A Chicago-based luxury wedding design firm takes its talent on the road with the launch of a division for remote destination weddings.
When we spoke, Rishi Patel had just returned to Chicago from the East Coast, where he’d led a team of 180 in decor for the wedding of Jennifer Gates and Nayel Nassar; he was leaving again shortly for a consultation in Big Sky, Mont. It’s the new normal for the HMR Designs (hmrdesigns.com) CEO, as the Chicago-based firm expands its presence nationally with the launch of HMR Destinations in 2022.
“A lot of ultraluxury events happening in the U.S. are in remote destinations, or locations where there is no infrastructure,” Patel says. “So not only are you bringing things in, but you’re also working in very tricky spaces.” He welcomes the challenge: Patel’s team has erected tents on the side of a mountain, constructed the whole facade of a house and built a man-made pond, among other feats.
The process begins with a site visit. “With these projects there’s a lot of unknown,” Patel says. “You have to get out there to see what it is.” Then the team builds out a digital design deck to present to the client. “It starts very broad and gets narrow and specific as we get closer to the event.”
Speaking of specifics, here are some from recent weddings Patel has produced across the U.S.: In Cape Cod, he used 25,000 hydrangeas, grown by a Dutch farmer to the exact shade of blue desired; in Kansas City, Mo., he incorporated 175,000 red roses into a vibrant Indian wedding; and in Montana, his team installed 8,000 red, white and blue beer cans to form a monogrammed stage backdrop.
These installs are no small feat: HMR brings a team of floral designers, carpenters, graphic designers, electricians and artisans; for the Gates-Nassar wedding, there were 60 floral designers alone. “It takes a village,” Patel says. “At the end of the day, we want to do events that are amazing and interesting and keep us creative. And [we want to] work for great people—those are the two most important things.”
HMR Designs CEO Rishi Patel on-site for a wedding at Chatham Bars Inn in Cape Cod, the install for which included more than 25,000 blue hydrangeas and a chic, sunflower-centric cocktail hour. PHOTO BY: EMMA KUSKE
Chairs were arranged in a checkerboard pattern for this ceremony in Palm Springs. PHOTO BY: ERIC KELLEY PHOTOGRAPHY
An open ceremony canopy highlighted the stellar mountain view in Aspen. PHOTO BY: JAMES X SCHULZE/ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF HMR DESIGNS
Photography by: TOP PHOTO BY ANÉE ATELIER/COURTESY OF HMR DESIGNS