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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Lion Dancers, Table Tennis, and a Sari

I loved working with Simon and Shamim during the brief 8 weeks we had to plan their lovely wedding celebration at Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park. Both Simon and Shamim are from England, though Simon is of Chinese descent, and Shamim of Indian.

Since Simon and Shamim both grew up in England (met at Oxford University as freshmen), the perfect vehicle to deliver Simon and Shamim to their wedding venue was a British 1927 Stutz.

When they began planning their intimate, culturally blended wedding celebration in early February, Simon and Shamim quickly realized they were not familiar with the American ways of planning and carrying out weddings, so they began to look for a wedding planner. I am so grateful that they chose me to be their guide and friend for the next 8 busy weeks!

One of Simon's passions is table tennis, so we brought in 2 ping pong tables for guests to enjoy throughout the afternoon and evening.

Grant Rector wrapping a bridesmaid bouquet on site at Allied Arts.

One of the first vendors I suggested to Simon and Shamim was Grant Rector as the florist/designer; he was a very good choice! Grant was on site all day on the wedding day, creating wedding bouquets, hanging lanterns, setting up a lounge for after dinner, guiding the lighting team, and generally supporting every aspect of the wedding day. Even on the day before the wedding, when we needed to bring in a tent for dinner, Grant was with me to determine the best placement and layout for the tent and the dining tables.

The ceremony was set up in the Blue Garden, one of many stunning garden areas at Allied Arts Guild.

Simon and Shamim began their wedding ceremony by serving tea to the parents; this Chinese custom is a way of showing honor to the generation who raised the bride or groom. Here Shamim and Simon are kneeling before Simon's parents, while one of Shamim's friends holds the tea set and tray for them.

During the ceremony, the dinner area was being set up in the clear tent on the other side of the gardens; we needed to revise our reception layout several times during the weeks of unstable weather preceding the wedding, but in the end, having the tent for dinner was a perfect solution to the occasional showers and gusts of wind, between patches of sunshine and pleasant skies.

Simon and Shamim named their tables for stops on the London subway line; after spending so many hours on the "tube", these names became very familiar to them!

When I first met with Simon and Shamim, they had an idea to combine the two S's of their first names to make a monogram suggesting two swans. We were able to not only create an image they liked,

but also made it into a wax stamp to seal their invitations, programs, and as decor on their menus. Thank you to Rachel Hanson for working closely with us to create just what Simon and Shamim were envisioning.

As a surprise to the guests, we brought in the West Coast Lion Troupe to perform at the end of cocktails, to salute the bride and groom with drums, dancing and streamers, and then lead the guests into dinner!

A side view of our colorful lions as they move closer to the Bride and Groom to congratulate them on their marriage!

The last surprise for guests would be the beautiful dance and lounge area set up just beyond the tent where dinner was enjoyed. Grant Rector had covered the glass doors from the inside to keep this area a secret. When dinner was over the guests would be invited into this final location for the last part of the celebration. Within an hour of this photo, Bhangra music was pounding, and Shamim's culture was being expressed on a very full and active dance floor. It was fun to see Simon dancing the Bhangra with his new wife, British relatives, and multi cultural friends.

I am so grateful to have the richness of multi cultural clients, and to enjoy the uniqueness each one brings to both the relationship they forge, and the celebration of that relationship.

Thank you to my wonderful vendors!
Tiana Wong, www.alliedartsguild.org, venue manager
Hartmann Studios, www.hartmannstudios.com, tent, linens, table top decor
Grant Rector, www.grantandco.com, florist/designer
Ava Tran, www.leskitchen.com, caterer of 8 course chinese meal!
BethAnn Goldberg, www.studiocake.com, wedding cake and petite desserts
Lisa Lefkowitz, www.lisalefkowitz.com, photography
Ron Grandia, www.rongrandia.com, DJ and Bhangra tune master
Terry Adams, www.nobhillensembles.com, ceremony/cocktail music
George Rose, www.elegantjourney.com, owner and driver of the Stutz
Armando Sarabia, www.getyourdoup.com, hair and makeup
Amanda Chan, www.westcoastlions.net, Lead lion dancer
Eddie, www.eventmagic.com, ping pong tables
Natalia, www.got-light.com, warm ambiance throughout
Rachel Hanson, www.rachelhansondesigns.com
Denis Kilen, www.elithomasformen.com, tuxedos for groom and groomsmen
Jesse Bresnahan, www.gardencourt.com, hotel for guests

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