Birchwood Manor | Lasting Memories
On Their Anniversary ... At Their Same Wedding Venue!
From the Bride ... “Our 25th anniversary party was not about how we got married 25 years ago,” says Anoli Patel. “It was more about showing our gratitude to our friends and family, honoring them with a celebration that took everyone back 25 years.
We did that by hosting the party at Birchwood Manor, the same venue where we got married, with the same vendors, but now as guests.”
Photos: Jay Seth
Anoli’s husband, Alpesh, is director of technology and operations at Everything Health, while Anoli owns Think Reel Films. “We started the company in the wedding industry under the name of The Shaadi (‘The Wedding’) Story, as the first company to take a documentary-style approach to wedding videography, back in 2001. We had an amazing journey, making many great friends along the way. We left that industry with a full heart in 2010 and formed Think Reel Films.” Now they focus on commercial work, with clients such as Bed Bath and Beyond, D’Longhi, Subway, Pfizer, Novartis, Bayer, and Cartier.
“When we called Birchwood Manor and spoke to Michael Marino III, who was our maître d’ when we got married, he heard my voice and immediately remembered me!” Anoli and Alpesh had one of Birchwood’s first Indian weddings. “In fact, our wedding photos are still on display inside their office! Michael was honored that we wanted to celebrate in the same venue where our story began. His niece, Farrell Holleran, was only two years old when we got married and now she was so excited to be involved with planning our 25th Anniversary party!”
At Left —
Then ... At Birchwood Manor,
on their Wedding Day.
At Right —
& Now ... Also at Birchwod Manor,
on their 25th Anniversary.
They had 600 people at their wedding in 1994 and invited most of them, along with the vendors who have since become close friends. “It was a reunion! Many of our friends were seeing each other for the first time in decades.”
They planned the entire program around a theme of “Gratitude and Love,” with speeches and video presentations supporting that theme. “We honored our best friend, who passed away last year. Then her husband, our Best Man from our wedding, gave the toast with their 21-year-old son. Our guests laughed, they cried, and above all, they were touched because we made the party about them instead of us. One highlight was a giant group photo which Jay Seth — our photographer then and now — took with all the invited guests.”
From the Venue ... “Anoli and Alpesh had one of the first traditional Indian weddings we held at Birchwood Manor,” says Farrell, Birchwood Manor’s fourth generation banquet manager. “For their wedding, they had a seasoned Indian caterer prepare traditional Indian dishes for their guests. We were happy to hear they would celebrate with us again, 25 years later, and that this time Anoli and Alpesh wanted our chefs to prepare the menu based on their spiritual and cultural beliefs.”
Farrell met with Anoli and Alpesh several times to customize their menu while adhering to their strict dietary requirements, creating a menu that could not contain eggs, onion, or garlic. “It was a challenge for our chefs, who specialize in northern Italian and Continental dishes, although they customize every menu to suit the specific tastes of each couple, often incorporating a favorite family recipe into the cocktail hour. Since Anoli and Alpesh had a guest list of 300 people for their 25th wedding anniversary, customizing their menu would be intense.”
At Left Below — Then ... On their Wedding Day.
At Right — & Now ... On their 25th Anniversary.
Birchwood’s chefs prepared a buffet of Banza chickpea penne pasta, grilled vegetables with balsamic drizzle, and spicy lo mein with baby bok choy, to name a few. “We also served fresh fruit, vegetable crudité with crackers and assorted dips, hummus with soft pita, and salads. Desserts were an assortment of cakes, mousses, gelatins, and fruits.
“Anoli and Alpesh hired the same vendors that worked their wedding. We also recommend those same vendors because of their high standards, expertise, and professionalism.
“Anoli is a very kind person,” says Farrell, “and she was great to work with. She had specific ideas and a vision that we and her entire vendor team were able to artfully transform into an unbelievable event!”
Wedding day vendors who were also guests at the 25th: Photographer-Jay Seth. DJ-Magic Mike. Caterer-Raja Jhanjee from Bukhara Grill. Singer-Swati Dhru.
More vendors also at the 25th: Hair and Makeup-Style by Susmita. Décor-Elegant Affairs, Shobha Rao, Sharda Shenoy, and Gopal Machhi. Sound and Lighting-Premier Entertainment, VJ Kadakia and Darshan Kapadia. MC-Sharad Bhavnani, DJUSA
Birchwood Manor, Whippany, NJ, 973.887.1414, [email protected], www.birchwoodmanor.com