Creating a Memorable Environment: Art Basel Edition

Once a year Miami is filled with out-of-towners, celebrities, and local art fanatics. Each year the exhibitions and parties getting bigger and better! What makes Art Basel such a memorable event?

The venue, whether it’s a large warehouse or an intimate gallery, should always be transformed into something that guests will never forget. The art will always be the main showcase but lighting, food, and entertainment are some things that tie an event together. What’s great about Art Basel is that in only comes around once a year for a couple of days. The foods you eat, the art you see, the music you hear will be gone once the weekend passes… but the novelty of the festivities always remain.

We produced an amazing event for the fashion company, Moncler, at the 1111 building. When turning the garage space into a winter wonderland, we looked at everything from the cuisine to the custom fabric on the lounges. Just like art, when you are producing an event, you need to speak to the senses.

I can’t wait to see what Art Basel 2016 will be like! Cheers!

Corporate event planner at Olympia Theater in Miami Florida

Producing a concert for Michael Jackson’s music was a Thrill!

We were thrilled to be asked by the Unity team to help produce their first concert, in the United States, for their new album, “Unity: A Latin Tribute to Michael Jackson. We have known the Succar family for a while. We knew that their talent and big hearts would make this an unbelievable project. But we had no idea how much fun it was going to be to work with some of Latin Music’s top artists.

This entire concert was shot for a documentary airing on PBS in October.

Production Day 1: Tony and I went over the tight schedule. From multiple days of catering for the entire cast & crew, all front of the house logistics, and the complex riders for the artists, this was a big job.

As the backline arrived, I took a moment to go up to the balcony and take in the beauty of the Olympia Theater. Just wow!!!


And then Sheila E’s timbales came in. Bedazzled of course!

We would take breaks from all the front of the house setups to hear these amazing artists sing during rehearsals. Listening to Judith Hill sing in an empty theater is something I will never forget.

And after we had all our part done we got to enjoy the show…Ok, not really since we were running around doing breakdown, but we got to see some of it from backstage.

Sheila E
Jon Secada
Michael Stuart


 Angel Lopez


Kevin Ceballo


Jean Rodriguez
 Obie Bermudez and Jennifer Peña

 And the percussion master…Tony Succar!

All these amazing photos were taken by Chip Yacob

The Three Dumbest Mistakes I Have Seen Corporations Make When Planning an Event

In all my years of experience, I have definitely seen corporate clients make more costly mistakes than brides do. It makes me cringe every time, and I believe it is time that someone slaps them with some reality. I could write a list as long as Noah’s, but here are the top three that need to stop immediately.

1. Hire a local producer. You know what the first thing those big NYC event production companies do? They hire me. They know that to have a successful event in Miami, they need to have someone on the ground that actually knows the city and has personal relationships with the local venues and vendors. But they don’t pay me out of pocket. Somehow they add that expense into your budget. Did you hear that?! YOUR BUDGET!
2. Value transparency.Through twelve years of planning in NYC, LA, and Miami, I have seen many planning companies gouge clients. ALWAYS ask to see the original invoices from all venues and vendors. Not only will some planning companies upcharge every item on the budget, they will then charge you their fee, which is usually based on a percentage of the total budget. But wait, your total budget includes all those upcharges, so that fee will be even higher than it should be. A planner with integrity, that has your company’s best interest at heart, is worth gold.
3. Use local vendors.I have walked into events where clients spend a fortune on bringing in an out of town vendor. Now sometimes it might be necessary, but most of the time I could name two local vendors that would do that exact same job for ¼ of the cost. And many times these out of town vendors are brought in by out of town planners that feel more comfortable with that vendor, since they do not have local connections. This is another scenario where the client’s budget loses.

So next time you wonder why your six figure budget does not get you the furniture, catering or A/V that you want, make sure you are not making these three, costly mistakes. Make sure your money is actually going in to your event, and in making the impact that you are looking for.

The Woes and Joys of Planning a Corporate Event in The 305, aka “Miami”

I recently sat down with an exec for a very well know television studio in Los Angeles. She is shopping around for a producer to coordinate a big annual convention in Miami Beach. The thing is, this lovely lady had the same exact complaints that I hear from all my major clients from New York, Los Angeles, or really any other metropolitan city…. “Vendors are hard to reach”, “No one emails me back”, “They were an hour late”

I always chuckle, and say “Welcome to Miami!”
First of all, most people here operate on “Cuban” time. They leave to a meeting 15 minutes before knowing, very well, that the traffic on the Palmetto will delay them 30 minutes.
Second, even though Florida is a peninsula, Miamians live the “Island” life. Most are more concerned with happy hours, being in the scene, and boating plans, than with emailing you the proposal. Yes, even if you are offering a large sum of money. They don’t care. They are too busy driving to Crossfit.
Thirdly, haven’t you heard, Spanish is the first language here. They probably didn’t understand your request in the first place. Better go get a cafecito, this is going to take a while.
So to my future corporate clients that actually want to have a successful and stress free event in the 305, my advice is to get a proper guide (AKA, a bilingual producer, raised in Miami, but trained in NYC). We live on this island and have spent years weeding out our vendor lists. We speak your language, but speak theirs too. We can help you navigate the scene down here to make sure your event is successfully produced AND successfully received by the Miami locals and visitors (that’s a WHOLE other blog) And after we do all the work, you can do exactly what you flew down to do, hang by the pool with a mojito. Don’t worry, we won’t tell your boss 😉

Turning a Dream into a Seaside Reality

Joan Love Avatar


In December 2008, Joan Love Events was contacted by Mark Burnett Productions to produce a dream wedding for a deserving South Florida couple. We jumped at the opportunity to give back to our community and work with some of our favorite vendors. After only two short weeks, we pulled a dream team of vendors together and created a one million dollar, seaside paradise for Trine and Ryan, a couple that has endured the trials of liver transplantation. It was a pleasure to meet them and their family, and to be able to contribute some happiness to their life. Here are a couple pictures of our transformations and designs. All photos were taken by one of our fave photographers, Mr. Tony Gajate.

Before and After of Ceremony Tent: We added seagrass and plants for privacy, and a butterfly gate in the Bride’s favorite colors. The tent was then draped to add softness.



Guest seating: After grabbing their flip flops, the guests were surprised and thrilled when they saw the beautiful seating arrangement. We wanted to create a comfortable, living room feeling on the sand. Different colored couches and chairs from Bubble Miami where alternated among the rows. Some side tables were added to hold the Ceremony programs. Finally, cushions in different patterns helped tie all the elements together.




Photo Walk: We had beautiful photos of the couple and their family framed. We mounted them on lighted planters to create a photowalk. Guests walked through and enjoyed seeing the pictures on their way into the Reception tent.


Before and After of Reception Tent: It took a lot of elements to fill up this 3,000 square foot tent! We used different tables, a giant sand sculpture, and different activity stations to keep the guests entertained. But, most importantly, the great intelligent lighting system installed by Everlast Productions made the tent an ever changing spectacle.



Sand Sculpture: Why have a dripping ice sculpture on the beach when there is so much sand to spare? This beautiful and personalized, 8 ft. tall sand castle, was the focal point of the Reception.  It was sculpted for us by Mark from Team Sandtastic.


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