Jewish Event Planning 101 – Tips for Destination Weddings and Events In Israel

Jewish Event Planning 101 – Tips for Destination Weddings and Events In Israel

Destionation Weddings and Events in IsraelPlanning a destination wedding in Israel when you live elsewhere is beyond stressful; it could be downright disastrous without oversight of the event services and venue. What would you do if the orchestra fails to show up on time? Or the venue is doubly booked? As an American in Israel, you may be limited in your options at that point.

Not to worry – as Jewish event planners, we have tips for making sure your destination wedding and destination Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah meets your best expectations.

1) Establish an event planning team abroad and at home

Connecting with an Israeli event planner in Israel is a no brainer since you’ll have to coordinate the entire event from your U.S. phone and laptop! But the best way to gain oversight over an event planner in Israel is to have an event planner at home as well. You’ll have to coordinate flight, travel, invitations, hotel arrangements, and formalwear in the U.S. as well, so choose a team of event planners that work well together. There are a few event planners in Israel that work with American Jewish event planners so you’ll save money on utilizing both their services as well as reducing stress for a truly multi-national event!

2) Negotiate, Negotiate, Negotiate

That’s the way Israeli businessman and businesswomen operate. Unlike American pricing for event services, Israeli event services expect you to haggle. Don’t be afraid to tell them they are too high or you found a better price somewhere else. At the end of the day, they love to be part of a simcha in Israel; Sabra’s love Americans willing to support them and the Israeli economy.

3) Invitations come first.

in order to lock in the best rates on airfare and ensure your favorite spot is prepped and ready for you, invites should be sent first. Your guests aren’t exactly driving an hour away to a venue; they’re flying for 10 hours to a different country. Your guests need prep time to arrange their schedules and flights and you need to know who’s coming to your destination Israel event. Get the invites out of the way first and everything will be smoother after you have your guest list set.

4) Go ancient.

The best feature of Israel is it’s blend of modernity and ancient – who wouldn’t want a wedding on a Herzliya beach with a full feast at a local three star hotel! But we love going ancient. We were at a magnificent wedding that took place in a leafy garden amidst an ancient trail and nature reserve in the heart of Israel and the lighting, natural décor, and weather made for a beautiful destination wedding. After all, the essence of Israel and it’s history is why you’re having a destination event after all, isn’t it? Israeli event services are well-prepared to handle any off-site details so don’t worry about how your DJ or chuppah will be set up amidst the Caesarean ruins or on the Herzliya beach.

Keep visiting our blog for more tips on planning your event details in the least stressful way for your destination event in Israel!


High Style EventsStylish Event Planners for the Jewish Event

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Jewish Event Planning 101 – Kosher Caterers Under the Microscope of Jewish Event Planners

Jewish Event Planning 101 – Kosher Caterers Under the Microscope of Jewish Event Planners

 

The Ups and Downs of Morrell CaterersThe ups and downs for Morrell Caterers: Below you’ll find The Jewish Week article and further below, you’ll find the Vaad of Flatbush letter about Morrell Caterers current standing after the Vaad’s investigation.

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Henry Isaacs | Jewish Marketing & Communications Consultants

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Reposted from TheJewishWeek.com

The Jewish Week
Published on The Jewish Week (http://www.thejewishweek.com)
Home > Nassau DA Opens Criminal Probe In Kosher Catering Case

Nassau DA Opens Criminal Probe In Kosher Catering Case

Morrell Caterer’s former general manager Thomas Cataldo, left, and former executive chef Michael Savitsky.

Morrell Caterer’s former general manager Thomas Cataldo, left, and former executive chef Michael Savitsky.
Friday, February 10, 2012
Stewart Ain
Staff Writer

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice has opened a criminal investigation into allegations that Morrell Caterers of Woodbury, L.I., prepared shrimp, lobster, pork and other non-kosher food in the same kitchen as kosher food.

Chris Munzing, a spokesman for Rice, said the investigation started this week after it was reported that two of Morrell’s former employees filed a civil suit alleging that Morrell started a non-kosher business in the kitchen of Temple Beth Torah in Melville, L.I. They said it was begun in September 2010 in conjunction with a high-end event planning company, Pat Glenn Productions.

Munzing declined to characterize the nature of the investigation except to say that prosecutors are exploring “possible criminal activity.”

Included in the court suit was an affidavit from Pat Casarona, a co-founder of Pat Glenn Productions, who stated that Scott Morrell, president of the company that bears his name, “explained that the non-kosher food required for events produced by Pat Glenn could be prepared discreetly in the kitchen of Temple Beth Torah, which as a Reform synagogue did not impose the same stringent rabbinical supervision as Morrell Caterers’ other synagogue venues in Woodbury and Lawrence.”

Casarona added that Morrell brushed aside suggestions that a separate kitchen be used for the non-kosher operation “until it could be determined whether the venture was becoming sufficiently profitable to make investing in a separate facility cost-effective. Mr. Morrell did express great concern during these meetings that, as he put it, ‘there can be no way to trace it back to me.’ ”

At a press conference Wednesday, Morrell angrily denied the allegations, saying: “I stand here with my integrity intact. I never broke any kosher rules, ever.”

Asked specifically about the allegations, Morrell, with his mother, RoseLee, standing behind him, said: “I have no knowledge of that.”

Morrell Caterers has its offices at the Woodbury Jewish Center, where it operates a glatt kosher catering facility whose kosher supervision is provided by the Vaad Harabonim of Flatbush. Rabbi Raphael Adler, the congregation’s spiritual leader, called the allegations “troubling, of great concern and deeply offensive.”

“We have been flooded with calls from families that have booked parties,” he said. “There is angst and concern from families, who are paying top dollar [for a party]. These allegations have shaken the trust of myself, my congregation and the greater community because hundreds of thousands of people have patronized [this caterer] expecting the highest level of kashrut. We hope these allegations will be proven false.”

In the meantime, Rabbi Adler said, synagogue leaders have “been in close consultation with our legal counsel.”

Randy Zornberg, president of Temple Beth Torah, said that within hours after the news broke about the civil suit he had received “over 50 phone calls from people who have parties in the near future and in a couple of years.”

“If the facts of this case are true and he violated kosher laws, he would be in violation of their contracts,” he said. “But these are two disgruntled employees who have left. What their game could be I don’t know. … If [Morrell] has broken our trust by violating his contract, the contract will be terminated.”

Zornberg added that his congregation’s executive board would be meeting Sunday to further discuss the situation.

Rabbi Marc Gellman, spiritual leader of Temple Beth Torah, said told The Jewish Week: “If these allegations are true, it is a violation not only of the legal trust but also of a sacred trust.”

At the press conference, Morrell said he would “consult with my rabbinical supervisor” to decide what to do about the silverware, pots, dishes and cooking utensils that were allegedly used for both kosher and non-kosher affairs.

“I regard kosher supervision with the highest priority,” Morrell said.

The kosher supervisor, Rabbi Steven Moss, said he was “surprised” to learn of the allegations because “to the best of my knowledge everything they used for parties booked at Temple Beth Torah was used only for kosher items. I will look into this as soon as I can.”

“We have to make an assessment to determine the next step,” he added. “If there are utensils that have become ‘infected,’ they either have to get new ones or kasher them.”

Rabbi Moss, spiritual leader of B’nai Israel Reform Temple in Oakdale, L.I., stressed that he made regular spot inspections of the kitchens of Temple Beth Torah and Temple Israel in Lawrence, L.I., but was not employed to be there full-time.

Morrell’s lawyers, Steven Schlesinger and Ronald Rosenberg, claimed that the civil suit brought by the two former employees was part of a failed shakedown attempt to get Morrell to drop a $500,000 suit against Morrell’s former lawyer. They said the two former employees, Thomas Cataldo, the former general manager, and Michael Savitsky, the former executive chef, were paid by the former lawyer to make the allegations. Both men denied it.

Rosenberg insisted that Morrell never directed his staff to prepare non-kosher food in the kitchen of Temple Beth Torah. He said photos Cataldo and Savitsky showed of shrimp and other non-kosher food in the kitchen were “fabricated.”

And Rosenberg questioned why it took so long for the two men to come forward.

“Why did they find God now?” he asked. “There are some orders you don’t follow.”

Both Cataldo and Savitsky said they had complied with Morrell’s orders because they feared for their livelihood.

“He told me in no uncertain terms that this would continue,” Cataldo said when he protested what was happening.

He said that food for between 25 and 30 off-site non-kosher parties costing at least $200,000 were prepared in the Temple Beth Torah kitchen. He said that although the bills were processed through Morrell Caterers, they were concealed from the synagogue to avoid paying synagogue fees.

Savitsky said he recalled that on at least one occasion his staff was ordered to prepare both kosher and non-kosher food in the kitchen at the same time.

They said they acted to blow the whistle now because they could no longer stand the “guilt” of what they were doing.

“I finally decided I couldn’t do it anymore,” said Savitsky, who came to the press conference wearing a white chef’s shirt. “I just finally gave up.”

Cataldo said in an affidavit filed with the court that he and Savitsky each owned a 5 percent share of the business. And in a court affidavit, he said Morrell Caterers “has no cash, is struggling to make payroll” and owes a key supplier more than $250,000.

Cataldo said that although all of the non-kosher food preparation was done at Temple Beth Torah, utensils, pots and pans, plates, glassware, display pieces and other items were routinely taken to Temple Israel in Lawrence for use there.

“A white platter that was used to pass kosher Hors d’oeuvres there was also used to pass coconut shrimp,” he said. “And sometimes we would bring food back and forth.”

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Vaad of Flatbush Letter about Morrell Caterers

Vaad of Flatbush Letter about Morrell Caterers


Jewish Event Planning 101 – High Style Events Tips article from In Fashion Magazine

Jewish Event Planning 101 – High Style Events Tips article from In Fashion Magazine

High Style Events article - In FashionOur High Style Events division had our High Styled Tips article published in the premier Jewish magazine for the affluent Jewish household, In Fashion Magazine (www.infashionft.com). We’ve included the entire tips in our blog but if you can pick up the magazine, that’s even better! We look forward to placing our stamp of High Style on your event!

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High Style Events Article

| In Fashion Magazine |

When it comes to special events, we love to High Style them. We believe your event is one of a kind and should reflect that uniqueness every step of the way, from concept to completion. So we’re sharing some of our favorite High Styled ideas that we’ve
innovated and come across that can really turn your event into an extraordinary
celebration:

Go Stylish on Your Placecards

Make a first and lasting an impression with customized placecards. We know of a wedding where the placecards were tiny customized Tiffany boxes for
each attendee – if you receive a Tiffany’s box as your placecard, you KNOW
uniqueness – for non-profit gala dinners, try a hinting yet playful money
clip placecard holder. For corporate or trade show events, we love a
customized MingleStick (check it out on our Facebook page, High Style
Events). For social events, a tiny picture frame with the attendee’s pictures is a glorious, welcoming, and personal touch.

Tailor Your Man
Women go to far lengths to tailor their dresses and outfits for a special
event. Three to five dress fittings for a wedding gown, mother of the
bride, or Bat Mitvah dress is standard procedure. But nothing is more asymmetrical than a elegantly dressed woman and blandly dressed man. Take  the time to ensure your husband, son, or fiancé dresses PERFECTLY. For
your man, remember: the suit could be the most expensive suit or tuxedo in
all of New York but if it doesn’t fit well on him, you’re wasting your
money. Buying an affordable fitted suit from Zara or Calving Klein is step one and tailoring it even more perfectly is step two. Plus, don’t solely
rely on the tailors at department stores like Lord & Taylor or Saks with promises of free tailoring with a suit purchase – take your suit to a trusted tailor that you know can make it perfect. Same with tuxedos – get your tailor to look at it and see it on you before you buy or rent. Add even more High Style – if you’re getting a custom-made dress designed, ask your tailor to use the extra fabric swatches and design a matching tie or pocket square, even for a cummerbund, for your special man. Nothings says stylish more than two well-dressed (and matching!) people.

Ditch the Keyboard. Go for a DJ.
For smaller events where orchestra’s just don’t make sense, party like
it’s 2011. Ditch the one man band and singer/keyboardist and go for the
     DJ. DJ’s have numerous musical styles available to them at the push of a
button – Sephardic, Fusion, Rock, Dance, etc – and are in the same price
range as a keyboardist anyway. The difference – DJ’s up the “cool factor”
by a thousand percent and dictate the party mode of the event much better.
No disrespect to keyboardists (keyboards went out of style back in the
1990’s along with SmashMouth and Genesis) but I haven’t heard anyone come
to an event and say “Wow, you have a keyboardist!”; they say “Wow, you got
a DJ!” And at your event, we know you want to have that “WOW Factor”.

High Style Tip of the Month – The Wedding Interior Designer

Go the extra mile and hire an
     interior designer to oversee your entire venue and recommend stylish
     elements. For people getting married in special venues (catering halls,
country club, etc), the venue is pre-designed for elegance so all you need
to add is your extra bit of style to accentuate the venue’s elegance.
However, for those getting married in Synagogues or other locations
designed for usefulness, placing just flowers throughout simply won’t High
Style your event to reflect your uniqueness. So we recommend going the
extra mile and hiring an interior designer to see what stylish elements
can be added to really make your event extremely stylish. Some floral
decorators offer this service but, as you’ll see in the next tip,
specialized means customized (and you won’t necessarily pay more at all).

Specialized means Customized
We’ve met so many vendors who tack on different tasks in order to offer
more than what they normally do. For example: Florists & Caterers.
Caterers & Event Planners. Musicians & Photography. Photography
& Carpet Cleaning. Chuppah Designers & Coffin Designers (don’t
hire these guys!). Basically, they add more services in order to increase
revenue but remember – the more un-specialized, the less you can
customize. If they don’t specialize in one task, they can’t excel in the
     one task you really want them to do. Caterers should focus on amazing
food, not  Find specialists and you can tell them EXACTLY what you
would like so they can customize the event to you and EXCEL in it. Don’t
you deserve customized service at your special event? We know you do.

With these tips, now you can start putting a stamp of High Style on your special event!

Olivia Bondarsky is the highly experienced Lead Event Planner at High Style
Events, a team of Jewish event planners specializing in the Jewish event. Like
Us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/highstyleevents) and be automatically entered for a chance to win a $150 Gift Card to Glatt A La Carte. Our treat! Call us at 347.433.4276 or 201.357.2622 or Visit us at www.HighStyleEvents.com for more information and “High Style” Tips!

High Style Events | Stylish Events Planners for the Jewish Event

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Jewish Event Planning 101 – Tu B’Av – Jewish Valentine’s Day

Jewish Event Planning 101 – Tu B’Av – Jewish Valentine’s Day

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Come join in our Tu B’Av “200 Likes” Contest and win a $100 gift card to Abigael’s on Broadway. Simply Like our High Style Events page on Facebook and you’re automatically entered!

Tu B’Av – The Jewish Valentine’s Day

Tu B’Av is the 15th day of the month of Av (usually corresponding to the dates in July or August), a somber month on the Jewish calendar. Up until the 10th of Av, the month is highlighted as a sad month (see our post on the Nine Days). However, when the ides of Av hit, the month transforms into a month synonymous with love, romance, and joy.  In Israel, it is celebrated as a holiday of love  similar to Valentine’s Day and considered a very desirable date for Jewish weddings,  engagements, and singles events worldwide.

According to the Talmud, Tu B’Av was a joyous holiday when  the unmarried girls of Jerusalem would dress in white garments and go out to dance in the vineyards. Although we haven’t actually seen that take place, it would be quite a photo op to capture that joyous scene! In modern times, Tu B’Av marks an informal “high” to counter the “low” of the The Three Weeks leading up to Tisha B’Av. (portions recombined from Wikipedia)

How to Benefit:

The same marketing and sales tactics you use for Valentine’s Day can be put into effect here. Ads in Jewish media outlets the weeks after (not before, since you want to be sensitive to the Three Weeks) Tu B’Av is a great way to show you value and understand the Jewish party planner. And they’ll appreciate your business. Perhaps host a Jewish bridal event for Jewish brides a week or so after Tu B’Av for those looking for venues (High Style Events can help you create a bridal showcase that is perfect for Jewish brides).

Most venues and vendors have a packed summer schedule, but Tu B’Av helps those businesses think ahead and plan for a nice fall/winter of weddings. See our post on the Orthodox Jewish Wedding  in Three Months and you’ll see that Tu B’Av engagements mean October and November wedding dates. Most likely if you’ve had a successful summer of weddings, you’ll have the money to spend on marketing so think ahead!

I hope this helped you understand Tu B’Av better and help you start benefitting from the richly diverse Jewish calendar and traditions!

Henry Isaacs

www.henry-isaacs.com

www.highstyleevents.com

Jewish Event Planning 101 – The Other Wedding Parties – Sheva Brocha, Aufruf, and Shabbat Kallah

Jewish Event Planning 101 – The Other Wedding Parties – Sheva Brocha, Aufruf, and Shabbat Kallah

High Style Events | Stylish Event Planners for the Jewish Event

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The Other Parties: Sheva Brachot, Aufruf, and Shabbat Kallah

There’s much more to a Jewish Orthodox wedding than just the day-of. Like American weddings with rehearsal dinners and bachelor parties, the Jewish Orthodox wedding has their own brand of before- and after-parties. Let’s talk about the other parties associated with a Jewish wedding:

Sheva Brachot

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheva_Brachot

Crazy Seven Days of Post-Wedding Parties – The after-parties for the Jewish wedding go for 7 crazy days. Well, including the wedding day. As indicated by the Wikipedia post, there are seven blessings associated with a wedding and as a result, the tradition became to hold a small scale party for each day of the seven blessings.By small, I mean expect maybe 30-50 people per event, which is technically considered an intimate event.

What does this mean to you? Well, if you’re a venue or vendor who just managed to book a Jewish wedding client, why not offer the couple a discounted option for servicing their Sheva Brachot? Book up your venue or upsell your services through smaller events that are guaranteed to happen the next day! And for the next seven days. Booking up space at venues during the weekdays isn’t always easy so this is an easy guaranteed way to increase bookings of major and intimate Jewish events.

Aufruf

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aufruf

The Jewish Orthodox Bachelor Party – Yes, this sounds like a strange term to be associated with a wedding, but the Aufruf goes back for generations. Also referred to as Shabbat Hatan, the groom is called up to read or make a blessing by the Torah in the weekend before his big day. Candies are thrown, festive kiddushim (Jewish cocktail parties on Shabbat, substituting schnapps for the cocktail) are held, and the groom’s friends are hanging for one last time together!

What does this mean to you? Well, you’re kind of roadblocked in a lot of services for this event. Aufruf’s take place on Shabbat so no photography or electronics are generally used. but independent caterers can really benefit from the Aufruf. Serving a small crowd of Aufruf attendee’s is a great way to showcase your food and get word of mouth generating for your small catering business. Decor and save the dates are also great services to provide for the Aufruf. Remember, the Aufruf takes place the weekend before the big day so if you’ve been booked to handle the catering, or invitations, or decor for the wedding in advance, do a follow up reminder about your services for the Aufruf.

Shabbat Kallah

http://www.netplaces.com/jewish-weddings/the-wedding-weekend-and-sabbath/shabbat-kallah-the-brides-sabbath.htm

Essentially, this is the same as an Aufruf, just this is for the bride. Why the seperation of the two parties? Excellent question. Let’s get romantic – aside from the idea of friends and family spending time with their bride and groom individually, the seperation is a traditional tool for promoting a sense of heightened love and desire between the bride and groom, who will eventually be “re-united” on their wedding day for the first time. And this doesn’t just take place at the Shabbat Kallah or Aufruf – some traditions say that the couple should seperate for a week in order to make the couple miss each other and anticipate their wedding day even more. Beautiful.

What does this mean to you? See Aufruf above!

I hope this gives you insight into the traditions and parties of the Jewish Orthodox Wedding. That’s the 411 on the Other Wedding Parties!

Henry Isaacs

www.HighStyleEvents.com

Jewish Event Planning Tip – Hiring A Professional Event Planner

Jewish Event Planning Tip – Hiring A Professional Event Planner

Jewish Event Planning

High Style Events | Stylish Event Planners for the Jewish Event

P. 201.357.2622 | E. Events@HighStyleEvents.com | www.HighStyleEvents.com

www.facebook.com/highstyleevents.com

Weddings | Bar & Bat Mitzvahs | Social Events | Non-Profit | Corporate

Jewish Event Planning | Event Consulting | Day-of Coordination | Per-Diem Planning | Concierge Services

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Hiring a Professional Event Planer: The Benefits

(Reposted from http://www.JewishCelebrations.com)

Despite automation and technology, our days seem shorter than ever. Between work, school, family obligations, and social activity, the hours fly by. Are we going to find time to coordinate our wedding? Our son or daughters bar or bat mitzvah?

Well – help is here in the form of event planners. Professionals who do what they do best to make your celebration the most wonderful, memorable and as stress-free as possible.

What are the benefits to hiring a party planner professional?

Time, time, time… just think of the hours you WILL NOT have to invest in coordinating your affair. Not only will you save precious time by letting experts do your leg work, but good party planners are already knowledgeable about the best services out there. All you have to to is show up for appointments, approve designs, locations, menus, etc.
• Experienced and competent professionals have a portfolio of vendors that they have worked with in the past, and know to be competent and reliable.
• Party coordinators often get better rates, as they are in a stronger position to negotiate price.
• When you find the coordinator that is to your liking, you will find that he or she serves not only in contracting, overseeing, and coordinating your affair, but comes up with creative ideas to enhance yours.
NUMBER ONE BENEFIT — reduce your STRESS!

Practical Advice – Questions You Want Answered – Check Lis
t
When hiring an Event Planner – you will be asked many questions about your preferences, budget, expectations, etc. But please remember, you are hiring and thus, you have the privilege and the obligation to determine whether the Event Planner is the right match for you. Be sure to consider the following:

• Are you and your planner on the same “wave length?” If you feel pushed, or coerced – this union is not for you.
• Make sure your coordinator understands your budget and sticks with it.
• Verify the Event Planners experience, contacts in the industry, negotiating power, ability understand contracts (so you are protected from hidden charges, or in case of default).
• Determine the extent of involvement of the Event Planner: In addition to basic coordination of location, catering, photography, music, which other services are included. i.e. – invitations, wedding attire, hands-on coordination at the event, thank you notes, honeymoon plans, etc. To avoid misunderstanding, your contract should DETAIL the services are included
• Discuss compensation in detail, and verify if there any hidden or extra charges, such as travel expenses, telephone, etc.
• Have everything documented in WRITING.
• REVIEW THE CANCELLATION POLICY

Henry Isaacs

www.henry-isaacs.com

We’d Love To Plan The Bris (Circumcision) For Natalie Portman’s Baby Boy!

We’d Love To Plan The Bris (Circumcision) For Natalie Portman’s Baby Boy!

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Weddings | Bar & Bat Mitzvahs | Social Events | Non-Profit | Corporate

Jewish Event Planning | Event Consulting | Day-of Coordination | Per-Diem Planning | Concierge Services

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http://ping.fm/5AvjU

Jewish Marketing 101 – Modest Wedding Dresses Becoming In Style

Jewish Marketing 101 – Modest Wedding Dresses Becoming In Style

Modest Wedding Dress

Wedding fashion: Dare not to bare

By now, there’s little doubt that Kate Middleton‘s wedding gown was nothing short of a bridal fashion-quake — a long-sleeved, full-skirted rush of satin and lace that’s likely to sweep away the ubiquitous strapless silhouette in the same way that Carolyn Bessette Kennedy’s unfettered slip dress made everyone forget those ’80s mega-poufs and faux tiaras.

But look more closely and you’ll see that the rise of the regal began well before Catherine ever set foot in Westminster Abbey in her fine-boned gown by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen. Coincidence? Prescience? Whatever you call it, a classic-but-modern sensibility is everywhere this spring, from Hollywood‘s red carpets (where stars likeMandy Moore and Scarlett Johansson looked wonderfully fresh at this year’s Academy Awards covering up their shoulders) to New York’s party scene (where sleeves-down-to-there abounded at last month’sCostume Institute gala honoring McQueen’s career) to the recent New York bridal runway shows (which offered a more-than-passing nod toGrace Kelly‘s 1956 Helen Rose gown, still the ultimate in wedding chic).

The first hint that designers were tiring of the strapless silhouette came nearly two years ago, when businesswoman and social princess Ivanka Trump chose a Vera Wang confection with illusion top and elbow-length sleeves that owed both its delicacy and its modesty to Kelly. In December, Nicole Richie‘s wedding dress was another homage to Grace, this one a stunning Marchesa with the sort of long sleeves that haven’t reigned since Priscilla married Elvis. This spring, Trump’s custom-made gown inspired the first White by Vera Wang collection, the designer’s new lower-priced line for David’s Bridal.

But it’s not just Hollywood — or British — royalty looking to cover up. Vassa Halatas, of WeddingDresser Couture by Vassa in Woodmere, noticed the bridal tide shifting last year. “They’re tired of the No. 1 most worn silhouette and are asking for higher, more creative necklines and sleeves — for the fashion statement, if nothing more,” says Halatas.

Where to begin your search? Yes, you can buy a surefire copy of Kate‘s proper princess. Even before William and Catherine said their I do’s, copyists, from ABS’ Allen B. Schwartz to Kleinfeld designers Michelle and Henry Roth, were working overtime to duplicate the dress. But, let’s be honest. Kate‘s look belongs to Kate. Why not let her have it, and make your very own princess statement. One of the most glamorous gowns of the season is Carolina Herrera‘s duchesse silk satin piece, with elbow-length sleeves and side panels. The dress evokes ’50s fashion priestessBabe Paley, who lived the theory that you can never be too rich or too thin. Oscar de la Renta‘s more embellished creations recall both princess brides and hippie brides, underscoring that there’s a covered-shouldered look for everyone.For those still eager to show off the fruits of their workouts, White by Vera Wang‘s detachable illusion top offers the option of a modest ceremony dress and a strapless silhouette for the party. (Come to think of it, isn’t that what Kate did?)

And, no, the new modesty doesn’t mean you have to forgo sexiness. “When you cover up one part of the body, you can reveal another,” says Modern Trousseau designer Callie Tien. Her solution: a dress with high neckline, long lace sleeves and super-short hemline. No doubt, your very own prince will approve.

 

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Jewish Event Planning 101 – Online matchmaker for couples and caterers

Jewish Event Planning 101 – Online matchmaker for couples and caterers

Jewish Matchmaking Online

Reposted from Newsday

http://long-island.newsday.com/weddings/online-matchmaker-for-couples-and-caterers-1.2925004

Caterer Rhona Silver evokes more than a little of Joan Rivers — blond, brassy and more-than-a-bit biting. And like the legendary comedian, Silver, 59, is something of a trailblazer, as the quintessential party-giver (her last gig was running the behemoth Huntingtown Townhouse) and entrepreneur (her newest venture, Caterbid.com, aims to marry the oldest of rituals with the newest technology).

With more than four decades as a caterer, her web-biz should hardly come as a surprise. Silver likes to say she learned the business “back of the house forward” — her parents were Bronx caterers who were too poor to afford a baby-sitter for their daughter. Her breakthrough, though, came in the late ’80s when, as a divorced single mother, she shrugged off her teaching background and law degree and went back to her roots. “I lived in the Five Towns and saw the demographic changing. It was becoming very Orthodox. These Orthodox ladies had the most gorgeous clothes and jewelry, but there were no options for their parties except for a piece of chicken thrown on a plate with the right rabbinical supervision.”

Silver spent a year finding the right rabbi, chefs and garde- manger and then jumped. Soon, as she likes to joke, she was bringing La Côte Basque to Glatt Kosher catering, not just at Five Towns temples, but hotels from The Plaza to the Pierre to Palm Beach.

In 1997, she snapped up the sprawling Huntingtown Townhouse. With six kitchens, 12 ballrooms and 20 acres of land, it was the largest catering facility in the United States — and, with the rival Leonard’s of Great Neck, for the next decade the very definition of The Long Island Wedding. Wretched excess? Bang-for-the-buck? However you defined it, Silver’s hall was a mecca (and when she closed up in 2007, she sold the land to Lowe’s for a cool $35 million).

Is there such a thing as a third catering act? Silver is betting on it. Seeing an opening to become the Priceline of the parties, she and her children last year launched Caterbid.com. The philosophy is simple: Couples post their wedding info — date, area, party size, budget — and an army of 3,000 big and small venues, which pay to be on Caterbid, are notified of the event. Those who can meet those needs respond, and, with any luck, Silver makes a match.

Recently, Silver chatted about her new venture and some secrets of pulling together a fabulous party:

Why CaterBid.com?

Our entire world is becoming computerized — we’re a society that doesn’t have time, we’re always looking to have everything at our fingertips. Well, shopping for a wedding is the same. You might know areas and caterers, but imagine being able to sit on the couch with your fiancee at 1 a.m., post your event, date, time, the approximate number of people, and by time you wake up, caterers have bid for your business. It’s like Priceline is to airlines: Whoever thought you would go online and, with a touch of button, airlines would come to you?

 

Are you aiming to streamline choices, or open couples to venues they haven’t thought about?

Both. There are venues that you like that might be very high-priced, and you might not be able to afford them. But when you post on Caterbid, it might turn out the caterer had a cancellation or it’s his third party of the weekend. As a caterer, I know if it’s a third party or you’ve had a cancellation, you’re already paying overhead, the chefs, the insurance. So they have opportunity to fill that empty date, and the bride might not know to shop there because it might be out of her realm of reality.

 

How have weddings changed in recent years? Are we seeing fewer over-the-top affairs?

Clearly, with the change in the economy, there’s less of a sense of people going for the over-the-top party. Still, there are mothers who dream from the day their daughter is born to make her a royal wedding, and they’re still around and they’re going to have every last personalized matchbook. Different parts of the country dictate that kind of party. If you’re in Palm Beach, you have that fabulous kind of wedding. However, there are also girls who won’t spend that kind of money.

 

What’s the most important thing couples should come armed with when they sit down with a caterer? Budget? Guest count? Menu needs?

It’s a combination. Don’t overspend what you don’t have. Couples don’t have experience. For example, they might not realize the cost is price per person plus service charges. A wedding isn’t something you do all the time — it’s not like buying a dress — so you need to know your budget and what is and is not included. You’re venturing to start a life together, and this is your celebration, so you want your special day to be beautiful, but you don’t want it to break the bank.

 

Is there so much wedding insanity because there are there too many choices out there?

This is America, where we always have lots of choices. The bridal industry is $150 billion a year, just for the parties. Everyone is trying to jump on the bandwagon, so there are always new and creative ideas. I’ve been in the party business for over 40 years, and you can see the natural progression, even with something as simple as table linens. There used to be basic tablecloths. Now there are websites just for linens — organdy, shiny, Mylar, damask. I have parties with three cloths on the table. And chair covers! There weren’t any years ago, but it creates a fabulous look.

In your Huntington Townhouse days, what was the wildest thing anyone ever asked for?

I had a bride and groom literally come into the ballroom on a horse and buggy. There was a party in Manhattan where they had a 40-piece orchestra, and 20 of the pieces were on a platform built into the smorgasbord, so when you came to the buffet you were serenaded. I’ve even had brides ask for trumpeters as they were getting out of the car, as if they were a prince and princess.

 

What are the most important elements of a great reception — the things you should put your resources into?

It’s the people that make the party. You want the food to be beautifully presented and delicious, you want fabulous service, but the truth is it’s the music that makes the party. You want people to have fun, so it’s important to choose the right band or DJ. If money is no object, there are things that set the mood, like a harpist for an elegant look. Don’t use the same color in the cocktail room as in the ballroom and ceremony area. I tell brides they don’t need the same centerpiece on every table. You can have one with hydrangeas and orchids, another with roses and peonies. And you don’t need the same color scheme. It’s the element of surprise that people like. Be creative. You don’t need a sit-down dinner; do a buffet or hors d’oeuvres. And have fabulous touches. When I did a party in Palm Beach, the invitation was in a Tiffany box. No one said no — they felt that if the invitation was so fabulous, what would the party be like? From the beginning, get your thoughts together. Go through different websites and print out [ideas for] flowers, cloths, food items, and set out what you’re looking for, what will bring a special touch to your day.

 

How do you get couples to just take a breath and relax?

Ha! You can’t. But hopefully with our help and party planning, we’re trying to do that. My favorite expression is, “I’m your human Valium.”

 

Henry Isaacs | Jewish Marketing & Communications Consultants

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Jewish Event Tip – The One Thing NOT To Skimp On

Jewish Event Tip – The One Thing NOT To Skimp On

Jewish Event Planning & Kosher CateringThe Jewish event can be an extremely lavish one or a cost effective basic one. Depending on the event, the location, the geographical region, or the target audience, the Jewish event ranges from a Bar/Bat Mitzvah featuring the Black Eyed Peas to a small Synagogue dinner for congregants. Most of us will probably deal with events basically in between those types – mainly average sized weddings and Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, organizational fundraisers, and even School Journal dinners.

But there’s one commonality in every type of Jewish event that determines the success and “must return” factor for the people attending (by success, I’m referring to whether or not people spread the word positively or negatively). And its the one thing never to skimp on. It’s the food. From the hor dourves to the dessert. Above all, the food is the main thing that will be discussed, critiqued, praised, and remembered at any Jewish event.

And in some cases, the food goes beyond just taste and abundance. Food becomes a social requirement. For certain social events, the Jewish market will go to many lengths to ensure Jewish foods, such as Israeli, Bukharian, Persian, Moroccan, etc, are able to be provided by their Kosher caterers. Once a Jewish ethnic group finds a caterer that provides their brand of food and great quality, they stick with it for ALL their special events. For organizational functions, having glatt kosher food, as opposed to simply kosher, attract a different crowd of people and thus a different type of donor.

Let’s face it – the Jewish demographic loves to have great Kosher food. We think the food fascination comes from a tradition rich in long holiday seasons, lifecycle celebrations that closely mingle joy and food, and even the Jewish family’s revolvement around the kosher kitchen. So certainly for the Jewish market’s special events they attend, after inquiring about the type of event, their second question is “So what’d they have?” The food is the main focus for the Jewish event. The venue could be glorious, the flowers magnificent, the orchestra toe-tappingly good; if the food isn’t up to the standards they’re anticipating, you’re event may not get the high marks you’re aiming for.

Now, for the occasional wedding, social event and one-shot event, that desirable word of mouth and buzz factor may not really matter, but for the organizational, non-profit, or corporate event that happens year after year, word of mouth/buzz is a driving force behind increased fundraising, attendance, sales and return customers. As frequent travelers can attest, free breakfasts at hotels is a great draw to get new reservations, but the quality of the food at these hotels has to be top notch for repeat business. Same for the Jewish event. The food doesn’t need to be innovative nor particularly creative – the food simply needs to be great and available in relative abundance. With this in mind, the one place you may be able to cut corners could be dessert, but ONLY because the rest of the meal was fantastic.

Overall, when planning an event, the food will make the difference between a good event and a great memorable event!


High Style EventsStylish Event Planners for the Jewish Event

P. 646.833.8604  |  E. Events@HighStyleEvents.com
www.HighStyleEvents.com
Weddings | Bar/Bat Mitzvahs | Social Events | Non-Profit | Corporate