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A Day at URBO and a Wedding Shoot, to Boot!

Dashing into URBO on west 42nd street in the heart of NYC to film an interview, we couldn’t help but think, from the moment we confirm an event with a client, sign the dotted line and seal it with a handshake we officially launch production.  We are accustomed to immediately being submerged into a world of creative chaos, so our clients don’t have to be.  What struck us about the top floor of URBO, as our videographer checked lighting and set up our cozy on-camera interview, is that we were literally sitting in New York City’s best kept secret venue.  

 
Hidden treasure is somewhat of an understatement.  Two levels, three exposed kitchens with open kitchen counter seating, a real Rosenwatch wooden water tank and farm to table fare make URBO an irresistible, top choice for dining in midtown’s notorious Theater District.  Expansive windows on both floors allow city goers, or in our case, a camera crew, enough light to make dining an all season affair whether it’s a brutal winter or a sun lit spring.  Here’s the crown jewel: there’s a private, secret green room (but you have to know the magic word).  That’s style.  That’s New York.
 
We couldn’t help but notice a similarity between URBO, MWD Lifestyles and Weddings by MWD Lifestyles: we’re both versatile.  As event producers we shape corporate events, galas, anniversaries and upscale private celebrations.  URBO is designed to cater to diverse clientele who have embraced the Theater District as home to memorable events.  It’s incredibly accessible for tri-state travelers or out-of-towners.  Clearly, they had us at hello.

We will admit that one shot we filmed which was framed right near the bar, made us double check out watch and wonder if it was time for the famed URBO happy hour that has attracted top Broadway personalities to enjoy drink specials, a new tasty bar menu by chef Bill Pete and live music and entertainment.  Sadly, we were about 5 hours too early but, thankfully, we still had URBO Grind, to fuel up on coffee and snacks. When coffee wasn’t enough, we wrapped our shoot and recharged with lunch-a-la URBO.

 

Special thanks to Steve and his the team at URBO!

Keep the Faith but Head to Eden

We weren’t sure how we’d hit the October weather lottery amidst a busy-season that has, so far, demanded we travel at light speed but one day before the 2014 Bridal Market Week officially began it was 64º, sunny and clear outside.  We arrived to The Highline Hotel Refectory in Chelsea in anticipation of the Spring 2015 Claire Pettibone bridal couture collection Gothic Angel.  Friendly, at ease staff directed us to a walkway that took us out of the daily pulse of speeding New York sidewalks to a courtyard that made us unsure we were still in the City.


Freshly fallen leaves were sparsely strewn on the grassy areas surrounding large shade trees in hues of gold and cadmium yellow.  Upon entry the stairs were flanked with half withered flowers and wide candles.  We couldn’t help but look for Eros and Cupid.  Generous clump arrangements of wild flowers that tell of summer’s end and new beginnings greeted us as we ascended to the 3,300 square foot Refectory.  Life size stain glass windows let in glowy light and the large, oblong room was quietly buzzing with conversation on either side of the runway.  To one end of the runway a mass of photographers and camera teams were stacked.  To the other stood a textured backdrop of leaves and twigs for the Angels we awaited.


Laser cut gold wrap invites created by Two Paper Dolls literally made us do the bridal boogie dance.  From luxe weddings to stylish brides looking to create the wedding of their dreams at a fraction of the cost, this is officially a must have.  With a little time left before the show we mused that lately even the most conventional wedding themes are greener now.  Brides want to move freely to enjoy nuptials and celebrate with loved ones.  Even conservative weddings are more organic with a little more ‘wild’ than before.  No matter how much bridal gowns are sought, coveted and doted over a bride’s got to be able to be herself on her special day moving comfortably in a dress made just for her.


The Gothic Angel collection was modern, whispy and didn’t disappoint.  Backless gowns with hints of Angel wings and flared French lace Angel sleeves would definitely tempt bohemian chic celebrities and women unafraid to walk on the wild side.  Dresses with ivory soutache ribbon embroidery on net with champagne silver Guipure lace straps and platinum silk lining are likely what you’d want to wear on the day you knock at heaven’s door.  Faith and Eternity this season are not vows but rather dresses.  There was an indescribable moment when Celestine entered…the dress, we mean, a champagne halter neck beaded embroidery with ivory stained glass illusion back, sequin train and platinum silk lining.


After the finale, Claire appeared on the empty runway, silently seeming to say, yes, I still love this.  She momentarily appreciated the full house meeting eyes with the room full of guests as cameras clicked before her exit.  Well done, Claire, we agree that if you’re going to make a splash, there may as well be bubbles.  Give Raphaella and Trinity our best.

 

Engaged and Social Under a Tribeca Topiary

In late December we received the news that we were invite to collaborate on a Sophisticated Weddings issue release party at the Tribeca Rooftop.  The timing couldn’t have been more perfect.  We had our Weddings by MWD Lifestyles launch announcement scheduled to go out first thing in 2015.  We signed on the dotted line just in time to reach for a few glasses of guilt-free champagne to bring in the new year before shaping the overall look of the event and taking next steps.  We couldn’t resist wedding glamour as a theme.

After being in the upscale event production industry for 17 years it’s hard to forget the Tribeca Rooftop is a 15,000 square foot decadent space with incredible views of the Hudson River, Soho and Downtown Manhattan.  Weddings by MWD Lifestyles embraces a subtle yet elegant approach when it comes to venues this size.  It’s the view that makes the statement.  The industrial feel of Tribeca Rooftop and skyline were incredibly fun to soften with hot pinks, creams and whites with upscale floral components but let’s start where it all begins, at the door.

We have come to learn that entrance decor is one of the most important ways to make a statement and set the tone for what guests can expect.  It sets the mood for the overall event.  For the entryway we opted for carefully placed groupings of roses, sweet pea, hydrangea, quince branches, and lisianthus in shades of white, pink and soft pinks displayed in a sundry of vases and sparsely placed white pillar candles and floating votives on a bed of scattered Swarovski crystals for the main entrance decor.

On the main floor we designed and installed a floral boxwood topiary centerpiece to anchor the room made of roses, hydrangeas, dianthus, spray roses accented with floral jasmine surrounded by seating vignettes that allowed guests and wedding industry professionals that attended a place to stop and literally enjoy the flowers.  Power Posse Productions pin-spotted select floral components with lighting, as a part of the overall effect. The subtle detail that got its share of buzz for the evening were the embossed paisley textured linens.  In a venue this large texture contributes to the comfort level of guests a great deal.  As it turns out the centerpiece and the linens were a big hit.

What could top being able to design an event at such an architecturally stunning venue for Sophisticated Weddings only to enjoy new friends and one’s we haven’t seen in awhile?  Working closely with the Tribeca Rooftop team, Cody Raisig Photography and the participating brands who remain leaders in weddings and hospitality by being incredibly accommodating and hospitable.  Well, that and enjoying 45 Riots play a little Sade and Hall & Oates.


Laduree, Oui!

We were as giddy as a bride on the day of her wedding to be in the final tweaking stages of our Love&Style blog just as the 2014 Bridal Market Week commenced.  A few events piqued our interest and stood as reminders that memorable weddings are reliant on the brands and vendors you entrust.  The ritual of saying goodbye to an old life and beginning a new one is deliciously life changing; the big day should be complete with bells and whistles, laughter and tears, dancing, celebrating and quiet, treasured moments.

The myth is that planning weddings are stressful; the fact is that it’s not supposed to be for the couple.  That’s one reason that compels us to take a glimpse of what’s trending during one of the biggest wedding events of the year.  The other reason is so we can know that no matter what’s popular, each wedding still needs to be a unique expression of a love story and each wedding should be different from the next.

We couldn’t resist an invitation to view the Wedding Collection by Laduree at Laduree Soho, which also happens to be the best kept secret of bridal venues.  Upon arrival impeccably ordered confections of every color, reglette boxes and cones have the power to hypnotize anyone that’s ever tasted something sweet and loved it.  For the bride interested in offering the ultimate thank you, consider leaving an impression with the Laduree Cameo which promises to leave your guests feeling treasured.  The light beyond a dimly lit, cozy Parisian restaurant filled with international regulars lead to a little known venue that feels like heaven and home alike, and tiered Marie Antoinette cakes that made us tear up.

We’d hate to start a stampede but there is a private back room and tree lined terrace complete with a fountain and bar that seats up to 70 guests that feels just Paris.  The space has ample heat lamps for colder months and comes to life with a canopy of cherry blossoms in the spring.  You’ll want to keep in mind that Laduree Soho will celebrate it’s one year anniversary in February, 2015.  After perusing pyramids of choux, croquembouche and the Laduree wedding gift range we were clear: being trendy isn’t enough for the events surrounding a wedding.  The wedding cake has to be an art form.  Just ask Chef Jimmy LeClerc who takes an hour alone to make transparent roses from sugar to top tiered cakes and pyramids of macarons.  As you can imagine, he had a few fans.

From couples that choose a destination no-expense-spared wedding to bohemian chic ceremonies laced with trending celebrities and hipsters, saying thank you with the best you have to offer is something that gives your guests something money can’t buy.  Gratitude in all forms is still a luxury.

If you’d like to see more photos of our visit to Laduree Soho on our Pinterest page take a look HERE.


Marc Wilson Celebrates 16 Years in Design…

Marc Wilson of MWD Lifestyles Celebrates 16 Years in Design in style, in Harlem, with incredible world music and bites from The Edge.

MARC WILSON, Creative Director and Founder of MWD Lifestyles, recently celebrated his 16th year in the upscale event and weddings industry on September 16th in Upper Manhattan. With a wealth of knowledge about color, style and texture and trove of destination partners, Marc still needs a place that is fun to get messy in. What better a place than Harlem where he began his business 16 years ago? After all, the ground floor level design studio located on Edgecombe Avenue is where Morningside Heights meets Hamilton Heights meets Strivers Row; it’s the perfect tucked-away area for him to design for celebrity galas, activations and top names in hospitality without the foot traffic and blaring buzz of downtown Manhattan. Not to mention, the trending area is much easier for impromptu travel, something Marc keeps in mind with preferred partners such as Banyan Tree in Mayakoba, Mexico; Viceroy in Anguilla; W Retreat and Spas in Vieques, Puerto Rico; and Weddings A–Z in Italy.

Marc muses, “I’ve always wanted to be out of the fray of other industry design companies. This allowed our team to create independently of what is happening in the mainstream and allows us to have our own voice about what designing events is to us. The design industry is ever changing, so to be in the business for nearly 20 years is something to be proud of.”

The functional workspace was decked in the best of both worlds to re-enliven it’s tradition of open studio events; it was cozy enough to toast and jest and dressed enough to admire. A floral knoll up the center of a moss glade with an ascending floral alter above which a suspended garden installation dangled and delighted with varied flowers transformed the space and, as Marc intended, it was a conversation piece.

DJ Kpoh, a world music and afro beats aficionado who recently relocated from San Francisco, was a hit with guests. Owner/Chef Juliet Masters of The Edge which serves Jamaican/English cuisine, located a few doors down, created a bite menu appealing to any pallet and a departure from the norm. Light fare included Panko-crusted Plantain and queso fresco skewers and curry chicken crostini.

While the event was also meant to be a soft launch of the Weddings by MWD Lifestyles website, Marc, a 2013 Big Apple Award nominee, has long since delved into upscale weddings both locally and abroad. Guests included Left Field Pictures, JKS Events, Mark Imgram Atelier, Bridal Tribe Magazine and Regas Stationery. The design team also chuckled this was Marc’s Sweet 16.

Photos of the event can be seen HERE.

The press release for the event can be seen HERE.