Real Weddings: Sam + Anthony (The Green Building, Brooklyn, NY)

As I look forward to my 2018 couples and weddings, I'm FINALLY getting around to featuring all of the gorgeousness and awesomeness of my 2017 couples! 

The 2017 wedding season began early for me with this stunner of a wedding! With glorious Gowanus, Brooklyn as their backdrop, this Astoria, Queens couple gathered 120 of their nearest and dearest to celebrate their union at what has easily become one of my favorite wedding venues, The Green Building, which had a former industrial life as home to the Brass Foundry. The bride had a hand in every design detail - from consulting with her florist (Petals & Roots) on the tablescapes, to selecting chargers, flatware, lighting, signage, and welcome table decor - at every turn the choices felt uniquely like the bride and groom. 

April showers came early for this late March wedding, moving the first look and all formal photos indoors while I oversaw final venue preparations (including place carding each seat at the table with my handwritten calligraphy). The ceremony, officiated by a mutual friend, was deeply heartfelt, from the couple's written vows, to the groom selecting a surprise song for his soon-to-be wife to process down the aisle to (inside scoop: she recognized it immediately and knew its meaning). 

After vows, we flipped the room effortlessly, converting it from formal ceremony seating to reception space, all while guests noshed on delicious food and drink from Brooklyn's own Pies 'n' Thighs (who also catered the buffet dinner). Toasts, dances, and cake cutting followed, until the couple opened the dance floor for a late-night party, while friends scooped up Coolhaus Ice Cream and Pies 'n' Thighs signature pies and donuts. As the clock struck midnight, all departed to the afterparty, and we turned off the lights on this gorgeous venue. But for the bride and groom, their journey was just getting started!


TEAM SAM + ANTHONY:

Ceremony + Reception Venue | The Green Building, Brooklyn, NY
Catering | Pies 'n' Thighs, Brooklyn, NY
Dessert Truck | Coolhaus Ice Cream
Photography | Love + Wolves Co
Floral | Petals & Roots, Astoria, NY
DJ | 74 Events (James Mulry)
Cake | Patty Bakes
Hair + Makeup | Glam Squad
Bride's Dress | Lovely Bride
Groomsmens' Tuxes | The Black Tux
Event Rentals | Broadway Party Rentals + The Green Building
Officiant | Jason Mannion, friend of the couple
Signage Calligraphy | Dan Craig + Tim Stumm, friends of the couple
Place Card Calligraphy | Stephanie Gatton Events
Wedding Coordination | Stephanie Gatton Events


All gorgeous photography below courtesy of the amazing LOVE + WOLVES CO!


Vendor Spotlight: Unreel Films Videography

Hello friends!

It’s been a busy winter - and feels like AGES since I’ve added to this series - but I’m back with a vendor spotlight you are sure to love! (Be sure to check out previous installments in this series if you’re looking for a classical guitarist or stylist for your big day).

This week, I bring to you an amazingly talented colleague of mine, Eric Mann, owner of Unreel Films. Eric and his team are a dream to work with, and he brings such an effervescent energy to the room! Read on - and view on - to learn more about how he can capture the essence of your wedding in stunning fashion.

Q: What led you to weddings, specifically, and how long have you been in the industry?

A: I first came to New York as an actor, performed on the National Tour of A Chorus Line, and worked both regionally and in New York. After about three years in between acting jobs, I had all this creative energy but nothing to put that energy into unless I was hired for a job, and so I picked up a camera one day, taught myself filming and editing, and found an incredible passion for telling stories through film. I also grew up painting and I always think of film/videography as a mesh between painting and acting/storytelling, so it truly is a perfect fit! After about a year of playing with a camera, I started my company Unreel Films, LLC in 2013, and have filmed, directed, editing, produced, and written over 300 individual promos, commercials, short films, documentaries, dance/music videos, and weddings. We also are so lucky to work with The Juilliard School on a regular basis for a lot of their promos. Within the first year of starting my own company, I filmed my first wedding (for a friend) and absolutely loved it!  

Q: Tell me a bit about the person behind the job and how you became a wedding videographer.

A: I adore telling stories through film, and to me weddings are extra special because it is such a beautiful moment in time where family, friends, and all loved ones come together to celebrate a union between two people. There is so much love there on that day, and to be able to capture that spirit not only between the couple, but also all the family and friends, is unbelievably moving and inspiring as a wedding videographer. It is always such a beautiful “story,” it’s just a real life story instead of a fictional story and that’s what makes it so much fun and why I love filming them.  

Q: What do you love most about being a wedding videographer?

A: I love capturing the feel like I mentioned above, but also I love getting to know the couple the day of because the photographer and videographer help to usher them throughout the day.  It’s amazing to be able to support them and create a trust with them since there is so many emotions abiding during the day.  

Q: Tell me about your most memorable and fun wedding.

A: I really have loved every wedding that I’ve filmed, but one time we got to use a drone to get some establishing B-Roll shots and that was really awesome! We were filming the wedding in Connecticut, and a police car drove by when we were getting drone shots outside of this awesome Victorian home, and the crew and I froze up like we were in big trouble, but the cop came over and was like: “What drone is that?” with a big smile on his face! That was pretty awesome!

Q: What does a typical wedding day look like for you?

A: Usually, it’s a packed event for me, especially in the morning, and I’m running between the two different parties getting ready. Once the couple comes together it’s slightly less running around, but we are always moving and that’s a lot of fun.  

Q: What is your favorite part of a wedding day? OR What is the best part of your job?

A: Mmm. I always love the food when we can eat it, but I don’t know if that is because when I film I forget that I’m hungry, and then by the time the food comes at the end I’m always like this is the BEST FOOD EVER! And it probably is, but it’s just heightened because I haven’t eaten! All kidding aside, I really love the ceremony, and even when I have just emailed the couple back and forth and only know them for a short while, I always get a little emotional. It’s just extremely powerful seeing all the love that is coming out of everyone at that moment and it’s really special.  

Q: From your experience, what should couples ask a potential videographer in the interview process?

A: I think it’s really important to be as clear as you can be in what you want the final product to look like. I always tell people we can scale it up or tone it down to what they would like. Obviously, a very cinematic wedding video will have more elements and cost a bit more, but if that is what you want and you have the budget, I say go for it. If you need to scale back, that’s totally doable and sometimes even gets to the heart of the day more than a big production wedding video, since you are not concerned with the shots, and more concerned with capturing the essence. I feel like I always first and foremost go with capturing the essence, but sometimes it’s fun to play with cool shots, too. It’s a balance. But again, I think it’s really what the couple wants and how they want the feel of their wedding to be. That definitely informs the role that I play that day. And I always try to listen to what the couple’s needs are.   

Q: On the day of the wedding, what are your exact roles?

A: The photographer runs the show in terms of logistics of shots. The videographer is there to capture the spirit of the day. Occasionally, I will ask for a specific shot, but mostly I am there to be a fly on the wall and get all the good moments!

Q: What are three main qualities that an excellent wedding videographer should have?

A: Listening (huge!), not being invasive (I’ve had many people say thank you that we weren’t up in people’s faces because it’s not my day - it’s the couple’s day and everyone who came), and having fun (guests always love the videographer and it’s important to feel like you are just there to have fun with them so they are loose around the camera and don’t tense up - although maybe not too loose!).  

Q: What makes you unique from other wedding videographers?

A: I think because I do a variety of different film projects and not solely weddings, I get to come in to a wedding with a fresh eye. Not to say those who film weddings on a regular basis aren’t amazing, because they totally are, but I feel that because I make short films and documentaries and dance videos I get the sense of how to tell a story really well, and that is what the wedding video is - a short documentary of the story of two people on a particular day where lots of dancing happens!  

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you can give your potential clients?

A: Make the wedding the ideal wedding for you. It’s a beautiful celebration of who you are, individually and collectively, and if something doesn’t feel right to you in terms of the event, make it unique and make it work for you. Also, it’s a whirlwind of a day (which is partially why I’m there because it will fly by), but also enjoy the day as much as you can. It’s definitely a lot and a lot to take in, but if you have a chance to just create some space in the day in your head and appreciate all the love, it will feel so good!  

Q: Where do you draw your wedding inspiration from?

A: I really try and find the really touching moments throughout the day. No one is ever going to capture all of them, but I try to keep my eyes peeled for really touching moments.  

Q: Tell me one thing we might not otherwise know about you.

A: I love to laugh, tell stories, dance, and obviously film. And I have an extra vertebrae in my spine. It didn’t make me taller though!  

Q: Do you have any special discounts or offers for Unreel Films at this time that my readers should know about?

A:  I don’t really have special discounts because I ebb and flow the budget to what the couple needs exactly, but if you are having a wedding in the Galapagos Islands, I’ll figure out a way to cut back the pricing ;)  [Editor's Note: Eric and I both suffer from acute wanderlust, and I, too, would be more than happy to negotiate pricing/travel fees on destination weddings or those out of the tri-state market. Couples around the world, hit me up to learn more!]

Q: Any last piece of advice for newly-engaged couples?

A: Have fun and bask in the joy of the day. Much love!!  

Enough talk! Click below to view three of Eric’s favorite wedding videos that Unreel Films has produced. Ready to hire Unreel Films to document your big day? Reach out to him HERE and be sure to mention my name in your inquiry!

xoxo,

 


Hello New Headshots!

Hello friends!

Last week, I had the privilege of some one-on-one time with Amber Gress Photography's amazing Associate Photographer, Shannon. Seriously, this woman knows how to get down to business and bring her clients to life in under 20 minutes! Open to my suggestions - which is how we ended up with a gorgeous light curtain as a backdrop to one photo - and armed with a generous spirit and efficiency, Shannon was terrific to work with! Her end product resulted in a small portfolio of new headshots for me and the business. 

Tickled pink, I wanted to share with you all! For more of Shannon's masterful eye at work on weddings, click here.

xoxo,

 

Featured Venues: 501 Union, The Green Building

Why Hire a Wedding Coordinator Reason #2!

Hello Friends!

I hope you’re having a wonderful week! I’ve been absent from my blog - which I’ve been super sad about - because I succumbed to a nasty upper respiratory infection that laid waste to my body and soul for the better part of this past week. It’s no fun to wake up to a 102.3 fever, accompanied by aches, pains, and night sweats. No. Fun. At. All.

My husband likes to tell me that his father always told him, as a child, that it was okay to miss school or work if you were sick for one of two reasons: either you were vomiting, or you had a severe fever. Fortunately for me, it was only the latter, and the remedy was good old-fashioned REST.

I’m back this week with a quick, but important REASON #2 to hire a wedding coordinator, and it’s a simple one:

AFFORDABILITY!

A lot of people choose not to hire a wedding coordinator because they worry it will be an additional cost on their part. What many don’t know is that I can actually SAVE you money. With a wide array of contacts across New York City and the Hudson Valley (and I’m expanding my vendor connections into the Philadelphia area as well, coordinating weddings in June and September), I can suggest to you the most reliable and reasonably priced people in the business. From caterers to photographers to makeup artists, I’ve got you covered!

CASE IN POINT: Current clients Alexis and Joe contracted me as their month-of coordinator. They also opted for an add-on to my coordination package - Vendor Services. I’m in the process of working with them to identify their vendor needs and preferences, then making careful recommendations to them for each category. I’ve already edited out vendors who aren’t available for their wedding date, so they know that my recommendations will be free on the date in question.

In building my vendor contacts, I’ve negotiated certain discounts with select vendors who are happy to extend a discount to my clients. I was pleased to recommend BAM Wedding Photography to Alexis and Joe for their needs, and thrilled to learn they selected them to capture all of the moments of their big day. It’s a win-win for everyone: I get to work with vendors I have a relationship with (making for a smooth wedding day timeline), and my clients get to receive a discount they would not normally have been given, all because of my relationship with the photographer!

Check out the photos below for just some of the vendor connections I can provide to you, and I'll be back next week with another reason why a booking good coordinator can be the best wedding decision you ever make!

xoxo,

 

Vendor Spotlight: AOK Style + Planning

Hello friends!

Earlier this month, I introduced the first installment of an ongoing series on the blog - my trusted vendor spotlights. We started by featuring one of my favorite musicians, ready to work your wedding ceremony or cocktail hour.

This week, I’m highlighting a kick-ass friend and colleague, ALLIE KOEHLER of AOK Style + Planning. Allie really connects with her clients, tells it like it is, and cuts through any wedding industry b.s. to fully realize her clients’ vision. The final product of partnering with her to realize your style is, quite simply, stunning.

Full disclosure: Allie and I have been neighbors (and mutual dog walkers for each other’s pups) since 2010. Back in 2014 when I was deep in the weeds with my own wedding planning, Allie was my #1 choice to hire as a day-of coordinator - someone I could hand off all of my meticulous plans to, knowing they would be executed with ease. Since then, Allie has evolved her own business to incorporate both styling and coordination, and while I’m focusing on her top-notch skills as a stylist (seriously, hit her up if you haven't taken your engagement photos yet!), she’s also a terrific coordinator. In fact, she’s become my go-to referral for inquiries that I’m unable to accept because I’m already booked - she’s the best! And without further ado, I give you the lady herself, Allison Koehler.

 

photo courtesy of Julia Elizabeth Photography

 

Q: What led you to weddings, specifically, and how long have you been in the industry?
A: I’ve been in the industry on and off for 10 years now (more if you count my high school days as a cater waiter!). I began working as an event planner for a restaurant group in NYC in 2010, where some of my events, but not all, were wedding related. Eventually, I became the Wedding Coordinator at Magnolia Bakery, where all of my work was wedding related. Around that same time, I began styling couples for their engagement shoots, and within six months, I was assisting photographers during weddings. I guess you could say it was meant to be!

Q: Tell me a bit about the person behind the job and how you became a personal stylist?
A: I think I’ve always gravitated towards customer-facing careers because I love people. I consider my clients friends and I think getting to know them is just as important as the work we do together. Working with couples who are engaged is so thrilling. The drama of it all is so magical, and it’s kind of addicting.

Q: Tell me about your most memorable and fun wedding.
A: They’re all great for different reasons. I do love hopping onto the dance floor for a second with the couple, however. That’s always a fun moment.

Q: What does a typical wedding day look like for you?
A: Just a blur as I’m running by. :)

Q: What is your favorite part of a wedding day?
A: For weddings with a bride, I love being in the bridal suite, steaming dresses, and helping the bridal party get ready.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you can give your potential clients?
A: My biggest piece of advice is to love your vendors! Every vendor you hire should be someone you genuinely like and someone you genuinely trust.

Q: Where do you draw your wedding inspiration from?
A: I try to execute the vision of my clients, and typically we create a Pinterest board together where we swap ideas and inspiration.

Q: Tell me one thing we might not otherwise know about you.
A: I sang A Capella in college! Pitch Perfect isn’t that far off from my experience.

Q: Do you have any special discounts or offers for AOK Style + Planning at this time that my readers should know about?
A: Yes! If you got engaged between Thanksgiving 2016 and Valentine’s Day 2017, I’m offering a discount on my engagement shoot styling! Email me for details.

Q: Any last piece of advice for newly-engaged couples?
A: Enjoy, and don’t wish it away! Being engaged is almost as exciting as being married!

Now, enjoy these gorgeous photos of Allie's beautiful eye for style!

xoxo,

Wedding Planner Pro-Tip of the Week: Conquering Indecision

Hello Friends!

Wedding Planner Pro-Tip of the Week: In the early stages of the planning process, set aside dedicated time specifically to research your options. But then also give yourself a deadline for when each decision should be made.

photo credit: iStock

photo credit: iStock

Here’s what I mean by this: I know, I know, you’re engaged, you’re planning an amazing wedding, which of course you want to be unique to you and your betrothed. Everybody - and I mean everybody - handles this process differently. Some people are born planners; others become paralyzed with indecision.

My absolute expert advice here is simple: Do your research. Maybe you’ll end up going with the first dress, photographer, caterer, or officiant that you speak with or website stalk. Still, you want to give yourself at least a few other options for comparison’s sake. But then, do yourself a favor and give yourself a time limit on how many minutes per day or hours per week you spend researching options. Don’t go down the rabbit hole of indecision! It’s incredibly easy - in the vast wedding industrial complex - to get so in the weeds with each and every choice facing you in the planning process. At some point, you just need to make a decision and move on - otherwise you’ll feel as if you’re drowning in too many options. Give yourself permission to shop around, and then make a choice.

photo courtesy of Steven Mastroianni

Or, you can also hire a professional - like me! - to guide you through the decision-making process. A good planner will never tell you who to hire - the choice is yours, and it will always be yours - but we can present you with an edited list of options, so you’re choosing between a handful of carefully curated vendors, as opposed to the entirety of the internet!

So, take deep breaths. Dive in. Make your choices, and trust your gut. You’ve got this!

Xoxo,

 



 

Wedding Planner Pro-Tip of the Week: Interviewing Vendors

Hello friends!

Wedding Planner Pro-Tip of the Week: It's important to meet face-to-face with vendors, and if that isn't possible, then set up a Skype chat. Reading a potential vendor's facial and body cues will give you a better sense of their demeanor.

photo courtesy of Michael Jung/iStock

photo courtesy of Michael Jung/iStock

Here's what I mean by this: I'll gladly hop on a phone call with potential clients, whenever and wherever they are in this great big world. But trust me, I MUCH prefer to see your pretty faces as we're getting to know one another! For coordinators, so much of the client booking process is about making a genuine connection between people (at least, for me it is).

Now, do you necessarily need to meet face-to-face with your photobooth operator or your transportation/bus shuttle rep? Not necessarily. But hell, I wouldn't say no to it, either. If they're in town and you're in town, then pick your favorite coffee house or lunch spot for a quick one-on-one.

Having a destination wedding or hiring out-of-town vendors (Hey, it's February 6 and this NYC planner has already booked FOUR non-NYC weddings!)? Then technology is your best friend. Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangout - use your preferred platform and get to know those vendors!

xoxo,

 

Vendor Spotlight: Lucas Pullin Classical Guitar

Hello friends!

One of the best things a wedding coordinator or planner can do for their clients is to offer suggestions of trusted, valuable, reliable vendors for couples needing to put together the last pieces of their planning puzzle. Through both my work in weddings as well as my lovely non-profit 9-5, I’ve gotten to know some really wonderful people who are invested in making your big day all it should be!

When you book me as your coordinator, you’ll gain instant access to my trusted list of preferred vendors - NONE of which you need to use, but ALL of whom I can 100% vouch for. And before you even ask - because it’s definitely a thing in our industry - I get absolutely zero kickbacks on these referrals. There’s nothing in it for me except my sincere desire to pair you with a vendor who will work for you, and whose work ethic I can stand behind. Often, hiring one of my trusted vendors adds a useful shorthand to the planning process. If I’ve already worked a wedding or two with the photographer you’ve booked, chances are we get along, speak the same professional language, and will cut right to the chase to get shit done for you, our beloved clients!

With all of that in mind, I’m pleased to introduce what I hope will be a monthly feature on the blog - VENDOR SPOTLIGHTS!

I’m thrilled to begin this series highlighting a wonderful artist and musician. With my connection to one of the world’s top conservatories for dance, drama, and music, you can absolutely count on me for superior artist recommendations! From jazz and opera singers, string or jazz quartets, solo pianists, harpists, or guitarists, I’ve got you covered! Without further ado, read on for more info on the talented and generous classical guitarist, LUCAS PULLIN.


Q: Thanks for being the first of my vendor spotlight series! Can you tell my readers what led you to the weddings, specifically, and how long have you been in the industry?
A: I have been playing weddings within the NYC area since 2011 through The Juilliard School Office of Career Services. As a Juilliard alumnus, they offer students and alumni performance opportunities. From my first wedding performance, I’ve fallen in love with working on providing that magical musical moment for my couples at their ceremonies!

Q: What do you love most about being a wedding musician?
A: For me, The best part of a wedding ceremony is its beginning - that moment of silence before the prelude or processional piece, where guests feel their heart beat a little bit faster. Music is just another spark and it sets the actual beginning of the ceremony.

Q: Tell me about your most memorable and fun wedding.
A: My most remarkable experience was to perform for a couple where the bride not only holds a very important event planner job, but also worked on planning her own wedding! [Full Disclosure: This bride is ME! Lucas was our ceremony musician, and he totally rocked it! His custom arrangements for not one but THREE songs for our ceremony, coupled with his existing rep of classical guitar music as our guests arrived, set the scene and mood perfectly.] I was given perfect timings for my arrangements and I felt the most comfortable to perform and finish the arrangement precisely with her last steps to the altar. Stephanie and Patrick picked me as their ceremony musician and it was such a pleasure.

Q: What does a typical wedding day look like for you?
A: I arrive at the venue ahead of time to prepare my music and find my sitting spot (as a classical guitarist, I need to sit to play properly). A talk with the event planner is crucial for knowing the correct cues to begin each song. My priority on the day of the wedding is to make these contacts efficiently so I have my fingers and music ready for the ceremony!

photo courtesy of Jen Sean Photography

Q: What is the best part of your job, as a wedding musician?
A: My instrument is the classical guitar. If I'm performing solo, I usually bring a small amp with me and I only need an outlet and an armless chair to perform. The guitar can play and sound like a "miniature orchestra" so the possibilities are endless! I love making custom arrangements of any music on the guitar, from Bach to Bon Jovi. Please don't hesitate to ask me about any arrangements for the guitar!

Q: From your experience, what should couples ask a potential musician in the interview process?
A: During the first conversation with the musician, couples should not feel shy! If you know the music you want, it can definitely be done! If you don't yet know your choices, we will work together! If there is a song, a feeling, a mood...I'll help you make it yours!

Q: What makes you unique from other wedding musicians?
A: Along with my classical training and the ability to arrange music, I can play a little bit of jazz tunes and bossa nova, from my birth country Brazil. After most ceremonies I've performed at, I also provide the cocktail hour music, mixing classical music with other genres.

Q: Do you have any special discounts or offers for your services at this time that my readers should know about?
A: I offer a great package deal if you book me for both the ceremony AND the cocktail hour!

But don't just take my word for it - listen to some of the beautiful music he's arranged for wedding ceremonies, or hear some of his Brazilian repertoire, too!

Want to hire Lucas for your upcoming wedding? Reach out to him HERE and be sure to mention my name in your inquiry.

See you next month with another excellent vendor!

xoxo,

 

Calling all Offbeat Brides! This Discount is for YOU!

photo courtesy of  Milestone Images

photo courtesy of Milestone Images

Hello friends!

It’s snowy and chilly today in wintry NYC, so what better time to think upon summer wedding season and the warmth and beauty it typically holds?

January is peak engagement season, and as I’ve had a flurry (pun intended!) of inquiries for 2017 weddings, I wanted to highlight my new listing in Offbeat Bride’s Vendor Guide. I’m thrilled to have “made the cut” with this outstanding and vital resource for all non-traditional couples searching for planning tips, vendors, and general inspiration on how to host a wedding that truly reflects the uniqueness of their union! 

I’m even more thrilled to highlight my 20% discount for Offbeat Brides who wish to book my services in 2017. Just mention “Offbeat Bride” in your inquiry to me to take advantage of the discount on my month-of package!

And stay tuned later in the month for another special feature from the Offbeat Bride community!

xoxo,