Let’s Talk Tastings

Food TastingAfter months of planning, a wedding celebration most often culminates in a dinner to mark the momentous occasion. Whether your reception is traditional and elegant or whimsical and trendy, the meal that you serve your guests reflects your personal style, likes and dislikes and is another way in which you can make your guests feel special and appreciated for coming to your wedding. Whether you are serving a plated filet dinner or dinner stations with some savory choices, a tasting can help you, your fiancé and your parents (in many cases) decide what to and what not to serve. That said, a tasting is about so much more than the food….

We have many brides whose families are local and she and her fiancé live out of town and vice versa. Food Tasting The tasting is the perfect time for everyone to be in the same room, try the food and wine and go over the many, many details of the wedding. For example, while choosing the perfect wine to serve during the cocktail hour and dinner, why not discuss toasts; who is going to make them, when would be the right time for this? The conversations are fluid during a tasting- the family and the couple has the attention of the Banquet/Catering Manager of the venue as well as the Wedding Planner in our case. We talk about everything from the napkin fold to what elements are being rented to the flow of the day and evening. We look at linen samples, charger plates and stemware. Who is Aunt Jane going to sit with? When should the first dance happen- before the appetizer or after? Oftentimes the parents have one idea and the bride and groom have another. The tasting is a time to have conversations about what feels right for everyone. While the venue representative is moving through the courses of your first meal as a married couple, the Wedding Planner can help navigate any issues that arise amongst the family members- the goal being that everyone feels heard and that the bride and groom are excited and joyful about their big day!

Food Tasting

So, enjoy tasting the  delicious tuna tare- tare on a crisp wonton or a bite of seared filet on a toasted brioche. Take your time savoring the moist staler chicken breast or a gorgeous piece of cod perfectly cooked with a crust of pecan and herbs. While the tasting is so much fun, it can be so much more.  In this protected time and space, you, your family and your wedding planner can take the time you need to make those many small decisions that will make your wedding day so special. 

At JRE, it’s not just Business, it’s Personal.

These days we live much of our lives online. We choose everything from restaurants to doctors based on what we read on the internet. We learn about dog breeds, we plan trips around the world and we sometimes find our life partners with the help of our virtual friend! Yet while we all value the connectivity that comes with the internet, I find that in my work, there is nothing that can replace meeting and working with my clients face-to-face. 

Whether we are planning a life milestone event, such as a wedding or a Bar Mitzvah with a family, or a corporate event with an employee who puts his or her heart and soul into the job, the personal service we provide defines who we are as a business. We interpret and translate our client’s vision by spending the time to get to know each one and understand fully what will make this event successful.  What is the feeling you want to convey? Who do you want to honor and why? Is there a specific culture or history that might impact some of the details?  The answers are personal to each client and each event… and it’s personal to us. It’s simply impossible to convey this kind of information on line.

When I look into the eyes of a bride and see her face light up as she shares her dream of an elegant and traditional wedding day, I see that vision along with her, and use it as my inspiration with every detail I plan. If my client has hired us to create a fundraising gala to support her organization’s important work, her passion for the project is palpable. I bring that passion into the room to help raise the funds they need to continue.  And if a Bat Mitzvah girl tells me animatedly how she loves to be the star of the show but hates pink, I make sure her youthful enthusiasm is woven throughout this important milestone celebration.

Now, we don’t expect endless meetings – our clients are busy people – but taking care of all the details with that added personal touch is what we do best. Whether designing and inspecting your site, meeting with your vendors or being there when you need us the day of your event, personal service is alive and well at JRE. For us, it’s not just a business, its personal.  

A Glamorous and Chic Garden Wedding

What a hot summer! In the event world dealing with heat is par for the course. If a bride wants her wedding outside in a garden, then we take on the anxiety for everyone involved. My wish for you is that it will be sunny and 75 on your wedding day, but even if it isn’t, it will still be perfect! 

Alison and Alex recently got married at The Gardens at Elm Bank- it was so joyous and beautiful that no one minded the hot (though thankfully dry) temperatures.




We were lucky to be able to cover the tented patio floor with a beautiful white wash wood that spilled into the main space as a dance floor. The bride wanted a garden look with twinkly, romantic lights. We felt that the floral arrangements needed to be elegant enough for a wedding, but also compliment the whimsical and vibrant feel of the linen juxtaposed to the rustic wooden tables. We chose the table decor and chairs to enhance and accentuate the garden feel this venue offered while providing a glamorous and chic space to celebrate this wonderful couple. It was a very special evening!


Photography: Schippert + Martin Photography 

Tableware, Wooden Tables, Chairs: Be Our Guest Inc. 

Lounge Furniture & Bar: Reserve Modern Event Rental 

Lighting: Event Illuminations

Linen: Table Toppers

Flooring: Peterson Party Center 

Flowers: The Original Touch 

Catering: La Bonne Maison

Menu Cards & Chalkboards: Inviting Company 



A Full and Grateful Heart

So as a matter of course, or one might say “A Sign of the Times” I find myself accepting the fact that in order to stay relevant, or to be relevant at all, one must apply to the new laws of social media. In other words, fb, twitter, Instagram and g-d knows whatever else is out there! Being in the Event Business, staying Connected. Inspired. Engaged. takes on many meanings…so while I went kicking and screaming to all of this, it has really dawned on me that it is actually how and why I started this business and why I love it in the first place!

My business has Connected. me with so many wonderful people. Getting to know such fabulous clients and colleagues makes me feel like I am helping people and guiding them to create memories that make a difference in their lives. I am Inspired each and every day by the creative, intelligent, kind, hardworking, spirited and passionate people I come across in all aspects of my job- from the artists, to the designers, florists, technicians, chefs, musicians and all people who make their living by serving others and making their clients happy!

I am as Engaged as I have ever been in the whole shebang! I am working with some wonderful clients, including one I have been working with for eight years. Every year we produce a magical fundraising event, and every year, we ask ourselves how we are going to top this one, how are we going to raise even more funds for this incredible agency? Yet, we always do. In the midst of a “dreamy” gala (coming this March), there are the many Bar Mitzvah parents so filled with pride to be creating celebrations for their young adults, some who have sometimes struggled to get to the bima.  Some families are delighted to be marking their “coming of age” with a blowout soiree, others with a simple yet elegant party. There are the Mothers of the Bride who so want to give their daughters the wedding of their dreams and have honored me by letting me be a part of it. Then there are the guys who were finally able to get legally married in Massachusetts and are just such wonderful partners-luv #reallyijustluv! And then there are the young couples who are so in love with being in love and in need of guidance and a translation of their vision of a perfect wedding day! Really, I feel so lucky that each and every client has allowed me into their lives and to share these milestones and experiences.

So as I embark on “social relevance,” tweet it out into cyber space (with the helped of my lovely, talented, smart, hardworking and energetic Assistant Tahleen), I feel so grateful to those who have helped me build this business that I am told I need to tell everyone about.  This is why I’ve reached out to my wonderful past clients for testimonials to the knot, event wire and wedding wire –I thank you again for allowing me to help you and now for helping me to tell others. The memories I share with you mean almost as much to me as they do to you.

At Jodi Raphael Events, we are so excited about continuing to be a part of our client’s lives, collaborating with our dedicated colleagues and letting everyone know about it. The coming year is going to be filled with Connection, Inspiration and many Engagements of every kind!

Happy Thanksgiving! I wish for you a very happy, healthy holiday filled with good food, good cheer and many joyful memories.

Cotuit Wedding Cotuit Wedding

Loving Linen

Attending to the small and not-so-small details of an event is what an event planner lives for. Among my very favorite details is linen selection. As I peruse the endless walls of linens hanging from the ceiling straight down to the floor, my creative juices begin to flow with possibilities. There are bolts and bolts of beautiful fabric just waiting to be cut or made into unique backdrops, beautiful centerpieces, draping chupas or matched with tableware, like napkins, napkin rings and chair covers or unique cushions.

The table linen selection process, as with any other part of your event, should reflect you and your personal style whether formal or casual, contemporary or reserved. They do tend to follow fashion trends, but needn’t if you prefer. They are an endlessly creative tool for setting the mood in a room. You can mix and match skirts and tops, textures and patterns; one linen for cocktail hour and a different one for the reception,

When you enter a table linen show room, keep an open mind to the possibilities. Let the staff dress a table for you complete with a chair, charger plate and napkin so you can envision how your table might look (fabric swatches won’t do it justice), and take a photo of the set tables to help solidify your ideas and choices. Don’t be afraid to discuss your budgetary constraints; a beautiful and interesting table needn’t cost a fortune.

When done properly, coordinating table linens can create interest and style without too much effort or cost. Please contact me if you’d like more information.

Linen Linen Linen Linen

Save the Date

Sending save-the-date cards for an upcoming event has become a common practice especially since weddings and bar/bat mitzvahs are often a weekend event. They are particularly helpful if your event will take place over a long holiday weekend, if you are having a destination wedding or if you expect to have a lot of out of town guests. This way your friends and family are better able to plan around work and school schedules and book their travel and hotel rates well in advance, ensuring more reasonable rates.

Typically, the save the date is sent out up to a year prior to the wedding. This also happens to be the time that you are beginning the detailed planning of your event. You’ll most likely know the color palate, and the look and style or theme which should be reflected in the card, but the information, including the card stock, should be quite minimal. Include your names, date and the location, and any hotel room block information. If you have a wedding website, it’s a great place to inform your guests of how to stay in touch. Most important, let your personality come through; don’t be afraid to have fun!

The save the day is a fun way to “kick off” all the event festivities by giving your guests a glimpse of what’s too come and create excitement without giving too much away. Your friends and family will thank you!

Beautiful Save-the-Date card by: Toby Dondis

Save the Date Card

Save the Date

Your Time Will Come


It may be my age or stage of life or that I have been planning weddings for a long time, but I have come across many second weddings as of late, my own being one of them just over a year ago. Second time around weddings are so wonderful for many reasons. Usually the couple is older and really know what they want and what they don’t want. It is so wonderful when people who have either been divorced or widowed find someone to whom they want to commit and then share their joy with family and friends. All this being said, blending two families together for a wedding (never mind a lifetime) can be challenging. What if your children want to walk with you down the aisle and his have too many mixed emotions to do the same? You had a big, lavish wedding the first time, and he had a few immediate family members present, now what?

Weddings mark the beginning of a lifetime of new memories. You are making a statement to each other, your families and the world that you are a team. And that extends to your children. As wedding planners, we are accustomed to accommodating all the variables. For example, in a Jewish wedding ceremony it is traditional for the immediate family to stand under the chuppah with the couple. (The chuppah is a cloth or roof held by four poles.) One bride and groom wanted to make the children feel a part of the ceremony and connected to each other;  each of their four children stood representing each of the four poles and the “roof” was suspended from the ceiling.Chuppa
One couple decided to have their second wedding at the home they had bought together that they would share with all of their children. This way they were saying that this is “our” home and we want to start making memories here. Another couple decided to have a more intimate wedding with just the immediate family and the closest friends. This way, the kids felt like they could just be themselves with all of the different emotions they were experiencing. No one needed to worry about a crowd of people, many of whom they didn’t know from the “other” side. 
Having had the experience myself, I feel that the process of planning a second, even more so than a first, will do more than set the tone for your celebration, but will also signal to your families the way you envision your lives together. At Jodi Raphael Events, we can help you work through all of your wedding details as well as the many unique facets of what is a joyous, yet often complicated, time.  Call or email us today.

Choosing A Venue for a Large Wedding

Large Wedding VenueYour daughter has just become engaged. How wonderful and exciting! You are crazy about the young man she has chosen to marry and are thrilled that they have found each other. Your daughter wants a traditional wedding with a large bridal party and very quickly, the guest list is topping 250. Now what?

Where do you begin to look for a venue that can accommodate a large wedding? First, determine the tone you want to set for the occasion. Do you want a formal wedding or a rustic, country feel? Does your budget allow for minimal décor? Then, you will want to choose a space that is pretty in and of itself. If you have more budget flexibility, think about hiring an Event Planner or Designer and let a professional transform your venue into the wedding you and your bride-to-be daughter have been dreaming about for years!

Wedding VenueNow for the logistics. Do you want the ceremony and celebration at the same location where the guests will stay for weekend or do you plan to provide transportation to the wedding site? In the case of a large wedding with more than 250 people, moving guests from place to place and the ease in doing so is very important. If you are planning to get married at the reception site, it is even more important to have plenty of space so that your guests can move from the ceremony to the cocktail space and then to the reception seamlessly.

Weddings bring family and friends together to celebrate a happy occasion. It is wonderful if all your guests have the option to stay under one roof- especially the bridal party. This way, no one has to worry about being late to the ceremony nor will you need to be concerned about the safety of guests who have a bit too much fun at the reception.

Large Wedding VenueIf you are planning a luxurious wedding in Boston, there are several large venues able to accommodate a growing guest list: Boson Marriott Long Wharf , The Fairmont Copley Plaza, Westin Copley Place,The Museum of Fine Arts, and The Museum of Science to name a few. We were thrilled when a newly engaged client of ours chose The Intercontinental Boston to hold their daughter’s wedding. Located on the waterfront, The Intercontinental is a large venue with excellent food and exemplary service, able to handle the details of hosting a large wedding. Our bride and groom, and their parents, will certainly have the wedding of their dreams,   and their many guests will feel well cared for while they enjoy a weekend celebrating the happy couple.



A Blog, A Tent, A Video

Tent Eventpic 3Bat Mitzvah Tent 

 My dear and trusted colleagues have urged me to start writing a blog and promised me that folks will want to hear what I have to say as a professional Event Planner. So with much pushback and hesitation on my part, here is the first time I am putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, to write about the business I love and am passionate about.

This spring was a big tent season for us. If you have the space at your home or another meaningful location, an event held within a tent is a wonderful and beautiful way to celebrate. It can be the most expensive as well. With a tent you need to be prepared for all types of weather and outdoor conditions. If possible, for the best guest experience, I recommend adding a floor to the tent. Who wants to get all dressed up in high heels and sink into the grass?

 My colleague Mike Lenon of Video Man Services has helped me capture in video the work involved in erecting a tent, and in this case, creating a wonderful Bat Mitzvah service and celebration. You can see from this time lapsed video how many hands are needed.

 Stay tuned for more posts about the details of event planning whether a wedding, a bar or bat mitzvah, a milestone celebration or a corporate event. We’ll help you create an occasion to remember.

 Be in touch!

Color Trends

When a couple first becomes engaged, they are presented with so many options for their wedding day that it can feel overwhelming. Once the “when” and “where” have been determined, one of the most useful choices you can make is your color scheme; it’s the foundation of your wedding décor. Everything from your flowers to what the bridal party wears to table linens to favors, even lighting and programs, are all influenced by your color choice.

Choosing colors is not as simple as it sounds. Look for inspiration in the most unusual places – a painting you’ve enjoyed, a favorite flower, the time of year in which your wedding takes place or an article of clothing with flattering tones. Perhaps you’ve always had a favorite color; perhaps you’ve seen a wedding photo that wows you. Take your time and find the color or colors that feel just right. (more…)