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What Will Jennifer Wear?

Posted by on Jul 15, 2013 in Style | No Comments

I don’t really keep up with celebrities, unless, of course their name is anything Kardashian, or Kate Upton (but only because now I’ve hung out with her…).  However, I do have a soft spot in my heart for Jennifer Aniston.  I know that there is no possible way that she is really the unlucky sad sack that the tabloids have painted her to be over the years, BUT I do think she’s kissed A LOT of frogs, and to that I can relate… of course Jennifer’s frogs are all richer and more attractive than my frogs.. but you know what? She’s older than me, so maybe there’s still time for improvement…

Anyway, I am very happy that she’s found this guy and seems nice and stable and can happily get coffee all over New York City without combing her hair and smoke all the weed she wants with Justin Theroux.  She seems REALLY happy. Like, really.  I have been staring at her in magazines for years and seriously, she seems to be in love with someone deserving of her love.

So, I was thrilled to see one of the most popular articles on Bride’s website were sketches from various designers of what they imagined Jennifer would wear to her wedding. Since her style is so minimalist and low-key elegant, I picked my favorites and put them below, but there are MORE!

Reem Acra!  I love the edgy, but filmy cape.

Reem Acra's take on what Jennifer will wear!
Claire Pettibone: I think she could be a real contender. I love Claire’s hippy-esque style and I imagine (in our fake friendship) that Jennifer would too. I loved this because it doesn’t seem at all “red carpet”-y, which is so nice.
Claire Pettibone's imagined dress for Aniston
And, I of course loved this Nicole Miller… Something about Jennifer must scream “Cape” (it must be her super hair…) because two designers wanted her all caped out.. Anyway, I loved this Nicole Miller because it was simple, but interesting and since Mayra wore Nicole Miller on her wedding day, I know how flattering and easy to wear her wedding gowns are.
Nicole Miller's imagined gown for Aniston
Check out the rest of them here.

WPW: Engage13 Follow Up- Pulling Back to Push Forward

Posted by on Jul 10, 2013 in Business Advice, Trendsetters | 2 Comments

I was so flattered when I saw that Liene had included a bit about our panel in her Engage13 Recap that she posted this morning.  Our panel, which I had briefly mentioned on here in my recap, was largely about transitions and adaptation.  During the panel I had spoken about the decision Mayra and I made last year to get rid of our “formal” office space in Manhattan… during the rest of Engage!, and after Liene’s post went up, I got a lot of friendly questions looking to know a bit more about the situation.  An email I got this morning said “I looked on your blog for more information about the move and I didn’t find anything…”   I’m excited that something as nuts and bolts (and yet really emotional) resonated with so many people and so, I thought I’d write more about it….

Last year was the year that our business looked exactly what we had imagined it to look in 2003.  We only took 12 wedding clients and a couple of social events, they were all extremely detailed, multi-day, luxury budget weddings and a nice balance of high profile and highly creative couples.  We had wanted to start doing more domestic destination and we happily had weddings in Virginia, Vermont, Hudson and Maine last year.  Yet, by the end of August we were exhausted.  We had that one “bad client” that sucked up so much attention that it spun the rest of the operation into Chaos.

We spent the rest of the year in recovery. In the height of insanity (if you remember, we had a wedding at the NYPL and a 4 day destination wedding with 75 people in from Sweden on the same day) our lease renewal came with a 20% increase.  We spent a lot of time in our office, but virtually none of with our clients.  And virtually none of it comfortable: the place was hot in the winter and down right put on your winter coat frigid in the summer….  We hadn’t had a client come by in almost a year.  Because while it was a Tribeca address, it was hardly a chic Tribeca loft… though it cost literally tens of thousands of dollars to maintain a year.  We decided to get rid of the office and move our office into the garden level of Mayra’s house…

This was a very rough decision for me (more so than Mayra) to come to… First, because years before, back in 2006, it was a major step to move to a Manhattan office.  It enabled us to charge more at the time, it bolstered our reputation as “luxury” wedding professionals and, frankly, it helped to have a Manhattan address when you were trying to entice brides to call.    Mentally, it also provided me with validation that I needed at the time because if you went to an office than you must have a “real job”…

Yet, when we saw that the figure for one year of rent is roughly what we would make on that one client each year that we take knowing it will be a bad job, but accept it to float overhead….. Mayra had to give me a talking to.  We have been in hundreds of publications, we have an amazing reputation and our work for our clients speaks more loudly than any street address.  Additionally, our clients prefer us to come to them and the home visits help so much with inspiration about their weddings.  Even when we weren’t meeting in our clients homes, they often wanted us to meet with them in places convenient for them, or we were meeting over dinner or drinks at their favorite restaurants…All of which, may I say, are much nicer and more comfortable than this very expensive, so-so looking office.

Our style is so “un-office” like, I had to wonder what my attachment to it was?  I realized that more than fearing losing the office, I feared losing the perceived legitimacy that the office gave me to my peers.  I feared the conversation at the industry cocktail party that says “Oh! you gave up your studio? Wow… Is everything OK?”  (PS, we never had a studio… we had an office. It had overhead florescent lights and a doorman and industrial carpeting.  I’ve been to art school, so I know the difference between a studio space and an office and no amount of baroque mirrors on the walls and netted dividers was going to make our old office a charming studio….)  I feared what people would think….  and then I thought about the liberating feeling of not needing to waste creative energy on inappropriate clients that we would take on to pay for the office.

The first few weeks were… interesting.  It was a transition for certain.  And those weird cocktail conversations did happen, but, do you know what?  I didn’t care.. Because by the time they did, the transition was over and I must say we’ve never been happier.  I get up and work for hours in the morning and sometimes for hours at night and oddly, it doesn’t even feel like “work” anymore…. We set up the garden level of Mayra’s as an office, but I actually mainly work from home now.  We meet for breakfast and lunch every day to go over our daily goals, to-dos and our long term projects.  We take our  first meetings in clients homes or in the rather fabulous lobby bar of the same hotel where we’ve been taking meetings for a long while… where we can comfortably host them for a drink or tea or whatever… and it’s been working better than I could have imagined.

It was a move that may have appeared a step backward to those on the outside, but for us it was a means to take a major step forward.

The view from my desk! Much improved from the old office space!

The view from my desk! Much improved from the old office space!

 

It takes a Village

Posted by on Jul 9, 2013 in Blog, Business Advice | No Comments

One of the most exciting things that we talk about with new clients is their venue. Before a venue is selected, your wedding feels a little lost. There is no set date, there are no parameters for a “look”, and there are no capacity issues. So while it is exciting that it can be whatever they want it to be, it is usually also stressful for the same reasons.

The one thing that people are always looking for (at least the people that talk to us:) is something that will feel different. They want their guests to join in their love, but they also want to provide their guests with their experience. For this reason Xochitl and I are always on the hunt for new venues.

So how excited was I when I sat down with our friends at Outstanding Italia, who specialize in Italian venues, and they showed me Matera? Very. I mean, we’ve all seen the typical Italian venues and villas (which by the way, are amazing) but they showed me a preserved historical village, located on top of the Apennine mountains, that rocked my world! I mean, can you imagine renting an entire preserved village? Now, I promise you that none of your guests would ever forget!

The village is divided into 18 rooms, as well as a common area and church. The photos speak for themselves.

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This courtyard is amazing! What a perfect backdrop for one of your events!Village courtyard

The hotel rooms are built in amongst the caves, and will certainly be a special treat for your friends and family! It’s not every day that you get to be Batman like and sleep in a cave:)Hotel RoomNow, that is not to say that I don’t LOVE the more traditional Italian venues! I just wanted to share something that you might not find in other places. We try to bring you the new hotness:)

Ciao!

Something for the Gentlemen: 4 Awesome Boutonnieres

Posted by on Jul 8, 2013 in Style | One Comment

Boutonnieres… the step child of wedding flowers.  First, it’s not the bouquet and second,  it’s not like most grooms spend their engagements fantasizing about what their boutonniere will look like.  That said, they can go very, very, very wrong (giant, clown size calla lillies anyone?) or, in rare instances, very, very, very.  Below, some Boutonnieres that we’ve loved from our past weddings….

LOVE, love, LOVE Jeremy’s succulent boutonniere. They are so hard to get right to be honest.. because the succulents can be too big, but Fernanda on our team got it JUST right this time!! (Photo by Angelica Glass)

Succulent Boutnniere AaB Creates

Jessy at Fleurs made this delicate and intricate boutonniere for Manuel… I just adore it! (Image by Roey Yohai)

Boutonniere by Fleurs NYCJoe and Amy had a totally modern wedding in a NYC loft and Joe’s totally modern Orchid boutonniere was the perfect detail to tie it all together! (image by Stylish Hip Weddings)

Boutonniere by AaB Creates
Finally I love this boutonniere of Ivy and “Kermits” that Verde Flowers created for Min.  It was the perfect boutonniere for their all green and white wedding in a Brooklyn art gallery…(Image by Robert Wagner Photography) "Kermits" boutonniere
So, remember, it may not be the first thing everyone notices, but the right boutonniere can make a lasting impression!

An All-Inclusive Wedding

Posted by on Jul 2, 2013 in Practical Planning | No Comments

I had an awesome time celebrating a historic Pride with friends (old and new) at the Parade on Sunday in the wake of DOMA being overturned last week.  It was beautiful to see the Parade as a true family affair with tons of couples out and about with their kids, enjoying the day, celebrating Edie and her victory.  I strongly believe that equitable marriage for everyone is going to make being married better for all, as a recent study tracking 1,000 straight and gay couples over 10 years reveals that gay marriage, without the confines of dividing work on gender lines, often results in more satisfying partnerships within the marriage... So, something that is interesting for us to reflect upon in general..

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Still, with all the victory, there is still further to go. I wanted to write about our friend Lauren and Jon’s wedding that Mayra, her husband and I were guests at this past Spring.  Though, obviously a hetero couple, Lauren and Jon incorporated an excerpt from the Goodridge v The Massachusetts Department of Public Health ruling written by Judge Margaret Marshall.  This was the ruling that first legalized gay marriage in Massachusetts:

Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support; it brings stability to our society. For those who choose to marry, and for their children, marriage provides an abundance of legal, financial, and social benefits. In return it imposes weighty legal, financial, and social obligations….Without question, civil marriage enhances the “welfare of the community.” It is a “social institution of the highest importance.” …

Marriage also bestows enormous private and social advantages on those who choose to marry. Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family…. Because it fulfils yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition.

I pulled the reading off of 14 Stories under a post about readings for Gay Weddings, but I thought it apropos for ALL weddings, and it was really a moving part of Lauren and Jon’s ceremony.  I emailed Lauren about it toady and, she said: “Was really happy we did, too, as not only did our gay friends really appreciate it, even my 92 year old grandma wanted me to send her a copy of the passage she liked it so much. One if Jon’s gay friends came up and told him that usually he hates going to ceremonies because it just reminds him of what he’s not allowed to do, but how much he appreciated the reading, and that he finally felt included in a ceremony. And of course my lawyer dad was just over the moon that our reading was from a court case :)”

So, since the point of a wedding is to celebrate love, why not celebrate all kinds of love and consider adding in an inclusive reading.