Four Seasons’s New Catering Director Wants You to View the Hotel Like a Destination Wedding Venue
Robin Ewing is bringing her experience at luxury Caribbean resorts to Philly.
The over-the-top-in-every-way Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia has a new director of catering at the helm, and she has big plans for your wedding festivities as the spot preps for a busy season as we recover from the pandemic. Born in Portland and most recently living in Las Vegas, Robin Ewing relocated to Ardmore and took up the post at the Center City hotel in February. She brings with her a long history in the wedding industry, most notably in the Caribbean — she opened SLS Baha Mar in the Bahamas, and Kimpton Seafire Resort and Spa in the Cayman Islands as director of catering. (At the Kimpton property, she booked and oversaw 18 weddings in its first year of operation.) Here, she shares how she wants to bring that destination vibe to Philly.
When I first got here and toured, it made me realize that the destination wedding isn’t just about the place. It’s a feeling. We have that here. We’re literally in the sky. The infinity pool on the 57th floor takes you away and you have that escape feeling. My dream is to have more urban destination weddings here. Couples can bring their closest friends and family for a more intimate celebration and really utilize everything we have. We are a resort in the city and we have so much more to offer as a weekend of celebration as opposed to just that one night in the ballroom.
We have a lot of micro-weddings coming up and larger weddings in the fall. There are quite a few. Our first micro-wedding is in late summer. We’re seeing a mix of couples of different ages, races, genders and from all over — from Philly, surrounding areas and all over the country. We have seen interest from the West Coast — people who went to school in the city, have family nearby or relocated to the West Coast and want to celebrate back here.
We are seeing second and third weddings, too. I met with a couple the other day who are holding their second marriage. They didn’t get the chance to do their weddings the way they wanted to the first time, so they’re doing it now. I feel like everyone deserves that opportunity to have the wedding of their dreams. People think they can’t do it again because they already had the wedding, but everyone deserves to share their love story.
One of the silver linings from the pandemic is couples have learned to think outside of the box. They are considering what is truly important to them and how to incorporate that into their weekend celebration. It’s having the right attitude and focusing on what we can do despite the restrictions we’ve had — and having fun with it. We have our Lead With Care program for health and safety protocols, which makes couples feel more comfortable. One of our different approaches is taking a food display that would typically be at a cocktail hour — where everyone is putting their hands on it — and coming up with creative vessels with our culinary team to serve those foods individually plated and bring them to each guest.
Traditions are out the window, especially right now. It’s about making it your own. No wedding should be the same. One of the couples I am working with for their late fall wedding is OK without having dancing — they actually like that — so we are working on some fun entertainment aspects. A DJ is paired with a live saxophone player and dancers who will perform for the guests, as opposed to everyone dancing. They will be doing more of a show during dinner. It makes it more memorable for the 150 guests.
I was a little starstruck to work with celebrity florist Jeff Leatham. What an amazing opportunity for our couples to work with him and his team for their florals. I’ve had fun coming up with cool ways to incorporate their talents and art into our ballroom.
Every couple is unique, and it’s important to connect with them. I love to get to know the duos and uncover what inspires them, then translate that into their wedding. Each couple has a unique story to tell, and my job is to take my expertise in food, beverage and overall event concepts and personalize it to them.
Getting married? Start and end your wedding planning journey with Philadelphia Weddings' guide to the best wedding vendors in the city.