Italy is a magical place and should be on everyone’s bucket list. Once you experience this beautiful country I know you will be hooked! And if you dream/must get married there then we have the perfect wedding planner that is American and lives in Italy. Brenda Babcock who is the owner of Italia Celebrations knows all the places and lingo for planning a wedding in Italy. We had the honor of chatting with her to find out what’s it really like to plan a wedding in Italy when you live miles away.
GO: Please describe your business and what sets you apart from all the other wedding planners? IC:I am an American who lives in Rome and plans weddings for fellow Americans throughout Italy. I am the only American wedding planner who actually lives in Italy. I am fluent in the Italian language and culture and have an extensive network of contacts and collaborators here. In Italy it is all about relationships and local knowledge.
GO: Why should a couple select your service? IC:I can combine the best that Italy has to offer with American traditions and expectations. In addition having worked for Vera Wang and Chanel for 15 years in NYC I am well schooled in the world of luxury and refinement.
GO: When is the best time to get married in Italy? IC: It depends on where you want to be married. In Rome my favorite month of the year is October when the days are warm and sunny and the evenings are a little cooler. April and May are also ideal. In Tuscany or the Lake Region the summer is better when there is less chance of rain and the evenings are still warm. On the other hand Tuscany is in its essence in autumn with the harvest of the grapes and olives.
GO: What are some of your favorite weddings that you have planned? IC: I am so lucky to live in a gorgeous country with so many spectacular locations. People always ask me where is the best place in Italy to get married and there are just so many great options that are unlike anywhere else in the world–the Vatican, Florence and Tuscany, Rome, the Amalfi Coast, Lake Como. My favorite wedding is always the last one I just finished.
GO: What is the first thing a couple should do if they are interested in having you plan their wedding? IC: Send me an email describing their dream wedding in Italy. Each wedding is built around the specific desires of each couple and the sort of experience they want to provide for themselves and for their guests.
GO: Do you have any tips that you would like to share with our readers? IC: Italy is an amazing country but not for the uninitiated. I highly recommend having an experienced, independent wedding planner to take you by the hand. It could save you money but it will surely save you frustration and headaches.
UPDATE: We officially opened up the Search For The Cover Contest to everyone. Please see below for full details.
After years of our readers asking for Grace Ormonde Wedding Style to increase its frequency, Grace Ormonde Wedding Style released its premier digital edition this past June. What we did not tell our readers is that we are actually becoming a quarterly publication and will be releasing a second digital edition in October resulting in more content, more coverage and more inspiration.
In celebration of this tremendous occasion we are launching our first-ever Search For The Cover Contest for our upcoming digital edition.
Create a board titled “Grace Ormonde Wedding Style Cover Submissions”
Pin up to 10 cover options from your own photo library (this can include shots from real weddings or independent, styled shoots) and in the comments section include the hashtag #platinumlist if you are an advertiser and #theluxuryweddingsource if you are not, with the phrase “Grace Ormonde Wedding Style Cover Option 1,” “… Cover Option 2,” etc.
When your board is complete, visit us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/WeddingStyle), be sure to like us and post the link to your cover board submission in the comments section for the Search For The Cover Contest post
Deadline: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 9am EST
You may use either a personal or business account for Pinterest and Facebook. What if you don’t have one, you ask? They are free, so get social and get started.
Submissions cannot have been published anywhere else in order to be considered. This includes another magazine, e-zine, wedding website, wedding blog, etc. and excludes your own website/blog and social platforms.
If at the end of the contest, Grace Ormonde deems that we have not found a cover that embodies the Grace Ormonde Wedding Style aesthetic, we have the right to hold our own cover shoot.
Remember when selecting your submissions that they should be modern, fashion-forward images and can be of a couple or a bride alone. Here is a link to our past cover gallery to get you off on the right foot: http://on.fb.me/QiEZMg. Good luck and we can’t wait to see what you have to share with us.
I get countless emails every day and while much of them fall into the irrelevant category, certain things catch my attention, like this video submitted by Platinum List Member Alain Simon Fleurs out of Quebec. I am always amazed when industry professionals are able to envision such grand productions and was particularly enthralled when I saw this video and felt compelled to share it with you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Alain Simon Fleurs brings you on a journey of emotions, a fairytale for grown ups, and yes, it’s all about the dress. A day with “Alain Simon Fleurs … j’adore!” is a unique concept developing an idea and bringing it to life with some of the best wedding specialists in Montreal. It’s about extraordinary people coming together and sharing their passion. And knowing Alain Simon is knowing that he will transport you into his dreams and magic, using the finest things in life to make you smile.
Art Director: Alain Simon, Alain Simon Fleurs, Westmount, QC, Canada; Location: Le Grand Salon Marions-Nous at Place Bonaventure, Montreal, QC, Canada; Furniture: Luxe Rentals, Mount Royal, QC, Canada; Lights and Draping: Eventex Productions, Montreal, QC, Canada; Wedding Gown: Paco Couture; Hair, Styling and Jewlery: Paco; Makeup: Mindy Shear; Model: Ariane Simon; Photography: Vera Varley, La V Photo, Montreal, QC, Canada; Cinematography: Riccardo Marrone, Anthony Sarracco, Johnny Pisaturo
Thank you so much to Alain Simon of Alain Simon Fleurs for letting us share this video with our viewers!
I received this photo shoot and I fell in LOVE with the simplicity and beauty of these images, not to mention how gorgeous and dreamy these two are together. The inspiration for this was the classic and romantic essence of Miami, Florida. Happy Friday! Enjoy!
The fashion/cover photo shoot for the 2012: Fall/Winter issue of Grace Ormonde Wedding Style took us to a private home in Brentwood, California. Playing with the idea of illusions, reflections and couture, the photography came together revealing a compilation of playful and light imagery photographed by famed celebrity and wedding photographer, Yitzhak Dalal.
Video: Lawrence Chan; Photography: dalalphotography, Los Angeles, CA; Stylist: Laura Duncan; Assistant Stylist: Sally Lanners; Hair: Christophe Saluzzo at Cloutier Remix for Redken; Makeup: Marco Berardini at Cloutier Remix for NARS Cosmetics; Location: Brentwood Residence; Music: Come With Me by Nard Berings
A few weeks ago I found myself in coastal Maine at the incredible and brand new Hidden Pond resort in Kennebunkport and it was nothing short of spectacular. The party was held at the property’s open-air restaurant, EARTH, which overlooks the pond and nightly bonfires. Consulting Chef and James Beard award winner Ken Oringer, along with Executive Chef Kevin Walsh and Sous Chef Meghann Ward implement the restaurant’s farm to fork philosophy with ingredients right from the Hidden Pond’s gardens. There is nothing better than fresh food and when I tell you it was some of the best food I have ever I had, I mean it. I am still thinking about those oysters.
The staff was organized, professional and accommodating, the décor was perfect with a rustic quality, while still oozing luxury, and the company of Maine’s top wedding professionals could not have been better. I just loved everything about it. Oh, and when the party was over, I was hosted in one of the cottages, which had all of the comforts of home and all of the perks of being in a top hotel. Oddly enough, one of the areas I get to travel to least is local New England, but it is definitely a place that I will make it a point of going back to.
I want to give a very sincere thank you to the owner of Hidden Pond and the Kennebunkport Resort Collection, Debbie Lennon, Hidden Pond’s General Manager Justin Grimes and EARTH’s General Manager Danielle Walker for letting us host our party at their preeminent facility.
Thank you also to Dr. Trish Alkaitis Holistic Organic Skin Food, Greg Gates Plowman of Entertainment Concepts, Joanne McDonough of Joya beauty, Lena Morse Hartford of Hair that Moves, Steve Johnson and Mimi Buttenheim of Vermont Spirits, David Murray of David Murray Photography, Gayle Forte of Let Them Eat Cake and Julie Ann LaBouvé of Charming Interiors.
They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but we don’t follow that rule here at Grace Ormonde Wedding Style. A couple of weeks ago, we traveled to Sin City for the couture jewelry show, JCK, photo shoots for the upcoming issues and one of our own VIP Parties.
After going to Las Vegas several times now, there is one thing that I think anyone can take away from their experience: entertainment in Vegas is bar none some of the best in the country. Everything is done to the nines, simple is not part of the vocabulary, and there is a tremendous concentration of talent.
I had so much fun seeing everyone and am so thankful to all of the incredible talent that came together to make this an unforgettable evening. From the live wedding to the female electric violinists, dueling DJs, aerialist champagne pourers, gymnasts, fashion installation, live entertainment, the posh furniture and décor, the deliciously artful hors d’oeuvre, confectioned cakes and pastries, sumptuous cocktails and of course, the incredible location of MEET Las Vegas.
[left to right] Amrita Roopchand, Reisha Roopchand, Kevin Brooks, Rennie Roopchand and David Knight
[left to right] Traci McMaster, Kristen Wiese, Ashley Mastowski, Miranda Prince, Rissa Gunderson and Tara Cox
[left to right] Michelle Howard and Debra Newson
[left to right] Nya Velez and Jackee Garcia
[left to right] Corinna Britten and Kate Britten
[left to right] Ceasare Bonazza and Veronica Bonazza
[left to right] Rochelle Clayton, Koshan Cabriole, Jalan Arnold and Darlene Wilson
[left to right] Lynn Saculles and Brian Saculles
[left to right] Grace Ormonde and Dan Maddux
[left to right] Dan Maddux and Jerri Woolworth
[left to right] Mike Colon, Grace Ormonde, Gavin Wade and Henry Chen
A special thank you to planner Jerri Woolworth for spearheading this evening, Fabian Gomez from MEET Las Vegas for letting us throw our VIP bash at your esteemed location, photographer Adam Frazier for snapping photographs all night long and Something New Films for capturing video of the memorable evening.
A special thank you also to Caesars Palace, SX Liquors, Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada, Liquid Courage, UD Factory, Gail Kreason, Red Abbey, Bella Electric Strings, Champagne Creative, By Dzign, Jovani Linens and Event Design, Wild Truffles Catering, Aracelli Zea Cake Studio, Gimme Some Sugar, Simple Elegance, Alligator Soup, LEDunplugged, Lori J. White Make Up Artistry, Somers Furniture, Sound Fusion Entertainment, Joey Galon Atelier, AWG Ambassador Chauffeured Transportation Services, Alan Waxler Group, P.J. Art Tags, and The Jewelers of Las Vegas.
Just over a month ago (before we went into deadline with our newest issue), I had the luxury of sneaking away from the office and headed to San Francisco to meet my niece for the very first time. Like any good tourist venturing to a new destination, I talked to friends and colleagues about all of the “musts” in this incredible city by the bay. While it’s in my nature to channel Frommer’s and always have a plan, my husband, Scott, and I brought a list of everyone’s suggestions and then chose what we could fit in around family time. It was a trip to remember!
After a full day of traveling (with a migraine no less) we landed at the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) just before 8 p.m., grabbed our rental car and headed to The St. Regis San Francisco. What was the plan of attack you ask? With a full-on jackhammer going off in my head, I knew there was only one thing to do: draw a bath in the deep soaker tub and then get a good night’s rest enveloped in the luxurious Pratesi bedding.
The St. Regis San Francisco
The St. Regis San Francisco's Accommodations
The next day, rested and with my vision restored, I was able to take in the amazing views from our 10th-floor room, as well as observe the beautiful appointments from the Bella Crema marble to the Mozambique wood, 42-inch plasma, window seat, chaise lounge and so forth. It was like a little (well maybe not so little at 450-square feet) oasis in the city.
The St. Regis San Francisco's Lobby
The St. Regis San Francisco's Level Two Art
The St. Regis San Francisco's Yerba Buena Terrace
With a date set to see our family over dinner that Friday night, off we went on our journey. When we walked out the front door of the St. Regis, with a map in hand, I could instantly see how centrally located the hotel was to everything on our to-do list and understood how it got its alias as “the best address in San Francisco.” After a quick stop at Peet’s Coffee & Tea to grab a latte, we headed to Union Square and then to catch the Cable Car down to Fisherman’s Wharf.
Cable Car at Fisherman's Wharf
On a jaunt to Ghirardelli Square we stopped in Yap bet boutique (where everything is made in the USA) to buy a souvenir for our puppy and then walked over to Pier 39 where, I confess, I dragged Scott in almost every store. Empty-handed, but content, we grabbed a bite to eat and then checked out the famous sea lions. Fulfilled by our waterfront experience, we then decided to walk several blocks uphill to the top of Lombard Street to see cars navigate the most crooked street in the world and then walked back down breathing in the perfume of its lovely gardens.
Feet exhausted, we flagged down a cab and headed back to The St. Regis to freshen up for the evening. With Scott’s family in San Jose, rush hour prompted them to suggest that we take scenic I-280 to their California bungalow. After plenty of oohing and ahing over our niece we took a leisurely stroll through the area’s Japanese Friendship Garden working up an appetite for dinner.
Set to meet back up the following afternoon, we gave our feet another workout Saturday morning and walked to the Civic Center. After nearly a decade of working at Grace Ormonde Wedding Style, and quite possibly viewing hundreds of weddings at the stunning San Francisco City Hall, I was eager to see its stately facade and share the experience with my architecture-loving husband. Take notice: tours are only held during the week and the building is locked on weekends so if you want to see the renowned rotunda, plan accordingly. A quick peek at San Francisco Opera, San Francisco War Memorial & Performing Arts Center, Davies Symphony Hall, and the Museum of Performance & Design on the opposite side of Van Ness Avenue and we headed back toward The St. Regis to visit the neighboring Museum of Modern Art.
Knowing we only had a couple of hours before we were due to see Scott’s family again, we knew we would never be able to see all of the SFMoMA’s galleries, so we set an agenda: “Photography in Mexico” exhibit, “Jim Campbell: Exploded Views” installation and Buckminster Fuller’s “The Utopian Impulse.” Surprisingly, we completed those and were able to check out a few other wings before it was time to go.
After two days of hitting the pavement, I quickly understood San Francisco’s casually-chic footwear fashion comprised of vibrant sneakers, a plethora of ballet flats and boots when all six pairs of my shoes failed me and I got a blister. But like other warriors, I squeezed my feet into the most comfortable pair of high heels I own and prepared for a night of dancing at a gala that Scott’s brother and wife were hosting. Around 11 p.m., we made an early exit and planned to reconvene for dim sum the next morning.
Packed in a hall-style restaurant with a couple hundred other ravenous people, my brother-in-law grabbed what he deemed quintessential dishes from the passing carts and ensured us that “it’s good; just try it.” It was absolutely delicious and incredibly filling. Afterwards, we packed up and headed to a nearby Alameda beach to work off brunch and kill some time before we deemed it was an acceptable time to drop in at the award-winning Forbidden Island Tiki Lounge. Pay close attention: all of their drinks have ratings for how strong they are. I had two rum runners and probably should have stuck to one. We ended the night at a friend’s home for a communal pasta dinner and then said our goodbyes to our family allocating all of Monday to being tourists.
Officially addicted to Peet’s lattes, we grabbed a cup to go and headed to Pier 33 to await our much-anticipated departure to Alcatraz. Loaded up on Dramamine, we took the 1.5-mile cruise offshore to visit the once federal penitentiary. What I was most surprised to learn is that the island is also a protected state park known for its incredible gardens, which began more than a half century ago when select prisoners were allowed to tend to them. I have never seen such enormous succulents and gorgeous calla lilies. The juxtaposition against the abandoned cells and shelled out buildings was unsettling, but intriguing nevertheless. After the guided audio tour and some time spent exploring, we grabbed the ferry back to the mainland and walked back over to Pier 39 to catch the Gray Line Sky View Tour.
The Painted Ladies
Corny I know, but I couldn’t wrap my mind around leaving San Francisco without seeing the Painted Ladies, Golden Gate Bridge and Golden Gate Park. An added bonus, was seeing Chinatown, The Presidio, and other nooks and crannies of the city. What I liked best about this tour was that it was two hours and $20, as opposed to the hop-on/hop-off tours, which were pricier and took up more time. The guide was informative and charismatic, but take warning that if you sit on the top of this double-decker trolley, be sure to wear a hat or apply ample sunscreen.
Content, we caught a cab back to The St. Regis and made reservations for dinner. Lovers of Italian food, Scott and I headed to Trattoria Contadina in North Beach where we enjoyed a romantic dinner. The restaurant had a great, intimate vibe and our waitress provided flawless service. I recommend the barbabietola as a starter, then the gnocchi followed by the torta di cioccolato; they have half portion entrées and the dessert is best when shared!
The St. Regis San Francisco's Remède - Pool
Back at the St. Regis, and an early flight scheduled for the next day, we decided to take a late-night swim in the indoor infinity pool before retiring for the night. Finally packed, and 10 pounds heavier with San Francisco paraphernalia, it was time to leave. As we boarded the plane I thought about Tony Bennett’s song “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” and started planning the next trip in my head: reserve another room at The St. Regis, spend a day in wine country, go see the redwoods, head to Golden Gate Park and see what events are going on at the Academy of Sciences and deYoung Museum, have dinner at The Slanted Door and check out the Cartoon Art Museum, to name a few.
After reflecting on our trip with family and friends, Scott and I both agree that San Francisco is a fabulous city and, having worked in the wedding industry for so long, my mind immediately went to what an amazing place it would be to have a destination wedding. Just think about everything the city has to offer guests as they make a mini vacation out of one of the most important weekends in a couple’s lives. Oh, and I might just know the perfect place to get married: The St. Regis’s second and fourth floors house their ballroom and terrace and they are tres chic!
[Written by Jessica Latimer; All images courtesy The St. Regis San Francisco]
A couple of weeks ago Laureen Edelson and a few of her associates planned our second annual networking event in New York at the incredible Pierre hotel in downtown New York City. They did such an amazing job orchestrating everything with the help of our talented #platinumlist members.
Thank you so much to everyone that made this event such a spectacle and so stunning, especially Ed Neary of Joseph Edwards Films for sharing this video.
Thank you also to the rest of the fabulous team: Bill Spinner from The Pierre NYC, Bunmig and Peter Markowitz from Frost Lighting, Maya Kalman from Swank Productions, Hayim Treitel from Luxe Events Rentals, Adrienne Craig from Admire Designs, Erica Powell from Ambiance Luxe, Robert Kurlander from DDM Entertainment, Diana and Jennifer Gould and Robert Pezcka from Diana Gould Ltd. Floral & Event Decor, Golf Srithamrong from Tantawan Bloom, Lisa and Michael Plociniak from A Touch of Elegance, Rebecca Ashby from The Pink Orange, Ed Zorz Hafzoiv from Zorz Studios, Ryan Brenzier from Ryan Brenzier Photography, Pilley Bianchi from Bianchi Musica, Stacy Ercan from Stacy K Floral, Jessica Frances from Bridal Reflections, Pablo Oliveira from Nüage Linens, Heather Barranco from Heather Barranco Dreamcakes, and Damali NYC for doing hair and makeup for the Grace Ormonde team.
Ever wanted to explore Italy and not have to worry about all the planning. Italy Bespoke Travel is an authentic travel concierge service designing custom itineraries that cater to the individual couples personal preferences. They will create your dream honeymoon and you can even put it on your bridal registry! I had a moment to chat with the owner of Italy Bespoke Travel, Kathy Fahy and she gave us the inside scoop on what it is like planning your dream honeymoon to Italy.
GO: How do you differ from a Travel Agency? IBT: The time we invest in every trip is our commitment to your happiness. We take a personal interest in every client and we make certain that partners in Italy share in our vision. We have been told that our “personalization and attention to detail” set us apart from other private travel companies. Our vested partnerships and Insider’s information are a result of over 25 years of luxury travel in Italy.
There are no two trips that are alike since there are no two clients that are alike!
24 hour concierge service while in Italy is another distinguishing characteristic.
GO: Why should a couple select your service? IBT: I always say in a very nice way, “people don’t know what they don’t know”.
This statement best defines the most important reason. Many couples have shared with me that after purchasing every book and app on Italy, they are completely lost as to what is best for them. The importance of being in the right place at the right time for their personal preferences has everything to do with a well-planned honeymoon that is seamless. We pride ourselves on taking the proper time and measures to get to know you.
GO: How would you describe the things that make your trips unique? IBT: Our personalization is unparalleled. This includes the hotels and Villa’s selected, the details planned and our partners in Italy who will greet them and accommodate them during their stay in Italy.
Private showing, preferred seating and a unique visit all add to the charm of feeling that you are “in the know”! Being in the right place to watch the sunset is as important as having the right ambience for couples massages or the perfect sailboat and crew for a trip around the Isle of Capri. Planning personal activities is as important as planning the proper downtime.
GO: When should a couple plan to go to Italy? IBT: My favorite months are May, June, September, and October. Most of our honeymoon trips are planned during these months although we do have also have trips in July and August.
GO: What are some of your favorite trips for Honeymoons? IBT: Pairing a city with countryside or waterside is always key for the balance of the experience. Once again knowing the individuals personal preferences is key to how we select the perfect places for them to visit.
The Amalfi Coast has so many treasures! It may be one of the most romantic places in Italy and the views are spectacular! It’s casual environment also lends itself to relaxing and decompressing!
There are beautiful resorts on the Tuscan Coast and in the North you will have the serenity of Lake Garda and Lake Como.
In the south, the Island of Sicily has become a preferred destination and Sardinia is a favorite spot for the elite with their beautiful yachts!
GO: Why should a couple plan a Honeymoon Registry? IBT: Many couple today have been living together for a while and don’t necessarily need or want as much china and crystal as the brides and grooms of yesterday.
Experiences are what are top of mind for today’s Bride and Grooms. They want their honeymoon to be the trip of a lifetime and so they are looking for in most cases a 5 star honeymoon.
The idea that guests may contribute toward this journey is most important to them. While many guests will give cash as a gift they prefer the Honeymoon Registry because it is much more personal. It is in theory the same money that they would have put in an envelope for the bride and groom.
GO: How is your Honeymoon Registry unique? IBT: We not only design the itinerary for the Honeymoon but we also manage all of the transportation, accommodations and dinner reservations. Guided unique visits and insider’s shopping guides are also customized for every couple.
We then build a private web page and create the Honeymoon Registry. The gifts that are all monetary are processed on the couple’s custom page and we manage the funds and issue Gift Checks to the Bride and Groom as the money is received.