The rise in destination weddings is huge and it continues to trend upward, taking me to unique and unusual places across the globe.

JoAnn Gregoli

Owner

Location: New York City

Upon graduation I was a PR assistant working for a variety of projects that peaked my interest in the event world. I started this business after my love for weddings would be evident on every vacation I ever did. I had to attend and see every wedding set at a resort.

I was set on having children and 6 came along, all the while running a successful business. Once I became a single parent and solely responsible for the children, I had to ramp up the business. I opened offices in Rome and Washington DC, and just recently opened one in Marrakesch. I have a desire to please people and make them happy and this is my driving force behind this business.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced while planning an event and how did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge I ever faced were language barriers in different countries that do not tend to understand the concept and vision. I provide in depth mood boards and images and make a strong connection with someone on the ground in that country to avoid any further LOST in TRANSLATION issues.

I also had to overcome weather conditions where we had to have a B plan and C Plan. Also, when rain hits have back up everything and you may have to move timing around.

What are 2 trends in the event planning industry that you’re excited about?

The rise in destination weddings is huge and it continues to trend upward, taking me to unique and unusual places across the globe.

The experience in weddings that couples want to create. Its not just about having a dinner and dancing, its about taking your guests on a journey – I love that concept and trend.

What are some tips for creating an elegant and memorable event on a tight budget?

Be creative and think outside the box. If your budget does not allow flowers, think about plants or lots of candles. You do not have to forgo a vision, you just have to find a creative way to make it a reality.

If you had unlimited resources, what would your dream client and event look like?

If I had unlimited resources, my dream client would be someone who trusted me 100 percent and allowed me to create an event that depicts their lifestyle and tastes.

My dream event would be renting an entire village in Italy (which does exist) and create a family inspired magical weekend. Where we would offer pop up shops and activities in the village streets. Long, long dining tables, with family style dinner, fit for a king.

I would embrace the culture and hire dancers of the area to help set the tone. We would drink local wines and the dinner would be a true Italian feast, with 8 courses to truly experience the culinary talents of that region.

How important are your relationships with vendors and what are some ways that you successfully cultivate and ensure good rapport?

I always say there is no I in the word team – I am only as good as the vendors that support me. I have to create a team of vendors who work hard for me and have my back always. Vendors are the ones that make planners shine.

What advice would you give someone who needs to plan a fundraiser but isn’t sure where to start?

If you need to plan a fundraising event, either partner with someone who has done it before or offer your services as freelancers to gain the experience and knowledge. Word to the wise, never take on anything you have NOT done before.

What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?

My most exciting thing on my horizon is my partnership with global planners who are now taking my company to the next level. My recent partnership in Morrocco is providing me a global platform that allows me to offer my couples the world.

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 was inspired to launch my company, years ago, so I can be a stay at home MOM and care for my children. That dream turned into a reality and then turned into a passion. You must have passion to be successful in anything you do.

It took 5 years for the business to take off and one break came that took me into my dream client base. I was hired by Rupert Murdoch to help plan his daughter’s wedding in Beverly Hills. That one job set me on that world of Luxury weddings and I have not looked back.

What’s the first event you can ever remember planning and how did it go?

My first event was a lovely couple from England who had visions of grand florals during the holiday season. I remember her asking for a SEA of flowers.  Once I gave her the price, we had to cut that sea to a small river.

I was all about making it happen for my couples, but also giving them reality checks on costs and expenses.

What are some things you wished you knew before starting your businesses?

I wish I knew more about just who I was – I was trying to be everything to everyone. Just be your own authentic YOU, that is what I have learned all these years. Be true to yourself and I always say you do YOU!!

What’s the most surprising or unusual request you have ever received from a client and were you able to fulfill it?

My most unusual request from a couple was to arrive via helicopter to an area that we had to gain clearance and go well above and beyond to find a location where they could land safely in a remote area. It was a huge win and made for a great arrival.

Anything else you’d like to comment on while we have you?

Just have passion – that will drive you to years of success. If you lose your passion, then you should find another career. And have patience – you will need more patience in this business than even raising 6 children, which is tough enough.

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