Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Nice Day for a White Wedding . . . at The Mandarin Hotel!

I had been looking forward to my Labor Day wedding for a long time! I started working with Stephanie and Ryan almost a year and a half before their wedding day, and I was eager to see how all of our ideas would turn out. I know everyone is bored to death hearing me say how nice my clients are, but Stephanie and Ryan and their families were the nicest people in the world and working with them was a dream. I really am extraordinarily lucky to have such amazing brides and grooms!

I also love when couples know what they want. From the beginning, Stephanie and Ryan envisioned a day that was elegant but also fun. They wanted a beautiful white wedding with whimsical touches and dramatic moments. And, most of all, they wanted a wedding that was THEM.

They selected the fabulous Mandarin Oriental Hotel as the backdrop for their ceremony and reception. Stephanie and Ryan loved the clean, modern feel of the hotel; it meshed perfectly with their style. Plus, how could anyone not adore working with Director of Catering Michael Deltette? Michael and his staff made sure that every detail of the weekend was flawless.

The long wedding weekend started with guests receiving luxurious white welcome boxes filled with gourmet treats and Sour Patch Kids (the bride's favorite). The ladies enjoyed a bridesmaids' tea overlooking the hotel's garden then had manicures onsite from Nail Taxi.

Later that evening (after a quick rehearsal) guests took shuttles provided by Linder and Associates to Rosa Mexicana downtown for a festive rehearsal dinner. The food was delicious and the toasting went late into the evening.

The morning of the wedding brought perfect weather (and the good news that we could have cocktails outside). Stephanie and her bridesmaids enjoyed being primped by makeup artist Carl Ray and hair stylist Giselle while the guys hung out watching the game (don't ask me what sport or what game). Carl and Giselle always make my brides look unbelievable!

The bride chose her dress from Hitched (an Engaging Affairs favorite dress and invitation spot) and had her girls wear stunning floor length navy gowns. Flowers were all white. The clean palette was so simple and chic.

While all the bridal party was getting ready, Capital Decor, Fabrications and Swank were downstairs turning the ballroom into a magical ceremony site. We draped the entire room from floor to ceiling in white organza and brought in enormous trees with votives hanging from them. Instead of chairs, Capital Decor custom-made white upholstered benches for guests to sit on. It was simply stunning!

The beautiful ceremony was performed by one of my favorite officiants, Rev. Wesley Peyton, with a string quartet from MSE Productions. At the end of the ceremony, and as a surprise to the guests, the St. Martin's Church gospel choir sang the recessional and led guests through the hotel and out to the garden singing the entire way!

After cocktails, guests entered the Oriental ballroom. The breathtaking room featured a profusion of white hydrangea; tables with white, high-backed banquettes; a shiny, white dance floor surrounded by white backless sofas; and custom linens, china and crystal from DC Rental. It was a modern vision in white (with touches of gold for warmth)!

After an amazing dinner, guests enjoyed a delicious wedding cake (and red velvet cupcakes) from Kendall's Cakes. The always phenomenal band, Sound Connection, kept the guests dancing all night long.

The red velvet cupcakes had the bride and groom's initials piped on top in gold. I speak from experience with Kendall's red velvet cupcakes when I say YUM!

The bride and groom taking to the dance floor!

I love these moments when the couple is clearly having the time of their lives. This is what it is all about!

As guests reluctantly left the party, they took adorable wedding cake cookie favors from Kendall's Cakes (we kept her busy that week!) and filled bags with the bride and groom's favorite candies (every gummy animal I'd ever heard of and some I hadn't!) from a shadowbox candy table.

My favorite WOW moment of the wedding was when we threw open the doors to the ceremony and the gospel choir started singing "Hallelujah." My favorite behind-the-scenes moment was realizing that the beautiful trees in the ceremony room had crickets who sang when it got quiet. It ended up adding such a serene element to the ceremony, though. People thought we had piped in the sound to add to the Zen feel!

It really was a spectacular event and the best way to spend a Labor Day weekend that I can think of. Thanks to everyone who made the wedding a success, to Robert Isacson for the beautiful photos and Tom Bowen for capturing it all on video.

Congratulations Stephanie and Ryan!