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Meet me in Marrakech

Posted by on Mar 29, 2013 in Entertaining & Inspirations | No Comments

A few weeks ago myself and several colleagues had lunch with a representative from Royal Mansour in Marrakech.  Deemed the most opulent and extravagant hotel in the world, it was completely hand crafted (every stone, every mosaic, every carving) in Marrakech.  There are no “rooms” at this one of a kind resort- only a series of Riads, or homes away from home, each equipped with it’s own rooftop pool and, of course butler service. Of course, public spaces for an exotic wedding or rehearsal dinner abound, as does fine dining in any of their 3 eating establishments.

Royal Mansour

Riad rooftop Pool at Royal MansourMarrakech, beyond the Royal Mansour is becoming quite the destination, and would make an amazing locale for a destination wedding with an array of new hotels at various price points, tons of public spaces that can be tented for larger affairs and a quick trip from Paris by plane. And while lots of the locations seem lovely, there is truly only one Royal Mansour. Royal Mansour (courtyard)

Bedroom with hand carving at Royal MansourWe were offered two nights at this property should we find ourselves in Marrakech…. I have made it my mission to get there this year.  It’s one of the challenges of running a small business: I never take official vacations (or, rarely).

MarrakechSo, I am putting it out into the Universe that this year, I will be going to Paris and Marrakech for a holiday!  I don’t yet know exactly when, but I’m doing it.   Perhaps you’ll want to add this amazing locale to your trip list as well?  (Images courtesy Royal Mansour and Vogue)

WPW: The Laws of Attraction in Business

Posted by on Mar 27, 2013 in Industry Advice | No Comments

Some food for thought today on Wedding Pro Wednesday:  A few years ago, we were struggling through the Great Recession and had a very fateful lunch with Sean Low where he, unceremoniously but, very nicely told us that our list of services read like a Diner menu… too many options and certainly not elegant.  It was a pivotal point for us because it forced us to examine what we were putting out there: certainly we were attracting brides on budgets but it had never occurred to us that we were putting out there that we were a brand for brides on a budget.  And yet, with fresh eyes, we could totally see that was what we were putting out there.  We made a lot of changes.

Over the next few years I’ve noticed that it isn’t just your service offerings and “packages” that attract certain kinds of clients, but the law of attraction is very powerful in other ways as well.  Vendors who are constantly exasperated and frustrated with their businesses seem surprised when they find themselves with a roster of  impatient, frustrated bridezillas.  Similarly, vendors who sell themselves in iron clad, black and white terms with no room for flexibility are shocked when they find themselves with rigid, “by the books” clients wanting insurance that everything at the wedding will go exactly as they had in their minds.   Quite literally we tend to reap clients with the same energy that we sow.

If you are unhappy with your clientele, it’s a good time to ask if you are happy with your business the way it looks now.  What is your business putting out there?  What are YOU putting out there?  How can you either change that energy or cultivate more of it?

We Support Marriage Equality

Posted by on Mar 26, 2013 in Blog | No Comments

Here’s hoping our Supreme Court will as well.

“If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in government to the utmost.”- Aristotle

Magic Carpet Ride

Posted by on Mar 25, 2013 in Decor & Details | No Comments

One of my favorite parts of attracting such creative clients is that they sometimes make requests that seem, at first, unnecessary but ultimately open my eyes up to new things. One perfect example: the perfect carpet. Last fall we worked on a project at the a very large and empty mansion on the Upper East Side. The groom’s decorator was looking over our plans and said “We need at least 3 carpets don’t you think? But what styles?” We ended up with two rented vintage Turkish rugs and, when we couldn’t find the perfect, perfect rentable carpet, we just bought a patterned sisal. Now, don’t get me wrong, I hunted for months for the two perfect area rugs for my apartment when I redecorated the Dollhouse last year, but I don’t know that on my own prior to this, I had realized how much impact the RIGHT carpet and the right placement can have at an event. Of course, for a wedding a few weeks after this one was to take place, we just HAD to add in carpets all around the cocktail tent. And, early next month at the Bride’s Live Wedding…well, there will be a magic carpet or two at the reception.
So, I thought I would get your brains churning with some inspiring images of carpet use. With rugs at Ikea going for as little as $50, it’s a small cost center with big impact!

Obviously, if you are going for a Moroccan look, obviously the rugs are key! Here is a grand scale version from a blog that didn’t credit the event designer.. Sorry!
Rugs, Morrocan style.

And of course, assorted rugs can add to a laid back, bohemian feeling. I love this carpeted aisle runner (though, the practical Patty in me is concerned about people tripping and wants to remind you to please be sure to tack down your carpets, or use carpet pads in indoor spaces.)Image via ilovefarmweddings.com
Carpeted Aisle Runner

Rugs need not always be Bohemian, of course. I love this graphic, green and white carpet in this lounge vingette. Via The Knot
Graphic Carpets, summer weddings
Finally, while it’s become commonplace to set up some indoor furniture outdoors, why not add a carpet. There is something so “finished” about a furniture vignette when it’s pulled together with the proper carpet and, of course, the juxtaposition of the area rug and grass takes that ethereal dreamy feel of the outdoor living room to the next level!. (Image via The Natural Wedding Co)

Offset your outdoor living room with carpets.
So, if you are looking to bring in some warmth or patterns to your reception decor, consider a few well selected rugs: under a dessert station, around your lounge, an outdoor seating area- any number of ways to utilize rugs to add another layer of detail to your event design!

The Perfect Gift for Destination Weddings

Posted by on Mar 22, 2013 in Entertaining & Inspirations | No Comments

Last year nearly every wedding that we worked on was a destination event: if not for the client, than for all of their guests. When you are taking your guests to a fabulous location, while it’s tempting to plan every moment of every day for them, people love the opportunity to explore… which is why City Guides have become a favorite welcome gift/ gift bag component for us here at AaB. A bottle of champagne, a box of Laduree, an unlimited Metrocard and a personalized city guide and you have just given your guests all the ingredients for a good time in NY (or any city for that matter!).

For those who want to encourage their guests off the beaten path, we love the Not For Tourists Guide. They cover about a dozen cities, including London and the more exotic Brooklyn- and they are fabulously pocket sized.
NFT Guidebooks
For the couple whose guest lists are less Hipster and more Luxe… well, look no further than the Luxe City Guides. They are available with personalized paper sleeves, or custom boxes and they cover more than 36 cities including Beijing and Stockholm and Budapest. And, they also sell boxed sets for all you international couples of mystery who want to gift guests guides on all your favorite cities.
Luxe City Guides
Remember, great welcome bags make happy guests, so gift thoughtfully!