A Night at the Plaza

A Night at the Plaza
Wedding designed and produced by Elegant Occasions, Inc.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

"Sempre Amore" in Santa Caterina, Amalfi

Italy is the country that is home to a romantic language, food, and people. Located in the amazing seaside town of Amalfi, sits a hotel high on the bluff called Santa Caterina. This family-owned hotel offers guests luxurious comfort with amazing views of the Amalfi seaside village.

One of the best meals, from being in Ravello, Sorrento, Rome and Amalfi, we had was at their restaurant with award-winning cuisine. I was served the most amazing stuffed zucchini blossoms I have ever tasted. I also tried this homemade ravioli dish with the most delicious lemon alfredo sauce. Honestly, if we could have licked the plate, we would have!

For a romantic night a great dinner is key but amazing scenery always helps. The glass enclosed restaurant overlooks the glittering lights of the seaside village below. The wrap around terrace for breakfast is awe-inspiring.

The hand-painted mosaic-tiled floor invites you to a lobby filled with smiling staff who are all quick to help you find a great local restaurant or tour of the area.

The rooms are well appointed, with the suites that are larger than most rooms in the states. Many rooms have patios and balconies all overlooking the ocean. The bridal villa is this little retreat tucked away from the main hotel. It has a private infinity pool, duplex apartment with lower level sitting room and an upstairs bedroom, truly one of the most romantic little hideaways I have ever seen.

The Al Mare Restaurant at the lower level of the hotel is accessible by riding a glass elevator, through the mountain to the bottom of the mountain. There, the doors open to a grotto feeling area and then you enter the pool deck where the Al Mare Restaurant is nestled amongst lemon trees.

Cocktail can be hosted on the terrace and reception can be hosted in either the Al Mare Restaurant or the upstairs dining, next to the terrace. I’ve worked in Italy many times, and this would be my choice as a venue to use for your cocktail and reception if you are staying in Amalfi.

What a great place to celebrate the tradition and passion of love! Sempre Amore! Always Love!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cabo, Mexico is the Place to Go

On the Western Coast of Mexico sits a little oasis, in the area of Cabo San Lucas ... a place where peace and tranquility are no stranger. Esperanza is a world-class resort that offers their guests amazing accommodations, award-winning, Mediterranean-influenced cuisine and embodies the relaxed lifestyle of the Baja Peninsula. Tequila tasting is great, too!

This magical setting offers amazing ocean views. Esperanza is a place that really finds it important for any event to reflect each couple. The open-area terrace can comfortably hold 100 guests. The backdrop from the ceremony area will take your breath away.

Accommodations range from large suites to gorgeous Casitas and amazing villas. Thus offering guests a variety of rooms in all price ranges.

Travel and Leisure Magazine recently voted the Cabo Spa at Esperanza number 1 in Latin America. The spa offers 14 treatment rooms, a couple suite, and a large soaking pool. This relaxing experience will be remembered for a long time

My favorite thing about Cabo is where it is on this planet. Because it has a sub tropical climate, the weather pattern offers guests 350 days of sunshine, in a wonderful dry climate, that always gives ladies a wonderful hair day. The average temperature is mid 70's making it picture perfect weather for any wedding almost year round.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"I do" as the Romans do...

Along the Southern coast of Italy, in the mountains, sits the town of Amalfi. Everyone stayed at the five star luxury Hotel Santa Caterina, which has a breathtaking view and some great spots to host events. The couple hosted their welcome party there, and if it wasn’t booked on Saturday, they might have held their wedding there. This hotel’s service is impeccable; everyone is willing to help you.

We arranged a boat excursion to Sorrento (about an hour and half). While in Sorrento, guests had about 2 hours to shop and eat. We would suggest a little more time because there are great little shops and places to eat, but it all requires taking the time to walk around. You can also arrange for a mini bus to take guests who are not interested in taking the boat.

The couple got married in this beautiful church in Ravello (about a 15 minutes drive from Amalfi), the next town over. After they said their I do’s, they walked into the piazza as two guitarists led them and their guests up the path to Villa Cimbrone. This is probably my favorite thing that really shows the culture of the area.

Although walking up (and down) to get there can be bear for your older guests, it’s still a memorable place. For the older guests, there is a man that has a motorized chair to help them up and down, but it takes 20 minutes per way and only one person at a time. We also shipped flip flops for the ladies to change into for the walk-up and down.

Villa Cimbrone is this gorgeous venue that has a terrace with one of the best views, ever. Cocktails were held in the gardens nearby the terrace. The reception was held in the Villa’s crypt that is literally carved into the side of the mountain. The crypt has these gothic-style arches that give this area incredible drama.

It’s hard for me to describe this beauty of Italy in words. Even these photos don’t do it justice. Italy is one of my top three places for a destination wedding because the guests are excited to travel to Europe and we usually choose a place that most people have not been to. It’s easy to do a wedding in Rome, but traveling south to Amalfi, people get to see the countryside of Italy, as well as the mountains. It is nothing like Milan, Venice, Rome, Florence, or even Tuscany. This area has so much more character.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Wedding Fit for a King and Queen

When I met Diana and Jimmy over a year ago, she was in the throws of pulling together the wedding of her dreams. As we began our journey together, we blended the couple’s love of Spain and wine into elements of the wedding.

The guests at this wedding were given a wine box, engraved with their monogram, filled with authentic Spanish rice, extra virgin olive oil, Romesco sauce, and even roasted almonds. This was perfect to set the mood for their theme.
With Oheka Castle as our backdrop, the ceremony was held on the lawn overlooking the manicured and grand gardens. The weather was divine and was even highlighted by cool unpredicted winds, courtesy of Hurricane Earl, sitting off the coast but never affecting our wedding.

A wonderful Spanish inspired cocktail hour followed the ceremony with an assortment of cheeses and meats from Spain, even a full roasted pig! The groom also provided a wonderful assortment of wines from Spain.

With the popular color scheme this fall being purple, which also happens to be the bride’s favorite color, we created bouquets and centerpieces using all the shades of purple (provided by Belle Fleur).

Guests always remember if the food was good and if the band got them up on the dance floor. Soul Solution band had the guests on their feet all night long. At our final band wrap-up-meeting, the couple noted that their family does not dance, but once Reggie played the first note, they were on the floor and remained that way all night long.

A wedding is only as good as their vendors they choose. It takes a great team to pull off a fabulous wedding, as well as capture it. I had the pleasure of working with amazing talent Matt Mendolssohn who provided these gorgeous photographs.

When asked by many, “Why do you plan weddings?” The answer is the end result--- the smile on the couples’ faces at the end of the night, and knowing that I had a part in helping them start on one of the greatest journeys of their lives.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Viceroy Anguilla: My new favorite spot

Having traveled to Anguilla for the past ten years, I always have found the people of Anguilla to be extraordinary. Now I can say that this island offers an extraordinary resort. Most people who know Anguilla know it for its famous 30+ beaches to visit. This tiny island is also known for having some of the best beaches in the world.

I'm very impressed with this new luxury hotel on the island known as Viceroy Anguilla. This resort is simply amazing. When you arrive and drive down the palm tree-lined driveway, you get a sense of peace, calmness, and balance. You enter this gorgeous lobby where friendly, smiling staff waits to welcome you to this oasis. As you pass through the lobby and head toward the water, the infinity pool offsets the Sunset Lounge. It is just breathtaking.

The spa is probably one of the best that I have seen in a long time. The rooms all overlook the water and offer amazing services that help you relax so much that you could just fall asleep. My favorite is the Swedish massage!Sit back and relax because you have arrived at a luxury property that will not only enhance the island but the Caribbean in general. The resort sets new standards for the term “luxury.” From the accommodations, to the food, to the service, Viceroy Anguilla has surpassed my expectations. The hotel has 3 amazing pools, including a family pool, each with different views of the property and island.

I think my favorite part of this resort is the dining experience. There are the three restaurants, all with the service and food being perfect. The main restaurant has air conditioning. I know that sounds like nothing, but a lot of restaurants in Caribbean in general lack this luxury. It makes for an enjoyable meal when the weather turns hot, humid, and sticky.

Whether your wedding is as small as two people or as large as 200, this resort can accommodate your needs.

If it was up to me and I had weather cooperating, I would have an ideal set up of the following: ceremony hosted on the beach, cocktails around the pool, and dinner and dancing in the (air conditioned) restaurant. You can even host an after party around the family pool.

If weather didn’t cooperate, the lobby makes for a breath-taking space to have your ceremony or any of the other restaurants, for that matter.

I’m all about having the idea of being flexible due to unplanned surprises like weather. To me, The Viceroy has the knowledge, the capability, and the staff to get things done. It also has chic décor with the major influences of rest and relaxation. Viceroy Anguilla is definitely one of my top ten places I would recommend to host a destination-wedding-weekend.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Tides Riviera Maya, Mexico

Mexico is known as a great place to host any wedding. My favorite spots in Mexico include Los Cabos or the Playa del Carmen region. Two weeks ago I had a lovely couple host their wedding at a property called The Tides Riviera Maya. It is also a great location because it's an easy place for guests to get to. Many airlines service CUN (Cancun International Airport).

This Mayan inspired boutique resort is surrounded by tropical foliage. There is a path that leads guests to a reading area, a painting area, and a writing area, each located in it's own spot that offers peace and quiet. Guests have their own cassitas with a plunge pool, an indoor shower, an outdoor shower, and many things that really make you appreciate nature.

Although this is a small resort, because it's spread out, there is a great feeling of having your own space. Ideally if you are having 60-80 guests, I'd
encourage you buy out the property by taking over all of 32 cassitas.

The wedding recently hosted there had welcome cocktails around the Tequila Bar, rehearsal dinner on the beach, and cocktails and reception around the beautiful pool overlooking the beach. This resort also offers many options of places to have your ceremony, depending on the number of guests. The Tides also offers activities like a Mayan Cooking Class or a Tequila tasting event.

I would have to say my favorite thing about this resort was the natural beauty of it. Surrounded by the lush jungle, it offers a sense of calmness that is hard to find. It is very eco-friendly, which I still find to be a trend that many couples look for. The food was amazing. The staff was impeccable and always willing to help you with anything. Coming from New York City, there is a certain pace New Yorkers have. Being at The
Tides, I found the communication among the staff themselves was great. If someone couldn't give you an answer, they had "secret-service" style walkie-talkies and would get in touch with someone who could help.

Overall, if you are looking for an eco-friendly boutique resort that leaves your guests with a lasting impression, this place should be considered!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Grace Bay Club, Turks and Caicos

Most brides and grooms have a hard time picking locations due to flight patterns, but with Turks and Caicos, many airlines fly into Provinciales. Another great thing is that from the New York area the flight is about 3 hours.

When I arrived at Grace Bay Club, in Provinciales, Turks and Caicos, I was greeted with cold towels and rum punch. I was then introduced to my personal concierge. With personal concierge, you receive a local phone that connects you with your personal concierge at any time. This is something very special about Grace Bay Club.

Fuchsia, purple, and red Bougainvillea bushes surround this beachfront property. The beach is great to host your ceremony, cocktails and even dinner.The Grace Bay Club offers an extremely relaxing atmosphere.

My favorite spot on property is a multi-tiered lounge area with a great fire pit. At night it offers such a romantic scene with the fire pit on and tons of wooden lanterns hanging around.
This is in the same area as Grace Bay Club’s famous infinity bar that has a great view of the sunset.

Everything from the food, to the scenery, to the staff is great at Grace Bay Club. I’ve been around the world, and it’s hard to find a place that knows how to make every guest feel important, but not for Grace Bay Club.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Within the Caribbean, there are places that are so beautiful that you may think it’s a secret. Anguilla is definitely the hidden jewel of the Caribbean. As part of the British West Indies, Anguilla is about a 30-minute flight, east of San Juan, Puerto Rico. People usually fly into St. Martin and can a 30-minute take a boat to Anguilla. The island is 16 miles from end to end and a little more than 35 square miles in all, but this little island packs in over 30 beaches to tempt sun lovers, snorkelers, sailors, and scuba divers.

Anguilla offers an amazing resort known as Cap Juluca. It has many villas that were recently redecorated. I have done many weddings here and everything from the food to the staff is always great! Cap Juluca has everything from tennis courts to water sports to some fantastic restaurants right in its facilities.

This island has the best beaches I’ve ever seen. The sand is literally like white sugar. It’s soft on your feet and it glistens in the sun. Hosting a ceremony on the beach is absolutely amazing. On this island, there are also some of my favorite restaurants including Blanchards, which has wonderful island cuisine that has also been made into an amazing cookbook. There is also a local beachfront restaurant called Mango’s and fits about 100 people. This is a great option for rehearsal dinner or even a reception. They serve a variety of foods; I would say that it’s International cuisine.

Even though this island is smaller than most, it offers a luxurious and relaxing atmosphere that attracts many brides and grooms.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Round Hill Hotel and Villas, Jamaica

Jamaica is a country that offers not only a beautiful culture, but also has amazing sites to host your wedding. Round Hill Hotel and Villas is located on a bluff in Montego Bay. Guests may choose from oceanfront rooms in the Pineapple House (36 rooms) or 27 privately owned two, three, four and five bedroom villas. Most villas have a private pool. The villas also have a personal gardener and maid.

Round Hill is not just any other hotel in Jamaica. The décor is truly relaxing and “Old English” with a hint of old Hollywood. Ralph Lauren, who also vacations at Round Hill, inspired the design. Near the cocktail bar area of the resort there are black and white photos of people like Grace Kelly and even Jacqueline Kennedy vacationing there.

This quiet resort offers a fabulous spa with a pool that sits above the lawn overlooking the ocean. The lawn is an ideal spot for hosting a ceremony. Cocktails may even be hosted around the pool.

There are plenty of options of sties to host any of your parties. The beach can be a great spot for host rehearsal dinner with an amazing buffet and even a bonfire. My favorite spot to host rehearsal or reception can be on the beautiful patio, known as the Seaside Terrace (outside) or the Georgian Room (covered). Another one of my favorite spots to host the rehearsal or reception is lighting this outside stairway with candles that leads to the Dining Terrace (outside) or the Hanover Room (covered) which offers a breath-taking few of the sunset.

Round Hill also offers one of my favorite things: Tea Time. Your guests can enjoy scones and a variety of quality teas while enjoying the serenity of this resort.

This boutique-like resort is charming and accommodating for any of your events!

For more information visit www.elegantoccasions.com

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Savor The Tastes From The Sugar Mill

Located right outside the walls of Half Moon Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica, there is one the best restaurants on the island, The Sugar Mill. As a part of the Half Moon Resort, The Sugar Mill not only offers a history lesson but also serves fantastic food. Upon arrival, you are greeted at the foot of this gigantic waterwheel “…that powered the 50,000 acres of the Running Gut sugar estate spreading from Rose Hall in the east to Little River in the west.”

Built in the 17th century, this once sugar plantation is a fabulous option for a couple to host rehearsal dinners or even receptions, depending on the number of guests. You have the option to use main dining area that holds 140 persons.

On the lawn, in front of the waterwheel, you can entertain your guests as well. The Sugar Mill also offers the upper field-stone terrace. This area sits above the waterwheel and looks fantastic with long tables (as pictured in this article). The terrace offers an intimate setting that looks magical and easily seats fifty people.

My favorite meal offered here is the flaming shish kabob. It’s a freestanding shish kabob on a large skewer that includes meat and vegetables. When it arrives at your table, the server pours a flaming sauce on it. It is certainly entertaining and delicious!

This sugar plantation also shares land with the golf course where you can participate in “Night Golf.” This is truly an experience where you are given golf balls that are lit from within. The Sugar Mill also offers a tour of its wine cellar. Whether you are hosting a welcome cocktail party, a rehearsal dinner, or a reception, The Sugar Mill’s amazing food will captivate your taste buds!

For more information, visit http://www.elegantoccasions.com