What’s Trending and Timeless with Event Planner Andrea Correale
What’s in style this spring? We asked event planner Andrea Correale to weigh in on everything from today’s trends to classic favorites. Andrea is a lifestyle and entertaining expert for L’Oreal Paris Academy, Ehow.com, Sam’s Club, Celebrations.com (a subsidiary of 1-800 Flowers), and Lenox China.
Andrea’s company, Elegant Affairs, has satisfied the palates of luminaries like Kevin Spacey, Mitt Romney, Mariah Carey, P.Diddy, Billy Joel, Russell Simmons, Ivana Trump, Liam Neeson, Jimmy Fallon, and L.A Reid. Corporate clients include Def Jam Records, Ferrari, Maserati, American Express, Cirque du Soleil, HBO, Niche Media, American Heart Association, Daniel Gale Sotheby’s, House of Vans, The Container Store, UrbanDaddy, FEMA Disaster Relief, Open Road Media, Ralph Lauren, Jimmy Choo, Gucci, Etro, Fendi Juicy Couture, Everything But Water, Bumble & Bumble, Children’s Medical Fund, Molloy College, and NYU.
Here’s her take on what’s trending and timeless this spring as well as a bit about herself and her company, Elegant Affairs.
Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself and how you got into the events business?
My love for food and events really began when I was young, still living at home and learning from my mother and father around the Correale family dinner table. My mother showed me that a table could be beautifully set with creativity on any budget.
I then began my entrepreneurial career at the age of 16 when I created an “event staff for hire” company out of my childhood home on Long Island. After receiving my degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management at NYIT, I launched Elegant Affairs, a full service off-premise catering and event-planning firm. Today Elegant Affairs is considered the best in the Hamptons, Manhattan, and Long Island and since its inception 18 years ago, has produced over 800 events a year with razor sharp attention to detail.
What wedding trends do you see as timeless?
Although many brides and grooms have done away with the throwing of the bouquet and garter, the one thing that’s true and blue is the cake cutting ceremony. The wedding cake has taken on such a role that it signifies the first time the bride and groom share something together; it represents the enormity of their commitment to one another. The tradition dates back to Medieval Times, when the bride and groom shared a piece of cake before distributing it to the guests to symbolize their union and their promise to forever provide for each other. The wedding cake may have taken on different shapes and styles, whether in the form of a cupcake, or a 10 tier blinged out piece of art, but either way, its presence in a wedding is a timeless attribute.
What are the top ten trends in weddings for the spring?
- Champagne bars
- Strolling cocktail hour stations
- Tapas-style menus
- Monochromatic bouquets
- “To-Go” after-party stations
- Brides and grooms writing their own vows
- Monogrammed everything
- Mixing metallic shades with pastels
- Daytime brunch wedding receptions
- Tented garden receptions
What’s on the menu for receptions?
Local everything! Society is moving towards organic and locally produced fare. Vegetables are taking center stage with items like kale salad and quinoa showing up on many menus. Branzino has become a very popular fish choice, whilst chicken has made a real comeback. No more rubber chicken, but a French cut chicken breast with crispy skin, seasoned with lemon and cracked pepper. Cocktail hours are consisting of vegan sushi bars and are a huge craze right now! Lastly, out with the buffalo mozzarella and in with the burrata bar! This is warm burrata served with crusty loaves of ciabatta bread, sun-dried tomato puree, tomato basil puree, baby arugula, mache, sea salt, basil pesto, cracked black pepper, balsamic glaze, olivada, marinated mushrooms, and grilled vegetable relish.
What are the top colors popping this spring?
This spring’s color palette is all about earthy metallics mixed with shades of lavender! Pastels with navy and charcoal are huge right now. A popular classic you may see again are grays with pinks and yellows. Brides aren’t afraid of color anymore, and the grooms are having a lot more say in the colors chosen for their special day!
What’s new in lighting?
For the brides that are doing a tented wedding, the clear span tent is a huge trend, allowing the natural light to take center stage… the stencil placed in front of LED lighting of whimsical floral patterns on the ceiling and dance floor are really popular as well!
Are you a fan of themed weddings? Do you have a favorite?
I am not a fan of “kitchy” themed weddings, but if I have to pick one theme to be inspired by it would have to be the Gatsby Style of entertaining and take nuances of the glamorous style to create an overall look.
The best way to use a theme is as an inspiration, whether it is a Mediterranean style or Tuscan vineyard, then implement key undertones into your décor to create a vibe, as opposed to becoming too focused on specific details that take away from the wedding.
How can couples integrate their individuality in their celebration?
Couples can integrate their individuality in many ways. They can write their own vows, or design a menu based on their favorite foods and restaurants. A fun idea is to name your guests tables after your favorite movies or places you’ve traveled to together.
Do you believe in happily ever after?
I absolutely believe in it. I am a true romantic at heart and I believe everyone has a soul mate. I love being able to bring [a couple’s] vision to life and celebrate the beginning of their happily ever after!
Learn more about Andrea and Elegant Affairs at elegantaffairscaterers.com.
Stacey Marcus is a freelance writer based in Marblehead, MA.