Ceremonies keeping Hilton busy

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 27, 2005

On Saturday night, Suzanne Taggart and James Long spent the night in the Hospitality room at the Hilton, staring out at the Nansemond River under the warm night sky.

The next day, they went downstairs and got married.

&uot;It was kind of both our ideas,&uot; Long said of getting married at Constant’s Wharf Sunday afternoon. &uot;The hotel was extremely willing to work with us. They were willing to handle anything we asked for. We felt better there than at all the other areas.&uot;

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They became part of the hotel’s first &uot;Wedding Weekend.&uot; The evening before, Christy Ferguson and her fianc\u00E9e Ehab Bayoumi took a walk down the aisle, the second couple in the hotel’s history to do so (the first was about two weeks ago).

&uot;All my family’s down (in the area), so when the Hilton opened up, it was perfect timing,&uot; said Ferguson, a resident of Falls Church. &uot;I jumped on it right away. It was convenient on the water, and it was a beautiful queen hotel – what more could you ask for?&uot;

At the reception, she didn’t have to ask for much at all.

&uot;The people who served us were really wonderful,&uot; said Ferguson, who entertained the crowd with an Egyptian dance with her new husband. &uot;They made sure that we had food and brought wine to our table, and they made another plate for us to take with us at the end of the night.&uot;

That night, Taggart and Long prepared to become the Longs.

&uot;We had a beautiful view from the room,&uot; Taggart said. &uot;At midnight, I called the front desk to say that I needed towels and sheets, and they were here in like two minutes. There was a lot of ‘Oh my gosh, we need this!’ They got us a stapler and some towels, and they even kept the pool open a little later for us.&uot;

The morning of the wedding, the hotel threw a Bridesmaid’s tea for Taggart and her friends. Later that afternoon, the pair exchanged vows, walked down a row of their friends and family-all of whom were blowing bubbles at the pair-and took a celebratory ride around the hotel in a 1931 Model A before heading into the Conference Center for a reception.

&uot;Rice hurts and it gets in your hair,&uot; Taggart said. &uot;The bubbles give a romantic feeling.

&uot;I’ve stayed in Hiltons before, but I’d have to say that this was one of the best,&uot; said the new Mrs. Long (the couple planned to honeymoon in Playa de Carma, about 100 miles south of Cancun). &uot;They did everything for us.&uot;

Over the next few years, the Hilton hopes to share the same weekend with many more couples, said sales manager Taryn Boone.

&uot;It’s so exciting to have our first ‘Wedding Weekend,’&uot; Boone said. &uot;We already have a few booked for next summer, and we hope the calls keep coming. Because of the size we have, we could easily have one in the afternoon and two in the evening.&uot;