Thursday, January 5, 2012

Winter Wedding Lounge

Looking back on our events, this one at Studio 450 was most definitely one of our coziest!

Studio 450 is another one of our FAVORITE loft venues.  (And you might not know - I have a soft spot for this NYC loft because I was married there a little over 12 years ago)
SO many things I love about this loft space like its size, the room layouts and the fact that it has two floors and a really nice size deck.  But most of all I love its shinny whiteness (yes I think I made that word up but it perfectly describes the space)
Studio 450 is on West 31st St at 9th avenue which I would best describe as a fairly non-descrpt (and kind of always gray) area of the West Side.  There's usually scaffolding of some sort on one of the buildings in the vicinity.  I know I'm not 'selling' why this 'great' venue is so great very well but honest, I'm getting to my point, which is this. 

There's something wonderfully magical about going to this dingy gray part of New York City, riding up a huge metal freight sized elevator to the top floor, not knowing what in the world to expect from a party in a place like this.  Having the elevator doors open and arriving into a truly lovely, bright, spacious, glossy white venue with sunny (or sunset) views of New York City in all four directions.

What I absolutely love about this space is that its a large open white pallet.  Its urban chic.  It's a space where you can truly create ANY type of environment. 

I've been lucky to work in this venue dozens of times and have had the opportunity to do a lot of very creative themes.  But since I first stepped into this venue, I have ALWAYS wanted to do a cozy 'ski lodge' event!  I have done lots of other 'winter' environments but I finally got the chance to do my cozy ski lodge here at 450!


Looking forward to a cozy New Year!!!
Cheers to your next event
xoxo Maya

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Unique Wedding Venues: Hempstead House on Sands Point Preserve

If you're looking for a truly unique and breathtaking venue for your wedding....a venue that "all your friends and family haven't been to hundreds of times already" then Hempstead House on the Sands Point Preserve in Port Washington may be a perfect match.

Only 30 minutes out of NYC, this little know Gold Coast Estate is one of my MOST FAVORITE venues to share with clients who are looking for Unique, Private, Indoor-Outdoor option and Views of the Water.

This venue has A LOT of Pro’s:

• Its close enough to the city that busing guests is a viable (and generous) option

• Sprawling grounds make for a beautiful entrance on to the property but also for fabulous photos throughout your big day.

• A huge manicured lawn with sweeping views of the Long Island Sound give you an outdoor ceremony and or cocktail hour option but also tenting area if needed.

• Amazing architectural details.

• Gorgeous and spacious rooms for lots of different party configurations

• A wonderful staff of people on the property who make it a pleasure to work with

• The ability to bring in your chosen caterer

• A breathtaking (clean palate) which makes it a perfect foundation to create a multitude of wedding styles!

A few Cons:

The space is NOT HUGE so based on your expected guest list the smart decision may be to add a tent to your plan to make transitions from ceremony to cocktail hour to reception as smooth as possible.

There are two spaces where the dance floor makes the most sense but both have small obstacles. A sunken floor with a fountain and an area with a fireplace cutting the room in half could be obstacles or can be beautiful elements its all how you look at it.

Keep in mind, this an OLD ESTATE and while it has been updated and very well maintained by the preserve it is a historic building and so it is drafty and cool in fall and winter months and certainly can be warm in the summer. Heaters, Air Conditioners and a Generator are all definites to add into the budget. A restroom  would also be advised for outside ceremony and cocktail hour because of where the bathrooms are located inside.

All in all I cannot say enough wonderful things about this venue! Gorgeous, Vast, Elegant without being Stuffy, Traditional but Timeless.

Take a look at our photo gallery and the creative board of how we were inspired to produce our Great Gatsby Wedding at Hempstead House and keep your eyes out for our (soon to be featured) 'Sleepy Hallow' HALLOWEEN Wedding at Hempstead House!

Do you have a favorite "unknown" venue?!  Let me know! I'd LOVE to hear about it!

Cheers to your next event!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

10 Ways to WOW your Wedding Guests

Yes, the cake, the gown, and the centerpieces are all important, but these 10 ideas are not only super-simple -- they're also guaranteed to make your wedding rave-worthy.

1. Create a Welcome Video

Most likely you won't be able to greet all of your out-of-town guests when they arrive, so consider arranging a virtual welcome. Talk to your videographer about creating a brief video of the two of you welcoming them to your wedding location, and provide tips for things to do in the area along with what they can expect for the rest of the weekend (or simply create your own with a digital video camera!).
2. Don't Underestimate the Welcome Bag

Another easy way to impress? Give each guest a welcome bag. Fill an inexpensive basket or canvas tote with bottles of water, a bottle of wine or locally brewed beer, something salty, something sweet, and a piece of fruit. Don't forget to include a welcome letter (or video) as well as a detailed itinerary for where the guest needs to be and when. Leave the whole thing with the hotel concierge for the guests to pick up when they check in. And be sure to provide them with maps and lists of local restaurants, museums, and other attractions in case they want to explore on their own.

3. Keep Them Entertained -- Not Overwhelmed

You don't want to stress your guests out with too many activities, but a few entertainment options before the wedding will really show them how much thought you put into their visit. Suggest group activities like area hikes or tours for your guests to mingle and get to know each other before the main event. Lay out planned weekend activities for guests in a timeline so that everyone is in-the-know.

4. Ditch the Boring Ceremony Aisle

It's probably the one detail of wedding planning you forgot about, but it's also one of the simplest to take to the next level. A creative DIY runner, rustic pew arrangements in Mason jars, or even a quirky patterned rug can all dress up a plain aisle -- and make a major impact on your guests.

5. Make Inventive Escort Cards

The escort card display is the first thing your guests see when they walk into your reception -- so make it good. Have your calligrapher write guests' names on pretty vintage mirrors, print names on horse show ribbons, stick the cards in cupcakes, or attach each card to a tiny can of champagne with a note that reads, "Do not open until the wedding toast."

6. Add Music to the Transitions

Hire a bagpiper, a drum line, a gong player, or even a strolling guitar player to lead guests from one space to the next. If you're not set on an instrument, localize it: For a tropical setting, hire someone to blow a conch shell, or in the mountains, hire an alpine horn player to announce when it's time to move.

7. Rethink Wedding Transportation

Okay, you're probably not going to have a parade float, but that doesn't mean you can't be creative with your transportation. Your guests will gape when they walk out of your ceremony and see an awesome antique car or retro school bus waiting to pick you up! Or choose transportation that pays homage to your wedding venue, like a hayride for a country ranch wedding or even a Snowcat for a winter mountain reception.

8. Give Them A Say!

Use your RSVP cards or wedding website to let your guests have an opinion on something other than chicken or fish. Let them request a song, create Mad Lib-style return cards you can then display at the reception, or have them vote on the top-tier flavor of your wedding cake! Guests will love seeing the details that they helped choose come to life on the wedding day.

9. Serve Food You'd Want to Eat

Think about what foods make you happy -- whether it be ice cream sandwiches, mac and cheese, watermelon, donuts, or tacos -- and add them to the menu. One of our favorite new ideas: a potato chip bar complete with all the dips. Talk to your caterer about putting together a truly personalized (and delicious!) menu. Then watch your guests chow down.

10. Send Them Off with Breakfast

Even if it's not an all-out postwedding brunch, plan to give your guests a little goodbye breakfast the day after. Rent out the hotel conference room and talk to the staff about creating a breakfast buffet. Or simply arrange for bagels and coffee to be delivered to your guests' hotel rooms before they depart.

-- Justine Lorelle Blanchard - The Knot & News Channel5
Special thanks to: Maya Kalman of Swank Productions in New York City and Kelly Karli of Frosted Pink Weddings in Colorado.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Baby's Breath. YES Baby's Breath

There are a few flowers that in my opinion get a really bad rap. (*more of this list to come)
Baby's Breath is probably at the top of that list.

The poor bodega flower has built a reputation of being the "cheap filler flower" used in the arrangements you'd get at a grocery store, bodegas and unfortunately still some flower shops. ( And because its primarily used as a way to mask the small amount of flowers they are bundled with it always makes me think of a cheap date. )

BUT the truth is if you use ANY FLOWER (en mass) by themselves they are always breathtaking! And Baby's Breath is no different (and to most a surprising reality!)

If you look at Baby's Breath up close you'll see it's actually a beautiful, delicate and very romantic grouping of flowers. To me there's something ethereal and kind of effervescent about them. They feel almost cloud like. Really perfect for a modern romantic wedding.

So the next time you see Baby's Breath give it a closer look.  I am here to attest that Baby's Breathe (done right) CAN be elegant, gorgeous and unforgettable!

*And Yes Baby's Breath does have a strange (un flower like) scent however in a large open space such as this one it was completely undetectable. 



Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Something Blue and The Ring Bearer Pillow

I've been a wedding planner and designer for over 10 years now and I've always been baffled as to why the ring pillow ALWAYS seems to have to be the same boring satin square pillow.

So in recent years I've made it my mission to make sure that I suggest really unique ideas for the "forgotten last minute bridal items" like the ring pillow and the something blue tradition.

Viola! These phenomenal Rose Pillows answers both problems in a simple and chic way!

While they do come in two styles ( I happen to LOVE the felt one!) they also come in different colors one of them being a GORGEOUS BLUE!

So rethink that boring Ring Pillow and opt for something that not only will make for beautiful photos but will also look SUPER SWEET in your new home as a throw pillow!


Friday, February 18, 2011

Get Kate Middleton’s Chic Wedding Style

Since news of her engagement to the prince broke, Kate Middleton’s name has been everywhere. And it’s no wonder – she’s stylish an obtainable way and that gorgeous ring is definitely worth emulating.

Kate Middleton’s white Reiss engagement dress may be sold out everywhere, but you can get the look with Temperly London’s Silk Jersey Dress ($895).

Kate’s blue Issa dress is also a sell-out piece – but you can grab your very own on eBay – you’ll look completely royal (various prices).

Don’t forget the ring. This sapphire stunner is a guaranteed home-run – and totally Kate-worthy. has all the best wedding shopping. Check out our guides to more great sapphire rings, bridal hair accessories and we’ll even help you out with your wedding invitations.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Alice in Wonderland Invitations

Alice in Wonderland and Mad Hatter themed events have become more and more popular and here at SWANK we LOVE them!  SO many different ways to be creative and it's a design theme that really works for ANY age group.

Right now we're working on an AMAZING Bat Mitzvah with an Alice in Wonderland / Mad Hatter theme.  And when it comes to invitations I strongly believe that the invitation "Sets the Tone" of what guests can expect to come at the party itself. So for this client we wanted to pull out all the stops! 

The invitations we created in house have been causing a HUGE stir with not only the teenagers but also the adults who have all been finding this masterpiece in their mailboxes. 

They came out so cute we wanted to share them with you! (but changed the info to keep their privacy)

Guests received a large white box with customized label that went over the entire top of the box and led them down to the open side.

When they open the box and opened the beautiful deep purple tissue paper they found the mad hatters hat invitation!
On the tag is the invite information

And on the bottom of the box guests found their (double sided) RSVP card and envelope!

We've been getting a lot of "OMG's" and "these are amazing!" messages from the clients and their guests.  And the Bat Mitzvah girl is now being inundated with people who want to be invited just to see what else we've come up with! (which of course we LOVE to hear!)

Whats most important about the invite (in addition to all the important information being on it!) is that it creates excitement in the guest.  After all you want them to come to your event right?
So next time you're doing an invite think out of the box - or in this case, think about what cool stuff you can do in the box!

Tell me about the best invitation you've ever received I'd love to hear about it!