Friday, June 29, 2012

Indian Elegance at The Mandarin Oriental DC {Natasha + Ravi}

Waking up to a beautiful spring day in May was the perfect start to the incredible day that was in store for Natasha and Ravi.  

The Bride, her sister and her mother had a relaxing morning in the Bride’s suite while makeup artists Carl Ray of Georges at the Four Seasons and Gustavo of Faces by Gustavo applied their makeup. The Bride then got dressed into her first sari of the day…a stunning cream and gold look.  While the girls were enjoying their morning, the Groom participated in a private prayer ceremony with his family before setting off for his Baraat, which took place in the circle in front of the hotel.  His family along with a DJ and dohl player (drummer) led the guests with lots of dancing and singing. 

Once the Baraat was done, the Bride’s family met Ravi outside of the Sikh ceremony where they performed the Milni just before entering the ceremony.  The ceremony, decorated in traditional reds and golds, was designed by Dharma Events and led by Sikh priest, Bhai Sahib.  

Guests were then escorted outside to the garden terrace where the Christian ceremony, led by officiant Amos Dodge, took place.  The ceremony area was framed by a wooden arc decorated with rich purple and pink flowers with hanging crystal strands.  The grass aisle was covered with bright purple petals and purple balls of flowers hung from a few of the aisle chairs to help frame the aisle.  The talented Cherry Blossom String Quartet played as the guests made their way to their seats and as the processional and recessional took place for the ceremony.  The bride wore another gorgeous cream and white sari for this ceremony as well.  

Following the Christian ceremony, guests were treated to an Indian buffet lunch prepared by the amazing Mandarin Oriental chef.  They were then able to explore or relax for a few hours before the evening’s festivities began.

As guests entered cocktails, they were greeted by a beautiful escort card table with a centerpiece make of purple feathers and smaller vases with orchids designed by Bill Enright of Edge Flowers.  The photographer, Kelsey Thompson, set up a “photobooth” area, including props, for guests to visit and use during both cocktails and dinner.   She is responsible for the beautiful photos in this blog.

The Grand Ballroom opened for dinner and guests were treated to a stunning room full of bright blue, purple and pink centerpieces, mirrored tables and rose lighting.  The cake, in all of its glory, was designed by Maggie Austin and the bright purples and pinks were used in the cake design.  For the Bride’s final outfit change, she wore a teal, purple and gold sari for the reception.

Once the dinner was complete, DJ Karan Kapoor and MC Vishal Suchdeve., from Dynasty Entertainment, turned up the hits and kept people on the dancefloor until the wee hours of the morning.  

Thank you to Bret Freeman at the Mandarin Oriental for EVERYTHING!  You and your team were instrumental on such a successful and special day for Natasha, Ravi and all of their friends and family.

Thank you to Tom Bowen Films for all of the amazing video captured from the day! 

Thank you to Steve at Swank Audio Visuals for the time you spent helping all of us create an amazing look with lighting!

Congratulations to Natasha and Ravi!!


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Sneak Peak at the Mellon

This is just a sneak peak at my amazing wedding at the Mellon recently.  They say, " happy wife, happy life" but I wish there was some connection to happy bride, happy planner.  This bride was thrilled and no one deserved it more than her.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Planner's Paradise Part Two {Amanda & Luke}

The wedding day!  Although I didn’t have my Robek’s smoothie to start me out (an Engaging Affairs wedding day tradition)-- I did have a large coconut to drink out of to start my day!  Shenique Higgs with Sheque Perfection got the mothers, maid and matron of honor and myself ready to walk down the aisle!  Shenique has also worked with other DC planners on destination weddings-- small world! 

 As I said before, I love color.  I knew the coral of the local bougainvillea would look amazing against the ocean!  The Alexandra Resort (thank you Anette Mullings) was the perfect backdrop!  Their rooms and service were absolutely amazing.  Oh and did I mention the views!  I’ve always loved yellow so I had my girls wear a casual yellow sundress to compliment the tropical background.  I wanted this ceremony to be personal so I asked my dear friend and mentor, Sandra Hoehne, to preside.  It was absolutely perfect!  We chose poems by Wordsworth and Whitman for our readings and gave our own vows (think “I vow to come second on Greengenes nights” and “I vow to let our kids be Ravens fans”).

The one difficult part about me is the photography.  As a girl who does not look her best in candid photos and constantly has her “photo smile” on but loves photojournalism wedding photos-- it was quite hard for me to imagine being obsessed with my wedding photos.  Introducing Jon Nickson of Eyespice Photography!  He was able to put my whole family and myself at ease!  He promised to yell at me if I started to get too “planner” on him as well!  I knew I wanted to come away with amazing photos and even go a little out of the box-- so I went swimming!

After a change of dress it was on to the reception at Mango Reef Restaurant.  Alexis took such great care of us and the whole party was delighted at the amazing food and service!  My favorite parts of the wedding were the toasts.  My father, who is known to be slightly sarcastic, did a wonderful job pulling out my 8th grade creative writing booklet.  The toasts went on to include my oldest and dearest friend, my beloved sister, a memorable salute from the best man, a 90210 ode, a college throwback, and a video montage narrated and made by Luke’s mom.  Lots of talking (very fitting)!   

 We had a custom cake topper made from The Little Gift Box (you can see it here on their site which is a local shop in Alexandria, VA!

After the cake cutting it was time for DJ William John put on some amazing dance tunes and the rest of the night was a dancing blur! 

Thank you again to all of these amazing vendors for making my dreams come true and letting us all celebrate in paradise!



Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Planner's Paradise {Amanda & Luke}

When I sat down to write this blog, I couldn’t decide what angle to take-- it is my own wedding, after all!  The more I thought about it, I realized I should do what I always do-- thank the vendors!!

I got engaged last July (first thank you is to Peter Boone at Boone & Sons in Chevy Chase for my most fabulous engagement ring) and was then stuck with the task-- plan my own wedding?!  Sounds harder than you think for a planner!  After toying with a bayside Annapolis wedding, an elegant DC affair, or the many other local choices, I finally decided to head 1,214 miles away to Grace Bay Beach in Turks & Caicos.  Although we did lose some guests due to the distance-- what a blast we had!  A little secret though-- we were already married!

Luke and I got married about a month before our T&C celebration at St. Charles Chapel in Arlington, Va.  It was a simple ceremony with just some close family and a gorgeous bouquet!  The talented duo of Rick and Christopher of Amaryllis provided me with a gorgeous display of peonies, sweet peas, and ranunculus in shades of pink-- I still dream about that bouquet!

If you know Luke and I-- we LOVE color!!  Our first stop was to work with the wonderful Jen Liljegren of Lilypad Weddings!  She created gorgeous invitations for us in our color scheme of sea green and coral.   Jen also created amazing coasters, menu cards, escort cards, and programs for the big day!

I hired Teresa Brunner, a local wedding planner with Tropical Destination Management, to help me with logistics!  She was absolutely wonderful and I was so thankful to have a contact on the Island!  One of the wonderful things about having all of your guests with you on vacation-- you can plan fun activities!  Luke took some boys bonefishing and I got to go snorkeling with a boat full of my friends!  We had an awesome beach BBQ bonfire party to kick off the celebrations!  Thank you Kissing Fish for doing such an amazing job!

Up next: Day Two of the Destination Wedding Weekend!