Monday, April 14, 2014

3 Event Planning Lessons I Wish I Learned Sooner

This [past] February, our company, Leslie-Manning Events, celebrated nine years in the wedding and event planning business. Where did the time go? It seems like yesterday that I was crafting and obsessing over our first ad, which I posted on Craigslist, and watched horror-stricken as another aspiring wedding planner promptly stole the material. It was my first lesson learned, but not my last. Some lessons were motivating, others almost made me quit, but there were three that I wish I had learned sooner because they are essential to success and longevity in the industry. 

Read what they are over at the New York Institute of Art and Design. It's my latest gig, so I hope you come back for more.

For full article, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Tips for picking your wedding day wines

I always recommend that if the caterer or venue allows you to stock the bar for your wedding or event, you should. Not just for the cost savings, but for the ability to have control over the quality of wines you serve. Unfortunately, however, the primary reason most people stock their own bar is to save money, so they buy the cheapest wines they can find at their local supermarket or supplier, which is usually Uncle Red (please do not serve anyone Uncle Red; even the non-wine drinkers would know you went cheap on the wine), and sometimes ruin a great meal.

Last night, I stumbled upon an article written by John Wilson, the wine correspondent for The Irish Times. It offers some great tips on choosing wines for your wedding. Below, I’ve listed a few worth remembering:

  • White wine – Select one that has little or no oak-ageing and not too much alcohol. Sauvignon Blanc is perfect with a wide variety of dishes.
  • Red wine – Choose something light such as a Valpolicella or Beaujolais both are great on their own and with a wide variety of foods.
  • Champagne toast – Since Champagne or sparkling wine is usually served with wedding cake, choose sweeter Champagne like a demi-sec or a sweeter Prosecco or a light sparkling Moscato.

Mr. Wilson also recommends doing a blind tasting before purchasing your wines (to avoid an Uncle Red fiasco), and choosing a decent wine over fine wine. “Most people, he says, “will be so wrapped up in the occasion they will appreciate a decent wine, but possibly not the subtleties of a fine wine.”

Read the full article here.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Brooklyn Hipsters, meet your new neighbors!

For almost 10 years, Leslie-Manning Events has been helping social and corporate clients plan uncomplicated, yet undeniably elegantTM events in Washington, DC.

Starting this March, we are bringing our signature style to weddings and events in the Big Apple!

We love planning tastefully understated events and we look forward to assisting you with yours. Contact Leslie at leslie{at}lesliemanningevents{dot}com to learn about our NYC launch and upcoming promotions.

Monday, February 17, 2014

What I'm Loving Today: Green Martinis

I read somewhere that the Quinoa and Kale Martini is the top selling cocktail on the bar menu at The Proprietors Bar & Wine in Nantucket, Massachusetts. Fortunately, I don't have to travel to Massachusetts to see what all the buzz is about as I just found the recipe on the Food Fanatics website.

If you've ever checked out my Health & Happiness board on Pinterest, you'll know that I am a fan of green smoothies, although I've resisted the "salad cocktails". However, more and more of our clients are adding Kale and Quinoa to their menus,so  it won't be long before we start seeing more "healthy" offerings on the bar.

Would you serve green "salad" cocktails at your wedding or event?

Quinoa Vodka, Arugula, Kale and Lemon Martini
  • 2 to 2 ½ ounces fair trade quinoa vodka
  • 1 ounce lemon juice
  • 1 ounce arugula syrup
  • 1 ounce kale juice
  • 1 carrot, pickled
Shake vigorously and strain into chilled glass. Garnish with pickled carrot. Makes 1 serving.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

We all scream for new ways to serve ice-cream!

With all the snow and ice and salt outside today, I felt inspired to make ice-cream. The hard way, in a Ziploc baggie, with LOTS of elbow grease.

Ice-cream is going to be big in events in 2014 (if we are to believe the 2014 trend list that I just read). Shhh…don’t tell the trendsetters, but ice-cream at events has been around for some time. In the past year alone we’ve seen ice-cream sundae bars, ice-cream carts and trucks, and ice-cream sandwiches. And, ice-cream is making an appearance at many of our 2014 events as well... yum!

But there are many, many ways to serve ice-cream at events that we haven't done yet. There's ice-cream cupcakes (I want to taste these so badly). Ice-cream macaroons, the ice-cream sandwich's more elegant sister. And, we haven't served beer ice-cream. Oh, the calories! But the year is young. So I'll crank up the heat, and enjoy my gooey treat (rhyme-intended), and dream about summer and all the ways to enjoy ice-cream at events.

Hope everyone is keeping warm.

The photo above was taken at Chin Chin Labs, Europe's first Nitro ice-cream parlor. Their website's cool enough, but I can't wait to visit!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Sneak Peek: Ashleigh and Raymond Wed

Saturday's wedding was a fabulous start to our 2014 wedding season. Ashleigh and Raymond were hands down the most stylish couple we've worked with to-date, and even though our time working together was short, I enjoyed every minute of it.

See more of their beautiful wedding on photographer Rachel Naft's Facebook page, and don't forget to "Like" her to see more of her gorgeous work.

Congratulations Ashleigh and Ray!

Monday, January 6, 2014

HOW TO: Keep Step-Dad Happy, and Other Wedding Planning Tips

You're engaged! Congratulations! Now what? Here are the top 5 things you should be doing after you've said "yes". 

Research the costs. Cost of Wedding ( has several tools that allow you to research the actual costs of a wedding in your area and help you set a realistic budget. Of all the wedding budgeting sites out there, this one comes closest to the budget that we prepare for our clients. Fun fact: The average wedding in the DC Metro Area costs between $30-$50K; however, most couples spend between $10-$20K.

Manage expectations. Sit down with all the power players (the people footing the bill) to determine your must-haves, nice-to-haves and needs to come up with a figure and a plan that works for everyone. Manage expectations right from the start for a smoother, more joyous process and no simmering bad blood long after your wedding day is over. I can't express this enough. See real life example here.

Avoid ‘guesstimating’ the guest list. Create your guest list before you start looking at wedding and reception sites. Too often couples book venues that are too small or too large for their wedding. Feeling cramped or feeling lost in a large space puts a damper on the festivities.

Start dreaming. Create a virtual pin board, Pinterest is the most popular, and visit the blogs – Style Me Pretty, Green Wedding Shoes, One Hundred Layer Cake, One Wed and many more. Just try to resist copying every wedding idea that you pin. Try to focus on the things that are truly an expression of your style and taste.

Hire a planner. Most wedding planners offer a Getting Started or Hourly Consultation service. It is a great opportunity to assess the benefits of a planner before committing to one. A planner’s worth is usually undervalued even though the time and stress we save clients is priceless.

Happy planning!
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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The lost message in Robin Roberts' Facebook post

On December 29th, Robin Roberts publicly acknowledged her sexuality in an emotional Facebook post. The main stream media (yes, I said it), ran with one line and one line only: "I am grateful for my entire family, my long time girlfriend, Amber..." However, there was another message in Robin's post, one that I've repeated several times tonight:

"If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present."

Thank you Robin!

Happy New Year everyone! We at Leslie-Manning Events, are looking forward to celebrating with you in 2014.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Sneak Peek: Caroline and Darren Wed

Caroline and Darren got married in the Grove at Woodend Sanctuary. I daresay, on one the best days we've had, weather-wise, this fall. A delightful day for a delightful couple! I truly enjoyed working with Caroline, and was very happy to see her day come together so beautifully. Congratulations to the couple!

Special thanks to photographer Rob Strong for the beautiful images! Visit Rob's website to see more of his work.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Get the look: West Elm’s Party in a Box

When I saw West Elm’s multi-color Party in a Box kit last month, I got really excited because the blue, green and pink honeycombs complement the miniature tinsel trees I'd bought at Urban Outfitters a few years ago. However, I don’t need the bar set (although the speakeasy coupes are super cute) and I want a fuller look, so I went to the honeycomb's manufacturer’s website, bought a bunch, and voila! Well, not really. After scouring the web and my local party supply store for hours last Saturday, I was finally able to recreate both looks – one for Christmas and one for New Year’s!  

I found them at Factory Direct Party, Beistle and Sugar Confetti. Not trusting the blues and greens at Factory Direct Party, I purchased those from Sugar Confetti.

Multi-color kit honeycombs and fan – At Sugar Confetti, the colors are Cerise (pink), Teal (blue) and Light Green (green). At Factory Direct Party, they’re Cerise (pink), Turquoise (blue) and Teal (green), I think. See the colors of the multi-color kit up close on my Instagram page, and follow me to see them hung.

The silver mylar fan and ball – I found these at Beistle. I also found the ball at my local party supply store, but they were out of fans. I skipped the confetti, because I don’t want to be vacuuming it up forever, but those can easily be found at your local party supply store as well.

Happy Holidays!