By Leslie Mastin, President of State of the Art Enterprises
When it came to planning a recent summer wedding, my bride had two requests – a unique venue and purple, purple, purple! So instead of calling on our go-to New York City landmark hotels, we set our sights on Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Museum to be precise. With its soaring ceilings, stunning architectural details and close proximity to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden (perfect for pre-ceremony photos), the Museum was the ideal fit.
Then it was on to our purple challenge! We started off with shades of white and pink and lavender for the ceremony. In keeping with the unique venue, we decided to opt for a seating in the round set-up, rather than the traditional layout. The result was inviting and inclusive and gave each guest the best seat in the house. The chuppah was created out of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of wide ribbons that created a dramatic, waterfall-like effect. The transparent Miro chairs added to the already airy, open feel of the glass-enclosed space.
I like to make the experience as seamless as possible for my clients, despite the inevitable hiccups that come up. This event was no exception and its why choosing the right planner is so key. Some hiccups occur with a little warning and others occur on the spot, and we need to be able to act on our feet so that the big day remains joyful and relaxed, not frenzied and stressful. One of the best tools that I come prepared with in my fix-it box is a detailed itinerary listing everything that is scheduled to occur on the day of the event, including hair and makeup schedules, load-in times, band cues and so much more. Everyone on my team has a copy and this helps us all to stay on the same page (pun intended!)
Just a week before the wedding, it was brought to my attention that people tended to gather on the lawn outside the ceremony space. Given that the windows ran from floor to ceiling and we didn’t want people peering in, I suggested hanging sheer draping; it provided the perfect barrier without taking away from the airy feel of the space.
From the delicate palette of the ceremony, the color continued to intensify during the cocktail hour, with lush amethyst blooms and bars dressed in purple cloths. The focal point of the museum rotunda, the Information Booth, was meticulously transformed into a soft and glowing installation of sheer fabric. The space truly inspired us to create our very own work of art. This too was an unexpected surprise. Six months after booking the Museum, I was informed that the space originally designated for the cocktail hour was undergoing unforeseen renovations. The towering Information Booth was a challenge to overcome, but rather than seeing it as an obstacle, my team and I (many thanks to the inestimable Lewis Miller) were inspired to make it a spectacular feature.
I’d also advise finding out what exhibits will be on display at the time of the event so that your décor choices are appropriate. One of the great perks of choosing a museum is the artwork that you will be surrounded by; as long as you are prepared, the exhibit will enhance your event and help to make it a truly unique experience. If you do encounter an unexpected artistic display that isn’t quite in keeping with your design scheme, don’t stress!; there are creative ways to disguise whatever it is that doesn’t fit. With a little outside of the box thinking, a solution can always be found.
The purple theme continued right on into the reception where the color reached its full expression. The entire space was lit with a stunning purple glow. Long dinner tables set with tall gold candelabras and deep purple tapers, gold compotes overflowing with stunning pink peonies and fragrant Yves Piaget cabbage roses in shades of magenta and tall manicured topiary trees all set on raw silk tablecloths were the focal points. Antique gold ballroom chairs with plush purple velvet cushions, brushed gold charger plates, gold-rimmed glasswear and carefully selected flatware completed the look.
Menus with hand-painted violet blooms and a cake adorned with purple sugar flowers so real you wanted a whiff were just a few of the many details that brought the purple theme to life. An inviting lounge space replete with tufted ottomans, purple carpeting, French chaises and gold lamps with deep magenta shades provided a comfortable place for guests to relax and chat. A photobooth complete with paper moustaches and top hats and a cookie bar overflowing with treats added a touch of whimsy. And just in case there weren’t enough surprises, each guest was sent off with a doughnut and a to-go cup of coffee in a custom cup featuring the bride and groom’s dog.
The key is to enjoy the experience….and let your planner worry about the rest!
Meet Leslie Mastin, State of the Art Enterprises.
As President of State of the Art Enterprises, Leslie Mastin is a dominant force in the New York City event-planning scene. Leslie brings an unparalleled level of expertise, dedication, and creativity to every event she produces, consistently exceeding her client’s expectations. Leslie’s unflappable spirit enables her to handle anything that planning the perfect event throws her way! A consummate professional, Leslie has earned impeccable credentials in her 20 plus years of experience in the industry.
With a degree in Restaurant and Hotel Management, Leslie then completed an extensive 18-month training course in food and beverage at the New York Hilton. This led to Leslie’s time as a stagiare at the Hotel des Bergues in Geneva, Switzerland, where she honed her culinary skills in pastry and garde manger. Leslie has served at some of the finest establishments in New York including The New York Hilton, The St. Regis Hotel, The Grand Hyatt New York, The Mark Hotel and The Regent Wall Street. While at the Regent Wall Street, Leslie managed the ballroom’s post 9/11 efforts, running a support center for fire fighters, police and rescue workers from ground zero.
Since joining State of the Art in 2003, Leslie has amassed a significant corporate and high-end private client base, including Merck, Alliance Bernstein, and The Achilles Track Club. Leslie planned the 50 and Fabulous 50th Anniversary Party of the Birth Control Pill hosted by Teva Pharmaceuticals. She also had the opportunity to organize famed music producer Clive Davis’ Grammy Party, the last time the Grammy Awards were held in New York City.
Leslie’s wedding expertise has given her a prized spot on the preferred planner’s list at The Breakers Resort in Palm Beach, Florida. Leslie has brought her exceptional talent to numerous high-profile weddings at some of the most coveted destinations all over the country, including a complete takeover of the Sundance Resort in Utah. She is very experienced with destination weddings, and has planned several stunning events at the One & Only Ocean Club in Nassau, Bahamas. Leslie has also secured some of the biggest names in talent for her brides and grooms, including special appearances by the very popular Maroon 5, Hootie and the Blowfish, Aretha Franklin and many more. Leslie is invested in each and every one of the weddings she plans as if it were her very own.
A client recently remarked in a letter to Leslie, “We have collaborated on a number of successful events over the years, running the gamut from dinner dances for several hundreds to intimate, elegant affairs for 40 guests. Your ability to function as a savvy and candid ‘thought partner’ and also to execute our vision flawlessly, makes you one of my most valued colleagues.” Leslie’s commitment to her clients is extraordinary; she is truly “State of the Art.”