Company Picnic in Central Park – 2015

It’s hard to believe this was our 4th year to work with Colonial Consulting on their annual summer picnic in Central Park and we couldn’t have asked for better weather!

Because of the easy access from 5th Avenue, we decided to have it in the same location as last year, the Billy Johnson Playground between E. 66th and 67th Streets.

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Everyone loved Dinosaur BBQ the year before so we decided to use them again. The menu consisted beef sliders, BBQ chicken, chicken wings, Memphis style pork, St. Louis cut ribs, Hoffman’s hot dogs, chopped salad, creole potato salad, mac & cheese, honey hush cornbread and assorted cookies (chocolate chunk, oatmeal, peanut butter) and mini-pies (key lime, cheesecake and chocolate icebox) with fresh whipped cream.

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For entertainment we booked the same vendors as last year; face painting by Kiki’s Faces & Balloons, caricatures by Steve Nyman and activities led by Ryan from Groovinthusiasts. We also had a cardboard vineyard that the kids really enjoyed coloring on!

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Catering: Dinosaur BBQ
Caricatures: Steve Nyman
Entertainment: Groovinthusiasts
Face Painting: Kiki’s
Venue: Central Park, Billy Johnson Playground
Written by Karen Brown.

We’re Expanding!

We’re so excited to announce that we’re expanding to DENVER!

I have always loved the Mile-High City but have fallen in love with it even more over the last couple of years, ever since the Association of Bridal Consultants conference took me back there in 2012.

The idea to expand into the region began to solidify after working on the Peridance Bazaar with our Denver based client who owns American Down & Feather. We began discussing and brainstorming ideas for events we could do for his company there and I was more than on board! Since I already have a solid network of friends and acquaintances that live there, the decision to increase business beyond this one event was easy.

We have started to build our team, bringing Kathryn Moise, our Lead Planner/Event Manager on board in NYC back in March, and Lauren Rush, our Business Development Manager in Denver this month. We’ll also be looking for day-of assistants in the Denver area so if you’re someone looking for freelance work, please be in touch! We will be doing the same type of events as we do here in New York; marriage proposals, weddings, social and corporate events.

Check out New York Party Bus!

Looking for fun way to get around the city for a bachelor or bachelorette party, or milestone birthday?

Look no further!

New York Party Bus is a transportation company with professional chauffeurs who are dedicated to providing one of the most memorable experiences on the road.

 photo credit: nynylimo.com

photo credit: nynylimo.com

5 Surprise Reasons to Hire a Wedding or Event Planner

#1 You’ll Save Time

Your event planner will often take meetings for you. Why? Because there are details that you don’t have to be bothered with. Your event planner knows the ins and out of your event. At the beginning of each planning process, you’ll sit down for an intense strategy meeting so that your vision and needs are met. This means that your planner will go to the meetings with the hotel and photographer and you can get more work done, like registry shopping or a night out with your bridesmaids.

 Photo Credit: diyfrugalbride.blogspot.com

Photo Credit: diyfrugalbride.blogspot.com

#2 You’ll Save Money

You’re probably thinking because you have to pay the event planner, you’re spending more money right? Not so. Once your planner knows your budget s/he can work with vendors to save you money on all kinds of things. Planners know which vendors would be willing to work within a particular budget and because they often have relationships with vendors already, it’s easier to ask them for those things. You’ll also have a guarantee that these are good people with quality work.

#3 You’ll Have a Better Looking Event

 Event planners know that part of what makes for a great event is that it looks and feels great. There are details that experienced planners know to look for. Things like, did you know that if you angle your audience chairs a certain way, it makes them feel more involved and engaged? This is just one of the many suggestions a professional planner will share.

 Photo Credit: Style Me Pretty

Photo Credit: Style Me Pretty

#4 You’ll Eat

You know what the number one thing people often forget to do? Eat. With an all day event that requires high energy and lots of moving about, it’s important to stay fueled. Too often there isn’t enough time to stop for a quick bite, or the nerves might make you so anxious you simple don’t “feel hungry.” One of the first things planners will often do is send a menu from the hotel or ask about your favorite snacks to have on hand the say of the event. S/he’ll also make sure there’s time set aside for you that day.

 Photo Credit: julesbridaljewellery.com

Photo Credit: julesbridaljewellery.com

#5 You’ll Breathe

While you’re planning an event, doing everything yourself is a very big job. And it gets stressful. Hiring a planner, helps you breathe. You can step back, regroup and focus on the things you know the most about. You’ll also have time to enjoy the “little things” or as we would say, the moments that matter. Because someone else is handling the details of the event itself, you can be more present and focus on your guests, making them feel more comfortable. After all the event is only as successful as the host!

Central Park Picnic!

This is our third year to work with Colonial Consulting on their annual summer picnic in Central Park and every year we have a blast! The weather was perfect and temperatures were incredibly mild for a summer day in NYC.

This year we reserved the lawn just south of the Billy Johnson Playground, located on 5th Avenue between E. 66th and 67th Streets. This proved to be a great location for easy access for both guests and vendors.

Dinosaur BBQ catered and the menu consisted of pork sliders, pulled chicken, beef ribs, potato salad, mac & cheese, vegetable orzo, cornbread and everyone’s favorite, mini-keylime pies and chocolate icebox cake!

For kid’s entertainment we had face painting by Kiki’s Faces & Balloons and activities led by Ryan from Groovinthusiasts, including an egg race, potato sack race and tug-o-war for the adults.

And what Colonial Consulting picnic would be complete without caricatures by Steve Nyman!

Favors for guests were custom cupcakes by Chic Sugars.

A Corporate Event from New York to Dallas!

We teamed up with Public Relations agency Dada Goldberg to help produce two great events last week for GROHE, a German based company and leading provider of premium kitchen and bath faucets, showers and shower systems. The first event was held at their New York City showroom and included a panel discussion and concept reveal of two bathroom installations; one designed by Slades and the other by Viñas, both constructed by Situ Studio.

Michael Stuart provided catering and created a southern comfort menu which included chicken & waffles, shrimp & grits and fish tacos.

There was a wonderful turnout for the event with a great story about it in Interior Design Magazine.

The second event was a conversation with leading Dallas designers about trends for kitchens and bathrooms that took place at the Center for Architecture in Dallas, a market that GROHE has newly entered.

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Two Sisters provided catering and created a German inspired menu which included German cheeses, soft pretzels and mini dark ale roasted beef sandwiches. Drinks were provided by Pogo’s Wine & Spirits and our wonderful serving staff was provided by Top Tier.

Celebrating Earth Day: Wedding & Event tips for Going Green

With all the buzz about “going green” these days, you may be wondering how that can translate into your wedding or special event? According to environmental studies, the average American wedding can create up to 600 pounds of garbage and 63 tons of carbon dioxide – which is equivalent to the emissions from 7,089 gallons of gas consumed!

Going Green for your wedding or event doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style or elegance. There are so many creative ways you can incorporate eco-friendly ideas and save money:

Paper Goods: It is becoming more common to send Save-the-Dates and Invitations electronically through sites such as PaperlessPostGreen Envelope and SplashThat. If you prefer not to use one of their stock templates you can always find a designer on Etsy or Fiverr to help you create a more personal design. You can also forgo printed programs and menus by creating a website on sites such as AppyCouple and Eventbrite, with all the important information and asking guests to download the corresponding app on their smartphone.

Travel: Whether traveling by car or plane, CO2 emissions are inevitable. You can offset your carbon footprint by joining forces with organizations such as Carbon Fund or booking eco-friendly accommodations through companies such as Travelocity’s “Travel for Good” program. This carbon foot print calculator can help you figure out how to offset and minimize your the impact on the environment.

Gift Registry: If your’re a resident of New York City, chances are you already have everything you need and little space for anything extra. However, many guests still don’t want to show up to your wedding or event empty handed. A few alternative ideas for registries are; Upon Our Star - contributions to your home downpayment, Honeyfund - contributing to your honeymoon, GradSave - contributions to your future child’s college fund, or I Do Foundation - contributions to your favorite charities.

Apparel: Through the sales of donated wedding dresses, Brides Against Breast Cancer is a wonderful organization that raises money for wellness and educational services for those impacted by cancer. It’s not only a great way to “recycle” a wedding dress but it’s also a great way to give back to a good cause. Other eco-friendly options include shopping at your local consignment store or borrowing a wedding dress from a family member and having it tailored to your size and your style.

Happy New Year from KBNY!

In less than 12 hours we will be ringing in the new year whist toasting to champagne and contemplating resolutions for 2014. I always look forward to the beginning of a new year for many different reasons. I love reflecting on all the accomplishments from the previous year, setting new goals which challenge me to grow both individually and within my business, and looking ahead at all the possibilities for creating special memories with my clients and those around me.

As I ponder on the weddings and events that Karen Brown New York has been part of the past year, I can’t help but feel overjoyed. I am extremely fortunate to have worked with so many amazing clients and supportive vendors. You have all made my job so easy, even in moments of crisis. Memories were made, charities have benefited and we partied way past our bedtimes. 2013 was most definitely an unforgettable year!

Here is a video recap of our year in wedding and event planning and the song “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz was inspired by a client’s wedding where the bride sang this song to her husband in a flashmob performance. Enjoy!

Company Picnic in Central Park!

It was a delight working with my client Colonial Consulting again on their annual company picnic and the upside to this year was that we were actually able to have it in Central Park! Last year we had to make the dreadful decision to have it indoors at their office due to rain. Luckily we couldn’t have asked for better weather this year!

The day started with a pre-party at their office which included sangria and a few yummy snacks.

For the picnic at Central Park we reserved Mineral Springs and had BBQ catered by Virgil’s and custom clown cake pops by Haute So Sweet.

For entertainment we had a clown and face painting by Kiki’s Faces & Balloons and caricature artist, Steve Nyman.

To see more pictures, please visit the Karen Brown New York Facebook page.

New York Design Week!

I had the opportunity to work with DADA Goldberg and Grohe for the launch of their new product, Grandera, during New York Design Week. The New York City showroom is spectacular and was perfect for a cocktail event.

 Photo credit: grohe.com

Photo credit: grohe.com

Architects, Interior Designers and the press were invited to GROHE Live! Center to get  a sneak peak of the newest, architecturally inspired Grandera collection and had the opportunity to experience and interact with digital water art by French artist Antonin Fourneau’s. It was the first time his Water Light Graffiti installation was featured in New York City.

To see more pictures of the installation and the event please visit the Karen Brown New York Facebook page.

Toshi’s Penthouse & Living Room!

Wednesday night my 30th birthday client and I met with the Event Sales Manager at the Flatiron Hotel for a venue tour of their Penthouse and Terrace, and the Mezzanine level of Toshi’s Living Room. The Penthouse is a great space for a private party or corporate event for about 100 people and has all the necessary connections for a DJ to spin or for a company presentation.

The Terrace would be an ideal place for a summer cocktail party has spectacular view of the Empire State Building!

Toshi’s Living Room is on the first level of the Flatiron Hotel and is a cozy neighborhood spot for listening to live music, which is exactly what my client is looking for to cap off the night of 30th birthday party.

After our tour my client and I stayed for a drink and listened to the band that was playing that night. Even though I had heard that Toshi, the owner, and his dog were regular fixtures at the hotel, I was still a bit surprised when he was actually the who sat us in the Living Room and took our drink order! The menus are created to look like old family photo albums (clever touch for a “living room” theme) and include pictures of Toshi’s childhood, a very creative touch! The cocktails were listed under the heading “Glasses of Happiness” which I immediately loved. My client and I both selected “The Toshi” cocktail, a combination of gin, lemon & champagne (I must be ready for that summer cocktail party on the Terrace!) which was positively delightful!

Tasting at AYZA!

Last Thursday I had a private tasting at Ayza West Village with the Director of Public Relations & Marketing, Irem Eren.

I’ve been to the Midtown location several times for their famous chocolate martinis but have never eaten there. I was quite impressed with the variety of selections presented at the tasting!

To start, we had the assorted cheese platter with French Brie, Tete de Moine, Wild Boar Prosciutto, Di Parma, agave paste and hummus.

The second course was Angry Chicken Lollipops, Shrimp Dumplings, White Truffle Pizza, Hot Artichoke, Wild Mushroom Pita Tart and our wine selections were a Torrentes, Chardonnay, Garnacha and Tempranillo.

For dessert the chef presented us with assorted chocolate truffles from Jacques Torres.

There were so many things I enjoyed but I have to say my favorites were the white truffle pizza, Tete de Moine from the cheese platter (which was also shaved to look like petals from a flower) and Ayza’s very own wine, Garnacha.

The West Village location is ideal for a private event, whether it’s a birthday or anniversary, a bridal shower, engagement party or wedding brunch – it has a cozy and comfortable atmosphere and they have different party packages to meet your needs. It’s also a great place for a romantic date or a girl’s night out. They even have Live Jazz Monday’s from 7-10pm if you’re looking for a fun group outing!

Happy Holidays from KBNY!

2012 was such a wonderful year for Karen Brown New York! We had the pleasure of working with so many wonderful clients and creating unforgettable events for their special occasions.

Here is a video recap of our year in event planning and the charities that benefited from “An Event that Gives Back!”.

Holiday Party at Madame Tussaud’s!

Hands down, one of my favorite client holiday parties this year was at Madame Tussaud’s. I had never been inside the museum before my first site visit during the planning process. It just felt like one of those touristy type attractions that you would only go to if you were a tourist but after going I was actually quite impressed with the realness of statues and the grandeur of the Star Room, the private room for events.

The museum is over 85,000 square feet and has over 200 wax figures expanding through nine levels. There are several different rooms which group the wax figures into genres; actors, news anchors, sports figures, musicians, politicians, superheroes, and more. There is even one level dedicated just to New York; Statue of Liberty, a Yellow Cab, famous New Yorkers such as Woody Allen, Al Roker, Matt Lauer, Beyonce, the Rockettes, etc.

On the day of the party, festivities started at my client’s office with a “Yankee Swap” (also known as “White Elephant”) gift exchange and custom holiday cookies by Me Too Cakes.

A few hours later I helped prepare the in-house cocktail party, then headed to Madame Tussaud’s to set up final decorations and make sure everything was ready to go before guests arrived.

The party started with cocktails in the Star Room, a star-studded affair including the newly unveiled Jennifer Aniston!

From there, guests went on a self-guided tour of the wax museum, ending with a Superhero short film in the 4D Cinema, a ultra-sensory experience with special effects including wind, snow, mist, scent and digital surround sound.

Guests were then brought back to the Star Room for a buffet dinner, more cocktails and delicious dessert!

 Catering by Café Metro, one of the preferred vendors for Madame Tussaud’s.

Catering by Café Metro, one of the preferred vendors for Madame Tussaud’s.

 Cake by Me Too Cakes

Cake by Me Too Cakes

 Cake by Me Too Cakes

Cake by Me Too Cakes

At the end of the night everyone left with a custom cake pop (or two!) from Haute So Sweet.

To see more pictures, please visit the Karen Brown New York Facebook page.

Visiting Chef Dinner at the Yale Club!

Each month the Yale Club hosts a “Visiting Chef Dinner” and last night I had the honor of attending the October dinner with photographer Lina Jang. We were guests of Kevin O’Brien, Director of Food & Beverage and the visiting chef was Carmen Quagliata, Executive Chef and Partner at Union Square Café, a Danny Meyer restaurant.

The menu consisted of four courses and included wine pairings and cooking demonstrations. Everything was absolutely scrumptious! For the appetizer we had sunchoke sformato with white truffles, first course was hand-rolled garganelli with speck, brussel sprouts and sage, second course was beef braised in barolo with polenta and root vegetables, and the third course was a honeycrisp apple cobbler with sour cream ice cream. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

If you’re not familiar with the Union Square Café, they have received The New York Times’ three-star rating twice, and also earned Zagat Survey’s #1 ranking as New York’s Most Popular Restaurant for the past nine years and have numerous James Beard Foundation Awards. They also have a mission to support the community, delivering meals to patients of the Jacob Perlow Hospice Center at Beth Israel Hospital, and buy most of their ingredients from the Union Square Greenmarket.

In addition to the restaurant, they have a venue called located in the Hudson Yards neighborhood called Kitchen with spectacular views of the Hudson River. The space is available for seated dinners, cooking classes, film shoots, cocktail receptions, and more. If that wasn’t enough, they also operate Union Square Events’ which offers off-premise catering for special events.

The Yale Club is also a spectacular place for events; whether you’re looking for a wedding venue with outdoor space or private dinner with your closest friends, their facilities are open to the public but there is a screening process if you’re not a member.

Catch-up over Cake Pops!

After being a repeat cake pop customer of Haute So Sweet, I finally got the chance to catch up with the owner Michelle this week at Birch Coffee.

After doing a lot of business with a vendor it’s always nice to be able connect on a personal level. As a relatively new business owner I’m always looking for ways to improve my processes and structure and Michelle had a lot of great advice to share! I was also able to see more of her cake designs and learn more about that side of her business. She even brought me red velvet and cookies & cream cake pops which was such a thoughtful gift, especially since I’m always ordering them for my clients and never get to indulge myself!

Holiday Party Planning at Madame Tussauds!

I am thrilled to be working with my corporate client, Colonial Consulting, on their holiday party at Madame Tussauds! Although the venue offers in-house planning, I am honored that my client prefers that I am on-hand to make sure the evening runs smoothly. Let the planning begin!