Some romances are made for the movies, but others better suit the small screen. Case in point: a June weekend-long wedding extravaganza for 215 guests produced by Gala Events in Rockville, Md. Producers of TV's “Platinum Weddings” called Gala president Jaime Greenwald to see if she had a fête that would be a fit for the show. Greenwald knew an upcoming wedding with a “green” theme and parties galore at Washington's Omni Shoreham Hotel would be a perfect match. Producers agreed, and the episode is set to air in September as this issue goes to press.
SOMETHING BORROWED, SOMETHING GREEN
While TV weddings are known for extravagance, Gala Events opted for an earth-conscious approach instead, a request important to the bride and groom. The Gala team kept cut flowers to a minimum and instead used soy candles for a decorative touch, while bridesmaids carried antique parasols in lieu of bouquets. Programs and menu cards were printed on recycled paper. Even guests' breakfasts in bed were eco-friendly with bagels and lox delivered in reusable shopping bags.
BEFORE THE WEDDING BELLS
The wedding ceremony was only one event in a string of weekend activities. The fun started at 10 a.m. the afternoon before the wedding with the outdoor-yet-posh “Wedding Dip” at the hotel's pool area. The Gala team decked out a roped-off area with blue and white pillows; frozen pina coladas and strawberry daiquiris, a DJ and swimming set a festive tone. During the late afternoon, the party went old-school upscale with a croquet party on the lawn. “People dressed,” Greenwald notes. “The bride and groom dressed Gatsby-like,” she says, referencing the Roaring Twenties novel “The Great Gatsby.” As guests chased wooden balls with mallets, they sipped mint juleps and munched butler-passed hors d'oeuvre.
The rehearsal dinner later in the evening made a stately nod to the wedding locale with a Washington theme party. The decor was, naturally, red, white and blue, but the $10,000-plus in ice sculptures carved in the likeness of famed D.C. monuments made the biggest splash. Locally sourced food also played a key part in the event, which contributed both to the party's Washington theme and the couple's green goals.
AND THEN THEY DANCED
While theme parties were an important part of the festivities, religious ceremonies didn't get short shrift. The Jewish couple held a tish, where the men gathered and congratulated the groom over glasses of Scotch. Simul-taneously, the women held a high tea, complete with crumpets, which eventually was interrupted by fiddlers leading in the men. Next came the bedecken, “where the groom checks to make sure she is his bride,” Greenwald notes; he then puts the veil on the bride. A series of ceremonies and parties followed the bedecken: the wedding cer-emony; cocktail hour with action stations serving light Asian fare; a three-course dinner banquet; “dessert craziness,” as Greenwald calls it, with a French croquembouche, sorbet, truffles, macaroons and mousse; and a disco, with all events taking place in different rooms.
Greenwald is particularly proud of decor for the disco room, dubbed “Studio 22” in honor of both the date the couple met and the date of the wedding. “We created an octagonal room by draping a ballroom in floor-to-ceiling white crushed velour,” Greenwald says. White couches, white vinyl and Lucite tables, glass-block bars and a hologram on the dance floor contributed to the sleek look. Hip hop dancers dressed in white greeted guests and got them dancing, while wait staff passed such comfort foods as mini corn dogs, mini soft pretzels and mini pancakes with maple syrup dipping sauce. The camera-shy had a hard time hiding, with six 50-inch plasma screens showcasing the guests' dance moves whether they liked it or not.
And what was Greenwald's take on the weekend of multi-themed fêtes? “Every-thing was theme-y and theatrical and fabulous,” she says.
DESIGN & PRODUCTION
CATERING & VENUE
Omni Shoreham Hotel
LIGHTING & ENTERTAINMENT
Washington Talent, Photo & Video
Party Rental Ltd.
NOODLE SOUP STATION
Shaved Chicken with Fried Noodles and Yellow Curry Broth
Sliced Beef with Peppers, Rice Noodles and Massaman Curry Broth
Chicken Satay in Yellow Coconut Curry with Thai Peanut Sauce
Charred Beef Satay with Glazed Plum Sauce
Grilled Vegetable Satay marinated with Sweet Chile Vinegar
COLD ROLLS AND LETTUCE WRAPS
Cold Rolls stuffed with Chicken or Beef
Lettuce Wraps with Charred Beef Strips and Chicken