As a die hard native New Yorker, I have always loved what New York City has stood for and for all the amazing opportunities it has offered to me personally. When I left the fashion industry and decided to go into event planning, I knew that weddings were going to be a specialty. Now, it’s a little over fourteen years later and I’m still going strong! I have been so blessed with owning my own event planning company and continue to enjoy producing events here and abroad.
In addition to orchestrating events and weddings in New York City, one of my favorite locations to plan in has always been The Hamptons. For those of you who don’t know, The Hamptons are located on Long Island, just two hours from New York City and have always been known as the vacation and “in spot” for many affluent New Yorkers, celebrities and the international crowd. I grew up having a summer home on another part of Long Island, called the North Fork. But in my early twenties I ventured out to explore The Hamptons on the South Fork. I had to know just what was so special about the Hamptons!? Well, let me tell you. The Hamptons offer beautiful beaches, breathtaking landscapes, and a casual, relaxing atmosphere that reach right down into your soul.
Summer happens to be my favorite time of year, primarily because, like a lot of people, I am a beach bum at heart. I love The Hamptons for the beaches, as well as for all the manicured hedges and flowers that are in full bloom, the amazing sunsets and the delicious vegetables and fruits that are in season. Not only do I plan beautiful summer events for my clients, but I love to plan dinner parties and entertain at our home in The Hamptons as well. It’s a luxurious lifestyle of simple, restorative beauty.
Last year, I was lucky to have married an amazing man and to have what I call our “semi-”celebration (and I say semi because it was the weekend of Hurricane Irene) in Bridgehampton, a charming town in The Hamptons.
But as our wedding week was approaching… so was Hurricane Irene. The weather updates were becoming more worrisome by the moment. The idea of the wedding planner’s wedding reception being cancelled was unheard of to me at the time. Of course, over the past fourteen years I have had a track record of absolutely GORGEOUS weather for all of my clients’ weddings and special events. And ironically, after all of the planning, hard work and excitement I had poured into three intense months of planning, looking forward to sharing our celebration with our families and friends that Saturday weekend, I could not believe that the opposite was happening to me! Sadly, the day before our wedding I had to pull the plug and stop all party planning production that had already taken place. Luckily, since we had already planned a clambake dinner as part of our weekend festivities, we made sure to “rock” it because this was our only wedding-related party that was going to take place. To my husband and I, this party was something beyond special and one we would never forget.
The original plan, before we cancelled due to the storm, was to enjoy a Hamptons vibe the night before and then a Mediterranean-inspired celebration on our wedding day. The concept behind our beach party was exactly what I wanted to achieve despite the impending weather. It was a casual, colorful, and beachy gathering that epitomized a true “Hamptons” experience for our friends and families.
I loved using soft earth tones mixed with pops of orange, salmon, coral and soft aqua as well as bamboo for the dinnerware and furniture. Once I found my empty canvas, I wanted to take what was around me and implement it into the decor. I used driftwood, coral, pin cushion protea (which reminds me of sea urchin), and Juliet garden roses that came from my friend Catherine’s house.
I always say to my brides that once you find the location for your event, look around you and see what you can bring into your decor from the surrounding area.
As a professional planner, I always have to ask and plan for a backup plan. For the most part, when I ask my clients “what is your backup plan?” they don’t know what their options are. This is where a good wedding planner can assist you. Like many other outdoor locations, The Hamptons are a great location but you need to think about the “what if” scenarios. Weather can change drastically (especially during the end of August, September and October) so as amazing as it sounds to have a “perfect” outdoor event, you do need to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. In my case, I had reserved a tent for our beach party should we have needed to move away from the beach earlier that afternoon to set up for the evening party. Luckily, it was the “calm” before the storm and we remained on the beach!
As tented weddings are my favorite kind of parties, the idea of having to build a room excites me. I love all the bells and whistles that need to be thought out to assure that the event goes on smoothly. But you need to remember that you have to reserve your main tent ahead of time (especially in The Hamptons) because of the influx of parties that go on during the peak summer season. Ever since 9/11, The Hamptons, has truly become year-round destination. So even through the end of Fall, parties and weddings still take place.
Ever since I got married last year, The Hamptons have become my full-time location and I love it. I am fortunate to have the best of both worlds and that my job allows me to keep an office in New York City, a home in Brooklyn and a lifestyle of living on the East End of Long Island.
Read More About Sofia Crokos:
Sofia Crokos, founder and creative director of Sofia Crokos Events (SCE), is one of the most in-demand and influential wedding planners in the US and abroad. Since 1998, she has perfected the art of entertaining with unparalleled style and service, designing memorable events orchestrated with a magic combination of energy, elegance and surprising detail. She is renowned for her personalized philosophy, creative instincts and positive attitude, as well as for her strong relationships with the most prestigious vendors around the globe.
Personal Niche: “Cookie-cutter” is not in Sofia’s vocabulary – she takes a completely original approach to produce weddings that reflect each couple’s special individuality. She thinks outside the box, pulling inspiration from the worlds of cuisine, interior design, fashion, music, and culture. As an event architect, her process begins with blueprints that outline an event’s foundation and direction, such as venue, décor and vibe. As a taste-making stylist, she sources caterers, floral designers, music talent, photographers, and other world-class vendors to assemble the perfect team to bring the vision to life. One of the many luxuries Sofia offers as an independent planner is freedom in vendor selection. Once all the elements are in place, her production supervision and sharp attention to detail culminate in an unforgettable and flawless wedding experience for the bride, groom and guests.