Introducing Your Trusted Wedding Planner
Trina S. Chaney-Hoo (owner and founder of The Planning Company):
Every celebration is as unique as you and should be a reflection of your distinctive style.Yet, transforming your dream wedding into reality takes imagination, precision, and organization.
They say the Devil is in the detail … and when it comes to orchestrating extraordinary parties, you need an experienced partner who will confidently manage all the details for you … so you can approach your Big Day with less stress and more fun.
After all, the actual planning process should be enjoyable for everyone involved—notably for you.
Every flawless event requires a trusted planner to seamlessly bond together all the little details; the extent of professional assistance, however, depends on how much time, resourcefulness, and patience the bride can allocate to the wedding planning process.
What’s the difference between full-service event production and day-of coordination?
Trina S. Chaney-Hoo: Whether you elect Full-Service or Day-of-Coordination, your expectations from your planner in terms of her ethics, professionalism, and accountability should always be high.
That said, there are important differences between the two service levels, and it’s essential for you to understand them.
The planner’s focus essentially shifts to one of assistance and coordination with relatively less creative input and responsibility as you move from Full Service to Day-of-Coordination.
Full-Service Event Planning & Production:
Full-service means that from the moment you hire your planner, she will handle the entire event planning process for you, from conception to execution, including:
- Envision your event theme and design
- Formulate a realistic budget
- Present you with the best options for vendors, venues, and logistics suited to your personality, budget, and style
- Negotiate and review contracts and book vendors to get you the best value for your budget
- Help you stay on track at all times, including vendor appointments and payment distributions
- Produce an event timeline, production schedule, and itineraries
- Assist with rental needs, invites, favors and gift bags, and hotel accommodations for out-of-town guests
- On-site comprehensive event coordination and execution of your day’s activities, vendors, and logistics
- Post-event follow-up
Day-of Coordination means that you, the bride, will take a more hands-on approach to planning your wedding … and that your planner typically won’t enter the picture until only weeks before your event.
- Review vendor contracts
- Help with event logistics and flow
- Produce an event timeline, production schedule, and itineraries
- Coordinate delivery, set-up, and break-down with venue and vendors
- Extensive on-site production of your day’s activities, vendors, and logistics
- Post-event follow-up
Trina S. Chaney-Hoo: It’s not about mechanically setting up a room with tables, chairs and a stage. That’s the easy part.Instead, the magic is in creating a multisensory experience that takes an integrative approach to delighting your fives senses. It’s about energizing an environment.
Everything we do is really is about sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. It can be the way light washes a table, the deliberate contrasting of napkins and cloth to create layers of lush texture, or simply eclectically suspending guitars over the reception tables to go with a custom rock theme.
Hey, and let’s not forget about entertainment. Your guests want to be entertained … and so do you. It is more about finding the right balance
This included suspended aerial drummers, Kiss stilt walkers, skit performers to emulate what was seen in the “Rock of Ages” movie, a live karaoke band as well as a high-energy dance band.How do you transform a “raw space” such as The Breakers’ Venetian Ballroom into a lush theatrical environment?
Trina S. Chaney-Hoo: We find it ideal to start with a “raw [event] space” since it allows us to start with a clean palate that doesn’t dictate the direction of our design concept.
Transforming any space is mostly about lighting and creating visual impact points in the places that merit attention.
The Venetian Ballroom at The Breakers is a dream-come-true for creative designers, because it’s one large open space with beautiful architectural “bones,” comes with a fabulous floor, and is equipped with helpful hang-points in the ceiling … so the sky is literally the limit!
What is the most overlooked way for a planner to keep an event on schedule?
Trina S. Chaney-Hoo: Producing an event timeline, production schedule, and itineraries takes forethought and experience.
To truly anticipate the flow of an event, a planner must put herself in the shoes of multiple parties—notably the client, vendors, catering staff, and guests.It’s kind of like a conductor directing a diverse and prodigious orchestra to produce a first-rate performance.
Interestingly, events don’t really neatly follow rules or timelines; expect the unexpected.
The true expertise of a talented event designer/producer is to exude calm under pressure as she effortlessly executes her client’s vision.What is one of your favorite trends you’re seeing in 2014?
Trina S. Chaney-Hoo: One of the trends that I’m most excited about is that clients are more savvy, look for impact, and are open to [and willing to pay for] a customized experience rather than a “package.”
A discerning bride increasingly sees value in services that will “wow” her guests while making her day personal and unforgettable.What is it about your job that truly gets you up and excited in the morning?
Trina S. Chaney-Hoo: I have a passion for creating experiences. Not only for our clients, but for everyone around me. It flows through my veins and it’s who I have been groomed to be from the time I was little.
As event planners, we have the opportunity to inspire every day. I delight in the opportunity to live life out loud and meaningfully impact the people around me—my children, my friends, my staff, and peers.
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The Venue Matters–The Breakers Palm Beach
The Breakers Weddings & Celebrations is a one-of-a-kind oceanfront resort in Palm Beach, Florida, and a premier destination for magnificent wedding celebrations.
What are some of the less obvious — but important — details a bride must consider during her initial visit with The Breakers?
Making the right venue choice has real influence over the quality of your wedding experience. Hence, the importance of establishing a harmonious relationship of natural rapport with the venue event sales manager; that is, the professional with whom you share your vision and who is also your main dedicated contact throughout the wedding planning process.
The Breakers seasoned team plays an integral part in assisting and supporting you from the day you book with us until the day after you say, “I Do!”
And don’t forget about the importance of impeccable service. A pretty venue is nothing without an excellent group of professionals delivering outstanding cuisine, presentation and assistance.
We ensure your wedding agenda is expertly set and followed. You can trust that no one misses a beat while our friendly staff take care of every guest request.You’re blessed with an abundance of stylish weddings every week. What makes a remarkable Breakers celebration truly stand out?
One of the most important aspects of every event at The Breakers is personalization—it is our goal to ensure each event is as unique and special as you.
A wedding becomes truly remarkable when the couple’s taste and style are reflected in all the finer details. Our brides and grooms select the space they love the most among a variety of exceptional indoor and outdoor locations.
The creation of a sensational menu is a wonderful way for the couple to share their favorite tastes and flavors with their guests—including the dish you ate on your first date, the cocktail you were sipping when he proposed, or even that something special you cook together at home.
The Cake is another spectacular way to personalize your event by selecting the flavor, colors, and overall design of your own tiered culinary masterpiece.
Thanks to personalized décor and lighting, couples transform their space with colors and visuals which make their guests say, “Oh, wow, this is so them.”
Each and every detail throughout the wedding planning process can be individualized to showcase what is most important to the bride and groom.
The Breakers offers many fabulous indoor and outdoor ceremony options—how does a bride know which setting is most suitable for her … can a prospective bride to discretely attend a real event?
Our experienced and passionate Event Sales Managers will guide you, the bride, in your selection. Whether you prefer a beach-side ceremony or a reception in a majestic ballroom, our team will help find a stunning space that best suits your vision, guest count, personal style, and tastes.
As we very much respect our clients’ privacy, in lieu of sampling a real wedding, we do offer prospective brides high-quality actual wedding videos which illustrate how the space you are considering can come alive. You can also find hundreds of professional photos on our website plus our blog offers a brimful of extra inspiration.What are your back-up options for an outdoor ceremony in case of rain?
If you select an outdoor space for your ceremony or cocktails, you also choose the indoor backup location at the same time. Selecting your backup ahead of time eliminates any stress. We don’t want to take risks or worry about what to do if inclement weather were to arise. Thus, in any weather, the bride and groom will have a truly magical day.
Unlike other venues, we don’t utilize the same area twice. With so many breathtaking spaces to choose from, we want every wedding to be a one-of-a-kind celebration. This also eliminates the challenges involved with quickly turning over a ballroom during an event. The best part: our brides and grooms (and their guests) relish the opportunity to enjoy multiple gorgeous locations throughout the property.What are some of the most innovative wedding trends you’ve spotted in 2014?
For décor, it’s all about lighting. Light design plays a role of increasing significance as it elevates each celebration to a new level of visual euphoria. Lighting helps set the tone for the evening—it illuminates the room, makes the bride and groom shine, and your décor sparkle.
Another trend we’re happy to see this year is a growing demand for an organic approach to both décor and cuisine. For décor, we are excited to receive more requests for a natural, garden feeling with variations of greens and freshness. For cuisine, you can enjoy more menu items from local pesticide-free farms or ingredients grown in our own Organic Herb and Vegetable Garden.
For the bride, we expect the new trend of non-traditional wedding dresses to explode. Colored gowns in a unique hue (we love Vera Wang’s pink and Oscar de La Renta’s blue models), fun shapes and personalized pieces like a bedazzled headpiece or jeweled back.The Getting-Ready experience accounts for an important part of the overall wedding and typically sets the tone for the remainder of the day. With that in mind, if a bride asked you what to look for in great bridal suite, what would you recommend?
When looking for a stunning bridal suite, we advise you to consider three key elements:
- The view: when you look out, what do you see? An ocean view is very calming and balcony photos are so much fun!
- The lighting: look for large windows, which are wonderful for providing natural light so that your hair, makeup, and “getting ready” photos are gorgeous.
- The space: make sure the room you choose is spacious enough to accommodate your bridesmaids, your mom, and anyone who may join you as you get ready for your special day.
Since you never know when you might need a snack or a helping hand, The Breakers suites also come with a dedicated bridal attendant and your selection of beverages and delicious small bites.What are three things every Breakers bride ought to know about your events team?
- Our team has just over 90 years of combined experience in the wedding industry and we LOVE what we do. Each Event Sales Manager cares just as much about your wedding and your special day as you do.
- We’re true foodies at heart. Our team loves to eat, experience new flavors and cultural horizons. We carry “a little” extra weight to ensure our brides don’t have to … and when you come to The Breakers, you know the food is going to be super delectable.
- We’ve got travel bug. Among the six of us, we’ve journeyed throughout the United States and internationally. A few favorites: Thailand, France, Alaska, Italy, Germany, Greece, and the Caribbean. We take annual trips to New York City and always make time to visit all the new hot spots. Everywhere we go, we bring back inspiration for food, décor, and entertainment which continuously reinvents the experience we delight our brides with.
At The Breakers, you’re not only getting a spectacular venue, but also outstanding accommodations, impeccable service quality, and exceptional food—with Executive Chef Jeff Simms dedicated solely to weddings and celebrations.
We also offer superior in-house design, décor, and lighting teams as well as partnerships with the best wedding vendors in the industry (see our Blue Book). Especially helpful when planning a destination wedding, the “one-stop-shop” brings you the ease of working with everyone in one place with a dedicated Event Sales Manager to guide you.
This one-stop approach also leaves no opportunity for mistakes. Our staff oversee the evening to ensure every aspect of the wedding is flawless and spectacular.How does “food” (number of courses and dinner duration) affect reception participation and the fun-factor on the dance floor?
The menu selection and energy level of the evening depends mostly on the bride & groom. We look to the couple for direction and then follow their vision—whether it’s maintaining high vibes all night, dispersing dance sets, or allowing guests to enjoy a full gourmet meal.
The menu courses and duration go hand-in-hand with the entertainment and the overall flow of the evening.
We take great pride in offering exquisite cuisine and presenting it in original, delightful ways. Based on the couple’s direction, we can make the food more interactive, incorporate the bride and groom’s tastes, and make the entire evening fit their special preferences.
As we like to tell our brides, “Your vision is our vow!”If you were counseling a valued family member (bride) on how to achieve the most enjoyable Breakers wedding experience, what would your two most impactful tips be?
Our two most important pieces of advice are to:
- Communicate your vision and then leave it to the experts. With years of wedding industry experience, your Event Sales Manager will steer you in the right direction. We know what works, what doesn’t, and we will ensure your vision becomes a dream come true.
- On the wedding day, have FUN and just let everything go. Remember you have hired the best vendors and done all the planning possible, now it’s time to live in the moment. Enjoy every second and make sure to step back and take it all in.
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Wedding Cinematography by Senderey Video ProductionsAs a wedding cinematographer, you enjoy the awesome responsibility to affect the flow and fun-factor of your client’s celebration. How does your approach enhance the bride’s overall wedding experience?
Ruben Senderey (owner and founder of Senderey Video Productions): the cornerstone of our approach is to blend with our clients—that is, we unobtrusively capture powerful moments as they actually unfold.It’s about avoiding coaching or do-overs since a wedding is real and a precious once-in-a-lifetime occasion.
That’s why we never ask our couples to do anything they’re not happy to do.
We leverage our extensive experience and knowledge of spectacular celebrations to quickly get a sense of a bride’s temperament, playfulness, and energy. This allows us to encourage more of what’s naturally within character, all while balancing things with the flow of your day’s activities.
Above all, you’ll absolutely look back on your wedding knowing that our contribution made your Big Day ever-so-more special and that we captured it the way you wanted it remembered.
Importantly, we work as a team and in perfect harmony with your other vendors to ensure that you feel and look amazing.If you could provide 3 video-related “Pro-Tips” to a bride who wanted her story told in a way that truly blows people’s minds, what would they be?
Ruben Senderey: my top three tips to achieve the best event cinematography experience possible are to:
- Hire a cinematographer you’re comfortable with since she and her team will accompany you for most of your wedding day. It’s not natural for most of us to be surrounded by cameras and lights, which is why comfort with your artist matters.
- Enjoy your day and don’t stress the details. It may sound cliché, but you only get married once and it’s a uniquely precious opportunity to party with your family and friends.
- Be yourself, take a deep breath, and don’t forget to smile. You’ve prepared well for this day and hired people you trust. Let your vendors do the job you commissioned them to do and focus wholeheartedly on your festivities.
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Here’s Why Your Wedding Band Matters by Blonde Ambition BandWhat do you as a band bring to a celebration that a DJ can’t?
Blonde Ambition: let’s be clear, we’ve got the utmost respect for DJs and they fill a valuable role in the event space.
In fact, Blonde Ambition is what we call a “DJ-inspired band,” in that we’ve assembled a seemingly endless song list, which allows us to play a great variety of genres in a non-stop, mixed, mash-up style.
That said, we add two important experience-enhancing elements that only a quality live band really can:
- Most DJs will play your song selections on command. But when we play your favorite hits, we’ll add precious live elements, musicality, and vocals that render familiar songs our own—and in the process transform something old to something new and exciting! Just imagine your crowd thinking they know what’s coming up next in a particular song that they love … when suddenly—SNAP—we play something they didn’t quite expect. Their reaction will be priceless, because what they’ll experience is a rendition that’s fresh and exclusive to an innovative live band. Watch your friends go crazy on the dance-floor … and even days later still tell you that your wedding was simply the best ever.
- The performance element: your guests want to be entertained … and so do you. And when it comes to remarkable parties, merely pushing a button to play a song may not quite do the trick. A great live band will connect with your guests in a way that DJs simply can’t. Our trump is crowd interaction, participation, and, yes, putting on a splendidly entertaining show.
[grey_note]How do you keep your music fresh while at the same time personalized to your client?[/grey_note]
Blonde Ambition: our talented mix of artists inspires freshness in vision and allows us to remain at the vanguard of extraordinary live performance. We understand what works and what doesn’t. Importantly, we continuously update our repertoire with an eclectic mix of today’s hottest hits blended with oldies but goodies, which are surefire crowd-pleasers that worked well in the past, work today, and are likely to work tomorrow.
One thing’s for sure: with Blonde Ambition, every performance is called on the fly with no set lists, which means you’ll never experience the same show twice.What’s the secret to keeping the dance floor busy all night?
Blonde Ambition: “don’t stop the music!”
It can be the proverbial death to the dance-floor if your band takes untimely breaks between songs, talks too much, or needs to figure out what to play next.
The latter point is important since an experienced band is essentially a well-oiled machine that makes things look simple, fun, and deliberate.
Nobody wants dance-floor desertion … certainly not you.
Hey, any band can call a song that has the potential to clear the floor. It’s just important to be super in-tune and responsive in order to switch things up fast and naturally.What’s the minimum number of “pieces” to the band you’d recommend? Why and which ones are vital for maximum impact?
Blonde Ambition: the simple answer is as many pieces as you want and can afford. That said, here are a few helpful guidelines:
- Top 40 and Variety Dance Music: no fewer than 6 pieces, which collectively create the variety most parties demand from a live band. You’ll get bass, drums, guitar, keys, female and male vocalists;
- Latin (Salsa, Merengue, Bachata, et al): no fewer than 8 pieces, because horns are essential for that true Latin vibe. You’ll get bass, drums, keys, Latin percussion, sax, trumpet, female and male vocalists;
- Mixed genres (e.g., Latin & American Top 40): no fewer than 9 pieces, because you additionally need the guitar to achieve genuine American Rock;
Blonde Ambition: Ohhhhh … so many things, but here’s what gets us excited: we love it when our audience goes absolutely wild—jumping up and down with their hands in the air and passionately singing along our lyrics at the top of their lungs.
It’s the ultimate confirmation that what we do truly matters to our clients.
Double Your Fun With an Innovative Photo BoothHow do your photo booths increase the fun factor and overall entertainment of a wedding?
Fotoboyz: Fotoboyz‘ innovative photo booths are all about fun and sure to spread happy vibes wherever they’re set up.
And quite apropos, our motto is “we empower you, our clients, to be silly.”
Hey, and don’t be surprised if you and your guests visit our booth over and over again–it’s super-addictive and simply brilliant entertainment.
Best of all, our booths come in various shapes and sizes and are easily themed to your specific celebration.
All you need to do is show up, grab some fun props, and enjoy the ride.
[grey_note]What’s the difference between an ordinary and an extraordinary photo booth (experience)?[/grey_note]
Fotoboyz: there are photo booths … and then there are Photo Booths.
Our Super Booth is insanely cool with five custom over-the-top “photographer” characters that will help you through a series of silly poses. You get a 42-inch plasma, LED lights, and even a wind machine for effect.
And be prepared to make an impression on your guests, who’ll leave with a massive 6-by-8 inch photo that is easily customized with your logo, wedding website, or even a Quick Response code.
[grey_note]What’s the most exciting trend you are seeing in 2014?[/grey_note]
Fotoboyz: the hottest trend is being Social—the ability to go viral with your photo booth pictures by instantly sharing them on Facebook and Twitter.
Our iPad stations and mobile hotspots are conveniently located at your guests’ disposal.
And here’s the kicker: as your friends and family share their photo booth pictures, we record their email information for you.
As you can imagine, such data can save you loads of time later when it comes to sending out your thank you emails.
Event Show Productions
[grey_note]Please explain how entertainment and spectacle affect the overall wedding experience and whether the entertainment you offer is interactive (between the performers and the client).[/grey_note]
Art touches people in unique and memorable ways. By connecting with the audience, an entertainer can leave a profound and lasting positive emotional imprint. The mission of the entertainment company is not only to listen to a client’s needs, but to also fire up her imagination, so that together we can create a moment charged with dazzle and depth.How should a client pair entertainment that truly “wows” with not being overshadowed by it?
The entertainment can (and should) be spectacular as long as the intent is to support the focus of the client. You can have bright lights, fireworks bursting, and flags waving, but if it’s not reflective or representative of the “big picture,” you won’t achieve the right impact. Even the flashiest acts can have a hollow effect if there is no heart or attempt to make that human connection.
What are the coolest trends you’ve been observing heading into 2014?
Period themes! Everything old is new again, and nostalgia mixed with contemporary entertainment elements are making a splash. The Great Gatsby, Old Hollywood, The 80’s—we have been busy putting shows together under this umbrella and loving every minute of it.
What is the best entertainment “bang for my buck?”
In our view, it’s being able to produce something visually dynamic while getting the emotional element across. Knock it out with costumes, technology, A/V, and then throw in a lot of heart. Whether it be live vocals, dance, or a specialty act we like to hit the “message” home. This way you can inspire, pay tribute, or simply get an audience on board with a lasting emotional effect which will echo in people’s souls for years to come.If somebody came to you and asked for a “never-before-seen” spectacle, how would you answer?
I would say, “Give us 24 hours!”
Hy-Lite ProductionsWhy does professional lighting design matter to an event?
Lighting is an important ingredient in the creation of an amazing event environment, and helps tell the story.
While you could get by without much attention to the creative use of light, it would be quite a delight to shower your audience with the fascinating emotional impact of photons reflecting off carefully crafted designs. You will spend thousands of dollars on stunning floral arrangements, décor, food, and entertainment. Would you not want people to experience your investment in a much more impactful way?
An event lighting design expert will channel attention and energy where it matters most.
Who decides how to apply the right amount of light to the right place at the right time? Is it you, the entertainment production company, the planner, the florist, the client, or a combination?
That’s a great question … with an organic answer. From my experience, it varies from event to event. The majority of events I work on are usually from creative partners in the industry such as florists, planners, and producers. It helps our design direction if given a little input as to their vision to say the least, but in the end, it’s best when it’s a synergy of input. The attention to lighting detail should be a part of the entire evening and not just the initial impact. Having a lighting tech with a creative eye on staff throughout the whole event is a must!Which “colors” of light look more flattering and which ones less in photos? Are there colors to absolutely avoid (e.g., green)?
Well, we have all heard that “green looks bad on people,” but that doesn’t mean we should be afraid of color. It all depends on the event. For example, a high-energy dance environment might welcome splashes of light kinetically painted throughout the space, slashing colors all over the guests. That’s what helps create the energy.
A small dinner party, however, might require a more subtle approach. I’ve always felt that if blue or green was what helped tell the story of the designers vision, I shouldn’t be afraid to paint with light regardless of color. In those cases, candles will always give a flattering look while at the table, even with those deeper cooler colors creating mood off in the background. It’s all a balance. As far as photos specifically, a good photographer should be able to expose as to capture the environment color and the décor while filling in the subject with a little flash as needed.What does painting with light mean to you?
Painting with light for me means using all the tools I have available to paint the canvas that we call “the event.” As far as tools, it can be as simple as a small spotlight, to a color and texture wash, to what we like to call “electronic scenery” from media servers and projectors. And as far as the canvas, anything is fair game. Walls, ceilings, tables, floors, people, chandeliers, screens, scenery, water, its all a canvas.
Just because it CAN be lit, it doesn’t mean it HAS TO be lit. Our eyes are attracted to the sharpest and brightest areas in a space and its up to us as lighting designers to help guide the guest through these exciting experiences.
What are the hottest trends you are seeing heading into 2014?
Well, for a few years, there has been a trend towards EVERYTHING being LED. I’m personally not a huge fan of that as incandescent lighting delivers an unmatched warm quality. Some of the best innovators out there are the ones that understand that. For example, the folks at Fuel Lighting have some innovative LED and battery-powered lights which are almost impossible to distinguish from incandescent light.
They are our newest toy actually. Battery powered, light weight, and magnetic too! I also see a trend towards using tools and technology to connect the guests with each other. Lighting is recognized more each year as a vital player in the special events game!
What is the most common mistake you observe at events that were not lit by Hy-Lite?
Lighting is one of those pieces of the event puzzle that might not scream out MISTAKE as much as a microphone feeding back into the sound system. Everyone notices that! When the lighting levels are not set right though, it’s a more of a personal feeling that something isn’t quite right. Brightness. Too many fixtures that are not dim-able. That’s a big mistake.
Black cables visible in areas that white or dressed up cables would help it disappear, black fixtures when white ones would blend into the ceiling, technicians running the show not dressed up for the part, areas that are not lit for speeches that should be, it’s the little things that stand out in a big way. Lighting has always been something that should be seen, yet not seen. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!