by Pamela Rothbard, Editor
Imagine a grand, opulent historic space filled with a hundred influencers and the event industry’s elite enjoying curated bites and sips. The room suddenly goes dark, illuminated by a single spotlight, then filled with the rich sound of a solo voice — that of veteran opera singer, Sandra Piques Eddy. She stands in the circle of light against a stark, glam backdrop of white velvet draping, performing “Habanera” from the iconic opera, Carmen. When she reaches the piece’s crescendo, the drapes dramatically part, revealing an all-white dinner-in-the-round lit almost solely by flickering candlelight — beauty and surprise distilled into one breath-taking vision.
It’s not easy to impress seasoned event planners — after all, they’ve seen and produced it all — but top event professionals and tastemakers were wowed by the ultimate dinner party on April 16. PartySlate and YSD Events, a top event planner, co-hosted the experiential celebration to fête Vera Wang’s Spring/Summer 2020 Bridal Collection.
“PartySlate values being on the cutting edge of what’s new and unique in the event industry,” says Julie Roth Novack, Co-Founder and CEO of PartySlate, a website that inspires people planning events and connects them with the leading event professionals and venues across the country and the world. “We partnered with YSD Events to amplify Vera Wang’s iconic brand by creating an experience, rather than simply an event,” adds Novack. To that end, the evening was full of wow-worthy, Instagrammable, must-tell-all-of-your-friends moments.
“The world is a different place now. It is really about providing clients with an experience and to connect with them on a deeper, more intimate level,” said co-founders of YSD Events, Brad Frey and Justin Scalzo, who have planned and produced a wide range of innovative events, including weddings, corporate events, and runway shows.
New York City, a hub for fashion and extravagant celebrations, was the perfect setting for the much talked-about event. The beautifully restored space at Weylin in Brooklyn — with its rich history as the Williamsburgh Savings Bank built in 1875 — and its original details like a frescoed dome and intricate mosaics was an inspired juxtaposition with Wang’s thoroughly modern aesthetic.
The chic celebration drew fashion and lifestyle influencers, as well as icons in the event industry for an evening of divine inspiration. Guests were invited to the celebration with a chic, custom invitation as designed by The Windmill Paper Boutique and Vera Wang. Guests were welcomed into the luxe locale by a talented string quartet from EastCoast Entertainment.
Once inside, guests delighted in the spectacle of a Vera Wang wedding gown floating in spotlights, centering the cocktail reception, which was just the beginning of the evening’s event design by Ovando. Attendees sipped champagne and enjoyed artful passed hor d’oeuvres from Marcia Selden Catering & Events, including tuna gravlax arepas with mango pearls and chipotle crema, and golden eggs filled with boursin potato puree, crème fraiche, and sevruga caviar. Executive chef, Robin Selden, curated a thoughtful menu for the entire event, taking guests on a unique culinary journey.
“We wanted to come up with a beautifully elegant selection of hors d’oeuvres that were all created exclusively for the night and were an interesting combination of flavors that matched the polished and personalized service,” says Jeffrey Selden, managing partner with Marcia Selden Catering & Events.
Mingling attendees included fashion and lifestyle influencers, including Tara Moni, Brand Director for Something Navy; Sai De Silva of Scout the City; Krystal Bick, creator of This Time Tomorrow; Charlotte and Sophie Bickley, co-founders of Yin 2my Yang; and Darcy Miller, founding editor of Martha Stewart Weddings and author of “Celebrate Everything.” Guests also included top event planners from New York City and around the country, event professionals from luxury hotels, and senior members of the Vera Wang team.
Throughout the evening, guests were invited to participate in live stream interviews with PartySlate Co-Founder and CEO, Julie Roth Novack, and James Gustin, Creative Director and CEO of fig Media, Inc. The multi-talented team at Social Jack coordinated the technical capabilities of the live stream.
As the cocktail reception drew to a close — and the luxurious white velvet curtains from Drape Kings — parted, opera singer Sandra Piques Eddy, also provided by EastCoast Entertainment, invited guests into the awe-inspiring dinner-in-the-round in Weylin’s Main Rotunda space. The incredible design team at Ovando created a stunning circular all-white scene, poised on an alabaster carpet, also from Drape Kings.
“Our first inspiration is always the space,” says Sandra de Ovando, owner of the in-demand event design company, Ovando. The round room offered Ovando’s team the opportunity to create an original layout that grew organically from the space. Ovando adds, “Another inspiration was Vera Wang’s modern and rich approach to wedding fashion. We wanted to create a magical, ethereal, luxurious, one-of-a-kind environment to honor that.”
The team did just that with an elegant palette featuring multiple hues in the white spectrum. Ovando conjured a circular space with layered levels of beauty — from perfect fruits and vegetables from Selden’s team hand-painted white to the towering glass candelabras seemingly like floating flickering tapers. Place settings carried their rich vision with marble chargers and silver napkin rings from Smith Party Rentals. The magical scene featured gleaming chrome chairs at curved tables from Luxe Event Rentals arranged into two circles, leaving an aisle open between them.
That aisle would soon see the introduction of Vera Wang’s striking Spring/Summer 2020 Bridal Collection. But first, PartySlate’s Novack thanked the event team and introduced the designer.
“I started PartySlate three years ago…and tonight exceeded every expectation I had,” Novack said in her welcoming remarks. “Vera Wang is such an iconic designer, and I was so excited to partner with her and this amazing team. Our goal is to be the Vogue of event design and share these inspiring events with the world. I am truly speechless tonight.”
Vera Wang then welcomed guests and thanked PartySlate and YSD Events for their collaboration to make the evening such a success. “I like to hope that every year I bring everything I possibly can from a creative standpoint to all the brides in the world because it means so much to me that, hopefully, I give them an alternative view of weddings and a bird’s eye view of how they could possibly look,” Wang shared.
Wang then introduced a never-before-seen film debuting her latest collection, as shown on a towering screen with perfect audio and visuals courtesy of Brooktech.
Models walked the circular aisle, exhibiting Wang’s exquisite designs to the perfect mood-setting custom mixes from music director and live DJ, Donna D’Cruz. Between gowns, trumpeter Spencer Ludwig — in from Los Angeles for the event — offered an electrifying roaming solo trumpet performance.
Meanwhile, guests were served a delectable three-course dinner with seamless service — an astounding feat given that the longest table seated 80. The meal was a masterpiece of choreography married with flavor. Marcia Selden Catering & Events presented white asparagus and shaved fennel salad, followed by miso sea bass with caramelized coconut string beans and carrot ginger pureé, and ended with a dark chocolate raspberry bar with meringue shards and cocoa dust. Selden said, “We created a bold and epicurious night to commemorate the collaboration between Vera Wang and PartySlate. It was a perfectly memorable night!” Guests were also wowed by creative touches like handcrafted towers of herbed butters arranged like mini wedding cakes and, as the evening came to a close, one last sweet surprise — servers carrying trays laden with candy.
“Vera’s guests were not just there to see a fashion show. We wanted to immerse them into the world of Vera Wang through curated musical performances, specialty cocktails, an exquisite three-course dinner, spectacular floral and décor installations, and even the premiere of Vera’s latest never-before-seen collection film. It was truly a seductive evening,” said Frey and Scalzo of YSD Events.
The intimate experience was beautifully captured in images by Jonathan Connolly Photography and on film by Andreo Studio Photo & Cinema. Guests left with gift bags in hand, filled with special keepsakes from Vera Wang and a beautiful thank you card, highlighting all of the incredible event partners, designed by The Windmill Paper Boutique.
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Planner: YSD Events
Event Design: Ovando
Caterer: Marcia Selden Catering & Events
Music Director & Live DJ: Donna D’Cruz
Entertainment: EastCoast Entertainment
Musical Guest: Spencer Ludwig
Photographer: Jonathan Connolly Photography
Cinematographer: Andreo Studio
Draping & Carpet: Drape Kings
Invitations & Stationery: The Windmill Paper Boutique