Ceremony: Private Hindu ceremony with family
Reception: 7 Degrees, Laguna Beach, CA
Bride and Groom: Malayalee Hindu-Gujarati Hindu
What was your vision for your wedding events?
We had our Hindu ceremony in Virginia for immediate family only. The reception was later at Seven Degrees in Laguna Beach with our extended families. We wanted it to be an intimate affair, so we only had about 100 people total. We wanted to forgo a traditional wedding plus reception in favor of a fun, long weekend in Southern California. On Friday night most guests flew in and we all just hung out together. On Saturday during the day folks went to the beach and explored the town; the reception was on Saturday evening. And on Sunday, we had a South Indian caterer set up a dosa brunch in the atrium of 741, the private hotel where we and some guests were staying. That evening we held a casual sunset cocktail hour on the roof deck of 741 and a Mexican dinner in the atrium. The management at 741 was very flexible and accommodating as well. We just wanted everyone to be able to hang out and have a good time.
What did you like about Seven Degrees?
Well for one, they were available. We decided to do the reception 3 months prior to the date, so we started calling places and they happened to be available on the day we wanted. We got lucky, since they are usually pretty booked up! They also permitted outside catering, which was key for us, as we had an Indian caterer lined up. We also wanted an unconventional venue – not a hotel. Seven Degrees can tailor the look of the room using their sophisticated lighting and audio-visual systems. We were able to project cool 3-D image of the Kerala backwaters on 3 walls of the room, and have a reel of photos from our Virginia ceremony on flatscreen TVs in the room. We liked the architecture of the building too – it had a very modern look. As I mentioned, we wanted a relaxed, summer in SoCal atmosphere. Seven Degrees has a great terrace where we did cocktails before the reception. It has beautiful views of the surrounding canyon. We also wanted to incorporate something interactive at the reception such as a photo booth or an ice cream station. The staff at Seven Degrees gave us many ideas and helped us find vendors too. We went with a caricature artist, which was a unique twist and our guests loved it.
Where did your guests stay?
Seven Degrees doesn’t have rooms so our guests stayed at two different hotels in Laguna Beach. One was a private boutique hotel called 741, on the vibrant main street in Laguna Beach. The location was fantastic. We rented the whole place and our guests loved it. Most of the rest of the guests stayed across the street at the Holiday Inn. We hired the Laguna Beach Trolley to take our guests to and from Seven Degrees, so no one had to drive unless they wanted.
What was it like planning your SoCal reception weekend from New York?
It was a lot of work, and a real leap of faith. You have to research and then just trust that the venue, photographers, make-up artists etc., will all just do a great job and come through for you. In our case they all did – so we were thrilled! Our contact from Seven Degrees was very hands-on and proactive, so that alleviated much of the stress. I had not visited Seven Degrees prior to our reception weekend; my parents and sister did. They and the staff were really good about sending me photos and mock ups so I could visualize how the room would come together. As I mentioned, they have great lighting and A/V capabilities, so one of the hardest parts was putting content together for that and deciding on the decorations, especially not having been to the venue because we didn’t know what to expect. It was difficult, but worth it as it really allowed us to make it very personalized.
What advice would you to give to couples that are considering Seven Degrees?
Have a clear theme of what you want your theme to be. It’s such a creative space and it’s so open ended, if you have a theme or a vision in mind that makes it much easier.
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