If you have 400 people on your guest list, the Palazzo Ballroom at The Venetian or the The Westmount Country Club would be my initial suggestions for New Jersey venues that boast a modern-elegant flair and opulent decor. However, if you are planning a more intimate affair in the 125+ range and would like to celebrate in a Platinum Wedding- worthy ballroom with first class hospitality, The Crystal Plaza in Livingston, NJ. deserves your consideration.
Lauren and Jerome definitely made the right choice with regards to the venue and event professionals, but what really took this reception from ordinary to extraordinary was the way they chose to personalize their event. At their initial design session last year, I gave them a copy of The Best Wedding Reception… Ever! It features ways to make your once in a lifetime experience more fun, unique and unforgettable. You’ll see from the candid video testimonial below that you’ll get to choose your own adjectives when it’s your turn.
The personalization highlights started in the cocktail hour with an endearing conversational presentation. Jerome and Lauren supplied us with 75 photos leading up to the reception so we could produce a photo montage. Not only did the collection include plenty of Kodak-worthy images featuring the newlyweds, the 7 minute media clip also featured cameos by everyone on the guest list. The final version of the montage included 3 of their favorite songs and was given to Lauren & Jerome on dvd as a keepsake. (The version we played during cocktails was looped and muted. This way, their requested background music programming for the hour which was playing could be enjoyed without distraction… more importantly, the guests didn’t have to hear the same three songs over and over for the hour. .. and because the montage was playing in loop mode on an unobtrusive plasma screen, their guests could enjoy the photos at their leisure and convenience.) It was a wonderful way to instantly reconnect all of their guests by sparking sentimental memories and lively conversation.
Another highlight was the father daughter dance. Since Lauren and her dad couldn’t choose between four of their favorite songs, we produced a custom audio mix that included all four tracks. After several weeks of tweaks and fine-tuning, we came up with a version that made the once in a lifetime dance with her dad a moment she’ll never forget and one he’ll always remember fondly. In case you are curious, the final mix included specific clips from Tim McGraw’s My Little Girl, Van Morrison’s Have I Told You Lately, Celine Dion’s Because You Loved Me, and Frank Sinatra’s The Way You Look Tonight. It was a great way to make what could have been a traditionally ordinary moment …refreshingly extraordinary.
Jerome and Lauren made a lot of classy moves throughout the afternoon like taking a few minutes after the cake cutting to thank all of their guests and playing their parent’s wedding songs later in the reception. The love and respect for their parents was also evident during the grand entrance introductions when all the guests cheered for Jerome’s dad, who was given the honor to serve as Best Man!
I think my favorite part of the wedding, (besides everyone singing and clapping along to one of the coolest first dance songs), was seeing Jerome dance with his mom. Mrs. Genarelli worked in the guidance office of Indian Hills High School where I was a student volunteer. Over the four years, I can’t tell you how many times she told me about “my Jerome”… like any proud mother would adoringly tell people about their son. And then there I was, nearly 20 years later, watching her dance with him on his wedding day. Between Mrs. Genarelli and Lauren, Jerome should thank his lucky stars.
Special thanks to Nella Mellace and Marco Chivarillotti from the Crystal Plaza for their hospitality and professionalism. It’s always a pleasure when we have the opportunity to collaborate. Kudos and appreciation also goes out to Scott Bush from Scott Photography for sharing his photos for this entry. Like I always say… when your venue, photographer and entertainment can work well together and are at the top of their respective games, you can focus on your job as a VIP guest of honor… relaxing, taking it all in and having the time of your life.
Jani and Marcello Deliver the WOW! Rose and Joe’s Wedding Reception at The Venetian with Special Guest: Kim Sozzi
Last week, I assisted my Signature Events partner, Jason Jani with artist relations and event direction at the Palazzo Ballroom of the Venetian for Rose & Joe’s wedding reception. Jason, owner of Sound Connection Entertainment, arranged for the dance chart-topping singer, Kim Sozzi to perform a surprise set for the guests after the first course.
Rose & Joe wanted their wedding reception to be exceptional, so they chose the Palazzo Ballroom of the Venetian. They wanted their entertainment experience to have a modern, yet elegant flair, so they chose Jason’s firm to handle the production. Then, like many of our clients, Rose and Joe wanted their once in lifetime celebration to be extraordinary; so they asked us to come up with a WOW factor moment that they and their guests would never forget.
Since Rose & Joe are both big fans of dance music and recording artist Kim Sozzi, having Kim make a special appearance and perform a personalized set of their favorite songs at the reception became the ultimate concept and desire; Jason delivered and made it happen.
As a result, Rose, Joe and their guests experienced a dance set that deserves to be in the new book release, The Best Wedding Reception…Ever. After the first course was served, Jason played the classic ballad, At Last by Etta James to pack the floor with couples; followed by an Italian family favorite, The Tarantella, to warm up the dance floor with smiles and laughter. The stage was impeccably set for Jason to “Crush It” and take Rose & Joe’s wedding reception to the Signature Event level.
Kim Sozzi entered from the grand staircase into an eruption of cheers and applause. The guests were blown away and couldn’t believe that Kim was singing her biggest hits like “Feel Your Love” right in front of them. Literally! A seasoned professional, Sozzi sang her songs down off the stage, right in the middle of the crowd, never taking the spotlight away from the guests of honor. The room’s ambiance was filled with the best of both worlds, energy and intimacy. Rose and Joe looked like they were floating on air. The joy on their faces was priceless as they were enjoying every minute of the moment. At one point, I checked in with Jason to confirm that all was right with the world and he said, “Look at how happy Rose & Joe are right now, this is why I do this.”
Special thanks to Jimmy Silva from the Venetian for his hospitality and professionalism; he and Dave Mocera always provide a first class experience for everyone that walks through their doors.
While we are on the subject of the best that the Special Events industry has to offer, check out the cinematic excellence that Greg from Endless Wave Studios produced for the newlyweds. Greg specializes in producing mini-film featurettes for his clientele the day of their event known as “same day edits.” A couple doesn’t have to wait 6 weeks or 6 months to re-live the magic anymore. In Rose and Joe’s case, not only did Greg produce a professional music video that was played on the Venetian’s large drop down screens before their grand entrance, he also created a full production featurette of the days highlights that played right before cake cutting. Greg’s latest blog entry goes into more detail… “I think a story is only complete when you are there for everything, the making of the cappuccino in the morning, the giving of gifts, vows, and kisses, and right to the last song. This is why we can give back such a complete story.”
Check out his ‘same day edit’ artistry below. One of my favorite parts is when Rose sent Joe a gift before the ceremony and later on when they made their grand entrance into the Palazzo. I was there in the moment and it was awesome; watching it again with this level of connoisseur-like editing, camera work and musicality was just as breath-taking. The ultimate stamp of approval came from my wife who teared up after I showed it to her today. With watery eyes she said, “tell Greg he did he a great job”… an emotional smile and a kodak-moment laugh immediately followed.
To see more highlights, live footage and behind the scenes interviews, check out Jason’s video log below.
I look forward to teaming up with Jason in the future for more Signature Collaborations.
What happens when you take one of the most successful companies of 2009 and mix it with one of the best venues on the east coast and then sprinkle in some award-winning entertainment? In the words of Emeril Lagasse,… “BAM!!!”. Not only do you “kick it up a notch” and transform your ordinary annual gathering into an extraordinary Holiday Gala, your guests “feel the love” and experience a festive, elegant and unforgettable evening.
We’ve been teaming up with Samsung Electronics America since 2003. Over the years, it’s been very exciting to see their company earn the #1 spot for mobile phones and T.V’s here in the United States and the #1 spot for D TV’s worldwide. If you’re not impressed yet, at a time when many companies cut back and saw their numbers plummet in 2009, Samsung had the best quarter in the company’s history and their stock price went to an all-time high.
If your company holds it’s own, or like Samsung and some of our other VIP corporate clientele, actually manages to increase growth and raise the bottom line in the new economy, there are usually a few people you want to show your appreciation to. I’ll give you a few seconds to guess who those special people are……. BAM! That’s right. You answered correctly. Your employees… The TEAM. The executives at Samsung know this and agree with Steven Covey, “Always treat your employees exactly how you would treat your best customers. “
So when it was time for Samsung to celebrate another year of success and hard work, we helped them produce a black-tie Holiday Gala fit for royalty.
If you haven’t been to the new Palazzo Ballroom at The Venetian yet and would like to practice saying “wow,” and walking around with your jaw continuously dropping to the floor, schedule an appointment and check out the stunning decor, architecture and ambiance of The Palazzo. From their never-ending cocktail hour selections to their Viennese stations that would impress Willy Wonka himself, The Venetian combines delectable cuisine and first-class hospitality for all of their guests to enjoy.
So Samsung had the right place and the right people (nearly 700) ready to go. The only ingredient left to add was the right entertainment. A recipe like this demanded MMP’s Best of Both Worlds “Winter Wonderland” package. It combines the classic DJ entertainment element with live musicians and multi-media visuals. The entertainment and production team consisted of a Master of Ceremonies, an on-site Event Manager, DJ, 2 Dance Floor Motivators, Guitar Player, Saxophonist, Percussionist, and an Audio-Visual technician.
This package was designed for the discerning client who wants the best of everything; the presentation and musicianship of a live band and the excitement and flexibility of a professional DJ and Emcee. Samsung also wanted to personalize their event and put the spotlight on their guests. They produced a custom DVD presentation which included a special appearance by Beyonce, they gave out numerous Service and Recognition of Excellence awards, and had photographers on hand to take candids of their happy guests which we displayed on our big screen and dual plasma T.V’s. (Which of course were manufactured by Samsung.)
It was an exceptional evening of entertainment and hospitality. We look forward to teaming up with Samsung and the Venetian again next year and producing another successful collaboration. BAM!
As a side note, not only is it important to take care of your employees, you have to recognize their spouses, significant others and families as well. If Zagat was to rate Samsung on how well they take care of the people that take care of them, they’d get a 30. Yesterday, we performed at the company Headquarters for all of the Samsung kids and family members. It was a blast. Everyone enjoyed cookie decorating, face painting, photos with Santa, interactive games, dancing, a luncheon and gifts for all.
Special thanks as always to Carlos and the staff from the Venetian for their professionalism and to Evan Santi, from Urban Plantscapes, for the fabulous floral arrangements that adorned the ballroom.
We were delighted to return to the Palazzo Ballroom for Ryan’s Bar Mitzvah. After doing the Siracusa Communion there last week, my team couldn’t wait to perform in this magnificent ballroom at the Venetian once again.
After getting to know Ryan and his family, I was really excited as well. From the initial meeting with the Schatzbergs to the final design session at their home, I knew this was going to be an exceptional event.
Ryan is a talented musician, a great athlete and not afraid to get funky on the dance floor. In addition to current hip hop and dance music, Ryan is also a big fan of classic rock. His parents, Jen and Rich, were a lot more hip than your typical Bar Mitzvah hosts, they knew the perfect balance of telling me everything they wanted while respecting my ability to make significant suggestions and read the crowd. Speaking of the crowd, Jen was right, they danced to everything from The Rolling Stones to Pitbull. Throw in future stand-out Bar Mitzvah boy, Ryan’s brother, Luke into the mix and you thank your lucky stars that you get to work with the coolest families and the nicest venues that this industry has to offer.
In addition to the rock-themed centerpieces, and music programming, the classic rock vibe was all over Ryan’s event. We made a customized version of the game show that included Name That Tune audio clips from bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Clash, Journey, The Who and Led Zepplin. (Sometimes, we have to cheat a little so the guest of honor does well during the interactive competition, Ryan kicked some serious butt on his own, even beating out most of the adults who played along.)
To show everyone that true rock and roll idols have a softer side, Ryan and his family made arrangements for all of the moms to get a beautiful long- stemmed, red rose during the Mother-Son Dance. After Rich made a heartfelt toast in Ryan’s honor, we handed the roses to the ladies in honor of Mother’s Day weekend. It was a very classy move on the Schatzberg’s part. Anytime you take the extra step to be considerate of your guests in a personalized way, your event evolves into a universal celebration where everyone feels connected and significant.
The highlight of the day was Ryan’s grand entrance. As the spotlight followed his big reveal, Ryan came down the Palazzo’s awe-inspiring, dual staircase as we cranked up the chorus of Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen. It was a song that he mentioned as one of his favorites during the design session. I knew it would come in handy. Ryan’s family and friends sang their hearts out and cheered like he was a Rock Star making his way to the stage. From there, we mixed in Rihanna’s Please Don’t Stop The Music and never looked back.
As always, the Venetian team was on point. Their work ethic and customer service is as impressive as their venue. We look forward to our next collaboration with Dave, Jimmy, Adriatik and Carlos.
Special thanks to Giulianna, from Giulianna Marie Studios, for providing the photos featured in today’s entry. Many of my clients want a professional who is not only easy to work with, but who also has an unobtrusive shooting style while they capture the event highlights. Giulianna has earned an excellent reputation in the industry for both her skill and on-site demeanor. Even more impressive, her clientel has been built without any adverting. Like us, it’s been all word-of-mouth and venue referrals since the beginning.
This year, the Yankees debuted their new stadium to the delight of fans everywhere. This year, the Venetian debuted their new Palazzo Ballroom to the delight of life-celebrators everywhere. So imagine how happy you’d be if you were Marco Siracusa, you’re a huge Yankee fan and you’re having your Communion in the Palazzo!
It was only a year ago that Marco’s brother Gerry had his Communion at the Venetian, an event that was called a “Grand Slam” by all that attended. Their parents, Gerlando and Nellie Siracusa, had a tough act to follow. How do you create another unforgettable experience at the same venue for your other son?
Simple. First, you start with a budget that would impress George Steinbrenner... then, the Venetian has the grand opening of their jaw-dropping new ballroom just in time for your reception, you add in special guest performances by DJ of the Year 2007, Sean “Big Daddy” Mckee, and professional percussionist, Howie Bongo, you set up Dance Heads, Rock Band Extreme, the Interactive Game Show, Wii Sports and a Yankee- themed Pitch Speed Cage, you make arrangements for a huge candy cart to roll out after the flaming dessert presentation, and you call us back to produce the event again. Like a 6-4-3 double play with Jeter at short stop, the team effort made it look easy.
The highlights included Marco, Gerry, Uncle Joe and the Godfather, Joey D. doing a percussive jam session on the drums, Marco & Gerry performing a family favorite, the Burger Dance, and the custom photo montage that Gerlando put together. Setting up the projection screen in addition to the plasmas and utilizing the dance platforms as chairs for the kids made for an enjoyable theater-like experience.
Marco’ s family is a lot like mine and many others who we have the honor to celebrate with, they could have a great time with an old boom-box in the living room. However, when you combine an awesome crowd, with a first-class venue and exceptional entertainment, it’s like getting the call to move up from a t-ball league to the majors.
Special thanks to Jeff & Jason for their collaborative-interactive efforts and as always to Dave, Jimmy, Adriatik and Carlos from the Veneitian for their hospitality and professionalism.