Beyond New Years Eve
“My creative process involves interviewing my clients and really getting to know their likes and dislikes. I find out their favorite eras, restaurants, designers, hobbies and vacation spots. All of these lifestyle factors help tailor and personalize a unique event.”
Elizabeth Keister, a director at Ambercrombie & Fitch, talks about her event planned by Aelyon. “I really wanted to have a celebration of color, fun and happiness. It was important to me that we have Geberra daisies, because I think they look so cheerful. We wanted “feel good” food, so Aelyon suggested we serve mini hotdogs, mini burgers and little cups of fries for hors d’oeuvres. That’s one way he allows his clients to use their everyday favorites at an elegant event. Drinks reflected that sunshiney picnic feeling. We served spiked lemonade instead of having a conventional full bar. For dessert, it was frozen fudgesickles, cupcakes and cookies. Everyone smiled the whole time.”
FUN & GAMES
“A young coffee-loving country couple who had a destination wedding in the Berkshire Mountains gave their guests something that reflected their style and hobbies,” says Aelyon. They filled rustic wooden crates with white ceramic coffee mugs, exotic coffee beans, an antique spoon, an embroidered hand towel and a personal welcome poem. For the ceremonial cutting of the wedding cake, they used the cake knife from the groom’s parents’ wedding 35 years ago.
“The couple loved Scrabble and other games, so on the day of the rehearsal dinner, they offered a variety of board games like Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit and outdoor games like frisbee, croquet, and bocce. The bride and groom hung out in the living room, the porch and their beautiful lawn, and guests just dropped by for a while and played games while a light lunch was served. This was all part of an easy carefree country weekend and a perfect reflection of the couple’s life together.”
A SENSE OF PLACE
Letting your venue reflect your personality is another Aelyon tenet. “I did an event for a fashion director of a magazine. The venue was a big, bright, beautiful photo studio in New York City with a gorgeous view of the skyline. Not your typical party hall. Even all of the jaded New York friends and guests were glued to the windows. Try a museum, a gallery, an old bed and breakfast or even a rustic country barn. Music should also reflect passions, so don’t just hire a DJ. Find a lively swing band, a jazz band that can play French Quarter tunes or a solo bagpiper who will command attention.
BAYOU MEETS NEW YORK
“One of the most dramatic events that I ever produced was for a couple from the gourmet capital city of New Orleans,” Aelyon continues. “The Creole culture and cuisine, with all of its color and grandeur, were the source of inspiration for the style and flavor of the celebration I arranged for them in Manhattan. I used the Laura Belle nightclub, a decayed, elegant, romantic, cavernous space––a former gothic church and movie house. This magnificent space was adorned with red velvet drapes and a handcrafted cherry wood bar. I divided the space into small intimate entertainment venues with lounge seating, a dance floor, a dining hall and a place for the cocktail hour. Even the lighting took guests on an adventure, as colored lights changed from a pink sunset, to an orangey dusk, to a twink-ling blue twilight. It was magical.”
Aelyon further enhanced the space by adding vibrant paper lanterns and draped satin taffeta linens everywhere in shades of pink, red, gold, mimosa and fuchsia. The beaded flower napkin rings celebrated the famous beads of New Orleans festivals. Dramatic flowers in bold hues of purple, orange and red were scattered throughout the Laura Belle. Tree branches sprinkled with tea lights and adorned with colorful crystal beads gave the banquette-style dinner seating a festive feeling of the Big Easy.
The menu reflected the spirit and down-home cooking of New Orleans. Creole ratatouille, Italian seafood salad, Southern-style black-eyed peas and soft-shell crabs with pesto remoulade were served for dinner. Cocktails made guests feel as if they were strolling down Bourbon Street with mint juleps, hurricanes and fuzzy navels. Beignets, inspired by the New Orleans Café du Monde, peanut butter pie and chicory coffee were the fabulous finale.
The party impresario recently produced an exotic Indian civil union that was inspired by the movie “Monsoon Wedding,” but with an urban minimalist twist. The invitations were red rice paper with an Indian motif and a gold elephant print.
Aelyon explains, “I transformed a country barn into an opulent Indian kasbah complete with mini lanterns surrounded by roses and marigolds, chiffon draped wooden beams and silk pillows in warm shades of red, orange, fuchsia, green, charcoal and chocolate brown.”
For this event, Aelyon served Indian drink specialties like creamy mango lassis. “Signature drinks are bound to make a splash,” he says. The menu, fragrant with Indian spices, included lamb kebabs, lettuce cups filled with minced chicken, and an assortment of Indian breads including the popular naan.
Born and raised in Istanbul, event producer Moshé Aelyon eventually landed in New York, where he began his creative career in the fashion world with his own private label of women’s accessories for luxury houses Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein. Today he works with a variety of clients around the globe from his Westport, Connecticut studio.
He speaks four languages and has an immense appreciation and understanding of exotic foods, cultures and traditions. “I want to take guests on a journey with each event and totally transport them to another world,” he says.
“It’s also very important that I keep reinventing myself to stay fresh and young. I travel, read, study the environment and observe people around me. I am not an artist in the traditional sense of the word, but I need to express a unique feeling with each project that I do.
“Manhattan is similar to the Istanbul I knew as a child, which is why I love it. It is a big city environment where everybody belongs. You always feel like a citizen of the world when you’re there.”