Homage to Oscar de La Renta

October 22nd, 2014

Our hearts are saddened to lose an artist, visionary, and fabulous creator. This week we pay homage to Oscar de la Renta. Nikki and Madiha have always been huges fan of Oscar.  News of his illness and passing came as a shock to them as it must have to many others.  They especially admired his classic and elegant gowns on the runway, his ready-to-wear lines, and of course his bridal collections. His work was seen countless times on the red carpet and in films, and has been an inspiration to fashion enthusiasts since he began his work in the 1960s. We hope you’ll enjoy this quick capture of his work and famous quotes throughout the decades…

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“I’ve lived every day to the fullest, and I’ve had a marvelous time. I’ve tried to be nice to the people I care about, and ignore the ones I don’t. I enjoy what I’ve done.”


From Biography.com

A Fashion Legend

While de la Renta expanded his lines and took them in a new direction in the 1990s, his pieces remained feminine and flattering. By the late ’90s and early 2000s, his work became the preferred wear of American first ladies. He dressed first lady Nancy Reagan in the 1980s, and then provided the gowns for inaugural events for both Hillary Clinton in 1997 and Laura Bush in 2005.

Besides his passion for haute couture, de la Renta has been a tireless patron of the arts. At one time or another, he has served on the boards of The Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall and Channel Thirteen/WNET. He also supports several cultural institutions, including New Yorkers for Children, the Americas Society and the Spanish Institute.

In 2002, de la Renta added his name to a whole new business venture: furniture. His 100 pieces for Century Furniture featured dining tables, upholstered chairs and couches. In 2004, despite the risk of lessening the value of his brand as a whole, he added a less expensive line of clothing called O Oscar. He said he wanted to attract new customers whom he could not reach before.

De la Renta had been diagnosed with cancer during the first decade of the 2000s. He died on October 20, 2014 at the age of 82 in Kent, Connecticut.

 

 

1982

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“Walk like you have three men walking behind you.”

1991

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1995

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“Fashion is about dressing according to what’s fashionable. Style is more about being yourself.”

2000

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2007

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“I design clothes for women to wear. I am not interested in shock tactics. I just want to make beautiful clothes.”

2009

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“The qualities I most admire in women are confidence and kindness.”

2012

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“Fashion is about the present and the immediate future. I think in terms of now.”

2014

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And of course, the wedding dresses…

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“Being well dressed hasn’t much to do with having good clothes. It’s a question of good balance and good common sense.”

2006

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 Sex in the City Movie 2008

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Huma Abedin 2010

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Amal Clooney 2014

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“Any girl from any walk of life dreams of that special dress, and I try to make that dream a reality for her.”

We hope you’ll remember with us the inspiration and fashion genius of Oscar de la Renta.

Have an Exquisite and Fashion-filled day, and we’ll see you next Wednesday!

Wedding Features!

October 15th, 2014

Hi Everyone,

We are so excited to have our weddings featured in the September issue of Harper’s Bazaar Bride,  Wedding Style, and  Hello! Pakistan. Putting together a wedding is a labor of love and we are humbled and honored to have our work recognized!

Have an Exquisite Wednesday!

XO

Nikki and Madiha

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DIL (Developments in Literacy) Gala in Los Angeles

October 8th, 2014

Developments in Literacy, or DIL, is an organization very close to Nikki’s heart.  The organization was founded over a decade ago by Fiza Shah, who is a close friend of Nikki’s, and has now established schools in many under-privileged areas of Pakistan.  The objective of DIL, to which they have been very successful, is to promote female literacy in the remote, under-developed areas of Pakistan.  Since Nikki strongly believes in female education, she has always been a strong supporter of DIL.  She was on the board at the Los Angeles chapter for many years and helped in whatever capacity she could, even after stepping down.  Each year, DIL holds its annual gala fundraiser and this year the President of the Los Angeles chapter, Tehmina Jesrai, approached Nikki about doing a fashion show.

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Needless to say, Nikki did not hesitate for a minute and was fully on board to provide help and get décor sponsorships like she did the previous year.  Tehmina invited three young and very talented designers from Pakistan: Nida Azwer, Misha Lakhani and Sania Maskatiya.

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Nikki was asked to donate her services and have her team of vendors sponsor and underwrite the event which they willingly agreed to. The logistics, layout and design elements were discussed during the initial walk through.  Throughout the planning process, there were countless emails, phone calls and in-person meetings.  September 12th was the date set for the gala.  The day of the event, Nikki got to the venue in the morning with her team to begin the install.  By 4 pm, everything from lighting, rentals, flowers and AV were in place.  Guests started to arrive at 6:30 pm, which was the invited time.  Everyone enjoyed taking photos in front of step and repeat.  After enjoying hor d’oeuvres and drinks, guests were escorted to the South Hall where the fashion show and auction was going to take place.  After a welcome note from the President and a few speeches, a live auction was held during dinner.

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A movie was shown of the progress DIL has made over the years and guests were asked to donate generously for this worthy cause.  The fashion show was a huge hit and the designers outdid themselves.  All three of them had a distinct style and flair.

 

DIL was able to raise a lot of money for this worthy cause and the evening ended on a high note.

Have an Exquisite day and we will see you next Wednesday!

Vivienne Westwood Rooftop Event in Los Angeles

October 1st, 2014

When I was approached by the Vivienne Westwood store in Los Angeles to design a sit down dinner for 50 of fashions most influential guests, I was incredibly excited! I have followed Vivienne Westwood for quite some time, and besides, who could forget Carrie Bradshaw’s wedding dress in Sex and the City?!

The dinner was to be on the rooftop of the LA store and it was in honor of the Blonde Salad’s Chiara Ferragni, a fashion blogger who will be moving from Italy to LA. The rooftop is dark gray and cream and knowing Vivienne Westwood’s style, I wanted to incorporate a lot of color and add her signature plaid to brighten it up.

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My favorite thing to do is mix table seating so the 2 long tables had tufted leather benches in primary colors as well as acrylic chairs to add interest and texture to the space.

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The place settings were really important to me so I chose a gothic style flatware and stemware that would go along with a rust color charger to again, give texture to the space.

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When I spoke with Bess of Celadon Celery, I explained my vision to her regarding the flowers and the vases and she nailed it! The vases were covered in a plaid fabric and we used bright colored orchids and dahlias with tall candelabras painted in a bright blue.

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I also added 4 large globe chandeliers to the 4 corners of the roof and a beautiful gilded mirror to soften everything up.

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At night, it looked magical with the candlelight!

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The evening started with a 3 course Italian meal served by Ago restaurant with a live performance by Youthquaker, who have a kind of trip-hop style reminiscent of Portishead (one of my favorite bands).

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Such a fun time connecting with some great people in fashion and being part of such a fun evening.

I absolutely loved designing and transforming the space!

Excited to share that the event was featured in LA Fashion Magazine and SpecialEvents.com

XO,

Madiha

Thank you to all my partners:

Photographer: Brady Puryear Photography, Décor: Blueprint Studios, Florist: Celadon Celery, Rentals: Town and Country

Rustic Barn Wedding in Northern California (Part 2 of 2)

September 24th, 2014

Sid and Ragina, our couple, had already booked Cayucos Creek Barn for their wedding and reception.  This was exciting for Nikki due to the sheer nature and location of the event.  Nikki decided to go up north to visit the venue in order to better understand the design aesthetics.  This trip was very helpful as she not only toured both properties for the sangeet and the wedding, but was also able to meet and have lunch at the Indian restaurant that was going to cater the food.  After the site visit, a story board was created with couple’s feedback.  We decided to incorporate elements that complimented and enhanced the environment.  A simple and earthy color scheme of tan, kelly-green and sand colors were chosen.

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The couple wanted their ceremony to be by the creek under a large tree with no mandap or raised stage.

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The set up began the day before at the venue with restroom delivery, lighting, furniture and tenting, etc.  By the end of the day, Nikki was very happy with the outcome and the next day was devoted to fine tuning the event and work on details.  The ceremony tent was swagged with ivory fabric to provide shade for the guests.

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Two large tree trunks were placed directly under a large tree and were loosely wrapped with greenery.

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A thick bed of white rose petals forming swirly pattern on the aisle created simplicity with elegance.

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Mason jars bearing olive branches, eucalyptus and succulents tied with string were hung on the chairs.

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Upon arrival, guests were served lunch and cold drinks that were set up on a ladder in the same area which was going to be changed to cocktail hour after the ceremony.

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The grassy area was dotted with dozens of market umbrellas, barn furniture and rustic tables and bars.

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Chalk boards bearing signs for the ceremony, bathrooms, gifts, lunch, bar menu and dinner/dessert menus were strategically placed all over creating a lot of interest and visual.

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A rustic bird cage wrapped artistically with greenery sat on a wooden table bearing a sign reading “gifts.”

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A musical quartet was hired to play during the ceremony and cocktail hour and created a magical and romantic ambiance.

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The couple arrived and mingled with the guests for lunch and then went away for a few minutes before ceremony started.

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As their favorite song began, they both came out in unison and met under the tree for their ceremony.

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Sid had asked his cousin to perform the ceremony which was simple, meaningful and touching.  As the couple exchanged their vows, their deep love for one another permeated the air.

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At the end of the ceremony, guests were served cold mango lassiy and moved to the cocktail area where the bars were open and live music was playing couple’s favorite songs.

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The guests were escorted to the barn for dinner which was set up simply and elegantly.

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Our couple was over the moon to see the dinner tables for the first time and kept saying we exceeded their expectations and vision throughout the night.  Outside the barn, a long buffet table bearing olive branches, succulents and seasonal flowers on burlap linen looked very appealing.

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Desserts were set up in the back on armoires, wrought iron furniture and rustic wooden tables.

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A large dinner menu sat on one side and small chalk board bearing signs for desserts drew the guests to those stations.

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Guests dined on a sumptuous buffet under the stars and market lights.

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Our couple was ecstatic and very happy and the DJ kept them and the guests on the dance floor for most of the night.  This was another “Exquisite Event” ending on a high note.

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Here is a beautiful note we received from Ragina:

 

Dear Nikki and Madiha,

 

Thank you so much for making our wedding weekend so fun, memorable and exquisite!!! You and Madiha lived up to your name is every regard! :)

 

All of our guests and loved ones had such a amazing time, and they were so appreciate of every detail you put into the decor as well as the utmost professionalism and kindness of your staff. I absolutely loved how the look and feel of Friday and Saturday came together and how unique and perfect each night turned out to be. In fact, I was blown away with the beauty of each event that was complimented so sweetly with the joy and love of our family and friends!

 

We are thoroughly happy with everything! We will stay in touch.

 

Not only are you and Madiha so talented but also very sweet people. We enjoyed getting to know you both too!

 

Warmest wishes and thanks again for everything,

Ragina

 

Have an Exquisite day and we will see you next Wednesday!

Photographer: Gene Higa Photography, Venue: Cayucos Creek Barn, Florist: Elegant Details, Decor: Haute Catering, Rentals: Luna Party Rentals, DJ: Special Occasions LA

Sangeet in Northern California (Part 1 of 2)

September 17th, 2014

This couple approached us in January to plan their sangeet and wedding in Northern California.  This was going to be a destination wedding as the majority of the guests were coming from San Diego and other places.  The couple is very low key and wanted a colorful sangeet, but a very simple barn wedding.  Nikki got very excited at the prospect of a barn wedding since Exquisite Events had never done one.  Nikki also felt very connected to the couple because of their simple and loving nature.  Since their guest count grew from 100 to over 200 for both events, a restaurant buy out (which was the original idea) in Cambria was not going to work.  Nikki reached out to various hotels and venues and finally Cambria Pines Lodge was selected for their sangeet.  The lodge is very charming and rustic and is surrounded by beautiful trees. The weather in this town is mild because it is of close proximity to the beach.   The Peacock Room was booked for this event and since the couple was looking for a traditional ambiance, we decided to use colors that had never been used in our previous events.  The room was draped in lime green with red valances along with a lime green dance floor.

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Saffron yellow and orange colors were incorporated in tents, furniture, linens and flowers.

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The existing chandeliers were swagged with orange and yellow flowers.

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Beautiful lighting completed the magical look and feel of the event.

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The bride and groom walked into the room and were beyond pleased with the design and colors and enjoyed the night along with their guests.

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There was a lot of dancing as well as Garba since the groom is Gujrati.

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The venue did an amazing job with food stations and passed appetizers.  Mehndi artists kept the ladies busy with mehndi application and the DJ spun the most amazing tunes, keeping the crowd on their feet until the wee hours of the morning.  The event ended on a high note.

Have an Exquisite day and we will see you next Wednesday for all the details of their wedding at Cayucos Creek Barn in Cayucos!

Photographer: Gene Higa Photography, Venue: Cambria Pines Lodge, Florist: Elegant Details, Tents and furniture: Raj Tents, Rentals: Luna Party Rentals, DJ/Lighting: Special Occasions LA

Peru – a Land of Beauty, Love, Mystery, and Delicious Food

September 10th, 2014

As Exquisite Events blogger, most weeks I have the pleasure of uploading Nikki and Madiha’s amazing photos from their over-the-top extravagant events and editing the story behind the details of all of the pre-wedding functions, ceremonies, and receptions. I also get to blog about their travels, and food and fashion tastes. This week, we’re taking a little break from the norm, to bring you a look into my recent trip to Lima, Peru and Machu Picchu!

Our trip started when we landed at 6 a.m. at the Lima airport. My boyfriend, and I were visiting his cousin who lives and works in Lima and we were happy to have him as our guide. He showed us the parts of the city that any tourist would want to see like the city center, the ceremony of the changing of the guards, Kennedy Park – a park filled with flowers and cats, El Parque del Amor (the park of love), and the views of the ocean from just above the coastline in Miraflores. It’s winter in Lima, so there was a romantic fog over the city the whole time we were there.

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He also made sure that we ate some of the best food, as Lima is known to be the gastronomic center of Latin America. The famous sandwiches at “La Lucha,” amazing ceviche at “La Rosa Nautica,” and countless “menus,” which are Lima’s 3-course-meals for about $3-$4.

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We were only in Peru for 6 whole days, but we did not want to miss Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu. We took advantage of every moment. The first day, we landed in Cusco, walked around the city center and local market, had breakfast – well their typical breakfast – a big bowl of delicious chicken soup, and were on our way in a passenger van to Ollantaytambo.

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Ollantaytambo is the last stop in the Sacred Valley before Aguascalientes, the town of Machu Picchu. It’s a charming town with only two streets wide enough for cars, and many alleys just wide enough for people and horses. We spent the day among Inca ruins, sipping coffee in the city square, and admiring the majestic landscape.

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The next day, we were off early on the train to Aguascalientes and Machu Picchu. The views of the Andes Mountains and dispersed Incan ruins were incredible and riding by the Urubamba River was tranquil.

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We arrived and were ready for a steep hour and a half hike up to Machu Picchu mountain, the highest peak in Machu Picchu with a 360 degree view of the village and mountains around. At the top of the mountain, we met several fellow travelers, including a couple from Argentina. The boyfriend took the opportunity to get down on one knee and propose to his girlfriend at the top of the mountain! And he asked me to be the photographer! I felt so special to be a part of that moment, but I’m a little bummed I didn’t take pictures on my own camera of the event. (Best wishes to both of you if you ever stumble upon this blog and Exquisite Events would love to plan your wedding!) The view was phenomenal and well worth the sweat!

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Machu Picchu was only discovered a little over one hundred years ago, and not much is known about why or how the Incas disappeared from this place. It was fun to walk around a land of complete mystery. We explored the ruins for the rest of the day and ended up camping just below the ancient Incan village.

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We had a truly amazing trip and enjoyed adventuring through the Peruvian Jungle. We fell even more in love exploring the world together. Maybe on our next adventure, he’ll take a hint from the guy on the top of Machu Picchu mountain. ;)

Thanks for reading!

-Becca

Have an Exquisite Day and we’ll see you next Wednesday!

Beverly Hills Hotel Wedding Reception Grand Finale (part 5 of 5)

September 4th, 2014

After the ceremony was over guests were escorted to the Crystal Foyer for cocktail hour. A canopy swathed in sheer gauze ivory  fabric sat under the beautiful chandelier with lounge vignettes consisting of French furniture and a large pouff embellished with gorgeous florals. 

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Guests enjoyed signature cocktails and delicious hors deuovers as well as food stations paying homage to the bride’s hometown of Manila, Phillipines.  A quartet played enchanting music and kept the guests entertained.

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At exactly 7 pm the ballroom doors opened to reveal a stunning set up.  Our bride wanted to create “Old Hollywood Glamour” to compliment the hotel.  We chose rose gold, dull gold and ivory colors.

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The entire ballroom had a rose gold dance floor.  

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The backdrop of the stage was the Camilla flower wall. 

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Two long custom chandelier tables were set to the nines for close family.

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The couple had expressed the desire to be on a riser facing the stage.  A gorgeous half moon couch and a mirror top table were created for the couple’s sweet heart area.

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The flowers were cream and ivory orchids and roses with garlands of fresh water pearls cascading down.  Tons of candles in mercury glass and other vintage votives sat atop tables creating a lovely ambiance. 

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Our nine piece band rocked the crowd.  The couple made their grand entrance and went straight to the dance floor for their first dance as husband and wife. 

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Halfway through the reception, the bride changed into a Marchesa gown.  The band rocked the crowd all night long.  The evening lasted until the wee hours of the morning and guests left the hotel with fond memories etched in their minds forever.

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“Thank you Aunty Nikki! I really wish I could get married again (to Arshad of course). It was such a great experience having you and Madiha plan our wedding!” – Jasmin (the bride)

Have an Exquisite day and we will see you next Wednesday!

Beverly Hills Hotel Indian Wedding Ceremony (Part 4 of 5)

August 27th, 2014

The final two events for Jasmin and Arshad were held at the Beverly Hills Hotel.  Jasmin had envisioned her ceremony to be very elegant in white complimenting the surroundings of the Crystal Garden.  The hotel was able to accommodate our request to have the Baraat in the main driveway.  Amidst all the pomp and circumstance, our baraat gathered on Sunset Blvd and the groom arrived on a horse accompanied by drums and dancers on the main driveway of the hotel. 

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It was wonderful to see the driveway open to the hotel guests within the half hour period as the procession and rituals ended within that period. 

As soon as the groom disembarked from the horse, mother of the bride did ” arti ” which is protection from evil eye. 

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The Rodeo room had been booked to receive the groom’s procession as well as where some rituals were performed and couple had their first look.

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Guests then descended the grand stair case to go out to the garden for ceremony.  Because the majority of the guests had come from the Philippines, the bride had requested to hire a blonde model to project California vibe to apply red dots on each guest. The model looked beautiful in her Indian outfit that was provided by the bride.  This small detail created quite a wow factor. 

 

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At the foot of stairs our guests were served beverages including Indian lassi and were escorted by Exquisite Events staff to the ceremony site.  Outside in the garden it was an ethereal oasis of elegance.  The shade structure was draped on custom wrought iron poles that were wrapped with greenery. 

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The mandap was stunning with pearls as a back drop.  Mandap furniture was classic and elegant and ceremony set up was bespoke luxury. 

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Our bride was a vision as she walked down the aisle in her custom Ankur Batra outfit.  

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The ceremony was meaningful, touching and emotional and as couple exchanged their vows some of the guests were teary eyed.

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The ceremony ended on a high note with guests cheering for the couple.  The couple was showered with lots of hugs, kisses and it was apparent how much they were loved.  After taking photos with close friends and family, they exited the space.

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Have an Exquisite Day, and we’ll see you next Wednesday for the grand finale of Jasmin and Arshad’s wedding!

Montage Beverly Hills Sangeet (Part 3 of 5)

August 20th, 2014

The beautiful Marquesa Ballroom was booked for the Sangeet.  We were in luck because the ballroom was available for setup the same day that we were setting up for the Bond event in the Contessa Ballroom.

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Because of the high ceilings in the Marquesa ballroom, Nikki wanted to bring a focal point and decided to hang upside down colorful umbrellas all over.

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Ethnic wooden bars with laser cut stained glass sat in two corners of the room under pergola tents.

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A large stage was set for the couple with a grand sofa in deep purple.

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The room was furnished in deep purple and bronze/gold furniture and colorful pillows.

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A few tables were scattered against the walls embellished with stunning linens and chair covers in green, turquoise and orange.  Tons of colored glass candles sat atop tables and bars.  The DJ was placed opposite the couple’s stage in front of the large round gold dance floor.

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When the setup was complete, the room looked like a set from a fairy tale movie.  Lighting created the most amazing mood and ambience.

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When guests entered the ballroom they were greeted by Samba dancers that had been flown from Las Vegas wearing exaggerated headdresses and beautiful costumes on the upper balconies.  The movement simply created the most jaw-dropping atmosphere.

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Our couple made their entrance escorted by the Samba dancers amidst pomp and circumstance.

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The night had continuous entertainment provided by  Indian dance troupes as well as several other companies and DJ. The bride had also arranged for glitter artist that kept the ladies busy with glitter tattoos.  Indian food paid homage to both Sindhi and Gujrati heritage of Bride’s and groom’s families and was thoroughly enjoyed by guests.

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The dance floor was full the entire night while the DJ played tunes and guests danced the night away. The event ended on a high note with the couple paying utmost compliments and being over the moon  at the outcome of event.

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There are two more weeks left of Jasmin and Arshad’s wedding events, so stay tuned! Next week, the magical ceremony.

Have an Exquisite day and see you next Wednesday!

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