Ep. 44 Allyson Joseph, Bob Gail Events

Allyson Joseph is the co-owner of the family-owned Los Angeles based wedding-industry giant, Bob Gail Events.

Warm, funny, incredibly smart and gracious, she’s a remarkably accomplished young woman. Who sends hand-written thank you notes to vendors post-events? The same person who wrote her Masters thesis about the theoretical perspectives of the wedding and event industry, crowdsurfed at her own wedding and launched her career with an internship at Danny Meyer’s Union Square Cafe  before heading back to run the company business in L.A. Only the extraordinary Allyson Joseph.

From tales of Clinton’s Inaugural Ball to installing a scaffold dance floor over a pool to spontaneous/”surprise” event planning, our conversation is bright, fast-paced, engaging and lively, filled with informative and entertaining stories of weddings she has produced from Southern California to Tuscany and points all over the globe…Her thoughtful, meaningful words ask and speak volumes when Allyson muses about the “motivation behind the spend,” or explains that, of course, “lighting is everything.”

Allyson has a great deal of terrific advice for brides and grooms which you’ll hear in the episode ahead, but one of the best I’ve yet to hear is to “decide to enjoy yourself” at your own wedding. And, in that spirit, I invite you to simply enjoy the extraordinarily inventive, creative and inspiring Allyson Joseph on this episode 44 of the podcast.

 

Episode 43: Jennifer Zabinski

Episode 43 take us to the Upper East Side headquarters of world-acclaimed event producer, Jennifer Zabinski. Jennifer is at the very top of the list of the world’s most elite wedding planners in both VOGUE and Harper’s BAZAAR Magazines,  among many other noteworthy publications.  Having produced the celebrity wedding of Serena Williams to Reddit founder, Alexis Ohanian, is only one of Jennifer’s dynamic and (quite recent)  list of extraordinary accomplishments.

Starting her career at the prestigious school of Hotel Management at Cornell, and then learning the luxury market with stints at both the Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton Hotels, the incredibly well-spoken, knowledgeable and quite humble Jennifer sat for over an hour with me, doling out brilliant pearls of “wedding wisdom,” as well as exploring the little-understood challenges — and unforgettable rewards of destination weddings, whether the celebration is held on a remote ranch in Wyoming or in Capri, along the glorious Amalfi Coast or some desert…anywhere.   Jennifer demystified the destination wedding, explaining that…at that aforementioned ranch wedding in Wyoming, it was very important to the bride and groom to give their guests experiences they’d never forget– from riding horses to archery, paintball to hiking, and much more. In fact, translating each couple’s very specific wishes and desires is what Jennifer does best, along with striking a balance at every wedding, including presenting the “high and the low,”  and her desire to utilize local resources whenever possible, as a strategic producer’s moves as well as a way to keep budgets in check. Our fast-paced, far-ranging podcast covers hidden costs, taxes and currency fluctuations to the importance of always expecting the unexpected…and so much more. Listen and enjoy!

 

Ep. 42: Chef Anand

 

Episode 42 brings me to the corner of 28th St. and Lexington Ave, the home of superstar Chef Gaurav Anand’s Bhatti Indian Grill. After treating me to an incredible and authentic north Indian feast and introducing me to his good friend,  producer & celebrity, DJ  Shadow Dubai, we sat down to record the podcast. Thank you, Chef Gaurav, for taking the time (you’ll hear the sound of a packed lunch crowd in the background!) out of your day to introduce me to the beauty and nuances of Indian cuisine and so much more.  From the charm and excitement, magic, meaning and music of every Indian wedding to the “explosion of flavor” (think: many exotic spices) inherent in every Indian dish;  the health benefits of ghee (aka clarified butter) to his realization as a law student that he loved food much more than contracts and the Indian equivalent of torts which led to a huge new career direction; the very welcome changed perception of Indian cuisine in America to the  influence of Instagram and much more…my conversation with this extraordinary self-taught chef (whose expertise in the kitchen extends far beyond Indian food),  was as delicious as his exquisite food and over way too soon.  But, even if we don’t sit down again very soon for another podcast, I’ll be back to Bhatti with my wife and sons — they all love Indian cuisine — to treat them to an unforgettable meal. Visit Bhatti Indian Grill yourself — you’re in for a treat…but first, enjoy our fascinating and fast-moving conversation.

 

Ep. 41 Ira Levy

For this episode, I headed to Brooklyn — and the incredible 7,000 square feet of raw space that is home to Lytehouse Studio and Levy NYC Design and Production — to explore the extraordinary world of lighting with tech wizard and lighting guru, the exceptionally gifted and talented Ira Levy.

As a pre-med sophomore at Stony Brook University, Ira attended a student-run concert by the iconic 80s rock band, “The Pretenders.” Captivated by the entire spectacle,  he joined the “concert committee” the next day, beginning a lifetime career as an iconic innovator in the fields of lighting, sound and video for weddings, corporate functions and any other conceivable live events.

We talked, in depth, about the magic of lighting and the mystery of how “the light starts on the ceiling and the beam ends up on the table and there’s nothing in between.”

Thanks for everything, Ira.
-Doug

Ep. 40 Rachel Dalton

The effervescent and stunning President and Founder of her namesake company,  Rachel Dalton is my remarkably accomplished latest guest. As an attorney who practiced corporate and entertainment  law in NYC before starting her own boutique entertainment company,  Rachel specializes in securing and producing any type of celebrity talent for all kinds of events and customizes once in a lifetime unique experiences. So when her  phone rings lately, it might very well be a client on the other end with the question: “Can you get me Ed Sheeran to sing “Perfect” at a wedding?” And her answer is always “of course.”

It all began when her boss asked “who can produce James Taylor in our client’s backyard?” and Rachel answered, “I can.” The rest is history, and from NeYo serenading the bride at a wedding at Cipriani Wall Street to backstage with Jim Gaffigan in the “green room,” you will love Rachel’s open, warm, intimate conversation with me about working with celebrities. As she explains, “it’s all in the contracts.” Don’t miss our fabulous talk with the brains and beauty behind this fascinating business.  Enjoy.

Ep. 39 Michael and Anna Costa

Episode 39 features a fascinating conversation with Anna Costa, one half of the Santa Barbara-based husband-and-wife team of Michael and Anna Costa Photography.

Their extraordinary work is featured on the first page of “Carats & Cake,” as seen below. Anna speaks with great passion — and poetry — about the emotional and artistic gratification she feels after capturing exquisite moments that will become cherished memories on their wedding day.  Anna was quite poetic about it, in fact: she speaks of “photos as a daydream” she and Michael are able to catch,  and everything the bride and groom felt, in just the right light.

Our conversation covers so much: the difference between L.A. and N.Y. weddings, the intrinsic beauty of Santa Barbara, which is known as “the American Riviera,” the wedding as a seedling to grow a new family, Henri Cartier-Bresson and his “decisive moment,” the critical importance of lighting, film vs. digital, “elopement photos,” the challenge of being a professional photographer in the era of the iPhone, as well as the wicked sense of humor behind heat lamps, the beauty and simplicity of the “First Look,” when a bride and groom see each other for the first time. It is in that fleeting slice of time that Anna particularly loves recording the groom’s beautiful expression.

Join our spirited and warm conversation. Enjoy!

–Doug

Ep. 38: Ron Ben-Israel Cakes

The delightful, charming, generous and brilliant cake guru Ron Ben-Israel told me he is in “the business of making people happy.”  But, he is so much more than that. During our podcast earlier this week, he treated me to his cake and a peek into his life and work as we spoke of so many things: his belief that “cake is a celebration,” his early career as a ballet dancer and visual artist, how he became a U.S.citizen on an”Exceptional Artist Visa,” Martha Stewart’s role in his life and influence on his career —  from helping him secure his visa for U.S. citizenship to putting him on television, his deep sense of patriotism, our shared gratitude for immigrants (my family came from Eastern Europe),  the importance of bespoke cakes, the myriad variations of a carrot cake, color swatches and tastings, “the process” of working with clients,  his dynamic television personality, especially on “Food Network,”  how he feels about Instagram….listen to this episode and enjoy my conversation with one of the most universally beloved, elegant, talented, and extraordinary people I’ve ever met.  And his cake?  Sheer heaven on fine china.  What a joy!  Listen and discover for yourself.  -Doug 

                                                                                            

Ep. 37: Victoria Dubin Events

Elegant. Innovative. Filled with imagination and creativity.  Those are just a few of the ways I would describe the one-and-only Vicki Dubin,  who runs her eponymous international event-planning and design firm, Victoria Dubin Events, with expert charm and lively sophistication.

And in this episode of the Wedding Wisdom Podcast, Vicki covers absolutely everything from the initial interview until the last goodbye of the party, discussing some of the finest points and details of the many kinds of events she creates — from weddings to milestone birthdays to fundraising galas to mitzvahs, flowers to decor and lighting,  photography to entertainment,   venues to video imagery and much, much more.

Our fast-paced conversation underscores Vicki’s own quick-moving energy and remarkable experience,  which come through every moment of our conversation, along with her incredible attention to detail. Most of all, Vicki is an extraordinary font of information and inspiration as well as a great storyteller, whose candid personal accounts of events she’s done reveal more than her deep knowledge and passion for her work; she expresses the feeling of exhilaration her work provides.  Listen in to our conversation and you’ll realize her love for what she does is truly a gift…as it was just to hear her speak about it.

Enjoy,

Doug

Ep. 36: Michelle Farber Part II

Thanks to the expertise and generosity of the gracious and altogether lovely mitzvah guru Michelle Farber, of M. studio events, this episode further demystifies the complex and beautiful world of bar and bat mitzvahs with a follow-up podcast that takes us on a “deep dive” guided tour behind the scenes of the extraordinary celebrations Michelle and her husband Scott produce.

During the course of our lively, in-depth  conversation, Michelle covers almost everything — from the challenges of precision timing and being flexible to the critical importance of understanding every family’s unique dynamics and expressing each child’s individuality and personality; from what entertains guests of all ages to the pleasures of “Dirt and Worms” to the power of branding and signage and so much more.

Most of all, we get to see just how much Michelle loves what she does…and that alone, like Michelle herself and everything she shares with us, is incredibly inspiring.  Jump in and join our terrific episode and enjoy.

–Doug

Ep. 35: DeJuan Stroud

From his childhood in Alabama and education in Mississippi to his ultimate journey to New York, DeJuan Stroud’s path is one of the most fascinating and circuitous I’ve yet to encounter, as he has established himself as one of the industry’s most celebrated event designers, after more than a decade of working in  finance, first in New Orleans, and finally on Wall Street.

 


With great entrepreneurial spirit, he followed his pure passion for flowers and entertaining at home and turned it into a thriving, blooming business. Staying true to his unique aesthetic, DeJuan is well-known for constantly evolving and redefining himself as he brought his wit, wisdom and singular vision to create some of New York’s most stylish events — from corporate to celebrity clients and Hollywood film premieres, all served up with his remarkable artistry and his generous philanthropy, which is a wonderful story in itself. Along the way, he wrote a spectacular book, “Designing Life’s Celebrations,” which translates his particular brand of magic for the most appreciative readers who wish to follow in his stunningly simple footsteps.

Enjoy our  fast-paced and enlightening conversation that features DeJuan Stroud’s elegant voice,  with hints of a slight Southern lilt, and for his wonderful insights and stories.

Best,
Doug