Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Julie and Gabriel's Mandarin Oriental Hotel Wedding

On Saturday, December 18th, I was the coordinator for Julie and Gabriel’s wedding on a bright and beautiful winter day. The day started early in the morning in the bridal suite at the Mandarin Oriental, where family members from both sides gathered for a tea ceremony. Afterwards, the bridesmaids helped Julie into her absolutely stunning Melissa Sweet gown, along with a breathtaking matching veil. I literally gasped the first time I saw her in that dress! Grace Mahoney from Blushing Brides, who did the bride’s makeup and hair, stayed to change the bride’s hairpiece. The bridesmaids wore custom red floor-length gowns tailor-made in Hong Kong.

A trolley was on hand to shuttle family members, the bridal party, and the bride and groom to the Park Street Church. A sweet ceremony filled with beautiful music followed. I should note here that the groom comes from a musically-gifted family, so guests were treated to performances throughout the day. The ceremony had four music changes just in the processional! I was also witness to a very impressive soprano solo in the middle of the program. A photo session with family and the bridal party followed the ceremony, and then the bride and groom went to the Boston Public Library for their own portraits.

The 150 guests headed over to the Mandarin Oriental for the cocktail hour and reception. At the center of the cocktail hour space were three birdcages framing an eye-catching floral centerpiece of branches and roses. Guests filled out cards (Advice, Wishes, or Predictions) and placed them in the cages. The escort cards were attached to origami cranes, all of them folded by the bride's family. The paper cranes showed up throughout the rest of the venue, in the gorgeous centerpieces created by Orchids N’ Blooms (who provided the rest of the flowers for the wedding) and scattered on cocktail tables. As guests munched on canapés such as lobster daikon rolls and duck confit scallion pancakes, they were able to view a montage of the couple’s engagement pictures that were shown on video screens embedded on the walls inside the room. At the request of the bride, a magnificent Christmas tree, decorated for the hotel by Winston Flowers, was also on display in the room.

The ballroom featured dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows with a view of Back Bay. The tables were topped with peony silk linens and an assortment of tall and short floral centerpieces made of curly willow branches, tulips, and roses. The table names (of various fashion designers, since the bride has a fashion background) were propped on top of wine bottles and were created by Pink Orchid Designs. They also denoted that donations to Children's Hospital Boston were made in lieu of favors. Each place setting had a menu tucked into the napkin, which sat on top of a stunning glass ‘starburst’ charger plate. A Steinway grand piano, which was delivered and tuned that morning by M. Steinert & Sons, was situated at the front of the ballroom. The beautiful cake with delicate, handmade sugar flowers was displayed right next to the piano. Guests enjoyed a plated lunch of artichoke soup, a main entrée choice of miso black cod or roasted chicken, and then wedding cake for dessert.

The reception was full of unique programming. After introductions, the bride and groom danced to “All I Ask of You” from The Phantom of the Opera, played live on the piano by a family friend. Then, guests were delighted by a surprise performance by a groomsman and his father (the same family friend), who re-wrote a piece of music with hilarious lyrics all about the newlyweds. One of the sweetest moments of the day followed, when Gabe got up to perform a short piano piece and told all the guests that it was the same piece he played to woo Julie when they first started dating. After the entrée was served, everyone enjoyed piano performances from the flower girls (so cute!), the groom’s stepmother and his aunt (holiday music from the Nutcracker), and finally, the groom’s father. The “mini-recital” really captivated the guests AND the staff. The level of playing was amazing!

The evening ended with a yummy dessert fondue station and dancing, with music provided by Jake Lewis of DJ by Jake. Daniel Nystedt of Nystedt Photography and Jim Greene from Boston Wedding Films were on hand to capture the music-filled wedding day.

Special thanks to Emilie who stopped by in the morning to help me with set-up (she had another wedding to coordinate later that day!). It was a truly stunning event and it was a pleasure to be a part of it. Julie and Gabe, hope you had a wonderful honeymoon in Italy, and best wishes to you both!



Anonymous said...

Love this venue for weddings. Your details are absolutely gorgeous (as usual). Happy New Year :)

Moni said...

Gorgeous florals! And of course I love the origami crane escorts!