Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Q + A: Joan Bever of The Breakers Palm Beach

The Breakers Palm Beach is the definition of luxury. It is spectacularly beautiful, the service is unparalleled, and its oceanfront location cannot be beat. It is the perfect destination wedding location.   Palm Beach is a snap to get to and The Breakers has so many amazing areas both indoors and out to host different events. I am especially enamored with their ballrooms - the ceilings! the ocean views! They are truly stunning. Last month, The Breakers added me to their preferred list of wedding planners as the preferred west coast planner. It's the ultimate compliment!

Joan Bever, the Director of Catering and Banquet Operations at The Breakers was gracious enough to share her expertise on planning a great destination event below. Thanks Joan!

P.S. I just returned from a phenomenal 4-day wedding in Palm Beach where we had the rehearsal dinner in the historic Circle Ballroom at The Breakers. I can't wait to share all the details with you! Photo above courtesy of The Breakers. Photos below of a 40th destination birthday party I planned in the Circle Ballroom. Florals by The Breakers Design Studio.

What’s your favorite wedding food trend of the moment? "Home-Style meets Chic". A couple of examples are: Pomegranate Short Ribs served over creamy goat cheese polenta and topped with Indian River citrus fennel slaw. Served in a martini glass. Or a Low Country Shrimp and Grits Station served from mini skillets.

What are the top 5 things a couple should look for when scouting venues for their ceremony/reception? 
1) Consider having a destination wedding without leaving the USA. The Breakers offers a full destination wedding experience without the hassle of passports, customs, multiple plane changes and last but not least making the experience easier for you guests. 
2) Interview the Catering Manager to ensure that they have a high degree of expertise in the following areas: menu planning, ceremony orchestration and connections to the best vendors in the wedding industry. 
3)  Plan your tasting approximately 3 months prior to your wedding to ensure the menu is creative and speaks to you individual taste and style. 
4) Look for a venue that has "All Inclusive" packages like The Breakers. For example: some caterer's prices might appear to be lower than a resort however, you may experience "hidden fees" that actually make it more expensive. Examples would be rentals such as china, tables, chairs, tenting, A/C, electrical charges, etc. 
5) Finalize all major details thirty days prior so that you have time to enjoy some personal pampering before the big day.
Can you tell me about an event you are most proud of? And why?  
My daughter's wedding! It was held at The Breakers this past November. I only have one child and it was both of our dreams to have it at The Breakers. The wedding was everything that we hoped for and more. It was a full destination wedding with guests traveling from all over the country including California and New York. We started the celebrations with the rehearsal dinner down by the beach followed by the wedding the next day in our gorgeous Circle Ballroom. We concluded the weekend with a farewell brunch on the top of the Ocean Terrace with breath taking views of the blue Atlantic Ocean. For a sneak peak of the wedding click here

The Breakers has so many spectacular ballrooms, which is your favorite?
My personal favorite is the Circle Ballroom but they are all so gorgeous in their own special way. Check out The Breakers wedding website and blog to learn more. 

Do you have any suggestions for couples who want personalize their hotel / resort reception? 
* Couples can rent our ocean side Grand Cabana's and invite all their guests to spend the day with them before their rehearsal dinner or after their Sunday brunch (I prefer the latter as it is an opportunity to relax, unwind and relive all the weekend activities with your closest family and friends). 
* Another idea is to hire an artist to paint the wedding as it takes place. A cherished memory that you have forever and also really fun for the guests to watch the artist paint. 
* Personalizing a thank you card or a "To-Go"gift that's placed in your guest's cars by Valet. 
* An obvious and popular way is with the gift bag but add in a CD with the couples favorite tunes.  
* Make the grooms cake about something he is passionate about , ie: A replica of his boat, his Alma Mater, such as a giant Gator Cake for the Florida Gators, or giant NY Jets Helmet.  

Do you prefer a seated dinner or stations for a wedding dinner? What should a couple consider when deciding between the two?
Seated. In deciding between a seated dinner or stations, couples should consider if some of the traditional formalities are important to them such as being introduced, first dance, toasts, and cutting of the cake. It is much easier to have guests attention at a seated dinner....after all it is about the bride and groom, so why not get all the attention they can get.

The Breakers hosts fabulous Indian Weddings complete with a Chef who specializes in Indian cuisine. Can you tell me about your favorite Indian wedding at The Breakers?
I have to defer to Jeff Fowler who is our Indian wedding expert. Jeff recently coordinated a destination Indian wedding where they did a station style Sangeet (the equivalent to a rehearsal dinner) with Bollywood performances through out the evening. The Wedding day included traditional Indian rituals such as the Barat for the Groom and the Dholi for the Bride. Our Indian chef prepared sumptuous Indian cuisine with a modern twist. The Thali was created from edible vegetables bowls. The Breakers Design Studio did all the decor for the weekend including arranging for specialty Indian decor and incorporating customized Deities (Indian Gods and Goddesses).

There are lots of destination wedding locales, but very few have a venue like The Breakers for a wedding or rehearsal dinner. Why is the Breakers in Palm Beach is the perfect choice for a destination wedding?
Sometimes brides are deciding between a castle in Europe or a Caribbean locale for their destination wedding. The Breakers offers the best of both worlds with spectacular ballrooms, ocean front location with a tropical climate,  excellent food and service. Everything they need is right here and it is so much easier for their guests to get to. The resort is situated on 140 acres of Ocean-front in Palm Beach , Florida.  We have 540 guest rooms, two 18 hole golf courses, full service spa, gorgeous beach bungalows, eight restaurants and so many other amenities! 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Coming Soon: Q + A with Joan Bever of The Breakers

The Breakers Palm Beach is one of my favorite hotels for events. They have the most spectacular ballrooms. (See evidence above - The Circle Ballroom is magnificent!) I'm working on a great Q + A with Joan Bever, the Director of Catering and Banquet Operations at The Breakers. Check back soon! xo

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Romantic Napa Valley: Neely + Adam

As people go, there is no one more radiant than Neely. She is bubbly, fun, and simply lovely to be around. Neely is a romantic to the core and really wanted her wedding to be an intimate celebration with close family and friends. We put together a stunning palette of dusty pinks and creams, tons of candlelight, and lots of lush garden roses to create the romantic look she was striving for. Neely and Adam picked one of my favorite private estates in the Napa Valley for their ceremony and reception - a magnificent home with gorgeous gardens and extraordinary outdoor space. And despite the threat of rain on her wedding day, Neely was as bright as the California sunshine.

The ceremony was beautiful. It's simple palette of whites and greens was elevated to ethereal with a lush white rose petal aisle. After the ceremony, guests cocktailed by the pond and indulged in a seafood bar - a favorite of the bride and groom. For dinner, we set 2 long tables with exquisite arrangements of pastel garden roses, dahlias, and hydrangea under a canopy of trees. Ladies were even greeted with a perfectly placed posy at their seat. Guests dined by candlelight and later danced the evening away to the Durell Coleman Band. 

My favorite detail? The long tables with the candles hanging from the trees were perfect for the romantic wedding Neely desired. The combination of the candlelight and laughter from the guests created such a magical evening.

Photography by Meg Smith. Ceremony and reception at a private estate in the Napa Valley. Catering by Paula Le Duc Fine Catering. Flowers by Kathleen Deery Design. Cake by Perfect Endings. Bride's hair and make-up by Wallett. Bride's gown by Oscar de la Renta.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Coming Soon: Romantic Napa Valley

I can't wait to share this incredible wedding with you. It's the definition of romantic. Come back soon! {Photo by Meg Smith}
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