top of page

Trends at Tea at the Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel

Last week the Verano Events team got together and headed to the beautiful Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel for an event by Trends at Tea on how to maintain your wedding budget.

wedding planners delray beach verano events sonesta fort lauderdale

The event involved demonstrations, food, and a panel with some great industry professionals. It’s safe to say we definitely learned a lot.

The day started off with a cocktail hour full of blue champagne, sparkling water and networking with some of South Florida’s best event planners and vendors.

wedding planners verano events delray beach

Once cocktail hour was over then we started a demonstration on how to make mozzarella cheese by the head chef Thomas Russo . He showed us how to prepare the cheese, soften it, stir and finally put all together in a salad. We got to eat a fabulous meal including caprese salad, pasta, shrimp, among other options.

sonesta hotel fort lauderdale trends at tea
sonesta fort lauderdale

Chef Russo also did a demonstration on how to make nitrogen ice cream, or yogurt in this case choosing to go for the healthier route. Needless to say, it was to die for along with cookies, chocolate mouse and different kinds of cakes.

trends at tea sonesta fort lauderdale event

While we were enjoying the amazing food, the hotel’s general manager Eduardo Fernandez started off by telling us a little bit about the Sonesta’s history. Opening up in 1969 and formerly a Holiday Inn, the hotel has gone under many renovations throughout the years. The most recent starting in January of 2018 and finishing in September 2019. Not to mention, the hotel has a view to die for!

After the lunch concluded, we started the most interesting part of the event, the panel. Five different panelist who each work in a different part of the event industry had their chance to talk and answer questions about maintain and minimizing budget in their area of expertise.

There was Marci from an Affair to Remember, Jacqueline from J Morgan Flowers, Keith Willard from Keith Willard Events, Alan Andai from AAMusicians and Jan Carroll who runs two wedding dress shops, one of them being Boca Bridal.

Marci who is an invitation consultant, talked about how one thing that helps her along with budget and dealing with her clients that come in for invitations is Pinterest. When a client comes in with their Pinterest board of what they want their wedding invitations to look like, it helps her picture what they are looking for, what the couple’s wedding style is and most importantly, what is possible with the budget they are providing. Just from looking, she’s able to tell what the possibilities for her client are.

Jacqueline, flower and décor expert, had some interesting things to discuss. She talked about how when it comes to flowers you always need to start with the worst-case scenario in mind. For example, what if at the last minute an extra table gets added and you need an extra centerpiece? Or, an extra bridesmaid comes a long and you need an extra bouquet? Jacqueline stated how it’s always good to let your client know these scenarios beforehand so that way they can expect to be spending a little more than their original provided budget.

Keith Willard, owner and head planner at Keith Willard Events had a lot to say when it comes to budget. Since he is the first one for a couple to seek out and find, it’s his job to be honest with the client and let them know what is possible with the budget they are willing to provide and spend. He had some good advice for everyone.

He talked about how it’s best to not sugarcoat anything for the client. Let them know what they will be spending and what they won’t based on what they want. Keith also told us to never tell a client they can’t have the wedding they want with the budget they have in mind. However, you can tell them the possibilities and show them ideas to help a couple get a better idea on what can be provided with their budget.

Alan from AAMusicians had a lot to say about budget since people usually find the entertainment or musicians the last to hire, so they usually have the smallest budget for him. Alan mentioned it’s important that the client keeps in mind when they are hiring entertainment that there is a difference between a band and a DJ.

A band will always be a little bit more expensive. Also, it’s important to have your client think about a band will need to take breaks and that what will be happening for entertainment when that is going on? The event planner should let the client know that entertainment can be just as important as flowers.

Finally, Jan from Boca Bridal had a chance to speak. She said she always gets that one bride who comes in with a certain budget but starts shopping in the dresses that are more expensive. She said a good way to explain to brides, their moms or anyone who they are shopping with is buying a dress or planning a wedding is like building a house from the ground up on a budget.

You are never going to stick with that budget, and it is always going to be constantly changing.

Great advice in any aspect of wedding planning! Budget is not a topic to keep interesting, but all these amazing panelists gave us great advice and did a wonderful job. We got great insights of the wedding industry, great stories and great food.

A big thank you to Jena Szydlowski, Senior Catering Sales Manager at the Sonesta Hotel and Jacqeline from J Morgan Flowers and Trends at Tea for putting on this event for all of us!

Keith Willard Events:

An Affair to Remember by Marci:


Miranda Lewis is an intern and event's assistant at Verano Events in Delray Beach, Fl. Connect with us:

Share, Like & Comment!

Featured Posts
Follow Us
  • Instagram - Black Circle
bottom of page