How to beat the heat for summer weddings

How to beat the heat for summer weddings

It may be summer or global warming, but heat waves are upon us!! Your guests' comfort is important, from the elderly to the youngest guests you want to make sure people are comfortable. Here are my tips and tricks to beat the heat:

Fun in the Sun

(these few tips are great photo ops)

  • Provide paper Parasols to create shade for your guests
  • Double your ceremony programs to also be paper fans.
  • If you're more ceremony is more casual, bring in some small water pistols
  • Create mini cooling tents with chic seating area: you can rent mini portable AC units from Home Depot and put them in mini pop-up tent


  • Offer cold towels; to make them extra special, add some essential oils like lavender or eucalyptus 
  • Provide deodorant in the bathrooms [whether it's hot or not, it's appreciated with all the dancing]
  • Misting station - you can also add essential oils to this!

Sweets and Treats

  • Set up a water station. Or jazz things up with a lemonade and iced tea station
  • Pass frozen fruit, such as grapes or watermelon
  • Boozy pops or boozy snow machines are a great way to cool down
  • Hire an ice cream truck or gelato vendor! 

Making your guests [AND YOU] comfortable can also be memorable. 


The Millennial Bride

While each bride is unique, we've noticed some trends and twists with millennial brides. From glamping, to colored gowns, this generation isn't afraid to take risks. It's new, fun, and completely redefining how we think of weddings. Check out these ten ways millennial brides are changing the game. New traditions are on the scene!
One. What to Wear
Instead of purchase bridesmaids they are looking into alternative ways to rent gowns. This is a game changer, the men have been renting tuxes for years.
Even the men have gotten in to the act with one line TUX rental services, saves them time
Two, Inspiration
They are finding inspiration on and and off-line with Pinterest and Instagram as their main search sites.
Three, Collaboration
The collaborative experience is creating an experience that's more native to this generation, where we're enabling a really fun way for them to pull in the people who matter to them to get their opinion on purchases. We become part of that team or Tribe, it takes a village to host a wedding
Four, Friends first!
Millennials as a generation care more about what their friends and family think about purchases than they do about large brands or institutional opinions.
Five, Sense of Adventure
AIRBNB is their preferred way of travel, they love the convenience and being entrenched in the culture. This is one of my favorite things about the brides, they are adventure seekers and will try anything new
Six, Make it Fun
Its all about the experience, we try to create a party that is exciting and fun and shows who the couple really is.
Seven, Make it Different
Most people have been to so many weddings how do you take the same parameters and make it unique, make it your own.


Is a Destination Wedding the right choice for you?

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Now that you are engaged, you have to ask yourself some thought provoking questions, the following ones will help you determine what is best for you:


1.  Are you a person who is relatively laid back: you must get used to the laid back response and attitude of island personnel

2. Am I OK, if key family members cannot attend: you will get lots of push back for those who cannot afford to attend. You have two options, proceed and host a party for them in the states or pay subsidies for the family members to attend

3. Am I OK with unpredictable weather patterns: even if the weather report says no rain, it can rain without any notice at all.

4. Are you OK with YES mentality: you will receive lots of lip service, but sometimes they just don't understand that you want the wedding to start on time, you are on ISLAND time.

5. Are you flexible: this is a must, you have to flexible to change, temperature, flowers that were not available or worse yet quarantined at the customs for bugs. (yes this does happen)

6. Are you OK with needy guests: word of advice, turn off your phone while on site and hire a point person to handle all the guests questions. 

7. Do you like paperwork? if you are legally getting married at the destination, be prepared for lots of paperwork. The process can be daunting and that is why most couples opt to get married legally in the US, prior to departure to avoid any issues with the legalities involved.

9. Are you OK with travel issue? From cancelled or delayed flights to poor weather conditions, the  travel aspect can be extremely frustrating. Word of advice, make sure all important people arrive 2 days before the scheduled event.  This is a must for your traveling vendors. Never , ever allow them to arrive the day of an event.

10. Be prepared for the unexpected and learn to roll with the punches. Remember the important of the day, you are there to marry the person you love - SHIT HAPPENS!!!

11. Don't sweat the small stuff, take time to GET A MASSAGE!! You will need it!


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Destination Wedding Planning Advice

Destination Wedding Planning Tips!

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You are now newly engaged and want to plan a destination wedding, here are some of my top 10 tips

1. Hire a wedding planner, who is familiar with destination weddings

2. Develop a guest list and budget for your guests to spend on the travel

3. Weather: research the weather patterns for the areas you are considering

4.  Ease of Access: make sure the resort or venue is easy to guests to travel to

5. Travel warnings and advisories: check out the State Department website for such warnings

6. Restrictions: ask about sound restrictions and end times for all events

7. Hire local talent for florals and music

8. Hire photographer from your own country, pictures are worth a 1000 words they are all the memories you have and great ones, make a world of difference

9. Rain Plan: know all the back up plans for each event,  have a plan A, B and C

10. Never, ever pack your gown or the grooms tux, always carry it on board. Airlines are notorious for losing items that we need the most. 

Relax and enjoy the experience ....its a once in a lifetime journey and you must take everything with a grain of salt or sand ....



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6 Favorite Fall Wedding Favors

Fall is almost here! Fall weddings offer unique opportunities to get creative. There are so many possibilities including local handcrafted favors, exclusive fall treats, and leaf art. We love the landscape, color, and festive feel fall weddings create. Check out some of our fall wedding favor ideas and add some of your own!

One. Candied Apples


Fresh-picked apples are one of fall’s tastiest treats. Make a trip to your local grocery store, or enjoy a day apple picking with your honey at a local farm. Granny Smith, Red Delicious, Macintosh, pick your favorites and mix-and-match. Make candied apples to give out as favors and incorporate some fun toppings. We personally love chocolate chips or nuts for a delicious coating. Your fall wedding guests will eat these treats up!


Two. Honey Jars


Consider incorporating mini jars of fresh honey into your fall wedding table décor. The rich colors represent everything fall, and it’s a tasty addition to everyone’s pantry. Place them in mismatched dark brown baskets to complement colors. We love these jars we found with personalized labels!


Three. Peach Preserves


Peaches are another great gift from fall. For your fall wedding create mini jars of peach preserves with cloth fall-hued pouches. Make your own labels to create a sentimental thought that guests can leave with. Reds, browns, oranges, are just a few beautiful fall colors to work with. The cloth pouches are a unique touch over a traditional jar lid!


Four. Copper-dipped Leaf Ornaments

We might be biased to this idea for your fall wedding… we love copper! Take on this simple DIY project to create elegant fall-inspired ornaments. Your guests will enjoy a true-to-life piece of fall all year round. The copper coating is chic and perfect for your fall wedding. Take a hike with your sweetheart and collect the perfect leaves for these favors.



Five. Donut & Apple Cider Bar

These are the exclusive fall treats we were talking about earlier. Set up a donut and cider bar at your fall wedding for guests to create gift bags. We may even dare to suggest spiking a batch of apple cider for cocktail hour. If you want to give your guests the full taste of fall this is the ticket.


Six. Feather Masks

Give your fall wedding a masquerade flare by incorporating feather masks to get ready for Halloween! Hand them out at cocktail hour and give your guests a chance to play dress-up. This simple Halloween-inspired fall wedding favor is just too fun to skip.

Rustic Barn Wedding

Barn weddings have become quite popular over the last couple years and we are absolutely thrilled. It is truly an amazing space to utilize for an utterly gorgeous and romantic evening. We've worked with several barn wedding spaces over the years, each offering a different experience. Some barns are built for weddings, and others are created from scratch for the simple purpose of true love. I am thinking of one wedding in particular - Branchville NJ's very own Rustic Barn Wedding. Let me take you on a tour and get inspired!

The couple wanted their wedding to be held in a local horse training ring. We mean it - it was a horse training ring before we go our hands on it. It had beautiful exposed wood beams, plenty of natural sunlight, and oh so much potential. We regret not taking before pictures because the end game was truly a masterpiece. We love that our clients saw potential in this. We quickly set to work to install wood flooring right over the dirt ground. 

The couple wanted to stay authentic in their endeavor for the perfect rustic barn wedding. We incorporated this by using horseshoes to hold escort cards, barn animals, and local artisans. We love how each piece of the wedding represented a natural state of country living. The imagination of the team was endless.

Burlap was used throughout the reception area to keep with the rustic theme. Table runners, silverware holders, and floral arrangements all incorporated elegant burlap. Hay bales were used during cocktail hour to display drinks for the guests. Each element was hand crafted to create this whimsical rustic theme. While taking in the finished product at the wedding, we were truly blown away by each detail. Nothing was left unpolished.

We were overjoyed to find that our client obsessed over details just as much as we do. They even provided their very own wagon to add to the rustic theme! We used suspended lanterns throughout the barn reception to create elegant rustic lighting. We found ourselves being pulled in every direction with the camera, each corner begging for their chance in the spotlight. 

Each item used for this rustic barn wedding was up-cycled to create a new life. A bench turned into a flower display, a classic wooden barrel used as a cake display, and many other items were repurposed in the name of love. It was all in the details for this one!

Each guest left this rustic wedding feeling as through they spent the evening in a fairytale. The couple's dreams of a rustic barn wedding came to life that day in every way they could have imagined. We were honored to work with such a beautiful couple and help them fulfill their dreams of the perfect rustic barn wedding. We are inspired for years to come.

2017 Six Favorite Wedding Trends

The halfway mark of the year has come and passed, and although we still have a lot to look forward to in 2017, we thought it was time to look back and reflect on all the things we love from this year. Do I hear fabulous wedding trends? Yes, yes I do! Some years we expect certain things to get its chance to shine, and other times we are literally floored by the unique trends taking the spotlight, in a good way. We’ve complied some of our favorites from this year so far. We love the fact that most of these trends seem timeless, and we’d like to keep them in our back pockets forever. They’re that good.


One. Cake Cake Cake


Leave the fondant at the bakery this wedding season because we’ve got a new trend in town – translucent cakes! The naked cake peeks out from under delicately applied frosting, giving you an elegant look. We love this top wedding trend because it’s chic, classy, and whimsical. Instead of fondant flowers, incorporate fresh flowers into your wedding cake. This authentic route is perfect for rustic, fairytale, and chic weddings alike. Bonus: these photograph beautifully!


Two. Creative Invitations



Save the dates and invitations will be your guests first glimpse into your elegant wedding. Think outside the box and create something that will be sure to get everyone excited. These days most people dread the mail; it’s full of bills, offers, and coupons we’ll never use despite our good intentions. We love the idea of making the invitations interactive. Make sure you save a copy for yourself!


Three. Look Up


As wedding planners, we absolutely obsess over details. That being said, we love that this year overhead wedding décor is getting some serious attention. This is one of the best ways to achieve the ambiance you’re looking for during your special day. Overhead décor is extremely versatile; think Edison bulbs, floral arrangements, and greenery, anything you can imagine. It creates the ultimate romantic feels.


Four. Have a Blast

Incorporating classic backyard games into your wedding will certainly be a hit. Give your guests some time to enjoy the sunshine and get a little competitive during the reception. We love the adorable personalized corn hole! You may even consider doing games during cocktail hour. Either way, this 2017 wedding trend is right up our alley.


Five. Did Somebody Say Rosé? 


Oh rosé, we love drinking it, wearing it, decorating with it, all things rosé. We are so excited that this color scheme is all the rage in 2017. We will be the advocates for it to stay! Rosé is wonderful because it is truly the color of elegance. It goes great with all the neutrals of a rustic themed wedding, and will add to the romantic atmosphere. Flowers, linens, centerpieces, and any other aspect of your wedding will benefit from a pop of rosé.


Six. Foodie Food Trucks



Food trucks have been popular to the public for a few years now, so it was only a matter of time before people realized they would be a great addition at weddings. We think this is a unique idea for any outside wedding, especially for cocktail hour. Make each truck elegantly unique to the food they serve. Personalize them by adding your favorite foods, and don’t forget to dress them up! Foodies rejoice, food trucks are here to stay.


Il Tesoro “Treasure”

This perfectly named Italian destination is truly a hidden gem. As a Bed and Breakfast, yoga retreat, wedding, or an escape from reality Il Tesoro is exactly what you dreamed. This farm to table establishment has been family owned and operated for over fifteen years. It offers luxury comfort that feels like your own la famiglia. 


Owners Rita and Massimo welcome you to their humble abode beginning at the airport. They provide personal transportation through the Tuscany countryside to their treasure near Umbria and Orvieto. The journey begins the moment you leave the airport, taking in the beautiful scenery among the rolling hills overlooking Tuscany. 



Upon arrival, capture the true treasures of Il Tesoro by taking a cooking class, going truffle hunting with the adorable Pepe, or taking a wild boar safari on the family farm. No matter what you choose the memories of this experience will last a lifetime.


The sacred family mealtime will be ever present in your experience at Il Tesoro. All meals are prepared by grandma Carmella who prides herself on her secret ingredient; love. Enjoy wood fired pizza on the property, beside the weeping willow tree, or venture into the forest near their gristmill where they grind their farm faro grain. You’ll be pleased to find the wood fired pizza has a second location in the forest! 


As if this treasure could get any better, wake up each morning with an authentic Italian foam-covered cappuccino to start your day. Il Tesoro is even dreamier than the mind can imagine! 

10 Outdoor Summer Wedding Ideas

Summer is so close we can almost taste it! With blazing weather just around the corner we wanted to share some tips on how to keep your wedding guests happy, and on the dance floor. From the ceremony to the last dance your, everyone will be cool, calm, and comfortable. Who said practical had to be boring?!

Providing essentials to keep guests comfortable will be key in making your wedding the one to remember. Think of these as elegant survival kits. Mini bug sprays, cool towels, and paper parasols for an outdoors ceremony are just a few we found too charming to resist.

Treats to cool down might be our personal favorite. These colorful combinations are not only aesthetically pleasing, but oh so practical! A fruit infused water station, passed mini sorbets or popsicles, and of course a personalized ice cream station are just a few ideas. The possibilities are truly endless. Let your creativity shine!

Providing shade for your guests during the ceremony and reception is essential. Take it an extra step with personalized sunscreen and fans instead of a program. Your guests will surely be thankful. These DIY programs double as fans for guests to use before, during, or after the ceremony. We love when usefulness meets elegance! Hand out sunscreen to your wedding guests with your name, date, and a personalized message.

Refreshing Summer Wedding Hors d’oeuvres and Boozy Delights

The cocktails and cuisine served at your wedding are key aspects. Why not combine nourishment with elegance on your big day? Your guests will be in awe of these summer wedding treats.

This DIY sangria bar is perfect for summer weddings. Guests can make their own concoctions, mixed with their favorite fruits, all in a much-loved mason jar. During cocktail hour offer liquor infused iced pops to keep guests cool. 

Consider bite-sized hors d’oeuvres that will be sure to impress. Cold soups, think gazpacho or strawberry soup, are perfect on hot summer wedding days. They’re easy to eat, keep your guests cool, and are delightfully elegant.

Ahh, fruit infused water. This is hands-down the simplest, chicest, most colorful way to keep your guest hydrated. Summertime weddings mean fresh summer fruit! Combine all the fruits you love for a rainbow mix, or separate them out. The flavor combinations are truly endless.

Cool down cocktail hour with these simple ideas that guests will rave about. Mini ice cream cones, or ice cream sandwiches, are a fan favorite. We love the idea of playing with flavor combinations, and colors, to make them unique. It’s also been a proven fact that people love food on a stick! This works perfectly for a summer wedding. Pick your favorite BBQ recipe, put it on a skewer, and enjoy.

Keep your summer wedding local with farm-to-table inspired cuisine. From the sangria to the mini ice cream cones fresh and local is always an option. The food is likely to be one of the most remembered aspects of your big day! Make it stand out.

All of these ideas combine character, elegance, and practicality. Each small detail of your summer wedding is important and ought be a reflection of your personality. 

Banyan Tree Mayakoba - Tranquility meets Rivera Maya

Banyan Tree Mayakoba - Tranquility meets Rivera Maya



Mayakoba is man made property with a lagoon filled with fish and bird species and has a carefully preserved ecosystem.

Banyan Tree Mayakoba is the epitome of luxury resort living, bringing Asian hospitality to the  Riviera Maya. Nestled within the private gated  resort development of Mayakoba, immerse yourself in untouched nature complemented with the Riviera Maya luxury resort's familiar warmth and charm. This resort is home to some of natures most amazing flora and fauna. Enjoy a guided eco adventure boat tour, hosted by one of their nature specialist.

The Asian inspired villas, each host a wonderful plunge pool allowing you to relax while enjoying the sounds of the wildlife that fills the area. Many rooms even offer a private outdoor bathtub that has a candle wall behind you to touch on the senses. The villas each offer private lush, landscaped gardens that just brings that zen feeling to life.

You will be greeted in the lobby by one of the spa therapists who will give you a welcome back rub while you are met by an inviting drink. Sometimes you will even find a monkey taking a seat, just relaxing as you are checking in. Even the wildlife feels at home at this property.

Enjoy dinner in of the many restaurants, you have five wonderful options to tantalize your taste buds. The chef is beyond amazing at accommodating all your special requests:

Saffron - offers a wonderful Thai Cuisine

LaCopa - outdoor rooftop terrace offering, tapas and light cuisine

LaCava - is a private wine cellar, seating 14 people, perfect for small private dinner

Oriente Restaurant - offers international cuisine, but famous for the Tomahawk Steak, we relished in this divine steak and they accented it with sea bass atop salt slabs, which was simply divine.

Tamarind - is the fine dining spices where natural ingredients fuse with the local flavors of the region

Tapas Cruise - this is by far one of my favorite elements of this property, enjoy a relaxing cruise down the canals while sipping margaritas and enjoying tapas

The Spa, one must experience their world class spa. From the moment you enter the rain forest room to the multi jet pool and then into the private spa villa, you are pampered, relaxed and just put into state of utter bliss.

This property has an amazing white washed palapa, perfect for that beach wedding, only steps from the ocean.

Ceremonies can be held on the beach or off the main lobby - the possibilities of this property are endless. 

I became a believer once I experienced this resort and plan on spending many vacations here not to mention sending my clients here to create memories that last a lifetime. 







Lobby Terrace

Lobby Terrace

Seaside pool at Banyan Tree Mayakoba

Seaside pool at Banyan Tree Mayakoba

Wedding Contest 4/11-5/11


Calling all newly engaged couples! Do you want your wedding dreams to come true? Do you have a romantic, charming, or hilarious proposal story?? We want to hear it! Tell us your proposal story to win a FREE wedding package! The package includes engagement portrait session with, a FREE planning session with, a complimentary hair and makeup package for the bride on her big day, AND a 2 night stay in a luxury villa with breakfast included at Viceroy’s Rivieria Maya property!

Entry options:

1) Email your submissions to

2) Post a photo or video and a description of your romantic, charming, or hilarious proposal story tagging @elegantoccasions and #hashtagging #beaguestatyourownevent. Be sure to include a picture of you and your honey; bonus points for creativity!!


***This contest will run until May 11th, 2016. Best of Luck!


**Follow us on Instagram @joanngregoli where we will post some of the proposal submissions!




Mother of the Bride Tips

The day of your daughter’s wedding may just be the best day of your life. Watching her recite vows in front of your closest friends and family is something you’ve dreamed about all your life and now it’s here! Take a deep breath. It’s going to be a wildly emotional day and you’re going to want to remember every minute of it.

Here are 12 tips that I learned from my own daughter's wedding:

1. Remember to remain calm. No matter what your daughter is freaking out about you are the voice of reason.

2. Be prepared with tips for the bellmen, hair and makeup artists, and other personnel who go above and beyond on the big day.

3. Make sure you have a timeline. The planner normally provides this, but be sure to have a copy of the schedule.

4. Have all emergency contact numbers in your phone (just in case).

5. Assign someone to assist with the crowd at the ceremony. The planner will be there to help you, but you must be in control of everyone.

6. Take time to have a private moment with your daughter and give her support and advice.

7. Make up a shot list for the photographer. I remind my brides about this all the time–but still totally forgot when it came time for compiling my own!

8. See the ceremony/reception room and take in all the details before the guests arrive. Marvel at and appreciate what your daughter has created.

9. Eat! Have breakfast with your daughter and make sure you eat something during the reception. It’s easy to forget with all the excitement!

10. Enjoy. Sit back and take it all in. It goes fast.

11. Get off your seat and get out there on the dance floor. And don’t forget to dance with your new son-in-law!

12. Show gratitude to every single person who helped to create the most memorable day of your and your daughter’s life. Send a note or gift to all involved–it makes a world of difference.


Considering a destination wedding?

Working in this industry for many years, I've found that because destination weddings are filled with travel, activities, new sites, etc. they tend to be very memorable. In addition, hosting a destination wedding allows you to spend quality time with your family and friends over a longer period of time. When I talk with my clients who are torn about having a local or destination wedding, we usually review these few points: 

How do I choose a location? The location should be a true representation of your personality. Most couples will pick a location based upon their vacations or the location where they met or even where they were engaged. 

Embrace the destination. If you dreamed of a castle in Ireland, you will experience the beauty of the region around you. Enjoy the culture, experience, and food and have fun.

How does this affect our guest list? The most important people will attend, thus reducing your ever-growing guest list by more than half. This upside not only helps with the overall budget, but it also gives you more quality time with close family and friends. A destination wedding can also become a vacation for the guests, giving them a reason to step away from their day-to-day routine to spend three unforgettable days in a great spot. If you give your guests a 9-12 month lead time, they will be able to plan accordingly.

What are the differences in planning our budget? This is my favorite part. Instead of spending the money on a five hour event, you will get three days of fun with family and friends. You are essentially spending the money for a longer period of party time. 

What will we do there? Enjoy the experiences offered at the destination. While in Italy host some cooking classes or wine tasting tours. In the Cayman Islands swim with the stingrays and in Hawaii enjoy snorkeling.

Incorporate the culture into the plans and activities. In Italy we love to hire mandolin and accordion players to serenade our guests. In Mexico hire a Mariachi band on welcome night. In Hawaii, don't miss out on a hula dance!

It's also worth pointing out that any place can be a destination. If you live in San Francisco, you're a stones-throw away from Napa. Hosting your wedding in a place that might be local for you can still be a destination for your guests.

Welcoming your guests!

Welcome bags are a fun part of destination planning. You want to make a great first impression when your guests arrive at the location.

Greet your guests with items that are native to the region in which they are traveling to. 

Think about some of your favorite snacks that will make your friends and family think of you when they see them. Do you always reach for Salt & Vinegar chips? Consider throwing in a very "you" item. One of my favorites was when everyone knew the groom was really into Spider-Man - everyone received a Spider-Man comic book.

Start with the following items for your bags: 

  • Map of the region
  • Restaurant guide
  • Timeline of the weekend activities
  • Bottles of water
  • Salty snacks (chips, pretzels, popcorn, or nuts) 
  • Sweet snacks (chocolates, candy, or fruit) 

Want to get a little more creative? Consider:

  • The type of bag - tote bags, gift bags, old-school tin lunchboxes, gable boxes, etc.
  • Make the snack local! Find a local bakery that can package up some cookies or a favorite local taffy or candy!
  • Add a custom tag that matches your theme. 
  • Add an after party Hangover Kit filled with Advil, Alka Seltzer, Tums, eye drops, Emergen-C, tea bags, etc.
  • For planned group activities include some gear. For example, basic snorkeling equipment, sunscreen, and Aloe Vera. 
  • Use the welcome bag to add the wedding favor. We had a couple who took photos of every guest the first night. We put those photos in a special frame and added them to the welcome bags that night! 
  • Personalized towels, hats, or t-shirts are always fun to help continue the theme.