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We often receive questions from couples asking how they can have a rehearsal dinner or welcome reception instead of hosting a formal sit-down dinner. We consult with our couples who want to do something different, but still want to keep the heart of what is special about a wedding. We searched for fun outdoor spaces that are unique to New York City.

Palma Restaurant West Village

Palma

Palma is a classic Italian garden restaurant in the heart of the West Village.
The atmosphere of this restaurant is cozy and romantic for all events and weddings.
The whole restaurant space can be rented out per request.

Gilligan’s

This outdoor space is the ideal setting for a tropical theme wedding.
You wanted to plan a destination wedding but your parents want to have a smaller, city wedding,
this is the perfect compromise.
Guests can relax with their famous frozen watermelon margaritas and enjoy themselves before returning home or back to work after their long flights or workdays.

Soho Grand Hotel

If you are looking for a contemporary home vibe, this outdoor space is adjacent to an amazing suite. You can party all night long and not have to leave!

Ivy Terrace in New York City


Ivy Terrace – Located in Midtown Manhattan, this beautifully designed lounge offers the perfect space to host your next gathering. With a terrace overlooking the bright lights of Midtown, NYC, the venue offers a stylish atmosphere that can accommodate cocktail parties, intimate dinners, and rehearsal dinners.

TAVERN ON THE GREEN – This historical restaurant has a special place in many New Yorkers’ hearts, and after reopening in 2014 it became even more beautiful. The space used for receptions is called South Terrace, and the indoor space is just as great which is named South Wing. They offer a long list of specialty cocktails and the food is scrumptious.

Viceroy

1.

LE MERIDIEN NEW YORK CENTRAL PARK

If you would like to offer a beautiful view on top of the city as the last memory for your wedding weekend, The Roof at Viceroy New York is the place to be. This exclusive space has jaw-dropping views of Central Park and comfortable lounge furniture for your guests. They recently added a canopy which provides shade and protection if it should rain, so there is no Plan B necessary! Their guestroom rates are affordable and they are flexible with quantity of room blocks with no liability.

Salon De Ning

2. SALON DE NING at The Peninsula New York – Luxury on top of the city, the Salon De Ning is an elegant five star venue which provides extensive menu options for your post-nuptial brunch. There is no such thing as “no” at this venue, the food and beverage lists are able to be customized and the bloody mary bar display is unbelievable.

Parker Le Meridien

3. ESTRELA PENTHOUSE AT Le Parker Meridien New York- One of our favorite spots in Midtown, this space offers floor to ceiling windows and an outdoor terrace. The views of Central Park are breathtaking, and the space is completely exclusive for your private brunch. This room may seat up to (190) guests and leave a lasting impression with your out of town guests.

PhD Terrace at Dream

4. PHD TERRACE at Dream Midtown- This bright and wide open space located in the heart of Midtown offers a nice ambiance with plenty of lounge seating. The guest guestroom rates and brunch pricing will work nicely for you and your out of town guests.

Rotisserie Georgette

5. ROTISSERIE GEORGETTE- We completely fell in love with this warm welcome and delicious menu. When you enter this restaurant, you feel as if you are eating with family, and the menu is made with love. You may buy-out the restaurant for up to (100) guests. Georgette is the most gracious hostess and will provide a lasting memory of New York hospitality.

Press Lounge

6. THE PRESS LOUNGE at Kimpton Ink48 Hotel- This venue has an open rooftop and great indoor option atop the city. If your venue is located on the West side of Manhattan, this affordable outlet is the perfect and convenient spot for you. It provides a different view of the city and the Hudson River.

Kimberly Hotel

7. KIMBERLY HOTEL- The view is great and the price is right. Your out of town guests will be happy with your decision to stay on-budget while enjoying the city on their last morning. There is a convenient roof cover should mother nature not cooperate, but hopefully it will be a bright sunny day.

Gansevoort Park Ave

8. GANSEVOORT PARK AVENUE- If you are considering a “home base” for your out of town guests in the center of the city this is the perfect spot which is centrally located between uptown and downtown. They provide a rooftop space with comfy lounge furniture, and if it’s summer your guests may enjoy the pool while sipping on their Bloody Mary.

Four Seasons Midtown

9. FOUR SEASONS MIDTOWN- Located in Midtown East, their restaurant-turned-ballroom is convenient and effortless. Your guests may walk in lobby-level and experience a unique and customized dining experience. Four Seasons is known to offer the most luxurious hospitality service in the world.

Brasserie 8.5

10. BRASSERIE 8 ½- This space requires a full buy-out; however, if you are looking to host near Central Park this is a great option. They do have a very reasonable brunch price but do require room rental to privatize the space.

  1. DO NOT SPRAY TAN- Photographers may give you a natural tan with photoshop, but they are unable to remove your oompa loompa spray tan. Save your $30.00 and stay pale. Pale is in and spray tan is out!
  1. BE ON TIME- The wedding day is a very stressful day for everyone involved. The wedding planner and hair/make-up team have spent time planning every minute of the day. We suggest setting your alarm and request a wake-up call to ensure you are on time for hair and make-up. Beauty companies charge overtime when ladies show up late, and the photography is pushed back which stresses all vendors involved.
  1. REMEMBER, THE SPOTLIGHT IS ON THE BRIDE- From wearing flashy jewelry to behaving inappropriately, bridesmaids often try to steal the spotlight. When you are married, it will be your day, allow the bride to have hers!
  1. DO NOT COMPLAIN…EVER- If you commit to being a bridesmaid, discuss what expectations the bride expects from you. Plan on spending a minimum of $1,000 including bridal shower, bachelorette party, dress, shoes and travel/hotel. If you sign up to be a bridesmaid, do not complain.
  1. GO WITH THE FLOW- Often the most stressful thing about planning a wedding for a bride is managing her bridesmaid’s drama. If you commit to standing up with your friend, you are also signing up to doing whatever she wants. Go with the flow and make her happy!
  1. ARRIVE WITH YOUR GOWN STEAMED- There is not always a budget to hire a “dresser” which is becoming more and more popular. Be prepared and steam your dress before you head to the rehearsal dinner. Most times the hotel has a steamer. If they do not, you may always request housekeeping steam it for you for a small fee. It’s better to be prepared then stressing last minute about being wrinkled.
  1. ARRIVE WITH CLEAN DRY HAIR & EXAMPLES OF HAIR/MAKE-UP- It’s best to shower the night before the wedding and wash your hair which may have had product from the rehearsal dinner. Ensure your hair is clean and dry, blow-outs delay the timeline. It is also helpful if you have photos from Pinterest to provide direction.
  1. HAVE FUN…BUT NOT TOO MUCH FUN- Often the drinking begins in the hospitality room and then continues throughout the day. Keep hydrated and alternate a glass of water with alcohol. I can’t tell you how many times we have seen bridesmaids leave early due to consuming too much alcohol. You will want to enjoy the day, not forget it.
  1. TOASTS ARE SHORT AND SWEET- I always tell our couples, the most important key to ensuring you have a great party is to ensure the toasts are short and sweet. Leave the childhood stories for reunions and dinner parties, they are such a buzz kill. It is called a toast for a reason (not a speech).
  1. DON’T TEXT THE BRIDE- During the days leading up to the wedding, the night before the wedding and the wedding day- try to avoid texting the bride. Imagine everyone you know who is attending your wedding is texting you with silly questions; such as, “what time are we supposed to get on the bus?” If you hired an efficient wedding planner everyone will have an itinerary in advance and will know to contact the planner and not the bride. Most often the hotel where guests are staying also have wedding details. Whatever you do, do not text the bride! Allow her to enjoy her wedding weekend.

If you are newly engaged (as many of you are during the holidays), it is common to plan a Fall wedding. Jessica Jordan Events would highly recommend coasting past the Fall and consider planning a New Year’s Eve wedding! There are several reasons why to ring in the marriage…IN THE NEW YEAR! Below we have listed four top reasons why you should ring in the new year with your new spouse.

NEGOTIATE A GREAT VENUE – Most couples are not aware that venues love to host weddings on New Year’s Eve. Ticketed events are a huge risk for venues with young intoxicated guests who make a mess. When the venue has a wedding, it is a controlled group of guests who also fill up guestrooms and reduce stress on the operation of a hotel. You have a great opportunity to negotiate a valued package and potentially bubbly and flare for the midnight celebration.

GUESTS ARE READY TO HAVE FUN – Your guests are excited about the wedding on New Year’s Eve because they are with friends and family on a night that most people dread. They are excited about sipping on champagne and ringing in the new year, then take the elevator up to their guestrooms. Having a wedding on the biggest party night of the year sets the tone for the guests and immediately places the guests in celebration-mode.

BUBBLY IS FLOWING – We recommend an “invitation” welcome arrival which includes passed champagne and sparkling water. It sets the tone for the evening and is nice to keep guests occupied while the family is finishing photography or ketubah signing. Because everyone is late in New York, most venues will offer an “invitation” welcome arrival which distracts the guests until all guests have arrived. This is typically 30 minutes or until the wedding party is ready to begin. It’s an elegant way to buffer in time, yet also provide a warm welcome and get the party started!

GOOD FORTUNE – Having a wedding while heading into the New Year is good fortune! Celebrate your new marriage by ringing in the new year, and a new beginning.

If you are looking to offer your guests an exciting experience and create a unique night to remember, you may want to consider New Year’s Eve for your wedding date! Let Jessica Jordan Events know any questions or concerns you may have about hosting your wedding on New Year’s Eve in the comment section below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we have our initial consultation with many clients, we ask several questions about what is important to the couple. A common answer is often times- BUDGET. Many couples have no idea what their wedding budget is, nor are they aware what weddings cost. Keep in mind over 80% of couples increase their budget from their initial budget. Budget…what budget?

Each couple has different priorities; one couple may hold entertainment and bar as being most important and another couple may hold photography as most important. If one area is less important, it may be a good idea to shift the unused percentage to a category of a higher importance. If you are the type-A couple, and flow and details are important to you, you may invest in a full-service wedding planner and shift budget from other categories which are less important to you such as having a DJ vs. band. The ceremony most often is in the same venue as the reception/dinner/dance, so you may not need transportation. You make it work, this is simply a guideline.

A trending wedding size in Manhattan includes 120 guests which allows a fun party, while ensuring the couple has enough time to share the evening with everyone.

As each wedding is unique, we consistently receive inquiries from couples who have a budget of approximately $125,000 and a guest list of 120 attending the wedding. This graph illustrated gives you a suggested guideline of how to keep your budget in line.

Let Jessica Jordan Events know any questions or concerns you have with your budget in the comment section below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gratuity is completely at your discretion. We like to keep our clients “in the know” about which vendors are often thanked for gratuity. If you are unsure who to offer a gratuity, go with your instincts. If you had a vendor that went above and beyond, you may want to show your appreciation. Within the United States it is custom to add gratuity in all areas; food delivery, nail salon, hair salon, transportation, dining in a restaurant. If you pay gratuity in all areas of your life, why would you not consider gratuity for wedding vendors? If you have become close with one of your vendors, you may learn they enjoy a specific type of wine or champagne, which is also a kind gesture. Additionally, vendors appreciate positive reviews, and this is another amazing way to thank your hired talent. We have listed most vendors our clients ask us about gratuity.

CAKE
Often the bakery is not provided gratuity; however, we always recommend a handwritten thank you note after the wedding along with some type of kind gesture.

CATERING MANAGER, MAITRE D & CHEF
4-5% of food and beverage total is our suggested gratuity for the Catering Manager, Maître D and Chef combined (excluding coat check, culinary attendants, bartender fees, tax and service charges). Most venues split gratuities evenly, so ask your catering contact what is common. This is a huge misunderstanding across the industry. Many blogs suggest no gratuity to the hotel or venue management because the gratuity that is charged on food and beverage goes towards your Catering Manager and/or Maître D. This is completely incorrect. The gratuity that you are paying (15% variation) goes towards the wait staff and bartending staff. The other portion of the service charge goes to the hotel as income (7-8% variation). The total amount is typically 21%-24% and the Catering Manager, Maître D, and Chef do not receive a portion of that amount.

Since gratuity for bartenders and wait staff is included in the contracted amount, we do not recommend offering an additional gratuity. They are paid well over double digits and make more than many hotel management. If you feel the wait staff was impeccable and you would like to reward them, it might be a good idea to offer the gratuity to the person who made it happen, the Maître D.

My most memorable hotel clients gave me a hand-written note and/or wrote a thank you email/letter to the General Manager mentioning the employees that went above and beyond. Hotels appreciate written feedback and employees are acknowledged.

ENTERTAINMENT
Musicians are often provided gratuity ($25 each for ceremony/cocktail reception), but a lot of times DJs are not. The amount is at your discretion and how happy you are with their performance. If you felt the DJ was amazing, you may always thank him/her with gratuity or a kind gesture. If you have a band/orchestra we typically recommend $100 gratuity per person.

FLORIST
The florist is not commonly provided the gratuity. We recommend a personal thank you and some type of kind gesture if you are happy with their service.

HAIR AND MAKE-UP
The standard gratuity for hair and make-up artists is 15% to 20% of the total amount.

INVITATIONS
Typically the invitations company is not provided gratuity; however, we recommend a personal thank you and some type of kind gesture if you are happy with their service. Remember to bring your invitation with your home address on the wedding day so that the photographer may take a great photo of the print layout and you may give them love on social media after the wedding.

LIGHTING
The lighting specialist is not commonly provided the gratuity. We recommend a personal thank you and some type of kind gesture if you are happy with their service.

OFFICIANT
The officiant is most often forgotten and he/she is the most important person within the wedding. If it weren’t for him/her, you wouldn’t be married! If you have a religious officiant they typically will not accept a gratuity, but rather a donation to the place of worship. If you are married outside of a place of worship, most often we recommend a gratuity. If you have a personal relationship with your officiant we recommend a handwritten thank you card as well as a personal gift. If your officiant is a professional celebrant we recommend 12-15% of their fee.

PHOTOGRAPHER/VIDEOGRAPHER
The photographer/videographers are not commonly provided the gratuity. The photographer and videographers are with you all day and are one of the hardest working vendors within the wedding. We recommend a personal thank you and some type of kind gesture if you are happy with their service on the wedding day. Once you receive your photos/video and you are pleased with them, we may encourage you to surprise them with a gratuity or personal gift.

PHOTO BOOTH
Often the photo booth attendant is not provided gratuity because they are not considered one of the primary vendors; however, if you feel you received a great price and the attendant is attentive it might be nice to offer them a small gratuity as a thank you gesture.

TRANSPORTATION
Depending on the amount of the transportation, this would depend on the percentage. We would suggest gratuity would be 10%.

If you have any questions about the gratuity for your wedding, please share in the comment section below!

We always like to project positive light and inspire our readers to see the big picture when planning an event. Today we were inspired to write about how to keep calm and carry on during a crisis. There are mixed feelings across the country with our recent election and new president-elect; and with this outcome there is now fear with many couples planning their wedding. We would like to take this opportunity to inspire all couples to stay positive, while also offering tips on how to stay savvy throughout your venue and vendor search.

My advice to any couple looking to get married within the near future- this is absolutely the best time to get married! Do not allow the uncertain economic future of the U.S. discourage you from celebrating your joyous and blissful day. Our suggested tips on how to carry on during a crisis may be extremely helpful when planning your special day.

CONSIDER VALUE – When making any large purchase, you typically do your due-diligence and research quality, value and reviews, correct? As you are shopping for your large wedding spends (venue, décor/flowers, entertainment, photography), we recommend considering value. This tumultuous time will allow you to negotiate better value with your larger budget spends. Now more than ever will you watch your dollar, and we recommend you be extremely happy with your purchase. If you are unable to negotiate the price, negotiate what is included within the price. This ultimately will make you and your vendor happy. This will allow you to receive the luxury experience without compromising service.

BE CONSERVATIVE WITH GUEST COUNT – When the future is uncertain, wedding guest counts will decrease. Sit down with your fiancé and your families and go through your guest list with a fine-tooth comb. The rule of thumb is that if you would not invite them to your home for dinner, do not invite them to the wedding. The quickest way to reduce your overall spend is to reduce your guest count.  Including the most important people in your lives will ultimately make it more special vs. inviting guests you won’t miss.

HOST NEAR HOME – If you live near most your guests, it may be best to stay closer to home vs. plan a destination wedding. Guests will be hesitant to travel and spend a large amount of money on a destination wedding. Destination weddings with a small guest list do not necessarily mean less money spent. Plan an intimate gathering closer to home and be respectful of your guests if you are concerned about the turnout.

Considering value, being conservative with guest count and hosting your celebration near home are all topics to discuss. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns about planning your wedding during this stressful time in the comment section below!

My passion to surprise and delight is the reason I am in this amazing world of events. I had the opportunity earlier in my career to work for a hotel company that had strong core values; two of my favorites include “anticipating guests’ needs” and “surprise and delighting.”

We anticipate what you want before you even know what you want. In our initial meeting I listen to everything you say, and pay close attention to when you show emotion when you are speaking about a certain topic. When I feel excitement, happiness or concern about a particular subject I feel the energy you are projecting and I take mental note. Weddings specifically are emotional and as a planner I need to feel your emotion so that I may focus my attention on what is important to you in order to create a memorable experience.

WE TAKE IT ONE NEXT STEP – Throughout the planning process our guests are constantly surprised with unique experiences. We are more than a planner; we take it one next step. One particular example I will never forget was a wedding I did many years ago in Chicago. The groom worked for the Chicago Tribune and was pretty high up in management. I contacted the groom’s colleague and I requested a blank newspaper page. I contacted the bridal party and gathered as much information as I could about the couple that I did not already know, and wrote a feature article about the bride and groom. I then had the photographer send a photo from their engagement shoot and created a cover page for a newspaper to be delivered to the wedding suite the morning after the wedding, accompanied with breakfast. This surprise and delight was something the guest didn’t ask for, but it was memorable because it was personal.

MEMORABLE EXPERIENCES – Think about the last time you had a positive customer service exchange. Ask yourself, why was this memorable?

Maya Angelou said it best, ‘they may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.’

This is so true in the world of planning. We are more than a planner, we often wear many hats including therapist, mother, friend and even teacher. You may not remember our many conversations throughout the process but you will remember how we made you feel.

When planning a special event, the two features of a celebration which guests take away are the BAND and the BAR. The venue is very important when discussing the two most important features of a celebration because they are what controls the success of both.

After planning special events in hotels for over a decade, we would favor a hotel venue over a raw space any day of the week. There are endless reasons why; however, we are finding a lot of couples are looking for non-hotel and non-traditional venues because they are looking for a contemporary feel which sometimes emulates their home and/or style. If you are leaning towards the non-hotel venue, there are several notes to keep in mind when you are planning to host a successful celebration.

BAND ACOUSTICS ARE KEY – If you are interested in getting everyone on the dance floor and would like the guests to say “that was the best party I have ever attended,” the band and their acoustics are key. The important thing to know is if you are spending a large portion of your budget on a band, you need to ensure the acoustics are going to be great. A few things to look out for are carpet, window draperies and texture in the room. The sound needs to be absorbed by something so that it doesn’t bounce off the walls, floor and ceiling. If you are hosting your celebration in a non-hotel venue with cement, marble, or any other hard surface and there is no texture on the walls or in the ceiling it might be best to hire a DJ. The sound is more controlled and you will save money in the bank. Why spend $10,000-$20,000 on a band when the sound is bouncing off the surfaces and your guests don’t feel the music?

BAR – Brands on the bar, bar placement, bar staffing and passing wine are all important elements for a large gathering. If beverage is important to you, ask yourself if you need to upgrade the entire bar or is it the vodka only. You may only need to upgrade one or two items on the bar to offer a nice enhancement. Tito’s is becoming a popular liquor request on the bar, which you may switch out at no upcharge and you could spend your budget on an upgraded scotch instead. If you also have a signature drink, ask your catering/venue contact if there is a drink that is easily pre-batched to save time for the bartender. Once the bartender is creating specialty drinks on the bar it will slow him/her down.

We suggest bar placement in the back corners of the ballroom or room. Bars are important but they are not the centerpiece in most cases. If you are paying for a band you will want to keep the guests in the room. Guests tend to hang out by the bar so it’s always important to place bars where the line won’t obstruct the flow of the event. Always allow for space even if you overstaff the bartenders. We recommend (1) bartender per (75) guests and pass white wine and sparkling throughout the first hour. Passing wine takes the pressure off the initial rush to the bar and also provides an elegant touch.

With these helpful band and bar tips you are set up for a successful party in which your guests will easily access a beverage of their choice while enjoying the music. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns about your band or bar in the comment section below.

 

 

9.21 Mandarin1. MANDARIN ORIENTAL – Hands down the best view of Central Park, in the city. Matched with five star, five diamond luxury service you will have the special event of your dreams. The staff is so friendly and accommodating you will never want to leave.

 

 

RF202. SOHI ROOM at The Dominick – The most breathtaking exclusive view in downtown Manhattan, paired with a contemporary design including a white ceramic tile floor and white spider-web design ceiling with complimentary custom lighting. The floor to ceiling windows will give you a bird’s-eye perspective with almost 360 degree views.

 

 

 

9.21 Rainbow Room

3. RAINBOW ROOM –This iconic venue has panoramic views of uptown and downtown, and is the second highest venue next to Dine ONE in One World Observatory. The multi-level ballroom offers every guest a view of the landmarked dance floor. If you are interested in booking this space we suggest flexibility with your date, as they do sell out every Saturday of the year!

 

 

 

9.21 620 Loft4. 620 LOFT AND GARDEN – This gorgeous garden terrace is located in the heart of the city on the corner of 50th and 5th Avenue, just steps from St. Patrick’s Cathedral. We recommend a cocktail style reception is the best fit for this space, or an intimate dinner with long tables. The weather option is quite small so we would recommend keeping your guest count 50 or less.

 

 

 

 

Peninsula 9.215. SALON DE NING at The Peninsula New York – Beautiful view overlooking 5th Avenue, this intimate space would be perfect for a small wedding or birthday gathering. They recently redesigned with a fresh new look.

 

 

 

 

Press Lounge 9.216. THE PRESS LOUNGE at Kimpton Ink48 Hotel – If you are looking for a more casual vibe, this rooftop provides privacy and comfort including lounge furniture. We recommend a fun station-style reception and is perfect for a birthday, anniversary or even a 2nd wedding.

 

 

 

Tribeca Rooftop 9.217. TRIBECA ROOFTOP – If you are looking for non-traditional and have a large guest list, this is your location! The venue typically hosts events 200 and up, and offers a rooftop terrace facing both uptown and downtown. Dinner is served in the loft space with exposed brick.

 

 

 

 

Ritz Carlton BC 9.218. RISE at The Ritz Carlton New York, Battery Park –Rise offers a long scenic view of the water, downtown and most impressive Statue of Liberty. Ritz Carlton is known for going above and beyond for their guests which includes a more hands-on service manager for all events. This hotel is traditional in every sense.

 

 

 

 

Glasshouses 9.219. THE GLASSHOUSES – Very unique and modern, this space offers exactly what the name says, the space is all glass and has views of the Hudson River and downtown. If you are looking for a venue that is exactly the opposite of a traditional ballroom, this is it. You may select a caterer from an extensive list which will provide the cuisine you love most.

 

 

 

 

Gramercy Park Hotel 9.2110. GRAMERCY TERRACE at Gramercy Park Hotel – This boutique hotel is located in the popular Gramercy neighborhood, and provides a calm zen feeling on the 18th The terrace provides space for a cocktail reception for approximately 200 and seated dinner for approximately 120 guests. This terrace offers charm and great location for the downtown chìc.