A true artist within the realm of luxury events, Leslie Mastin of Leslie Mastin Events does not just design an event- she lovingly crafts it, from the first tentative ideas to the full spectrum of excellent execution. A vibrant presence within the bustling metropolitan social scene of Manhattan, Leslie Mastin brings a magnificent combination of creative smarts and time-honed expertise to every exquisite tabletop and polished party she produces. Whether you enjoy the grandeur of the whole picture or relish the smallest of delightful details, Leslie’s impeccable taste and ability to develop the most spectacular of environments will have you oo-ing and ahh-ing.
Leslie’s dedication to her clients and each of their specific needs sets her apart. Every party is a personal invitation for Leslie to birth a splendidly realized event, with never-before-seen details that make it an exceptional solution to her clients’ specifications. No event is too small or too large to garner all of her attention. Leslie has an ability to create wonderment even within the constraints of time and budget, causing her clients to return to her over and over again. A lover of excellence and with a dedication to integrity, Leslie’s standards and work ethic have given her an incredible reputation within the luxury wedding industry.
We couldn’t resist catching up with Leslie to learn a little more about her, her background and what ultimately led her to develop Leslie Mastin Events (and we’re so glad she did!). Here’s a peek at what she had to say…
TBC: Leslie, tell us a little about your background.
LM: I hold a degree in restaurant and hotel management and have completed an estagier – a training program under an elite chef – at the Hotel de Bergues in Geneva. I honed my venue and management skills through key positions at New York’s premier hotels, including the St. Regis, the Grand Hyatt, The Mark and The Regent Wall Street. I served as President of State of the Art Enterprises for nine years – a prestigious Manhattan event planning firm – where I created and managed hundreds of successful events in the New York area and around the globe, before utilizing my original approach and vision to found Leslie Mastin Events.
TBC: When did you first discover your love of weddings? Who or what inspired you to pursue wedding planning as a career?
LM: I developed my love of planning early on in life. As a child, I remember making beautiful tablescapes for big family gatherings. I’ve always been a creative person and felt a deep passion for making those around me happy.Being brought up in a single parent household, I learned my work ethic from my strong mother who always encouraged me to do the work I loved.Immersing myself in the evolution of an event allows me to enjoy every moment as it develops into the dream day my clients desire. Every event is catered specifically to my clients, making the job ever-changing and full of endless possibilities.
TBC: What is your title? Where is your office located?
LM: President and Creative Director. I work out of Sunny Hill, a beautiful, farm-esque home office (former poultry farm) where my dog, Dodger, is always nearby.
TBC: What is your business, what services do you provide, what are you known for and how long have you been in the business?
LM: My business focuses on helping people plan milestone events. We encompass everything from long term planning to day-of services. I’ve been in the hospitality business for over 30 years and event planning for over 10 years.
TBC: Do you do destination weddings? Where have you planned them and where are you going this year?
LM: YES! We’ve planned at The Sundance Resort Utah, The Breakers Palm Beach, Mar-a-Lago Palm Beach, Bonita Springs, Coconut Grove Florida, Sandy Lane Resort Barbados, the One&Only Ocean Club Bahamas, the Atlantis Bahamas, Four Seasons, Nevis West Indies…
TBC: What percentage of your weddings are destination, as opposed to other locations?
TBC: What are they best places for food, drink and entertainment? Where do you go? What are your favorite hot spots?
LM: The best food? I would head to Italy: Umbria or Florence. My hotspots are where the locals are.
TBC: What are the must-see shops to check out?
LM: I love small boutiques that don’t carry mainstream pieces.
TBC: What are the best places to get married in hotels, places you can tent, etc.
LM: The Pierre Hotel– iconic! Great Flow, and near Central Park. The Plaza– for similar reasons. Brooklyn Museum – next door to botanical gardens and offering many different flow options. I’m really excited about the Rainbow Room and Tavern on The Green reopening. I booked one of the first weddings at The Rainbow Room this fall! Being able to put a tent in central park will be a really unique location. I absolutely love home weddings! Any place I can put up a tent excites me.
TBC: What are some of your favorite ways to celebrate signature local foods, drinks, types of parties, favors, etc?
LM: I celebrate with my most intimate friends. My love of food has no limits! I enjoy everything from fine dining at 5 star restaurants to backyard farm-to-table BBQs. In the summer, I love a good Sancerre or a hearty red wine like a Barolo on a winter night. For fun, there’s nothing like a sweet mojito or a martini with extra olives!
I think themed parties are always fun. One Fourth of July I threw a backyard hoedown where 100 plus guests came to my house. I set up stations like, Design Your Own Cowboy Hat, and a station with feed bags to fill with penny candy.
TBC: What areas are the best places for photos at a wedding that the bride and groom may not think of?
LM: I would suggest utilizing whatever nature surrounds the venue. For example, take photos at The Brooklyn Botanical Garden by whatever is in bloom or in a carriage at Central Park. I also always remind couples to get detail shots as a reminder of all the pieces that brought the day together.
TBC: Anything brides and grooms should be aware of like bugs, wind, weather, beach permits, seasonal issues, etc. when getting married?
LM: Couples hire me so that they don’t have to worry about those elements!
TBC: What are the myths and misconceptions people have about destination weddings?
LM: Misconception: large weddings welcome! I think that for destination weddings a smaller guest list is more accommodating. Think 100 to 125 people. For destination, it’s not just a wedding day- it’s a wedding weekend, so you have to take into account all of the time guests will spend out of town.
Some elements of this include a welcome night, travel, weekend itineraries, passports, money exchange, and time differences. Customs and shipping event goods is very important to have a handle on. It is always nice to have a liaison on the other side who you can count on to navigate you through local laws, customs, etc.
TBC: What are the top 3 things you never leave behind when you are on site for a wedding?
LM: A first aid kit, fashion tape and sunblock.
TBC: How do you unwind after an event?
LM: Feet up, a glass of red wine and something salty, no doubt!
TBC: What’s next for Leslie Mastin and Leslie Mastin Events? Can you share new projects, or anything new you are launching?
LM: My new website will be launching soon! Check it out at lesliemastinevents.com.
Keep your eyes peeled for a best-seller filled with the stories of my event planning years after that. 😉