Real Weddings 2016: Inside a three-day, two-venue, multicultural nuptial extravaganza
Marissa and Moez Kassam almost lost out on the wedding of their dreams. Marissa, the VP of philanthropy for RBC Capital Markets, and Moez, a hedge fund manager and founder of the Anson Group, wanted to have a three-day party to accommodate their cultural backgrounds (she’s Jewish, he’s Indian). They spend months planning the ceremonies: an Indian sangeet (night-before party) set for April 7 at the GH Johnson Warehouse, a Muslim ceremony the next day at Casa Loma, and a Jewish wedding the day after that back at the warehouse. Eight days before the first party, they found out they’d lost the warehouse due to permitting issues. Moez tried calling city counsellors to rectify the problem, but their meetings were delayed by Rob Ford’s funeral on March 30. Then their industrious wedding planner, Jeffrey Roick of McNabb Roick, set to work. He scouted out a wing of the Toronto Star offices as a backup venue and transformed the cavernous space—all concrete and fluorescent lighting—into a lavish, Bollywood-inspired space for a boisterous sangeet on Thursday. On Friday, the couple had an intimate nikkah—a traditional Islamic wedding ceremony—for 300 at Casa Loma, giving Roick time to flip the Toronto Star space into a black-and-white ballroom for the party on Saturday.
Date: April 7, 8 and 9, 2016
Photography: Erin Leydon
Bride’s Dress: Lanvin Couture, Mischief Boutique, Razia Collection
Flowers: Mimi & Ry
Groom’s Attire: Ermenegildo Zegna
Hair and Makeup: Gee Beauty
Venue: Casa Loma, Toronto Star building
Caterer: The Host, Mark McEwan and Sash Simpson of North 44 Catering
Late-night food: Burger’s Priest
Music: DJ K Square, the St. Royals Superband, Matra Entertainment
Invitations: Video invitations by David Keystone
Planner: Jeffry Roick (McNabb Roick), Alisha C. Sanghera (Zardozi Events)
Guests: 500 on the first and third nights, 300 on the second.
Marissa had her dress for Thursday night’s sangeet made by hand. She and Moez, centre, are pictured here with his parents (Meenaz and Mo Kassam, left) and hers (Monelle and Alan Siegal, right)
The couple hired dancer (and former Canada’s Got Talent contestant) Chase Constantino to choreograph a Bollywood dance number for Marissa’s bridesmaids—which included her sister, centre, as maid of honour. Sanskriti Kumar choreographed a performance for Moez’s groomsmen. About a dozen routines were performed in total.
Marissa and Moez had their own routine, choreographed by Megan Leach. Alisha Sanghera of Oakville’s Zardozi Events coordinated the sangeet in conjunction with Roick.
Thursday night’s Bollywood-themed party featured food stations catered by The Host, a rickshaw photo booth, plus a braid bar, bangle bar and and henna bar.
Dr. Aziz Sachedina performed Friday night’s nikkah ceremony at Casa Loma. He’s a professor of Islamic studies from George Mason University in Virginia.
The ceremony was followed by a formal seated dinner for 350.
That night’s party featured live entertainment from the Wannabe, a Spice Girls cover band. It was a complete surprise to Marissa, who jumped onstage and joined the group.
On Saturday, the couple had a second marriage ceremony, this time performed by a Jewish cantor.
The party afterwards incorporated several traditional elements, including a hora for Moez and Marissa, as well as both of their parents.
Moez’s friends surprised him with an appearance from professional wrestler “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, who was in the city the day of the party.
Moez loves gourmet dining: he’s a judge for Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants and sits on the Taste Toronto Steering Committee. He enlisted Mark McEwan’s North 44 Catering for Saturday night’s black-and-white affair—and McEwan himself showed up to cook dinner, which included this beef tenderloin. Charlie’s Burgers, a members-only dinner and wine club, did wine pairings. (The couple also created an Instagram account just for the wedding festivities under the handle “TheMunchings.”)
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An earlier version of this story identified Chris Constantino as one of the choreographers hired for Moez and Marissa's wedding. In fact, the choreographer's name is Chase Constantino.