Where can future brides and grooms sample a piece of Sylvia Weinstock cake, admire the latest Vera Wang couture wedding gown, and get Bobbi Brown beauty tips, all under one roof? At venues from Los Angeles to New York, where Wedding Salon founder, Tatiana Byron, has organized a one-day luxury wedding showcase boasting some of the top vendors in the industry, introducing big-day ideas from top area vendors such as The Registry at Bloomingdale's, AMResorts, Lancome at Bergdorf Goodman, The Container Store, Magnolia Photo Booth, and celebrity wedding experts. Each event is designed to make attendees feel like guests at a sophisticated wedding, only the fellow partygoers might be celebrity wedding planners David Tutera or Colin Cowie, or dessert connoisseurs from Carlo?s Bakery ?the bakery behind TLC?s Cake Boss.
Byron has been cultivating her all-star connections for more than a decade. After working at Turner Broadcasting System and directing sales, marketing, and production for a trade-show company, she created her own planning company, 4pm Events. Byron began coordinating parties for famous faces including Joan Rivers, Mary J. Blige, and Lionel Richie?no easy task, given the limited number of vendors willing to build dance floors on the ceiling. Byron went on to create Wedding Salon expos to give future brides a taste of celebrity-caliber elegance. She also offers educational wedding boot camps that help duos avoid hidden costs and learn tips for planning their special day. Byron's services have been highlighted in numerous media, including features in the New York Times, the New York Post, and Fortune Small Business.
One of the East Coast's best-known Members-only wholesale retailers, BJ's serves more than six million Members in more than 200 clubs as far west as Ohio. Within these sprawling locations, BJ's helps provide more selections to savvy shoppers looking to knock out most of their errands in a single stop. In the same visit, Members can stock up on economy-sized groceries?including USDA choice meats, farm-fresh produce, and everyday essentials?grab name-brand electronics, and even plan a vacation through BJ's Travel. Each service makes up a single part of BJ's well-rounded retail experience, but simplifying shopping isn't BJ's only goal; in 2012 alone, the company donated more than $2.2 million to charitable organizations.
The expert floral arrangers of Flowers Of The Field create emotional landscapes with their arrangements. Orange roses, for example, can denote excitement and congratulations when paired with mini yellow carnations and white daisies, or the intensity of a new romance when arranged with lilies and alstroemeria. They use only fresh and perky flowers, backing up each bouquet with a satisfaction guarantee.
New York City looked different in 1906. The Empire State Building wouldn't begin construction for more than two decades, horses and buggies roamed the streets, and Central Park was still entirely black and white. But in that year, Marcello Raffetto opened a pasta shop that remains a staple of the Greenwich Village community to this day.
Raffetto's started small. Its pasta makers crafted ravioli and dry egg noodles until 1916, when the purchase of a roller machine and a cutting machine allowed them to create more and more varieties. The two machines continue to operate more than a century later. At the controls, customers find the fourth generation of the Raffetto family running the store. The crew seems to work magic with dough and fillings. They stuff lobster into ravioli made from tomato dough, turn spinach dough into thin linguine, and cut long sheets of lasagna. In total, more than 50 kinds of pasta emerge from the open preparation area, not to mention the family's signature potato gnocchi.
Yet for all of these choices, a trip to Raffetto's isn't overwhelming. The friendly staff happily helps patrons pick out the perfect pasta before recommending one of their 10 homemade suaces. Or maybe they'll suggest no sauce at all, telling customers that some pasta goes best with just a bit of butter.
Juicy tidbits of chocolate-dunked fruit arrive on the doorsteps of family and friends, done up in colorful bouquets and candy boxes by the skilled fruit arrangers at Edible Arrangements' more than 1,100 franchises worldwide. The company's in-house chocolatiers drizzle albion strawberries, daisy pineapples, and tomatoes getting in touch with their fruit roots in a trio of chocolate flavors. Once properly chocolated, the workers organize the preservative-free sweets into lush arrangements that resemble flowers in bloom. Customers can choose to plop their bouquets in a variety of vessels, including vases, mugs, and sports- or holiday-themed containers that add a personal touch to the edible gifts. Alternatively, customers can opt to adorn gifts with the cheery, red lids of candy boxes, nestling 12 chocolate-dipped morsels inside to build anticipation and determine if loved ones have x-ray vision as they guess whether fruit will come dusted in shredded coconut or drizzled in white chocolate.: