ The Takeover ‘, that will air this Spring, and to give some feedback. Not one to turn down a free glass of champagne I went along.

One of the first questions the director of the show asked me was; ‘am I easily impressed.’

The answers to that question is and always will be: no.

Was I impressed? Yes.

I have to say, while I think there is much room  for improvement to fully capture and cater to the Gay Wedding Market, the staff put on an impressive showcase considering their time restraints and it was clear the staff put thought into how they would present the two hour showcase to the couples.

As you would expect from a Showcase, the staff at the Hillgrove Hotel put together an enjoyable evening that included a genuine sample of what a couple could expect their wedding day{civil partnership} to be like at the venue. This included, a champagne reception, {mock} civil partnership ceremony, delicious finger food buffet, a variety of entertainment and dancing including the very vivacious Davina Devine and the opportunity to view its distinctly decorated bridal suites.

All in all, it was a good effort!

Did they miss some opportunities?… they did… not least the realisation of the market they were trying to cater to… it was after all billed as a ‘Gay Wedding Showcase’ when all the marketing material was ‘Dear Bride and Groom’ and featured, albeit beautiful photography, of opposite sex couples…

That said… I would definitely encourage same sex couples to consider The Hillgrove as a wedding venue. The staff, possibly the very best asset the venue has to offer, are attentive, very welcoming, interested and passionate. The food was delicious! Genuinely! And while there is room for improvement, their willingness and openness is refreshing and encourages me to think there are great things yet to come from what this venues offers any wedding market!

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{ The Takeover TV Show sees the hotel’s staff take over the running of the venue for a two week period, in place of the management, with a focus on introducing new business ideas and income streams. Among the great work the team at The Hillgrove did, exploring the Gay Wedding Market was one idea they are hoping to introduce to the popular wedding venue. This episode of the show will air sometime during March 2014. }

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