Ever Wonder What Goes On Behind the Scenes at a Really Big, Luxe Wedding at the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas?
Behind the scenes at Patricia & Snehal's wedding weekend at The Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas.  Decor installation by DBD Vegas.

Behind the scenes at Patricia & Snehal's wedding weekend at The Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas.  Decor installation by DBD Vegas.

Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes at a wedding?  I mean...what do all those people do all day?  What does it takes to plan a big, lavish, wedding for 300 people in one of the most exclusive locations in the world?

Last week, Patricia Shay married Snehal "Shinz" Bhoola in a lavish, over the top, multi-cultural wedding celebration at the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas that showcased two separate wedding ceremonies, a Chinese Lion dance, three dress changes, and two complete "set" changes of the ballroom.  We even had a comedian preform!

When Patty & Shinz approached me about their wedding in December, they tasked me with planning an over the top, luxe, and dynamic wedding....in just 12 weeks!  Talk about power planning!  Some people find short planning periods to be stressful, but I find them invigorating!  Planning a wedding unjust 3 months forces you to be really clear about who you are and what you want.  Decisions tend to be made by instinct, which leads to a wedding that is so very personal, that really speaks to the core of the couple.

For this Behind the Scenes feature, I have to take you back to January, when we all began planning.  After having spent some time speaking with family and playing on Pinterest, Patty and Shinz asked for a wedding of deep colors, with a royal blue base, deep reds, and vibrant oranges.  Having tapped the creatives at Destination by Design (DBD Vegas) to handle the florals and rentals, we embarked on a proposal filled with rich images and vibrant colors.  

Images ripped from Patty & Shinz' Pinterest page guided us in designing a proposal of bright colors and rich tones.  

Images ripped from Patty & Shinz' Pinterest page guided us in designing a proposal of bright colors and rich tones.  

At first, they loved it!  But something felt "off.  There was a hesitation that no one could quite put our fingers on.  With the bride and groom coming in for a custom tasting, we scheduled a demonstration which would allow them to see samples of their tables, play with linens, and adjust lighting.  With DBD's master florist Mirian on hand with buckets of flowers, we were ready for anything...And wow!  Did we make crazy changes!

Thank you Destinations by Design for your warm welcome, your creativity, and your flexibility.  Note the couple's surnames under the sign!

Thank you Destinations by Design for your warm welcome, your creativity, and your flexibility.  Note the couple's surnames under the sign!

Initially, we started with a brighter white underlay and vibrant pops of reds and oranges.  Pulling florals, resetting lighting, and adjusting groups lead to three spite tables capes with three unique feels.  All in a days work at DBD Vegas!

Initially, we started with a brighter white underlay and vibrant pops of reds and oranges.  Pulling florals, resetting lighting, and adjusting groups lead to three spite tables capes with three unique feels.  All in a days work at DBD Vegas!

By the end of our meeting, we had completely tossed the original color scheme in favor of something softer, elegant, and much more in line with the bride's classic sensibilities.  Note to all planning brides and grooms....Sometimes you will see things on Pinterest or in a magazine that look beautiful, but they don't always translate into "you" when you put them together in real life.  Sometimes, you just need to see something right before your eyes, and tweak it by hand so that your wedding is truly yours.  I cannot recommend a planning demonstration enough if your time and budget allow for it!

The next stop in our planning trip was a tasting set forth by the culinary team at The Mandarin Oriental.  With nearly 70% of the guests having an Indian and vegetarian background, we needed a menu that was culturally on point to ensure that Shinz' family would enjoy their evening.  And what about our bride?  Her family was traveling all the way from China, and their tastes were equally important in the planning of our meal.  Chef Dinesh was the perfect person to plan with, as he not only hails from India, but he spent years cooking in luxury resorts throughout China.

Our meal started with traditional Chinese dishes passed as canapés, and even included a Noodle Station where guests could mix their broth of choice with their own noodle selection, vegetables, and proteins.  

Our meal started with traditional Chinese dishes passed as canapés, and even included a Noodle Station where guests could mix their broth of choice with their own noodle selection, vegetables, and proteins.  

Patricia & Snehal could not have been more pleased with the menu they would be offering their guests.  The most difficult part of the tasting was pairing it down, and not choosing absolutely everything...it was all so good!

Patricia & Snehal could not have been more pleased with the menu they would be offering their guests.  The most difficult part of the tasting was pairing it down, and not choosing absolutely everything...it was all so good!

As a self proclaimed foodie who loves Indian food, this was hands down one of the most creative and interesting menus I have ever planned. 

As a self proclaimed foodie who loves Indian food, this was hands down one of the most creative and interesting menus I have ever planned. 

rYou would think that after 3 days of non stop planning every decision would have been made, but we were making small adjustments and little tweaks to the design, decor, menu, and music right up to the very end.  But when the planning process is on point and you keep to the time frame, you can make small changes here and there without disrupting the whole of the day.

Patty, Shinz,and their families converged on Las Vegas on April 2nd.  This is what I call "going live" - from here on out, we were in production mode and moving towards execution.  The family quickly began unpacking boxes, assembling gift bags, and putting together packages for the hotel to deliver.  My team was on call 24/7, and we logged countless hours of photo planning (they had a list of over 80 people which required formal portraits), musical timing (setting walks to the exact moments of songs) and load in schedules.  

On Thursday evening, a team of Mendhi artists arrived at the bride's Presidential suite to apply henna to her skin in intricate, beautiful patterns.  Patricia sat perfectly still for nearly 3 hours while she was beautified from top to toe.  Both Altf Photography and Something New was on hand to catch the work being done, and I have no doubt that their footage will be nothing short of spectacular!  For now, you are stuck with mine....

Traditional henna was applied to Patricia's hands, arms, feet, and legs to make her even more beautiful to the groom. 

Traditional henna was applied to Patricia's hands, arms, feet, and legs to make her even more beautiful to the groom. 

Green tea cupcakes for the bride...Topped with white chocolate skulls for the groom!  A little gift to welcome them...

Green tea cupcakes for the bride...Topped with white chocolate skulls for the groom!  A little gift to welcome them...

On Friday morning, DBD began loading in what we call the "hard set" at 8 am. Chairs, dance floors, tables, linens...Everything that won't wilt or die over night was delivered to the resort, and we began marking placement for the next day.  When wedding production is this intense, I stay on property to be on hand at any hour and any minute.  As much as this was "work" the moments spent in my room were almost vacation-like...Perhaps it was the lack of children?

Oh, hello big comfy bed with super cool room controller to the left!

Oh, hello big comfy bed with super cool room controller to the left!

Not a spa, just the super luxe bathroom I enjoyed for the weekend!

Not a spa, just the super luxe bathroom I enjoyed for the weekend!

Our first order of business was to host a rehearsal for the bridal party of both the Western Ceremony and the Indian ceremony. Once we were certain that everyone knew their places, the bride and groom were off to prepare for their Welcome Reception.  While they dressed and enjoyed hair and make up, my team and I joined Ali Murray of the Mandarin Oriental and the staff from DBD in setting up the pool deck.  Our Welcome Reception was a grand affair!  First, there was  a mini-bazaar set up where the ladies could help themselves to jewelry, a glittering Bindi, shawls, belts, and pins brought directly from India.  To the side in cabanas, we set up the same team of women to provide henna art and Mendhi for the guests.  And fear not; the men were not forgotten.  For them, we had a hand rolled cigar station.  Music provided by DJ Rodney kept the party going strong, with open bars, passed food, and floating candles in the pool.

Once again, our friends from Altf Photography and Something New were with me, capturing every detail from land and air - just wait til you see this video!  I managed to grab a few shots of my own as a sneak peek into the madness and fun! 

The makings of a mini-bazaar.  The ladies were all given the opportunity to select jewels and shawls for their pleasure.

The makings of a mini-bazaar.  The ladies were all given the opportunity to select jewels and shawls for their pleasure.

The Mandarin Oriental pool deck...ready and waiting to receive our guests.

The Mandarin Oriental pool deck...ready and waiting to receive our guests.

Black & White diamonds, oh my! The first set of jewels gifted to the bride by her in-laws.

Black & White diamonds, oh my! The first set of jewels gifted to the bride by her in-laws.

Hand rolled cigar station at the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas.

Hand rolled cigar station at the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas.

Mendhi for the ladies on the pool deck of the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas.

Mendhi for the ladies on the pool deck of the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas.

My wake up call on the morning of the wedding came at 6 am, and there was already a flurry of activity happening.  Our mandap, the structure under which the couple was married, was constructed on site and by hand.  Rolling racks of flowers and buckets of yet to be placed blooms were strewn around the floor.  Carpeting was placed on the riser, sound checks were done,  and in the back of the house there were prep cooks, line cooks, chefs, and more chefs preparing a meal that somehow managed to be the most delicious blend of the Chinese and Indian cultures.  The bride and groom were tended to with tender loving hands, ensuring that every hair was in place, and ever stitch of their custom made suits, shoes, and dresses were dresses were hand steamed and placed to perfection.

There is no doubt in my mind that the formal photos and cinematic movie trailer showcasing this wedding will be spectacular and epic.  And I will not ruin the delight of what is to come.  Instead, I leave you with production photos and a glimpse behind the curtain....

Mandap construction began just before 7 AM.  The laser cut top was hand assembled on site by Team DBD.

Mandap construction began just before 7 AM.  The laser cut top was hand assembled on site by Team DBD.

How many people does it take to construct a mandap?  I count 6 in this photo alone!

How many people does it take to construct a mandap?  I count 6 in this photo alone!

Rolling racks of flowers for days...The aisle markers and centerpieces were started in the floral studio and finished by hand onsite.

Rolling racks of flowers for days...The aisle markers and centerpieces were started in the floral studio and finished by hand onsite.

Wide garlands of roses and hydrangea were wrapped around the legs of the mandap.

Wide garlands of roses and hydrangea were wrapped around the legs of the mandap.

Ready and waiting to receive the guests.  A wedding ceremony in the Mandarin Oriental Ballroom, with florals and decor by DBD Vegas, and walls by Paper Flower Girls.

Ready and waiting to receive the guests.  A wedding ceremony in the Mandarin Oriental Ballroom, with florals and decor by DBD Vegas, and walls by Paper Flower Girls.

One of three of the groom's suits.

One of three of the groom's suits.

The groom's shoes....How cool are these?

The groom's shoes....How cool are these?

CUTE!  The bride sent a little gift to our fashion loving groom!

CUTE!  The bride sent a little gift to our fashion loving groom!

A close up of the detailing on the bride's third dress of the day.

A close up of the detailing on the bride's third dress of the day.

Diamonds are a girl's best friend.  One of three jewelry sets.

Diamonds are a girl's best friend.  One of three jewelry sets.

The bride's many dresses were steamed by hand.

The bride's many dresses were steamed by hand.

That right there is a bag of jewels!  Yes, jewels!  The bride had three different sets of jewelry - one for each dress change.  To ensure that not one diamond or stone went missing, we had Brian Derck personally secure it throughout the day!

That right there is a bag of jewels!  Yes, jewels!  The bride had three different sets of jewelry - one for each dress change.  To ensure that not one diamond or stone went missing, we had Brian Derck personally secure it throughout the day!

John Michael Cooper of Altf Photography taking formal portraits of the couple in Bar Mandarin Oriental. 

John Michael Cooper of Altf Photography taking formal portraits of the couple in Bar Mandarin Oriental. 

To honor the elephant and give a little luck to all of the attendees, escort cards were placed on miniature silver elephants, and placed around the floral sculpture with trunks facing the windows.

To honor the elephant and give a little luck to all of the attendees, escort cards were placed on miniature silver elephants, and placed around the floral sculpture with trunks facing the windows.

In the 90 minutes we had to transform the ballroom from the ceremony set up to the reception design, an extra large chandelier was hung above the sweetheart table, rounds were moved from behind the scenes to their designated places, and the 6 tiered, 5 lift wedding cake was finished by with stones by the Pastry Chef.

In the 90 minutes we had to transform the ballroom from the ceremony set up to the reception design, an extra large chandelier was hung above the sweetheart table, rounds were moved from behind the scenes to their designated places, and the 6 tiered, 5 lift wedding cake was finished by with stones by the Pastry Chef.

Paper flower walls were moved from the ceremony to create a stunning backdrop to the couple's sweetheart table, which was dressed in navy eyelash linens and topped with ivory, pink, and blush floral arrangements that were taken from the mandap.

Paper flower walls were moved from the ceremony to create a stunning backdrop to the couple's sweetheart table, which was dressed in navy eyelash linens and topped with ivory, pink, and blush floral arrangements that were taken from the mandap.

It takes a village....Literally!  The bride's hair and make up was transformed by Make Up in the 702 as her sister-in-laws dressed her.

It takes a village....Literally!  The bride's hair and make up was transformed by Make Up in the 702 as her sister-in-laws dressed her.

Oh, alright....Just one little photo to showcase the complete transformation of the ballroom. 

Oh, alright....Just one little photo to showcase the complete transformation of the ballroom. 

DJ Jay Dabhi of New York played to a packed dance floor all night long.  Photo credit to my iPhone panoramic feature!

DJ Jay Dabhi of New York played to a packed dance floor all night long.  Photo credit to my iPhone panoramic feature!

These girls!  What an absolute pleasure it was to work with Ali Murray of the Mandarin Oriental and Dalisa Cooper of Altf Photography.  My selfie game needs work, but I couldn't not post this!  I only wish Andi Sage (DBD) and Sandi Falin (Something New) had managed to sneak in.

These girls!  What an absolute pleasure it was to work with Ali Murray of the Mandarin Oriental and Dalisa Cooper of Altf Photography.  My selfie game needs work, but I couldn't not post this!  I only wish Andi Sage (DBD) and Sandi Falin (Something New) had managed to sneak in.

In the end, on Saturday, April 4, 2015, Patricia Shay married Snehal Bhoola not once, but twice in a once-in-a-lifetime wedding that took the hands of over 50 people, over 1,200 emails to and  from my account (not to mention those of the vendors), over 600 minutes of team conference calls, and more text messages, lunches, quick chats, and walk throughs than I can count.  This wedding weekend was truly a labor of love, brought to life by the bride, the groom, their families, and the most extraordinary teams that I have had the pleasure of working with.  It was an honor and a privilege to lead this charge!

Always...

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Venue and Vendors

Luxury Wedding at the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas

Floral and Decor by Destinations by Design Las Vegas

Entertainment Management by Destinations by Design Las Vegas

Floral Walls by Paper Flower Girls

Photography by Altf Photography

Wedding Cinema by Something New Films

Bridal Beauty by Make Up in the 702

Friday Night DJ Rodney Munnings

Saturday Night Live Guitarist Robby LeBlanc

Saturday Night Indian DJ Jay Dabhi

Las Vegas Wedding Planner Andrea Eppolito is often published, with works featured by the likes of BRIDES, Style Me Pretty, Grace Ormonde Wedding Style, The NY Times, LA Times, Junebug Weddings, and more. With an eye catching style that shares not only the story, but the soul, of a wedding, Andrea's clients praise her for being their wedding planner, event designer, advocate, and friend.

An internationally acclaimed speaker, Andrea appears and speaks at events for the Engage! Luxury Wedding Summit, NACE, The Knot, the Wedding MBA, and more.  Named the Best Wedding Planner in Las Vegas (2013, 2015, 2016), Wedding Professional of the Year (2011) and ranked as one of the top 50 wedding planners world-wide, Andrea works with celebrities, athletes, executives, and all people in love!

Based in Las Vegas, and working as a destination wedding planner world wide, you can learn more at www.AndreaEppolitoEvents.com.