I wrote an article not too long ago about the the fact that there are no straight male wedding planners? How come? I believe that ultimately no bride wants to trust her “biggest” day with someone who isn’t gay or female. There are a bunch of thing wrong with what I just said. So let’s break it down a bit. “Her Day” — why in this post #metoo era is the wedding for the bride? It seems after all of the gender tropes we have overcome, the wedding is largely for the bride and the groom is expected to just sort fo show up… not really have a point of view on the floral palette, the cut or design of the gown, the flavors associated with the meal… Ultimately this is a partnership right. Then again what groom wants his wife spending those crucial planning hours with a straight male? In many respects a bride and groom can certainly plan their own wedding without a wedding planner. Sure. It’s a lot of work but it can be done. I have to say though that going thru this process with my bride was a whole lot of fun and I would encourage it for anyone getting married. So below I am going to break down 5 things I learned from doing this myself. Granted. I am an event producer. Making events happen is what I do for a living so I already had the list of vendors (my friends) to help make this all as easy and magical as possible.
- Choose the venue first. The Date second.
The first thing you want to do is pick a date and a venue. That will largely inform most of your other decisions. What Lauren and I decided was that we wanted more than just a 1 day wedding. A year ago we went to a beautiful wedding in the Catskills. We arrived on a Friday, there was a great welcome dinner, checked into the hotel, woke up the next morning explored the Catskills, came back got ready for the wedding and then the next day a good bye brunch. There is something great about the 3-day wedding weekend where your guests can get away for a little while, relax, and immerse themselves in something very very special. So for us it was Stone Harbor NJ. We could have done a 1 day wedding in NYC but for a 3-day getaway the south jersey shore is perfect. Sept 14th was the date we set with our venue Stone Harbor Golf Club. I grew up in this town so all of this had a lot of meaning and was very special. Plus the weather in September down the shore is just incredible.
2. Place you money where your priorities are.
It’s no secret the best part of weddings is often the food and drinks. For us this was true and we wanted to really make that the best part. From the elaborate cocktail hour (High End Tequila Bar) to the sumptuous lobster and filet main course to the spread of local dessert treats and who could forget the custom ice cream truck at the end of the night. The catering is where our priorities were. One of the many benefits of having a wedding at a venue with full food
and beverage capabilities is that there is a full, real kitchen and bar on site. I am no knocking venues without full kitchens but sometimes that cost can then become exorbitant. Catering companies that cater at venues without their own kitchens have to rent the cooking equipment from rental companies. This cost alone can double or triple what a normal food and beverage cost would be. So this was another consideration when it came to exactly what the location of the wedding would be. Your venue or your caterer can help you choose how to serve and what to serve. From day one we wanted a lush raw bar (good thing the local cape may salt oysters) are to die for!
As a mixologoist myself, I created a couple of signature cocktails a “His or Hers” versions in addition to the full scale HighEnd Tequila Bar. Then a great variety of stations and passed canapes for the cocktail hour. The main course was a classic pairing of lobster and filet. Simple. Crowd pleaser. Finally the desserts were a spread of delicious, local, delicacies from the candy shops, fudge stores, and donut stands in town. Not to mentions the custom ice cream.
3. It’s all about the flowers…
Much of the design for weddings is primarily based around the flowers and having a great florist is key to having an easy yet beautiful wedding. Brenton Wolf is a friend. He does the flowers for all of our events and it was an easy call working with him to design the look and feel of the wedding floral scape and table scapes
For the most party a collaboration between your floral company and your rental company will save you time, money, and head aches. Our rental company was Broadway Party Rentals, so all of the gold ceremony chairs you see here came from the company. We wanted to introduce touches of gold into the wedding which the venue had none of, so to accomplish this we brought it in.
4. People will cancel
It’s often very hard to know how many people will actually show up at the wedding. Despite the save-the-dates, formal RSVPs, messages and more. In fact people will confirm, then cancel, then re-confirm. I was honestly shocked with how much fall out we had. The best way around this was the fact that we had some singles (no plus 1s) on hand that didn’t mind filling the gaps.
5. Ultimately its your wedding and YOUR decisions…
Too often there are too many people who have opinions about what you should be doing. I feel like this is a life lesson as well as well. While you should listen to these people you don’t have to act on what they say. You will have mothers, fathers, planners, friends all tell you what you are doing wrong… when I feel we need a little more in life people telling us what we are doing right.
Your Friendly Straight Male Wedding Planner.
THE NATION’S ONLY SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD FESTIVAL
*Certified 100% Plastic Free by Oceanic Global
IGNITE. THE. NIGHT.
A boundless journey of sensory and visual imagination at this 3rd annual festival highlighting sustainable seafood and farm fresh cocktails. The Foundry set the scene for this Arctic chic event. The historic venue is a fully-restored 19th century building, which boasts 3,000 sprawling square feet of space offers stunning views of the Manhattan skyline along with a gorgeous indoor Greenhouse filled with delicacies from the sea, complemented perfectly with premium wines and spirits.
This year, Aquarius has partnered with Oceanic Global, a non-profit that engages new audiences in ocean conservation. They tap into universal passions to raise awareness for issues impacting our oceans and to provide individual and industry solutions that drive positive change. We are working with them to implement The Oceanic Standard to ensure a plastic-free event. CupZero will provide $2 cups for purchase upon entry to use throughout the festival.
Guests will have the ability to purchase seafood with sustainable offerings as deep as the sea, all of which will be recommended by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s rigorous Seafood Watch program. Festival-goers will be equipped with the latest sustainable seafood guides and have the opportunity to sample seasonal flavors by Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Executive Chef Matthew Beaudin. Hudson Square’s Houseman Restaurant’s Chef Ned Baldwin will offer Fisherman’s Stew and more and Mattitaco will serve farm to food truck Oysters, Tacos and Moules Frites, courtesy of Chef Justin Schwartz. Ca’Pisci will make its festival return offering a rustic Italian menu featuring only sustainable fish. Salsa Pistolero will be on hand with an assortment of refreshing salsa flavors to snack on and My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream will hand out their sweet treats. MF Events will provide a local raw bar highlighting 100% local to NYC oysters and more…
The festival will showcase and serve up cocktails from the world’s most prominent spirits brands including COÇA PURA TEQUILA, Boukman Botanical Rhum, Koval, London Essence Co., KAS Krupnikas Nolet’s Gin, Chinola, Barrows Intense and Barrows Intense Ginger Liqueur. Q Mixers will be the official mixer, enhance the finest spirits and fresh cocktail garnishes will be provided by Square Roots, which is building a hanging Hydroponic Garden. Guests can also enjoy the Coney Island Brewing Co lounge with photo booth, and Owl’s Brew Boozy Tea And Botanicals, while Polar Seltzer, Harmless Harvest Coconut Water and sparkling probiotic drinks from KeVita will be there to help keep revelers hydrated.
This one-of-a-kind immersive experience, outfitted with floral and tree arrangements by Brenton Wolf Design, will also feature a winter séance and a symbolic sacrifice to the God of Aquarius, an art installation by HINT, outdoor fire pits and extraordinary fire breathers and aerialists. The evening will also feature a performance from the Brass Queens, the all female group that’s disrupting a male dominated genre. Guests can commemorate the magical evening with an impromptu photo shoot in the 4Five Photo Booth with fun props to kick your pictures up a notch. DJ Ryan Vandal will provide the soundtrack for the night in the Albra Room while DJ Samantha Michelle will take over the Main Hall. Who could ask for more?
ABOUT MONTEREY BAY AQUARIUM SEAFOOD WATCH
The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch® program helps consumers and businesses choose seafood that’s fished or farmed in ways that support a healthy ocean, now and for future generations. Our recommendations indicate which seafood items are Best Choices or Good Alternatives, and which ones you should Avoid. For more information, visit www.seafoodwatch.org
ABOUT OCEANIC GLOBAL
Oceanic Global is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that engages new audiences in ocean conservation. We tap into universal passions to raise awareness for issues impacting our oceans and to provide individual and industry solutions that drive positive change. Read more at: www.oceanic.global.
ABOUT CUP ZERO
Cup Zero is on a mission to change the way we think about events and festivals moving towards zero waste one drink at a time. Cup Zero is a reusable cup service based in NYC. They deliver, pick up, wash, and store so you can focus on throwing a great party, without hurting the planet. Using a deposit system, cups get returned so they can be washed and sanitized for future use, keeping the venue clean, and plastic out of the oceans. To learn more, visit www.cupzero.com.
CHEF NED BALDWIN
Inspired by the word husmanskost, “everyday food” in Norwegian, Houseman is a neighborhood restaurant where chef Ned Baldwin serves clear-headed food that ranges from the familiar to the unexpected. housemanrestaurant.com/about