JoAnn Gregoli is the single mother to six children and she runs a successful Celebrity Event planning agency. Her passion for weddings began as the vacationed and found herself attending all the weddings as they were happening. Her career started as a public relations/ event planner where she was handling events for major pharmaceuticals and working for the company that conceptualized and built the Liberty Science Center. She is now the founder of Elegant Occasions by JoAnn Gregoli.
Her clients have included: Michael Gelman from Live with Kelly and Michael, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Matt Lauer, Howard Cross (NY Giant), Shaun Ohara (NY Giant), Todd Eldridge (Olympic skater), Dana and Christopher Reeves.
As a celebrated Advisory Board Member for DWP 2019, we had the opportunity to delve into her journey as a renowned weddings and events planner. Here are a few excerpts from the riveting conversation.
Who was/is your inspiration for setting foot in the wedding industry?
I was a corporate event planner who handled events worldwide for pharmaceutical companies, I became obsessed with weddings, whenever I was on vacation, I would watch every wedding taking place and that is what inspired me to set foot within the wedding industry.
What do you think of the new set of wedding planners that have surfaced in recent times?
They have a great handle on the various social media expectations and are able to communicate with potential couples which is highly beneficial in this millennial world.
What do you do differently from other Wedding Planners?
I make it very personal and remove the corporate feeling from the planning process which is why my clients are always satisfied with the end result.
What are some of the latest trends in the wedding business that you follow and how easy or difficult is it to keep up with changing trends in this dynamic industry?
I think that the trends vary ever so often. Hence it is very important to attend conferences and seminars to stay on trend and learn about new developments in the wedding industry.
What are some of the benefits and challenges of hosting a destination wedding?
Challenges are the translation barrier along with the destination understanding the vision. The main benefit is the freedom that the couples gain to have a more intimate wedding instead of a large wedding which enables them to spend quality time with their guests.
Which was the first destination wedding you planned and what were the hardships you faced when planning it?
The first destination I planned was the Amalfi coast in Italy. It was an absolutely stunning location and provided for an exquisite backdrop for a magical celebration of two hearts. One of the major issues faced: lost in translation. When a client wanted something specific, not everyone understood their requirements as they did not necessarily understand the terminology due to a language barrier.
How important are vendors when it comes to executing a wedding?
My vendors are my team. They are the backbone to the entire event. Without them, it would be impossible for me to execute any of my weddings.
Do you work with a specific set of suppliers or do you source local suppliers, if so how do you find them? Through research, recommendations or some other way?
We find vendors through on site research and recommendation from several other professionals. I think it is of utmost importance to have a set of suppliers who are reliable and hardworking.
What is the most unique destination wedding that you have planned?
The most unique destination wedding we planned was a gorgeous wedding in Thailand.
Having been strongly associated with DWP, what makes you come back every year?
Every year I feel that I meet new vendors which allows me to open up my network. The DWP has changed the way that we approach business deals. It gives us the exposure that we need, to meet other professionals who can become a vital part of our team. It also helps develop and cultivate personal relationships, which is always beneficial and any day better than a cold call appointment.
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