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!


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.



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.


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.


Ep. 34: Lawrence Scott

Welcome to the incredibly stylish world of Lawrence Scott Events, or as he is lovingly known to all, “Larry.”

Having worked on well over a hundred parties together, Larry and I share a rich history as friends and colleagues, although I will always think of him as a mentor; I learned so much about the business of life’s celebrations from him, and the elements of design.  On today’s podcast, we cover everything from the landscape of Long Island to the travel that inspires him; how he interprets each client’s style to the importance of giving back.  One of the most truly inventive event designers I’ve ever known, our conversation takes us from Studio 54 to Elaine’s, to how much he trusts himself,  his commitment to his own vision and his own personal mandate to always take risks.  Listen to our fast-moving, casual and profoundly honest conversation — and enjoy.


Ep. 33 Michelle Farber; Part 1

Today’s podcast was a delight to record as I met with the dynamic and charming Michelle Farber, who  (along with her husband Scott, whom I’ve yet had the pleasure to meet) runs a hugely successful event planning company, M.Studio Events. They’ve actually trademarked the words “Party Concierge” to more precisely describe what they do.

This podcast expands our scope beyond our regular focus on weddings into the world of “bar and bat mitzvah” celebrations.

Lively, insightful and filled with energy, Michelle and I covered so much ground about bar/bat mitzvahs, that we decided to sit down again next week
to continue exploring the meaning of this rite of passage for the child, the parents, and the guests at these upscale and often lavish affairs.

Enjoy our spirited conversation which is as inspirational as it is informative…and took me back to my Long Island roots.



Ep. 32: Kimara Ahnert


Welcome to Episode 32 and the incredible world of makeup, which was a subject that was almost entirely mysterious to me before I had the pleasure of sitting down with the charming and beautiful skin and cosmetics guru, Kimara Ahnert.
As I tell my wife after every wedding I play, every bride is truly beautiful. But Kimara takes beauty to an entirely different–and quite spectacular–level.   Our conversation covers everything from what inspires her to the importance of timing to the evolution of “a look”…as this gifted wedding innovator taps into her enormous set of skills and endless creativity, as well as her own eponymous line of skin care and make-up,  and everything she’s learned at the sparkling Madison Ave. salon she has owned for the past twenty years.  I’m so thrilled she shared the details and challenges that take place behind the scenes…and so much of her vast knowledge with me…and now, you.






Ep. 31: Leslie Mastin

Sitting down with Leslie Mastin was a sheer delight. As one of Manhattan’s preeminent party planners, she comes to us via a somewhat different route from many of our other guests…by way of the hotel business and specifically, The Grand Hyatt, The New York Hilton, The Regent Wall Street, The Mark and The St. Regis.  Until she opened own her own exciting company, she planned countless elegant and glamorous parties for New York’s elite. And with her trademark wit, warmth and wisdom, in this podcast, she shares her stories and incredible insights and inspiration with all of us.

This episode was a genuine treat for me. And I know you’ll feel exactly the same way.