The Celebrate Life Series: Episode #8- WeddingWire’s Sonny Ganguly offers Vendor Validation


At a recent industry soiree, I had the opportunity to ask some of the top entertainers and event producers from across the country for some advice that would benefit my clients and anyone else tuning in who was planning a milestone celebration.

This is the 8th episode of MMP’s new online video resource, The Celebrate Life series. These industry rock stars were kind enough to share some advice they’ve given to their clients over the years that helped them have an unforgettable experience filled with exceptional entertainment and hospitality.  This installment of the Celebrate Life series features my  good friend and Chief Marketing Officer of  WeddingWire.com, Sonny Ganguly.

If you’d like to enjoy some peace of mind while planning your reception, WeddingWire.com is definitely worth your clicks.  It can be a phenomenal resource for validating the vendors that you are considering to hire.  Simply log on and check out reviews from other brides who took the time to write about their experiences so you can make an informed decision.

The site  also features  excellent planning resources and advice via their Wedding Aces Blog.   We were thrilled when Sonny and the WeddingWire team published our article, 7 Ways To Bring The Wow and have The Best Wedding Reception… Ever! last year. 🙂

If you are attending the Wedding MBA this week, look for Sonny on the main stage.  He is one of the Rock Star presenters that always delivers a great presentation on social media and having a fabulous wedding.

Follow Sonny on Twitter

Best wishes,

WeddingWire.com Publishes Marcello’s Latest, “7 Ways to Bring The Wow & Have The Best Wedding Reception Ever!” on Wedding Aces

I’m honored and delighted that the Wedding industry mega-site, WeddingWire.com, has featured my latest article “7 Ways to Bring The Wow and Have The Best Wedding Reception Ever!” in their exclusive Wedding Aces portfolio.

The WeddingWire network reaches over 8 million people each month via their impressive online social network that includes; Martha Stewart Weddings, Wedding Bee, and Project Wedding.

Wedding Aces is an online community that offers advice and tips for engaged couples via articles and blogs from experts in the Wedding industry.

The 7 Ways article highlights some of the best Wedding professionals in the New York City metro Area as well as several unique ideas that can make your event an exceptional experience.  I wrote the article for engaged couples that are like many of MMP’s clients who feel that the entertainment, ambiance and hospitality are a priority.  They demand dramatically different results from what they’ve seen and they are willing to invest accordingly.

A high resolution pdf of the original article can be viewed & downloaded here.

If I can be of service in anyway to help you Bring The Wow and Have The Best Wedding Reception Ever!, please call 973-366-9776, text 732-547-1677 or e-mail mmp@mmpentertainment.com to schedule a design session.  Best wishes!

 


7 Ways To Bring The WOW and Have The Best Wedding Reception Ever! By Marcello Pedalino http://www.mmpentertainment.com/articles/7ways.pdf

Special thanks to the Wedding industry rock stars who gave me permission to interview them for the piece and to share their excellence with the world.  Jason JaniPeter Merry, Martin Hardy, Greg LassikJohn Arcara, Jim Cerone, Alan Berg, Mike Walter & Andy Ebon.

And to Sonny and Jeffra from WeddingWire.com, my sincere gratitude for including my work on their incredible site.

Pure, Unadulterated Exuberance: The 2011 Wedding MBA Features Luxury, Greatness, and a 1.4 Billion Dollar Supermodel-Mogul

Wedding Painter, Sam Day, captures WMBA'11 on canvas

After presenting at last year’s Wedding MBA conference and seeing the amount of content and connections assembled under one roof, returning this year to the Las Vegas Convention Center as an attendee hungry for more was a no-brainer.   (Already bought my pass for 2012.)

The 2011 Wedding Merchant Business Academy, produced by the Hegarty family, once again featured the A-listers of the wedding professional community.

Seminars were presented and private events were hosted by industry notables like Carley Roney, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of The KnotSonny Ganguly, SMO of WeddingWire; Tammy Elliot, President of The Perfect Wedding Guide, Sasha Souza, celebrity wedding planner and founder of Wish Upon A WeddingAmy Wilkens, publisher of Martha Stewart Weddings; Peter Merry, author of The Best Wedding Reception Ever and director of the The W.E.D Guild; Susan Southerland, celebrity wedding planner and author of The Susan Southerland Secret; Andy Ebon, The Wedding Marketing Authority; Alan Berg, producer of the Wedding Industry Leaders Conference; and Kathy Ireland, CEO and chief designer from Weddings by 2be and Kathy Ireland Worldwide.

Carley Roney- Co-Founder & EIC of The Knot

Among the 10 new wedding trends that Carley Roney revealed was “a return to luxury and classic elegance.” She sees a lot more black-tie events on the horizon but was quick to add that “formal can still have personality.” Roney said that brides are seeking “pure, unadulterated exuberance” on their wedding day.  They want pleasant “surprises” and “ways to wow” their guests like a having bakery-styled food truck outside the venue so family and friends can enjoy a late-night snack on the way home from the reception or an early treat with the morning paper the next day. Another trend that Carley mentioned was something my wife and I did for our Wedding back in 2005.  For the non-traditional couples who don’t mind seeing each other before the ceremony, Roney presented the option of taking your portraits and family photos before the ceremony.  This allows newlyweds to enjoy and not miss any of the cocktail hour festivities (typically one of the best parts of the entire celebration due the abundance of cuisine and mixology, visiting opportunities and relaxed atmosphere).  As a Wedding Entertainment Director and Event Producer, I can help facilitate the timing of this desirable alternative with the planner, executive chef, venue principal, photographer, cinematographer and of course, your preferred sources of entertainment.

Andy Ebon, in his usual forthright-reality check-way reminded everyone that “just because you are unique, it doesn’t mean that you are useful.” And, “Don’t idolize, become inspired.”  And,  “You need to have 360 degree awareness.” He also reminded business owners that in a complimentary fashion to facebook and twitter, “blogging is still one of the most important things you can do for your business” to allow clients to discover the ‘online soul’ of your product or service.   Ebon, who helped me create the MMP Blog back in 2008, featured  photographer Jazmine Star and Marilla Cupcakes as stellar blogs.  He subscribes to the same philosophy of Sonny Ganguly who said that “social media allows you to humanize your business.” Speaking of Sonny, I really loved what he had to say in reference to Wayne Gretsky’s famous quote about being “where the puck is.” He said, “I’m not a huge fan of hockey, but I am a huge fan of greatness.” Well said, sir.  As always, the Wedding Wire guys entertained the crowd and encouraged us to go further with mobile technology.  They even offered a free QR code for their clients.

The Susan Sutherland Secret

Susan Southerland, who is one of the most dialed-in wedding professionals I know, shared her knowledge about how to manage client expectations of the personality-driven bride and how to deliver an experience that goes above and beyond simply helping a couple’s fairytale come true.  After interviewing numerous brides and asking how things went before their big day, Susan determined that wedding professionals who were great listeners, solution-oriented, respectful, humble and genuinely excited about their client’s celebration were swiftly chosen over their equally qualified  contemporary.  The classic staples like work quality and professionalism were mentioned as well.

Southerland is the Wedding Expert for Tammy Elliot’s firm, The Perfect Wedding Guide. Tammy did a great job of making all the attendees identify their current strengths and weaknesses as well as future opportunities.  Elliot also discussed the goal of being “consciously competent,” being able to duplicate your success at will. It was pretty deep and definitely made the gears start spinning.

The Knot offered up a few tech and social nuggets that had people checking their Klout score, looking into Qwiki and Uber– and then considering a Facebook business page view upgrade with Flipboard… which was just mentioned in Vanity Fair magazine.    The Knot also recognized a few companies in their annual “Best Of” awards which recognizes excellence in marketing, branding and social media.  The honorees included; Amy Zaroff, Michael Will Photography, The McNamara Alumni Center and Desiree Spinner. (I love her little messages: laugh. play. celebrate and dream. love. wed.)

Marcello Pedalino and Kathy Ireland, Wedding MBA 2011

Like many high school kids back in the day, The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue was a highly anticipated annual highlight.   One of my favorite supermodels was Kathy Ireland.  Over the years, as my company progressed and I kept tabs on anyone who had a contagious entrepreneurial spirit, Ireland always stayed on my professional radar because the ability to utilize her brains and spirited work ethic as well as her stunning beauty became more and more apparent. Fast forward to 2011 at the Wedding MBA in Las Vegas… Ireland took a few hours out of her busy schedule to make a special guest appearance and share her journey from running a paper route as a little girl to running a 1.4 billion dollar enterprise. The 2000+ attendees, among whom included business owners from all over the U.S, Canada, Brazil, and New Zealand, were treated to personal stories of character building, photos of recently-launched Kathy Ireland 2be designs, (check out the gorgeous shots below) and some impressive video clips of her philanthropic efforts.

When I had the chance to chat with Kathy after her presentation, I told her that she had some of the most tweet-worthy moments of the conference yet when she said things like, “Its never been done- doesn’t mean it can’t be done” and “I never had a family business, but now I have a business family,” and “When it comes to someone’s wedding day, it’s got to be the best… you can’t mess it up.” That last one really hit home because it accurately describes the tremendous pressure we experience every time we’re given the honor and responsibility of playing a major role in someone’s wedding day.

Editor’s Note: I’m sure you can tell from the photo that, yes,… Ireland is still stunning*One of the funniest moments of the conference was when Ireland gave out her phone number so attendees could contact her for professional guidance, inspiration or business collaboration opportunities.  I’ve never seen men find a pen and paper so quickly to write something down!  Including me….  ‘cuz I don’t know about you, but having a supermodel giving out her number isn’t exactly a common occurrence. 🙂

Having breakfast for dinner with friends at the Blueberry Diner in Las Vegas. Life is Good.

It was a pleasure connecting with fabulous professionals and making some new friends this year:  Jane & Patrick Kelly from iDoAppointments, Keri Macana from TPC Las Vegas, Jennifer Fox from Perfect Planning, Gabrielle Lennartz from Black Swan, Charese Feliciano from CFD Floral, Chandra, Dawn and Bea from Mira Bridal Couture Christy Schimpf from Bride and Groom Planner, Barbie Howard from Rocky Mountain Bridal Show, Sheila Dunn from Wedding Guide Bridal Extravaganza, artist extraordinaire- Sam Day & my mate from New Zealand, Nick Logan.

Special thanks to Jodi Harris and her husband Pat, from Sight and Sound, for always making me feel so welcome when I’m in Vegas.  On the last night before returning home, they took me and my good friend, Ron Brown, to the Blueberry Hill Diner for what they said were the best pancakes in the country. I won’t argue that.  They were pretty awesome.  I’ll keep working out just so I can treat myself to meals like this every now and then.

See you next year!  -mp

The EPMEN Wedding Entertainment Conference Delivers

From Allentown, NJ,  for the Ashford Estate tasting- to Allentown, Pennsylvania, for the EPMEN Wedding Entertainment Conference; this week is all about making Brides & Grooms happy and learning how to help them plan the reception of their dreams.

Some big names in the wedding industry were there to share their expertise with the attendees.  I brought back 3 pages of new ideas and reception enhancement techniques to implement into our upcoming events.

Special thanks  and kudos to Adam Skuba and the EPMEN crew for all of their hard work and hospitality.  -mp

(from Left: Mike Walter from Elite Entertainment, Alan Berg from The Wedding Industry Leaders Conference, Sonny Ganguly from Wedding Wire.com, Erik Kent from NJ Weddings.com, Signature Events partner- Jason Jani from SCE Weddings, & Marcello Pedalino from MMP Entertainment & Event Production)

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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