Spotlight on Sofia Crokos

Dempsey & Carroll’s Austin Ackles sat down with event planner Sofia Crokos of Sofia Crokos Events to talk about her favorite venues and more. 

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AA: Please tell us about your favorite venue in Greece and how you took advantage of such a spectacular location?

SCE: One of my all-time favorite venues is in Athens, called Island Art and Taste. It is located on the water, with a view that can take your breath away. The way that the space is designed and all the details of the venue makes you feel as though you were on one of the Greek Islands, all while conveniently in the heart of the Capital. From the food, to the vistas, this venue is truly a gem hidden in the Capital.

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AA: And in New York?

SCE: In New York City, I would have to say, the New York Public Library, because in addition to being such a grand space, it is a landmark and in the heart of the city. The library’s extravagant size and beauty makes for some truly spectacular events.

Outside of the city, Locusts-on-Hudson is one of my favorite venues for an outdoor event. It has beautiful views overlooking the Hudson River Valley. I love creating tent events, and with the acres of meadows and gardens, this location is perfect for doing so.

 

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AA: What destination have you worked in that proved the most logistically challenging?

SCE: All destination events prove to be challenging in some way or another. Planning an event requires a lot of communication and a long checklist of items to be completed in a timely manner. In my experience, Turkey and The Caribbean have been some of the most challenging locations. Outside of New York everything is very lax. Try to plan a wedding in the Caribbean when everyone works on “Island Time”, it is the definition of challenging! The language barrier is another issue we have to deal with. This complicates communication, which is extremely vital to the planning process. However, no matter how many challenges my team and I have to face, because of my strong contact pull, support group, and positive outlook, everything always falls into both the client’s and my favor.

 

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AA: Any weather nightmares? And, if so, how did you remedy things?

SCE: Unfortunately, yes. At my own wedding! Can you believe the irony? After a track record of beautiful weather for every event I had done-weddings, dinners, milestone birthdays, you name it-there was a hurricane on my wedding day! After our clambake rehearsal dinner on the beach in the Hamptons, we quickly realized that with the brewing hurricane we weren’t going to be able to have our reception. Luckily the weather did not keep us from saying our nuptials, in the safety of a church. Almost five years later, I can finally laugh about the events of that weekend. My husband and I are planning on doing a “re-do” (minus the bad weather), with our closest friends and family in Greece or Italy for our five-year anniversary.

 

image001AA: When all the work is done, where do you love to go and recharge?

SCE: Whenever I am done with an event, whether it was a destination event or local one, there is nothing I enjoy more than returning to my home in Sag Harbor. I love the beach! It recharges me. The water is so peaceful and relaxing, and it helps me clear my mind to think of new creative ideas for my future events.

 

 

Photo Credits: Christina Oth Studio, Judith Rae Photography, Allan Zepeda Photography, Stephen Karlisch

 

Spotlight on Doug Wright

Dempsey & Carroll’s Austin Ackles sat down with event producer, Doug Wright, who’s in the middle of choosing the perfect venue for a corporate anniversary bash.

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AA: You do a lot of marketing environments, product launches, and sales meetings. Is it a nice change of pace planning a big party?

DW: The diversity of my clients always makes the work interesting, whether it’s a gala charity event at a Manhattan hotel, condominium sales centers around the country for New York based developers like The Related Companies and Extell, or a hospitality lounge for Grand Centenario Tequila at the bi-annual Mercedes Fashion Week in L.A. In this instance, a financial services firm approached me to handle their 10th anniversary gala, and they want to do something a little out of the ordinary.

AA: And this client was considering an overnight somewhere up the Hudson?

DW: We began by looking at unique sites outside of the city itself, and thought an overnight at a spectacular location would be memorable. One of the biggest challenges is securing venues for the dates the client needs, so when you’re looking at six locations or so during peak season you need to move quickly. Many places like Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Locusts-on-Hudson, and Wave Hill are very in demand as wedding sites, so the competition is steep. We fortunately managed to get reservations at each of them with the exception of Locusts.

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AA: But now it looks like your client will switch to a location closer to their offices?

DW: As we dug deeper into the weekend plans, it became apparent that bussing 120 people on a Friday night in August could require that dinner be served on the luxury coaches themselves given the likelihood that traffic would be at a standstill. We’re now also looking at several spectacular city locations like the new Whitney, The Glass Houses in Chelsea, and 4 World Trade Center, which has incredible city views. We still will need to bus everyone in luxury coaches, but on time arrivals are more of a sure thing.

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AA: Are there other activities planned for the guests?

DW: Yes, there is to be a team building event on Saturday, and we’re very excited about doing it at Rustico Cooking on 39th St. They have marvelous programs overseen by Micol Negrin. We want to have the group break up into small teams, each of which will be responsible for preparing one part of the meal. Not only is it fun to work together, but you get a great dinner in the end, and their wine pairings are delicious.

AA: What else was in the running?

DW: We also considered the Manhattan Yacht Club for a sailing event where everyone breaks out onto 15 sailboats, learns to sail, and competes in a race to the Club House for lunch, but the uncertainty of weather precluded that in the end.

AA: And Dempsey & Carroll will be doing a set of engraved correspondence cards for each guest?

DW: That’s what I’ve been discussing with the client. We’d include the copper name plates of each employee in a custom plush velvet bag. It would be a very luxurious and personal gift, and the custom white linen boxes would have the company’s logo embossed on them as a nice reminder of the anniversary, and the event. The client loves the idea!

Photos courtesy of: Doug Wright, Whitney.org, Locustsonhudson.com