We are thrilled to have Sara Dahmen, principle wedding planner at Golden Chic Events, share all of the details of Swathi and Adam’s magnificent wedding celebration …

images courtesy of JBe Photography

Opulence and tradition, details and modernity – the love story of Swathi and Adam culminated in one full and glorious day. The sky was blue, the wind crisp, and the weather tinged with fall. Walking into the ceremony room overlooking Lake Michigan, the morning eastern sun cast the crystals on the mandap in a thousand rainbows, and lit the white fabrics with a glow that was truly ethereal.

We chose to decorate completely different from most Indian ceremonies – white replaced red, silver overtook gold. The girls were to be dressed in many shades of blue and turquoise, while the men wore embroidered white and creams. All the flowers were in white, and a customized aisle runner was rolled out, showing the couple’s monogram for the first time that day.

The groom arrived in full Indian garb, ready for his upanayanam, and he and his parents went through the time honored ritual with the guidance of the bride’s father and the priest. Guests began to arrive and mingled over coffee and croissants while the priest cantored and the musicians played their drums and horns.


During the festivities, the bride arrived with henna on her hands and bejeweled on every arm and finger. We quickly ushered her to be dressed in the ceremonial sari while the groom was brought out to ride in on a sequined horse, in the traditions of old. {We were just happy to have a horse at this point. Eight days before the wedding, our beautiful, white Maharaja horse died! It was a bit of a scramble. Where to find a horse who was comfortable completely covered in Indian blankets and feathers and being surrounded by people and lead by musicians playing unique instruments? In the end, we found a horse – but talk about a last minute emergency!}

As Swathi’s family greeted Adam and he dismounted, Swathi was spirited up to the ceremony site and hidden away until the groom could be reseated under the mandap, his vision hidden by a decorated cloth, so he could not see his bride quite yet.

With four strapping young men, we piled Swathi in all her beautiful splendor on a white doli, which was carried outside in a circle, with the perfectly blue lake as the backdrop, before coming in and being set down in front of the mandap.


From there, the ceremony continued for another nearly two hours – lots of fruits and rice and fire and confetti were tossed while continual blessings were chanted in Sanskrit. In the meantime, we were setting up the luncheon tent to be a reflection of the ceremony – a lot of ethereal white under a big white tent near the Lake, with bits of blue popping in with gossamer chair ties. Orchids and mum balls were piled in the centerpieces on on cocktail tables, which were later re-used at the reception.

Once Swathi and Adam were married, guests moved down to eat lunch, and the entire Golden Chic staff headed out to finish up the reception location design. This is where everything came together – the customized monogram was on every little thing, from the chocolate favors to the candies at cocktails and everything in between. Silver and pale pink were the main colors, with bits of black thrown in as a surprise.

Three different types of centerpieces were displayed on silver pintuck linens, offset by white china with silver rims and pink napkins. The lower centerpieces were huge luscious chunks of pale pink roses and orchids of multiple shades, while the medium height pieces were dark manzanita branches, decked out with orchids and surrounded by three smaller pieces of pave pink roses. Six foot tall centerpieces were the grandest – wrapped in custom silver cocoons, and hung with orchids, they were stunning and brought height into a room dwarfed by a huge ceiling. The sweetheart table was completely filled with a tall silver tree, hung with roses and crystals, while loads of candles surrounded them. Behind the table, the aisle runner was re-purposed as a banner, once again bearing the monogram of the day.


The elaborate dinner was discussed on each menu card, and loads of candles created a romantic glow. We placed pale pink lighting along the walls, highlighting the old architecture of the church-turned-reception venue. On the dance floor, the custom decal was hidden by a gigantic pink cake. Next to it, the groom’s cake boasted the old-school NU logo and was completely vegan – not an easy feat for any baker!

Guests arrived to the sound of a hand-played harpist for cocktails, where a signature cocktail called “The Griffin” was passed – both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions – and guests came up to the escort tree. The tree was hung with escort cards on pink satin ribbons, and guests cut their names down to find their tables later. Each table was named after a restaurant in Chicago the couple enjoyed, and a photograph of the restaurant was at each table to help guide them to their seats.

Swathi and Adam arrived at their reception completely changed. The men now wore Western tuxes, while the women had changed into soft silver grey dresses. Swathi, however, was still completely covered in jewels in her custom designed hot pink lengha and accompanying pieces. No white dress for this bride!

Usually, Indian weddings are served by a caterer who does a buffet style dinner, but this time we served family style, which was completely unexpected and surprising for many of the guests. Later, a huge dessert buffet was brought out, completely with a chocolate fountain, mini cheesecakes, chocolate covered strawberries and fruits. Indian tea was served with strong coffee at the same time cake was offered to guests as well.


What was perhaps the most amazing was how immediately the dance floor filled up, and how constantly it stayed full. The guests were there to have a good time! If they weren’t dancing, they were in line for the photo booth, where loads of hilarious photographs were taken all night long. There were a lot of memories in that scrapbook by the end of the night.


Once the dancing ended and the house lights were up, the wedding party moved to Aloft hotel. It was definitely a wedding worth rehashing!  — Sara Dahmen, Golden Chic Events

And believe it or not … we have lots more to come in just a bit! The beautiful bride, Swathi has HER story to tell!

Ceremony & Luncheon Venue: Discovery World & Bartolotta Catering / Reception Venue: Renaissance Place / Event Planning and Design: Golden Chic Events & Consulting / Reception Caterer: India House / Service Staff: Bartenders On The Go / Photography: JBe Photography / Videography: Park Hill Multimedia /Linens & Chair Rentals: The Elegant Touch/ Floral: La Tulipe / Ceremony Rentals/Mandap: Poonam Creations / Cake: Sweetness by Alice / DJ: Brian Redd of ACA Music & Entertainment / Ceremony Horse: Maharaja Farm / Reception Rentals: Classic Party Rentals / Favors: Indulgence Chocolatiers / Harpist: Dorothy Walsh / Photobooth: ShutterBooth / Dance Floor Decals: Partyfloor

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