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Last December, Catherine and Jithun enlisted my company, A Day Like No Other, to help them plan their wedding in August of this year, complete with traditional elements from Jithun’s native India – a Sangeet (dance party) a day before, for example… and of course a big Western style wedding. The even bigger Indian wedding would then follow shortly after, organized and hosted by the groom’s family in India. We were already right in the middle of all this planning … when the unexpected happened. A serious illness in the family forced Catherine and Jithun to move their wedding date up: to the following Sunday! Suddenly, we did not have another four months for planning, but a mere four DAYS.
Definitely a challenge! And definitely time to call in favors within my network of fantastic vendors – many of whom have become my friends over the years. I started making phone calls, and what happened was nothing short of a little miracle- everyone was immediately on board, and everyone agreed: we will make sure that these two wonderful young people will get more than an “emergency affair.” No, we would give them a joyful, memorable wedding celebration with all the bells and whistles we’d be able to muster!
First order of the day: find a new venue! On our first day of emergency planning, I received three offers, and Catherine chose the elegant Casa Madrona Hotel in Sausalito …
… just across the Golden Gate Bridge …
… and overlooking the San Francisco Bay and the Sausalito Yacht Harbor:
Catering would be provided by Poggio Trattoria next door – they cater all of Casa Madrona’s special events, and their food is simply stellar.
Catherine’s childhood Rabbi made himself available for an evening wedding ceremony, and florist Deidre Rastelli of Tutti Fiori provided a beautiful antique chuppah which she decorated over and over with the flowers of the bride’s choice.
And of course she made a bridal bouquet exactly as Catherine had envisioned it, in a saturated maroon color (her second accent color, together with an aquamarine blue). And boutonnieres. And bridesmaids’ bouquets. And centerpieces. Everything!
Jira of Wowpretty Salon sent two senior stylists…
and a wedding dress (the original one won’t get ready until May…) and pretty sandals were rush-ordered; the bride would wear her own stunning aquamarine jewelry… here we go! Catherine, more beautiful and radiant than ever…
And what a dapper groom she has!
My assistant Kelsey jumped in at the last minute and accompanied bride and groom and their families and guests throughout the day, from setup and hair/makeup session to ceremony, dinner and dancing – and provided our first photos of the day, until we get all the “real” ones from our photographer, Shhivika Chauhan. (We got a few from her already as a little preview – you see how fantastic they are!). Shhivika was already booked by another couple until early afternoon of that same day, but for her there was no question whatsoever: she headed over directly from her morning job to shoot Catherine’s wedding!
The Casa Madrona staff under the guidance of catering manager Stacey Turner did a beautiful job setting up the ceremony with a view of the yacht harbor, with the chuppah outside and the guest seating sheltered, inside.
Cellist Suellen Primost gathered her Espiritu Ensemble for elegant ceremony music, and then the great moment had come…
Thomas Hughes Films live-streamed the ceremony for all those who hadn’t been able to attend at such short notice (and of course, they covered the festivities following the ceremony as well…)
Aren’t they a handsome couple?!
Cocktails were served on the adjacent patio, with guests watching the golden light of the sunset.
Meanwhile, my assistant Kelsey, catering manager Stacey and her team set up the dining room…
complete with Catherine’s dream cake by Cake Coquette and favor boxes with French macarons from Chantal Guillon, all in her favorite wedding colors!
DJ Paul Burchfield of BigFunDJs got his equipment ready first for soft background music during dinner and then exuberant dance music, ranging from Frank Sinatra to Bollywood hits (yes!) and, of course, the Hora Dance:
It was a magical night…
Thank you to all who made it possible, and congratulations and many happy years together to Catherine and Jithun!