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Hotel Julien Dubuque

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Create Your Wedding Dreams at Iowa’s ‘Martha Stewart Weddings’ Top Choice

Hotel Julien Dubuque’s grand ballroom, newly restored, has helped to make bridal dreams come true for nearly a century.

Martha Stewart is the doyenne of the wedding world. Her artful creations and superb recommendations have guided many a bride to the wedding of her dreams. In this year’s Martha Stewart Weddings annual travel guide, writers crafted a story around “50 Ways to Wed in the United States,” choosing their matrimonial favorite locations in each of the states. Iowa’s newly engaged may want to begin with the magazine’s local choice for wedding reception venue – the historic Hotel Julien Dubuque.

The writers noted that this “historic venue is often the choice of Iowa brides wishing to be married in the same place as their great-grandmothers (it’s been a popular wedding site since 1915).” The hotel’s recently-completed $33 million renovation has also inspired brides to reserve their receptions here.

“We love when our past ‘brides’ return for a visit,” says Mary Kay Hurm, wedding coordinator. “Some are in their 80s and want to see the renovations and spend a little time reminiscing with us.”

As the magazine documents, the most spectacular renovation work was completed in the grand ballroom, site of many an elegant wedding reception over the hotel’s nearly 100-year history. While returning the space to its original grandeur, architects and designers uncovered floor-to-ceiling windows, a 20-foot-high coffered ceiling, period lighting and an intricate wood parquet floor. The ballroom seats 400 for dinner and offers views to the Port of Dubuque and the Mississippi River just across the way. The hotel’s grand staircase was transformed, too, and now has an old Hollywood look to it, making it a favorite spot for staging photos.

The hotel also has several venues for smaller, more intimate wedding receptions. There’s the River Room, which opens onto the outdoor River Terrace, and the Harbor Gallery room off the lobby, a favorite for both ceremonies and receptions, with its massive windows framing views to the river.

Brides are pleasantly surprised to learn the hotel customizes every reception, paying great attention to the little touches, says Hurm. The property is also the picture-perfect location for fun rehearsal dinners and gift-opening brunches the morning after the wedding.

There’s also that ritual known as the spa visit, to rid the bride and groom of pre-wedding jitters. The hotel’s Potosa Spa features a sophisticated relaxation lounge with fireplace, spa treatment rooms that include a Spa Together room with side-by-side massage tables, a full-service salon for nails and hair, and sunlit pool. Every bride receives a complimentary pedicure and manicure, while the groom enjoys a complimentary manicure and mini-facial.

One last recommendation from the hotel staff: Bridal couples should consider the hotel for a mini-moon – a short stay before they jet off for their longer honeymoon. The suites are a mixture of timeless elegance and high style, with dark wood furnishings, luxury linens and bedding, and spa-style bathrooms. As a gift to the couple, the Hotel Julien Dubuque provides a complimentary king whirlpool suite and the staff even tucks a gift basket into the room, with a special fleur de lis wine stopper to remind husband and wife of their big day.

The hotel’s main number is (800) 798-7098. Its Web site is HotelJulienDubuque.com.

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