I have a FABULOUS wedding to showcase this week! This past Memorial Day weekend, I designed and planned my second gay wedding for a fantastic couple, Andrew and Rob, and their 75 guests from all around the world, at The Mandarin Oriental here in New York City! Guests came from far off international locations such as London, Italy, Germany, and domestic locations as well such as California, Florida, and Virginia, all to honor the union of this great couple. We began the planning process for Andrew and Rob last August and after a lot of detail and hard work in the making, I can finally show you the finished product!
Festivities started with a family dinner on Friday night at Porterhouse in the Time Warner Building and a welcome reception at the Library Lounge at the Hudson Hotel, with Jeff Grow, an amazing illusionist! Saturday was the big day, and while we were setting up the two grooms were being pampered getting manicures, pedicures, facials, and massages at the spa inside the Mandarin Oriental. Now, that’s my idea of getting ready for your wedding! The event filled weekend concluded with a Sunday goodbye brunch at MObar, a chic and trendy bar, also in the Mandarin Oriental.
As you may gather this was not your typical wedding. We started with doing the ceremony on the dance floor! Very nontraditional and unique! Reverend Alma Daniel officiated the ceremony, combining the two religions of the couples, using a unity candle with the moms for the Protestant side, and breaking of glasses for the Jewish side. Immediately after the ceremony concluded, the couple went into their first dance, followed by a dance with the mothers and their sons, and then into a full dance set with music provided by a DJ from Total Entertainment! An easy transition into the reception portion of the evening!
A bunch of different elements went into creating this wedding for Andrew and Rob, including all of the décor details. We branded the night with the couple’s first initials in the form of an AR logo, very American bandstand-esque. Well at least we tried to! The liquid dance floor and ice luge were decorated with the AR logo, which became a main focal point of the room. We were also supposed to have custom napkins with the logo, but darn UPS messed things up! Oh well, as they say in showbiz, “the show must go on!” and this party definitely went on beautifully without the personalized napkins! Can’t sweat the small stuff!
Another element of the party was the custom linens and lighting design. The linens were specially made for Andrew and Rob in their color scheme of platinum, blue and brown. Adding specialty linens provides a personal touch to your reception, and something that guests will be sure to notice! In addition to the linens, Andrew and Rob decided on having all brown leather chairs, instead of your typical chivari chair that you see at most weddings. This special detail added an extra touch of character with a masculine touch to the already fabulous space.
One of the best décor elements was the hotels sweeping views of Central Park from the 36th floor ballroom; but we kicked things up a notch with lighting designed by Robert Stark Lighting. When it comes to event design I am a HUGE fan of lighting to help create the ambiance within the room. The lighting was all done in shades of blue to highlight all aspects of the room, while the drapery and columns were lit in red to provide a stark contrast to the blues in the room. We also pin-spotted all of the tables in order to make a nightclub feel. Lighting like this adds different depths and textures to the room creating that lounge club feel we were looking for.
Now onto the flowers, one of my personal favorites of any wedding! For the floral centerpieces we used a variety of khaki’s and blues to stay consistent with Andrew and Rob’s color scheme. We created the beautiful tall arrangements that included roses, soft blue hydrangea, calla lilies, and orchids. The vases were a lot of fun, not typical, standard cylinder vases that you see at most weddings. As you may have noticed we left the tables looking empty due in part to the fact that there was open seating which allowed for people to roam and graze the party. This only works when you have food stations for guests to mix and mingle. This combined with the numerous lounge areas created height and depth within the room.
As you all know, no party, at least no party of mine, is complete without a specialty cocktail. For Andrew and Rob, their specialty cocktail of choice was a Manhattan. Very appropriate for the location! Wine was also served at the reception from all of Andrew and Rob’s favorite California wineries right from their own personal wine library.
A favorite of both the guests and myself was the amazing cake designed by Charm City Cakes, you know, that awesome group of cake designers like Duff who are featured on The Food Network’s "Ace of Cakes"! As you can see, the cake symbolized all of the places that Andrew and Rob have traveled to around the world. Some of the locations included Russia, London, Paris, Rome, Greece, India, and finally Andrew and Rob in New York City standing in front of the Empire State Building about to board a jet plane! Below the globe was an exact replica of the couple’s TUMI Luggage. This work of delicious chocolate art was extremely detailed down to the patches on Andrew’s sports coat. A fun element that all the guests enjoyed!
And now for the greatest surprise of the evening was the performance by the Screaming Queens. Maurice, the magnificent main performer, came out with his back up dancers and performed Cabaret to entertain the crowd! The Screaming Queens then went on to perform some of Rob’s favorite songs, like London Town! Later on in the evening “Lady Gaga” made a special appearance surprising all of the guests! After the performances guests continued to dance the night away with their brown and blue boas.
A lot of elements went into planning Rob and Andrew’s wedding extravaganza, but we had a blast and really enjoyed it as a team. I even learned a creative wedding tip from the client which was to ask the venue to have rolled up wet towels that are freezer cold so when the party gets hot you can cool down!
A special thanks to 5th Avenue Digital for all of the photographs!