Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Planning a wedding in 4 weeks!

After watching last week's episode of “Bethenny Getting Married?” all I could think of was saving my family jewels. With one week into planning the stress was already beginning to take its toll on me. That coupled with the fact that Bethenny was beginning to turn into the ever feared Bridezilla!

I've said it before that I can do a lot of things, but I can't move mountains and I can't make things just magically happen. If I could do that I would be retired on an island and we would never be having this discussion. I think Bethenny thought that I should have the entire wedding planned after our first meeting. And you have no idea how hard I busted my butt after that first meeting to get vendors lined up. Most were either booked or not willing to work on a Sunday (being their only day off). I begged and called in every possible favor I could. But by the time I saw Bethenny at the hair salon for her trial I still didn't have confirmation on most of the vendors. Time was ticking and so was Bethenny's patience. And who can blame a bride to be with just three weeks until her wedding. She was getting nervous the wedding details wouldn’t get pulled together. I knew they would, but convincing her was another story. She wasn't willing to give up control and nothing I would say would change that.

When it came to her hair trial at the salon I sensed Bethenny wasn't having a good day and that she couldn't shake it. Boy was I right. She was very dismissive and quite frankly acted as if she didn't want me there. She lashed out at me and began to suck the life out of me just like a Dementor from Harry Potter! By the time I left that day I was drained both mentally and physically. The worst part was that the journey of planning a wedding (her wedding) in four short weeks had just begun! Honestly, I wasn't sure if I should continue…I am pretty nice person and getting beat up wasn't something I signed up for. After thinking about it, I was bound and determined not to give up. I was going to plan her wedding and plan it to the point where it would blow her socks off!

You have no idea how hard I worked to get the Four Seasons to say "yes"…how I made that happen will forever remain a secret (to both you and I). To be honest I don't know if they said yes because I called 20 times a day or if it was the fact that I was willing to do ANYTHING and made that perfectly clear! Even sleep with Julian…Every time I think of that I puke in my mouth a bit…

I knew Bethenny had to have her wedding there and if I didn't come through I would be finished. That was something I wasn't willing to risk. When I got the call from them that they would accommodate her wedding I was jumping out of my skin with delight and I just had to tell Bethenny in person! Getting the cotton candy was my little way of hopefully smoothing things over (let's be honest I wanted to kiss her ass and make her love me!) and breaking the news that she had her venue. Her dream was beginning to come true…

There was of course the run in with Cookie (aka Kujo). I am dog lover and in fact have two myself. I can usually tame the most fierce dogs, but not Cookie. I am sure she is a really nice dog, but seriously she has issues and not just with me. She has serious mental issues, I am not a puppy-cologist but if I had to guess in one word she is jealous! It used to just be Bethenny…then Julie came into the picture, and then Jason, and then Max. This all may be too much for that little dog to handle…all I have to say is she better get a grip because she is in for a serious wakeup call when the baby arrives.

After leaving Bethenny's that day I felt better about working with her. This was a challenge and one that I wasn't willing to fail. I knew in my heart of hearts that I was pulling out all the stops, that I was working my ass off and that regardless of the mountains I had to climb in the next few weeks I would succeed. The question was, did Bethenny feel the same?

Tune in on Thursday, July 1st at 10pm / 9c on Bravo TV to see more wedding drama unfold

Monday, June 21, 2010

"Bethenny Getting Married?"... Can She Trust Me?

When Bethenny’s assistant Julie called me it was about four weeks until the wedding day. I believe Julie found me on the; she looked at my web site, interviewed me over the phone and said she would set up a meeting for Bethenny to come to my office.  Before we hung up she said, “Oh there’s one more thing” this will all be filmed for Bethenny’s new reality show.

When she called I was shocked that I was even in the running to be Bethenny’s planner.  In the back of my head I was doing cartwheels.  I knew who Bethenny was from watching Martha Stewarts’ Apprentice and The Real Housewives of New York City.  I knew this was a great opportunity and I knew I would have my hands full.  However, when I found out it would all be filmed for her reality show it made me do a double take.  After hanging up the phone and talking with my partner Michael, I told him I didn’t think I would do it.  It was enough to plan a wedding in a short four weeks, but to be put under the microscope of TV was pushing my comfort limits.  I wasn’t sure if I was ready for something like this.

Michael and I chatted for what seemed like hours, I “slept on it” and next thing I knew Bethenny was in my office for our first meeting.  It was too good of an opportunity to pass up, it was a challenge and I knew if I could plan her wedding successfully in four weeks I could anything.

When Bethenny walked through my front door, it hit me and nerves took over.  Normally I don’t get nervous when I meet celebrities; I have always told myself that they are people who just happen to be in the spot light.  They put their pants on one leg at time, just like me.  As my father says…”their poo stinks too”…This was different, it was Bethenny Frankel one of the most loved housewives in the franchise history!  I knew she would say what was on her mind and not hold back; after all, that IS who Bethenny is. She tells it like it is, thus my nervousness.  I don’t always say the right things when I get nervous.  I become an idiot…not the most professional thing when planning a celeb wedding.

Julie had given me very little information about the wedding, so I had no idea what Bethenny wanted.  Due to her tight schedule we only had about 45 minutes in our first meeting together to discuss what normally would take two hours.  Further, she informed me that our time together in the coming weeks would be limited because she was trying to finish her book (amongst other projects she had on her plate).  As a wedding planner I really take pride in getting to know my clients, this comes with spending time with them.  It doesn’t come in 45 minutes, it takes weeks.  On average my clients are with me ten to thirteen months from contract until the wedding day. I had four weeks.  Already I was at a disadvantage in knowing who Bethenny really was, what her exact taste was, what she liked and what she didn’t like.

The meeting was off to a great start, I was being honest when I said I had never planned a wedding in four weeks, two months yes, four weeks NO. Several years prior I had been to The Four Seasons Restaurant to scout it out for another client, but I had never heard of the “famous” cotton candy.  Then there was the question that brought everything to a screeching halt.  Had I ever seen their cotton candy…, nope.  One thing I admire about Bethenny is she knows when someone is BS’ing her.  And she called me out without hesitation.  I will admit this was not the best way to earn a clients trust.

I do indeed come from the school of “yes”; I do not come from the school of “no”.  I rarely tell a client “no”, rather, I will tell them yes, then investigate and I work hard to make their request happen.  After all it is their wedding day.  I think the nerves of meeting Bethenny and only having so much limited time with her I mistakenly gave her the wrong answer.  I quickly realized I screwed up and it would take a great deal of work to regain that trust.

When the meeting concluded I had mixed feelings on how it went, but I had little time to worry about the rights and wrongs that took place.  I had to quickly find Bethenny and Jason a venue.  After much searching there was slim pickings, most venues were booked or were outside of Bethenny and Jason’s budget.  In my gut I knew the loft (white warehouse) was not what she wanted, but I couldn’t tell her there was nothing.  The loft was available, we could make it work within her budget and we could create a very classy New York City wedding.  The moment we walked through the door I knew this wasn’t for her.  She didn’t “love it”, she wasn’t glowing and I knew showing her the loft was a big mistake.  Again, my hands were tied…there were not a lot of options. When we sat down she made it perfectly clear that loft wasn’t for her.  For a product launch maybe, for her wedding, no!  Yet another strike! Although she didn’t say it, I could tell she was getting nervous that she hired me.

Prior to the site visit with Bethenny I had heard rumors she had limited family.  However, I didn’t know to what extent.  So often a client comes through my door and I have to ask are they a product of divorce, has a parent passed?  As a planner this is never easy, you’re sitting there discussing what should be a very happy time and then I have to bring it all down by asking about something so difficult.  Why do I have to ask these things?  Because there are so many things that are related to family when it comes to weddings. Who will walk you down the aisle? Will you do the Father/Daughter Dance or the Mother / Son Dance? Will dad be giving the champagne toast?  As your planner I also like to bring in personal tid-bits to make the occasion more special such as using heirlooms like a brooch in the bouquet, or a father’s handkerchief in a boutonniere or pocket square.

Yes, Bethenny did mention that she had “No Family”.  Was it that she was orphaned and literally had no family or was it that she just didn’t talk to her family?  Very often someone’s definition is different than yours.  So when I asked if she had heirlooms, that was obviously another strike.  In my mind, just because you have no family doesn’t mean you don’t have heirlooms.  How was I to know she had no heirlooms? How was I to know she wanted to forget her past? Perhaps it was none of my business and I should have left sleeping dogs lie. However, my job as a planner is to make my clients wedding as personal as possible.

When we left the loft Bethenny wanted to take me to the Four Seasons because she felt I just wasn’t getting it.  It’s not that I wasn’t getting it, it was that I had previously called the Four Seasons and was they only do one wedding a weekend and that Saturday was already booked, but they might be able to work something out for Sunday…the key word was “might”.  Julian was clear he would make no promises. 

When we walked into the Four Seasons it was obvious Bethenny had her mind made up, she wanted only one thing and that was to get married at The Four Seasons Restaurant.  She was not taking no for an answer.  That meeting was one of the most uncomfortable meetings I have had in my professional career.  You clearly see the stress and the uncomfortable feeling all over my face. She was adamant she had to have the restaurant no matter what the cost, no matter what I had to do to get it.  I think there was even chatter that I should sleep with Julian.  For me, that was NOT an option! 

With the time crunch of finding a venue and with all cards laid on the table I was no longer coming from the school of yes.  I was being honest when I said I would see what I could do, but I made no promises.  However, after our visit it was clear I had to make this happen and it was clear that if I didn’t “she would rip my balls off”.

When it came to the wedding dress, Bethenny wanted something classic that would show off the “bump” She wanted to embrace the bump and why not?  She was pregnant after all, a product of the love she and Jason felt.   When I met Carol, Jason’s mom, I immediately saw the joy she was feeling. She clearly embraced Bethenny and she clearly was a beaming mother in law to be and a grandmother to be.  There was love and it showed.  Bethenny was at ease in Carol’s presence and Carol was obviously the mother and family that Bethenny never had.  It was at that moment that I was able to know Bethenny just a bit more.  My nerves were settling.

And when Bethenny put on that dress, we all knew it was the right one, Bethenny, Carol, Amsale and I.  It was perfect and I finally understood Bethenny’s style and taste.  This was a clear moment for me and I had hoped the experience we shared would make the experience for both of us moving forward a bit easier.

What we covered in the first week we would normally cover in a month or two, and it was clear the wedding planning was taking its toll on Bethenny.  It was also clear I had to step up more than I ever had before.  For any critic out there, I challenge you to plan a wedding in four weeks, to get to know your client inside and out in 45 minutes and make absolutely no mistakes.  I challenge you to put your name on the chopping block, not many would do it, and it was way too late for me to turn back.

I may have been off to a rocky start, but I knew in my heart I was ready for the task at hand, I knew I was going to do a fabulous job and in no way was I going to let the stress win.

Two strikes for sure was there a third on the way.  Only time would tell if I could regain Bethenny’s trust...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

New Summer Cocktail - The Blueberry Tart

With the first day of Summer almost here I thought it was time to share the recipe for one of my favorite signature cocktails.  The blueberry tart is a light, fun drink that is perfect for those hot Summer afternoons, plus, it is really easy to make.  The recipe is below, try it out and enjoy!

Blueberry Tart Recipe

- 2 Parts Stoli Blueberry Vodka
- 1 Part Sour Mix
- 1 Part Club Soda
Bamboo Cocktail Picks
Fresh Blueberries
Ice Tea Glass

Fill Ice Tea Glass with ice.  Pour ingredients into glass and stir.  Place blueberries on the cocktail pick and use to garnish the glass.  ENJOY!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Expert tips on selecting a photographer from Elizabeth Beskin, President of Fifth Avenue Digital

10 Important Tips to Remember When Choosing a Photographer for Your Special Event!

There are a few things to keep in mind when planning photography for your special day. You will only get to make this important decision once. When the wedding or other special event is over, the pictures are one of the few things that remain, apart from the dress and the rings. The photography is there to remind you of all the fond memories of the day, the intricate details you planned and of course all of the emotion.

Here are the top 10 things to consider when choosing your wedding photographer:

1. Every photographer has his or her own unique style. Look for a style of photography that "speaks" to you. A good wedding photographer should have the ability to really capture mood, emotion, and sentiment within his photographs. The shots shouldn't just sit there; they should move you in some way. They should provoke a reaction within you, whether you’re looking for romantic shots, a fashion-forward portrait session, outrageous candids or artistic photojournalism. You’ll probably find yourself drawn repeatedly to a certain style, which will help you define the style of photographer you want for your occasion.

2. Question the photographers about their styles. What sets them apart? How do they approach the wedding? Do they enjoy shooting weddings and events or are they really a fashion photographer or journalist making extra money for now? You want someone that loves everything about weddings: the romance, the fashion, the emotion and the traditions. Make sure you trust them enough to create something special for you.

3. If you are working with a studio or a company that has multiple shooters, ask to meet the photographer that you will be spending your important day with. Make sure this person is someone you would like at your wedding. You may spend more time with them than family and friends on your wedding day. Is the chemistry right? You want to be on the same page and click with them!

4. How much experience does the photographer have? This is probably the most important question. It’s very easy these days to find someone with a website and an inexpensive camera who will offer to shoot your event for a small fee. Experience matters! You have thought out every other detail about your occasion; don’t leave this one to chance.

5. Don’t judge photographers’ work by their website alone. If your interest in a particular photographer is serious, ask to see an entire job. It’s relatively easy to find a few outstanding shots in every job. Photographers today sometimes shoot over 2000 images at a single wedding. Make sure you see a large number of outstanding shots within one job, and consider how many images you need to go through to find those killer moments. You want the photographer’s images to reflect the caliber of work you expect, with each and every wedding they’ve already shot.

6. What kind of lighting do they use? When photographers say they shoot portraits using natural light, this is another way of saying, “I don’t own portrait lighting.” This works fine if you are planning an outdoor wedding or will be doing portraits near a window, but if you are having your portraits done mostly in a ballroom, or in any other indoor location, you need portrait lights! Even if your wedding is outdoors, it never hurts to be prepared.
7. Ask about backup equipment. Again, if you get a blank stare you know they are not prepared to shoot your wedding. They should have at least two cameras for each photographer and multiple lenses and flashes. This sounds trivial but digital cameras do fail. There are many photographers who do not have sufficient gear to shoot weddings, so make sure to ask what they use.

8. Ask your photographer if they have a backup program on their hard drives. Digital photographers rely on hard drives to archive your images. Anyone with a computer will know that computers frequently have problems. If they give you a blank stare or can’t explain how they store their images, then you know they are unprepared. Your photographer should have your images backed up in multiple places and perhaps a copy off site. These things cost money so be prepared that photographers with good back up plans will cost more.

9. If they get sick or another emergency arises, what happens? If they can’t talk about it then they haven’t thought about it. Granted, the chances of this are rare. In my 22 years of representing photographers, it’s happened only twice. One year, a photographer’s wife went into early labor. A few years later, the death of another photographer’s father occurred the morning of a wedding. In both situations, the bride and groom preferred a focused replacement, rather than a shooter who wasn’t really focused on their day. Both were thrilled at the way it was handled. Other acceptable answers to this question: the photographer belongs to a professional organization such as PPA or WPPI which can provide a replacement or he has emergency “on call” arrangements with other professional photographers. Make sure they will replace themselves with someone of a similar style and price point. At 5th Avenue Social, we have a team of shooters that are all artistically different, but have similar work styles. Happily, photographers who work for me perform even when under the weather. Only the most extreme emergency will keep them from a job.

10. When it comes to pricing, make sure you understand what you are getting up front and that you are comparing apples to apples when evaluating different photographers’ packages. Many photographers have introductory pricing that is tied to what you buy after you see their images. They know that they can up-sell you after the wedding. Find out what you receive with the basic package, how many hours the photographer is hired for, how much the extras cost, who owns the high resolution images, and how long it will take for you get them.

And finally, one more tip for good measure:

11. Do you know anyone who has used this photographer? Can they get you a reference? Have you looked online to see what other brides say about them in reviews? Were they recommended by your other trusted vendors? Ask for references from your photographer and speak to their past clients. These are all good ways to make sure your important day is artistically covered.

Elizabeth Beskin is President of 5th Avenue Social, a high-end photography company providing talented photographers for weddings, mitzvahs and other occasions, in various price levels and styles. She also has an online album company called to help brides make an heirloom album with the images they own from their photographers

Friday, June 11, 2010

"Bethenny Getting Married?" Premier

Last night was the premier of "Bethenny Getting Married?" on Bravo and I have to tell you watching it with Bethenny, Jason, Julie, Max and the entire production crew was like an out of body experience.  Sure I've done TV before and watched myself, but never have I been on a major network like Bravo with a major celeb like Bethenny Frankel. It was surreal, rewarding, nerve racking and life changing all at the same time!

As we were watching the show I was observing Max (BF's Assistant), because like me he had not seen any of the footage from the show prior to last night.  His reactions to what he said, how he looked all were pretty much what I was feeling inside.  Embarrassed, scared and the feeling that you have no control of the content as it is shown.  You don't have the power to hit the fast forward button so all the millions of viewers don’t see your un-finest moment. And I think he knew this would forever change the way he could order coffee at the deli.

The difference between Max and I is that I don't make my "grand entrance" onto the show until next week.  And by the looks of the promos (I'm not going to lie here) I am having a bit of an "oh poop" moment as I write this.  One, because looking at my facial expressions in the promo I look like I've got a nervous tick or I'm listening to strange voices in my head.  AND two it looks like Bethenny's already having trust issues with my planning - that's never a good a thing after the first meeting. "OH POOP"

I guess what I am trying to say is that you never know how the reality of what happened is going to come off on air.  I can't speak for Max, but I think he was feeling that last night - the uncertainty of his portrayal as well as the fact that this show could potentially change his life (my life) all our lives.

Today it hit me at how huge this could be for me and how this will change my life literally in front of millions of viewers.  In case you didn't see my Facebook Fan Page or my Tweet -  Bravo's "The Dish" put out a poll to see if I look like Arrested Developments star Tony Hale who portrays Byron "Buster" Bluth. 

Personally, I think this is hysterical!  There's actually a resemblance there - Mr. Hale I do apologize and wouldn't hate you if you disagree!  My point however, never before would people (millions) write to the show and say that I look like another celebrity.  It's bizarre to me…One thing I told Max and one thing I have to remind myself is that being in the spotlight like this you have to have a thick skin.  If you don't, the viewers will eat you alive. In the past I would have freaked out at the fact that someone was taking a poll to see if I looked like some "nerd" on a TV show.  Now, I think it's an honor and really funny!

Although uncertain of my portrayal on the show I can say for sure I am excited for what opportunities "Bethenny Getting Married?" will bring my way.  I know in my heart of hearts that I am a good hard working planner, a good designer, a good person, a good friend, a good brother, a good son, a good uncle and a good husband.  I know that I worked my butt off for Bethenny and Jason and I know that I can go to bed knowing all these things and wake up and be proud of who I am and what I've accomplished.  Having worked on this was one of the best experiences of my life and I am so excited that all of you get to experience the craziness, the laughs, the frustrations and the rewards that went into planning Bethenny and Jason's wedding.  I thank you all in advance for your love and support and I hope you enjoy the next four or five episodes as much as I enjoyed filming them.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

"BGM?" airs this Thursday at 10pm/9c!

Bethenny Frankel, star of Bravo's hit reality show "The Real Housewives of New York City" has her own show "Bethenny Getting Married?" and top wedding planner Shawn Rabideau, of New York City based Shawn Rabideau Event & Design, is pleased to announce that he planned and designed her wedding!

Over the course of 10 years Shawn has had his share of wedding challenges, but did he bite off more than he can chew when he agreed to plan Bethenny's wedding in 3 short weeks? Can he help Bethenny find a venue, a band, a dress, and a wedding cake? Will she be able to have her cake and eat it too?  Or will Shawn have a meltdown like butter cream frosting in July?

Tune in for the season premiere of "Bethenny Getting Married?" on Thursday, June 10th at 10pm / 9 Central on Bravo to catch all the ups and downs that occurred while planning her wedding.

Be sure to watch, because this is a side of Shawn Rabideau you've never seen before…

Monday, June 7, 2010

World Cup Entertaining Ideas

Summertime is all about entertaining. With a successful Memorial Day Bash already under your belt, why wait until the Fourth of July to continue your summer of celebrations? The World Cup is just around the corner, and it only happens every four years, so why not gather around the boys, (and possibly some girls too), to watch this monumental event!
Because there are so many teams, and an entire month of soccer (excuse me, “football”) to watch, there are many ideas that you can come up with for your World Cup viewing party. Everyone has their favorite team, but popular team matchups include England vs. The United States, Portugal vs. Brazil, and Mexico vs. South Africa (and that’s just in round one!) If you decide to have all of the guys over for England vs. The United States, decorations and food won’t be too difficult since you can reuse some of the red, white, and blue party ideas from Memorial Day, or take your Fourth of July party ideas out for a test run. But, since that’s old news, why don’t we plan your World Cup party for Mexico vs. South Africa.
Mexico takes on South Africa in just four days, so if you aren’t ready to entertain by then, don’t worry, you can still use all of these ideas for when Mexico takes on France on June 17th. My tips for World Cup entertaining are simple and relatively quick to organize, so it would be great to get everything ready to launch this year’s big opening game. I hear it’s supposed to be a real kicker.
For parties where the crowd will mostly be centered on the television, I recommend serving fun finger foods that your guests can easily grab with one hand, while still holding onto a beer in the other. But be creative! Wings, thighs, and drumsticks are SO Super Bowl. Since you are watching Mexico take on South Africa, why not prepare some mini beef tacos, corn on the cob, and a seven-layer dip served with your favorite tortilla chips. I have a great recipe for a seven-layer dip that takes only about 15 minutes to make, so just follow these instructions below!

Ingredients you will need:
·      ½ cup chopped green onions
·      ½ cup chopped tomatoes
·      1 can of black olives
·      1 can of refried beans
·      Picante sauce
·      1 cup of your favorite salsa (mild, medium, or spicy!) or pico de gallo
·      1 cup of guacamole (home made or store bought)
·      1 container of sour cream
·      1.5 pounds of lean ground beef
·      2 cups of shredded Cheddar cheese
·      2 cups of Jack cheese

Three Easy Steps to follow:
·      In a large skillet, cook the ground beef until it is brown. Add in some Mexican taco seasoning if you would like a little extra flavor!
·      Spread the refried beans and Picante sauce on the bottom of your serving dish and sprinkle 1 cup of cheddar and 1 cup of jack cheese on top of the beans. Sprinkle the beef on top of the cheese. Then add a layer of sour cream, a layer of guacamole, a layer of salsa, and the remaining cheddar and jack cheese. Finally, sprinkle your olives, tomatoes, and green onions on top!
·      Your seven layer dip is ready to serve! It’s easy enough huh? Or, if you like to prepare things ahead of time, which I do, place the dip in the refrigerator over night and serve cold or at room temperature when your guests arrive!

Instead of serving in one large dish that everyone has to fight over, use this recipe and serve in individual jars like show below! If your guests don’t finish their dip, they can take it home to enjoy later!
All of these items can be prepared in advance, which is important so you won’t be cooped up in the kitchen and miss all of the action. There are endless ideas for Mexican “tapas” that you can serve, so have fun with it and ask your guests beforehand what some of their favorite Mexican dishes are so you can serve them!
Speaking of beer, instead of serving traditional Budweiser or Coors Light, try serving some unique microbrews or beers from the country you are rooting for. To take the pressure off of you, the host, ask your guests to bring their favorite microbrew. You will be surprised how many different beers from around the world you will be trying! For this party in particular, Mexico has some great beers such as Pacifico, Dos XX Amber, Dos XX Lager, Tecate, and Corona….so I am sure you will have a wide variety of beers for your guests to enjoy! In addition to beer, make sure to have plenty of waters and sodas on hand for those guests who prefer not to drink.
It wouldn’t be a sports viewing party without a little bit of harmless gambling. Set up a friendly bet, and whoever wins, gets to sport a pair of these great limited edition Havaiana’s World Cup Sandals. Nothing says bragging rights better then some stylish footwear. But hurry! These sandals are going fast and only available at Barney’s NY. Stop in a store or grab them here at this link

Overall don’t forget to have fun with this! Watching the World Cup with your buddies should be fun, casual, and relaxed. No matter what your budget is or how many people you plan on having over, don’t miss out on all of the excitement by slaving away in the kitchen all day!  After all, you are part of the party as well!

The first round of games starts June 10th! So get to planning!

For more information on game times and team matchups, visit the Official World Cup Website at

Thursday, June 3, 2010

"Wednesday's Wedding" - Andrew and Rob

I have a FABULOUS wedding to showcase this week! This past Memorial Day weekend, I designed and planned my second gay wedding for a fantastic couple, Andrew and Rob, and their 75 guests from all around the world, at The Mandarin Oriental here in New York City! Guests came from far off international locations such as London, Italy, Germany, and domestic locations as well such as California, Florida, and Virginia, all to honor the union of this great couple. We began the planning process for Andrew and Rob last August and after a lot of detail and hard work in the making, I can finally show you the finished product!

Festivities started with a family dinner on Friday night at Porterhouse in the Time Warner Building and a welcome reception at the Library Lounge at the Hudson Hotel, with Jeff Grow, an amazing illusionist! Saturday was the big day, and while we were setting up the two grooms were being pampered getting manicures, pedicures, facials, and massages at the spa inside the Mandarin Oriental. Now, that’s my idea of getting ready for your wedding! The event filled weekend concluded with a Sunday goodbye brunch at MObar, a chic and trendy bar, also in the Mandarin Oriental.
As you may gather this was not your typical wedding. We started with doing the ceremony on the dance floor! Very nontraditional and unique! Reverend Alma Daniel officiated the ceremony, combining the two religions of the couples, using a unity candle with the moms for the Protestant side, and breaking of glasses for the Jewish side. Immediately after the ceremony concluded, the couple went into their first dance, followed by a dance with the mothers and their sons, and then into a full dance set with music provided by a DJ from Total Entertainment! An easy transition into the reception portion of the evening!
A bunch of different elements went into creating this wedding for Andrew and Rob, including all of the décor details. We branded the night with the couple’s first initials in the form of an AR logo, very American bandstand-esque. Well at least we tried to! The liquid dance floor and ice luge were decorated with the AR logo, which became a main focal point of the room. We were also supposed to have custom napkins with the logo, but darn UPS messed things up! Oh well, as they say in showbiz, “the show must go on!” and this party definitely went on beautifully without the personalized napkins! Can’t sweat the small stuff!
Another element of the party was the custom linens and lighting design. The linens were specially made for Andrew and Rob in their color scheme of platinum, blue and brown. Adding specialty linens provides a personal touch to your reception, and something that guests will be sure to notice! In addition to the linens, Andrew and Rob decided on having all brown leather chairs, instead of your typical chivari chair that you see at most weddings. This special detail added an extra touch of character with a masculine touch to the already fabulous space.
One of the best décor elements was the hotels sweeping views of Central Park from the 36th floor ballroom; but we kicked things up a notch with lighting designed by Robert Stark Lighting. When it comes to event design I am a HUGE fan of lighting to help create the ambiance within the room. The lighting was all done in shades of blue to highlight all aspects of the room, while the drapery and columns were lit in red to provide a stark contrast to the blues in the room. We also pin-spotted all of the tables in order to make a nightclub feel. Lighting like this adds different depths and textures to the room creating that lounge club feel we were looking for.
Now onto the flowers, one of my personal favorites of any wedding! For the floral centerpieces we used a variety of khaki’s and blues to stay consistent with Andrew and Rob’s color scheme. We created the beautiful tall arrangements that included roses, soft blue hydrangea, calla lilies, and orchids. The vases were a lot of fun, not typical, standard cylinder vases that you see at most weddings. As you may have noticed we left the tables looking empty due in part to the fact that there was open seating which allowed for people to roam and graze the party. This only works when you have food stations for guests to mix and mingle. This combined with the numerous lounge areas created height and depth within the room.
As you all know, no party, at least no party of mine, is complete without a specialty cocktail. For Andrew and Rob, their specialty cocktail of choice was a Manhattan. Very appropriate for the location! Wine was also served at the reception from all of Andrew and Rob’s favorite California wineries right from their own personal wine library.
A favorite of both the guests and myself was the amazing cake designed by Charm City Cakes, you know, that awesome group of cake designers like Duff who are featured on The Food Network’s "Ace of Cakes"! As you can see, the cake symbolized all of the places that Andrew and Rob have traveled to around the world. Some of the locations included Russia, London, Paris, Rome, Greece, India, and finally Andrew and Rob in New York City standing in front of the Empire State Building about to board a jet plane! Below the globe was an exact replica of the couple’s TUMI Luggage. This work of delicious chocolate art was extremely detailed down to the patches on Andrew’s sports coat. A fun element that all the guests enjoyed!
And now for the greatest surprise of the evening was the performance by the Screaming Queens. Maurice, the magnificent main performer, came out with his back up dancers and performed Cabaret to entertain the crowd! The Screaming Queens then went on to perform some of Rob’s favorite songs, like London Town! Later on in the evening “Lady Gaga” made a special appearance surprising all of the guests! After the performances guests continued to dance the night away with their brown and blue boas.
A lot of elements went into planning Rob and Andrew’s wedding extravaganza, but we had a blast and really enjoyed it as a team. I even learned a creative wedding tip from the client which was to ask the venue to have rolled up wet towels that are freezer cold so when the party gets hot you can cool down!
A special thanks to 5th Avenue Digital for all of the photographs!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Shawn's Suggestions

Have you all set your DVR's yet????? If not, I highly suggest that you put in "Bethenny Getting Married?" which is airing on Bravo ONE WEEK from today, Thursday, June 10th at 10:00/9:00c.!!!! I was so fortunate to be her wedding planner, so stay tuned to see all the fun and excitement we had planning her wedding!

Don't forget!