Saturday, November 21, 2009

I've been asked to be the NYC Wedding Specialist for TheKnot.com Blog!

SO EXCITED! Can't even begin to explain!
I am thrilled to have been asked to be the NYC wedding specialist blogger for the knot.com's new New York City Page! http://newyorkcity.weddings.com/

I'll be sharing the details of weddings we're planning, things that inspire me, design ideas, vendors we love, sample sales, you name it...if it has to do with weddings in New York City we'll be talking about it!
Would LOVE it if you followed!


Here's my first post!

Tomorrow I'm showing a wedding client one of my favorite little secret venues for their upcoming Summer wedding. On a fairly nondescript area of 10th Ave. between 20th & 21st St. is The Desmond Tutu Center a true oasis of serenity. For a client who is looking for a venue that has magnificent lawns (yes two huge lawns!) and a Gothic-Castle-type of feel this event venue is a true gem. Things I love about it.
The lawns!

The two lawns are really nice sized and fairly level. Perfect for outdoor ceremony's and cocktail hours. There's a wonderful serenity to the outdoor space that makes you immediately forget that you could possibly be in New York City. The trees are big and bushy and beautiful and when you're there in the spring or summer time you hear birds chirping and see the butterflies in the flowers!...its sublime and very romantic! (can you tell I like this place!) The space is both a hotel and a seminary so there are rules that need to be followed, but with enough notice they are very reasonable with requests. Oh and there is also a tennis court which you can also tent if needed (which is always a great option because you've got a built in floor!)
My other favorite part of the venue is the reception hall!(the Refectory)

This room is just breathtaking. There's a regal feel you get when walking up the stairs and entering the heavy doors to this long beautiful room. I have to admit that scene in Harry Potter is exactly what I thought of the very first time I saw it. The length of the room. The two giant fireplaces at either end. The Gothic wooden chairs. The chandeliers. All amazing! Very cool and very chic! There's a lot that can be done to this venue to create some amazingly breathtaking design moments. (by the way, there are a bunch of large paintings hanging in the room, but again, with prior notice they are really great and will take them all down if you'd like)

The venue is also a hotel, which for a wedding venue can be another added nicety. The rooms and suites are all quite large and designed with what I would call handsome, modern and chic details. The rates are really reasonable and can give your guests the ability to have a little NYC vacation weekend in Chelsea!

As as wedding planner, if I'm going to rave about the place I have to also tell you the things you might not love (but honestly you can get past)

The entrance,while very nice, clean and neat is a functioning hotel front desk - and thus does feel just like one. Its small and fairly neutral, maybe even a bit dry. So to a bride thinking about a venue I can see how that might be a small concern. BUT, I think it's a minimal issue and is definitely something you can glaze over and solve in creative design ways. (I would say lets chalk it up to another one of those 'NYC wedding venue' experiences).

*I have theories you'll start to get to know as you get to know me!

In order to help my clients find the best venue, I try to get them to understand and accept this theory. Most NYC venue entrances (other than hotels) are 'gritty' and 'urban' to say the least. Not what a stylish bride might normally think of as a beautiful, cool or chic wedding entrance to her wedding venue. BUT, when you enter the venue and the event itself! - That's when the WOW moment happens! That's a huge part of what makes a NYC wedding unique for you and your guests! So, in order to really be happy with picking a NYC venue for your wedding - I think you have to be open to this theory and make the decisions based on the wow factors to come, not necessarily what the outside of the building or the area looks like.

Anyway, I digress. The other thing you may be concerned with while walking around the property is the playground. Yes, there is a playground. (again, it's a hotel and a seminary that has a nursery school. No big deal, it wont effect your event at all). If you feel the need, screens will make it disappear on the day of your event, so don't event think about it twice!

All of that being said, as a wedding designer I love the bones of this venue! Its a beautiful, peaceful, and very cool space where truly magical moment can be created. Now after writing about it, I'm even more excited to show it to my clients tomorrow! I will certainly keep you posted on the details of the visit and of course the wedding planning to come. If you have any great stories or details of events from this venue you want to share I'd love to see them!

Cheers to getting married in New York City!
~Maya

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

OK! So I've been completely MIA when it comes to writing our blog!

OK! So I've been completely MIA when it comes to writing our blog! I know, I know! What's the point in coming to read a blog about event planning & design if its not going to be something new to read! Well you know what you're absolutely right! Things have been so busy the last couple of months that i kept telling myself, i need to do it, i need to do it, but by the end of the day was way too exhausted to share with you all the awesome stuff we were doing! So frustrating!
so long story short...I'm going to try and do a bunch of back to back recap blogs to catch you up to date. and then...well the possibilities are endless!
So how far back should we go. Well you know what its starting to get chilly here in New York City so lets reminisce a bit about a beautiful day when the temperature was a perfect 70 degrees!

We have a wonderful client that does an end of summer event for their employees and their families every year. This year we knew we had to be economical (the budget had been slashed by two thirds from last year - ouch!!) But we knew it had to be chic no matter what! So we decided to do a new take on the typical company picnic and create an
"Old Time (Country Chic) Americana Picnic"
(thank you to Martha Stewart for showing evevryone that country can be chic!)

To set the tone... a perfect venue with outdoor and indoor space
(with the weather we've had this year!...hello rain plan!)

Guests were greeted at the tent with small individual picnic baskets.

Each picnic basket filled with a checkered blanket and tons of fun toys for everyone


we decorated the interior of the tent to have a warm and fun
old time Americana country fair feel.

Complete with a beautiful yummy pie station

An empty grass area was turned into comfy cool seating areas for guests to eat and chill out
Inexpensive Decor Details like wrapping silverware in bandannas

- make a "standard company picnic" into a CHIC gathering of family and friends.


Even a standard BBQ menu can be chic and inviting!

And don't forget how awesome it is to have PONY RIDES - everyone loves a pony!

Here's to making your next picnic-bbq a chic and fun day for everyone!





Monday, October 19, 2009

SWANK 2nd Annual SAMPLE SALE!

SWANK Productions is having its 2nd Annual SAMPLE SALE!
Tons & Tons of great Decor & Furniture from this years hottest events PLUS we're redecorating our office so EVERYTHING WILL GO!
Dont miss this event, last years was a huge hit!
Wed 21st & Thur 22nd - 10am-6pm -
231 W29th St Suite 605 NYC!
Cash Only

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Plaza gets The SWANK Treatment

The Private Copper Room
"Rat Pack" Billiards Boys night out

Two different looks for the Ballroom


Swank Productions is now the preferred, recommended
and simply adored designers for the newly re-opened Oak Room at The Plaza!
Swank is bringing new attitude to this iconic venue by embracing its elegant, masculine aesthetic and rejuvenating it by mixing bright color concepts. The Oak Room was recently featured on the hit TV show Gossip Girl. It’s not only the perfect location for Manhattan’s big wigs to come enjoy a delectable steak, but it’s the place to see and be seen. Private events are a huge part of this landmark’s business. It’s a justified assumption that for every fabulous party you need a fabulous designer and party planner! Swank Productions just recently designed and produced a photo shoot for the Oak Room’s makeover “After” shots. The shoot features four different looks. The first shot was designed to pick up on the rich oak wood paneling throughout the room. The tablescape featured chocolate brown taffeta linens, regal purple floral arrangements, and gilded details as wellas a more formal look incorporating the exsisting newly renovated chairs in the space. Another table was designed using the Oak Bar’s original incarnation as a men’s only club. A color palette of billiard green and burgundy were utilized for this table. Cabaret lamps, champagne buckets, bottles of whiskey were placed on the tables. Vintage billiard balls were placed at each setting. The final look was a private dining room with copper walls. A color scheme of copper and acid green was conceived inspired by oxidized copper (i.e.- The Statue of Liberty). Gold leaf, mother of pearl, and amber details were incorporated into the tabletop design.

We are thrilled that Oak Room patrons will now call upon Swank to personalize the space for them with luxury Event Planning and Couture Design!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

SWANK Productions has partnered up with fine china distributor Michael C Fina for what will certainly be an eventful and swanky year. Between in store table designs and bridal events, Swank will be showcasing new designs and events at the magnificent flagship store on 5th Avenue about once a month for the coming year!

If you have not been to their flagship store on 5th ave in NYC you must! Michael C Fina is the world-class retailer of the worlds most beautiful diamond and gold jewelry, flatware, crystal, and other fine gifts and home accessories. Known for always being at the forefront of glamor and luxury this is the first stop for discerning couples celebrating their nuptials and clients who love to entertain.

Rather than the traditional china table displays... Swank will be doing what we do best, creating custom designs using Michael C Fina's extensive stock of breathtaking china, home goods, bath goods (and of course some fun props and gadgets) to produce one of a kind masterpiece table scape. This month, check out our elegant rendition of the chic gypsy life. Our "zodiac" inspired tablescape features an opulent array of Baccarat crystal stemware, Waterford vases re purposed as crystal balls, Royal Copenhagen statuettes of the zodiac signs and a porcelain cougar just to name a small fraction of the details! Our designs will change monthly (and dramatically) so make sure to come by (and come often!) We know this stores clientele are used to the best of the best and we plan on delivering exactly that! We promise each display table more memorable than the last!

More info about bridal events to come as well as more photo!




Saturday, July 4, 2009

SWANK Productions Planned and Designed TNT Wedding DAY!






















OMG! It was just so much fun watching all our hard work DESIGNING & PRODUCING this amazing wedding for Christina & Shawn! (did we mention we did this ALL in 5 DAYS!!!!) (and did we mention that every product and service was DONATED to us by our AWESOME VENDORS!

Take a look at the BEFORE shot of the room and some of these AMAZING AFTER shots! Another amazing SWANK TRANSFORMATION!

Enjoy and let me know what you think!
We'd LOVE to do a custom wedding for YOU!
CHEERS!
xoxo
Maya
more to come next week once I'm back in town!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tis the “Summer of Social Good”

Social networking has taken a turn for the good and Swank Productions is going to be a part of it!

With the boom of twitter, facebook, blogs and other social networks, it’s obvious how important and powerful social media can be to individuals and brands alike. (I know a lot of “us” stayed away from all of this because it can all seem so useless when someone updates you with their bathroom breaks every 5 minutes) BUT…. we’re so far past that and loving the relationship we’re building with those who are out there and are so very interesting!
Sorry I digress!
Mashable is aiming at changing the world this summer! Mashable is a highly-traffic blog (3 – 4 million unique visitors a month!!!), named a Top 25 blog of 2009 by Time.com and is a top Twitter user, with currently over 610,000 followers and growing by at least 5,000 followers a day. They are the experts and preeminent source for Social Media news and resources for their readers which include big brands, agencies, high level organizations and top-level executives from major industries. They are taking advantage of their intense online power and attempting to raise awareness for 4 really worth while non-profit organizations; The Humane Society, LIVESTRONG, Oxfam America, and WWF International. And of course, Swank Productions will be right there with them, helping to plan and produce this history making event!

On August 28th, Mashable will host “The Social Good Conference” at the 92nd Street Y on the upper east side. Folks will pay anywhere between $100 to $200 to come and listen to amazing keynote speakers and be a part of major social media history. 100% of the proceeds are going to the charities listed above! There will be a livestream on Facebook and live tweets all day long! A ton of high profile celebrities, web personalities and major sponsors are in contract to promote the event so keep an eye out for more news to come!

Looking forward to this event – after all Swank has always been able being Social & loving media!
Always spreading Swanky event info!
Until next time!

xoxo
~ Maya
Swank Productions event planning and design main site: http://www.swankproductions.com/
Where you’ll find a ton more photos and learn more about us!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wedding Day starring Swank Productions!

It’s a really exciting time for Swank right now. We’ve been thinking about it since we filmed in January and now the airing is finally right around the corner! I’m so excited and proud that one of our weddings will be featured on the new reality TV show “Wedding Day” on TNT!
(Airing Thursday July 2nd & 4th at 8PM! Yey!)

Mark Burnett is back at it again with his new feel good reality TV show. For those of you not familiar with Wedding Day, it’s the live taping of a “dream wedding” given by their “dream team” (that’s us!) to a deserving couple who get the wedding of their dreams (meaning NO expense was spared!) Think Extreme Makeover: Home Edition… same producer but now they’ve gearing up for wedding season. We had so much fun shooting the episode and now I can’t believe the moment is actually here to share with all of you!

Our couple is Christina and Shawn from upstate New York who are both captains in the US army stationed in Iraq. They came to Swank in 2006 a couple years after getting engaged with the hopes of getting married back in 2008!... but each time it looked like a date could be set it was derailed by one of them being called to serve their country. After their most recent tour kept them apart for almost 22 months, they got the surprise they never expected! A call-back that their wedding story had won and that they were soon home-bound for a wedding experience of a lifetime.

Christina was nervous and excited of course. She had won a fantasy wedding but also would get to know absolutely nothing about the planning of it!!! Talk about asking a bride to TRUST HER PLANNER! Lol!
But, she knew that Swank Productions had put together a team of vendors who were the best of the best and the entire team were all eager and willing to donate all their products and services for this lucky couple…. the goal was a Dream Wedding and we designed with carte blanch in mind!
Now if that sounds difficult, try doing all of this in 5 days! In the middle of January up in the Hudson Valley! Countless hours and sleepless nights went into putting this special day together for this amazingly deserving couple (actually two days if you count the rehearsal dinner!). We were so fortunate to have found all the right vendors who understood our cause and our vision for this fantasy transformation!
The end result was a true masterpiece (wait till you see the before and after’s!) and we couldn’t have done it without each and every vendor involved.
Shhhh…. Wanna know an inside secret? If we were to actually do the exact wedding for a paying client, it would have cost well over $1 million dollars!! Yep we pulled out every stop possible for this couple – and it was so worth it to see that there really is amazing good and generosity left in the world.

I can’t say much else so you have to check out this amazing episode!

Here’s a sneak peak preview!
http://www.darynkagan.com/love/stories/lv_090622_weddingshow.html

I would love to hear your feedback after the show so send me your thoughts!

Always spreading swanky event info!
Until next time!

XOXO
~Maya


Swank Productions event planning and design main site: http://www.swankproductions.com/Where you’ll find a ton more photos and learn more about us!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

video


Really cool video! Watch an entire Swank event (from set up to breakdown) in 55 seconds! Let's do it for your event!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Swank brides make it into BRIDES magazine!


It’s not the first time one of our brides has ended up in a national bridal magazine but we’re especially excited about this one! Christina Fanitzi was already a client of Swank Productions when she was selected to be one of the lucky brides on TNT’s new reality TV show “Wedding Day “. (Can't tell you any details about why her story won or about the million dollar fantasy wedding we produced for her in less than a week!...not yet! But soon!)
But we couldn’t stop ourselves from loving the fact that she got to be treated like the super star she deserved to be!
After finding out that she had won and would be on TNT new show, Christina had only 5 days to transform from army captain in Iraq to beautiful blushing bride. At the fitting / photo shoot we were all blown away to hear that Christina “hadn’t worn civilian clothing in 10 months!”. But oh boy did she pull off her transformation into a swanky bride! She looked beyond beautiful and had the experience of posing for dozens of photos in an array of different designer gowns (which we ended up displaying throughout her cocktail hour for all her guests to see)
The article is titled “Fatigues to Fabulous” and shows Christina’s photo shoot & fairy tale dress fitting, with BRIDES editor Mille Martini Bratten, helping her with the transformation. It was like a scene straight out of Sex And The City: The Movie! Check it out on page 148 of the July/August issue of Brides magazine on newsstands now.

And make sure to Save the Date June 30th at 8pm to see how Swank Productions pulls off an unbelievable fantasy wedding for Wedding Day on TNT!

Always spreading swanky event info!
Until next time!

xoxo
~Maya

Swank Productions event planning and design main site: http://www.swankproductions.com/

Where you’ll find a ton more photos and learn more about us!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Penthouse Birthday Bash

One of the things I love about this business is you never know who’s going to call and when they’ll need our help.
Last week with only 4 days notice, Swank Productions was called in to fashion and produce and elaborate and intimate dinner party for 34 guests in a newly built, posh duplex on Warren St. The client had just recently closed (that day!) on this unbelievable apartment, which overlooks Tribeca and the Hudson River, and with the shiny new keys, my team was the first to actually enter the space, even before the clients themselves! The party was held in honor of their oldest son’s 17th birthday, and was designed around his colorful and playful personality. The design for the event was spectacular and every detail was intended to accentuate the beauty of the new space but also the birthday boy’s style.
The duplex included floor to ceiling windows that led to an enormous wrap-around balcony. High-top tables, white, wicker lounge ottomans, towering palm trees and small cocktail tables were scattered to provide a chic environment for the cocktail hour as guests overlooked the 3 amazing view exposures.

But as I’m sure you know of the event planning world, there’s never a dull moment! The weather was absolutely unforgiving! It poured all day relentlessly. So while guests could go outside for a smoke (did I mention the patio is covered by 30+ foot ceiling!)… Guests couldn’t really go out there and enjoy themselves on the deck as we had originally envisioned. Always thinking on our feet, another lounge area was created in a second room off the balcony only an hour before the party actually began. The white walls were up lit with blue lighting and therefore giving the room a sort of opulent, Versace feel. Luscious palm trees and contemporary lamps were placed all around the fabulous space (remember there weren’t even lights installed in the apartment yet!). The windowsills were covered with clear votives and the white cocktail tables in the center of the sectionals held striking blue ones. The candles gave the lounge a luminescent glow that the guests really seemed to enjoy and resulted in an immediate party atmosphere.
The main dining room, that overlooks most of the spacious balcony, was the most spectacular. The walls were also up lit with blue lighting and the windowsills that flanked the room on three sides called for hundreds of colorful votives which made a truly magical impression, especially when the sun went down! We set one long rectangular table that stretched out the length of the entire room. The design was inspired from the early 90’s new wave era, with electric colors and of course, the “oh so classic” black and white stripe! We used modern, neon pantone chairs to complement the alternating colorful chargers that were strategically placed on alternating black and white linens. The napkins also carried this 90’s theme with a very sleek, bold black and white stripe. All along the center of the table were purple votives that gave the table a sophisticated and elegant atmosphere, but still playful and fit for a 17 year old guy. To give height and further dimension to the table, eight, perfectly round, four foot in diameter, white helium balloons were tied down the center of the table. The glassware also added flare to the table by alternating black and white stemmed goblets. And did we mention that this family is Russian? So needless to say, the party room would not be complete without having eight fabulous, silver, standing ice buckets filled to the brim with chilled vodka magnums and 8 handsome servers waiting to attend to any guests needs. Although the weather outside was drab and cold, the inside of this luxurious duplex was bright and cheery. The transformation was amazing. We took an empty space and turned it into a magical venue to share a wonderful evening with close family and friends.


Take a look at these amazing before and after shots.

Next time it’ll be your Swanky space we transform!

Always spreading Swanky info!
Until next time, Cheers!
xoxo

~Maya

Swank Productions event planning and design main site: http://www.swankproductions.com/
Where you’ll find a ton more photos and learn more about us!












Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hello Desmond Tutu!



It’s been a really a trying but busy first quarter. But with spring & summer upon us, everyone seems in better spirits. And not to say it’s gone, but the economic situation has almost become something we can all joke about.

So, who knows…this may be an eventful summer after all!

The biggest part of staying at the top of our game in times like this is the ability to really impress the all-knowing and skeptical New Yorker with new info they’re unaware of & ideas they haven’t thought of. So in essence, it's helping our clients find those New York gems that everyone talks about . Well, we’ve done our due diligence and after looking far and wide for Gotham City’s unique venues to hold events, we have found them!

Distinctive venues seem to be on everyone’s list of priorities when beginning their event planning process. Last week, we had the pleasure of being guests for a showing of The Desmond Tutu Center on the west side in Chelsea. I had the pleasure of meeting him when Swank hosted a non-profit dinner and silent auction for his foundation and now we've come full circle in working with this space for events. (photo 1 is of the Desmond Tutu Center, photo 2 is from the Swank event). The street-side view is completely unassuming. But when you enter the event spaces, you’re greeted by a castle-like setting with stained glass windows in almost every event room. With high cathedral ceilings, it’s the perfect venue for someone looking for that “something different” for their affair. It’s the ideal marriage between gothic structure and modern style. And that’s just the inside! I haven’t even gotten to the garden. It houses a seminary so the word ‘serene’ would be an understatement. Fortunately, they’re not too strict with noise and event regulations so it’s the best of both worlds. If you’re ever in the area, you should definitely stop in and check it out. And always remember to mention Swank for that special treatment!

And the list goes on... Hudson Theatre, Powerhouse Arena, The U.S. Equestrian Team Center, and Calle Ocho. Stay tuned for an exclusive on the aforementioned places.

My search is never ending so I would love to get some feedback about places you think I should check out. There are so many exciting and great projects coming up and I’m thrilled to share all of it!

Always spreading swanky event info!

Until next time Cheers!

xoxo
~Maya

Swank Productions event planning and design main site: http://www.swankproductions.com/
Where you’ll find a ton more photos and learn more about us!