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Javier Valentino...What a designer!  His new studio in Town Square is a wedding planner's dream come true!  Floor to ceiling windows, stunning white walls, rows and rows of gorgeous vases, and vignettes created around the space are all there to serve as inspiration and to allow couples the breathing room to play.

While Javier started out in sales, he knew that he was not meant to live his life behind a desk.  A natural at planning parties and crafting unique experiences, he was constantly tasked with arranging the team's events.  He felt energized by the process, and sought education and inspiration at TISOH, with Kesh Designs, and alongside Eddie Zaratsian.  As he honed his craft, he developed his own style punctuated by opulence, texture, and luxe details.  His love of couture fashion heavily influences his design, and inspires him to mix colors, styles, and patterns when creating tablescapes for his couples.

Pretty words for pretty work, but the truth is that he is just bad ass!  Javier and I share a love of opulence and believe that more is more is more, and we never met a space we didn't want to tear apart and rebuild into something new.  We are already working together, sharing couples and sketching out plans for the future.  I believe that his showroom is introducing a new level of design to the city, and that he is breathing new life into wedding florals for our clients.  Javier isn't afraid to go over the top.  He doesn't shy away from the idea of making grand statements, and his commitment to luxury is unsurpassed.

Javier is going to do big things in this industry, and I am so excited to walk along side him as a partner in this journey!  Get to know him by visiting his website here and checking out his Instagram here.   And don't forget to leave him a little love in the comments below!

Always...

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Full disclosure; I didn't feel quite like myself when I left for Banff.  In fact, I felt bad!  Not only was I struggling with a dreaded summer cold, but my travel plans meant that I would miss the branding suite, all of the arrivals, and the opening remarks of our fearless leaders, Kathryn and Rebecca.  As I stumbled into the General Session halfway through the second speaker of the day, I couldn't help but feel lost.  I felt the loss of not kicking the conference off with my people, and I dragged that feeling from the general session to the breaks and into that night's welcome reception.  Which made no sense, since it was bad ass!  I'm talking a puppy petting station, ax throwing, and wine!  Because you should always be properly lubricated when you throw an ax!  

But serious.ly...Something was off.  This is not how I Engage.  In so many ways this speaks to the power of our community and the importance of being truly present and doing it all!  I kept looking for something to pull me out of my cold and into the moment.  The poutine station?  Delicious, but no.  The doggies ?  Adorable, but still not there.  Why wasn't anything able to break through my cold medicine and pull me into the light?  I'm in the mountains, surrounded by my people.  I deserve better than this.  In my silliness, I started to ask myself what Engage owes me.  And the answer is:

Not a God damned thing.  I owe them.

The Engage team pulls together the most talented and cutting edge in our industry, bringing us all to one place.  This particular conference was located high in the Canadian Rockies.  The themes were thoughtfully planned out.  The swag, decor, and dress codes all part of a well constructed story meant to move us through the history of not only the area, but of our host hotel, The Fairmont Banff.  From the onesies that we got to wear to our late night dessert party to the Canadian slang on pillows and napkins, every element of our three days together was curated for total cultural immersion and inspiration.  They did their job.  It was time to do mine.

My job is to show up and bring my A game.  It's my job to find the new attendees that maybe don't have a place to sit and make sure that they have someone to ride the gondola with.  It's my job to look out for people who maybe don't have a home, and help them get comfortable until they can find their people.  It's to steal an hour (or two) post party to sit in the lobby with my friends from Texas (hi Clara Hough and Johanna Terry) and talk about work, design, families, and the future.  It's huddling up with my fellow Knotties (Susana Diharce is my travel bestie) and caught up with former wedding guest turned friend Brooke.  It's sneaking out to film a short episode of Kaleigh Wiese's new YouTube show, and still make it to not only support, but learn from friends such as Troy Williams and Jill Meister.  It's easy to take your friends for granted.  Sometimes we forget how amazing these people are, how lucky we are to know them . This really is rare air....and quite thin when you hit these altitudes.

And so I very quickly reset myself.  I doubled down on the Alka Seltzer Cold tablets my husband snuck into the my bag.  I learned new things that will make me a better planner and person.  I built new relationships for myself and for others, because I love being a connector.  New speakers slayed the main stage, and veterans gave a fresh perspective on our industry.  Together, we left it all (and then some) on the floor of the gala, and picked it up at the Grilled Cheese After Party (thank you, Jordan Kahn).  Together, our industry tackled some tough topics.  Privately, we had hard conversations.  We laughed a lot, cried a little, forgave when we could, promised not to forget, and looked forward to creating moments for our clients and each other.

As the lessons of Engage wash over me again and again in the photos and videos, I am reminded of the things that weren't on the agenda. 

My Top 5 Amazing Engage Reminders Are:  

  1. No matter how you may feel, it's your job to show up.   Be present.  Get it done. 
  2. Stop and notice to beauty around you. 
  3. Appreciate your people, and love them hard. 
  4. Remember how much you have to teach, and how much you have to learn. 
  5. No one owes you anything, and the value of your experience is in every way equal to your output.  

In less than 6 months I will be speaking at Engage! Cabo and I know that I have very big, swaggering shoes to fill.  The bar in this industry is set high, and it continues to rise.  Thanks to Engage, our people always reach it!

With love and appreciation for all that Engage does....

   

White on white on white with glam pops of silver.  The Engage Gala in Banff Canada.  Photo by Genevieve deMaio Photography.  Creative Design by Angela Desveaux of Wedluxe.  Partners incloude Revelry Event Designers, Modern Luxe Rentals, West Coast Music, La Tavola Linen, Decor and More, Engineered Arts, and Designer Dance Floors,.

Super glamorous gala in wedding white and silver.  White on white on white with glam pops of cilver.  The Engage Gala in Banff Canada.  Photo by Genevieve deMaio Photography.  Creative Design by Angela Desveaux of Wedluxe.  Partners incloude Revelry Event Designers, Modern Luxe Rentals, West Coast Music, La Tavola Linen, Decor and More, Engineered Arts, and Designer Dance Floors,.

A big white moose set the stage for the Canadian vibe.  The Engage Gala in Banff Canada.  Photo by Genevieve deMaio Photography.  Creative Design by Angela Desveaux of Wedluxe.  Partners incloude Revelry Event Designers, Modern Luxe Rentals, West Coast Music, La Tavola Linen, Decor and More, Engineered Arts, and Designer Dance Floors,.

These centerpieces were the perfect blend of rustic and elegant.  The white washed birchwood was a beautiful base for the florals.  The Engage Gala in Banff Canada.  Photo by Genevieve deMaio Photography.  Creative Design by Angela Desveaux of Wedluxe.  Partners include Revelry Event Designers, Modern Luxe Rentals, West Coast Music, La Tavola Linen, Decor and More, Engineered Arts, and Designer Dance Floors,.

The band took center stage and kept the crowd dancing all night long. The Engage Gala in Banff Canada.  Photo by Genevieve deMaio Photography.  Creative Design by Angela Desveaux of Wedluxe.  Partners include Revelry Event Designers, Modern Luxe Rentals, West Coast Music, La Tavola Linen, Decor and More, Engineered Arts, and Designer Dance Floors,.

With my travel bestie Susana Diharce and artist Matthew Myhrum.  The Engage Gala in Banff Canada.  Photo by Genevieve deMaio Photography.  Creative Design by Angela Desveaux of Wedluxe.  Partners include Revelry Event Designers, Modern Luxe Rentals, West Coast Music, La Tavola Linen, Decor and More, Engineered Arts, and Designer Dance Floors,.

Sometimes I get to dance!  And in party hair!!!The Engage Gala in Banff Canada.  Photo by Paul Morse.  Creative Design by Angela Desveaux of Wedluxe.  Partners include Revelry Event Designers, Modern Luxe Rentals, West Coast Music, La Tavola Linen, Decor and More, Engineered Arts, and Designer Dance Floors,.

The Fairmont Banff.  Photo by Cameron Kelly Studio.

Welcome to Banff Bear at the Fairmont.  Photo by Love Life Images.

Engage Banff Day 1.  General Session at the Fairmont.  Photo by Love Life Images.

Oh, Canada!  Canadian Mountie.  Photo by Life Life Images

Engage friends are the best friends.  Genevievede Manio Photography.

Delicious displays of fruit and cheese with super fun bags of plates & cups.  Photo by Carla Ten Eyck.

Doggie Meet & Greet.  Because our people love animals.  Photo by Paul Morse.

Canadian colors inspired our centerpieces at the welcome reception.  Love Life Images. l

Glamping set ups in the Canadian Rockies.  Love Life Images.

The view form above.  Cameron Kelly Studios.

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What a major week in the press!

I want to thank New York Magazine for inviting me to contribute to a piece about hidden museums in Las Vegas.  As a native New Yorker, this magazine has been an iconic symbol of editorial news and prose, and to have served it in ever a small way is an privilege!  Read the article HERE!

Also, tremendous thanks to Party Slate for naming me one of the Top 50 Event Planners in the Country!  I am humbled to be included in such a list, and proud to stand besides so many of my friends and colleagues. Check out the entire list of amazing wedding professionals by clicking HERE.

When I came to Las Vegas in 1994, no one took is seriously. Not as a city (thanks to the Golden Nights for the recent bump in respect!) and certainly not as a destination for luxury weddings.  The past 7 years of my life have been dedicated to changing the perception of my adopted home town, and these mentions let me know that my partners and I are doing something right!

With love and appreciation always...

 

   
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Las Vegas Wedding Planner Andrea Eppolito  |  Video by Stephen Salazar

East Meets West Wedding at Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas | Chinese American Wedding Highlight Reel - YouTube

Everybody loves a highlight reel!  Stephanie and Adrain had the perfect East Meets West wedding at the Mandarin Oriental last fall.  We started with an intimate tea ceremony where the bride donned a stunning red lace dress, and followed it up with a personal western wedding ceremony.  Their wedding reception was so much fun, with amazing speeches, delicious food, and a packed all night dance floor!

Their wedding highlight reel captures a bit of the fun....Take a moment and leave them your best wishes below!

Always...

   
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Once upon a time, bridal meant ballgowns, and demure styling was all the rage.  Recently there has been a trend towards overt sex appeal.  Fitted silhouettes, mermaid cuts, and trumpet styles that are fitted to the body are designed to bring a va-va-va-voom feeling to the bridal experience.  Recently, the Duchess of Sussex has brought back structure and style from an architectural point of view, which leaves me wondering....

Are ballgowns still a viable option for a modern bride; and can they be sexy?

Bride to be Danielle and I traveled the country (quite literally from Miami and Las Vegas to New York, LA, Beverly Hills, and everyplace in between) in search of the perfect dress for her wedding.  Danielle knew what she wanted from the very beginning in terms of style, and it decidedly was not a ballgown!  Still, in the midst of the 27+ dresses we tried on, I did convince her to get into a ballgown, and we worked with the team at Lovella Bridal to style it in a way that felt very modern and fresh.

Danielle agreed to let me share these since they are not the dresses she chose, and I offer you 10 tips on styling your bridal ballgown so that it feels more sexy, less stuffy.

1.  The Low Back.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a ballgown with a low back?  SO HARD!  The shape and weight of the dress typically require some sort of structure to keep the dress in place  But this Ines di Santos has a deep, low back that just oozed sex appeal!

2.  Dazzling details.  Embellishments such as crystals, feathery appliqués, and sequence add glamour and a touch of allure to a dress that is typically considered more on the sweet side.

3.  Bare Shoulders.  The idea of a strapless ballgown isn't new, but an off the shoulder accent that just innocently slips down does add allure and appeal to the top of a full dress.  It's sexy and come hither, without being over the top.

4.  Illusion and Naked Accents.  Lace gets a modern facelift when layered on top of a flesh toned liner. Being able to see the skin is sexy in all ways, and having a peak through the fabric with lace, tulle, or netting will ensure that your ballgown isn't at all stodgy.

5.  Come Hither....How you feel in the dress comes out in your eyes and smile.  When you put it on and feel sexy, that will translate and come through in your face.

Personally, I love anything that moves and glides.  The floating aspect of a bridal ball gown is inherently alluring to me, and knowing that it can be styled in ways that feel sweet, simple, sexy, and stunning make ball gowns an eternally chic option for brides today, tomorrow, and always!

Check out some of the ballgowns Danielle tried on for me, along with a variety of styles from Spring Fashion Week 2019.  You'll see how the overskirts at Naeem Khan mimic the feel of a ballgown, how the billowing back of an Antonio Riva added the volume of a traditional skirt, and how Marchesa once again killed it with a gorgeous fitted wedding dress.

Which is your favorite?  What style wedding dress are you planning to wear?  Comment below or DM me your photos to be shared on social!

Always...

   
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As much as I love technology, there us nothing like writing things down, noting little stories, and creating a memory box that you can pull out, touch, and pass down to future generations!

There are a lot of great products on the market for this, but I find a lot of them to be too saccharine sweet for my time!  Which is why I love Savor Boxes so much!  Savor It All memory boxes are sleek and modern, without a lot of the themed detail that I tend to find distracting.  

The Savor memory boxes feature well made, sturdy draws that slide in and out.  With various sizes, you can keep everything from a copy of your invitation and menu to your cake topper, wedding cards, dried flowers, and even heirloom pieces like cufflinks and and hair clips.

Also included is a series of surveys that will encourage you to take a few moments and really document your memories.  

I recently was sent a Savor It All Memory box and new that my bride to be, Danielle, would love it!  We are less than 2 months away from her wedding, and she's already filling it with special items we pick up along the way, receipts, and little stories and anecdotes from out many trips and travels together!

Check out the video below on how to create your memory box in 60 seconds or less!  And don't forget to check out the Savor Boxes for Baby, too!

Happy planning and memory creating!

Always...

   
How to create a memory box, a 60-Second how-to video - YouTube
Create an Easy and Beautiful Wedding Album - YouTube
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They say a well read woman is a dangerous creature, and I could not agree more!

I have been a voracious reader from the time that I was a little girl.  My mother would take me to the library two, three times a week to check out and trade in books.  I read everything from Nancy Drew to Judy Bloom, Archie comics (hey Riverdale hey) and Shel Silverstein.  As I got older, Sweet Valley High gave way to romance novels, Danielle Steele, all sorts of poetry, and biographies.  And, of course, I devoured magazines and all things wedding related.

The birth of my babies had me trading my big girl books for Dr. Seuss.  As much as I loved story time, I yearned for a more sophisticated story line, and I yearned to learn something new.  I started slowly at first, and then ramped up to reading a book a weekend, which has been an absolute joy!

Many of you on my social have noticed that I am constantly reading something, and I often post the business and personal development books that I love most.  I receive a lot of comments ranging from "How are you able to read so much?" to "Why do you read so much?" and I just wanted to give you some insight into my experience and why you should demand that your creative partners are doing something to exercise their minds!

The Top 5 Reasons I ReadAnd why they matter to you...

1.  Words matter.  I had a teacher who once told me that you cannot properly identify a feeling or an experience until you have the right words for it.  That always stayed with me, and as I grew professionally words became more important than ever before.  Beyond the obvious use of contract language, there is a language to design and experience that impacts the final product.  Someone asking for a "fancy" reception may not like something overly "opulent" while a "rustic" has come to mean anything outside!  To ask for what you want, and for me to be able to convey that properly, we need words.

2.  Knowledge is Power.  So cliche, but so true.  The more I know about anything - from business to event design, pop culture to trends in architecture - the more I can bring to the table for you. Some of what I read is considered nonsense in that it isn't teaching me any hard skill, but it's inspiring me in ways that move beyond the intellectual.  Sometimes a love story leads to an experience I can offer to clients.  Other times, reading about a character's conflict resolution helps me deal with difficult situations.  The world is a big place, and the more I can know about it the better I am in all circumstances. 

3.  Better Business Practices.  Sure, this sounds selfish and in many ways it is.  But my ability to run an efficient business with streamlined processes allows me to spend more time on the one thing that matters....YOU.

4.   Mental Agility.  Staying stimulated mentally helps me be quick on my feet.  By reading through different scenarios; both real and fictional, I am able to work through different situations in my head before I am ever faced with them.  There are so many different things you can experience in a book!  Anticipating what will happen next in a story creates synapses that help me anticipate what will happen in real life, and I am better at thinking on my feet and reacting in a positive way.

5.  Stress Relief.  While I am not saving lives in the traditional sense, I am changing them and impacting them each and every day.  The things I do, or don't do, change the wedding planning experience and the story that a family has to tell.   What I add to or remove from a space impacts the emotion of the day, and years from now someone will tell a story to another generation about the time when they got married.  Knowing this means that I am constantly operating at a high of pressure.  I need to be on my game all the time; there are no second chances.  Reading helps me take the edge off, unwind, and find my center.  Sometimes, I escape to a love story, or a coming of age drama.  Other times, I read biographies and bear witness to a life that isn't my own.  And much of the time I read business theory, personal development, and how to books.  They all relax me, making me less of a stress monkey that I was before.

One other thing, which I didn't mention above, is that kids mimic the habits of their parents.  If I want to raise humans that are constantly searching, thinking, and growing, then I have to do that in front of them.  As the world spins, I would like my children to find as much joy with a book in their hands as they do with an iPhone.  I can tell them a million times to go read something, but there is nothing better than being snuggled in bed with two small people and a pile of books spread out on the comforter!

Who else out there loves to read?  What are your must have books?  I am always on the look out for something new!  Please leave your comments below, and share why you feel that reading throughout adulthood is so important!

Always...

   

UPDATED:  I was asked for some recommendations.  Some of my all time favorite books, in no particular order, are:  Never Split the Difference, The Gift of Fear, Silence of the Lambs, The DaVinci Code, American Psycho, The Notebook, Mafia Cop, All Too Human:  The Love Story of Jack and Jackie Kennedy, The Virgin Suicides, anything from Rumi, Where the Wild Things Are, Crushing It,  and Danielle Steele's poetry book called Love.

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Las Vegas Wedding Planner Andrea Eppolito celebrates PRIDE with the LGBT Community.

Happy Pride!

June is PRIDE Month, which celebrates and supports the LGBTQ community.  And while some don't see the need to dedicate an entire month to a group that now that marriage equality has finally been granted, there are so many other reasons and ways that our community still needs to be supported.  General bigotry, fear, hate, and discrimination still exist.  The law can (and should) only take us so far.  The way to change people's hearts is by allowing them to know people in the community.  To let them see who we all are, how we love, and that sex, gender identity, and the many variations that exist are all secondary to the love that just is.  

The month of June is dedicated to PRIDE as it celebrates the Stonewall Riots that took place in San Francisco towards the end of the month in 1969.  PRIDE typically involves parades and picnics to support dignity and equal rights throughout the community.  If you haven't been to a PRIDE event, I cannot recommend them enough.  They are such amazing displays of positive energy and a place where gay, lesbian,  bisexual, and transgendered people can come together as a strong social group.  Over the years, there have been other letters added to the mix, representing pansexual, ci-gender, etc.  The labels, the letters, and the meaning will continue to change and evolve as people become more comfortable with being their most authentic self, and as they experiment with what it means to just be a person on the planet.  The community will evolve, and there were be lots of little adjustments and changes along the way.  But one thing will always remain...

Love is love.  There is the love between a man and a woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man.  There are relationships where a straight person falls in love with a married a bisexual, or someone who simply defines as fluid.  There is the love between a straight parent, and an LGBTQ child, and visa versa.  

All of these loves, and all of the other ones that we all feel, are important and valid.  There will always be people who don't understand, who don't like it, and who don't support it. 

And there will always be the rest of us; celebrating life and love where ever and how ever we find in.  In the month of June, and always...

   

CALLING ALL ALLIES!

If you wish to support your local LGBTQ community, I highly the HRC (Human Rights Campaign) and the Trevor Project, which supports our LGBTQ youth and works towards crisis intervention and suicide prevention.   

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Does your wedding planner handle your RSVPs? We do, and I believe it’s one of the most valuable services we offer.  After all, the guest list, RSVP process, and seating chart can be one of the most stressful activities a couple can encounter during the wedding planning process. 

We start by helping our couples organize the guest list.  While the decision of whom to invite is completely the client's, we do help them to put together and manage the dreaded A, B, and C list guests.  Our system correlates all names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses, in addition to who's side the guest is on, whether they are a relative or a friend, and if there are any special notes we need to know about them.

Now, some couples find the process of receiving their RSVPs exciting! They look forward to going to the mailbox and tearing through the little envelopes. But that excitement quickly turns to frustration when they see guests RSVP for additional people that aren't quite invited, when the hand writing is eligible, or when the dreaded blank card comes in!  We avoid all of that by having the RSVPs come directly to our office.  We update the list daily, and send a weekly recap to our clients with photos of anything questionable that we cannot come up with the answer to.

And all of those uncomfortable conversations?  We take care of it for the couple.  After all, it's easier for me to call a great aunt or college friend and explain that, no, the cannot bring their 4 children or their recent Tinder date to the wedding.  I'm also able to help head off issues by noting dietary restrictions, health issues, or interpersonal squabbles by giving the clients a neutral party to talk to.

Once all of the RSVPs are in, seating charts become a breeze!  We split the list based first on families, then close friends and business associates.  This makes grouping the names into 8's and 10's fairly easy.  Then, we tackle the remaining guests and group them by age and interests.  Typically, however, we find that we've made some pretty solid selections and there aren't too many stragglers left.  

At the final review, we ask for any information that may help us manage the day.  We take note of any guests that may not get along, anyone who has an allergy, known drama queens, and  anyone who many need assistance of any time.  Those names and table numbers are highlighted on our list, and we share the concerns with the venue.  The more information we all have, the more we can discretely share with the service team, the better we all can be at taking care of the guests on site.  And really, it's the guest experience that makes your wedding the "best day ever" for them, too.

You can download the chart I use with my clients HERE.  If you love it, have any suggestions, or RSVP Management tips of your own please share them below.  And if you need a wedding planner, party planner, or event designer, know that I am here for you and you can CONTACT ME at any time!

Always....

   
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