Real Wedding: Lakshmi and Sunil (Part 2)

30 01 2009

If you missed the wedding overview and vendor roundup, go back to Part 1.


Sangeet: Lakshmi and Sunil wanted a Moroccan style event. Note the mini tent in the far corner. There were 2 others throughout the ballroom. Prabha Bhambri did a great job with swagging the ceiling, decorating the stage and the rest of the ballroom.

low furniture

Surrounding the stage were low furniture groupings for a lounge like feel.


The stunning stage.

Mehndi artist

We set up a small stage in the center of the ballroom where a Mehndi artist worked. Bindis and bangles were available for guests too.


Table setting with a gorgeous Indian inspired peacock blue tablecloth from DC Rental. We alternated between this color and a pink tablecloth of the same design.


Groom on his horse for the baraat with the horse and its handler from Harmon's.


Due to the rain, wet grass, heat and humidity, we moved the ceremony inside. Another beautiful mandap from Prabha.


Look at the cute flower elephant.

The 7 tier cake!

The 7 tier cake!

Blue Room

The reception was held in the Blue Room. This is the stage with the head table. Isn't it gorgeous?


The Blue Room bathed appropriately in blue lighting. The couple provided plasma screens around the room so that all could see the toasts.


Closeup of one of the tables. silver chivari chairs with a white mesh cap and a beautiful white and silver overlay for the tablecloth.


The South Beach inspired white double bar from Gala. Isn't it cool? Note the blue light in the background during cocktail hour in the Pre-function area.


You can see the white banquette in the center of the room in this photo. Note how the lighting is now changed to pink in the same pre-function area during dessert.

Icecream Bar!

Icecream Bar!

Real Wedding: Sunil & Lakshmi (Part 1)

28 01 2009
Gazebo at the Omni Shoreham Hotel

Gazebo at the Omni Shoreham Hotel

In the fall, we had the opportunity to assist Sunil and Lakshmi at their Hindu wedding. This was our second time working at the Omni Shoreham but it had been a long time since Richa and Deb’s wedding in 2006. Luckily, we were very familiar with the hotel from other events. By far, this was the most extensive wedding we had coordinated to-date beginning with the Sangeet the night before, and then breakfast, baraat, ceremony, lunch, hospitality, cocktails and dinner.

We had an extraordinary team of professionals to pull of this 300+, multi-day event.

Venue: Omni Shoreham Hotel (Catering Manager William Grace). William is single handedly the reason I love working at the Omni, besides the beautiful gardens and ballrooms. His professionalism and experience make the whole process so easy. The Omni really is the perfect venue for an event that requires many rooms. Being a historic hotel, each ballroom is beautifully decorated with such character, a quintessential DC hotel. The one drawback is that it is a huge hotel and the ballrooms are split between two sides of the hotel so signage is important for your guests. With Sunil and Lakshmi’s wedding need rooms for breakfast, lunch, dinner, ceremony, hospitality, and cocktails, the facilites at the Omni worked out really well.

Decor & Floral: Prabha Bhambri. I had just worked with Prabha at Soumya and Tejus’ wedding the month before so we got along really well. Prabha is very creative and did an excellent job providing the decor for the entire wedding weekend. I assure you that it was no easy feat. For the reception, Prabha created a very modern design dripping in crystals. You’ll see in the photos in Part 2 of this series.

DJ: Ravi.

Sound & Lighting: PSAV (Omni’s in-house)

Dance Performance: Dhoonya Dance. This group of dancers provided the entertainment during the baraat and got the energy of the guests way up!

Horse for the baraat: Harmon’s Hayride and Carriages. Pretty easy. They choose a very mellow horse to deal with all the noise and commotion during the baraat and the handler is there the whole time.

Bar Rental: Gala Inc. At the last minute, we need a substantial South Beach style bar that would become the centerpiece of the cocktail area. Gala was so easy to work with on this late request and everybody loved the result.

Lounge Furniture: Cort Furniture. To complete the South Beach lounge look, we rented several ottomans and banquets in white. Guests enjoyed lounging on them all night.

Photography & Videography: A1 Action Photo & Video. This family owned business does it all and was super flexible the day of the wedding as things changed on the fly by the minute.

Chair & Linen Rental: DC Rental. We had different chairs and linens for each event of this wedding and DC Rental did a great job of getting it all right.

Sangeet Catering: Aroma Restaurant.  Great to work with. Responsive and was familiar with the rules and processes at the Omni. This was smooth sailing.

Reception Catering: Tandoori Nights. Not recommended.

Cake: Fancy Cakes by Leslie. The 7 tier cake was a stunning focal point in the ballroom.

Stay tuned for Part 2 – the photos!

Site Visit: Westin City Center

26 01 2009

I recently visited the Westin Washington City Center located at 14th and M (near Scott and Logan Circles). I particularly like the Westin brand because of its zen-like design, muted tones and pleasant scent (yes, there is a scent the pump through the HVAC system). Formerly a Wyndham Hotel, the structure still looks like an old Wyndham but the interior and furnishings are more Westin-like. I think this is one of these properties where you either love it or you hate it.


  • Location: in the city but not near the more popular areas.
  • Accessibility: Metro’s McPherson Square and Farragut North rail stations are about 5 blocks away.
  • The largest ballroom, the National Ballroom, is pretty much on its own floor (with the exception of a few small conference rooms) so your private event guests would not be mingling with others in the hotel.
  • The National Ballroom is not very ornate and would give you the opportunity to spice it up with colored lighting and other decor and inject your own personality.


  • Location: in the city but not in a more exciting area. This is a mostly business district and it’s pretty dead at night.
  • Accessibility: Metro’s McPherson Square and Farragut North rail stations are about 5 blocks away.
  • The hotel structure itself is a bit dated and not as nice as some of the newly constructed Westin hotels since it was converted.
  • The ballroom is in the lower level of the hotel and some find this dark.
  • The National Ballroom is not very ornate and if you like a very minimalistic look, this would be great. Otherwise, you will need to devote some budget for decor.
  • The suites are not huge but does have a separate sitting area. I think the suite would feel crowded with more than 4-5 people.

I had a really bad day with my photos as some were too dark and some where to blurry so I’m showing you the ones that looked good and borrowed some from the hotel’s website.

Pre-function area

Westin DC City Center: Pre-function area. Note the wall where the painting is is actually really high. One of the catering sales managers mentioned that they have the capability of projecting a slideshow or a monogram to customize your event.

National Ballroom

Westin DC City Center: National Ballroom. Note the contemporary style chairs!

National Ballroom

Westin DC City Center: National Ballroom. Note that the hotel has oval shaped tables! So unique and different.

Nothing cure the blues like a little chocolate at CoCo Sala

24 01 2009

With the freezing cold temperature, missing being in California, and having been sick for 2 weeks now, nothing perked me up more than having a little (ok, a lot) of chocolate. The ever-energetic and exuberant Maria at Ritzy Bee organized a girls night out at her friend’s restaurant, CoCo Sala in DC. Although it serves salads, mac and cheese, sliders and flatbreads, CoCo Sala is known for its desserts. Laura Auer from Wish Special Events and I shared one of the 4 Mondu de Chocolat. The Xocolatyl “aztec experience” has 3 courses: amuse, main dessert and petit fours. I think our favorite was the churros with dulce de leche dip.

Photo courtesy of Laura Kay Photography

Photo courtesy of Laura Kay Photography

Maria Cooke (Ritzy Bee), Kate Headley (Kate Headley Photography), Meagan McKechnie and Chana Brissett (RSVP Catering), Laura Muehlendorf (Laura Kay Photography), Laura Auer (Wish Special Events), and me.

One of our CoCo Sala desserts

One of our CoCo Sala desserts

PictoBooks a la Holland Photo Arts

22 01 2009

I love getting mail. Real. Postal. Mail. Especially when the UPS man shows up at my door with an unexpected package from my favorite dynamic duo Bill and Anne Holland of Holland Photo Arts! They sent me a copy of Joan and Ben’s PictoBook wedding album and their limited edition 2009 calendar!! It was like “I’m getting a present” exciting!  Lucky brides and grooms who have hired Bill and Anne will have a beautiful keepsake of their wedding memories!

If you haven’t heard, Bill and Anne have added a collection of postcards featuring photographs from their travels, with proceeds going to charity. The images are vibrant and colorful, and brought back memories of my own trips to some of the same locations. These are great for decorating your house with pops of color. I like decorating my house with photographs of meaning to me instead of buying random artwork (one day, I’ll post some photos of my house). Go forth and buy one!

Holland Photo Arts calendar tin on top of the PictoBook album box.

Holland Photo Arts calendar tin on top of the PictoBook album box.

Limited edition 2009 Holland Photo Arts calendar

Limited edition 2009 Holland Photo Arts calendar

PictoBook album

PictoBook album

Free Wedding Photography for (3) 6/6/09 Couples

20 01 2009
Love Life Images Wedded Bliss 2009 Workshop

Love Life Images Wedded Bliss 2009 Workshop

Love Life Images, in partnership with Momenta Workshops, are searching for three couples to participate in a wedding photography workshop (Wedded Bliss 2009), which is being held at their studio the weekend of June 4-7, 2009. This is a fabulous opportunity to have incredible event coverage at no cost, and in return you will help us teach others the amazing world of Wedding photography.
The wedding must be held on June 6, 2009 and be within the MD/DC/VA area and have at least 150 guests. If your wedding meets the above mentioned requirements, please contact us at or call us at 410-491-5433.
What I love about Mary and Jennifer at Love Life Images is their consistency in capturing artistic and beautiful images.

Couture Bridal Show for DC area Couples

18 01 2009
DCCWC Couture Bridal Show

DCCWC Couture Bridal Show

What: The Washington, DC Couture Wedding Consortium Couture Bridal Show

When: January 31, 2009 from 12-5pm

Where: Stephen Decatur House, DC (one of my favorites)

How: Free but registration is required due to space limitation.

A bridal gown fashion show will feature dresses from Promise for the Savvy Bride. The 1st 100 brides gets a free good bag to include exclusive bridal show discounts to DCCWC member services and products along with other fun surprises!

Thanks to Katie Martin, the founder of the DCCWC and Elegance and Simplicity (bet you didn’t know Katie did my floral design for my wedding!) for giving us the heads up!