Andrea Eppolito has dedicated her life to celebrating life, luxury, and above all else, love. Born on Long Island, Andrea spent her teenage years moving between New York and Los Angeles. She relocated to Las Vegas in 1994. Andrea attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Hospitality. After working with resorts, restaurants, and nightlife venues throughout the city, Andrea opened her wedding planning and event design business in 2011.
Andrea is renowned for bending the universe to her will and, in doing so, creating events that are both timely and timeless. She believes in lush, romantic details and offers an over the top interpretation of a client’s world view. As such, Andrea is sought after by couples and corporations from around the globe. She specializes in producing events for those who care deeply about atmosphere, transformation, and the art of storytelling. Her client list is intimate and exclusive.
A highly sought after keynote speaker, Andrea travels the world encouraging businesses to tell better stories, operate with an intentional compass, and attract their ideal clientele. Her weekly podcast allows her to discuss the struggles and successes of our industry, while her consulting and mentoring business focuses on developing sales and marketing strategies for other wedding professionals.
Andrea’s first coffee table book, Luxury Weddings Las Vegas, showcases the beautiful weddings she has produced. The book is a love letter to her city and cements Las Vegas as a legitimate choice for couples planning opulent destination weddings.
Andrea is also the author of Redefine Your Wedding Business, a guide that helps wedding professionals build the business they want, wherever they are. Committed to education and the elevation of the wedding industry, Andrea offers online courses for wedding planners and event professionals. Courses and educational content are available online at www.andreaeppolito.com and courses.andreaeppolito.com.
In 2015 a client asked Andrea to provide a report detailing the scope of work that was completed during wedding production. Rather than simply write a memo, Andrea presented her work in the form of a magazine. Several thousand digital shares later, The Wedding Editorialist was born. Based on the belief that every love story deserves to be told, The Wedding Editorialist helps couples and companies create custom magazines in both print and digital media. This project has been a labor of love and allows Andrea and her editorial team to tell more stories in an ever-changing world.
Called “vibrant, chic, and impeccably organized,” Andrea is a voracious reader who devours business books, biographies, true crime, and romance novels. She loves doing absolutely anything with her husband and children, especially cooking at home, binge-watching shows, and traveling. Her family is the great love of her life and the accomplishment of which she is most proud.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced while planning an event and how did you overcome it?
Every wedding is so utterly unique, and there are planning issues in all forms. Currently, working through the Coronavirus pandemic is the most pressing.
My goal is two-fold. First, I want to reschedule my client’s events while keeping the same vendor mix and teams. Then, once we successfully move the date, I am working to keep my couples excited and engaged in the process. How do you maintain an emotional connection and relevancy when you have such a long stretch of downtime between planning and execution? That is when our relationships become so important.
What are 2 trends in the event planning industry that you’re excited about?
1. Opulence! I love that couples want to create over the top, truly rich and detailed experiences for their guests. I love the process of layering moments with details. This gives me a great opportunity to tell my couples’ story through my lens, and I get to play with colors, texture, and lighting to really change the physicality of a space. I am a sensory planner and love that I can go deep into an immersive experience.
2. Intimacy. Even before Coronavirus, I noticed that there was a deep divide in the number of guests my couples wanted to include in their weddings. Many couples have been planning for events of 30 to 50 people. This is exciting in so many ways! First, the immediate intimacy of such a small group is somewhat intoxicating. Everything is heightened, everyone feels special and chosen, and you have such a unique opportunity to really take these guests on a journey. There is a lot of pressure, however, as you can’t hide! Every element needs to be perfect and on point. As a designer, I need to be certain that each item we bring in or remove has a purpose, that it is the highest quality, and that it interacts with our friends and family in a meaningful way.
What are some tips for creating an elegant and memorable event on a tight budget?
This is one area where I am not an expert! I don’t specialize in budget weddings, and I really strive to guide my clients through a process where we make decisions based on what is right, and not based on financials.
That said, anything en masse looks luxe and elegant, and will elevate a space and a design. Whether you are using flowers or paper or stone – just use a lot of it together and it will be impactful.
If you had unlimited resources, what would your dream client and event look like?
My ideal client is one that wants to be transformative. I believe that moments and memories are transformative; that we can gather people together and change them by moving them through an experience. My couples feel the same, and together we talk quite a bit about heritage and legacy and how we want to be remembered.
Once I have a true essence of who they are, I can design a space that carries those threads through. I bend the universe to my will so that I can tell the couple’s story through my filter, and that everyone in the room can participate in the message.
How important are your relationships with vendors and what are some ways that you successfully cultivate and ensure good rapport?
Hands down, my vendors and creative partners are the key to my success. I don’t make anything or cook anything or set anything up. I don’t document the moments or serve the guests. My talent is in my ability to connect with people, to pull out threads of their past and their hopes for the future, and I can translate that into a design that is meaningful. It’s my creative partners that then take my design and my thoughts and sketches and ideas and bring them to life. I am utterly indebted to them and incredibly respectful of their art.
For me, developing these relationships starts with a very simple question: do we like each other? Once I know that we connect as people on the planet I move into the business side of things. Do we see the world in the same way? How is your business organized? What processes do you use? How do you move clients through the beginning, middle, and end of working with you? Our professional values and work ethics needs to align so we can be seamless partners.
I spend a lot of time getting to know the actual businesses – how they run, how they schedule, how they approach timelines and hiring and details. How do they process challenges? Are they out in front of things? The more well versed I am on their business models the better I will be at connecting them to the correct clients.
I share a lot of information with my vendors, get them timelines early, and I create many opportunities for questions, answers, involvement, and feedback along the way. I do try to take the entire team of vendors to lunch the day before a wedding, and then post-wedding I share my own self-assessment of my successes and failures and I also ask them to participate in a survey where they critique themselves, me, and each other.
What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?
In the last 6 months, I have launched two online courses and had two books published. After 20+ years of working, I finally feel like I have something to contribute to the industry and I am very much excited by the opportunity to give back and help teach others what I have learned. I love seeing businesses succeed and am inspired by the new people that are entering our industry.
What inspired you to launch your own company in the event industry? How long did it take from initially having the idea to setting up and starting to attract a client base?
I always knew that I wanted to own my own business. I value control and choices and wanted to build something that did not exist in my market. It was a dream I had at 15 years old, and I launched the company in my early thirties once I felt that I earned the right to actually be an owner.
Along the way, I collected a lot of experience and education, and once I opened I made sure that every wedding took my designs and work a little further than the one before.
What’s the first event you can ever remember planning and how did it go?
My Sweet 16! Being Italian and from New York, a Sweet 16 is a tremendous rite of passage! It’s a mini wedding for a girl! I started planning my own Sweet 16 when I was 13 years old, which is how I discovered the event industry. For years I carried around a binder with colors, fabric swatches, and menus. One day, a friend’s mother picked it up, flipped through it, and said, “You should be a wedding planner.” That changed the trajectory of my entire life.
What are some things you wished you knew before starting your businesses?
I wish I understood how to actually run a business! I didn’t know anything about insurance or government filings or the administration. I had to learn a lot on the fly!
What’s the most surprising or unusual request you have ever received from a client and were you able to fulfill it?
I did have a request for an after-party with exotic dancers! It was a “very Vegas” request and we were able to accommodate them but working with a talent broker.
Anything else you’d like to comment on while we have you?
I love this industry! I have dedicated my life to creating extraordinary experiences for extraordinary people, and I am forever grateful to my couples for inviting me into their lives and allowing me to bear witness to the most intimate moments.