Real Wedding: Backyard Indian-Inspired Fusion Wedding in Great Falls Virginia (Part 2)

27 07 2011

Go back to Part 1.

At home wedding Great Falls VA L&A Tent Fall

Can you spot me in the tent? Photo: Kate Hauschka.

Trailer Restrooms: Blue Ribbon Restroom Trailers. Vince and Val own this company and they make everything really easy. If you do a restroom trailer, best to have a dedicated generator just for the toilet.

Rental Equipment: DC Rental. Really accommodating since we had to have several visits to the showroom. We rented practically everything from them.

DJ: Amer Sultan. To prevent my client from having a disaster of a DJ, I told them to get out of the contract they had with the DJ they hired. I want to thank MyDeejay for referring Amer. He was so flexible, from dealing with providing sound for 2 outdoor areas, to coordinating with the dance instructor. He kept the dance floor hopping!

Flora Design: Helen Olivia. Marianne was a natural match for this couple and the mother of the bride, who was on task for the design. The flowers were so vibrant.

orange fuchsia wedding bouquets dahlias Helen Olivia

Photo: Kate Hauschka

orange fuchsia wedding flower arrangement Helen Olivia

Photo: Kate Hauschka

Cake: Hot Bakes n Cakes.

Photographer: Katharine Hauschka

Tent, Chairs, Tables: L&A Tent Rentals

Food: Masala Arts. One word of advice for using ethnic restaurant caterers – clarify exactly what the staff will be doing. The restaurants are typically not full service caterers. They don’t set up, clean up or break down or supply equipment. They bring the food. Period.

— Vicky

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Real Wedding: Backyard Indian-Inspired Fusion Wedding in Great Falls Virginia (Part 1)

29 06 2011

Remember this Sneak Peek? Yeah I didn’t think so. Well no matter. Here is this wedding story.

With a wedding date like 10.10.10, I bet you will never forget your anniversary! I had to snap a photo of the clock of the microwave that morning. Look at what time it was!

Chelsea and Harish had glorious weather on their wedding day, with the event being held at her parents’ home. I really feel honored to be welcomed by the family into their home. Being there so often, I felt like I was imposing on them and their privacy. I just loved this family and wanted to share some of the highlights. Have I mentioned that I love fusion weddings?

They were an emotional family so that meant lots of crying.

At home Indian fusion wedding Great Falls VA

Chelsea and Harish rode in on a scooter for their introduction.

At home Indian fusion wedding bhangra dancing Sarina Jain

Sarina Jain, the Jane Fonda of India, taught the guests bhangra dancing. We got the largest dance floor that made sense and it was still not big enough.

at home Indian fusion wedding fuchsia orange tablescape

The color scheme of orange and fuchsia gave the wedding a happy vibe. DC Rental's linens played a big role in the overall look.

More next week — Vicky





Real Wedding: Family Backyard Fun in Potomac, Maryland (Part 4)

1 11 2010

Last part of Bill and Jessica’s wedding – Vendor Recap. Go back to Part 1 for the intro, Part 2 for Style Overview, and Part 3 (ceremony).

Catering: Fusions Cuisine Chef Jim Thompson is so creative with coming up with a menu that embraced Bill and Jessica’s lives, the places they’ve been and the foods that remind them of those place.

Potomac backyard wedding Fusions Cuisine bar

Photo: Kate Hauschka

 

Tent, Generators, Fans: L&A Tent Rentals. I’ve done several backyard weddings with the Drivers. L&A is a family owned business and they take good care of their customers. They were kind enough to hang all the paper lanterns for us!

Potomac backyard wedding pole tent paper lanterns L&A Tent Rentals

Photo: Kate Hauschka

Trailer Restrooms: Blue Ribbon Restroom Trailers. Good experience here. The bathrooms are easy to operate and are in great condition. They even pipe music inside the bathrooms. It just requires access to water source and power. I recommend that you get the toilet its own generator.

Photographer: Katharine Hauschka. Chance would have it that this was the 2nd time I worked with Kate within a few months. Kate is really easy going. Her portraits of the couple are fun but have an intimate feel, focused close in on the couple, a little artsy. She gets a good balance of detailed shots and unscripted moments.

Musicians: St. Charles String Quartet. Great to work with and I love that they have a wide repertoire of music, ranging from classical to pop/rock tunes.

St. Charles String Quartet Potomac backyard wedding

Photo: Vicky Choy

DJ: Michael Perry

— Hope you enjoyed reading about this wedding as much as we did putting it together! Vicky





Real Wedding: Family Backyard Fun in Potomac, Maryland (Part 3)

28 10 2010

Yes, we’ve been MIA. This wedding season has been crazy but we wanted to finish the story of Jessica and Bill’s wedding. Go back to Part 1 for the intro and Part 2 for Style Overview.

I have to admit theirs was one of my favorite ceremonies. Working with officiant, they put together a ceremony that was very inclusive of both families, having them participate in many parts of the ceremony. To me, this represented more of the Asian cultures where a wedding is more about the joining of two families than of two people.

Chinese Tea Ceremony: Prior to beginning the ceremony, Bill and Jessica performed the Chinese tea ceremony, offering tea to the elders in their families as a sign of respect, in exchange for some words of wisdom.

Chinese tea ceremony backyard wedding Potomac

Photo: Kate Hauschka

Ringing of the Bells: Just prior to the processional, Bill and Jessica’s nephews and cousins rang bells to signal the beginning of the ceremony. It is a tradition in many cultures to make some noise at weddings.  The old traditions of noise at weddings are because it was said that the noise scared away any evil spirits that might do harm to the couple or to their marriage.

bell ringers  wedding ceremony children backyard Potomac

Photo: Kate Hauschka

 

Water & Fire:  As part of the processional, 2 of Bill and Jessica’s nieces and cousins, carried 2 small jugs of water. Then the two mothers poured from each of the small jugs into a larger vessel. Then the two fathers along with Jessica and Bill performed the Unity Candle ceremony. Both of these rituals symbolizing the joining of two families

unique water ceremony wedding backyard Potomac

Photo: Kate Hauschka

Bread, Salt & Wine: In Ukrainian tradition, the presentation of bread and salt is a traditional way of offering greetings on special occasions. Their parents presented Bill and Jessica with bread, salt, and wine. The bread represents the parents’ hope that their children will never experience hunger or need, and the salt reminds the couple that their life may be difficult at times and they must learn together to cope with life’s
struggles. With the wine, the parents hope that they will never thirst and that they will have a life of good health and cheer and share the company of many good friends.

Family Blessing: At the end of the ceremony, the officiant again invited both sets of parents and siblings to place their hands on the bride and groom to offer their blessings.





Real Wedding: Family Backyard Fun in Potomac, Maryland (Part 2)

18 08 2010

Go back to Part 1 for the intro.

Colors: Orange and Green. While these are not typical colors in an Asian wedding, Jessica loves orange and the green was inspired by the bamboo branches throughout the property.

Overarching Goal: The driving idea behind the whole wedding was combining families, as well as the couple’s preferences and personalities. Therefore, we were deliberate in the choices made for the ceremony and reception to make sure that the idea of unity was reflected in every part of the wedding.

Bill is of Italian and Germany descent and  Jessica is Taiwanese. Both have traveled extensively for their jobs and personal interest. Bill wanted a backyard BBQ with lots of mingling and activities, while Jessica loves to dance. This is how we incorporated everything.

Decor: Jessica loved lanterns so we incorporated them inside the main tent, inside the lounge area, and used ones her father brought back from Taiwan to greet guests as they entered. In the invitations, escort cards and programs, Jessica’s friend who is a graphic designer, designed an abstract of lanterns as part of the motif.

Chinese paper lanterns for wedding

Lanterns from Taiwan. Photo by Kate Hauschka

orange escort cards with clothespin on trellis

Photo by Kate Hauschka

orange green lanterns wedding ceremony programs

Photo by Kate Hauschka

Activities: Bill wanted many options for their guests in terms of activities. So we set out bocce ball, croquet, badminton, hoola hoops, as well as a photo booth and pop corn machine. It was a lot of fun to watch guests hold a drink in one hand while playing bocce with the other!

Tip: Take care of the children and the parents will have a great time. We hired two babysitters to entertain and to watch over the kids so that their parents can enjoy themselves, and they surely did! For a casual wedding like this, we set out some blankets for the children to sit on for the ceremony so that it’s not so formal, and children are fidgety anyway. The children also ate earlier than the parents and we had the babysitters order pizza for them. By the time they finished, they were able to join in the dancing.

Jessica had a lot of younger cousins, most of whom were home during the summer so we decided to put them to work. They made a bunch of really adorable signs and table numbers. Very creative!

at home wedding signs made by children

Photo by Vicky Choy

 

Reception: To incorporate Bill’s idea of a mingling party, we had 2 cocktail hours. The first cocktail hour was held before the ceremony. As guests arrived, they were free to mingle, grab a bite to eat and have a nice cold drink, which gave Bill a chance to talk to the guests. After about 30 minutes, we invited the guests to sit for the ceremony. After the ceremony, we had another cocktail period for another 45 minutes.

Tip: if you open the bar before the ceremony, be sure to serve some food along with it so guests don’t get too drunk too soon, especially on a hot day!

Food: In their choices for hors d’oeuvres, you can see both of them reflected. The food included ginger-lemongrass meatballs, summer rolls, antipasto, goat cheese fundido, Mediterranean dips. Dinner was served family style to encourage interaction and included Asian inspired flavors like miso glazed salmon with baby bok choy, quinoa and black bean salad with roasted corn and sweet peppers, ginger lemongrass angus beef sirloin with pickled carrot and daikon slaw. We also served Prosecco.

For more photos from this wedding, please visit Kate’s blog.

Stay tuned for the continuation of this wedding and a recap of one my favorite ceremonies of all time — Vicky





Real Wedding: Family Backyard Fun in Potomac, Maryland (Part 1)

16 08 2010
Chinese backyard wedding green bridesmaids dresses bamboo

Photo by Katharine Hauschka

Jessica sent us this lovely note after her wedding. Even if we think we did a good job, you just never know how your clients will react. When we receive a compliment like this, it just makes my day!

Thank you so much for everything. You’ve been incredible with us (and our crazy last minute-ness)– our wedding far exceeded our expectations because of you. If you ever need someone to vouch for your skill and magic at making an at-home wedding happen on short notice, just let me know. Jessica

Stay tuned for more photos and recap of this wedding – Vicky





At Home Weddings

13 01 2010

Leesburg Virginia at home wedding tent

Over the weekend, the Washington Post Real Estate section had a great article about hosting weddings at home with lots of insightful thoughts on the topic by some of the area’s finest wedding planners. I wanted to discuss some of the points made in the article and add my two cents from our experiences planning at home weddings.

  1. Tenting. The couple in the article did not have a tent. Granted, they said the weather cooperated. But what if it didn’t? Since they had a fairly small guest count (about 60 people) and might have been able to squeeze everyone inside the house (I don’t know what their inclement weather plan was), but what if you had over 100 guests? Very few people can host that many inside a house. No tent is not a good idea.
  2. Catering. The article did not mention the couple’s catering choice but you will also need to consider where the catering staff will be preparing your food. For one of our clients, we actually needed to set up a small catering tent next to the main tent for dinner and then using the homeowner’s garage for staging the cocktail hour food. To use the house’s kitchen, while spacious, would not have worked. The distances were too great where the servers would have had to walk pretty far on ground that was nowhere near flat. Not fast and not safe.
  3. Bathrooms. Given the smaller guest count, I can see how the couple in article went without renting toilets. But honestly, if I had over 100 guests, I would not want them trouncing through my house messing up all the bathrooms. At one of our at home weddings, the home was on a farm and the sewage system would not have been able to handle 180 guests. Best to rent toilets even if it’s just 1 stall for men and 1 stall for women. The last thing you want to overflowing sewage. Ewww!
  4. Parking. At another one of our at home weddings, our clients lived in a suburban community. There was no street parking and only a driveway for the home owners. There was nowhere for their 150 guests to park. So they rented the parking lot of a nearby church (within 1 mile) and provided a shuttle bus from the parking to the house. At some homes, there is plenty space for parking but make sure that: a) the area is flat, b) that it is a reasonable walking distance for the guests and that the path is well lit, and c) that you are OK killing the grass that the cars will be parked on.
  5. Lighting. I actually want to address lighting outside of the tent. The last few at home weddings we coordinated, the grounds were pitch black after dark. There were no existing landscape lighting on the properties. Think about it from your guests’ perspective. Make sure that the paths to and from the parking area and bathrooms are well lit. This is a safety issue. The last thing you want is somebody twisting their ankles or falling and hurting themselves (especially after some drinking).

Finally, the first thing you should do when considering an at home wedding using a tent is to consult a tent company. You may have an idea where you want your tent but one site visit from a tent company will tell you the best location. Don’t do anything else first because the placement of the tent can affect many subsequent decisions.

Feel free to contact us if you have need assistance with planning your at home wedding! — Vicky