This may well be one of the coolest and most stylishly decorated venues that I have ever laid my wedding blogger eyes upon! Yes, Gaby and Mike found a venue that reflected the look and feel that they were after – a warehouse venue with original brick walls, cavernous ceilings, crystal chandeliers, whimsical art work (including loads of original Andy Warhol’s), decadent furniture and dramatic lighting. This wedding is full of fun and creativity, but one of the stand-out ideas for me was the ‘Vodka Social’. Since the groom is Russian, different flavoured vodkas flowed throughout this wedding and we are talking some really *awesome* flavours such as ginger, spiced pear, raspberry, caramel, tiramisu and horseradish! More on that later on. First of all let me hand you over to our lovely bride on how and why she chose the venue. VENUE Gaby, The Bride: Mike and I had several important non-negotiable items as we started our wedding planning, and one of them was the venue. The venue sets the tone and influences the look-and-feel of the wedding, and is the backdrop for the ceremony, cocktail hour and reception. It’s where we’ll take a majority of our photos, and where our friends and family will celebrate the most special and important symbol of our love and commitment to one another. We knew we wanted something unique, spacious, modern and truly unforgettable for our wedding. We wanted it to be a reflection of us and our taste, and most importantly, we wanted to infuse our vision in the space…rather than the vision of the space taking over the wedding. We’ve been to so many weddings in hotel ballrooms, where the look is always the same: cream colored walls, gold neo-baroque sconces and floral or damask-patterned carpets. While there’s nothing wrong with that, we wanted something unlike anything we’ve seen before. We wanted something modern and sexy, but also understated and simple. We also knew we had our work cut out for us as many venues in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul areas have exclusive relationships with vendors, making it very difficult to work with the vendors we had already picked out and meet our Kosher food requirement. We looked at no less than two dozen venues and called at least another dozen more…and each time, we came back to ARIA at the Jeune Lune. It was a favourite of ours from the start. In fact, I had my heart set on the Jeune Lune even before we were engaged! While celebrating the 2011-2012 New Year, Mike and I and a few friends went to a New Year’s party hosted at the Jeune Lune. It was the venue’s inaugural debut from being a theatre to becoming a premier venue hall in the Theatre District of downtown Minneapolis. I remember walking in to the Jeune Lune and being completely mesmerized by the space! I leaned in to Mike and whispered in his ear: “This would be the perfect spot for a wedding.”
GETTING READY We had a great time getting ready at the beautiful Grand Hotel Minneapolis. They were extremely accommodating and lovely to work with. They gave us the Presidential Suite (totally unexpected!) for me and my bridesmaids. My sister Jessie and I spent the night before at the hotel and we had a great time enjoying all the beautiful amenities with my bridesmaids! A VERY ARTY KETUBAH While we were researching ketubahs, we spent a lot of time online until we found the perfect one! We approached this part of our wedding and marriage as if it were a piece of art. We wanted it to be unique, special and reflect us as well as the tradition. We found a fantastic Ketubah artist on Etsy, who was not only able to incorporate our logo/monogram, but also added 2 angels (archangel Michael and Gabriel), in honour of our namesake. I truly believe that these angels brought Mike and I together… DESIGNING ALL THE CREATIVE TOUCHES OURSELVES Mike is actually a graphic designer (not what he currently does for a living though), and he designed our logo and invitations, as well as all the wedding stationery (name cards, table cards, programs). We decided to choose the names of cities, rather than table numbers. We chose cities that had an important meaning and significance to us and our families. We also used framed photos of our close family members as decor in the cocktail hour. DINNER DECOR We had a very fun sweetheart table where we sat just the two of us, but as for the guests tables, each one was slightly different. We wanted a very intimate atmosphere with our table designs and chose all different shades of white and pink flowers, and also had a lot of candles as part of the decor. ANDY WARHOL ARTWORK The venue’s owner is actually an avid Any Warhol collector, and all the artwork you see is authentic! The venue also has a large collection of vintage furniture and crystal chandeliers. We decided to use photos of our family members on their wedding day as decor for the cocktail hour. We used our parents, grandparents and aunts/uncles’ photos, and it was such a great conversation starter for a family and guests! THE HORA, A BELLYDANCER AND A DJ Since ARIA was previously a theatre, we entered stage left onto the dance floor, and had the DJ get everyone up from the chairs and onto the dancefloor! It was so much fun to walk into the venue and see our guests already up, animated and having a great time! We went right into the hora after the grand march, and that was a huge highlight for me! The cantor and our good family friend Yossi sang a medley of Jewish dancing longs live with an accompanying track, played by the DJ. I think we looped that medley at least 3 times, and we were dancing for a good 15 minutes! Having him sing Hava Nagila was one of the most memorable moments for us and our guests. He has such an amazing voice, and the energy level was through the roof! My dad surprised us right after the Hora with a special treat! He had a bellydancer do a performance and then everyone got the chance to shake their stuff of the dancefloor! Since my family is Sephardic, we almost always have a bellydancer and middle eastern music accompany our family celebrations, so this was no exception. For Mike’s Russian family and guests, this was a lot of fun! Later on we had a DJ who played all kinds of music: Brazilian, Latin, Hebrew/Jewish, Arabic, Russian, Romanian, and of course pop top hits. He kept everyone on the feet the whole night, until 1:30 am! VODKA, VODKA, VODKA! Since this was a little more than half a Russian wedding, we HAD to include Vodka! And boy, did we. There is a very well-known Russian restaurant in St. Paul, Minneapolis called ‘Moscow on the Hill‘ and they distill their own flavoured vodkas. We ordered several cases of various flavours (Ginger, Spiced Pear, Raspberry, Caramel, Tiramisu & Horseradish) and hosted a “Vodka Social” on the balcony in the main ballroom. It was just a great time! After the meal portion of the reception, and right around the time desserts were being served, we invited our guests to sample the different vodka flavours on the balcony. GABY + MIKE’S LITTLE WHITE BOOK Venue — ARIA Le Jeune Lune Photographer — Yuriy Kormin Linens/decor — Natalya Kormina Videographer — Matt Jasper Motion Design Catering — Crave Officiant — Rabbi Avram Ettedgui Cantor: Yossi Ben Harush Florist — Aneta’s European Floral DJ — Nora Events Hotel — The Grand Hotel Minneapolis Hair — Marni Force Flores Makeup & Hair Makeup — Julie Martin Makeup Dress — OreaSposa from Macy’s Bridal Salon by Demetrios Bride’s Shoes — Butter Bride’s Shoe Clips — Vintage 1950s from Etsy Bride’s Belt — Etsy Bride’s Earrings — Etsy Bridesmaids Dresses — Eden in Fuchsia; all different styles Flower Girls Dresses — Eden from Macy’s Bridal Salon by Demetrios Ketubah — Etsy http://vimeo.com/78700042 What an awesome party these two had! And I love Gaby and Mike’s strong use of fuschia throughout their wedding. It’s such an easy way to pull together a wedding theme, and these guys took it to the max, even colour-co-ordinating it through to the ushers’ socks. Now that’s attention to detail!