How to Make Your Wedding ‘Something Special’: Michael and Caitlin Celebrate Their Love at The Meadow Wood Manor

Usher’s smooth r&b track, ‘Something Special,’ not only served as the perfect first dance song for Michael and Caitlin, but its title also perfectly described their wedding reception from start to finish.  The same could be said for the song that Caitlin chose to dance with her dad, The Best Day, by Taylor Swift.

I knew this wedding was going to be awesome from the first phone call.  I recognized Caitlin’s voice instantly.  She sang beautifully at another exceptional wedding ceremony that MMP had the honor to direct and entertain at a few years ago.  That wedding was for Michael’s mother, Patty, and my uncle, Lou Vetere.  As guests, Michael and Caitlin danced the night away along with their family and friends.  Since many of the guests would be attending this celebration and I knew I was working with a bride and groom who weren’t shy about literally ‘gettin’ jiggy with it,’ I knew an unforgettable evening was on the way.

Speaking of Will Smith, another dance he made famous called The Apache, from the Fresh Prince of Belle Air, turned out to be a nostalgic favorite of Michael and one of his groomsmen, Mike DiGiacomo.  During our final design session one month before the wedding, I found out that Michael used to host some of the best house parties in town and that he and Mike would crank up Apache out by the pool and perform the dance moves so all the party goers could watch and join in!  We incorporated Apache into one of the evening’s classic dance sets and the crowd loved it… Mike and Mike had the floor pumpin,’ jumpin,’ and smiling’ from ear to ear!   This is why we always encourage our clients to personalize their reception.  The more questions we ask, and the more information you give us, the more we can suggest how to make your reception a true reflection of your personality and style.

Michael and Caitlin also put a cool spin on one of the traditional feature dances of the night, the Mother-Son dance.  Since we knew from the design session that many of their friend’s moms would be there as guests, we arranged to have all the moms dance with their kids for the second half of the song, Hey Mama, by Kanye, after Michael and his mom enjoyed the spot light.  What a great way for your guests to feel like they are a part of your celebration, and not just at your celebration.

Another highlight of the evening came from Caitlin’s input during the design session.  First, she let me know that she and her friends were fans of Taylor Swift.  Then, she told me about the special relationship that she had with her grandfather, “Pop.”    Since we like to spread the love (spreading out the parent’s dances and special dedications throughout the evening instead of doing everything back to back to back) we carefully planned a feature set specifically for the post-dessert portion of the reception.  We always encourage our clients to empower us with ways to bring the focus back to the guests of honor and the dance floor area.

In this case, since the Meadow Wood hosts a delicious Viennese reception in an adjacent room after the cake cutting, we needed a way to tastefully and seamlessly guide the guests back into the ballroom when they were done enjoying all of their sweet delights.  (p.s.  Michael and Cailtlin chose the  vintage track, You Make My Dreams Come True by Hall and Oates for the cake pics… very cool!)   By simply playing Taylor Swift’s Love Song just loud enough for the right people to hear it, Caitlin and some of her closest friends excitedly made their back to the dance floor to put their arms around each other and sing their hearts out.  Then, after making sure that the V.I.Ps were back in the ballroom by personally notifying them, I played Caitlin’s request and dedication to her grandfather, Wind Beneath my Wings.  “Pop,” was a crowd favorite.  All of the girls from the Taylor Swift sing along starting to chant, “Pop, Pop, Pop!” like he was a rock star!  It was such a cool thing to watch and hear.

All of this positive commotion created an organic invitation for the rest of guests to return to the ballroom and enjoy the Kodak moment.   Sensing the participatory momentum that was brewing, I went right into another request from Michael and Caitlin’s play list, Adele’s gorgeous version of “To Make You Feel My Love,” to pack the dance floor with couples…  and then it was Party Rock Anthem time!  The energy was off the charts right up until the final song of the night, Save The Last Dance for Me by Michael Buble.

To make your reception ‘something special,’ team up with an entertainment company and an event producer that are experts in preparation, personalization and pacing, as well as music programming and a Master of Ceremonies skill set.   As a certified Wedding Entertainment Director, I’m proud to provide all of these specialized services to my discerning clientele.

Best wishes to the new Mr. and Mrs. Michael and Caitlin Smith.  It was an honor to serve your family again.  We wish you a lifetime of health and happiness!

Special thanks to the Meadow Wood Manor for their hospitality and professionalism.  It’s always a pleasure when we have the opportunity to collaborate.  Special thank also to Tav Jinivisian, Michael & Caitlin’s photographer from Tav Images, for sharing his artistry from the festivities.


Encore Gallery:


ISES Dining Spaces 2009- With A Taste

Table For Two

Table For Two

The New Jersey North Chapter of the International Special Events Society held their 6th annual Tabletop Design Competition last night at the Olde Mill Inn, in Basking Ridge.  Members, judges and guests strolled through the Inn which was filled with dazzling table scenes and delicious hors d’oeuvres.

Some of the tabletop highlights included a gorgeous Tuscany setting from Amarayllis, a romantic table for two from Details of I Do, an opulent-chic design from C. Brower & Co., a groovy blast-from-the-past courtesy of  Conroy’s & Something Different, and a spring masterpiece by Touch of Elegance that was a sister-creation to their “M” table from the Meadow Wood Manor’s open house last month.


Tuscany Bistro

A few of the cuisine notables that had people talking were the scallops with bacon from Main Street, the organic prosciutto-chicken and spinach pizza from Bolu,  and the mango with custard-creme yellow cake from Roxanna’s.

A personal highlight was pretending to be James Bond in Goldfinger with Michelle D’Anna from Signature Events who I worked with a few weeks back at the Fiddler’s Elbow Country Club.  She brought in the stand-out furniture pieces of the night.  Everyone who passed by stopped and posed for a glam-photo shoot.  Some people thought I was part of the presentation because I happened to wear a gold-colored Zegna and pocket square.

Asian Elegance

Asian Elegance

Kudos to everyone that participated and congratulations to all of the winners. The following is a partial list of awards presented.

The Apprentice- Kristin Rockhill and Erin Poles, The Rising Star- Christine Brower & Eileen Daniels, The Connoisseur– Erik Olsson and Mitchell Kolby, Creativity & The People’s Choice- Michael & Lisa Plociniak, & Bang For Your Buck– Conroy’s & Something Different.

Special thanks to my good friend Marien Barker, Social Sales Manager at the Olde Mill Inn, for her hospitality and a guided tour of the festivities.

Encore Gallery: (Click on thumbnail to enlarge photo)


Mitchell Kolby and Erik Olsson from Amaryllis Decorators


Michelle D'anna from Signature Events


Dan Cordasco, (middle) & the Touch of Elegance team


Catherine Conroy, Conroy's Florist & Patricia Tumminello, Something Different


Christine Brower from C. Brower and Co. with Eileen Daniels


Dennis Telischak (middle) with his wife Diana (left) and Maryann Santucci


John Bocina representing Trattoria Bolu


Teri Lands and Joy Allen from Main Street


Roxana Trujillo from Roxana's Cakes

Classic Style and Romantic Elegance- The Meadow Wood Manor

The Meadow Wood, Randolph, NJ

The Meadow Wood Manor, Randolph, NJ

Jeff Beers and his lovely wife, Maureen, as well as the dedicated staff of the Meadow Wood invited industry notables to their manor last week for an evening of gracious hospitality and delightful entertainment. The invitation said, “Explore the Possibilities.” It turned out to be quite an expedition.

Denise Zoccolillo and the welcome team greeted all the guests with a warm smile and introduction which included a detailed program of the highlights to come. It was a beautiful evening; so, many of the  guests enjoyed an ice carving demonstration and a three-olives, vodka-tasting outside in the garden by Executive Chef, Michael Stein.  A strolling saxophonist and a barber shop quartet began the evening’s soundtrack.

Grand Staircase

Grand Staircase

Guests moved inside to the recently renovated Dining Room for, among others, a delicious “Taste of Tuscany” and a crowd favorite, food from “The Fabulous Fifties”. No matter how fancy and mouth-watering hors d’oeuvres can be, everybody likes to enjoy retro-chic cuisine from time-to-time.  Sliders, Franks, Fries and Milkshakes were being offered by the Happy Day’s-themed servers.  Knowing I was going to the gym the next day, I indulged with a big-kid smile on my face.

Retro Chic Hors' Dourves

Retro Chic hors d'oeuvres

Molly Welch and Mary Ellen Hatcher took us on a grand tour of the manor which included meeting rooms utilized for their corporate clientele, a renovated game room for their bar mitzvah clientele and the bridal suites for their wedding clientele.  Like the exterior garden courtyards, the interior of this colonial is exquisitely maintained and offers a lot of versatility for private events.

The Grand Ballroom opened and the guests with impressed by eye-catching table designs and well-dressed themes at the food stations. The presentation of the Lobster Bisque service and the “M” table were my favorites.  I’m sure the “M” was for Meadow Wood but it was fun to pretend that it was for Marcello.  Entertainment for this portion included a Swing Dance and Salsa demo, a percussionist and a comedian.

Spring Table Design by A Touch of Elegance

Spring Table Design by A Touch of Elegance

The finale took place in the Randolph Room.  Chef Stein’s award-winning desserts were as delectable as advertised. Crowds quickly built up at stations like the funnel cake with hot cinnamon apples and ice cream as well as the Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding when word began to spread about how sinful everything was.  The servers were not to be outdone though.   They passed around fancy versions of the classics like chocolate chip cookies and milk that were very well received.  This hour was complimented by the sounds of a Jazz Trio.  Many of the guests had to put their coffee down more than once so they could sing along and dance to audience pleasers from the Rat Pack era.

Mary Ellen Hatcher, Maureen & Jeff Beers

Mary Ellen, Jeff & Maureen

As our cars were brought up by the valet service, we were given gourmet cupcakes in a decorative gift box to thank us for coming.

Note to anyone hosting an event, acknowledging all of your guests upon departure is, and always will be, a very classy touch.

From first impressions to the last, the Meadow Wood deserves your attention if you are planning a social or corporate event in the Morris County area.

Special thanks to Jeff, Maureen, Mary Ellen, Molly and the Meadow Wood team for their hospitality.

Encore Gallery:

Barber Shop Quartet

The Four Old Parts

Lobster Bisque

Lobster Bisque

The Jazz Syndicate

The Jazz Syndicate

Milk & Cookies!

Milk & Cookies!

Table Design by A Touch of Elegance

Table Design by A Touch of Elegance

Shelia and Kelene from Event Makers and Corrine from Absolute Events enjoyng the trio

Shelia and Kelene from Event Makers and Corrine from Absolute Events, my cha cha partner, enjoyng the trio

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