For a weekend of beach bummin’, heading out to Manhattan Beach is a no-brainer. What's not to love about the sound of the waves, cute shops, and epic sunsets? For this multicultural wedding planned by Sugar Branch Events, guests were able to enjoy a weekend by the Pacific while all staying in one hotel that was totally easy for out-of-towners to get to. The best thing about having all your friends and fam in one place for the weekend is that you get to really maximize your time together. We can practically hear the clinking of glasses just thinking about it.
A wedding that brings together two cultures and two religions is not always the easiest thing to plan, but this couple makes it look easy as an ocean breeze. The Persian groom married his American bride incorporating a Persian sand ceremony, as directed by a Methodist minister. Try saying that ten times fast. Meanwhile, the neutral, modern background at Shade Hotel is softened by minty drapery, a green living wall, and lots of fresh florals. A stroll down the boardwalk is par for the course post-ceremony, and makes for some gorgeous beachy photos. The planners over at Sugar Branch Events gave us the full story behind the scenes of this wedding with Josh Elliott behind the lens.
Tell us a bit about the wedding you planned/designed and a bit of background on the couple if you know
Nina & Mo were two of the most genuinely kindhearted people you will ever meet. They were both very busy anesthesiologists and had little time to plan a wedding, let alone a wedding that blended two cultures and two religions! They wanted a small and intimate ceremony, reflecting both Nina's methodist background and Mo's Muslim religion. We incorporated traditional aspects of both into their ceremony by blending the ceremonies; it started with a traditional 'American' ceremony with a methodist pastor, and then family participated in a traditional Persian 'sugar ceremony.' It made for a truly special reflection of their heritages and how love transpires cultures and religions. For their reception, they wanted a simple but fun party where everyone would have a great time, and where the Persians could dance!
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Why did you/the couple ultimately decide on this particular venue?
It was within their budget, its proximity to the ocean for visiting friends and family, and for the convenience that guests could stay at the same location of the wedding.
Was there anything either onsite or in the surrounding area you integrated into your design?
Primarily just a feminine beach chic theme. Nina has a girly personality, and wanted soft pinks and ivory colors incorporated with a coastal theme to match the surroundings of the nearby beach.
Why did you make the design decisions you did?
We were working within the budget constraints and personal design preferences of our clients, so we found a happy medium in incorporating small amounts of coastal elements such as shells and nautical rope with the soft pinks and ivories the bride was envisioning.
What about this venue influenced your design direction?
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Any insider tips for hosting weddings here based on your experience?
This venue is best for smaller weddings, under 100 people. That way, you have the flexibility of designing the tables and reception space in a way that gives you more options in terms of layout. Because the ceremony space has to be "flipped" during cocktail hour for the dinner tables to be set out, we recommend some great appetizers and drinks, and fun entertainment for cocktail hour to keep your guests well-entertained and happy during this process, and so they don't get bored and want to peek in to see the reception early!
Any fun/favorite moments to share?
This was a group that loved to dance, so the right music was important! We helped them select a DJ that would play lots of great Persian music, which was a big crowd pleaser!
Maybe it’s the open-air courtyard, or maybe it’s all the fresh minty green surroundings, but there’s something so charming about the photos of this wedding. Oh to be a fly on the wall of that dance floor blended with Persians and Americans! And to be able to stare right up at the stars above? So good.
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