May 28, 2014

~ shivani

To be fair, the title of this post should be Shivani and Chris considering it is about their wedding. Except for me, it was the Shivani Show, and what a spectacular show it was!

I had heard Indian weddings were an all weekend affair, and today I can confirm that this is a true statement. The beauty of an Indian wedding is in large part due to the numerous traditions and rituals associated with the special celebration. Family and friends come together and participate in many mini-celebrations, each with it's own special significance and meaning.

It all started with the invitation. We knew we were in for something special when the small book arrived...

The first festive card introduces the fact that the couple will be married, and the recipient of this lovely invitation is invited to be a part of the very special occasion...

Next, the three nights are represented on individual lovely invitation cards…
Sangeet is a night put on by the siblings of the bride and groom. We were unable to attend this evening, but heard it was a delightful celebration of music, dance and dinner.  (We were celebrating my husband's 50th birthday..)

Saturday evening was the Mehndi celebration represented by the green card. I read about Mehndi before the event and upon referencing the gorgeous back of the card below, I had an inkling as to what was going to take place. (See what I did there? Inkling..)

My dear friends, take a gander at the beautiful and stunning Shivani, perfectly perched on her throne for most of the afternoon...

Mehndi is a ritual performed on the eve of the wedding day. It is anticipated with joy and is one of many charming traditions for an Indian bride. The intricate designs were amazing, and once the artist was finished, Shivani had to let the designs dry for quite some time. 

Shivani is fabulous...

Did I mention colorful? The bright colors used during the wedding celebration seem to ensure it will be a happy and festive occasion.

Guests also received henna designs at the Mehndi celebration, as well as homemade chocolates in takeaway boxes and charming bangles to wear to the wedding.

Next up, brace yourself for the Baraat. This event establishes the bond between the two families. The Baraat represents the arrival of the groom on the day of the wedding at the wedding venue. Traditionally, the groom arrives on a decorated horse in a procession including his friends and relatives, the barati. They are welcomed and received by the bride's family. 
I wasn't sure if the horse would be a reality in downtown Omaha at the Hilton, but rest assured friends, it happened. Complete with a walking DJ playing spirited Indian music.
May I present Prince Charming...

It was basically the most festive thing I've ever experienced in my entire life. 

Next, the procession moved inside where there was another ceremony consisting of individual members from the bride's family greeting and welcoming family members from the groom's side, which included hugging, cheering and even picking each other up. One thing I can tell you for sure, these people like to have a good time.

Finally we were ushered into the room where the actual wedding ceremony would take place. The mandap was very theatrical as would be expected with Shivani.

 I loved the S for Shivani in rose petals!

The orchids were fabulous and flown in from Holland...

Here comes the groom with the grandmothers...

Here comes the groom with the mothers...

And here comes the bride!

Allow me to interject at this time to inform you of our 2:45pm arrival time for the Baraat. When the groom kisses his bride, the ceremony is almost over and it is almost 6pm. We were later informed that this was a shortened version of an Indian wedding. We were informed while sitting at our dinner table at 10pm. This was an all day event. We were not the first to arrive or the last to leave by any means, and we were there no less than 8 hours. I digress… Back to the kiss!

After the kiss, and some serious circling around (seven times) on the mandap, there were lots of delicious appetizers and drinks and mingling, and then the doors were opened to the dinner, or more appropriately dubbed, the entertainment for the evening. 

The cake was beautiful, but what was the sword for? We all joked that perhaps they might cut the cake with the sword… ha ha we laughed. 
And then, they cut the cake with the sword.

They fed each other bites of cake on the end of the sword. Straight up.

And then there were speeches, and performances, and songs were sung, and dances danced, and it was all overwhelming and beautiful, special and precious. The food was scrumptious and the evening could not have been more enjoyable or entertaining. 

Thank you to Shivani and Chris for sharing this very special weekend with your friends and family. It was truly an unforgettable night for all...

Wishing you all the very best in your life together!

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May 26, 2014

~ dinner party flowers

First, I must announce the winner of the pve monogram giveaway. Jeez! This giveaway generated more comments and emails than I've ever had! And the lucky winner is: Babs Weinberg! Yay Babs!

And now, moving on to today's post…

I am totally into taking the stress out of entertaining, and I have found that a great caterer and a fantastic florist make up the perfect solution to my party planning stress.

Taking out those important elements leaves more time to worry about other things… like monogrammed linens!

And making sure everything is in it's place...

I dropped off a few small containers for Kyle Robino of Old Market Habitat, and as always, I was counting down the minutes for their delivery ~ filled with gorgeousness!

Sure, I could pick up tulips from Whole Foods, but there's something magical about the combination of mixed flowers Kyle puts together...

A few lily of the valley straight from my backyard...

With flowers in place, I put out the platters and serving dishes for the menu, complete with sticky notes to keep everything straight...

John Benker brought all our favorites…

Marinated and Grilled Tenderloin of Beef 
with creamy horseradish and tarragon and green peppercorn sauces

Sesame green beans

Bacon-wrapped Shrimp

Teriyaki Glazed Salmon Skewers

At the bottom left are the Garlic Chive and Chicken Steamed Dumplings
with pickled carrots and black vinegar sauce

Top right are the Italian Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

Also, passed around were Spinach and Artichoke Flatbreads with Fontina and Asiago… delicious!

Chocolate covered strawberries for dessert… Easy.

Of course the best part is spending time with friends, and we did just that ~ a very relaxing no-stress evening!

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