September 2012 archive

Vendor Spotlight: Tamra Sanford of {ever swoon}

We are so excited to present this week’s Vendor Spotlight. We recently had lunch with Tamra and fell in love with her down to earth personality. We admire her flair for creativity and her fabulous design. Tamra shares her tips on keeping your budget on track, her inspiration and more! So without further adieu…Tamra of {ever swoon}

Where did the idea of your business come from?

I’ve always looked at life as a celebration. After planning events/weddings for several years, I decided to make a career out of what I love and what I’m passionate about.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

Helping others celebrate life’s pleasures.  It is an honor to be a wedding planner, as you are the right hand to the bride/groom on their big day.

When you walk a venue, what are the top three things you look for?

When I first walk into a venue, I take note of the experience when I walk in.  What was the entry like?   It is important to note these things, as you want your clients and guests to have a good experience from beginning to end.   I also look at the layout, does this fit my clients needs?  Lots of Light, big dance floor, outdoor terrace?   It is also important to note if the venue is updated, clean, bathrooms, it is important to take note if the venue has been well taken care of.  Many weddings are planned 12+ months out and if the venue you are viewing shows signs of any type of neglect, it could look worse when the wedding rolls around.

Name 3 Favorite NYC Outdoor Venues & Indoor Venues:

OUTDOOR: Ellis Island, 620 Loft and Garden, Blue Hill

INDOOR:  Gramercy Park Hotel, SoHi at Trump Soho, Angel Orensanz Foundation

What inspires you?

New York inspires me, the people, the journeys, the love stories are absolutely magical in this city.

What are your Top Tips to clients watching their budgets closely?

Before you set up any venue viewings or think about any planning, a budget must be set with a clear breakdown of who will contribute to payments and how much.  Also, whatever you think your budget is, add 10%.  It is very important that one sets manageable expectations for their budget.

What advice can you give people who are on the fence about hiring a wedding planner?

The engagement period is a celebratory time and a wedding planner helps them enjoy this time by walking them through and enlisting vendors that fit the couples style.   Planners are experts and understand every detail and task that needs to happen to ensure your big day is executed flawlessly.

What’s your current obsession right now?

Fun and unique cocktail hours that really show off the couple’s personality and interests.

When you aren’t doing this, what are you doing?

Spending time with my husband and my boston terrier Bella.  My favorite night of the week is Date Night and good wine with my hubs that ends with a walk with Bella to get some ice-cream.

Tell us something we don’t know about {ever swoon}

I love to dance!  In the house, down the street, I have some dancing feet!

 

From as early as anyone can remember, Tamra has always loved to entertain and celebrate life’s special pleasures. Armed with endless energy and positive spirit, she brings her Texas charm and hospitality combined with New York style and panache to the wedding and event industry.

Originally from Texas, she was attracted to the bright lights, big city, and soul of Manhattan at a very young age. After graduating from college, she moved to NYC in pursuit of dreams. This led to the birth of ever swoon.

Following her dreams also led her to meet her wonderful husband. As part of his proposal surprise, he flew her Boston terrier, Bella, from Texas to NYC. On many nights, you can find Tamra and her husband going on walks with Bella through the streets of Soho and sharing ice cream. The city may never stop, but she finds it’s important to pause in life to take a look around and enjoy the simple things. Then when the big moments come, she’ll be swept off her feet!

She is often described as a gregarious person who “never met a stranger”. Always the spark in the room, Tamra possesses a unique talent for bringing out the joy factor in others and allowing them to thoroughly experience their event and bask in the bliss.

She uses her spirit and passion to help create happy memories for others. Nothing is more fulfilling to Tamra than contributing to a smile, a happy glow, or starry eyes. Her smile and laugh are very contagious! To learn more LIKE us on Facebook, Follow our Inspiration on Pinterest, Tweet us, and find us on google+1

We offer the following levels of services:

  • Full Service
  • Partial / a la carte
  • Month Coordination (aka Day of)
  • Hourly Consulting (in-person and/or virtual)

For these celebrations and events:

Wedding Recap: Megan & Elliott’s NY Wedding

Of all the planning and preparation that go into creating the perfect wedding, you want to have something to remember your big day years later.  After the cake has been eaten and the guests have gone home, your photographs are all you will have left to remind you of the day. We were so honored of providing some Photo Booth fun at Megan & Elliott’s wedding this past weekend. It was held at Duchess Manor in Beacon, NY. Duchess Manor is a historic Hudson Valley River mansion dating from the 1860s that offers sweeping views of the river coupled with elegant catering services. The DJ was provided by DJ Domenic Entertainment and had the guests dancing all night long!

All their guests were raving about what an awesome experience they had with our booth. Here’s what Megan & Elliott had to say: “They are AMAZING! Thanks so much to Laura and company at Royal Photo Booth – as you can see, EVERYONE LET LOOSE and HAD FUN, and it helped make ours such an amazing wedding!

Below is a video of some of our FAVORITE pictures from their wedding! We wish Megan & Elliott a long life filled with love, laughter, and good health! Cheers to you!!!

Vendor Spotlight: Sabrina Kuratana of a cake dream

We were so excited about the idea of interviewing Sabrina from a cake dream located in Randolph, NJ. Not only does she make beautiful and delicious cakes that are truly a work of art, she has appeared on WeTv’s Wedding Cake Wars.  Sabrina shares with us how she started her business and her experience competing in Wedding Cake Wars.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

I took a cake decorating class at the local hobby shop and was HOOKED – with a capital H.  I became obsessed with learning everything I could about it and couldn’t sleep without dreaming about cake designs, hence my business name.!

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

I love being able to look at a cake design I completed and seeing it go from an idea in my head to an actual cake.  It is pretty intoxicating.  I love coming up with the designs – it is like a light bulb goes off in my head, I get this huge smile on my face, and I KNOW that it is a great design.  It makes me happy!

What gives you inspiration when coming up with new flavors? 

I think I tend to be a little more on the tame side in regards to flavor combinations.  I like to take the more common flavors and shake them up a little.  For example, have you ever tried Red Velvet cake with Cookies ‘n Cream filling?!  YUM!

What is your favorite flavor?

My chocolate cake with cookies ‘n cream.  Or is it the Orange Dreamsicle with White Chocolate Truffle?  Tough choice.

What’s the most crazy cake you have ever designed?

The craziest cake has GOT to be ‘ALEXA’.  I felt as if I was on the Ultimate Cake Show!  It was over five feet tall and had the name spelled out in 3D with one letter on top of each other – everything was completely edible, except for the top A.

How was your experience appearing on Wedding Cake Wars?

 It was very interesting.  Unlike the other competitors, I was there to have fun and how could I not!  I had eight uninterrupted hours doing something that I loved – decorating a cool cake!  I don’t think the producers were thrilled that I didn’t have ‘freak outs’ or drama.  I am used to competition and pressure from when I was a concert violinist.  It is very hard to stress me out and to intimidate me – after all, I graduated from Juilliard and Yale School of Music!

How would you describe your signature style in five words?

Modern, artsy, elegant, classy, and the unexpected.

We read you just launch your signature line of Art Gallery Cookies. Can you tell us more about them?

I love my line of Art Gallery Cookies!  I am the only one in the world that reached out to the artists to have their artwork featured on cookies.  There is SO much gorgeous artwork out there and I LOVE being able to replicate it on a cookie for everyone and anyone!  It is truly a gallery of art!  It is also important to me to include the contact information of each artist to encourage people to reach out to the artists.  If you haven’t checked them out online, then you are missing something incredible!

How can we order from you and how much notice is required to place an order?

Art Gallery Cookies can be ordered online at http://www.artgallerycookies.com and they are shipped worldwide.  For cakes and all of the other sweet treats, call me or email me.  I always try to accommodate clients that call for a date.  But there are times that I just can’t do it.  I suggest giving me a call as soon as you have a date in mind – even if it is two weeks away – you NEVER know!

Besides cakes and cookies, what other passions do you have? 

Other passions besides creating cake designs?  Besides Art Cookies?  Wow!  Umm….my three amazing children, my husband and my music.  I also foster dogs for the Eleventh Hour Rescue Shelter.

 

Sabrina is a passionate cake designer who strives for perfection on everything she undertakes.   Having studied at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, Sabrina has mastered the art of baking and presenting an original edible work of art.

Sabrina appeared on Wedding Cake Wars, a feature show on WeTV in the fall of 2009, where she had eight hours to create her seven tier Thai Wedding Cake.  A firm believer of giving back to the community, Sabrina is a supporter of Wish Upon A Wedding, which provides weddings and vow renewals to couples facing terminal illness or other serious life-altering circumstances, regardless of sexual orientation.

Sabrina, a mother of three, is not new to the world of creativity.  Formerly a professional concert violinist of national and international repute she is a graduate of the Juilliard and Yale Schools of Music.  Sabrina garnered several  honors and awards on both violin and viola.  She was one of the pioneers in new music for 5-string electric violin and produced several CDs showcasing her talent. a cake dream is PLATINUM VENDOR 2012, Grace Ormonde Wedding Style Magazine, VOTED BEST BAKERY 2012, Daily Record-Best of the Best Contest, As Seen in EveryDay with Rachel Ray, Catering Magazine, BRIDES New Jersey & (201) Bride. Visit our Websites: http://www.acakedream.com and http://www.artgallerycookies.com and become a fan on Twitter and Facebook

Event Recap: Melissa’s Sweet 16

There’s not much of a better place to include a photo booth rental than the celebration of a Sweet Sixteen or Quinceañera birthday party.  This is an EXCITING time in your young ones life and a time which should be remembered for years to come.  With a photobooth, you’ll be creating lifetime memories while having FUN.  Your guests will have a blast capturing some of the funniest photos imaginable with all of their friends. Even the adults will join in the fun! A photo booth rental from Royal Photo Booth is sure to have your kids’ friends raving to you about how it was the “Best Idea Ever!”

We had the pleasure of providing some Photo Booth fun for Melissa’s Sweet 16 party recently! It was held at the beautiful Princess Manor in Brooklyn. We had a fantastic experience all the way from the valet parking to the their impeccable staff service. This venue was very elegant and spacious. The music was provided by X-Cel Entertainment and Photography done by J.T. of J. Santini Photography.

We must say that ALL her guests were definitely IMPRESSED with how crisp the pictures came out…not to mention how much FUN everyone had!  Melissa picked two very classic backgrounds for her pictures — Pink & Black Damask and Black & Grey Damask. You see using Green Screen technology we offer, your possibilities are endless! If you don’t believe us, check out some of our FAVORITE pictures from the party below and see for yourself!

 

Vendor Spotlight: Angelica of Angelica Criscuolo Photography

We have known Angelica for over a year now and when we first met her we instantly clicked with each other. She is so down to earth and loves to have fun…that’s our kind of gal! We have been obsessed over Angelica’s work and wanted to share her unique talents with you! Her work is inspiring, fresh and cool. You can see her passion in each image. We admire the fact she is always taking things to the next level is gets creative with capturing unique shots! Angelica has covered several celebrity events and weddings not only in NYC abut various countries as well. We are honored to have her on our blog and we hope you all enjoy the interview!

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

I love my job! I believe there are many aspects of being a photographer that is rewarding, but one of the reasons I do what I do is I love to capture what everyone is feeling through their reaction and facial expression that you feel like you are there with them. When people are grateful that I captured certain events and memories they weren’t able to see, that is how I know I did my job well since now my client will have those events as part of their memories.

What characteristics make a memorable photo?

Emotion, heartfelt, in-the-moment, environmental. As a lifestyle photographer I make sure I get these key items in a photo since those are always “the best” that my clients are always loving.

How would you describe your signature style in five words?

Romantic, artistic, fun, chic, vibrant.

Name three things you enjoy photographing most.

The first, the bride and groom in-love where they forget I am around! Sometimes I pretend I’m giving them a break, but I know they become more relaxed and they start being more natural with one another so those are always the best pictures I take. The second, details of a wedding or event. I feel like I’m in a fairy tale every time I shoot a wedding or event since there’s so many gorgeous details everyone worked hard to achieve in creating and I make sure I get each one so they are always remembered. Especially the rings and shoes! I LOVE it when a bride has details in her shoes. The third I love to photograph the bride and the father. I guess I’m sentimental since each time I see a bride and her father I get emotional since my father passed away and was not able to walk me down the aisle himself. I’m sure every time I feel tears seeing a father walk his daughter down the aisle, my dad is walking me down the aisle.

What are the top trends you see for 2012?

Bridesmaids are mix and matching dresses and it works! More often I’ll see bridesmaids wear different dresses in the same color scheme. Table number details are a hit! Engagement pictures are used as table numbers or couples are using custom designs created by Etsy stores to create a unique table number rather than the normal “table 1″ sign. Cupcakes are the new cakes! Makes the cake more accessible to guests. Also, lately I’m seeing old-school Hollywood feel to weddings from the bride’s dress and how the reception is designed.

What inspires you?

LOVE, life, happiness. Seeing such emotion and wanting to capture them in a beautiful setting is what I’m always aiming to achieve.

What’s your preference: color or black and white?

I LOVE color! Vibrant colors is what gets me going. However, there are many moments that do call for the classic B&W so you need both.

Describe a “successful” event in five words.

Unique, fun, colorful, romantic, on-time!

What’s your “secret sauce” for success as an entrepreneur? 

Happy clients and ensuring they know they are my priority, plus my personality! If I wasn’t driven to succeed and to get the images I love to capture, and therefore ensuring my clients are happy, I wouldn’t be able to have the courage to be a photographer and a business woman. When I capture memories, I’m not just taking photos for myself, but for my client. They hired me because they already love my style and work. They are depending on me to memorialize their special day, or their portraits, and I will give my 1000% to do just that! As long as I remember my clients’ needs are more important than anything else, I will be able to give them a service and experience they will love to tell their friends and family.

Tell us something we don’t know about Angelica Criscuolo Photography.

Angelica Criscuolo Photography almost never existed! I went to school for Broadcast Journalism in Boston University years ago, and later got an MBA in accounting thinking I’ll become an accountant. If it wasn’t for my boyfriend at the time, I wouldn’t be a photographer today. He knew that my passion and love was not for corporate accounting, but with photography. He got me my first DSLR and encouraged me through and through! That’s love and dedication and I am very happy I married him!

 

Angelica Criscuolo Photography is a Wedding and Portrait photographer based in New York City and has been capturing beauty through a lens in the Tri-State area since 2010. Angelica does travel to various locations for weddings, engagements, portraits and events and aims to be your photographer for all occasions. She has traveled for work in various countries and has covered celebrity events from Vera Wang, Kardashian Kollections, Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and many more. To view her work and watch a video about Angelica Criscuolo Photography, go to http://www.AngelicaCriscuoloPhotography.com and read her blog at http://www.AngelicaCriscuoloPhotography.com/blog. Feel free to “Like” her Facebook page to stay updated with promotions at http://www.Facebook.com/AngelicaCriscuoloPhotography and follow her at http://www.Twitter.com/ACPhotographyNY

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