The Podcast for Wedding and Events Industry Professionals
Andy’s Latest Episodes:
If you’ve never had the joy of working with a designer who absolutely lives to utterly delight their client, then you will find this interview with today’s guest, Eddie Zaratsian a breath a fresh air. Eddie’s abundant energy and passion for creating a feast for the senses, allows him to reflect the very essence of his clients in an unimaginable way.
Eddie Zaratsian is the Owner of Eddie Zaratsian Lifestyle and Design. Eddie was born in Armenia and came to the US when he was 5 years old. He watched his parents arrive in the US, unable to speak English, without the promise of a career, and yet they were determined to pursue their dreams. The family arrived in Hollywood and built the life they had dreamed of. Eventually, Eddie started his own business that evolved over time and became a luxury lifestyle and design company serving A-list clients and creating events that cultivate a sense of wonder and delight the senses-both for the clients and their guests.
Kirsten Ott Palladino & Maria Palladino are co-founders of Equally Wed, an online wedding magazine celebrating love and weddings in the LGBTQ+ community. It also provides education and resources for same-sex couples and equality-minded wedding professionals. But this is far more than just a business venture.
In 2004, Kirsten and Maria fell in love, getting engaged just before Kirsten’s 30th birthday in Central Park. When Kirsten began searching online and in book stores for wedding planning resources as a same-sex couple, she didn’t see any content out there that reflected her relationship with Maria. Initially disappointed, Kirsten channeled her emotions into a project called Equally Wed — an online journal and national wedding magazine for LGBTQ+ couples. With Maria’s background in graphic design and web development and Kirsten’s experience in writing editorial content, the two created a national wedding magazine and resource guide for people in the LGBTQ+ community and their allies who want to learn, connect, and feel validation that love is love, no matter who you are.
At the time Equally Wed launched, only 6 US states had marriage equality, making Equally Wed not only an online resource for community and wedding resources for the LGBTQ+ community, but also a news and activism site during the movement toward national marriage equality. As the political and social conversation continues to evolve around same-sex marriage, so does the wedding market. Kirsten and Maria continue to push the envelope by developing relevant, thoughtful resources, including the publication of a wedding guide in 2017 specifically for LGBTQ+ couples planning their own weddings.
Sean Low is an entrepreneur at heart. He has a law degree and even did a stint at a Wall Street investment bank, but he didn’t let any of that stop him from seeing the potential to start a creative business. Sean knows the ups and downs of being a small business owner, as he risked and lost almost everything at the altar of his small business. Eventually, Sean really dialed in his own business acumen and went to work for Preston Bailey Designs. Sean put his skills to work and completely changed the business structure of Preston Bailey Designs, and in doing so, he breathed new life into the business and set it up for considerably higher degrees of success. Since then, Sean has worked with a host of other high profile creative business owners like Vicente Wolf, Style Me Pretty, Marcy Blum, Michelle Rago, Christian Oth and Sylvia Weinstock to name a few
So far on the Wedding Biz, we have had multiple perspectives on planning and executing traditional Western weddings. Therefore, I am incredibly thrilled to bring you Nikki Khan, founder of L.A-based Exquisite Events. Nikki has found her place as the luxury wedding planner for traditional, yet magical South Asian weddings. The scale of Nikki’s events can be difficult to wrap your mind around. For some perspective, her own wedding had over 1,000 guests! Luxury South Asian weddings are multi-day events filled with spectacular design, entertainment, ceremony, and family. Nikki has the right mixture of business savvy, taste, and attention to detail to be able to pull off events of this scale.
The daughter of a Pakistani diplomat, Nikki grew up with an international perspective and multiple cultural influences. She attended finishing school in Switzerland, and while her family was living in Europe, she was able to travel all over. These travels filled Nikki with a sense of awe that she uses as fuel for her splendid events. However, Nikki was not always determined to be in the wedding business. She was almost a nutritionist! Knowing her passions were found in entertaining and producing masterful events, Nikki started in the business a bit later than most of us—after her own children were older! Now her daughter is right by her side as an executive for Exquisite Events.
Pulling off a multi-day event like a South Asian wedding boils down to the details. Nikki keeps herself grounded amidst the multiple events, ceremonies, and receptions that comprise a South Asian wedding by meditating on what really matters. Nikki has always placed her family foremost in her life, and at the heart of every wedding are two families joining together forever. She cherishes the valuable connection of family and builds a sense of worth into every detail from the moment the doors open. The word Nikki uses most often to describe these events is “magical,” and I know you will agree once you hear all of what Nikki has to share.
Wedding planning, production, and design seem to require a bit of tenacity. To make it in the wedding and event industry, you have to be willing to take a risk and execute a vision. It turns out that you also need to be a bit opportunistic and ready to jump when the stars align. This philosophy has carried Pauline Parry very far in the business. She is the esteemed founder of Good Gracious, a Los Angeles-based company that is creating masterful events worldwide. Pauline and her team at Good Gracious specialize in production and event design, gourmet cuisine, and flawless execution at any location. I have Pauline on the show today because her success in business wasn’t a one-shot effort, and her diverse experiences make for some wonderful storytelling.
Pauline decided to seize the opportunity to move with her new husband and two children from her home country of Great Britain to L.A. With no money, no business plan, and a passion for food and good company, Pauline dared to start her own catering business. This one venture led to many more, including a failed café, planning a few weddings, and now a high-end event production company. Pauline has learned more from her failures than her successes, and she encourages anyone in the business to keep following where passion leads. Pauline’s business had so much organic growth, and that was nurtured by her enterprising spirit and ahead-of-her-time ideas. Events by Pauline are masterfully conducted. She is most certainly shaping the industry in the best ways. Listen today to hear her inspiring story.
When it comes to luxury weddings and events, every detail can become a work of art. Today, I am talking all about business with Wombi Rose, CEO of Lovepop. Lovepop specializes in 3D greeting cards that are truly works of art. Whether it is a card for someone you love or unique invitations to a wedding, Lovepop communicates your message and affection in a unique and surprising way you just can’t find anywhere else. I am excited to have Wombi on the show today because his business is transforming the greeting card game. It is an unusual story that I know you are going to want to hear.
Lovepop cards are a feat of both artistry and engineering, which makes sense once you know about Wombi’s background. Before turning to business, Wombi’s attended school for Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. Encouraged by friend and future business partner, John Wise, to join him at Harvard Business school, Wombi found a new avenue that combined his love of learning and desire to solve real-world problems. While completing his studies, Wombi experienced firsthand the beautiful paper art of kirigami in Vietnam. He and John were mesmerized by the cards and knew they were something special. Neither of the guys felt inclined towards consumer goods, but the kirigami cards demanded to be brought to the rest of the world! These 3D cards combine artistry and architecture in a beautiful way that is very much like Wombi himself, a juxtaposition of art and science.
“We memorized our entire business and our entire financial model. You have to know your numbers on Shark Tank.” – Wombi Rose
If the name Lovepop sounds familiar, it’s most likely because Wombi’s company is one of the greatest success stories from Shark Tank. I asked Wombi all about the process of applying for and then being on Shark Tank, and he was more than happy to share the experience. What compelled Kevin O’Leary to back Lovepop was their desire to spread some love with beautiful art. These guys are turning out a new magnificent design each week, and it is evident that talent runs deep in the DNA at Lovepop. Wombi and his team have a strong business model and a deep desire to make the world a little more beautiful, and that is the heart of so many of us in the Wedding Business.
It takes a certain level of skill, a problem-solving attitude, and more than a dash of creativity to throw a spectacular wedding. Between coordinating the client’s vision, compiling vendor partners, troubleshooting setup, and sending the bride down the aisle, wedding planners have a lot on their plate. After creating absolutely stunning weddings and high-profile events for 20 years, Debbie Geller, my guest today, knows a thing or two about event planning and design.
Geller Events operates out of Los Angeles, but she’s been designing events all over the world. Her high-profile clients come from a long legacy of word-of-mouth business. She does little to no PR, instead relying on client referrals and legacy clients who keep coming back for Debbie’s personalized touch on everything from weddings to corporate events. She breaks some of the typical event planning stereotypes to provide a unique experience tailored to each couple. Debbie is the heart and soul of her business, though none of these events could be accomplished without the help of her teams. Today, Debbie will share with us how she creates an environment where the clients, the vendor partners, and her team all feel valued and cared for. If Geller Events is a ship, then Debbie Geller is the captain, and it’s all hands on deck.
“There is no such thing as a typical wedding because all of our couples are unique. We focus on getting to know the couple very well.” ~ Debbie Geller
The secret sauce to Debbie Geller’s amazing success is the amount of time and personal attention she puts into every event. If there is a snag with the venue or a last minute emergency, Debbie assures her client that is her problem, not theirs. Debbie’s dedication to every step of the process is absolutely inspiring. We all have a thing or two to learn from her experience, and as Debbie will say, “Experience is everything!” Listen this week as we learn a thing or two about how to throw a fantastic event!
When we think about wedding and event floral designs, our imagination is often limited to bouquets and centerpieces. Today, I am talking to one of the premier event designers in the world. She sees flowers and foliage as a way to create lasting memories of events your guests will never forget. Mindy Rice, of Mindy Rice Design, is a native Californian with a creative lineage. Growing up, Mindy was taught how to think like a designer. Never feeling confined by the “rules” wedding floral arrangements like to follow, Mindy seemed to fall into the wedding business after designing events for the corporate world.
What makes Mindy unique is how she encourages her clients to step into their most daring self. She turns dreams into reality—no Pinterest board copy-cat ideas here! Today, Mindy is going to walk us through her process, from the exciting ideation stages to actually executing her most memorable pieces. She will share stories of how she has transformed a simple barn into a Redwood wonderland. Mindy will describe her favorite pieces, and how she uses color and perspective to transform any event space. Mindy’s goal is to create unique elements for each event that guests will really remember. She is not afraid to take a risk because she knows the risky pieces will always pay off. Every bloom and bough is placed thoughtfully so that guests will feel something long after the last toast and dance.
“Everybody has two personalities—who they really are, and who they dare themselves to be.” ~Mindy Rice
Today is not just about flowers and spectacle! Mindy and I will chat about what it means to own our own business, and how we can successfully balance our creative endeavors with family life. The event design business sometimes feels as though it could take over everything! Mindy embraces the life she’s been given and chooses jobs that will both fulfill her creatively and best support her family. Mindy is inspiring in so many ways, and I know she is going to transform the way you’ve always thought about flowers. Expect the unexpected when Mindy is around!
35 The Knot, Carley Roney & Anja Winikka: Empowering Employees + Building Innovation Into the DNA of Your Business
These days, The Knot is largely synonymous with planning a modern wedding. It is often the first resource brides will use to feel empowered during an uncertain time. There’s a reason for that! Founder of The Knot, Carley Roney, and Brand Builder, Anja Winikka, are innovating the wedding business through authentic connection and female empowerment. The Knot is the #1 Mobile Wedding App, and most bride’s first destination after getting engaged. What started as a small company trying to simplify wedding planning has grown to become one of the most innovative and female-focused entrepreneurial endeavors. Innovation and inclusivity were at the heart of Carley Roney’s vision for The Knot when she and her husband started the company in the early 90’s. With the brand mastery of Anja Winnika, The Knot has solidified its identity as the authority on just about every facet of the wedding business, while also empowering brides to create a wedding that is personal and fun.
A lot has changed about the wedding industry since The Knot was founded, but their core community values of trust, style, and inclusivity haven’t. In today’s episode, you will learn all about Carley’s ahead-of-her-time vision for how the Internet could bring unparalleled innovation to the wedding business. You will also learn how The Knot has continued to evolve and grow by listening to users and cultivating resources with a personal touch. The Knot encourages brides, planners, and vendors to connect in the moment. With resources like The Ultimate Wedding Planner and their wealth of information online, brides can trust that The Knot is working to empower them through the wedding process.
Listen this week to learn how The Knot is empowering their employees, building innovation into their DNA, and paving the way for female entrepreneurs within the wedding business.
450+ episodes and counting!
Reviews for The Wedding Biz Podcast
I’m absolutely addicted to this podcast! I find it fascinating to learn about the backstory of each industry influencer as an entrepreneur in the event space myself.
*A Sincere Thank You*
I am sincerely thankful for this podcast. Listening to the interviews gave me a huge portion of courage to launch my own bridal design business this year.
*A Must-Listen for Wedding Professionals*
This podcast is a must-listen for wedding professionals. It is engaging and informative, giving you insight into the behind the scenes of the wedding industry in real time
*Great Inside Perspective*
Andy’s interviews offer listeners an inside perspective into industry veterans’ journeys and revealing insights and advice for wedding pros to leverage in their own businesses.
K Bella Events
It’s amazing to have the opportunity to listen to some of the industry’s finest talk about their work, life, and craft… this podcast is an incredible resource!
I have been listening to the Wedding Biz podcast for over a year now and absolutely love it! I find every interview to be very inspiring with a ton of interesting information for anyone working in wedding industry. There is so much to learn from each guest and I find that the Wedding Biz host Andy Kushner does an amazing job with interviews. If you want to learn from the best in the industry and take your business and creativity to the next level – make sure to check out this podcast.
An Amazing Resource
I am so glad to have come across The Wedding Biz podcasts. The interviews are incredible. It is so hepful and encouraging to hear the stories of the wedding industries’ best. I have picked up so many pearls of wisdom. I would highly recommend this to anyone in the wedding industry. Thank you so much Andy for such a fabulous resource.
Fen Bolodeoku, MonAnnie Cakes
Honest and Fresh Storytelling
Andy and his guests engage the listener into their discussions – and we love this! A deep dive into the real life of wedding pros, with invaluable tips for us all!
n Good Company PR
Podcast of the Year!
I listen to tons of podcasts in lots of genres, and although there are many ‘interview-style’ podcasts out there, few are jam-packed with as many takeaways as The Wedding Biz. I only discovered it towards the end of 2019 and I’ve been quickly working my way through the back catalogue. Andy has such a great interview style and provides so much value to everyone working in the wedding industry. As a photographer/film-maker, I’ve taken away so much. Definitely my podcast of the year.
Yes, the wedding biz is definitely different from all other business. Thank you for sharing all these experiences!
Great Interviewer and Interviewees!
The commentary between Andy and his guests is always flawless and so smooth – you can tell he works in audio 😉 I always appreciate his conversational lead to keep his guest’s words flowing and keep his listeners on our feet for more! Likewise, unlike some other podcast hosts that try to take the limelight at any moment, Andy keeps his ego in check at all times and gives his guests the proper treatment and time to share their thoughts. I look forward to his podcasts every week, and makes driving/treadmilling so much more enjoyable and productive haha
One of the Best Wedding Podcasts
Thank you for your incredible interviews, Andy!
Just started listening to this podcast a few days ago, and as someone just starting out in the wedding planning industry, this is exactly what I needed! Andy is so down-to-earth, really knows how to converse with his guests, he’s super personable. Clearly, he has put a lot of time and effort into his work, and has spoken to so many icons in the business! Amazing work Andy, thank you!! ✨