Monday, February 13, 2012

A Spectacular Indian Wedding at the Ritz DC {Rachna and Samir}

To say that I loved working with Rachna and her family would be an understatement. From the moment I met the bride, she impressed me with her energy and sense of fun. She loved planning her wedding and had such a great sense of what she liked and how she wanted her celebration. And her groom couldn't have been sweeter!

The wedding week started with the Mehndi party on Thursday and welcome dinners at two locations on Friday (but those stories and images are for a later post). After these fun parties, everyone was so excited for the main events on Saturday!

Saturday was sunny but chilly. The bride got ready in her suite while the groom and his family and friends gathered in front of the Ritz DC for the Baraat.  Harmon's Carriages provided the gentle horse that Samir rode while everyone danced and clapped to the sounds of the dhol player. This is my favorite part of the Indian wedding celebration; I love the energy and joy!

Once Samir arrived and entered the hotel, he was greeted by the bride's family and friends at the fabric and floral gate we had at the base of the Ritz staircase and then everyone entered the ballroom for the ceremony. DaVinci's had been hard at work setting up the mandap since 4 am and it was stunning! It featured sheer gold fabric adorned with tassles with masses of flowers at the corners and center plus a crystal chandelier hanging from the center (which was a surprise for the bride from Diana from DaVinci's)!  The aisle had half circles of rose petals in the bride's colors surrounding tall glass cylinders topped with floating candles down the sides.

The traditional Hindu ceremony was so beautiful. I love that the ceremonies involve both families.

After the ceremony, the bridesmaids managed to steal the groom's shoes back from the groomsmen, which is a fun Indian wedding tradition.

After the lunch, the bride and groom took photos during the break then started getting ready for the evening reception.

The Ritz-Carlton catering staff, lighting crew from Event EQ, and design team from DaVinci's did an amazing job flipping the ballroom to get ready for the reception. Gold linens covered the round, square and long rectangular tables and were topped with three different centerpiece designs using the bride's colors of deep red, purple, and spice orange along with masses of roses, hydrangea and orchids. Oversized red lampshades on some of the tables were strung with crystals and the tall floral arrangements had strands of rose petals and crystals hanging below.  The tables were set with gold beaded and gold shimmer base plates and gold-rimmed stemware and had high and low candles throughout to create a magical sparkle. Menu cards and table numbers were designed with the couple's logo by Zoya Couture and coordinated with the custom invitation suite and all the paper products for the wedding.

After a festive cocktail hour, guests entered the ballroom and were entertained by the couple's same-day edit video created by Suburban Video (see that video here) before the bride and groom entered the room.

After the couple's first dance and a series of heartfelt toasts, the guests enjoyed a multi-course dinner by Indique Heights (I can attest that the palaak paneer was delicious) and then Jag and his team from Event EQ kept the dance floor packed for the rest of the evening.

The bride's sister and cousins entertained the crowd with a Bollywood-style dance that was a huge hit and a guest sang a song to the bride and groom!

When guests weren't dancing, they enjoyed the scotch bar and modern lounge in the foyer with the same-day video looping on a flat screen above the bar.

The couple cut what had to have been the largest wedding cake I've ever seen (13 tiers over six feet tall and over 400 pounds--it had to be rolled out of the pastry kitchen on a flat bed and lifted by five chefs!) that was covered in jewel-encrusted paisley in the bride's colors. Amazing!

Aside from being a stunning wedding, this was also one of the happiest couples I've seen in a while. Best wishes to Rachna and Samir for a lifetime of happiness!

Special thanks to everyone at the Ritz-Carlton DC who made the day a fabulous success: Stacy, Amal, our captains and waiters, the pastry chef Daniel, the entire culinary team that worked hand-in-hand with Indique Heights to make sure the food was great. A huge thank you to Diana and her team from DaVinci's for going above and beyond to create such gorgeous decor. Thanks to the amazing Jag and his team from Event EQ for creating the perfect ambiance with lighting and sound. A shout-out to Arti from Zoya Couture for the beautiful logo design, the seating boards and paper products that tied everything together.

Huge kudos to my team: Sara, Amanda, Alison and Sarah. I couldn't have done it without you all! And I can't forget Bill and Tom and the team from Suburban Video who worked tirelessly to create the same-day video. And, perhaps most importantly, a huge thank you to Amy and Srinu Regeti from Regeti's for the absolutely gorgeous images. You really captured the energy and joy of the day and were an absolute delight to work with! To all the fabulous people on Team Rachna and Samir: you are amazing; there are no people I'd rather spend three days plus twenty straight hours working with!