Emily’s Bat Mitzvah – Congregation B’nai Shalom, Westborough + The Verve, Natick, MA

Emily became a Bat Mitzvah this past June at Congregation B’nai Shalom in Westborough.  The celebration continued with a Kiddush, immediately following the services and then continued in the evening at The Verve in Natick.

Emily’s family and friends are self proclaimed casual partiers!  When we first met, at the end of December, they were just beginning to think about how to translate that into a nice affair; not too casual and certainly not over the top.  At the time, they were considering a tent at home, but as the conversations evolved, so did the location.  The perfect space turned out to be just 20 minutes down the road at The Verve.  They opened up to my idea of using Stardust, a unique space typically used for concerts and cocktail hours, for a reception!  What does that mean? A really fun party with an informal vibe, great food and drinks and lots of dancing!

Once the menu was selected and the DJ and photographer were nailed down, it was time to move on to what we’d do with this space!  Emily really wanted to keep the decor as casual as the party.  First, we decided on the color turquoise, her favorite color!  Then we moved on a fun logo adding her own spunky signature on touches throughout the party;  cupcakes, cocktail napkins, a sign in board, scrapbook and lamp centerpieces.  Emily’s own special touch were the cork boards of pictures throughout her life, that she personally created.

Northern Lights DJ kept the energy up with dancing and games throughout the celebration.  A few evening highlights included Emily’s introduction, her candlelighting with her sister Casey as candle bearer, and a toast from her Dad.  Everyone had a blast with our Polaroid booth!  Props, a Polaroid camera and a scrapbook, resulted in a wonderful keepsake of photos and special messages from all of her guests.  The kids were so excited to dig into the candy bar at the end of the evening!  We set out a Emily’s favorite blue, white and silver wrapped candies and blue logo mason jars…a pretty sweet way to end the night!  Thank you for letting us be a part of your big day, Emily!
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Event Planner: The Day Of

Rentals: Rentals Unlimited

Decor: ECI Events

Photographer: Evolution Media

Reception Music: Northern Lights

Cake: Icing on the Cake

Venue: The Verve Crowne Plaza

Temple: Congregation B’nai Shalom

Kiddush Caterer: Franklin Caterers

Brady’s Bar Mitzvah – Temple Beth Avodah, Newton, MA

Brady became a Bar Mitzvah during a Havdalah service, at Temple Beth Avodah in Newton, this past October. One of the best parts, about a Havdalah service and reception at the Temple, is that the celebration gets started right away!  Brady’s older brother’s reception was  a couple years ago.  It’s not always easy to hold another amazing celebration, in the same space, with many of the same guests, so close together. However, making the room come alive with sports-themed lighting, seating and decor, Ellen made that happen with flying colors!

Place cards were printed on small Gatorade bottles for adults and for kids seating she brought in two sets of bleachers which sat on either side of the dance floor. Ellen designed and created life-sized mannequin centerpieces for the adult dinner tables, all suited up in Boston sports jerseys. The table settings were  complete with custom embroidered sweatband napkin rings in corresponding team colors!  A small sign in locker stood in place of the traditional sign in board.

To kick off the first dance set, each guest received a rally towel with Brady’s custom logo. As Brady ran into the room, everyone waved their rally towel.   Pure Energy Entertainment kept everyone on the dance floor all night, while showing a live feed of the Bruins game (Brady couldn’t fathom missing the game)! Brady and his friends played a double shot basketball, foosball, had fun at the open Photo Booth and loved the fun sport fan classics such as popcorn, pizza, pretzels, franks in pastry, sliders and french fries.  Adult dinner was delicious and there was something for everyone. Lo mein noodles with stir fried veggies, citronaise salmon on jasmine rice, pulled BBQ chicken, burger, fries and two salads…yum!  Dessert was a big hit too! A cotton candy spinner spun fresh candy floss,  the always loved sundae bar served in Boston Red Sox helmet bowls and delicious mini dessert were passed for those guests who just couldn’t get off the dance floor!

The party was so much fun no one wanted it to stop, so while Brady’s parents decided to skip the planned speeches, the one tradition they couldn’t do without was the hora!  Both the adults and kids went home with favors, because who doesn’t love a great party favor?  For the kids, there were custom t-shirt with each kids last name and water bottle favors for kids and adults. The adults were all so thrilled to walk away with a little memento of this incredible party! Mazel Tov, Brady!

A few words from Ellen:

Working with Michelle at The Day Of was a great decision! She and I met several times prior to the event, where she was very helpful with assisting me in organizing my thoughts and making vendor recommendations. However, her expertise really shown through on the day of our event when she and her assistant worked tirelessly throughout the day (and into the evening) to pull all o the moving parts of our event together! I would not hesitate to use Michelle again for a future function!


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Event Coordination: The Day Of

Ceremony Venue: Temple Beth Avodah

Reception Music: Pure Energy Entertainment

Photographer: Picture This! Event Photography

Bleachers: Special Events of New England

Lighting: Advanced Lighting and Production Services

Rentals: Be Our Guest

Catering: Swartz Catering


Julia’s Bat Mitzvah – The Verve, Natick MA

Julia became a Bat Mitzvah in November at Temple Beth Shalom in Needham.  She was so fortunate to be able to share the bima  with one of her closest friends.  They celebrated, immediately following the service, with a shared kiddush catered by Swartz Catering with gorgeous donation centerpieces for Cradles to Crayons created by Hopple Popple.

My first meeting with Julia was the only one, so we got right to business. And that was easy because Julia knew exactly what she wanted her party to be. Colors: black and white.  Decor: balloons. For a girl of 13, her choice to keep the theme of her party a very graphic black and white, was impressive!  My one recommendation was to pick a color to pull in, and she chose purple.

We jazzed up the black and white by choosing a combination of polka dotted, chevron and striped tablecloths.  The end result was a very impactful, fun party that, well…looked like a party! The centerpieces packed a punch with enormous balloons and ribbons with more stripes and dots. The logo that we came up with for Julia was also very clean and simple. I love to use logos in places that make sense; enough to tie the party together, but not overdone. The first place guests saw the logo was the adult placecard board where we had a 3×3 foot board showcasing the design. We also tied the dot design into the adults custom placecards.  The logo also appeared on the various shades of purple cocktail napkins, the purple gobo that shined on the all white dance floor, the cover of the scrapbook, the logo on the photobooth pictures and the kids long sleeve t-shirt favors!

The kids went right into the room and ate kids favs like jumbo pretzels, mozzarella sticks and loves the purple mocktails.  Adults remained in the lobby with crowd favorites that included fall inspired tomato soup with mini brioche grilled cheese, butternut squash panzerotti and mini lamp lollipops…just to name a few!

Following cocktail hour, the crowd went wild as Julia made her entrance into the party to her favorite Lady Gaga song, Applause. Julia stunned in a bright pink dress and her signature Adidas kicks. This girl has style!  Friends and family gathered on the dance floor to boogey and play games thanks to the fantastic Siagel Productions Entertainment.  This party just never stopped!  Adults and kids both enjoyed stations for dinner, which is always a great way to keep the party in motion, particularly when there aren’t several formalities to slow the party down.  However, such memorable moments, where things did slow down, were when Julia’s brother and her Great Grandmother cleared the dance floor for the traditional mozie and kiddush. Soon after, Julia’s parents welcomed everyone with a heartfelt toast. After all the girls had chosen their socks, a longer dance set followed and everyone jumped in for Coke Pepsi and  a fun snowball dance. Next, guests circled up for the Hora! We ended the night on a sweet note as adult dessert was a combo of passed and stationary while kids enjoyed a sundae bar.  And on the way out the kids grabbed  long sleeve white t-shirts, with the logo printed on the back, to remember the night! Mazel Tov, Julia!


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Event Coordination: The Day Of

Entertainment: Siagel Productions

Photobooth: The Snapboxx

Photographer: Evolution Media

Balloons: Big Balloon Bash

Decor: Art of the Event, Inc.

Rentals: Rentals Unlimited

Linen: Party Designs

Stationary: Allure Invitations

Synagogue: Temple Beth Shalom, Needham

Kiddush Caterer: Swartz Catering

Donation Centerpieces: Cradles to Crayons 


Lila’s Bat Mitzvah – Temple Ohabei Shalom, Brookline + Jewish Community Center, Newton

Lila became a Bat Mitzvah this past April at the beautiful (and newly renovated Synagogue) Temple Ohabei Shalom in Brookline. The celebration continued with a Kiddush immediately following the services and then continued that evening with a celebration at the JCC in Newton.

The Leventhal Sidman JCC holds a very special place in the hearts of the Goldstein family, so for their youngest of three daughters, they decided to celebrate her Bat Mitzvah at the JCC. The space is ample, so that wasn’t a problem. The caterer had worked there several times, so that wasn’t a problem.  It was how do we transform the space into a party that Lila would love?  To start with, we had to convince this sweet and savvy 13 year old girl that this space, which started as a blank canvas, could and would transform. And that yes, it would be the outstanding party she envisioned.  First, we had to gain her trust and involve her by listening to her ideas and input. Knowing what was most important to Lila and pairing that with what Mom and Dad envisioned and wa-la, “Fashionably Lila” was born, and it couldn’t have been more fitting!

Lila is a little fashionista herself, a true girly girl through and through.  But like many of our parties today, she didn’t want a full out theme so we had to capture the feel of the party in another “fashion”.  Our top picks for amplifying impact are: color scheme, logo, lighting and rentals (and that includes renting a dance floor, even if you don’t need one!). If you are forgoing a theme, these are absolutely necessities to pulling off a look that is going to transform!  The first time I met Lila and her mom, they showed me paint swatches that Lila thought would be great for her party. These became the color scheme of the entire day; from the invitations, to the kiddush and the party itself.

As guests arrived, they walked in on the “pink carpet” and had their photo taken in front of the custom step and repeat.  Adults remained in the lobby which was transformed into a cocktail hour space and the kids went into the room with the DJ and flip book station.  During this time, Lila’s friends also had the chance to say a few words (there was a line up of kids)!

The celebration was a party in progress; lots of food, people moving about and no assigned seating.  This kept the party moving and allowed for a more casual, social vibe.  From the dinner stations to the passed desserts, dancing and eating was definitely the main focus but there were lots of other formalities including a speech from Lila’s older sisters (who changed into costumes for the occasions), a few words from her parents, a candlelighting and a video montage.  So, as always, a well constructed flow of events was imperative!

Thank you for letting us take part in your big day, Lila! Mazel tov!

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Event Planner: The Day Of

Synagogue: Temple Ohabei Shalom, Brookline

Reception Venue: Leventhal-Sidman JCC, Newton

Photography: Stefanie Jasper

Rentals: Rentals Unlimited

DJ: Siagel Productions

Decor: Art of the Event

Entertainment: Fun Photo Flips

Caterer: Catering by Andrew

Liquor: Murray’s Liquors

Zach’s Bar Mitzvah – Temple Shir Tikva, Wayland, MA + It’s 2 Cool, Canton, MA

Zach became a Bar Mitzvah this past May. Each celebration is unique and I can’t stress enough the importance of choosing the right way to celebrate for your child.  Karen recognized this. She even changed the venue from a hotel ballroom when she realized that there would be a lot of boys. Zach’s friends had been to a number of Mitzvahs and she knew that Zach wanted to have more than just a dance party to engage the kids.  She wanted to recognize her son’s accomplishments in a way that was comfortable for him but also have a high energy party with dancing and entertainment that the kids, teenagers and adults would engage in. The solution was It’s2Cool in Canton.

Zach’s love for sports was reflected in his custom logo which was carried through on the adult centerpieces balloon base, sign in board and  the kids favors. The kids tables were decorated with custom runners and centerpieces of  Boston sports teams.

The evening began with an adult cocktail hour in the lobby, while the kids broke right into the activities, which come with the venue, such as inflatable jousting, rock wall climbing, a graffiti photo room, inflatable basketball, skeet ball lanes, electronic games and air hockey. Another unique feature of this venue is how incredibly it transform into a fun party space, which includes things like lighting, sound, AV to run their surprise video for Zach, and confetti drops!

At the start of the reception was a beautiful Havdalah service and a little later, a reminiscent video documenting Zach’s life was projected clearly on two walls.  Dinner and dessert stations kept everyone up and moving about throughout the evening.  Guests also enjoyed snapping pictures in the photo graffiti room, getting their faces painted with glow in the dark paint and leaving their mark on the sign-in board. The kids were thrilled with their sports performance long-sleeve shirt as a favor.  We were beyond thrilled to be part of another beautiful, and special celebration with the family and couldn’t be more proud of Zach on his accomplishment.  Mazel Tov, Zach!

A few words from Karen (Zach’s Mom):

Michelle at The Day Of came through for our family in a hundred “save the moment” ways.  She helped me plan a weekend of detailed logistics (Shabbat dinner, Kiddish lunch, evening celebration and Sunday brunch.)  Having been by my side for my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah three years earlier she was there to help with this one through the roller coaster of last minute changing the venue.  Moving away from a hotel setting meant we now had to take on a myriad of detailed logistics (from food and beverage to tables, chairs and linens… the list went on and on.)
Michelle worked her magic and helped with the details of pulling it all together.  She was by my side to handle all of the Saturday evening planning and logistics.  She is poised and doesn’t get thrown off her game — she is at her best in planning.  She was my rock during the evening, watching with a careful eye that the flow of events was fluid, which allowed me to socialize with my guests.
Thank you Michelle for pulling together an event that felt like us, celebrated Zach and allowed us to focus on his accomplishments.




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Event Coordination – The Day Of

Venue – It’s 2 Cool

Caterer – Margery Gussak 

Photographer – Happy Gatherings

DJ – Party Excitement

Balloons – Partners Balloon Design

Brett’s Bar Mitzvah – Congregation B’nai Shalom, Westborough + The Verve, Natick

Brett became a Bar Mitzvah at Congregation B’nai Shalom in Westborough this past June. Immediately following the service was a Kiddush where friends and family could celebrate Brett’s accomplishment.  But, the party really got rolling that evening at The Verve in Natick.

Brett didn’t want a “theme” so we went with more a of “look and vibe” for his party decor. Royal blue, black and silver were the foundation to his party…because you have to start somewhere!  When it came to the “look and vibe” we went for an urban feel.  The graffiti logo was used on the brick wall, video screens and cupcakes.  For the other decor, we brought in metals with a diamond plate DJ booth and table numbers, metallic lit centerpieces and metal stools at the kids triangular high top  tables.  Adults were served dinner tableside, while Brett and his friends had a fun kids buffet with open seating.

The party started with Brett’s super high energy entrance, through an arm-tunnel of friends and family to the song “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody”.  This perfectly describes his fun-loving and silly nature! A few party games were followed by a blessing by Brett’s three grandfathers and a traditional candle-lighting ceremony. Then the dance floor opened up for a set with the DJ and all of Brett’s friends and family joined him to boogey, shake and congratulate the man of the hour.

Nearing the end of the night, everyone quickly joined in the hora as Brett, his siblings, and parents got lifted in the chair.  Then came the late-night treats; cupcakes and an ice cream sundae bar so everyone could pick out which sweet suited them best. With dessert in hand, we took the opportunity to slow things down a bit for a beautiful, heartfelt speech from Brett’s mom and a sweet introduction into an adorable video montage with photos and video clips.  More dancing and celebrating followed.  One thing is for sure, Brett’s energy and fun-loving nature was contagious and it was clear that everyone enjoyed celebrating with him!   It was an honor to be part of another Harmon Family event.  Mazel Tov, Brett!

A few words from Melanie:

This was our second time using Michelle for a Bar Mitzvah, and we wouldn’t use anyone else! Michelle is so attentive to detail, she really did so much work all along the way…resulting in a calm hostess and a smooth event. Michelle does her research and finds what is right for the client’s taste and budget. She makes planning a big event “easy!”  Can’t wait to work with her on #3 in a few years!

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Event Coordination: The Day Of

Rentals: Rentals Unlimited

Photographer: Nikki Cole

Videographer: Playback Video

Decor: Art of the Event

Photo Booth: The Snapboxx

Kiddush Caterer: Franklin Caterers

Cupcakes: The Icing on the Cake

Reception Music / Lighting: Northern Lights Entertainment

Jonah’s Bar Mitzvah – Congregation B’nai Shalom, Westborough + Pinz, Milford

Jonah became a Bar Mitzvah at Congregation B’nai Shalom.  Following the service, was a delicious Kiddush luncheon where family and friends had the chance to gather, celebrate and congratulate! It was also the place where Jonah’s personal project was shown, as he collected and donated children’s books to Boston Medical Center’s Child Life Program, an incredible program that always appreciates donations!

The celebration continued in the evening when Jonah’s family and friends met up with him at Pinz in Milford.  Dance parties are NOT for everyone and I can’t stress enough how impressed I was by his parents recognizing this.  Celebrating in a way that was more up his alley, made it all that more enjoyable for him…and at the end of the day that’s really important.  So instead, Pinz was the perfect solution with glow bowling, video games, laser tag and more. I mean seriously, is there a kid out there who doesn’t love all of that?  They enjoyed great kids food like a taco bar and mini hot dogs, had fun at a photo booth and got to watch a video montage and sports bloopers on the big screens over the bowling alley.  Before the party ended, Lizzie’s Ice Cream came by so everyone could  make ice cream sundae’s!  It was truly a good time had by all (including many of the adult who were seen playing laser tag and video games).

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Event Planner: The Day Of

Photographer: Eda Stefani

Kiddush Caterer: Franklin Caterers

Linens: Rentals Unlimited

Celebration: Pinz Bowl

Balloons: Big Balloon Bash

Linen: Table Toppers

Ice Cream: Lizzie’s Ice Cream

Photo Booth: Creative Event Services


Emily’s Bat Mitzvah – Congregation B’nai Shalom, Westborough, MA

Emily became a Bat Mitzvah, at Congregation B’nai Shalom in Westborough, last August. They decided to use the Temple’s social hall making an easy and seamless transition, for family and friends, from ceremony to reception!   The adult cocktail hour was in the lobby and in the outdoor garden but the kids got right into it, with Northern Lights Entertainment and a photo booth, in the social hall.  Adults in particular were immediately engaged with the fun “Em-mojito” signature drink (a blue mojito of course!) and “fun fact” cocktail napkins about Emily!

When it came to decor, Emily and her family love the beach so, there was never a doubt about her choice theme for her Bat Mitzvah.  When we started talking about decor, the first bit of feedback I received was “no beach balls!”, so I knew immediately the direction we were headed. I have to say, we had so much fun planning our own take on this beach themed celebration!

Being an afternoon event, it was important to the family that we black out the room so nobody remembered that it was daytime.  Yet even though it was darkened, the social hall, was immediately brightened up with the clean, crisp shades of white and turquoise throughout the room; the all white dance floor, the white “petal” table linen, white chivari chairs with turquoise cushions and blue uplighting throughout the room.  The kids centerpieces were balloons to represent bubbles and the adults were a combination of various colored beach glass and flowers.  The napkins set at each placesetting were white, tied with different shades of blue raffia, while the adults enjoyed a beautiful turquoise water goblet.  The seating assignments were all the beaches Emily has been to with photos of her at that beach.  At the end of the party, each of Emily’s friends took home a custom embroidered beach towel!


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Event Planner: The Day Of

DJ: Northern Lights Entertainment

Photo Booth: Creative Event Services

Florist: Jeri Solomon Floral Design

Balloons: Big Balloon Bash

Photographer: Jill Thompson

Videography: Playback Video

Caterer: Tastings Caterers

Rentals: Rentals Unlimited

Invitations/Printed Materials: Allure Invitations

Alana’s Bat Mitzvah – Westin-Waltham, Waltham, MA

The moment I met Alana, I was especially impressed by her poise and politeness.  So it came as no surprise to me when I learned about the seriousness she took when it came to her Bat Mitzvah, and the project she chose.

With a love of horses and a passion for riding, Alana wanted to to support children with disabilities by giving them the opportunity to enjoy therapeutic riding.  So during a day long event, held by family friends, she harvested and bottled honey which she then sold.  With sales of more than $1,400, Alana was able to donate the funds to Lovelane.  Quite an impressive undertaking.

With the same poise, surrounded by family and friends, Alana became a Bat Mitzvah last April at Temple Isaiah in Lexington.  Immediately following the service, the kids and many adults, hopped on a bus for a quick ride to the Westin-Waltham to continue the celebration.

Adults enjoyed cocktail hour in the lobby while the kids went right into the room for games and fun with Party Excitement!  Soon after, the family was introduced into the room and Alana joined her dad for a “father/daughter” dance.  But after just a minute of the sweet dance, the lights went out, the music quickly changed and flashing gloves were handed out to everyone.  The dance continued…but this time the dance was a hysterical, adorable, sweet and very choreographed dance.  I honestly don’t know how they remembered it…clearly they rehearsed quite a bit!  After their dance was over, it was the perfect segway to a dance set and everyone was ready to hit the dance floor!  After a warm welcome by Alana’s parents, a candlelighting and a celebratory hora, guests enjoyed lunch and a sweet video montage put together by her sisters.

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Event Coordinator: The Day Of

Hotel: The Westin Waltham Boston

Balloons: Ilisa’s Balloons

Cake: The Icing on the Cake

Reception Music: Party Excitement

Photographer: Cydney Ambrose

Transportation: C&W

Chapin’s Bar Mitzvah – Temple Shalom and The Biltmore Bar & Grille, Newton, MA

When Chapin’s mom, Pamela, called me they were in a bit of a pickle.  The location they were planning on having his party had closed its doors.  Of course this is always a real possibility but it’s never happened to any of my clients.

Luckily, she was able to book a restaurant very close to their home, that they very much love, The Biltmore Bar & Grille in Newton.   The nice thing is that it has great ambiance, but it is intimate in size so how to make the space work for a party was the main challenge.  Secondly, they had never closed for a private party so the staff, while very accommodating,  wasn’t familiar with Mitzvahs or how to logistically run a party.   That’s where we came in.

Our first meeting was about figuring out how to map things out. Can this be done?!  Who would go where, where certain formalities would happen, what kind of food and when it would come out.  We reconfigured tables to create the largest possible dance floor and established a spot for the DJ and the pop up photo booth.

Next on the priority list was how to bring it all together.  Because it was a tricky spot, Michael from Siagel Production made a trip over to Biltmore to scope things out.  He was accommodating with revising their DJ package (their previous package was larger and more extensive than they could fit or needed in the new space).

Once the foundation of the party was established, we got into the details!  No matter how large or small your space or guest list is, the flow of events for the evening is imperative!  In this case, essentially, we had 2 parties going on at once.  The adults were in the bar area and the kids were on the restaurant side.   And it all came together perfectly on paper, and the night of the party.  For example, the motzie and kiddush were in the bar with the adults, while the kids continued with games and dancing.  Chapin’s parents momentarily slipped away from the adults to say hello to the kids and introduce a video montage, and after that the kids ice cream sundae bar opened and the video montage ran for the adults.

There were many moving parts and not only was it seamless, but it was a fun celebration perfectly geared towards the adults and the kids.  It was a wonderful evening and we were so glad to be part of this special celebration.

Here is a note from Pamela:

Dear Michelle,
I just want to thank you again for making Chapin’s bar mitzvah such a success on many levels. The party was just what we wanted it to be, which of course required a lot of work from a lot of people including you. What you and you alone did was remove the tremendous stress and anxiety from my shoulders. When I found out, only four months before the party, that our “perfect” venue in the South End was declaring bankruptcy — I really did freak out. I am an organized person and had everything set and ready to go 18 months in advance, until it all came crashing down. Thanks to you, however, my freak out was fairly short lived! Once I got you involved you were so on top of things and thought of solutions and people to contact that I never would have thought of. You had chairs I could rent, you worked with my DJ, you had a great eye for arranging the space in the restaurant, you had ideas for activities for the kids that would work in the new space, and the list goes on. I really could not have done it without you — or maybe I could have but I would have been a very stressed out person and I would not have enjoyed a moment of the planning or execution. Instead I really did enjoy both. The lesson I learned was, next time I will involve you from the beginning! Thanks again for all that you did!!

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Event Coordinator: The Day Of

Venue:  The Biltmore Bar & Grille

Reception Music: Siagel Productions

Photographer: Melissa Karen