Sangeet, Ceremony and Reception: The Fairmont Newport Beach
Bride and Groom: Both are Gujarati-Hindu
It was a pleasure to interview Silvy, as I’ve known her since she was a teenager. Here she is as a beautiful married woman to share her thoughts on the Fairmont Newport Beach, vendors she liked, how to pack for the wedding day, and more!
How did you decide on the Fairmont Newport Beach?
I looked at more than 10 venues. I knew that I really wanted an outdoor ceremony, which a lot of places in Southern California have, but I liked the Fairmont because it was unique with a surrounding garden and fireplaces.
I also liked that the ballroom didn’t need a lot of additional decor. The wallpaper was pretty, the chandeliers were gorgeous – the room had a lot of charm already. I didn’t need to get a lot of additional lighting to make the room look great. It also helped that my friend had recently been married there too, so I had experienced a wedding at the venue.
Because my husband’s whole family is from the East Coast, proximity to the airport was pretty important. It made sense for us to have all of our major events at one location too. We had our garba/sangeet, the wedding and reception at the Fairmont. Most guests just came for the weekend to attend the wedding so they didn’t even need to rent cars. The Fairmont has a complimentary shuttle to/from John Wayne Airport, which is literally 1 mile from the hotel. The shuttle even takes guests to some of the local attractions like Balboa Island and Fashion Island, so it was very convenient.
Also, since we had 3 major events there, they were flexible and willing to work with us on pricing and accommodating our needs.
What advice would you give to couples that are looking at venues now?
Ask questions about anything and everything. It’s important for you to know/understand the attrition rate for the guest rooms, what’s included in their wedding and reception packages, after signing the contract re-confirm the spaces that you booked with the venue. Pay attention to service charges and tax – those really add up.
Organize emails and know the details of your contract. Our original salesperson left the Fairmont after we signed the contract. When we met with the new person we had all the emails and details and it went smoothly. Situations like this are common and make it even more important for the couple to be organized.
If you’re going to have a caterer that’s never worked at your venue, it will take more time and effort to get them approved and coordinate with the hotel. The Fairmont was very open to my caterer but because we used a smaller restaurant coordinating communication, making sure the restaurant understood the hotel’s policies and had all the right paperwork submitted to the hotel took a bit more work. I’m really glad we coordinated everything ourselves and just had a day-of coordinator.
What’s your advice on booking vendors?
It just so happened that the vendors on the Fairmont’s preferred vendor list were one’s we already wanted to work with. Working with vendors that know the property and their staff makes a difference. We didn’t have to do a walk-through because the vendors all knew what they needed to do and I knew they understood my vision.
Book vendors in this order:
The venue, DJ, and photographer/videographer first. They tend to get booked well in advance and have a bigger impact on your wedding.
You can book the decorator and coordinator (especially for day-of) later
Who do you recommend?
DJ: 3D Sounds
What set Amit, from 3D Sounds, apart was that he explained everything – especially the lighting, for example, how pin spots would look over centerpieces and what we’d need based on the look we wanted to create.
Photographer: Harvard Photography
What set Harvard Photography apart from others was the one-on-one personalize time they spent with us walking us through the packages and explaining what we’ get.
Day-of Coordinator: Bridal and Event Lounge
I worked with Atrina from Bridal and Event Lounge for day-of coordination, she was great, we met 6 months prior to our wedding and in total 2-3 times prior to the wedding, so I felt like I was getting a lot of attention; and she knew the venue really well.
Any advice for couples to get through wedding planning?
Take wedding planning one step at a time. It becomes overwhelming. It’s going to be a compromise with all the people involved – each person/family is going to have things that are really important to them so listen and be willing to compromise.
Figure out your date and budget first.
Packing for the wedding day.
Pack all of your stuff well in advance of the wedding day. Organize your jewelry, bangles, bindi’s etc. by event so when you’re getting ready, everything you need for that event is all together. You don’t want to stress out the day-of because you can’t find something. Unexpected things happen on the day-of, for instance, I wasn’t happy with the way my dupatta was covering my head, so we had to spend time fixing that. Finding stuff was one less thing to worry about because everything was organized.
Choosing photos for your albums.
After the wedding, with anywhere from 3000-6000 photos to look through, it takes several hours over multiple days to narrow down the photos for your wedding albums. Allot some dedicated time to select the photos. Don’t do it in a hurry – that album is going to last a lifetime.
Learn more about the Fairmont Newport Beach here.
See other Gujarati weddings in Newport Beach: