Archive for the ‘Celebrity Wedding’ Category

Q&A with Celebrity Destination Wedding Planner Lisa Vorce

Friday, July 7th, 2017

Writer: Natasha Garber

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Photo: Caroline Tran

While a good connection might open the door, you need major talent to step through and succeed…especially in Hollywood. Just ask Los Angeles-based event expert Lisa Vorce, who, in the midst of a less-than-satisfying career as an IT consultant and programmer, began throwing parties for her husband’s talent-agent uncle. “My first party was for George Clooney’s mother,” she says. Not bad, we say. Here, the planner behind such high-profile nuptials as Chrissy Teigen and John Legend’s gorgeous Italian villa “I do’s,” shares her experience and advice on her favorite of all events: the ultra-relaxing, totally indulgent, celebrity-style destination wedding.

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Photo: Aaron Delesie | © John Legend

Weddings in Houston: You’re known for creating some of the most beautiful destination weddings on the planet. What are some of the toughest destinations you’ve had to work in, and how did you manage to pull off flawless weddings in these spots?

Lisa Vorce: Well you’re asking someone who doesn’t like to work in the same location more than once, and someone who is happiest in the most exotic of locales, so I tend to thrive on all things challenging. In fact, the more challenging, the better for me! Vietnam and Bali are two of the most difficult locales I’ve worked in, simply because they are non-Western cultures. My favorite part of working in these amazing destinations is the “reconnaissance mission” I typically do at the beginning of our process. Through lots of exploration—I get to know local artisans, experts from the area, local foliage and flowers, menu specialties etc.—I have been met with so much kindness and talent around the world, it’s amazing!

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Photo: Jose Villa

WIH: How should a couple go about choosing their wedding locale?

LV: It’s a bit of a puzzle, and the stars need to align properly. There is a giant matrix that we use when vetting venues for my clients: distance, ease of travel, curfew, weather backups, venue capacities, accommodation capacities, food and beverage costs, etc. Some additional things couples should consider: How close is the wedding location to the airport? Do guests have to hop on a boat or rent a car? Do guests need visas or a Hep-C shot? Is there political unrest or another potentially tricky situation (e.g. Zika virus) that needs to be navigated?

Sourcing the perfect venue is a little bit like purchasing a home. It takes a lot of effort and time. Couples need to make sure they are taking into account all of the above and not just the aesthetics. Aesthetics are incredibly important, but everything else needs to be in the right place, too. And like buying a new home, couples need to prioritize their “must-haves” over their “nice-to-haves.”

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Photo: Elizabeth Messina

WIH: What’s the most important factor a couple needs to consider when planning a destination wedding?

LV: Budget and personality are really important and non-negotiable. But guest experience is really my thing. This is so important to me for my clients. Ultimately, the best weddings are those where the guests can’t stop talking about how much fun they had. Guest experience has a great deal to do with hospitality—and Texan hospitality is legendary, so I am going to assume you are experts in this matter! Just as you would welcome a guest to your home with a beautiful meal, fresh linens and engaging activities, when guests travel to your wedding, you want to provide them with hospitality all along the way.

Once your guests arrive at the location, have someone available from the wedding party or planning team who can answer their questions, greet them and hold their hand along the way. Adding helpful info to your wedding website (if you opt to do one) is incredibly handy for guests as well. For me, some of the most amazing destinations are the hardest to get to, but it’s important to balance that with the guest experience. If they are going to travel a long way, what’s the “wow” factor when they get there? Provide them with some amazing activities and adventures: Think Mayan ruins in Tulum, or maybe a cooking class in Italy. It is important that you make your guests feel safe, happy and entertained, but also give them enough down time for relaxation and exploration.

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Photo: Aaron Delesie

WIH: We like the sound of that! So tell us: What are some of the coolest local activities you’ve helped plan for destination wedding groups.

LV: Planning guest activities really depends on the location as well as the inclination of the couple. As soon as the couple determines their destination, my team goes to work to find out what’s special and fun to do at that destination. Golf and spa treatments are usually must-haves. One of my couples recently treated guests to a mobile cryogenic spa. It was very popular! Some of my favorite activities, however, have had to do with what the specific destination has to offer, from yacht parties in St. Barts, to cheese-making in Tuscany, to lace-making in Puglia…. I’ve also created activities based on couples’ family traditions. For example, we had a baseball field and custom scoreboard created for one couple. Each team had their signature baseball jerseys. It was amazing. We’ve done custom backyard and board games for other couples. It is very joyful to see the wedding couple and their guests take part in these activities!

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Photo: Jose Villa

WIH: What are your favorite ways to incorporate a couple’s tastes and background, along with local customs and flavors, into the wedding menu—whether at a destination site, or at a wedding closer to home?

LV: I start by listening to and observing the couple. Sometimes it’s fun to imbue couples’ personalities into the tiniest unexpected details. For example, in one wedding, we incorporated tumbleweed. Now, that may not sound pretty, but tumbleweed actually makes incredible natural, multi-dimensional sculptures.

A Texas bride of mine had a connection to gemology, so we incorporated a malachite pattern into the invites, menus and tabletop. Oh—and one of my favorite things to do, if I’m doing a wedding indoors, is to replace the artwork of the venue with artwork that represents the clients’ aesthetic. So in the case of the malachite wedding, huge malachite prints were delicately overlayed onto venue artwork. It’s so much fun when guests notice those extra touches.

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Photo: Elizabeth Messina

WIH: We love destination weddings, but we know that planning a wedding outside of one’s comfort zone is not without potential conflicts. How do you help your clients navigate these?

LV: For destination weddings especially, guest invites can be a big challenge. Each “constituent”—MOB, MOG, bride and groom—usually has a valid reason for adding a guest…or 10. But these numbers quickly add up. Sometimes it creates a cost issue, but it can also create a space issue, for example, if the venue holds 120 persons maximum. I usually play “wedding diplomat” in these situations, and remind everyone that at the end of the day, they all want the same thing: a beautiful wedding and an unforgettable celebration with their nearest and dearest.

As for keeping a limited guest count for your intimate, remote-location wedding…remember, Texas is a great place to do a big barbecue and party with ALL your favorite people once you return from your destination!

LisaVorce_Copyright John Legend 2013_Lake Como_Aaron Delesie_0045-11x17-HI-RES Photo: Aaron Delesie |© John Legend

What Can Be Learned From Chelsea’s Wedding?

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Now that the guests (and throngs of reporters and camera crews) have all gone home, and Chelsea Clinton and new hubby Marc Mezvinsky are settling into what will hopefully be a long and loving married life, we’ve had a chance to think about what Houston brides can learn from the presidential daughter’s wedding.

First off: Go big, if you will, but don’t go over the top. Chelsea didn’t have much choice when it came to the size of her invite list (about 400 guests reportedly attended the Rhinebeck, N.Y. nuptial celebration), but she did have many choices when it came to the scale of her wedding’s design. With help from Boston-based wedding planner Bryan Rafanelli, Chelsea kept things simple and elegant, relying heavily on the inherent beauty of the Beaux-Arts-style Astor Courts, her wedding venue.

Also: Make it about YOU. Yes, Chelsea had a LOT of folks to please, from her president dad to her secretary-of-state mom to her fiance’s family, heads of state, dignitaries and Hollywood types, not to mention her own dear friends and colleagues, and Marc’s, too. But she still managed to have her wedding align with her personality and tastes. Case in point: Chelsea, a vegan, might not have expected EVERYONE to eat an entirely animal-product-free menu (heck, the girl served shortribs!), but she did insist on a gorgeous, and, we hear, absolutely delicious, gluten-free, vegan wedding cake, from La Tulipe Desserts. After all, what good is a wedding cake if the bride herself can’t eat it?

And finally: Have fun! Even while a no-fly zone was in effect overhead and security swarmed the Astor Courts grounds, Chelsea still managed to have a great time at her wedding—AND make it fun for guests. The bride, groom and family members (yup, including President Clinton) got hoisted in chairs for a traditional hora just like at every Jewish wedding everywhere (Marc and his family are Jewish), the 18-piece big-band ensemble had folks kicking up their heels on the dance floor, and the after-party on the tennis courts, which featured ’80s classics and top-40 hits, apparently had revelers raging until after 4 a.m.!

So we say, thank you, Chelsea, for showing us how it’s done. And congratulations!

For a great rundown on why Chelsea Clinton is such an inspiring bride, and a bit on Chelsea’s wedding in the annals of presidential-children’s-weddings history, click here. Enjoy!

RELATED POSTS:
https://www.weddingsinhouston.com/blog/2010/04/flower-powered-wedding-cakes/
https://www.weddingsinhouston.com/blog/2010/01/reception-decor-inspiration-taylor-creative-weddings/
https://www.weddingsinhouston.com/blog/2010/04/daytime-wedding-wow/

Wedding Music Alternatives

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Don’t know why, but we’re in a musical mood today. Maybe it’s because we were just grooving to this
sweetly hilarious song (scroll down to Bulletin Board) from KRBE’s Special K and Phoenix created specially for Roula Christie and hubby Tasos Kostas in honor of their recent wedding (how cool is THAT)?

Well, whatever the reason, we’re all excited to talk tunes—specifically, slightly offbeat, but truly sensational alternatives to the standard Ceremony Strings, Cocktail Combo, Party DJ triumvirate.

OK, so everyone loves a good string section at a wedding ceremony. But instead of lulling guests with the sonorous sounds of acoustic music, why not go electric? We’re not talking Hendrix here, but instead the marvelously deep, rich sound of an electric harp. Or how about an electric violin, assisted by a loop station, which lets the performer play multiple parts in real time—along the lines of this violinist, playing Pachelbel’s Canon in D , an enduring ceremony favorite. Imagine how beautiful this would sound in your ceremony site…

As for the cocktail interlude before the big bash, we love the idea of music with a theme. You might not want to have bluegrass fiddlers or a tabla-sitar combination or soundtrack music from your favorite science fiction flicks for the ENTIRE night, but the cocktail reception is a great place to personalize your wedding with music that means something special to you and your new spouse. Coordinate hors d’oeuvre and/or specialty cocktails with your themed music for a true guest treat!

At dinner, it’s all about dancing. But that doesn’t mean you have to stick strictly to pop classics, beloved oldies and wedding standards, Houston bride. Have your DJ mix it up a little with music that might be unfamiliar or unexpected—but is irresistible to dancers. We’re fans of Egyptian belly-dancing music, Bhangra remixes, Turkish Darbuka drumming, Cuban hip-hop, South African choir music, Southern gospel—we could go on and on, but our feet are tired!

Just promise us one thing: No Chicken Dance. Really.

Roula’s Real Wedding

Monday, January 11th, 2010
Real Wedding: Roula Christie to Tasos Kostas

Real Wedding: Roula Christie to Tasos Kostas

If you’ve perused our fabulous new February issue—and if you haven’t, what are you waiting for, Houston bride?—you’ve likely checked out our story on the Oct. 24 wedding of 104.1 KRBE’s Roula Christie to Tasos Kostas. We are thrilled to feature Houston radio star Roula’s magnificent reception at the Omni Houston Hotel (and may we offer our mea culpa—we referred to Roula as co-host of the Roula & Ryan show, when, in fact, she’s one of the few women in radio to have her own show: You go, girl!). And we’re even more thrilled to have had a chance to speak with Roula recently about how planning and having a wedding—and BOY, what a wedding—has impacted her life as Radio Roula.

First off, let’s just get this out there in the open: Roula loves her job. No, we mean she REALLY loves it. Why? “I think it’s that people always surprise you,” she tells us. “It’s different in TV—you don’t know anything about the personality of the anchor. They’re just there to deliver the news. But for radio, especially for our show, we are the actual people on the air. You get emotionally attached.” With that kind of audience connection, it’s no surprise that when Roula got engaged to Tasos, she talked about it, LOTS, and her listeners weighed in.

But there were limits to Roula’s revelations. “I shared as much as I could…but I didn’t want to give away the farm before the wedding happened.” Plus, she admits, “I was a little worried about people who might try to crash the wedding—not that they’d mean any harm, but that was NOT the day I wanted to be a radio personality.” So how did keeping details under wraps work out for the ever honest and outspoken Roula? “It was SUPER hard to do!”

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In the end, Roula and Tasos had the wedding of their dreams, and the couple are loving their newlywed life. Roula credits her hubby big time for accommodating her morning-radio schedule, and the 4 a.m. alarm that goes with it—yikes! “Poor thing,” she says. “I try to say, ‘Go back to sleep,’ but…” Luckily, the happy Houston bride notes, “He’s totally 100 percent fine with it. And that’s why we work as a couple.”

With wedding planning behind her and married bliss ahead, Roula’s got a few things to say (shocking, huh?) to Houston brides-to-be: “Don’t let planning become your job. Don’t make it your life, or you’re going to be disappointed when it’s over.” As for weddings themselves, Roula’s a huge fan of showing off Houston’s best to guests (another shocker, right?). Her own event, for instance, featured Shipley’s Do-Nuts, delivered fresh to visiting guests’ hotel rooms on the morning of the wedding, and welcome bags that paid homage to her favorite Houston attractions. Whatever you choose to highlight at your own wedding, make it personal, Roula says. “Show them those fun little things you and your groom love to do—give them some insight to who you are as a couple.”

Words to wed by, Roula. Thanks, and congratulations to you and Tasos!