Despite construction, dream weddings planned at Hotel Syracuse
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- It's still very much a hard-hat zone inside the Hotel Syracuse as crews race to re-paint, repair and restore every inch of the once grand hotel.
Still, the active construction hasn't deterred couples from planning their dream weddings there. Teresa Hartnett and Brendan Smith are planning their January 2017 wedding. When it came to choosing a venue, they only made one call.
"When we heard it was going to be available there was no other choice. It was a no-brainer," said Hartnett.
Like it is for so many others in Central New York, the hotel is the scene of so much of this couple's family history; Teresa's parents held their reception in the grand ballroom.
35 years later, almost to the date, Teresa will wear her mother's wedding dress as she and Brendan celebrate the start of their lives together in the very same room.
"Our family is so excited to see it when they find out it's here because no one had been to a wedding here in so long," said Hartnett.
Once the setting for countless celebrations, the 92-year-old hotel shuttered its doors more than a decade ago after falling on hard times, but when the news of a new owner - and a 70-million dollar renovation and a grand re-opening - broke, couples immediately began calling to book the historic space.
"I'm meeting with at least four to six couples a day. They come in and they're like, 'Oh, there aren't windows,' or, 'The lobby isn't done,'" said Alexis Cohen, Director of Catering at the hotel.
Despite that, the hotel's ballrooms are already completely booked with weddings through 2016.
"When we walked into the grand ballroom I was just like, 'Oh my gosh.' It was just beautiful. Even under construction and with stuff all over the floor I could just see the beauty in it," said Hartnett.
Hotel owner Ed Riley says giving couples like Teresa and Brendan a place to make memories is the whole reason he wanted to bring the Hotel Syracuse back to life.
"They had parents married here. They get to come back and experience it and be here and that just means the world to us as a team and that's why it's here," said Riley. "It's a community place, for the community to come and celebrate, for families to come celebrate and we're just happy to be part of it."