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Designing and creating events that reflects the couples personalities — Elegant Occasions By JoAnn Gregoli

Designing and creating events that reflects the couples personalities — Elegant Occasions By JoAnn Gregoli

Life is filled with events, some of which we treasure so dearly and others not so much. Whether organizing a small meeting or orchestrating a large conference, event planning is mandatory. Every event, no matter how simple or complex, requires detailed planning and organization. And adding on events such as sports, charities, corporate meetings, etc., to the list, we have scores of events which we often held, some of which are life-changing. 

Whether for business or a significant personal occasion, planning events can be a full-time job. Loads of people have made a career out of it. One of the stalwarts of planning events is Elegant Occasions. Elegant Occasions by JoAnn Gregoli, designs and creates events that reflect the couples' personalities. Elegant Occasions designs and creates one-of-a-kind, unique events. They are — all about the details. From the moment the guests receive their save the dates, to the food, service, music, and design choices, Elegant Occasions want your celebration to touch on all of the senses. Weddings are all about collaboration. Elegant Occasions will help you make your vision a reality and create memorable experiences for you and your guests.

JoAnn Gregoli, founder and CEO of Elegant Occasions, exclusively spoke to CIO Bulletin. Below is an excerpt of the conversation.

Q. Can you take us through the company's journey right from its beginning to the point where it unwaveringly stands today? 

The company was founded after I stopped working in the corporate world. I had stepped back to raise my children and realized that I had to support my family. The company was literally born out of a need for income. As I continued in my career, I found myself yearning for a more rewarding and fulfilling career. I was obsessed with weddings and found myself on vacations viewing and critiquing every wedding that was taking place at the resort - I was in love with love, and I found a way to offer my planning skills to those couples who had no time to plan their weddings. They say you always get a big break, and mine came when I was asked to design the wedding of Rupert Murdoch's daughter in Beverly Hills. That moment was the defining moment of my career where it took me from just being a local planner to a planner who now planned weddings outside their area and into the Celebrity world.

That one wedding catapulted the company into a different direction that led to worldwide recognition.

Q. What are the different aspects of organizing an event that is covered by your services?

Elegant Occasions is a full-service planning and production company that plans the events from start to finish. We start with budget planning and then execute an extensive site search that takes us virtually worldwide.

Since I have an extensive background in travel, my knowledge of destination weddings is pretty broad. We work with our production companies to create and produce events that give the guests an experiential experience from start to finish. Each event has to reflect the style of the couple or company for which the event is being hosted. I love to tell their love story and make sure it is reflected in the design and production of each event.

Q. Event planning services come with an expensive price tag. How affordable are your services?

I make our services invaluable; they cannot afford not to hire a planner. We help couples navigate the vast world of weddings and events, and we ultimately save them time and money in the long run. Planners should not be considered an extra expense. We are the general contractor that oversees the entire event and your insurance policy that everything you planned will go off without a hitch. We know life is not perfect, but a great planner can also navigate the problems before they arise to make them appear flawless. If something is not life or death and can be fixed behind the scenes, I have done my job. As they say, shit happens and how you handle the problem makes you invaluable to the couple.

Q. There are other major players in the luxury event planning segment. How do you diversify yourself?

I always say, "Stay in your lane and focus on what you do best." I am great at problem-solving and working on destination events. I have the knowledge and expertise to create events worldwide that reflect the couple's style and personality. I also like to deep dive into the event and learn as much as I can about the couple to ensure their style is reflected in all my events.

Q. Engagement is the heart of every event, whether it is business or casual. How can you provide better engagement?

The key to any successful event is the interactive components that allow guests to enjoy an immersive experience. Every event we produce should touch on the five senses when guests arrive.

  • Sight: The event should be visually appealing and evoke a feeling of existing
  • Sound: Music should fill the air from the moments guests arrive until they depart
  • Touch: Every napkin linen and touch points are considered and made sure people remember the feel
  • Taste: Food that entices the palette and evokes great memories. We love to infuse the couple's culture into the food so guests feel at home
  • Smell: Besides the fragrance of flowers, we like to use room infusers to fill with air with a familiar scent for the family or event

Q. How do you recruit the right talents for maintaining the quality of your service?

Personal connections are everything, and I like to find my talent by meeting them in person and getting to know them. It's tough to support anything you find online without investigating and meeting someone face to face. You must meet each vendor and deep dive into their business to see if they are the right fit for your clients.

Q. Tell us about your vendor selection process. What are the factors that influence the selection of vendors?

Vendors need to have the same work ethic as me and give 1000 percent. I also believe that the power of networking, meeting, and connecting with vendors makes all the difference in the world. You must establish a personal relationship with the vendor to get a sense of their style and who they are. Also, making sure they are communicating with you regularly helps to establish a solid working relationship.

Tell us about your extensive portfolio of successful events.

With over 30 years of experience under my belt, we have produced some fantastic events. We were part of the planning of the Liberty Science Center in New Jersey. We were on the team that designed, raised funds, and saw the job to completion. Hosting parties for dignitaries and the grand opening is one of my favorites. Another memorable event was for a celebrity basketball player who wanted to get married on Ellis Island. We had to ferry the guests by boat and hosted this fantastic event in the grand hall. The room was glowing from top to bottom.

I have planned and produced weddings from Iceland to Italy and beyond. Our newest venture is Morocco that offers my clients an over-the-top exotic experience.

Q. What does the future hold for Elegant Occasions and its clients? 

The future looks incredible. We have onboarded a team to handle our corporate events growing over the past few years. Since my background began in the corporate world, the company is now coming full circle, and it is a natural progression. We will continue to grow our destination market and allow people to see the world and make these events unforgettable.

Meet JoAnn Gregoli

JoAnn Gregoli graduated from college with a degree in Public Relations. She began her career working in the events industry producing events for large pharmaceutical companies and corporate events. She is the mother of six children, and opening up her planning company allowed her to raise the children while building on her career. She has appeared on Good Morning America, Today Show, the CBS Morning show, and Oprah Winfrey, Phil Donahue, and countless other talk shows.

She is the author of the book the Knots Guide to Destination Weddings. 

She has produced weddings for corporate executives, celebrities, and athletes. She has offices in Rome and Marrakech, Washington DC, and Los Angeles.

She was voted one of the most Influential destination wedding planners globally, and Modern Bride called her Destination Wedding planner innovator. During the pandemic, JoAnn founded the Sewing Angels, a nonprofit group that provided masks for hospitals, clinics, shelters, and schools. The team of women donated over 65,000 masks nationwide and was recognized by Good Morning America for their achievements.

“Every event tells a story, let us tell yours!!!”

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