Ep. 27: Preston Bailey

I couldn’t be more thrilled to have best-selling author and internationally renowned event designer, Preston Bailey, as my guest on this week’s Wedding Wisdom Podcast. The endlessly charming and creative artist has truly transcended the wedding/corporate event industry, taking his vision to the wider world.

And, for the engines that helped propel him there, Preston is sincerely and endearingly  grateful — especially for the awe-inspiring triumvirate of women who mentored him to “the next level,” notably…Joan Rivers, Oprah Winfrey and Martha Stewart.

From memories of the rainforest in Panama where he grew up to the sheer bliss of discovering the lush beauty of Washington, D.C. in peak cherry-blossom time, Preston shares so much of himself in our warm and breezy conversation…what a delight! And, our conversation was full of delightful, unexpected turns.

As a matter of fact, halfway through, Preston “took over” our the podcast, and started interviewing me, which was a sweet surprise. Listen to him speak; his is the most endearingly open-hearted laugh I’ve ever heard.

Preston, thank you for stealing away to sit down with me and share an hour of true wedding wisdom.

 

Episode 26: Bill Spinner; The Pierre Hotel

Today’s guest on the Podcast is Bill Spinner, Director of Catering at The Pierre Hotel.  Iconic and timeless — as both a place to stay and/or dine or host or attend an event —  The Pierre is one of the most gracious, luxurious, stylish and truly beautiful places in the city; it’s a New York landmark.  Quite fittingly, and with extraordinary commitment and passion,
Bill brings his own unique brand of elegance and talent as he oversees every aspect of the hotel’s expansive food and beverage operations. And as a bandleader who has had the pleasure of playing parties in almost every exciting and exquisite event space in the city, The Pierre has always been —  hands down — my absolute favorite.

Quite simply, Bill is one of the most beloved people in the event business. He is a true gentleman, dedicated to serving the most elite clientele in Manhattan. And yet, he is also one of the most genuinely down-to-earth, smart, warm and funny people I’ve ever known.

Our conversation wanders over a myriad of subjects, ranging from his years spent working in his parents’ restaurant/hotel business to his experiences at two other venerable venues in Manhattan: Windows on the World and The Rainbow Room.

I really hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did.

Episode 25: Bell Events

 

Despite this week’s lingering heat, I’m hanging onto summer and the last moments of the “lush season” after months of so many beautiful weddings and terrific events…even though September always brings that great “back-to-school” feeling of great new beginnings.

In that spirit, I’m thrilled to bring you a wonderful podcast with the lovely event pros, Susan Bell & Heather Prochorchik of Bell Events.

Our conversation covers myriad fascinating issues that apply to the success of every wedding. Specifically, we looked at the amorphous, hard-to-describe work of a full-service event company like Bell Events, and uncovered how incredibly valuable and important it is to making a wedding an extraordinary event.

Enjoy my chat these two amazing women and then, find out more about them on Pinterest and Instagram (belleventsnyc) and by visiting their gorgeous website at bellevents.com.

I’d also like to acknowledge to generosity of Bill Spinner and The Pierre Hotel for allowing us to use one of their conference rooms for this recording.

 

 

 

Episode 24: Harriette Rose Katz

Every once in a great while, you rub shoulders with greatness.  In fact,  it happened again the other day. Spending an hour in the home of the spectacularly  elegant, quintessentially New York luxury event coordinator, Harriette Rose Katz.  Now I know how Marc Maron felt having President Barack Obama on his podcast, “WTF.”

Impossibly talented with impeccable taste,  the singularly talented HRK has established herself as a constant force in an ever-evolving industry, universally recognized — for decades —  as a true culinary and event innovator, producer and designer. Listen to her recollection of introducing

Peking Duck and Dim Sum as appetizers at the most upscale parties, and you get a hint of her non-stop imagination, energy and sheer business brilliance.  It was an honor and a delight to chat with HRK on a stormy, summer Sunday. Thank you, Harriette.

Enjoy.

Episode 23: Susan Holland

Episode 23 takes us to the busy Fort Greene offices of the extraordinarily charming and creative event designer Susan Holland.

Our conversation ranges from the  delicious tidbit about Susan being credited for introducing sushi and Peking duck as hors d’oeuvres at weddings to experiential marketing.

For over thirty years,  Susan’s aesthetic has shaped everything from the design of fashion shows, branding and concept development for a universe of clients to the way we first met, through her work on galas, non-profit and family events.

Her experience is uniquely diverse — from “ultra-orthodox” Jewish weddings to state dinners at the Obama White House.

I’ve always thought of Susan as the loveliest meteor — a trailblazer full of breakthrough ideas and energy and our conversation captures that feeling. Most of all I’m delighted to call her my friend.

Enjoy,

-Doug         

Episode 22: The Royal Wedding w/ Kate Edmonds

For episode 22, we’re still celebrating the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry to American actress Meghan Markle….especially because I’m sitting down with the equally spectacular Kate Edmonds. I just can’t imagine a better guest with whom to dish about the incredible May 19th event.

 

 

In addition to being one of the most sought-after party planners in Manhattan,  Kate is an expert on all things wedding, and of course, all things British.  Brilliant, funny and filled with insights, it was a delight talking with the lovely Kate.  Enjoy!

Thanks for listening, and take a moment, if you would, to subscribe to the podcast.  Please spread the word. I’m off to prepare for this weekend’s weddings.
All my best,

Doug

Episode 21: Alison Luciano, TPSB

Ep. 21 takes us back up to charming Westport, CT  and “The Plumed Serpent Boutique,” an elegant wedding salon owned and operated by Alison Luciano. From the first sentences we spoke, it was obvious that we got along terrifically well, allowing for the conversation to flow naturally and easily.  I hope you have as good a time listening as I did chatting with this fabulous woman.

I truly hope you enjoy our fast-paced, charming conversation about everything you’d ever want to know about choosing the perfect dress…and where to find it.

Thanks for listening,
Doug

Episode 20: Andy Marcus

Today, it’s my great pleasure to be on the Upper West Side with celebrated photographer Andy Marcus.
We’re meeting at the headquarters of Fred Marcus Studio, in the very same building where his father launched this legendary empire seventy-five years ago.

Soft-spoken,  fascinating and warm, it is easy to understand how Andy’s artistic skills and entrepreneurial spirit took the business in incredible new directions (think: the weddings of everyone from Eddie Murphy to Mary Tyler Moore.)  Beginning where his father left off, Andy grew the studio to extraordinary prominence throughout the world over the course of four decades.                                                                    Today, Andy is still going strong and the legacy continues with his gifted photographer son, Brian Marcus, embodying a new generation carrying the family tradition forward.   Our conversation is a sparkling, sprawling family album that chronicles their exceptional craft and creativity and remarkable accomplishment. 

Sit back and enjoy.

Doug

Episode 19: “Imperfectly Perfect”

When I’m not doing this podcast or practicing tap dance (think Savion Glover) and running Doug Winters Music, one of the things I devote myself to are the couples whose weddings at which my band and I play. In the months (or more) leading up to their big day, I do everything I can to forge a genuine and very strong personal bond with each of my brides and grooms. Invariably, it’s one of the two members of the bridal couple who cares much more about the music and  that person always translates the couple’s most important desires. Most often, it’s the brides with whom I work but occasionally I will run into a music-passionate groom.

So.

A couple of weeks ago I was having one of my daily chats/text repartee with bride-to-be, Denina DePool. And during that conversation, we decided to do something special for this podcast. We decided that we would record an unrehearsed, unstructured “recap” of her wedding day, post-reception. And here it is.

Her beautiful wedding to Miguel Quezada took place on Sunday, March 18th at Sixty5 On Main in charming Nyack, NY. After almost two months of planning our perfect “itinerary” for the evening’s events, our plans went completely out the window when Denina, as she will explain, decided to leave the restaurant and spend a half an hour taking pictures with Miguel, in a park overlooking the Hudson River.

We do  a very “deep-dive” into everything that made the wedding extraordinary. Not the least of which was our mutual desire to toss the aforementioned Itinerary and simply “play it by ear.”  Sometimes, that works really well.

 

I had a wonderful time getting to know Denina during the weeks before her wedding and took great pride in seeing all of her friends and family having a fabulous dance party following their beautiful ceremony. What came out of our post-wedding discussion, or as she cleverly named it, “The Afterglow,” was really fun, and will hopefully give you an insight of how a bandleader and a remarkably cool bride can work seamlessly in producing the “Imperfectly Perfect” wedding.

Enjoy,

-Doug

 

 

 

Episode 18: Gary Foote

The other day, I got a chance to sit down with the extraordinary bassist, Gary Foote. As one of my all-time favorite and most successful Doug Winters Music Alumni, Gary had been part an integral part of Best Kept Secret, full-time, during the late 1990s and early 2000s.

In this conversation, we trace his personal musical history from the very beginning, when Gary was a fourteen-year-old bassist playing local clubs in his native Milwaukee. It was there that he was, unsurprisingly, discovered by jazz legend Billy Cobham. Later, we talk about his long stints traveling with the legendary 70s band, Blood Sweat & Tears, and most recently with the timeless icon, Smokey Robinson.

It’s not a coincidence that Gary spent over 20 years with Blood, Sweat & Tears and is now, spending more than a dozen (and counting) remarkable years on the road with Smokey. It’s the same reason I had always wanted to keep him with Best Kept Secret as long as possible. His astonishing musical virtuosity and unrelentingly positive work ethic, along with his trademark magnetic smile and sheer charisma, make him a highly sought-after and cherished addition to any pop, jazz, funk or rock group.

We also speak, at length, about his wife, Jenny, also a cherished Doug Winters Music Alumni, and her equally successful life as a revered backup vocalist for everyone from Mick Jagger to Chaka Khan. She’s spent the past dozen years touring the world’s most iconic arenas with the artist, Pink.

On a personal note: Gary’s deep-rooted and infectious passion for basketball even rubbed off on my seven year-old son, Ben, who (at 23) is still a lifelong Brooklyn Nets fan; their sweet, shared experience has bonded them for life.

I hope you enjoy this fun, lively conversation with one of my most favorite people, Gary Foote.

Enjoy,

Doug