The Last Dance of 2018
By Emily Reifel
What a year we had at The Plaza! Our Team at CPS Events had the best year we have had since we reopened the doors to The Grand Ballroom back in 2018. When you work that hard in “the season” here in New York sometimes you feel as if you will never make it to the finish line, especially when that line is on December 29th! However, because we were working with an amazing family and bride and groom the excitement just kept building!
Jessica and Greg’s wedding planning process started last year, and she knew from the moment that she walked in the door that she had dreamed of a Winter Wonderland wedding here at The Plaza. The couple came in to meet with me and right away we hit it off. Jessica is a gorgeous petite blonde and her prince charming just happens to be 6’ 7” of Panamanian decent. They looked like a fabulous couple straight of out Hollywood and the NBA, but I came to find out that they were both teachers and student coaches.
Their love story began where they worked… at school! As someone who has a family who all works in Education I appreciate the good teachers in this world and who doesn’t enjoy a work romance story! Jessica and Greg introduced me to both their lovely sets of parents and we were finalized on the December 29th date. Jessica’s parents were thrilled to be hosting this affair as she is their only daughter and only child. They wanted to make it extraordinary and were very vocal in trusting me to tell them how to do it all. The first order of business was convincing the Bride and Groom that they should definitely have a band. They were thinking a DJ from the get go and I told them to go meet with Erik over at Hank Lane and he will change your mind. They booked Brooklyn Sound on the spot and a DJ for their after party which worked out perfectly. I immediately told them to head straight to Ed Libby & Co for décor because there is absolutely no one better for a winter wonderland look than Ed.
Somehow we made it to the end of 2018 and the details were buttoned up. Christmas came and went and everyone had a little time to relax before the wedding weekend! Jessica and Greg came to check in and get ready for their rehearsal dinner at Avra, they even invited me and a colleague to join! We snuck out a little early to get to bed because we had an early day coming.
Trace Henningson of Henningson and Co. arrived super early and was in charge of the getting ready process for Jessica, the moms and the bridesmaids. Jessica’s makeup artists Alicia and Valerie couldn’t have been more talented and these women screamed Hollywood glamour! Jessica’s mother Karen happens to be close friends with a fabulous dress designer, Janine Dray and she designed and made Jessica’s custom wedding gown and Karen’s gown as well. The bridesmaids sparkled in their gold Portia and Scarlett gowns that were more reminiscent of Oscar worthy gowns than bridesmaids dresses. Soon we found the statuesque groom and his equally tall brothers and groomsmen for a fabulous photo shoot in The Oak Room with Shawn Connell, formerly of Christian Oth Studios and AJ Igoglia Films. Then we were off to the spectacular ceremony at St. Ignatius with the organ music playing Wagner’s Bridal Chorus. As Jessica and Greg walked down the aisle as husband and wife, they were cheered on by all of their guests but also by some of their students attended the ceremony. They were all so excited to be a part of their special day!
We all made it back to The Plaza in time for cocktail hour to begin in the Terrace Room, where guests dined on a raw bar and a carving station complete with traditional Panamanian food in honor of Greg’s roots! As guests made their way to the Grand Ballroom they stopped in the Grand Ballroom Foyer to enjoy of holiday photo opportunity that Ed Libby’s team designed with snow flocked Christmas trees, and then into the jaw dropping Grand Ballroom. Ed Libby’s team turned it into a sparkly winter wonderland complete with a fabulous floral and crystal chandelier complete with white feathers that matched Jessica’s custom dress. The tables were dressed with sequin linens that matched the bridesmaids dresses along with floating candles, white roses, orchids and tall white branches. The dusty lavender color that filled the room was a perfect ambience designed by James from Bentley Meeker Lighting and Staging. The ceiling and the stage looked as if there was snow falling around the room! Jessica and Greg were announced into the room and Brooklyn Sound got the dance floor rocking immediately! And they didn’t stop! Toasts were given and their Ron Ben Israel cake was cut as we passed Godiva White Chocolate Martini’s around the room to keep the guests energized and in the holiday spirit.
Eventually we moved the guests to The Rose Club for the official after party. We created a special corner for Jessica’s mom, Karen, who even had an outfit change! The guests loved their sliders, pizza and mini hot dogs, and I loved that we were almost done with such a perfect night! I boarded a plane to start my holiday the next morning and when I landed I had a text saying it was the most perfect night of Jessica and Greg’s life. Their fairytale came to life, what a way to end 2018!