The Henry Wedding from Widdis Photography
July 15, 2011
When you hear of a fantastic event featuring prima ballerinas, opera singers, grand pianists, and 12-piece bands, your mind doesn't automatically jump to a wedding, at least outside of a fairy tale. But that is just some of the entertainment from this fabulous wedding. Set in my old Michigan stompin' grounds, this affair, captured by Widdis Photography, seems like it should really be set in a magical land, far, far away. It truly is a fairy tale. You won't want to miss the story below, and you definitely won't want to miss all the extra magic in the gallery!

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From LUCIA|PAUL Design ... After their first meeting, Ankur was instantaneously taken with Mayssoun, owner of The Institute of Higher Learning. Even though Mayssoun was smitten with him as well, Ankur was a tutor on her staff, and she was not comfortable dating an employee.  So Ankur did the noble thing and quit… he knew deep down inside he didn’t want to allow this opportunity to pass him by. And thus the perfect love affair began.

Ankur, now a successful Attorney in New York City, and Mayssoun, who recently expanded her company from Ann Arbor to New York, are two of the busiest people you can imagine. Planning their wedding was quite the challenge, given that we only had three months to pull the entire three-day event together.  Even though Mayssoun is Middle Eastern, born in Lebanon, and Ankur is Indian, they didn’t want a traditional Indian or Arabic wedding. Instead, we, along with a crew of talented vendors, created their dream wedding that was inspired by their love for the French style.

The weekend was kicked off by two wedding ceremonies.  The first was a traditional Muslim ceremony held at Mayssoun’s family’s home.  While the ceremony itself was simple, it was rich in cultural and religious tradition for only immediate family members from both sides.  The first ceremony was followed by a cocktail hour at the Rattlesnake Club and a surprise civil ceremony, performed by the Honorable John Corbett O’Meara in front of 150 of their closest friends and family.  The civil ceremony was held in a garden overlooking the Detroit River.  Guests joined Mayssoun, clad in a gorgeous customized Chanel gown carrying a bouquet of lush white Calla Lilies, and Ankur as they were joined as husband and wife.  After the second ceremony, guests were invited inside the Rattlesnake Club for a delectable six-course menu, hand-selected by the bride and the groom.

The following day was the official wedding reception.  Preparations began first thing in the morning with a violinist and master pianist acting as an alarm clock to wake our bride from her slumber.  Throughout the day, Mayssoun and Ankur prepared for the main event, and midway through the day, they had to take a break from “getting ready” to join LUCIA|PAUL DESIGN and the entertainers in an hour-long rehearsal for the evenings festivities.

As guests arrived to The Henry, Dearborn, they entered through a hallway adorned with Boxwoods and custom frames which displayed the escort cards.  Once guests found their card, they proceeded into the cocktail hour where they nibbled on a selection of gourmet hors d'oeuvres and mingled between the custom linens and hundreds of Roses.

Guests were invited into the ballroom and were wowed as an opera singer performed while they found their tables and their seats.  The guests were awed by the experience of the custom Ice Sculptures, custom linens, a Live Event Artist, draping and production lighting, a stage wrapped with four foot tall Boxwood, over 15,000 cream colored roses and thousands of candles made the room completely breathtaking.

At the tables, which were custom built specifically for the wedding, guests were greeted by an eight page booklet, Le Programe Du Soir (The Program of the Evening) that included a poem written by Mayssoun for Ankur, The Men which is a beautiful poem by Khalil Gibran, and a thank you note for the guests from Mayssoun and Ankur

The Bride wore a custom, one of a kind Carolina Herrera Bridal Gown and veil, and a stunning Cartier Diamond necklace and earrings. Mayssoun carried a lush bouquet, which was inspired by a beautiful design that she had found in the pages of Grace Ormonde Wedding Style, filled with Phalaenopsis Orchids and a hand dyed braided ribbon that matched the boutonnière that was designed just for Ankur.

Once the guests were seated, the Bride and the Groom entered in the grandest of fashion, called An Operatic Zaffe.  Accompanied by four Prima Ballerinas and a male ballet dancer, they were escorted through the maze of strategically placed tables to the dance floor.  It was a true experience right out of a Degas painting.  Once the Grand Entrance concluded, the Ballerinas joined Mayssoun and Ankur on the dance floor for the first dance… all while accompanied by a 12-piece band, the Opera Singer and a Grand Pianist.  It was truly an event within the event.

Throughout the night and while guests dined on a six-course meal, they were reveled by an array of entertainers, which included Arabic Drummers and DJ, six ballroom dancers, the ballerinas, a 12-piece band, the Opera Singer and a Live Event Artist who painted the scene of the entire wedding.  Once guests completed their six-course meal, including the five-layer, all white meringue wedding cake, they were then invited to enter into the desert room, which donned over seven additional wedding cakes, a grooms cake adorned with chocolate shavings and curls and over 45 feet of table top with additional French inspired pastries and deserts.  Needless to say, no one left the wedding reception hungry.

After dinner and the extensive dessert, the entertainment ramped up rotating between the 12-piece band, the DJ and Arabic drummers.  For an entire two-hour time period, the dance floor was jammed packed with guests.  Mayssoun even took center stage and sang a solo with the band to her beloved Groom…the crowd went wild.

At the conclusion of the six-hour reception, guests were sure to not leave empty handed.  Mayssoun and Ankur presented each couple or guest with a special gift from Tiffany’s as a way to say thank you to all 250 of the guests who helped them celebrate their union.  However, just because the Reception was over didn’t mean the party was.  Guests who still had the energy, were invited to an after-party which included a full bar and afterglow while the DJ spun until 4 am.

The next morning, everyone was invited to a Brunch at Gulio & Son’s, where Mayssoun and Ankur took the time to personally talk with every singe guest and to thank them once again for making their wedding weekend such a memorable one.

The entire weekend and wedding celebration was truly one to remember.

Event Planner and Designer: LUCIA|PAUL DESIGN / Photographer: Widdis Photography / Reception Venue: The Henry, Autograph Collection / Stationery: Cartier / Brides Jewelry: Cartier / Ceremony Gown: Chanel / Reception Gown: Carolina Herrera / Wedding Ceremony: Rattlesnake Club / Videographer: AV7 Weddings / Hair: Figo Salon / Make-up: Jon Liekfelt of Priss Makeup / Opera Singer: Elena Repnikova / Ballerinas: Valentina / Lighting and Draping: The Lighting Guy / Band: Simone Vitale / Custom Linens: Nuage Designs and Gala Linens / DJ: DJ Rumzei / Ballroom Dancers: Fred Astaire / Live Event Artist: K.A. Von Hasenbalg / Rentals: Special Events Rental and Elite Rental / Florist: Bellasario Florist / Cake and Desert Tables: Sweet Dreams / Ice Sculptures: Ice Dreams Sculptures