Weekend Weddings


By Daisy Hutzell-Rodman

It’s no longer a day to remember. It’s a weekend to remember.

Local bridal planners say that more and more Midlands couples are embracing the national trend of the wedding extravaganza – the celebration that lasts three days or longer.

While some couples are playing up the “extravaganza” with lavish themed events and décor, others are taking a more laid-back, fun approach.

Nicole Panneton, bridal consultant with Sublime Couture at Shops of Legacy, estimates that 20 percent of weddings are themed, and many involve at least a couple of activities for guests over the same number of days.

Omaha native Sejal Patel is in the extravaganza category. Her wedding is going to be so grand, she has stepped away from her law career in New York to manage the details. Patel and fiancé Stephen Skakandy will celebrate the bride’s Indian ancestry with ethnic food and traditions over Thanksgiving weekend.

Patel has enlisted planning help from her parents, who live in Omaha, and Memrical, an event planning boutique at Rockbrook Village. “It’s going to be the wedding of the century,” said Memrical owner Erin Williams.

About 450 guests are expected from as far away as Germany, England and India. To keep guests apprised of the weekend’s itinerary and dress codes, the bridal couple created a website and an animated 5-minute “Passport to Omaha” video guide.

A Mendhi (henna painting) party at Embassy Suites La Vista/Hotel and Conference Center and a shower for the bride are on Friday evening’s agenda. Saturday’s festivities include a morning ceremony at St. Martha Episcopal Church in Papillion followed by a luncheon back at the conference center.

The afternoon’s Indian ceremonies will flow into an evening dinner, reception and dance, and an after-party, also at the conference center.

Renee Mathias of Omaha will give her 75 guests an intimate taste of the Caribbean the weekend of June 14. Mathias and Mike Keene became engaged in St. Croix in the Virgin Islands.

A destination wedding wasn’t feasible so the couple will bring an island feel to their wedding on Lake Rathbun near Centerville, Iowa. The celebration starts Friday night with a Caribbean party, complete with tiki torches, jerk chicken and calypso music.

The wedding ceremony will take place on a boat. The party continues the next day with brunch, including tropical drinks with paper umbrellas and lots of fresh fruit, and an afternoon boat ride.

Tinya Hardin loves the December holidays so much she had a Christmas-themed wedding. She adored the idea of being married on 12-11-10. She and her groom, Philip Nielson, planned multiple activities.

Their holiday theme was unexpectedly enhanced by one of the worst snowstorms of the year. Near-blizzard conditions canceled a post-ceremony carriage ride through the Old Market. The bridal party, undaunted, headed to Parliament Pub at Midtown Crossing, chosen for its ruby décor.

For the reception, Scoular Ballroom was transformed into a winter wonderland with lighted trees, wreaths and columns. “I really enjoy the Christmas season,” the bride said. “So why not bring Christmas into the wedding? We can, basically, celebrate all month.”

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