“It was just like in a movie,” says Justin McCabe. “My eyes locked on this girl with a beautiful glow, and the rest of the room faded away.” Both he and Shanna Khan agree, it was kismet.
That wintery night in Chicago, the two of them found themselves spending time with friends outside their usual neighborhoods in the same quaint little bar. Although it was not his usual style, he walked over, chatted and asked for her phone number. Her friends talked her into giving him a chance.
“I STARTED A CHAIN REACTION OF HAPPY TEARS THROUGHOUT THE GATHERING.”
With two busy, conflicting schedules, it was a while before they met again. Shanna brought her mother along on one of their early dates. “My mom and I are such good friends that I wasn’t going to waste a second dating someone she didn’t care for,” she says, but Justin passed the test.
Two years later, the couple found themselves in Aspen, where it was snowing so hard, that they were not sure they should venture out. Braving the elements anyway, they joined friends at the St. Regis for drinks. Standing outside surrounded by mountains in the gently falling snow and the warming glow of the fire pits, the couple took a picture together.
As Shanna turned to go inside, Justin touched her arm and went down on one knee. “He never officially proposed,” says Shanna jokingly, “because before he said a word he started crying. It was an implied proposal.” The savvy groom-to-be had a photographer surreptitiously follow them around all evening, documenting the majestic setting and the auspicious moment.
Shanna was determined to create a loving wedding event for family and friends. She searched destinations, until she saw a picture of The Plaza in New York City. Not only was the venue beautiful and iconic, but the destination would offer her guests the sights, sounds and energy of the city in their down time.
To honor her father’s heritage, the celebration kicked off with a Thursday night Pakistani-themed event for 120 family and friends. The wedding party, as well as many guests, were dressed in traditional garb. Authentic Pakistani food and dancers, henna-painted macaroons, a bangle bar andtake-home spices all added to the detailed ambiance.
Friday morning, a small group of women headed to Tiffany & Co. to bond and try on jewelry. There, Shanna’s mom purchased a gift to surprise her daughter before her wedding. The diamond bird of paradise brooch was pinned to the bridal bouquet.
Not wanting to leave anyone out, Shanna and Justin welcomed all 300 guests to their version of a rehearsal dinner on board a yacht on the Hudson River. The art deco influenced evening featured gold and beaded headpieces for everyone and a magician as part of the entertainment.
The very “spiritual” ceremony took place early Saturday evening. Shanna floated down the aisle on the arm of her father. “I could feel him beaming beside me and I felt I was in heaven,” she says. Justin watched as she approached, crying the entire time. “I started a chain reaction of happy tears throughout the gathering,” he says.
During the whirlwind reception, Shanna remembers noting the love on the faces of friends and family. “We wanted everyone to feel cherished,” she says. “It was all about people feeling our affection and appreciation for making this ‘journey’ with us.”
The next day, the entire group was invited to brunch at Todd English Hall at The Plaza to wrap up the celebratory weekend.
Shanna and Justin honeymooned at the Viceroy in Anguilla where they took long walks on the beach, watched beautiful sunsets and made new friends. According to Shanna, their final evening ended with a bang. “After dinner we looked up and there were fireworks,” says Shanna, “It was the perfect way to start the next chapter of our lives together.”
Pakistani Party Location: Glass Houses New York, NY; Pakistani Party Caterer: Great Performances New York, NY; Pakistani & Yacht Party Cake: Creme Delicious New York, NY; Yacht Party Caterer: Olivier Cheng Catering and Events New York, NY; Wedding Location: The Plaza New York, NY;
Wedding Caterer: CPS Events At The Plaza New York, NY; Wedding Cake: Sylvia Weinstock Cakes New York, NY; Planner: JZ Events New York, NY; Floral and Event Design: Ed Libby & Company Events, Inc. New York, NY; Photography: Christian Oth Studio, New York, NY; Stationery: Lehr & Black Los Angeles, CA; Ceremony Dress: Pnina Tornai exclusively at Kleinfeld New York, NY; Reception Dress: Inbal Dror; Bridal Salon for Reception Dress: Dimitra’s Bridal Chicago, IL; Bride’s Shoes: Christian Louboutin and Rene Caovilla; Men’s Fashion and Shoes: Armani; Hair: Nikki Avanzino Hair Stylist New York, NY; Makeup: Ashlee Glazer New York, NY