Goodbye New Jersey

This week I had my final day of work at The Cellar and I finished up my internship on Wednesday.

Monday I went into the office to work with the sales and marketing director.  We had two couples scheduled to come for a venue tour and sales meeting at 10:30 and 2:00.  I was able to help with both of these tours.  These two couples provided me with different outlooks on options an event planner can offer for weddings other than the traditional ceremony and reception. The second couple was really only planning on having a wedding for their family. They wanted something simple like a brunch or a cocktail style reception.  They didn’t want anything elaborate or formal, so during our sales meeting, we were able to present them with all the options One Atlantic had to offer for them, along with all the pricing and details. The third couple wanted an intimate ceremony with only 20 of their immediate family present. We were able to show the couple how the ceremony would be set up for an intimate ceremony, along with providing them with vendors for floral arrangements and photography to capture their day.

Later that day, I helped with the marketing budget. I created formulas in an Excel spreadsheet that calculated our projected and actual expenditure on each form of marketing for each month. This helped me see how to create a budget, the importance of it, and it provided me with insight on which forms of media are important for marketing in the event industry.

One Atlantic has also been featured in magazines like The Knot and Brides. One of my jobs while interning at One Atlantic was to archive our pages from these magazines to be used in the future as marketing materials to show to potential couples. Using the prints from the magazines, allows the sales team so show what types of high end events One Atlantic can provide and execute.

 

Wednesday was my final day at One Atlantic and it was really bittersweet.  The last event I worked was the Atlantic City Air Show.  The Air Show is favorite of many in Atlantic City.  For about four hours, planes and helicopters performed aerial acrobats in the sky over the Atlantic Ocean. Some of the highlights of the Air Show included the Army Golden Knights and the Air Force Thunderbirds.  One Atlantic pre sold tickets to various companies and also individuals to watch the Air Show from our floor to ceiling windows.  We honestly provided the best view of all of Atlantic City between our windows and private terrace.  Along with a spectacular view, we also had a lunch buffet for all the guests.  It included a mashed potato bar (my personal favorite), panini station, pasta, Mediterranean station, along with a variety of salads.  Executing this event required a ton of organization.  The planner had to send out all the tickets ahead of time so guests would be allowed up into our venue.  They also had to create a system to keep the separate companies bar tabs in order.  They decided on wrist bands so we had 5 different wristbands to help our bartenders out.

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I am happy that I enjoyed my internship so much and had a great experience with it, but I’m sad to see it come to and end.  With all this being said, I am also extremely excited to go back home and then later head up to school.  At my internship, I learned tons of valuable information about the event industry. I learned how very stressful and high paced the environment can be, but the most important thing is to try to prepare yourself for the unexpected because you cannot anticipate everything. I learned all about coordinating and orchestrating the kitchen with the event.  I also learned all about banquet management and sales and marketing. I had a great experience at One Atlantic doing my internship and I am looking forward to furthering my career in the event industry after graduation this upcoming May.  

Tonight my parents are coming and we’re going out to dinner to a restaurant I have been wanting to go to in Atlantic City, then tomorrow morning we’ll be packing up the remainder of my apartment and heading back to the 717. I am so lucky and blessed that I was able to have this experience all summer.

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Weekly Update

I’ve fallen a little behind on my blogging, but I’ll give you guys a quick run through of what I’ve been up to!

Wednesday

Dan and Megan were down in Avalon on vacation with Megan’s family for the week, so since I had the day off I decided to go visit them.  I hadn’t seen them since we were all in Cape May over a month ago so I really missed them!  Megan’s family is really great and always so welcoming.  We had the perfect beach day! It was sunny and warm, with a little bit of a breeze.  Living at the beach has turned me into quite the “beach day” critic, but that day was phenomenal.

 

Thursday

Thursday morning, Jess and Madi came for a visit! We went to the beach for a little while and then headed back home to start getting ready for the real reason they were here: BLAKE SHELTON!  Atlantic City was hosting a free Blake Shelton concert on the beach and they got tickets for it and so did Kelsey and I.  It was so much fun! I’ve never experienced a beach concert but it was awesome! There were so many people there, it was pure chaos.  A lot of people were camping out on the beach since 10 am to get good spots, but we decided we didn’t need to go into the city until 3.  Even though we didn’t get there until 3:30 we still got prime spots for the concert.  We ended up in zone 3 which was as close as you could get without having a “fan zone” pass. Dan and Shay were the opening act and there was even a surprise appearance by Danielle Bradbury because her and Blake are best buds! Afterwards we hung out to see Blake leave and we made friends with some Atlantic City police officers! Blake left in one of the vans we saw, but the windows were really tinted so you couldn’t really see him.  After the concert, there were fireworks, so we watched them from the beach for a little while.  It was such a fun night and I was glad I could spend it with good friends!

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Friday

Friday morning I went to my internship for a few hours before having to go to work.  At my internship, I’m now in the sales and marketing portion of the program.  I worked on updating One Atlantic’s Pinterest page for a while.  This is important because social media is the new way of marketing for businesses.  It is especially important because a lot of people use Pinterest for wedding ideas and since that is our industry, we want to create a strong Pinterest presence to gain attention.  After I finished that, I updated the website by adding tags to all of our photos to create Search Engine Optimization.  This is something I learned about in a few of my Mass Communication classes, so it was cool to actually do it.  Search engine optimization is a way of placing yourself at the top or near the top of search engine results.  We also had a couple come in for tour and information meeting, so I asked Joey if I could sit in on that meeting with her.  They were from New York and were looking at getting married at One Atlantic. After the meeting, they seemed pretty interested and were asking about deposits and wedding dates available so I think they’re probably going to book with us.  I really enjoy working in sales, because it allowed me to use some of my Mass Communications and interpersonal skills to do the social media and speak with the couples.   My favorite part of the internship has been all the face to face interaction I get with the bride and grooms whether it be during the event, tastings, or final detail meetings.

Saturday

My parents came down for the weekend and Saturday was a pretty cloudy/rainy day so it wasn’t a good day for the beach.  Fortunately I had been wanting to do a couple touristy things in the area while I had been down here, so Saturday provided the perfect day for that.   First we went to Lucy the Elephant.  Lucy the Elephant is located in Margate, NJ, which is just a couple beaches south of Atlantic City.  Lucy is a 6 story elephant structure from the 1880s.  I’m not going to talk about the whole history of Lucy, but you can look it at here if you’re interested.  Its a pretty cool thing. While we were there, there were signs posted about them filming for a show, so when we came out of the elephant after our tour, there were people asking us to sign release forms for television.  It ended up being National Geographic filming for a show on human behavior.  Kelsey was interviewed, so watch out for her television debut coming in November!

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After the elephant, we headed into Atlantic City to get some boardwalk food for lunch.  Aunt Cindy hadn’t been to Atlantic City at all yet this summer so she was really anxious to get there.  We walked around for a little while and then drove to the Absecon Lighthouse located at the northern end of Atlantic City.

Sunday

Sunday was the second free concert.  It was Lady Antebellum! I’ve never seen them perform live so I was excited about that.  Alex and Sierra, winners from the third season of X-Factor were the opening act.  I’ve never listened to them but they had some good songs.  Then Lady A came on and they were really good! I love a lot of their songs and they were really personable with the crowd.  Once again, we waited to go into the city until 3:00 and we still managed to get the same spots in Zone 3 as last time.  We were pretty lucky both days!




After the concert, Kelsey got proposed to and married in a matter of seconds

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We went and had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe after trying to get into two other restaurants that had extremely long waits.  We ordered our food and were sitting there.  A guy walked by with bruschetta and we were looking at his plate longingly and he stopped and asked if it was for our table.  We said, “no but it looks delicious” so he took it to the table it was for and stopped at our table on the way back.  He asked if we wanted some. We both just kinda looked at him like what? and he said “I’m the manager,  I can do what I want” so a few minutes later we were enjoying a plate a of fresh (& free) bruschetta! It was really  good!  Once again, it was a really fun day! I love concerts and was kinda bummed thinking I wouldn’t get to go to any this summer, then these two free concerts happened!

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Jersey Shore Fist Pumping!

Saturday night I worked yet another wedding.  This time I was able to follow the banquet manager the entire time, so I was able to see what to do from start to finish of an event.  When I got there I helped Daniella, the event coordinator, set up the bridal room. Before every event, we stock the mini fridge with bottles of water for the bridal party and put out chilled champagne and champagne glasses.  We also have to put out chilled water bottles in the lobby or study for the groom and groomsmen.  After I set all that stuff up, I had to organize the place cards.  Usually we request that the bride give us the place cards already in alphabetical order, but this time they weren’t.  Therefore, I had to go through the whole stack of place cards and put them in alphabetical order.  Seems like an easy task, but they were done in calligraphy so I couldn’t even figure out what some of the letters were, so I had to use the printed guest lists to figure out their names and put them in order.  Then I placed them all in One Atlantic’s sand boxes for display.  There were no favors to set up for this wedding, instead the couple decided to make a donation to the American Heart Association in honor of the bride’s father and the groom’s grandmother.  During the ceremony, the bride had her father’s fedora with a red rose placed on what would’ve been his seat.  She also honored him with a charm on her bouquet and had part of one of his shirts sewn into her dress.  After I was finished with all of the set up, I was able to follow Paul for the remainder of the night.  I shadowed him during the server meeting.  This meeting is held at the beginning of their shift.  During it, Paul goes over the timeline of the event, the menu, guests with allergies or special needs, and any new changes One Atlantic may have.  Specifically this week there were two new items to be discussed.  The first one is that anybody under the age of 21 is not allowed to drink from glass.  This helps everyone know who is and is not of drinking age, as well as stop any hazards associated with glass wear.  The second new thing was that we were going to try to stop people from taking drinks onto the dance floor with them during the night, because glasses are often dropped or drinks spilled, which also causes hazards.  Later in the night we realized that its impossible to stop everyone, so we just supervised and made sure nobody was dancing out of control with drinks.  Daniella, Paul, and I were placing bets on which girl was going to drop her drink first.  The bride and groom wanted their reception to be like HQ and they were pretty close.  There was a lot of crazy dancing and fist pumping!  This couple had hired a Photo Booth for their wedding.  The guy operating it asked Kelsey, the other intern, and I if we wanted to be his test strip before the party started using it so we got to go in the Photo Booth and get a photo strip to take with us! For the rest of the night, I followed Paul, and saw how he managed the timeline and the food.  The toasts went much longer than anticipated so it messed up the rest of the timeline, so we had to move things around and arrange them so that we could get back on track.  The timeline is very important for the DJ, the banquet manager, and the kitchen, and they all need to make sure they are on the same page.  Another thing that the banquet manager does is make sure the bride and groom actually sit down and eat.  You would not believe how much you have to hound the couple to eat.  They are usually so busy talking to people and making their rounds that often they don’t get to eat their own wedding food!  Its really important that they get to eat, especially when they’ve been drinking all night like this couple.  This bridal party was a rowdy one! They LOVED the open bar, but I thought they were great! They were all really nice and fun.  The bride was so beautiful and not just because she had her hair and makeup done for her day, but you could tell how truly happy she was and that made her that much more beautiful.

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On a side note, before introductions the groom’s grandmother walked up to me and asked, “Is it true that Snooki got married here or is getting married here?”  I thought this was the funniest thing I’ve heard.  Not only did the grandmother know who Snooki was but the fact that this rumor was floating around was hilarious.  So I just kinda laughed it off and was like “No, not to my knowledge”.  Later on I tell Daniella about this hilarious exchange, and she informed me that Snooki and JWoww filmed an episode for season 3 at One Atlantic.  It was Daniella’s 2nd day at work and they were there filming an episode like they were venue shopping! Daniella said since it was her 2nd day, she barely knew anything about the company yet and was so nervous during the filming. So obviously I had to come home and search for the episode and watch that part. After finding this all out, it made a lot more sense that the grandmother was asking me that question. Here’s the link if you want to check it out! (Minute 2:00)

 

 

Minimal Words

Thursday I had a visitor! Ms. Dani Rieland came to spend the night.  A ton of our Bloomsburg friends were coming to Atlantic City to see a friend of ours DJ at Harrah’s so we booked a room for Friday night with our friends Drew & Frank and their friends.  We had a great time with #friends and made lots of #memories. #sports.

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After a great night out with friends, I worked a wedding Saturday night.  On three hours of sleep (not my best decision) the wedding was a bit of a struggle.  There’s not a whole lot to say about the wedding, because due to my lack of sleep and wild children, I don’t really remember much about the wedding in general. But I thought I would share some pictures with you all.

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Today I was back in the office with the banquet manager.  I sat in on a “Final Detail” Meeting and listened to another one on the phone.  I was able to follow along with the Banquet Event Order and take notes.  I also created the server/bartender schedule for the beginning of August.  I had to look at when the events were, what time they started, and figure out what time the employees needed to arrive.  I looked at how many of each I needed for each event based off of the guest count and sent a mass text to the servers and bartenders.  They told me their availability then I added it to the schedule.  It was also important to make sure that the first people to text back got their events while making sure the “core” servers got the events they wanted.  After the this, I helped Daniella enter some menus into Reserve for upcoming weddings and tastings.  My last task of the day was to create a reception layout.  This couple wanted square tables instead of our usual circle tables, so I had to make the room diagram by hand.  This was actually my favorite part of the day, because it required logic and creativity.

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After today I am technically at 121 hours out of my needed 120 hours.  Although I’m finished with my required hours, I’m going to continue to go to office hours and events to take the most from this internship that I can.

The Life I Live

Moving here this summer has opened me up to a lot of new experiences and willingness to put myself out there and try new things. Yesterday Aunt Cindy talked me into attending a yoga class in Rio Grande.  This specific type of yoga was called Bikram yoga or what is known as hot yoga. This past semester at college  I started practicing yoga, but Bikram is a whole other adventure.  Bikram yoga consists of a 90 minute class in a 104 degree room.  The studio we went to had space heaters and fireplaces all throughout the room.  Bikram is made up of 26 poses that are practiced in each class. Bikram has many health benefits one being the releasing your body of toxins through your sweat.  The high temperatures open up your blood vessels and allow better blood and oxygen flow throughout the body.  The class was definitely an experience.   I never knew how much a person could honestly sweat.  The lady next to me was sweating so much that it sounded like it was raining on her mat.  The whole class I had to go to the bathroom really bad, so I was feeling really uncomfortable, but I knew if I left the hot room to go to the bathroom coming back into it would be completely agonizing.  In this case, I decided to lay down for a pose or two until I felt like I could participate again.   After the class, I was feeling slightly nauseous because I didn’t properly hydrate, but I was proud of myself for making it through the whole class.  Aunt Cindy said she’s seen a lot of first timers and I did great.  So since I’ve survived, I can cross Bikram yoga off my bucket list.    While at this class, I also made a nice connection with a woman who planned events for the Olympics in Australia.  She also plans weddings in Cape May and has tons of connections all over the place because of her involvement with the Olympics.  I gave her my name and e-mail and she said she would contact me if she needs any help in Cape May this summer or hears of any good opportunities.  Its really cool how you have the ability to network everywhere you go.

Bikram Yoga class

Bikram Yoga class

This morning I went to my internship.  I am now on the third leg of the program which is working with the Banquet manager.  When I got there he had me do “liquor trackers”.  Before an event, the bartenders count how many bottles of each alcohol they have and then they do the same at the end of the night.  I enter this information in a spreadsheet which calculates how much alcohol was consumed at each event, along with the consumed cost for that alcohol.  All this gets added up to see how much that specific event’s alcohol cost.  This is how we keep track of what alcohol is being consumed, how much we spent, and how to better prepare for each event.  After I finished the liquor trackers, I helped Paul with the payroll for all the servers, bartenders, barbacks, and greeters.  Like before, I also copied information onto “The Board” for the upcoming wedding on Saturday.

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After this, Paul didn’t have anything for me to do at the time, so I asked one of the sales ladies if she needed anything done.  She gave me approximately 200 business cards and asked me to create a spreadsheet with all their names and e-mail addresses.  The spreadsheet is going to be used in a few months when it’s time to send out information regarding One Atlantic’s holiday parties.  The winter months are usually slow for One Atlantic weddings, so this is when they try to book a lot of corporate events and parties.  After I was finished with the spreadsheet, Paul showed me how to operate the security cameras and time clocks for employees.   So far, the event planning portion has been my favorite part of the internship, so I always check with Daniella and Eileen if they have anything that needs to be done before I leave.  Daniella asked me to help her with a project she was working on.  Like I mentioned in a previous post, couples are not allowed to have the Starry Night lighting fixture up when there is going to be a hora.  Another reason a couple could not have Starry Night would be if they have more than 250 guests.  This is because the normal ceremony space holds 250 people and if a couple has more guests we have to use a larger portion of the ballroom for the ceremony space. This would not allow enough time to switch over the entire ballroom and put up the fixture during the short cocktail hour.  Daniella asked me to go through the folders for all her booked weddings and check information regarding Starry Night, Horas and if they have over 250 guests.  She was creating e-mails to remind the brides of the information regarding Starry Night and its restrictions. After I was finished with this, Daniella allowed me to create a wedding timeline and menu in Reserve for one of her weddings in October.  I’ve seen Eileen and Daniella use Reserve for different aspects of events, but it was really helpful to be able to do it myself.  In addition to weddings and office hours, I’ve been working on One Atlantic’s Pinterest account from home.  Its been really fun to take the pictures and categorize them.

On my way to One Atlantic today, I was walking through the pier and I saw a press conference happening, so I decided to stop and listen for a little while.  It was a DOAC press conference announcing the opening acts for the free Blake Shelton and Lady Antebellum concerts in a month.  Dan and Shay will be opening up for Blake Shelton on July 31st and Alex and Sierra from the X Factor are opening for Lady Antebellum on August 3rd. Kelsey and I have tickets for both concerts so it was exciting to see the announcement live.  The speaker was also providing a lot of valuable information regarding the concert including a map and parking information.

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Chef Rebekah

Like I’ve mentioned before, my internship consists of 4 portions.  The first portion was spent working with the event coordinators and today I finished up my second portion which was spent in the kitchen working with the chef and other cooks.  Last week I went in on a Thursday and we had huge weddings on both Friday and Saturday so I did a lot of food prep.  Along with another person, I rolled about 350 crab cigars for the weddings.  Friday night was a Vietnamese wedding so the couple provided the bride’s mother’s recipe for egg rolls so then I worked on those so they would be ready to be fried on Saturday in time for cocktail hour.

Crab Cigars served in a cigar box

Crab Cigars served in a cigar box

Today was a lot more fun than the last week because we weren’t as busy so I was able to do more things and learn more about the kitchen.  We had a couple come in for their tasting at 1 so I was able to see how they prepare for that and I even prepared one of the hors d’oeuvres.  It was a watermelon cube wrapped in prosciutto.  I thought this was a really weird thing, but Chef had me try it and it was actually really good.  Its an uncommon but perfect combination.   After this I helped make some empanadas to serve for the wedding tomorrow.  I learned how to use the vacuum sealer they had in the kitchen.  Its a really cool thing that they use a lot.  The vacuum sealer allows them to prepare food ahead of time.  For instance, today they started grilling the filet mignon for tomorrow, so they cooked them all half way and then we sealed them and put them in the fridge and they will just finish them up tomorrow before serving them.  I thought this was really cool.  For the tasting today, the couple requested little shot glasses made of cookies filled with milk.  I’ve seen them on Pinterest and One Atlantic has never done them before so today was a first.  I even got to try one!  We were expecting a food delivery today but when they were on their way here they got pulled over and had an expired registration so they had to take all the food and transfer it to a different truck.  With this being said, we were missing a few necessary ingredients for the tasting this afternoon.  Chef took me “shopping”.  This is when we go to the other restaurants in the Pier Shops and borrow what we need.  I think its a really great how close all the chefs are and that they’re willing to help each other out.  Chef was talking to me and was reminding me of how important it is to help everyone whenever you are able, because you never know when you may be working for that person or you may need their help back.

A few hours after we went “shopping”, one of the cooks asked me to go back down to the restaurant and gather some steam with the help of one of the other chefs.  I said to them, “Are you serious?”, and they got me a container and I was kinda just like “I’m the intern.  I don’t really know what I’m doing.  I’ll just do what they tell me.”  So I found my way back to the restaurant and talked to the chef from earlier.  He was like, “did they actually send you down here for that?” and I was like “Yeah, is this some sort of prank?” and he was like “Yeah.  Hahaha”.  Supposedly this is a very common thing.  They always send their interns to each other for stupid things like steam or an “oven stretcher”.  I was lucky they didn’t send me on a wild goose chase to other restaurants or Caesar’s like they do to other interns.  The chef at the restaurant helped me fill up my container with a little bit of hot water and told me to tell them “we consolidated the steam, so they wouldn’t have to do it later”.  So it took it back upstairs and they were all really impressed that I came back with at least that.  They said usually people just return with an empty container.  It was really funny and I can enjoy a good joke.  Another thing the kitchen guys do is “intern tossing”.  On our last day, they each get a turn in throwing the intern to see how many tiles they can throw us.  The sous chef was on vacation so we’re waiting until next week when the other intern begins in the kitchen so they can throw us both at the same time.  They’re thinking they can throw me at least 14 tiles so we’ll see….

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Other than my internship, I’ve been working a lot at The Cellar.  I try to spend my mornings/afternoons at the pool or the beach before I have to go to work, so Tuesday I went to the pool located in my apartment complex. Yesterday I didn’t have  to be at work until 6 so I decided to head to the beach that morning.  I went to Dunkin before and then drove to Brigantine.  I set up my camp and sat down to enjoy my bagel. As I’m eating one half of my bagel I begin to notice that seagulls are coming towards me so I try to eat it more subtly.  They were showing no signs of leaving anytime soon so I decided to put away the other half of my bagel until they were gone.  As I was putting it away, I got some butter on my finger from the bagel and didn’t want to lick it off so the seagulls would think I was eating, and I didn’t want to wipe it on my towel so I just sat there like a statue hoping they would leave. Then all of a sudden, A SEAGULL SWOOPED OVER AND BIT ME IN THE FINGER thinking the butter was food! It was SO SCARY!  After that I was terrified of the seagulls all day and never did get to eat the other half of my bagel.

Being in New Jersey, its disappointing how many things I miss at home.  Saturday will be the Lake Meade fireworks and I’ll be missing them.  I’ll be working all weekend and until today thought I wasn’t going to get to see any fireworks or celebrate the 4th.  But thanks, to the impending weather, Atlantic City has postponed their fireworks until Sunday and I don’t have to work on Sunday so I’m really excited to see some fireworks over the ocean from the beach.  Even if others may be upset about the postponement, it worked well in my favor.

 

Vacations are too short

Last week I spent a wonderful 7 days in Cape May with my family.  This is a tradition we have been doing for about 40 years.  All of my dad’s cousins come and all their kids, so in total there are about 45 of us down there for the week.  We had perfect weather! Only one day it was a little cloudy and windy but it was still a nice beach day and gave our skin a break from the blistering sun. This is the first time in five years that all the Kings were down at the beach, so we decided to have a family photo taken.  In the last one we have Ava was just one year old and she will now be a freshman in high school, so we were definitely in need of a new one.  We all pulled together some white and navy outfits and it worked really well!

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The rest of the week was just as beautiful! Cape May is my favorite place in the world and its mostly due to my awesome family!

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Saturday I came back to the apartment for a few hours and then headed into Atlantic City to work at a wedding at One Atlantic.  For the first hour or so of setup I mastered napkin folding for menu cards.   The theme of the wedding was seashells and sparkles.  The bride made a lot of glitzed up seashells for decor.  They used an adirondack chair as their “guest book”.  I thought this was a really neat idea.  This couple chose not to do a first look before the ceremony, so they used their entire cocktail hour for photos.  The mother of the bride had a surprise planned for them during the photos.  She paid to have a plane fly by with a banner.  They were all really surprised and loved it!  My favorite part of this whole wedding was the Best Man speech.  The groom had a son from a previous relationship and he served as his dad’s best man.  The little boy was maybe 7 years old but gave one of the best speeches I’ve ever heard.  It was so funny and cute at the same time.  It had me tearing up but the groom was actually sobbing because it meant so much to him.  I really wish I had thought of videotaping it on my phone because it was just that cute.  There were a few bumps in the wedding.  Both were due to a lack of communication.  At One Atlantic, we provide a lighting fixture called “Starry Night”.  It is little globes filled with tealights hanging from the ceiling.  This couple chose a package that included this fixture.  After the fixture was all set up they informed the band they would be having a horah (dance).  In the Jewish religion, this is when they put the bride and groom in the air on chairs.  Due to liability they can’t do this when the Starry Night is on the ceiling.  The same thing happened later when they wanted to put the garter on a football to throw.  They did not communicate either of these things with their event planner ahead of time.  If they had communicated this, the event planner would’ve just suggested against the Starry Night fixture so they could have the other aspects of their wedding that they wanted.  This is just another reminder of how important communication is in any and all aspects of event planning.    After working a few weddings now, I’ve learned how the orchestration of a wedding works.  I am now able to just do things on my own without someone reminding me to do it.  I am really enjoying these weddings.  They go very late until the night and I’m usually very tired when I leave, but they’re rewarding for my future.  I’m learning about all types of events and I’m also making some nice friends and connections in the industry.

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Photography by: Mk Photo

Make The Best of It

Tonight One Atlantic held a fundraiser benefiting the The Tara Miller Melanoma Foundation.  The Tara Miller Melanoma Foundation was started by the Miller family after one of their daughter’s Tara was diagnosed with cancer.  Tara is in her mid-20s and was diagnosed with Melanoma just 11 months ago.  She is currently still battling her fight with stage 4 melanoma. They thought it would’ve been just a quick surgery to remove the spot but what they didn’t realize was that the spot was much deeper than the surface. The cancer spread through her lymph nodes, then to other organs and later to her brain.  In these 11 months, Tara has undergone numerous treatments, radiation, and 4 brain surgeries. (You can read more of Tara’s story here.)

The goal of the Tara Miller Melanoma Foundation is to raise awareness about melanoma, create funds for research, and ultimately find a cure for melanoma.  They believe  research is fundamental for the future.

During all of Tara’s treatments, she has kept an extremely positive outlook.  Her mottos include finding the “silver linings” and “making the best of it”, so tonight the committee for the foundation threw the Tara Miller Melanoma Foundation’s Make the Best of It Bash!  This was the first fundraiser I’ve had the opportunity of working. The bash was a huge event with a turnout of 645 guests!  Guests were able to donate ahead of time to purchase a table for their family/company/etc. or they were able to wander around the food stations and bars located all throughout the venue.  There was  a signature cocktail called that Tara-Tini that guests seemed to love.  In addition to all the socializing, there was also a silent auction with tons of high end packages, signed jerseys, photos, and gift baskets.  They had a ton of really really cool things, and I couldn’t help but think “how do these people have soo many connections?”.  That’s when I found out there are companies out there that do this for a living.  You hire them and they provide high end items for silent auctions.  I thought this was a really cool thing.  So if any of you love to shop and get deals on things, maybe that’s the profession for you! They also had a photobooth and a backdrop for photos made specifically with the Foundation’s logo.

It was really cool to be able to see a fundraiser tonight, especially one for cancer research.  I really like that because of my internship, I’ll be able to see tons of different events.  I’ve always thought I wanted to plan weddings (which I still do) but I’ve also realized I enjoy fundraisers as well.  College graduation is going to sneak up on me sooner than I think and having experience in a variety of events gives me a lot more job opportunities when the time comes.

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A June Bride

I have gotten a little behind on my event updates due to my other job, but on Saturday I worked another wedding.  Every wedding I work is just a little different than the last.  Some couples choose to get married on-site, others prefer a church.  Some couples decided to do a first-look, others decide their first moment seeing each other should be walking down the aisle.  Some have large bridal parties, some small.  Every aspect of the wedding has to be perfectly catered to the couple and then translated to the timeline of the event. Saturday was the wedding of Dr. and Mrs. Bonner.  I arrived at 2:30 and was promptly put to work on the tables.  I had to put all the table numbers on the tables while following the floor layout.  The difficult part of that task was the fact that the ball room was not set up yet.  When a couple chooses to get married on site, approximately 1/3 of the ballroom is used for a ceremony space, then that space is flipped during cocktail hour.  For the wedding on Saturday, they had over 300 guests so it was necessary to use 1/2 of the ballroom for the ceremony.  Therefore, while setting up table numbers, I had 33 tables in half of the actual ballroom.  I had to imagine which tables would move once the partition opened and which would stay, and try to get the numbers as close to the floor layout as possible so they didn’t have to move a ton of tables during the flip.  After I was finished putting all the numbers and menu cards on the tables, the florist guys from Beautiful Blooms were able to put the centerpieces on the tables.

Set-up of part of the ballroom

Set-up of part of the ballroom

2/3 of the ballroom used for the ceremony

1/2 of the ballroom used for the ceremony

After I finished the table numbers, it was time to set up the couple’s accessories brought.  This couple provided a birdcage for their cards.  The birdcages have been a big trend seen lately at weddings.  This couple didn’t have a ton of accessories, but they did have some photos of family members at their weddings. photo 1 (3) Once it was time for the ceremony to start, I was positioned at the top of the elevator to check in any guests that used the elevators and turn away any unwanted crashers.  Most of the guests use the escalators located at the front of our venue, so a lot of the elevator person’s position is telling girl scout troops and tourists that One Atlantic is a private venue that isn’t open to the public and they have to ride the elevator back down. When a couple gets married on-site, its important to hold any late guests at the door of the venue until after the bride walks down the aisle.  A lot of guests get really angry with us because they want to see the start of the ceremony and the bride, but the reason we do this is to not ruin the bride’s special moment.  After the bride enters and the guests’ eyes follow her down the aisle and continue facing forward, we slip the late guests in in the back.  While the ceremony is happening, I put out the posters that were used in replacement to placecards. photo 2 (2) photo 3 (1) All the planners were so shocked with the number of presents the couple received.  They informed me that it is against wedding etiquette to bring a gift to the wedding.  If a guest wants to give a gift, they are supposed to send it to the couple’s home so that the couple doesn’t have to deal with it at the end of the wedding.  This was something I never realized before but it makes a lot of sense.  These are the types of things that wedding planners think of that others do not. After the ceremony, there was the usual 1 hour cocktail hour.  Then it was time for the reception to start.  By this time, the planner is less involved other than timings of the blessing, toasts, and special dances.  When the reception begins, that’s when the banquet manager goes into high speed. For the rest of the night, the greeters and interns rotated from sitting near the elevator or in the study by the cigar bar.  At the cigar bar we had to make sure the lighters and cutters didn’t leave the table and remind people that they could only smoke outside. photo 2 (4) At the end of the event we have to make sure that all guests leave with their shoes on and without any alcoholic beverage or glass.  Some guests completely understand this policy and then there are others who will argue with you over their free beer for 5 minutes.  This is always a really interesting part of the night.  Overall, this wedding ran very smoothly and it was enjoyable.  As guests left we received tons of compliments from guests stating everyone did a great job and they had a really good time at the wedding.

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This was the first wedding of June, which is the most popular wedding month of the entire year!

Photography by: Marie Labbancz Photography

More than a Wedding

Last night I worked at a wedding that was the celebration of Ricky and Robin’s love, but for their family it was much more than that.  Ricky and Robin were childhood friends and grew up around each other.  Ricky was that older boy that picked on the younger girls like Robin and her sisters, but eventually their relationship blossomed into something more.  When Robin was graduating from college, Ricky dragged his brother along to attend.  At this time family members were beginning to suspect that they were dating.  Shortly after graduation their relationship was official.  Then just a short time into their relationship, Robin was diagnosed with cancer.  Ricky stood by her for all her chemo and treatments.  While going through chemo, Robin also got her M.B.S., graduated from law school from the top of her class, and passed the Bar Exam.  I don’t even know her but after hearing the touching maid of honor speech, I consider this girl one of my heroes.  Last night their wedding wasn’t just a celebration of two people loving each other and pledging themselves to each other but it was also a celebration of life.  After the diagnosis, Robin’s family didn’t know if she would see another day, let alone see her wedding day.

This wedding was on the larger size in comparison to other One Atlantic events.  There were just under 300 guests.  The color themes were mint, champagne, and gold.  The centerpieces were made by the bride’s family.  Their wedding favors were little burlap bags containing chocolate poker chips to go with the Atlantic City theme.  The chocolates contained their names and their anniversary.

This was such a great wedding to work at.  As an intern, I take a little bit from everything I do, and I definitely took some good things away from the #RockyWedding2014

Photography by: Gary Nevitt