The doors of the Hillgrove Hotel in Monaghan town opened to the gay & lesbian community last Monday night, with a showcase of hotel packages catering for civil partnerships and same-sex weddings.
The gay wedding showcase, arranged to display the hotel’s potential for RTÉ series, The Takeover, is a first for the border county, as such events are still quite rare in Ireland. Groups travelled from as far as Newry and Dublin for the evening, which was the first time for many of the guests to experience Monaghan hospitality.
The staff, engaging from the very start, welcomed the crowds with canapés and were attentive from start to finish. The mock civil ceremony showed how the event itself would look in one of their well-lit function rooms, and was impressively decorated. Entertainment provided by the Boggie Band and drag queen Davina Davine showed the range available to the hotel; from traditional wedding bands to a bit of glitz and camp fun, with laughs from the crowds throughout. The only criticism is that staff were not able to identify which food offered was suitable for vegetarians or vegans, which should be a requirement in this day and age.
The evening’s events, overall, felt like a real, typical wedding event. This is most certainly a positive thing, as many hotels would be (understandably) inexperienced with ceremonies for gay or lesbian couples. The biggest challenge to the Hillgrove is that is it only beginning to branch out into the gay wedding market. Their advantage, however, is that with marriage equality on the cards in Ireland from 2015, the team at the Hillgrove have entered the market at the perfect time.
This Monaghan jewel should be strongly considered as an option to any couple – gay or straight – planning their big day out. Well done to the team for a great début.
Contact: hillgrovehotel.com – @HillgroveHotel on Twitter