Friday, August 10, 2012

Looking Back at Our Recent Past

In the year 2000 we celebrated our Seventy-Fifth Anniversary here at the Hawthorne Hotel.  As part of that celebration we created an event that looked back through the decades at weddings which took place here at the hotel.

I conceived the event because when I first came to my position as General Manager of the Hawthorne Hotel in 1999, I met so many people who shared their association with the hotel as a memory of attending a wedding here.  Whether it was a friend, a relative, or even their own wedding reception, it seemed that nearly everyone had that "wedding" association with our hotel.

I started thinking about how we could marry the two ideas (pun intended) to have a 75th anniversary celebration that incorporated weddings.  I remembered an event at the last hotel where I had worked (also a historic hotel) that was a style show of antique wedding dresses, and the light bulb came on!  Why not ask brides who had had their weddings at the hotel (or their families) to loan us their wedding dresses so we could do a fashion show of wedding dresses through the decades?

Floating the concept around the hotel elicited a positive response to the idea, so we went public with the ask, and soon we were inundated with offers of dresses we could borrow, and lots of stories to go along with them.

We decided to involve the community and turned this event in to a fund raiser for the North Shore Hospital's Women's Health Center.  They loved the idea, and soon the planning began to gel.

We ended up with the head wedding dress designer from Priscilla's of Boston narrating the show, and a doctor from the Health Center talking about women's health issues.  Each decade was represented by a dress, and the health issues of that decade were reviewed as the dresses were displayed down the runway.

We also had a static show in the Essex Room to enable everyone to see more of the gowns, and many other lovely details emerged to create a real event.

Here are some photos of the show:

Deb Stephanides, a member of the Hawthorne Hotel team, in her own wedding dress!

Betsy Weisman

A few of the wedding dresses were worn by the brides themselves.  If you recognize any of these people (except the two who are already identified in the captions) in these photos, please write to me on the blog comments. There could be something special in store for you!

I hope you enjoy seeing this story about our 75th anniversary, and I hope to see you here before our 90th anniversary which will be here before you know it!


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