Weddings of Distinction: Marcello Pedalino & Jason Jani Represent MMP Entertainment’s Signature Events Division at The Ashford Estate

Karen Vernon-Stewart and Margaret Vernon from Magnolia Exquisite Florals: www.MagnoliaNJ.com

The weather held out for a lovely day at the stunning Ashford Estate.

It was a pleasure to meet all of the Brides, Grooms and their families as they toured the manicured grounds and enjoyed the fine cuisine of Merri-Makers Catering. The tasting was an excellent opportunity to talk to everyone in more detail about their upcoming wedding receptions at the Ashford and other Weddings of Distinction properties.

I gave out first edition copies of my new article, “7 Ways to Bring The Wow and Have The Best Wedding Reception…Ever!” I’m happy to report that it was very well received.    Look for its public debut soon on a few select social media outlets in the Wedding industry.

We had a few minutes to take some photos with a couple of the other Weddings of Distinction preferred professional resources before the event began.   We’re looking forward to teaming up soon for some exceptional events!    -mp

Encore Gallery:

Weddings of Distinction: Marcello Attends Premier Tour of The Ashford Estate

Chances are if you haven’t heard about The Ashford Estate yet, it’s only a matter of time.   Exclusive venues like Bonnet Island Estate, Pleasantdale Chateau and Mallard Island Yacht Club have gotten most of the attention from discerning brides looking for private locations that feature tasteful opulence and exquisite attention to detail… Now, courtesy of visionary founder Chris Vernon’s latest masterpiece, The Ashford Estate is being offered to those fortunate enough to experience its grandeur.

The Weddings of Distinction Team with Marcello Pedalino (Center) in the library of The Ashford Estate: Ginny Connolly, Maggie McSorley, Meghan Jacobs and Steve Babbitt

Through the majestic gates upon entry yesterday afternoon, guests drove up the tree-lined pasture of the Allentown multi-acre estate enjoying the beautiful fall foliage that NJ natives cherish.   After a stroll though the grounds including a stop at the Conservatory, Reflections Pool, Library, English Gardens and Floating Gazebo, Vernon welcomed his guests in the Chapel. He moderated a brief creative counsel and officially introduced Weddings of Distinction to the V.I.P wedding professionals in attendance. Among the many industry notables were Kathi Evans from All The Best Celebrations and Erik Kent from NjWedding.com.

Like our Signature Event level offerings with entertainment and event productionWeddings of Distinction is a concept that encompasses the finest in locations, hospitality and customer service that New Jersey has to offer. Stay tuned for the recap of the Signature Corporate Event that Jason Jani and I produced for the New Jersey School Board Association at The Palace at Somerset Park which took place on Tuesday.

The Ashford Estate

The tour continued with a delectable dinner social back in the Conservatory with stations from Main Street, passed hors d’oeuvres by Merri-Makers and some refreshing mixology courtesy of Marsilios. We made our way up and throughout the tri-level mansion to get a sneak peak at the well-appointed guest rooms and simply divine bridal suite.  Each room features its own unique decor and personal touch of design pleasure.  Our excursion’s denouement took place at The Ashford’s Grand Ballroom.   From the graceful lines of the chiavari chairs to the well-thought out floor plan to the customized Fennelli lighting,  it’s a visually stunning combination of sophistication and luxury.

Naturally, The Ashford Estate, or a Wedding of Distinction at Bonnet Island is not an inexpensive proposition. Expect to invest upwards of $25,000 for the property rental alone in peak season.

Photo by: John Arcara www.JohnArcara.com

For those who appreciate cachet, beauty, talent, experience, rarity or historical significance, you already know about  investments deemed priceless. Most brides and readers of this blog agree that a once- in- a-lifetime event falls under that category.

Ashford’s official website and facebook page will launch at years end.  Until then, for additional photos or to set up a private tour and design session at the Ashford, Bonnet or any of the Weddings of Distinction properties, contact me at your earliest convenience @ 732-547-1677 and we’ll set it up with the WD team.

Special thanks to Chris, Kathi, Ginny, Steve, Maggie and Meghan for their genuine warmth and hospitality.   The possibilities for future collaborations are very exciting.   -mp


The Knot Brings A Touch Of Elegance To The Palace At Somerset Park

I thought I was competitive…  Then I met Carley Roney, editor in chief and co-founder of The Knot and realized that I need to step up my game.  After proudly listing about 10 things that The Knot was #1 at during her brief presentation (like wedding websites & iPhone apps) etc., Carley proceeded to tell the packed room the only area  where The Knot is number #2 and  said, “this is the only thing we’re not number 1 at…. YET!”   Love it.  🙂

Michael & Lisa from A Touch of Elegance, Rachael & Heather from Glass Slipper, Carley Roney from The Knot, and Melissa Hylan from Invitation Bar

This competitive spirit is  part of the reason why out of the 45,000 weddings that are happening in NJ for 2010,  The Knot had 44,000 brides register with their network. The other 1000 are out of state brides getting married in NJ!   Even if your not a bride who is checking out the blog today…  as a business owner or entrepreneur, you have to respect and appreciate that impressive stat.  So whether you are a consumer or a professional, it’s no exaggeration that Carley and her team have a wedding planning resource and go-to bridal network for the industry that is second to none.

Last night, I was a guest of my good friend Alan Berg, Vice President of local client solutions for The Knot.   Both he and Carley were among the bridal-rockstars who were speaking last week at the Wedding MBA in Las Vegas.  The Knot hosted a comfortably-chic networking soiree  for some of NJ’s finest wedding professionals in the Palace at Somerset Park.

Among the notables were Lisa and Michael Plociniak from A Touch of Elegance who supplied the gorgeous decor and floral arrangements. I also reconnected with in-demand wedding planners, Kathi Evans, from All the Best and Rachael Citron & Heather Balczarek from Glass Slipper Weddings– who made it out to Vegas last week also.

A quick mention of photographer Jeff Tisman who Kathi introduced me to during the cocktail hour.  After a cool exchange about “putting your trust in the professionals you hire” he handed me one of his eye-catching over-sized business cards.

Jackie Marko ISES Pres., Altair Rasco ISES DAH, Marcello Pedalino & Christine Brower, ISES Pres. elect

I loved the photo he featured on the back-side.  Jeff said he was working with a stunning bride, Stephanie Sarmiento, in the city when they came across this construction site and decided to capture some images. I’ve seen a lot of great wedding photos in my career and you know from reading this blog that I get to work with some of the area’s finest… this shot makes my top ten list of all time. Joy, beauty and spontaneity. That’s what an artist can capture.  Great stuff.

The North Jersey Chapter of ISES was also represented by the lovely Jacqueline Marco, President, Christine Brower, President Elect and Altair Rasco, Director of Administrative History.  The chapter has a fantastic Halloween-themed event coming up on October 13th at the Lambert Castle called “Nightmare on Event Street.”   $35 for members and $45 for non members.

Kathi Evans, Marcello Pedalino, Rachael Citron, Alan Berg & Heather Balczarek

I chatted briefly with Christine and Jackie about possibly setting up an encore performance here in New Jersey of the Take Care Of Yourself seminar that Mike Walter and I presented last week at the Wedding MBA in Vegas. As always, I’ll keep you posted.

Not only was The Knot event a great networking opportunity and a fun-filled evening, I was also able to do a site survey at the venue for an upcoming Signature Event.

Pomptonian Food Services, in conjunction with the New Jersey School Board Association has contracted us to provide the entertainment, multi-media features and lightscaping for their convention gala on October 19th at the Palace.   It is sure to be an exceptional evening.

Special thanks to Carley, Alan and The Knot Team for their hospitality.  I’m looking forward to a future collaboration.   -mp

Jackpot: The Wedding MBA Sends Every Attendee Home from Las Vegas a Winner- Mike Walter & Marcello Pedalino Come Up Aces

Andy Ebon, The Wedding Marketing Authority, speaks to the capacity crowd of 1500 at The 2010 Wedding MBA Conference

It’s nice when something lives up to the hype.    I’ve been hearing about the Wedding MBA for a few years…  things like, “It’s THE convention to go to if you are a wedding professional,” and “the seminars are above and beyond what you’ll find at your typical wedding industry gathering,” and “hold on to your notebooks, laptops and iPadsyou’ll be taking lots of notes from some of the most successful special event gurus in the bridal business.”  The Wedding MBA delivered.

After 2 and 1/2 days of presentations from the likes of Sonny Ganguly & Tim Chi from Wedding Wire, Tammy Elliot & Susan Southerland from The Perfect Wedding Guide, Carly Roney and Alan Berg from The Knot, Julia Markel from the Association for Wedding Professionals International, Andy Ebon from The Wedding Marketing Network and Peter Merry, the author of The Best Wedding Reception Ever I’m exhausted and my brain hurts a little.

Mike Walter and Marcello Pedalino present “Take Care of Yourself” at the 2010 Wedding MBA Conference

There was barley enough time to squeeze in a few runs at sunrise and barely enough energy left over at night for some additional networking, but I’ve got at least 10 new ideas to share with our brides and 5 new concepts to implement into MMP’s 2011 business plan so it’s all good.   After speaking with many of the 1500 attendees, they all seemed to share the same sentiments.

Social Media was definitely the “it” phrase of the week.  You couldn’t go more than 15 minutes without hearing someone mention a possible tip or tweak for utilizing Facebook, Twitter, blogging or youtube marketing for SEO and staying connected to the e-universe we live in now. If you’d like to have your mind blown, check out this video clip that Sonny shared with the crowd about sixth sense technology.  We all had to pick our jaws up off of the floor.

from left: Wedding MBA Chancellor- Will Hegarty, The Knot’s Alan Berg and Marcello Pedalino

Another golden nugget was the universal message from The Knot’s editor in chief, Carly Roney.  She said that “many brides and grooms now value personal expression more than tradition.

The celebrate life team here at MMP Entertainment is happy to incorporate your unique personalities and preferences into your once-in-a-lifetime reception.

Speaking of personalities, you can visit Susan Sutherland’s bountiful site and discover her secret survey offering…  take this quiz and figure out what type of bride you are. It will help us enhance your wedding planning experience by understanding your planning personality. Susan was really dialed-in to the wedding industry and offered valuable insight into the psychology of  today’s bride.

from left: Marcello Pedalino, Author of the Best Wedding Reception Ever- Peter Merry, & Wed Guild members- Shawn Whittemore and Liz Daley

The convention rock stars were hard to miss as they each made several guest appearances and gave multiple seminars. Andy, Alan, Sonny and Peter always had a crowd around them in the halls asking for additional advice, photos for their wall and autographs of their books.

I was very happy to see that all of my friend’s and colleague’s  hard work and dedication to their craft was being recognized.

I’m also happy to report that our presentation, “Take Care Of Yourself,” was very well received . Mike Walter and I, as the new kids on the block at this gathering, spoke about the importance of a Health and Wellness program for the 21st century entrepreneur.

Peter Merry taking photos with his fans and signing copies of his new book, The Best Wedding Reception Ever.

We shared our philosophies and offered solutions on common personal and professional challenges like time management, prioritization, diet, exercise, dolce far niente and overall life balance.  In essence, if you take better care of yourself, you can take better care of your clients.  And if you take better care of your team, you’ll be taking better care of your bottom line.

Special thanks to Dr. Drax from the ADJA for the sponsorship and support, to Will & Patti Hegarty and Shannon Underwood from the Wedding Merchants Business Academy for producing  such a monumental event, to Ron Brown for his production assistance, to Sonny Gallardo for transportation, and to Liz Daley, for sharing a few of her photos for this entry.

:)... a quick mention to a few of the several hundred new friends and wedding professionals  that I met while attending the WMBA…

Mike Walter and Marcello Pedalino

Jean-Loup Bitterlin from Casa De Los Siete Patios in Mexico, Rachael Citron and Heather Balczarek from Glass Slipper Weddings in New Jersey, Jose Betancourt Jr. from Junior’s Band Orchestra in Florida, Olga Goddard from My Favorite Flowers in Utah, Carmen Hocking from A Beautiful Wedding in Kansas, Marc Conneely from Wedding TV in London, Kathi Evans from All The Best Celebrations in New Jersey,  Jody and Tammy Maxx from Music to the Maxx in Texas,  Patrick Kelly from I Do Appointments in Oklahoma, Ali Berberich from The Blue Angel Cafe in California, Eric Goldschmidt from Eventurous in Ohio, Doug Rice from Bridalicious in Texas and Pete Miller from Speaker Coachwho came all the way from Australia!!!

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