Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Indian and Lebanese Wedding Celebration

I have been working on so many weddings at The Mellon Auditorium (one Memorial Day weekend and one next weekend and a few more in the pipeline for later this year), that it has made me nostalgic for one of my all-time favorite weddings from last year. I loved everything about this wedding and especially loved the clients!

Kavi and Maria's wedding was held the first weekend of August of last year. The wedding blended the groom's Indian heritage with the bride's Lebanese background into a really lovely wedding extravaganza. All the elements of the wedding were customized to embrace both cultures, which made the events so unique and personal. We had Saima from Saima Says Design incorporate elements from both rich backgrounds to create stunning save the dates, invitations, programs, and escort cards. This was the first place guests saw the color palette of deep red, gold, mango and cream that would carry through the entire event.

The three day celebration kicked off with a Ganesh Pooja ceremony on Thursday at The Mayflower Hotel. During this intimate and relaxed ceremony, the bride was presented with elaborate presents (this is a custom I can really get behind). Then the groom's face was covered in red by his sisters and cousins!

The actual marriage ceremony was held on Friday during the day at The Mayflower Hotel. The Mayflower was our hub hotel and Dominic Sanchez and his fabulous team took such good care of everyone. We had teams of stylists from Andre Chreky and George's getting all the ladies ready while makeup artists extraordinaire Carl Ray made the bride look even more stunning.
The mandap was gorgeous and very non-traditional with lots of winding branches and fresh flowers. The bride and groom sat on low white chairs, giving the ceremony setting an even more modern look. Again, we went with variations of the mango, papaya, deep reds and creams in everything from the bride's sari to the wedding garlands. The Hindu priest was a delight to work with and was very conscientious about not making the fire too high and setting off the hotel alarms and sprinklers!

After the ceremony, guests enjoyed a lunch in the Mayflower's Grand Ballroom catered by Ascot Catering. I love Indian food and this food was really fabulous (and, more importantly, the groom's family thought the food was great). We brought in rental china and linens from DC Rental to give the lunch the clean, modern look the client loved.

Saturday was the big day for the reception at The Mellon! We started loading in early that morning in order to get all of the lighting, draping and floral decor set by that evening. As usual, we had Sugarplum put up a tent in the alley for the caterer. Design Cuisine then went to work getting all of the various size tables set up inside and building a temporary kitchen in the tent.

A Vista Events brought in floor to ceiling burgundy taffeta to drape between the towering columns. I love to watch the drapes going up using the cherry pickers--what a production! Frost Lighting provided all of the sultry lighting to set the mood. The custom gobo projected on the stage alcove was the same motif that we used on the save-the-dates, invitations and programs that Saima had designed. The amazing team from Capital Decor (Jeff, Kelly, Patrick, Iris, and so many more) created gorgeous flowers that used the clients' rich color palette of mango, papaya and rich reds with splashes of vibrant green and whites for contrast. We set off the intense colors with copper, gold and chocolate brown linens. Again the look was modern and fun!

When guests arrived, they enjoyed cocktails in the back Green Rooms for an hour before moving into the main hall. It was such fun to watch people's mouths drop open when they walked in the room. It did look stunning! The WOW factor continued when the bride and groom entered with an Arabic Zafe' band while all the guests danced and cheered.

Dinner kicked off with a golden gazpacho amuse bouche on each guests' plate and then the international stations throughout the room opened. In order to honor their heritages and appeal to their cosmopolitan tastes, the bride and groom offered a Lebanese station, an Indian station, an Asian station, a British station and a sushi bar. Since it was important that the cuisines be authentic, the Lebanese food came from their favorite restaurant, Indian chefs and sushi chefs made food on-site, and the Arabic sweets were flown in. Design Cuisine did an amazing job pulling it all together and impressing everyone with phenomenal food. Kendall of Kendall's Cakes provided a delicious and beautiful cake that the bride and groom cut with a ceremonial sword. I looked quite daunting carrying a sword down Constitution Avenue into the Mellon, by the way!

The bride and groom were surprised by a song from the groom's sister (we all worked hard to keep the secret from the groom for months!) and a serious of lovely toasts. I don't know when I have heard such eloquent toasting (and the most amazing perhaps from the groom's 14-year-old twin cousins). Both families were just so lovely to work with and get to know. The groom's brother, Kush, was an outstanding Best Man and became our go-to guy for the weekend. If we ever needed a question answered (or a check written), Kush was our man. Of course, it was hard to resist his many attempts to find out where Kavi and Maria were staying on their wedding night but we managed to keep the secret.

The crowd danced the night away with music from Jeff Hulbert from Bialek's Music while some also enjoyed the upstairs cigar lounge that overlooked Constitution Avenue. Capital Decor provided the sleek white lounge furniture for the outdoor jazz lounge and Tom Bowen provided a huge flat screen where guests could watch the dance floor action below.

The bride and groom didn't leave until almost 2 am but when they did, they made their getaway in a silver Rolls Royce Phantom (which we had driven down from New York City for the day). Truly stylish!

I love thinking back to this wedding because it was an amazing series of days with an amazing couple and fabulous families. Great memories! Thanks to Robert Isacson for the gorgeous photos!