post-5696-2018-06-26T21:26:47+00:00
partyslate select

Top 50 Event Planners in the Country

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail to someone
Event Planner: LK Events | Venue: Hilton Chicago | Photographer: Averyhouse

Event planners go by many names: producer, event designer or consultant, creative director, and the list goes on. That’s because it’s difficult to capture all that goes into the work they do. These event professionals curate experiences. From concept to celebration to beautiful conclusion, they’re in touch with every detail and key player to ensure wonderfully memorable events.

Our PartySlate Select program honors outstanding event industry leaders and tastemakers; this month we are singling out the event planners who have inspired us with their stunning work. We had an opportunity to ask these busy professionals about their beginnings, their companies, events they’ve loved and even their hobbies and favorite travel spots — read on for the scoop on how they work and play.

BOSTON, MA

CHARLESTON, SC

CHICAGO, IL

DALLAS, TX

LAS VEGAS, NV

LOS ANGELES, CA

MAUI, HI

MIAMI, FL

NEW YORK, NY

PALM BEACH, FL

SAN DIEGO, CA

SAN FRANCISCO, CA

ST. LOUIS, MO

TAMPA, FL

WASHINGTON, DC


 
 
BOSTON, MA

RAFANELLI EVENTS

How did you get started in the events space?

As early as I can remember, my mother was always hosting great parties at our Rhode Island home. The sense of community and of bringing people together to have a good time just for ‘good time’s sake’ has always been inside of me. I started my career as a volunteer on the special events committee for the AIDS Action Committee. Non-profit work is extremely important to me and this experience allowed me to combine my love for event planning and passion for giving back. Shortly after, Rafanelli events was born in 1996. At that time, I was producing three events a year. Today the firm has grown to a team of 25 and we produce over 100 events annually.

Tell us about one of your favorite events from the past year.

One of my favorite events from this past year is the BCRF Hot Pink Party in NYC, an annual fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Foundation (BCRF), which was founded by the late Evelyn Lauder. Attended by 1,200 guests, it is also co-hosted by the glamorous and generous Elizabeth Hurley, The Estée Lauder Companies Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign Global Ambassador. 

To underscore the tremendous force of BCRF’s impact on breast cancer research, the event’s theme was “Super Nova”. We transformed the Park Avenue Armory into a scene from a fabulous Sci-Fi film. Guests entered the cocktail hour and were transported to an ethereal cloud-like space. Undulating white voile panels were glowing pink above making you feel like you were ascending through the clouds into outer space.

With a dramatic countdown, guests were blasted off into dinner where they were surrounded by glittering stars projected on a 120’L x 30’ curved projection screen. The stars moved across screens and continued onto the tables. Deconstructed galactic floral centerpieces atop glittering palette linens carried the stars into the room, which was wrapped in fiber optic star drape. Guests were immersed in space.

I so enjoyed this night, the important cause, and was honored to work closely with the Lauders and the BCRF team to realize their vision. The night is a celebration of the BCRF donors, the researchers, and scientists who are responsible for cutting-edge research that will ultimately cure breast cancer.

— Bryan Rafanelli, Founder, President & Chief Creative Officer of Rafanelli Events

VIEW PROFILE


 
 
CHARLESTON, SC

CALDER CLARK

Share something unique or different about your company.

We are told time and again by creative partners and clients alike that our design approach is really unique for two reasons. First, it surprises people to see a planner-designer with a “warehouse model,” meaning we shop and source fantastic things to layer throughout our private parties, from custom lighting to lovely furniture vignettes. Second, we render fully and detail out every last layer of our event spaces ourselves, as opposed to delegating all those creative moments to a production company or florist. I just relish wearing the proverbial creative cap!

What is your favorite hobby or travel destination?

I’m a dyed-in-the-wool Southerner. No matter how far-flung my personal and professional travels, I can always let my hair down at Blackberry Farm in Walland, TN. If you haven’t been, you must.

— Calder Clark, Owner & Lead Designer at Calder Clark

VIEW PROFILE

EASTON EVENTS

How did you get started in the events space?

Completely unintentionally! Twenty-five years ago a friend asked if I knew of a wedding planner in Charlottesville, Va. It is amazing to think there wasn’t one. Now there are 45. I used to produce live TV for CNN so I offered to plan her wedding as her wedding gift. I figured “how hard can it be?” …..little did I know.

Tell us about one of your favorite events from the past year.

We did a wedding with Elan Artists and when guests walked in the dinner tent we had 8 violins play through a surround sound system. The music was palpable.

— Lynn Easton, Creative force and Co-founder of Easton Porter Group (a hospitality group which owns several restaurants, hotels, a vineyard and Easton Events)

VIEW PROFILE


 
 
CHICAGO, IL

AFFAIRS WITH LINDA

Share something unique or different about your company.

Personal interaction is most important to me, I like to get to know my clients and have them to get to know me on a personal basis. I do text and email, but love to speak directly with clients. I listen closely, put together a realistic budget and stay within that budget. I get back to my clients very quickly and most tell me how wonderful that is. I do my very best to help clients save money. Also I have long time relationships after the event with my clients and their families. Kindness and understanding go a long way.

Tell us about one of your favorite events from the past year.

The second wedding that I did in December was for a wonderful family from Michigan. We did a Baha’i ceremony at the Ritz, then did a Catholic ceremony at Loyola University at the beautiful Chapel on the lake. The bride and groom were so happy and the love they projected to all filled the entire afternoon, evening and after party with so much joy. No one wanted it to stop. Also my vendors were beyond fabulous: Vince Hart from Kehoe, Toni DiDinato from Rendezvous, Elizabeth and Beth from e3, Mark Kaufman from the Ritz, Don Hankins from VDO, Caroline Shaw — The Wedding Dresser, Nancy Brockway from Halls, Lanie Hartman from BBJ; we work as a team and I am only as good as my team. The next day we had s brunch at the hotel for 250 family and friends.

— Linda Alpert, Owner of Affairs With Linda

VIEW PROFILE

BIRCH DESIGN STUDIO

How did you get started in the events space?

My background was in Art History, Interior Design and Interior Architecture. While I was getting an MFA, I was hired to design someone’s home, so I incorporated and started a company specializing in residential interiors. That evolved into to all sorts of design work for clients (textiles, carpets, stationery) and eventually parties. I opened an events division, and that side took off really quickly – I never looked back.

Share something unique or different about your company.

I think there are three things that set us apart:
1. True design of our events – I design every aspect overall of our events, and then curate the best collection of vendors to bring their expertise to the table.
2. Service; we never, ever say no – we will make anything happen for our clients.
3. Capability: We have a history of doing the impossible, and that has honed our ability to really deliver in the most extreme circumstances.

— Marina Birch, Owner & Principal Designer at Birch Design Studio

VIEW PROFILE

BLISS WEDDINGS & EVENTS

Share something unique or different about your company.

We are one of the only full-service design and planning firms in Chicago who truly focus on details and making each client experience incredibly unique and specialized to their vision by taking a small number of events each year.

Tell us about one of your favorite events from the past year.

We planned and designed Radio Flyer’s 100th Anniversary Event. We wanted to make sure the company’s core values of showcasing their iconic brand through 100 years plus imagination, joy, and playfulness shined through in every detail and guest experience from the minute they stepped out of their car to the very last moment. We led guests through a life-sized pop-up storybook inside a clear tent in the backyard of their newly-renovated headquarters.

— Renny Pedersen, Owner & Creative Director at Bliss Weddings & Events

VIEW PROFILE

CLEMENTINE CUSTOM EVENTS

How did you get started in the events space?

I started my career working for a large event planning and catering company. There I learned how to put an event together from start to finish including all the equipment, timelines, floor plans and, of course, menus! After that 7 year experience I decided to shake things up and start focusing on just the planning elements and stepping away from the catering side of things. Nine years later and I still am so passionate about each and every event I help put together.

What’s your favorite hobby or travel destination?
My favorite hobby is putting together photo albums for my family. Not a scrapbook but just clean, beautiful, coffee-style photo albums. In my next life, I would love to be a photographer. I am obsessed with memories and details from every single moment in life.

I don’t have a favorite travel destination, I just love to travel. I have a strict rule about not traveling to a place more than once since the world is so big and there is so much to see and do! Each year we try to take a beach vacation and a city vacation to explore it all. Up next…Alaska in June with my husband and my 3 little ones.

— Kelly Cavanaugh, Owner and Senior Event Consultant at Clementine Custom Events

VIEW PROFILE

HOPE WEIS CONSULTING

Tell us about one of your favorite events from the past year.

It’s so hard to choose, they are all uniquely different and reflective of the couples and their families. There are a few that definitely stand out. Two sisters got engaged and set their wedding dates 5 months apart from each other! The family had a longtime love of the Four Seasons for all of their special celebrations, so naturally, both Maggie & Amy selected the same venue. The beauty was that I had the opportunity to create celebrations unique to each couple, and reflective of their individual aesthetics and relationships. It was an absolute thrill to watch the wedding days unfold and see the joy on everyone’s faces.

Another that comes to mind is a recent wedding at the Shedd Aquarium. The bride’s family has been involved with the Shedd for years. The couple had a love for the movie The Life Aquatic as well as deep sea diving, boating and surfing. Naturally, an aquatic theme ensued! It was so much fun to tap into the creativity of creating a wedding so completely different and unique.

What is your favorite hobby or travel destination?

I love to travel and discover new and unique destinations locations to suggest to my couples for weddings & honeymoons. Some of my favorite locations have been Costa Rica, Italy (Florence, Rome & Orvieto), Mexico and Bali. Experiencing the cuisine, local culture and highlights have provided me with wonderful resources to share with my couples.

– Hope Weis, Owner of Hope Weis Consulting

VIEW PROFILE

LK EVENTS 

Share something unique or different about your company.

We are a boutique wedding and event planning firm. Therefore, we only take a select number of clients a year, per planner. This allows us to offer unlimited communication throughout the entire planning process and provide the level of service that we pride ourselves on, and that our clients deserve. We love what we do and our clients see that throughout our time together.

Tell us about one of your favorite events from the past year.

There are so many wonderful memories from all of our past events and yet, we have many more events to come in 2018! One of the most memorable events thus far, was helping KID (Kids in Danger) celebrate their 20th anniversary in early May. It was an absolute honor to be a part of such an incredible organization in Chicago.

— Lauren Knuepfer Rozum, Founder & Senior Event Consultant at LK Events

VIEW PROFILE 

MICHELLE DURPETTI EVENTS

How did you get started in the events space?

I began learning how to produce events with my very first internship out of college. I was interning at a public affairs firm here in Chicago that had an events production team that created and managed the events of their clients. It was a master’s degree level experience in everything from political campaign advance work to live television production and everything in between. A highlight was being a part of the 60-person team that produced the William J. Clinton presidential library opening in Little Rock, Arkansas to a live audience of thousands and was televised all over the country and throughout the world. I have had the good fortune to learn how to produce events as large as galas of 3,000 and as intimate as 50. From producing openings of restaurants to runway shows, my career has been full of variety which has been so fulfilling. I have worked with many nonprofits, helping each to create an event that is ultimately a structure through which they can market their message and mission, and those efforts contributed to a record year in 2014 where we helped to raise over $350,000 for our nonprofit clients.

At the age of 26, I chased a dream, and accepted various positions utilizing my fluency in Italian while working for the Italian Trade Commission, an Italian government office throughout the United States that cultivates trade between Italy and the U.S

During that time, I began freelancing as an events specialist and produced various private events including birthdays, weddings, the grand opening of the sales office at Lincoln Park 2520 and both the 60th and 65th anniversary celebrations of Chicago restaurant Gene & Georgetti. This was a very personal career highlight for me as Gene & Georgetti has been a family-owned-and-operated business for close to 70 years, and that family is mine – Founder Gene Michelotti is my grandfather.

Since the inception of Michelle Durpetti Events in 2008, I have planned and produced over 350 weddings and events including some of Chicago’s most notable like Chicago Gateway Green’s annual Green Tie Ball, the Fiera Italiana, in conjunction with the annual Columbus Day Parade, for the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans, and the Chicago Hunter Derby where I was fortunate enough to be the recipient of the Marion Maybank Volunteer Award in 2014 in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the Chicago Hunter Derby and the Chicago Equestrians for a Cause. Other clients include the Tennis Opportunity Program, Chicago Opera Theater, and The Tripp Healy Foundation.

Wish Upon a Wedding, a national non-profit and the world’s first wish granting organization that provides weddings and vow renewals for couples facing terminal illness and serious life altering circumstances regardless of sexual orientation, was kind enough to give me the Shining Star Award. And now, at the ten year marker with MDE, I still work with couples creating their weddings and events because I genuinely love to do it. Now, I balance my time between MDE and being a managing partner in my family’s business, Turnkey Hospitality, which includes Gene & Georgetti Chicago and Rosemont, suburban wedding and event venue, The Estate, and “Bar Ida” opening in River North in the fall of 2018. Throughout all of that, I am also a competitive amateur equestrian and volunteer my time with various charitable organizations.

Tell us about one of your favorite events from the past year.

My favorite event from this past year was hands down my own wedding. I had the amazing good fortune of working with Marina Birch of Birch design studio to help me bring my wedding to life. I knew I wanted to work with a planner because I truly believe what I tell my clients, and that is that when you invest in a planner who is your knowledgeable guide, trusted go to, and endless resource it is the best investment you can make. Marina and her team were incredible in helping my husband and I bring our “wow” factor to life throughout our wedding weekend while keeping the weekend welcoming and intimate. It was a master class in professional inspiration to watch her creative process, and personally, it was the most motivating thing to watch this powerhouse woman balance all that she does with such an open heart, sense of humor, and with such integrity. I believe in community over competition, (I learned this phrase from another planner who is a friend, and inspiration, Beth Bernstein), and my wedding really was a symphony of that concept.

— Michelle Durpetti, Principal & Owner, at Michelle Durpetti Events

VIEW PROFILE

NORTH SHORE WEDDINGS & EVENTS

Share something unique or different about your company.

I have always been a creative person, but I didn’t really think of being a wedding and event planner. I was extremely focused on photography and music, in my early years, and I began shooting photography in the Rave and Club industry when I was 18 years old. Interestingly, being exposed to the idea of “party” from a less conventional source gave me a unique perspective of event execution.

I bring strong structure to the event planning process, but really don’t want my clients to feel like this is a cookie cutter process. Every event is unique, just like the people planning it and so I try to explore what will get the client excited and feel their event will stand out and be different from all the rest. My background in music and photography, along with catering, gives me a more holistic approach to the event. It’s not about how an event looks, event planning is about the whole experience.

I try to balance the environment, food and beverage and entertainment to create a pleasant and exciting guest experience. People don’t remember what the flowers looked like or what they ate, they remember how they felt at the event.

Tell us about one of your favorite events from the past year?

This past St. Patrick’s Day was such an amazing wedding to work on with great vendors. With both bride and groom being of Irish decent, and it being St. Patrick’s Day, we wanted to pay tribute to an Irish theme, but in a extremely tasteful way. The client’s had a more industrial and vintage taste, so I themed the event “Old World Irish” and it played out just as we expected.

Erin McDonald Design and A Stem Above, created a beautiful event in Artifact Events, paying tribute to St. Patricks Day. Special thought was put into the meandering ceremony aisle with cafe bulbs hanging throughout foliage and tree stumps, leading to a ceremony in the round, with gorgeous hanging greenery above the altar . Entertaining Company subtly themed the menu to have Irish favorites like mini corned beef sandwiches with mini sips of Guinness and fish and chips bites. We brought the Shannon Rovers to escort the wedding guests to the dance floor with bagpipes, before Ken Arlen’s Evolution band serenaded the Bride and Groom for first dance. It was an epic party.

It’s always the best feeling when a client trusts you to make good decisions for them and direction them in the way that best suits their needs. This was a case of the right people coming together to create something that they all were excited about. It makes a huge difference when everyone is 100% into the event concept.

— Megan Estrada, Owner & Lead Event Planner at North Shore Weddings & Events

VIEW PROFILE 

PAULETTE WOLF EVENTS

How did you get started in the events space?

Events are in my blood – I truly grew up in the event industry. Attending events from a young age and learning from the very best in the business, my mother, has allowed me to forge my own path and take Paulette Wolf Events to the next level. We are a family-owned, boutique firm where you get direct access to the principals of the company.

Tell us about one of your favorite events from the past year.

One of my favorite events from the past year is a corporate anniversary event that we do annually where there is always a theme and top talent. Last year’s event was in November for their 20th anniversary featuring Stevie Wonder & The Chainsmokers. We took over a helicopter hangar and transformed it for the event around the theme of TV show families with different vignettes & activities dedicated to a selection of TV shows centered around guest engagement tied into the theme. The space was filled with 2 huge stages and video walls, lots of themed decor and interactive activities and cool special effects for the 1,200 guests who attended this celebration.

— Jodi Wolf, Chief Executive Officer at Paulette Wolf Events

VIEW PROFILE 

SQN EVENTS

How did you get started in the events space?

After a decade in advertising, I was fortunate enough to stay home with my kids for several years. During this time, I did a lot of volunteer work and my skill set lent itself well to the events side versus fundraising (I hate cold calling!). In 2009, a woman who was getting married at a venue I had recently produced a Gala saw photos of the event, tracked me down, and asked me to plan her wedding. My initial response to her was, “But I’m just a mom.” She said she didn’t care – she saw what I did to the space and said anyone who can produce a large gala could do a wedding. So I took a leap of faith and filed as an LLC, purchased business insurance, and hired a team to do my branding. I had no idea where it would lead, but here we are nine years later.

Share something unique or different about your company.

SQN Events only produces a select number of weddings each year. This allows us to give each and every client our full attention and I am personally involved every step of the way. Additionally, we have a strict “no commissions” policy and recommend creative partners based on how they would add to the team for the event we’re producing – not because we’re gaining anything financially on our end.

— Beth Bernstein, Owner & Event Director at SQN Events

VIEW PROFILE 


 
 
DALLAS, TX

DFW EVENTS, INC. 

Share something unique or different about your company.

We take the relationship part of our business very seriously. We are present on some of the most significant days of our clients’ lives, so we make an effort to not only “get the job done,” but to dig into personalities and understand family dynamics—elements that go far beyond the tasks on our event itineraries. Our team takes the time to learn who each client is at their core, and we morph our work style accordingly. Following our initial consultation, we spend a considerable amount of time pairing each client with the planner who best suits their personality, ensuring that everyone who comes to DFW Events for coordination services benefits from a support system that’s uniquely tailored to their requirements.

Tell us about one of your favorite events from the past year.

This has been the year of grand openings and large-scale corporate celebrations! Coordinating a weekend of concerts and events celebrating the opening of the $3 billion Legacy West development and hosting Texas Governor Greg Abbott for the debut of La Moderna Pasta Factory might tie for first place.

— Mary-Frances Hurt, Founder & CEO, DFW Events | Co-Owner, Perch Event Decor 

VIEW PROFILE 

EMILY CLARKE EVENTS 

This team is endlessly creative and competent, conjuring transformative event visions. They are relationship-cultivators and advocates on behalf of their clients to ensure that their resulting celebrations are as memorable as they are stunning. The group especially excels at destination weddings, with Mexico serving as their favorite spot.

VIEW PROFILE 

JACQUELINE EVENTS & DESIGN 

How did you get started in the events space?

I actually was blessed to receive training in college with an organization in which we produced campus events. Post college I started out at a large non-profit in Dallas producing 50+ events a year on an event team. I learned in the trenches!

Tell us about one of your favorite events from the past year.

Last year we had the honor of planning a two-day wedding celebration. The couple was getting married on a Friday amongst family followed by a dinner. The next day it was time to party with a large group of family and friends. We loved this event because it allowed for two different designs and a different schedule. Both the bride and groom are pastry chefs so you can imagine the detail that went into the cakes for both days! Every detail was thought of, down to the embroidered napkins on the table.

— Jacqueline Hill, Owner of Jacqueline Events & Design

VIEW PROFILE 


 
 
LAS VEGAS, NV

ANDREA EPPOLITO EVENTS

How did you get started in the events space?

I started planning my Sweet 16 when I was 13 years old. A few years later, someone in the wedding industry saw the binder (yes, BINDER) that I was carrying out with me. It was filled with sketches and tear out and timelines and songs. She looked it over and said, “You should be a wedding planner.” and invited me to work the registration at a small wedding trade show. That was all it took; I was hooked! I used the money I made to buy wedding magazines and “how-to” books, and never left the industry. I enjoy being deeply and personally involved in every aspect of an event.

Tell us about one of your favorite events from the past year.

One of my favorite events was a non-traditional wedding that I worked on at The Four Seasons. The bride was very familiar with my work and came to the table with a lot of trust. She asked me, “What’s the one thing you have always wanted to do at a wedding, but haven’t?” And I told her, “I want to float a wedding cake in the middle of a pool….just have it float around until it’s time to be cut.” She was giddy and said, “Great! Do it!” I was given the freedom to stretch and grow, and to indulge in a whimsical design that I’m not as famous for — I tend to skew towards the classics. The results were spectacular, and included not only the floating cake, but 20-foot birdcages for seating, hand-dipped ombre silk wraps, feathered invitations, and mermaids! I could not have asked for more!

— Andrea Eppolito, Wedding Planner, Event Designer & Owner of Andrea Eppolito Events

VIEW PROFILE 


 
 
LOS ANGELES, CA

BETH HELMSTETTER EVENTS

Share something unique or different about your company.

90% of the celebrations we design and produce are multi-day destination wedding celebrations where couples essentially create a full weekend experience with their guests. Because of this, we have curated a process that focuses not only on aesthetic design but also guest experience design where we intentionally think through every guest touch point from the first email communication to the departure gift when they head home after the weekend.

Tell us about one of your favorite events from the past year.

We designed and produced a 5-event, 4-day wedding weekend in Sardinia, Italy for 200 guests. Each event was its own design and experience that both reflected the couple as well as the region.

— Beth Helmstetter, Principal at Beth Helmstetter Events

VIEW PROFILE 

BROOKE KEEGAN SPECIAL EVENTS

Share something unique or different about your company.

We are a boutique event company specializing in a concierge level of planning services. In most instances, both us and the clients are traveling to the destination and we are hosting multiple days of events. We only book 8 to 10 events per year so that we can provide the level of service and detail needed to make each event a success. We love to get to know our clients so that we can infuse their personality into all aspects of the day! It also helps us create a special and unique guest experience for all those in attendance.

Tell us about one of your favorite events from the past year.

One of our favorite moments from last year was our wedding on the island of Lana’i in Hawaii. The couple and their family hosted the guests to four days of events! The welcome reception was such a great chance for everyone to see each other before the big day and it really set the tone for the wedding. The island is a magical place with breathtaking views that we really took advantage of with each event we planned. We loved infusing tropical colors in the design- the bride’s bouquet was a stand out piece. The wedding night ended with the guests watching fireworks on the beach! That was a major highlight of the year!

— Brooke Keegan, Founder of Brooke Keegan Special Events

VIEW PROFILE 

DETAILS, DETAILS WEDDING & EVENT PLANNING 

How did you get started in the events industry?

I started off in the hotel and hospitality industry. I have a background in hotel management as general manager of two hotels which gave me a strong understanding of how to manage people as well as how to design and execute events from that side as well as getting people to work toward a common goal. I now use those skills on behalf of my clients.

Share something unique or different about your company.

We work in Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego — a three county radius. We service a large physical circumference for the market from Santa Barbara to Palm Springs to San Diego. Our planners have dynamic personalities and we’ve developed a large portfolio of cultural weddings — Persian, Jewish, Indian, etc. — and have the staffing capabitilities to be able to service several events per weekend.

— Jeannie Savage, President at Details Details Wedding & Event Planning

VIEW PROFILE

INTERNATIONAL EVENT COMPANY

Tell us about one of your favorite events from the past year.

One of our favorite events from past year was a New Year’s Eve wedding at Pelican Hill. One of the great things about it was that the bride and groom had known each other since Kindergarten. They had a picture of themselves together at that age that we used on their “save the date” cards. The two became friends then dated then he proposed. They had garnered a big following from all of their mutual friends who were very excited about their marriage — it made for a high-energy, amazing wedding. People never know what to do on NYE so it was perfect to be invited to a special wedding. We were able to make new use of the Pelican Hill space by hosting the ceremony inside one ballroom then created a tented english garden outside featuring 20-foot-long feast tables with stunning centerpieces of different fruits, herbs and greenery. We had tremendous music — starting with traditional sounds at the beginning then a big band to roll in NYE then a DJ for the after-party. It was an evening filled with warmth, love, laughter, and tears.

Another special event was a wedding at the Monarch Beach property. We’ve done many family events for this family (grandparent’s 50th anniversary, graduation parties, etc.), and this was their grandson’s wedding. The groom is Native American and the bride is Latina. We enjoyed incoporating both cultures into the event. At the cocktail reception, we had personalized Mexican flags strung with lights overhead for a festive feel. The ballroom featured gorgeous dreamcatchers and a custom dance floor, honoring his heritage.

What is your favorite hobby or travel destination?

One of my favorite travel destinations is Hawaii. In the span of four hours, you can come off of a plane and be suddenly on vacation. In addition to travel, I also enjoy gardening. I’m growing tomatoes right now. It’s kind of amazing see everything grow and know that you grew it yourself. I love having fruits and vegetables that I can’t get at the store!

— Jonathan Reeves, Founder of International Event Company

VIEW PROFILE

JENNY CHANG

Share something unique or different about your company.

Rock N’ Events & The JC BRAND convey a very bold, confident, innovative and empowering belief for the Wedding & Special Events Industry. Celebrations have always been honored because of the value of togetherness; both my brands are at the heart of this value, and continue to innovate as the modern world continues to grow. Every detail of party planning is meant to be a positive experience filled with togetherness, love, and laughter to last a lifetime. The producers and designers at The JC Brand & Rock N’ Events keep this value at the core of every celebration, and bring together the most perfect experience through passion and creativity. Together, guided by the purpose and intentions of our member’s celebrations, we create an inspiring and unmatchable journey designed for only them. Our exceptional five-star customer service and timeless event design in every Jenny Chang and Rock N’ Events celebration is designed to create lifelong memories and lifetime friendships with our members. I am Jenny Chang, and we are Rock N’ Events — we are passionate, inspired, and not always conventional — that’s the basis to why we are the top planners you’ll meet in today’s world of special celebrations.

Tell us about one of your favorite events from the past year.

Ah! I promise, I’m not being biased by my response, but hands-down, my most loved celebration within this past year has been my sister-in-law’s baby shower. I had the gift of producing my brother’s dream wedding in 2014, and to plan the party that would commemorate becoming an aunt made this celebration so purposeful and special to me and my producers at Rock N’ Events. The shower was designed to be festively-airy — we even had baby bunnies to accompany our VIP’s! We celebrated all morning and afternoon in the backyard of the estate I grew up in, which felt so rewarding to flip and rebuild for that celebratory moment. Lastly, it was the experience in traveling through the memories of our past, and the toasts to building a future that my niece, Sophie Chang, has become a perfect part of.

— Jenny Chang, Event Specialist & Founder of The JC Brand and Rock N’ Events

VIEW PROFILE

KRISTIN BANTA EVENTS 

How did you get started in the events space?

I did my undergraduate degree work in theater arts and graduate work in entertainment marketing. I combined both my academic knowledge along with extensive experience working in catering, interior design, floral design, concerts and stage production to develop an event company specializing in high level design. The firm’s origin was inspired by my belief that there was a perspective missing within the wedding space that represented a less traditional point of view. I wanted to bring a sense of the avant garde into weddings based on my background in theater, fashion and work within the music industry. My goal was to introduce a high-fashion approach to event design by taking risks and incorporating irony, humor, irreverence, bold colors, residential styling, interactivity and installation art.

What is your favorite hobby or travel destination?

We all love to try new things from cuisine to cocktails … we love all games from ping pong to corn-hole … and we love to experience the world around us. Our favorite trips that our job has taken us to this past year include Seoul, Korea, Beijing, China and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

— Kristin Banta, Creative Director at Kristin Banta Events

VIEW PROFILE

 

LINDA HOWARD EVENTS

How did you get started in the events space?

I was an interior designer for 18 years, when my daughter got engaged to be married in 1996. When I was planning her wedding, I realized that it was like decorating a home, yet install and breakdown took place on the same day. After the wedding, I joined the National Association of Bridal Consultants, attended many conferences and got my credentials to become an “official wedding planner.” When my design clients heard that I was designing and planning weddings, their children became my first brides and grooms. My company, Sensational Celebrations, flew from there. In 2012, I became known as Linda Howard Events, and have planned over 160 elegant and one-of -a-kind weddings. It has been my passion and I have loved every minute of making wedding dreams come true. My staff and my vendors are the best in the industry and together we do our best to make magic happen!!!

Tell us about one of your favorite events from the past year.

This past year I had the honor and pleasure of planning an Art Deco wedding for a dream bride and groom, Jen Winston and Jordan Dinenberg. It took place at the iconic Vibiana in downtown Los Angeles. The bride had the most gorgeous rose-gold engagement ring and we captured the beauty by using it as our inspiration for all of the design elements. She did not love flowers, so we used pampas grass and objects of art to create unusual and memorable Art Deco decor for the ceremony and reception. The invitation was designed from her ring — and the dance floor mirrored the invitation, placing rose-gold starburst imagery in the corners. In addition, their six-tiered wedding cake reflected the rose gold starbursts. Pia Toscana sang the words to their first choreographed dance and she set the stage for their magical celebration! Everything about the entire evening was personalized and magnificent. Guests were welcomed with two freestanding mirrors that had their names and seating arrangements calligraphed on the mirrors. As guests left the event — in the wee hours of the morning — they packed personalized bags with their choice of scrumptious donuts from an incredible 8- foot donut wall. I loved every minute of creating with Jen and Jordan and feel that their love for one another was sealed during the planning process! What a beautiful beginning to a forever love!

— Linda Howard, Founder of Linda Howard Events

VIEW PROFILE

LISA VORCE CO

Share something unique or different about your company.

Our commitment to creating the most memorable guest experience is at our very core; a guiding light during each event’s creative process. Rather than adhering to trends, we develop unique design concepts from the ground up. We put exhaustive effort into each celebration to ensure it simply cannot be replicated, marrying our client’s distinct style with our industry expertise and vision. We do this through cultural reconnaissance, where we spend time visiting that location many months in advance to gain a deep understanding of the traditions that will infuse each celebration with a strong and unwavering sense of place. Being able to experience new places in a natural way breeds inspiration beyond virtual means. We may spend a few days shopping at vintage bazaars for hand-stitched textiles and indigenous florals, tasting authentic cheeses and meats from a local farmer or visiting a vineyard to select the perfect wines for a welcome dinner. The prospect of working with local artists like a traditional Mariachi band or a local calligrapher is a welcome challenge, and one that allows us to continue to push creative boundaries as we have done over the last 20+ years. All these components play an important role in creating a memorable and luxurious experience that truly transports guests to another world.

Tell us about one of your favorite events from the past year.

While some of our events are not shown, take a peek at @lisavorce on Instagram and enjoy some photos and video recaps of our destination work. Last year, we produced a spectacular Italian wedding weekend at Castiglione del Bosco in Tuscany, Italy for model and actress Kate Upton and Houston Astros pitcher and World Series champion, Justin Verlander. Guests enjoyed a weekend of festivities, including an afternoon ‘Game Day’ when guests channelled their inner champion for team sports on the estate’s sprawling grounds as well as an intimate Italian feast at a well-known local restaurant where all guests wore red! We were fortunate to work with Tuscany Flowers Floral & Event Design and Michelangelo Greenhouse for the wedding celebration, which took place inside a custom-built greenhouse, transformed with chandeliers and organic hanging florals. It was a masterpiece!

— Lisa Vorce, Owner & Creative Director at Lisa Vorce CO

VIEW PROFILE

MINDY WEISS PARTY CONSULTANTS

How did you get started in the events space?

My very first job was at a stationery store. I loved working with paper and pretty things so much that I ended up starting my own stationery business with my best friend, called JAM. Many of our clients started asking me to plan their events, which is how I got my start. I started getting more business by word of mouth, landed my first celebrity client, and the rest is history!

What is your favorite hobby or travel destination?

I end up traveling so much for work, that I love nothing more than being home. During my downtime, I love going to flea markets (a great place for inspiration, by the way) and spending time with my two precious granddaughters. A sunny day at the park with my grandbabies is heaven for me!

— Mindy Weiss, Founder of Mindy Weiss Party Consultants

VIEW PROFILE

RHEEFINED COMPANY

How did you get started in the events space?

Growing up, event and wedding planning was not something I really knew about. My dream was to pursue theatre and acting. I started volunteering in high school for a community service organization and began planning meetings and smaller activities. In college, I continued on the theater path, but my interest in event planning continued to grow. My college advisors supported this interest and found opportunities for me to plan events on campus like fundraisers and galas. I signed up for an Event Specialist certification program at Cal Poly Pomona focusing on social, corporate and wedding planning led by my mentor Christine Baumgartner, a seasoned wedding and event planner who taught the courses! When I completed the program, I starting producing as many events as possible.

Tell us about one of your favorite events from the past year.

While we absolutely adore all of our clients and their different personalities and styles, one of our favorites was probably a wedding at Carneros Resort and Spa in Napa Valley. There was so much excitement and so many special details for this wedding, starting with the fact that it was Rheefined Company’s first wedding in Napa. The couple truly cared about giving all of their guests the best experience. Every detail was customized and thought out, from the merino wool scarf favors at every seat intricately tied with a suede leather cord to the the custom gold dipped agate slices with beautiful calligraphy as place cards and handmade cement table numbers. Plus being able to fly one of your most favorite photographer duos from New Zealand was amazing. It truly was pure magic!

— Jason Rhee, Director of Celebrations for Rheefined Company

VIEW PROFILE

SIMPLY TROY LIFESTYLE + EVENTS

How did you get started in the events space?

I always had a design aesthetic during childhood — my mother and grandmother had a great sense of style. My love for entertainment began at 16 when I worked at a movie theater and then I was the first one in my family to go to college where I got an internship with Warner Bros. to market their films on campus. I moved to Hollywood two weeks after graduation and did many jobs in the entertainment industry. I eventually worked on the Batman & Robin film set and found my way to an assistant job at Warner Bros. During my 14-year career at Warner Bros., I became the Senior Publicist for Premieres and Special Events — it was the best education throwing 450 premieres and Special Events working with incredible talent and brands. I even had a great full circle moment getting to do the premieres for The Dark Knight trilogy. Through my various jobs, I found myself networking with all the right people to build my brand and my eye for design to put together events and knew I wanted to work in lifestyle after my paternity leave. I started planning a few celebrity baby showers then weddings, charity events and corporate gigs followed and it’s now been 5 years since I started Simply Troy Lifestyle + Events. All of my clients have been through word of mouth referrals since the day I started my company.

Tell us about one of your favorite events from the past year.

I especially loved creating the super personal and lovely wedding for Julianne Hough + Brooks Laich in Idaho. Also, doing the “The 50th Anniversary of The Carol Burnett Show” for Ms. Carol Burnett and Walmart was a once in a lifetime event. Creating such a special evening for a Comedy Legend while implemented the Walmart brand logo in an elegant fashion at the event was a great marriage of two illustrious brands. We embroidered the yellow spark logo on waiters’ designer aprons, printed it on custom gift box wrapping paper, cocktail napkins. It was an unforgettable night.

— Troy Williams, Founder of Simply Troy Lifestyle + Events

VIEW PROFILE

THE LYNDEN LANE CO.

How did you get started in the events space?

Design has always been in our blood. We have spent more time than we care to admit, redesigning a restaurant where we went for a dinner. It is a blessing and a curse to always notice the details and how you could tweak something to make it just right. Eventually we started channeling that energy into events. Creating spaces and events that reflect the moment, the personalities, and the styles of our clients makes us ridiculously happy.

Share something unique or different about your company.

We are a team of two daughters and a mom which gives us a unique perspective on design and planning. We are able to approach the process from a multi-generational point of view. It also helps understand the ever changing family dynamics during the wedding planning process. (especially between the bride and the MOB).

— Barbi Walters, Lyndsey Schwartz, and Layne Povey, Founders of The Lynden Lane Co.

VIEW PROFILE


 
 
MAUI, HI

ELEMENTS BY K.H. & CO.

Share something unique or different about your company.

We’re not your typical event planners. For us, it’s all about creating overall experiences that showcase the unique styles and personalities of our clients, down to the smallest details. We place an emphasis on style and decor with an eye for the smallest of details and work to infuse each client’s personality into them. In the early planning stages, we ask our clients about their favorite furniture pieces at home and what their dream home would look like. We also explore their taste in fashion and accessories. Armed with this information, we work to infuse it into the overall design and elements of their event. The result is an event that truly is a representation of them. We also focus on the guest’s experience through food and beverage. Food brings people together in ways nothing else can and it is what most remember long after the event is over. It is a truly communal experience, so we work to build something memorable around the dinner table and at the bar by working with chefs and mixologists to curate custom menus that are representative of each client’s tastes and the culinary experiences they want to create.

What is your favorite hobby or travel destination?

I’ll share my favourites for both. Cooking – I love the creative aspect of it. Trying new combinations, ingredients, techniques and flavours. I don’t like to measure when I cook, so it’s all about imagining the taste in advance and working toward it. It’s a creative outlet that isn’t work-related and extremely relaxing for me, especially with a glass of wine or whiskey in hand. I love to travel anywhere, however any time I get to travel to Southeast Asia, I’m in! It’s my favourite place in the world. The people, the culture, the food, the energy — it’s an adventure traveler’s dream destination and I always come back inspired professionally as well as personally with new design ideas ready to share with my clients.

— Kimiko Hosaki, Founder & Creative Director of Elements by K.H. & Co.

VIEW PROFILE


 
 
MIAMI, FL

CHRIS WEINBERG EVENTS 

Share something unique or different about your company.

I have a reputation for doing what it takes to get the job done, always with a calm demeanor, handling problems and challenges seamlessly. My clients engage me because they know I use diplomacy and discretion when working with their families and vendor partners. I bring people together to work as a team to get the job done and care about each person involved in an event. Clear communication is a priority for producing successful events and I take the time to learn how each client works best so that I can optimize the planning and execution of each event. I enjoy building long-lasting business relationships with clients and vendors that cultivate repeat business and encourage recommendation of my services.

Tell us about one of your favorite events from the past year.

One of my favorite events this past year was an extreme sports-themed Bar Mitzvah at the brand new Frost Museum of Science. It was especially exciting because this was the first social event at the venue. Our client rented out the entire Aquarium building of the museum and there was a different experience for guests on each level of the building throughout the night. This began with cocktail hour on the rooftop overlooking the Miami skyline with animal interactions. Guests then moved through a jellyfish room to a lower level with a surfing simulator under the oculus of the shark tank and down to the ballroom with a light-up dance floor, activities and delicious dinner stations. We had a great client and great vendor partners to work with that made the event a huge success.

— Chris Weinberg, Founder, Chief Experience Officer & Lead Event Producer at Chris Weinberg Events

VIEW PROFILE

SARA RENEE EVENTS

Share something unique or different about your company.

I think what makes our company so unique is that the majority of my team at one point in their lives was a Bar or Bat Mitzvah dancer. I know that sounds very strange, however, there is no better person for this role. Being on that side of the event made us experts at understanding what works and what doesn’t work and also gave us the advantage of knowing what it’s like to be on the Vendor side of things. We were all Vendors at one point who had to answer to the Planner. We understand the importance of every single person working the event and treat everyone with the respect they deserve.We are attitude-free and come to the table with incredible knowledge and experience. It takes way more than good organizing skills and a rolodex filled with good Vendors to execute an event — what makes our company unique is that we bring more than 100 years of combined event experience which has resulted in thousands of successful events, between our days dancing at them, and now planning them!

What is your favorite hobby or travel destination?

My favorite hobby is to travel and to plan our family travels. Working every weekend takes It’s toll on family time — I have missed many soccer games and birthday parties. I made a promise to myself many years ago that every summer I would travel with my family for 6 weeks. While away, of course, I still answer emails and get work done in the evenings, but I come back inspired and re-fueled and filled with ideas. It’s a much needed vacation filled with so much adventure. Since making this promise to my family, we have been all over the world. 29 countries and still counting! Our favorites have included Vietnam, Nepal, and hiking Machu Picchu!

— Sara Lowell, Event Guru at Sara Renee Events

VIEW PROFILE


 
 
NEW YORK, NY

AMY KATZ EVENTS

How did you get started in the events space?

I was planning events for friends and acquaintances for many years until my younger daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and I was determined to help find a cure. I founded, planned and organized the first Carnival For A Cure Fundraiser for the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation in Manhattan. These events were such an enormous success that many guests asked me to plan their weddings, mitzvahs and social events. The demand was high, so Amy Katz Events was born! It’s become more than a business — it’s a lifestyle, with clients becoming lifelong friends.

What is your favorite hobby or travel destination?

This past December I went to Morocco for an adventure of a lifetime. I visited Casablanca, Marrakech, Fes and Rabat. This trip was incredible, and I was fortunate to experience the vibrant Moroccan culture. The most unique aspects of the country are the the soulks (marketplaces), Atlas Mountains, the Desert d’Agfay, and, of course, the Tajine. I had an unforgettable trip and and drank more tea than anyone could ever imagine.

— Amy Katz, President & Founder of Amy Katz Events

VIEW PROFILE

CERBELLI CREATIVE

Share something unique or different about your company.

We are an enigma in our own industry. Though we are entertainment specialists we are an event source that’s not able to produce entire events from invitations to thank you notes, but to be able to collaborate and partner with some of the biggest event producers, wedding planners, meeting planners, and foundations. Cerbelli Creative has been part of many teams over the years for support and our creative capabilities. We know what our lane is, and we are able to blend in behind the scenes helping create unique experiences while the lead producer(s) wow’s their client.

Tell us about one of your favorite events from the past year.

On May 9th, more than 1,000 people gathered to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Seeds of Peace, a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring and cultivating the next generation of global leaders poised to transform conflict. It was an inspiring event that was months in the process. Vice President Joe Biden spoke to the sold-out crowd gathered at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers after being honored with the John P. Wallach Peacemaker Award. Also speaking were five Seeds (alumni of the Seeds of Peace Camp program) who reflected upon their experiences at Camp and how those lessons carry through into their careers. Other highlights included performances by Mandy Gonzalez, lead in Broadway’s Hamilton, accompanied by five Seed singers, as well as an appearance from Late Night host Seth Meyers.

We were very proud to produce this event and help such an amazing organization exceed both attendance and fundraising goals, with money raised in support of its summer camp, year-round leadership development programs, and its GATHER initiative aimed at accelerating the social, political, and economic impact of its nearly 6,700 alumni around the world.

— Michael Cerbelli, Founder, CEO / President at Cerbelli Creative

VIEW PROFILE

COLIN COWIE LIFESTYLE

How did you get started in the events space?

I started a small catering company in LA in 1985. One party lead to another, each party got bigger and better and before I knew it, I was designing every aspect of our parties. Less than three years into my business I was commissioned to design and produce Hugh Hefner’s wedding to Kimberly Conrad at the Playboy Mansion. The rest, as they say, is history.

Share something unique or different about your company.

The most unique thing about Colin Cowie Lifestyle is that we have a solid understanding of the space we’re in. We have been creating bespoke luxury experiences for over 3 decades. I have watched the world change and since the Internet it seems it has exploded with service providers, creating an over-populated arena. I use the term ‘ruthless editing’ about 10 times a day. We ruthlessly edit in all areas to get rid of the 90% clutter and keep the 10% that tells a meaningful story. I embed my clients’ DNA into each event, which is why no two of my parties ever look the same. I take into account the season: spring, summer, winter or fall. The time of day: morning, noon or night. Then layer what guests smell, touch, taste, see and hear to create a ‘WOW’ moment at every turn. Our goal is to make sure guests walk in and think, “Oh my God, I can’t believe they did this!”

— Colin Cowie, Owner of Colin Cowie Lifestyle

VIEW PROFILE

DAVID STARK DESIGN & PRODUCTION

How did you get started in the events space?

I was a fine artist – a painter, and I started working with flowers as a creative solution to waiting on tables for my “survival job.” Like painting, flowers were about color, and texture, and scale, and the first jobs that we did were for restaurants and offices. We often spent more money buying the flowers than we collected for those arrangements, but people would always ask who did the flowers, and those inquiries led to little special event jobs – a small wedding here, a tiny birthday party there. We approached each of those jobs as if they were the Royal Wedding, and each one led to a bigger and better opportunity. And though we’re known now for our out-of-the-box design, we really see ourselves as storytellers.

Tell us about one of your favorite events from the past year.

Oh, it’s so hard to pick a favorite – we love them all. It was an anniversary year for the Robin Hood Foundation’s benefit, though. Its 30th Anniversary, and WOW, we have been collaborating with them for twelve or fourteen years – something like that! It’s a great honor to be part of their team and extraordinary to see the progress and growth of the event over those years.

This year, we focused on the lights of our great city and the kindness of the community that comes together to help eradicate poverty in New York. With a spotlight on the dazzling layers of marquees and signage that surround us in the theater district, those surfaces became platforms to thank our donors for their incredible generosity and to tell the story of Robin Hood’s tenants and missions. Replete with a battalion of dancers that activated our landscape of lights and poetry, it was a dazzling, multi-sensory experience that pushed what party décor and messaging could be. We are very proud of the cumulative accomplishments of the team.

— David Stark, President & Creative Director at David Stark Design & Production

VIEW PROFILE

ELEGANT OCASSIONS BY JOANN GREGOLI

Share something unique or different about your company.

We started the destination travel trend approximately 15 years ago, so we are pioneers. We all bring about our love and always go the extra mile for ALL our clients. We are true people pleasers. We also love to have one element of surprise in all our events.

What is your favorite hobby or travel destination?

My favorite hobby is traveling. My favorite travel destination is ITALY (in fact, one of my favorite events of the past year was a romantic wedding at Lake Como). I love the food, the people the culture and how we infuse it into all our events. I am passionate about travel and it shows.

– Joann Gregoli, Owner of Elegant Occasions

VIEW PROFILE

jesGORDON/properFUN

Share something unique or different about your company.

I think what sets us apart is that I am personally involved in every single event that we produce. You don’t only meet with my team you meet with me directly and I am there to oversee the execution of the event on the day of. I feel like this is something that has gotten lost in the service business and I feel it’s my responsibility since I put my name on the door! Also, we have such a broad spectrum of what we do, we don’t just specialize in one thing. We create environments for everything and anyone, all the way from a wedding to a corporate product launch and we will even create the most amazing dorm room for a first time college student. I just love to design so I don’t have any boundaries as to what I want to take on.

What is your favorite hobby or travel destination?

In love any destination I can walk around in. I gain all of my inspiration from exploring on foot, so most of the time it’s a walking city or the most beautiful expanse of a beach you can imagine. I love being physical so my hobbies tend to land on the hyper side :)!

— Jes Gordon, owner/creative DIRECTOR at jesGORDON/properFUN

VIEW PROFILE

MARCY BLUM ASSOCIATES

How did you get started in the events space?

I went to chefs school at Culinary Institute of America (CIA). I worked as a banquet manager and then ran restaurants and guests starting asking me if I could plan events outside of where I worked.

Tell us about one of your favorite events from the past year.

A fantastic 4 day wedding in Positano.

— Marcy Blum, Owner of Marcy Blum Associates

VIEW PROFILE

MICHELLE RAGO DESTINATIONS

Share something unique or different about your company.

What’s unique is that we have a true emphasis on production and destination. We were one of the first destination companies, doing destination as it was growing. I’m one of the first female producers in the destination space. We focus on international destinations, with the bulk of ours overseas. Lots of planning companies based in US will take a few destination parties a year but our resource pool is so deep — we’re not starting from scratch for each party. Last year we had five European events. We are skilled in not just weddings but also life celebrations. Our favorite things to do are birthdays, galas and philanthropic events for clients.

What is your favorite hobby or travel destination?

Travel IS my hobby — I spend every free moment with my friends traveling. I have always been, and always will be, an avid traveler and very curious person; I would die if I didn’t travel! Kids would save up to buy clothes but I’ve been buying vacations since the age of 15. I’m a big fan of Italy (I love to do summer vacations in Sicily), France, and India. I’m also passionate about food and wine. I just went to the WineAacademy at the Little Nell in Aspen, Colorado. I’m always engaging to figure out what’s happening in food and beverage and entertaining. Sailing is another passion. I got my first boat (the size of a little bathtub) when I was five years old.

— Michelle Rago, Founder at Michelle Rago Destinations

VIEW PROFILE

NORMA COHEN PRODUCTIONS

Why is your company different?

I will be celebrating 32 years in the event planning business this year and my brand is 100% me, I am personally involved in every event. I’m on call 24/7 and play a few roles- coordinator, designer, and therapist. I always say “clients that are friends and family” because, planning an event together allows my clients and I to create a special bond. We spend so much time together in meetings, on the phone, and emailing, it’s bittersweet at the end of the event. My hosts are also extremely social, their guest lists are never less than 800-1000 people and most guests attend my events weekly, so it challenges me to make each event as unique as possible. My weddings are buffet because, guests come at different times, they want to dance, be by the bar, seated weddings are too constraining for my clients. However, making sure the buffet and table settings are organized, fresh, and clean throughout the event is a huge priority.

What is your favorite hobby or travel destination?

I love to party, that’s why I make the best ones. You know what they say, “Do what you love!” To relax, I love a glass of Chopin vodka and my massages. I love traveling, especially to Italy, and I have a special place in my heart for St. Barth’s, especially after last year’s devastating hurricane. I have been going there since my honeymoon in 1989!

— Norma Cohen, Owner Norma Cohen Productions

VIEW PROFILE

NYLUX EVENTS

How did you get started in the events space?

My fate as an event planner seemed pre-determined, I took all of my passions: entertaining, cooking, inviting people into my home–everything that represented who I really was, added in my strong set of organizational skills and aesthetics, and harnessed them into the business of event planning. I grew up in a household that valued proper entertaining and spent the beginning of my career at Saks Fifth Avenue. Soon after having children a friend convinced me to work with him “here and there” in his event planning company. After working with him for some time, I went to work with another event planner, partnering on some of New York City’s most creative and glamorous social occasions. In 2010 I went out on my own and formed NYLUX Events. Looking back, I feel as if I have found my calling.

Tell us about one of your favorite events from the past year.

One of my favorite events this year was an intimate second wedding for a significant couple in the cosmetics industry. I loved working with them, as they knew exactly what was right for them, and didn’t feel confined by popular conventions. Held at a venue that showcases the best of New York City, the ceremony was outside surrounded by iconic New York City architecture. The bride wore pale pink Valentino and carried a single peony. The décor was as beautiful as the couple. Roses and cherry blossoms adorned the escort card table. Pale colors of pinks, greens, blues and yellows worked softly off the slate blue textured cloths as taper candles lit the dinner tables. A Venezuelan band keep everyone on the dance floor all night until the bride and groom escaped to the elevator in a rush to their honeymoon. Guests nibbled on La Maison Du Chocolat truffles as they eventually left the dance floor. It was the perfect combination of modern sensibility with old school details. To be able to produce an event so representative of the couple was wonderful and the wedding was a magical night under the stars of midtown Manhattan.

— Andrea Adelstein, CEO of NYLUX Events

VIEW PROFILE

SONAL J. SHAH EVENT CONSULTANTS

Share something unique or different about your company.

We focus on helping the South Asian Community with multi-day weddings all around the world. We have done weddings with upwards of 1500 guests.

Tell us about one of your favorite events from the past year.

Our favorite event this past year was definitely the one we moved from Miami to NYC due to Hurricane Irma. We had less than 4 days to re-plan a years worth of work and help this couple get married. They had been waiting for 15 years to get married. Incredibly hard but also equally rewarding.

— Sonal J. Shah, Founder and CEO, Sonal J. Shah Event Consultants

VIEW PROFILE


 
 
PALM BEACH, FL

POSH PARTIES

Share something unique or different about your company.

We are a boutique luxury wedding planning company and turn down more weddings than we accept. This gives us the ability to pay close attention to each one and be very hands on with every small detail. We also specialize in destination weddings where Palm Beach is the destination.

Tell us about one of your favorite events from the past year.

Each and every one we do is special and a favorite in its own way, but last year we did a very detailed destination wedding weekend at The Breakers that was for about 300 guests and featured an intimate rehearsal dinner on Thursday, a pineapple-themed welcome party on Friday, a beautiful Catholic ceremony at a local church followed by cocktails and dinner at The Breakers with very elegant Palm Beach decor (including lush white florals and golden palm trees) and finally an after-party with name acts. It was a weekend filled with so many beautiful elements starting with their save the date cards and invitations — we used the crest they had designed throughout the weekend in so many unique ways to truly make it personal.

— Heather Lowenthal, Founder & Owner of Posh Parties

VIEW PROFILE


 
 
SAN DIEGO, CA

THOMAS BUI LIFESTYLE

How did you get started in the events space?

Thomas Bui Lifestyle was started 18 years after a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry. I was looking for a more creative outlet and wanted to pursue a career where I could work with a client for a long period of time, hence the start of full-service wedding designing. What I love most about wedding designing is creating an environment for entertaining, an ambience that’s always elegant, intimate, lavish and welcoming with detailed personal touches and texture. An event where the couple and the guests feel they’re in a new surrounding and live in the moment. However, what I love most is being able to dream with the couple, getting to know them, hearing their stories and bringing their vision to fruition on the wedding day. After working a year with a couple, it’s a nice reward when they walk into the completed space with goose bumps and tears in their eyes because they can’t believe everything they envisioned is better in person. During the design process we always show hand-drawn renderings and computer renderings, linen samples, chairs, paper, ribbons, and all the beautiful glassware, flatware and china in different stages, however, on the wedding day when the vision is reality and all the tables and chairs are perfectly aligned, candles are lit and the lighting is just perfect, that’s the biggest reward.

What is your favorite hobby or travel destination?

My favorite hobby is traveling; exploring, seeing new cultures and history about all the beautiful places in the world. It’s a small world and there’s so much to do and see. With travel you’re able to see and get inspire by all the designs, architecture which adds to your design element.
The beauty of traveling is to visit all the historical monuments, museums where artifacts dates back 10,000 years or even 200 BCE and be able to see and touch it in person, the experience is surreal and a once in a lifetime experience.

— Thomas Bui, Owner/President at Thomas Bui Lifestyle

VIEW PROFILE


 
 
SAN FRANCISCO, CA

ALISON EVENTS

Share something unique or different about your company.

Our unique aesthetic, which is both modern yet organic in feeling. Our desire to make each wedding or event we plan and design to feel intimate, authentic and meaningful reflection of our clients. Our diverse backgrounds in customer service centered and hospitality focused roles, brings each of our events to the next level and leaves no stone unturned. We love to collaborate and work as a creative team with our vendors, so there is no ego and it is always all about our clients and what they want on their special day.

Tell us about one of your favorite events from the past year.

Last year we were the first American event planner to design and produce a wedding in Japan. It was also the first wedding ever at the Amanemu in Shima, Japan. Jesse and Alison both love Japanese culture so it was certainly a career highlight to say the least. Alison lived in Japan in high school, so it felt like we came full circle and the clients were so amazing to work with.

— Alison Hotchkiss Rinderknecht, Creative Director & Jesse Tombs, Managing Partner at Alison Events

VIEW PROFILE

JENNA LAM

Share something unique or different about your company.

We invest in authentic relationships with our clients and our vendors. Those relationships are what make “work” never feel like work and they’re the foundation of this company. With planning, there is a lot of emphasis on perfection – trying to make everything “just so” but that’s not reality and it doesn’t build authentic connections. Appearing perfect doesn’t make a client feel comfortable enough to call you crying with a family problem or free enough to share hilarious stories that are less than flattering. We cherish those moments and we’re honored to be able to share in the messiness of life that doesn’t disappear just because you’re planning a wedding or event.

Tell us about one of your favorite events from the past year.

We designed the Live Auction Event for Auction Napa Valley last year which raised over $15.7 million for the Napa community. It was so fulfilling to be able to give a greater purpose and reach to our work. We worked along side the Coppola family, the honorary chairs of the 2017 Auction, to create a event inspired by the 1930s/40s. Guests browsed auction lots in a tent modeled after a vintage greenhouse, complete with hundreds of hanging orchids suspended from the ceiling. The Auction tent was transformed into a 1940s nightclub with deco crystal chandeliers, palm trees and supper club-style seating. After a candlelit dinner on the Meadowood Golf Course, guests entered the newly transformed Auction Tent through tunnel of distortion mirror and neon lights for the after-party. A performance by Leon Bridges closed out the evening. It was a whirlwind, and we get to do it again this year!

— Jenna Lam, Founder of Jenna Lam Events

VIEW PROFILE

MARILYN AMBRA PARTY CONSULTANTS

Tell us about one of your favorite events from the past year.

We created a San Francisco Summer of Love 1960’s Party for a client’s birthday. The event really brought the Summer of Love Hippie movement to life. We brought in body-painted artists, a bubble ballet artist who performed on the pool, vintage velvet lounges under Indian tents, a psychedelic light show, and an explosion of vibrant colors throughout. Guests danced to tunes from Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and other popular artists of the 60’s hippie genre. We asked guests to dress for the occasion, and saw some amazing and authentic 60’s hippie garb.

What is your favorite hobby or travel destination?

I love classic film — you’ll find me at classic film festivals all over the country, screening films from the 1920’s to the 1960’s. I love studying the set designs, costumes, and lighting. When I’m not enjoying a classic film, you’ll find me at flea markets hunting for unique antiques and collectibles.

— Marilyn Ambra, Founder & President, Marilyn Ambra Party Consultants

VIEW PROFILE


 
 
ST LOUIS, MO

KATE & COMPANY

Share something unique or different about your company.

What really makes our brand unique is the client-facing experience, how we get to know and design for our clients. I hate the term “one-stop-shop” — what we do is this really big presentation that’s comprehensive from the first touchpoint to last touchpoint for guests, hitting all five senses throughout process. We make the guest experience amazing and create an experience for our clients as well. We tell a fashion story, a color story with full mock-ups; when you’re sitting at the table for your tasting, that’s exactly what it will be like for the event itself. We work with a lot of out-of-town clients so we make most of our “in-person” meetings; we can handle the rest virtually as we’ve developed strong skills in using technology to coordinate and communicate. We make sure our clients get to do the fun stuff like choosing flowers and stationery while letting us worry about the rest. I try to not just make it another beautiful event — first, I want your guests to walk in and feel like it’s so YOU and second, I won’t re-create someone else’s work (I want people pinning your wedding rather than the other way around).

What is your favorite hobby or travel destination?

I would say my favorite hobby is to travel. My husband and I are lucky enough to have been all over the world. From the romantic perspective, our favorite was trip to the Maldives. It was such an incredible experience. The spa was on a separate island via paddleboat and we walked barefooted to dinner every night. We also loved the Eleven Experience in Crested Butte Colorado. We went with my parents and all of my siblings and their significant others. The place was technically a hotel, but it’s only rented to one family or group at a time. Each guest had their own room but the common space is shared by the entire family with 5pm cocktails every day. All activities were included and we got to go white water rafting, horseback riding, mountain hiking. We also didn’t have to think about if we have the right shoes or equipment, they had it all, even altitude powder. It was very experiential with each guest having their own locker in the hotel filled with goodies for next activity. Crested Butte is a small town but it’s elevated in terms of restaurants, coffee shops, etc.

-Kate Turner, Founder and Principal Designer for Kate & Company

VIEW PROFILE


 
 
TAMPA, FL

TRACIE DOMINO EVENTS 

How did you get started in the events space?

I got started in events back in 2000 when I was a Public Relations student at Florida State University. I had an internship in the Athletics Marketing office where I mainly did expense reports for executives, but one day my boss asked me to plan the “Outback Steakhouse Women’s Only Football Clinic.” It was to be a community outreach event featuring Coach Bobby Bowden, Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke, and some other coaches and officials to teach women the strategy and rules of football in a fun way, with a steak dinner and locker room tour. I had no clue what I was doing but it turned into a successful, sold-out event that was covered by the local media. The high of seeing that come to fruition has had me hooked ever since!

Share something unique or different about your company.

Our focus is on experiential design and what makes an event fun and memorable to the guests. No matter how pretty an event is, no one cares if there is a long line at the bar or it takes for ever to retrieve your car from valet.

— Tracie Domino, Founder & Creative Director of Tracie Domino Events

VIEW PROFILE


 
 
WASHINGTON, DC

MAGNOLIA BLUEBIRD DESIGN & EVENTS

Tell us about one of your favorite events from the past year.

When we meet a kid with a unique perspective, vibrant personality and gracious manners we totally fall in love. Nava was that kid for us and we were charged with designing an event for a girl with a love for horses and modern art. Typically an odd combination, but with family roots in New York, Nava’s Museum of Modern Art (NaMA) was born. Each space was transformed to reflect one of her favorite artists including Pollock, a black light version of Haring, Japanese Anime and Warhol to name a few. Each space featured a different activity or immersive experience (custom paint by number, Anime inspired caricatures, Monet impressionist smoothie bar, street art screen printed favors). Our favorite detail to date was the escort card wall. Our graphic designer created 15 custom pieces featuring a horse in the style of each artist and her color palette. The installation itself became a custom piece of art and as guests removed their personalized canvases, a Pollock inspired piece was revealed. The end result was as cool as each individual part.

What is your favorite hobby or travel destination?

I am actually in Italy as I write this. In Tuscany, I love that everything seems to fit itself or work into the existing landscape rather than molding the landscape to fit the needs of the inhabitant. It is a philosophy I often take when designing space. In Florence, I’ve appreciated handmade paper makers and painters, leather makers and designers and the centuries old art of gold and jewelry making. It has renewed the desire to honor the craftsman, knowing that I am watching a fourth generation jewelry maker create a unique piece. Knowing he is one of three craftsman in the world capable of creating in that style is humbling and saddening. My wish is that in a world that seems to value the disposable, immediate, the least expensive and most quickly produced is that we can all slow down and appreciate or learn what it takes to create true, unique beauty. I also love how each region truly honors their environment and the gifts it gives them from their cuisine, hobbies and environment. Stateside, I’m a huge fan of Charleston. The food, the people, the magnolias, the hugs. I love people with soul and stories. I’ve never met a stranger there. They also don’t look at you funny at the airport when your bag is pulled in security for traveling with 20 pounds of grits.

— Danielle Couick, Principal at Magnolia Bluebird Design & Events

VIEW PROFILE

PartySlate is the place where leading event professionals share their work with the world. Find new ideas by viewing and saving hundreds of thousands of beautiful event photos from weddings to birthday parties, corporate events to galas. Easily connect with the best local event professionals and find stunning venues. Sign up now »