512 episodes

Andy Kushner offers an inside look behind-the-scenes of the wedding and event world for both industry experts and bridal couples by featuring in-depth and transformative conversations with event industry icons. The Wedding Biz is also the only global platform of its kind to serve the business development needs of wedding and events professionals. As the host, Andy interviews the most prolific thought leaders and talent, taking you behind the curtain and revealing their personality, character, passions, and secrets to their success. Andy’s powerful, yet casual and comfortable interview style gives you access to the authentic story each of these incredible industry leaders has to share. The Wedding Biz podcast is your opportunity to really get to know the amazing personalities that endlessly elevate the world of weddings and special events.

The Wedding Biz - Behind the Scenes of the Wedding Business Andy Kushner

    • Arts
    • 4.8 • 117 Ratings

Andy Kushner offers an inside look behind-the-scenes of the wedding and event world for both industry experts and bridal couples by featuring in-depth and transformative conversations with event industry icons. The Wedding Biz is also the only global platform of its kind to serve the business development needs of wedding and events professionals. As the host, Andy interviews the most prolific thought leaders and talent, taking you behind the curtain and revealing their personality, character, passions, and secrets to their success. Andy’s powerful, yet casual and comfortable interview style gives you access to the authentic story each of these incredible industry leaders has to share. The Wedding Biz podcast is your opportunity to really get to know the amazing personalities that endlessly elevate the world of weddings and special events.

    511 LIENE STEVENS: Current State of the Wedding Industry and Investing in Yourself

    511 LIENE STEVENS: Current State of the Wedding Industry and Investing in Yourself

    In this truly enriching episode, join Andy as he connects with Liene Stevens, the acclaimed author, behavioral psychologist, and CEO of Think Splendid! Liene brings a wealth of knowledge from her extensive experience in the global wedding market, having collaborated with clients across 97 countries and revolutionized operations for numerous luxury brands and resorts!
    Tune in as Liene shares her unique journey from an unexpected promotion at a nonprofit right out of high school to becoming a key player in negotiating the release of hostages with the U.S. State Department! Her unorthodox path led her to found Think Splendid in 2005, where she has since become a trailblazer in wedding industry consulting.
    Andy hopes that you will listen in to hear insight into the intricacies of running a successful wedding business! Liene discusses the current challenges facing the industry, including the implications of a slowing market in 2024. Contrary to popular belief, Liene clarifies that the dip in engagements post-pandemic is a myth that is unfortunately perpetuated by major jewelry companies. She instead attributes the slowdown to broader economic uncertainties and changing consumer behaviors.
    Also emphasizes the importance of continual self-improvement and creative rejuvenation, Liene highlights the need for wedding professionals to elevate their standards in tandem with their prices, providing actionable advice on refining business practices, enhancing team skills, and staying creatively inspired.
    Liene and Andy additionally take a deep dive into the vital role of mental health in business success, with Liene advocating for the value of professional therapy over business consulting when addressing personal challenges that impact business operations, drawing from her own background in behavioral psychology.
    Andy sincerely hopes that you will tune in to hear Liene's invaluable insights and practical advice that can help wedding professionals navigate a slow market, enhance their offerings, and ultimately thrive in the ever-evolving wedding industry! If you enjoyed this captivating episode with Liene, then Andy hopes that you will share this episode with at least three people who might also enjoy it! Be sure to also subscribe to the podcast so that you never miss an episode, and Andy would also appreciate a positive review wherever you listen to the podcast!

    Have you heard about Stop and Smell the Roses with Preston Bailey on The Wedding Biz Network? Listen as Preston shares the secrets, tools, and technologies behind his extraordinary ability to create a theatrical environment out of any space. Also, don't forget about Sean Low's podcast The Business of Being Creative, where Sean discusses the power of being niched, pricing strategies, metrics of success, and so much more. You can find both shows on The Wedding Biz Network.
     
    SUPPORTING THE WEDDING BIZ
    Become a patron and support Andy and the show! If you are so inspired, contribute!
     
    Time Stamps
    [0:04] - Andy reveals that he has recently taken his daughter to Telluride for hiking and catching up with an old friend.

    [0:57] - Andy announces that this episode’s guest is Liene Stevens of Think Splendid!

    [2:08] - Liene clarifies that she is a business consultant for wedding industry companies, not directly for brides and grooms.

    [3:00] - Hear how Liene delayed college to work at a nonprofit; she was promoted quickly and led 180 employees!

    [4:42] - Hear the incredible story of how Liene negotiated a hostage release, working closely with Colin Powell's office and keeping it out of the press.

    [8:14] - Liene started the first B2B blog for the wedding industry as a marketing tool, which still exists.

    [10:03] - Liene touches upon how Signet Jewelers affected engagement sales but did not clarify if it included non-diamond rings.

    [12:18] - US weddings fluctuate between 2.2-2.4 million annually, and election years cause spending hesitation and longer enga

    • 30 min
    510 REVISIT JOSE VILLA & LAURIE ARONS – Discuss Working Together As Photographer & Planner/Designer and More!

    510 REVISIT JOSE VILLA & LAURIE ARONS – Discuss Working Together As Photographer & Planner/Designer and More!

    Listen in to this revisit as Andy chats with two guests, both of whom have been featured on the podcast multiple times in the past. Laurie Arons is a planner and designer of Laurie Arons Special Events and has been featured in numerous magazine publications and has been listed in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Martha Stewart Weddings as one of the top worldwide planners. Her clientele is made up of trendsetters such as Sophia Coppola, Vanessa Getty, and Christy Turlington as well as prominent business moguls like Gary Friedman, Frank Caufield, and Eddie DeBartolo. Laurie has also created and runs a very successful wedding planner master class.
    Also joining Andy is Jose Villa, a fine art photographer who is considered by many to be the top event photographer in the world. He has been published in numerous magazines and was named one of the top wedding photographers by Martha Stewart Weddings, Harper’s Bazaar, Style Me Pretty, and Vogue. He was also named one of the top ten photographers in the world by American Photo Magazine and was named one of the most influential photographers of the decade. Jose, in addition, runs workshops and authored the book Fine Art Wedding Photography.
    Laurie and Jose have been working together for nearly a decade, and they each elaborate upon what it’s like working with the other. Laurie describes her business as live theatre only not with actors, a feeling which gives her butterflies because she puts a lot of thought into it. They also discuss at length how they address unexpected obstacles such as challenging weather, what’s important to them as far as the guest experience is concerned, what they look for in a good venue, and what they are seeing happening currently in their business now that we are (hopefully) nearing the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Andy had such a fun time talking to Laurie and Jose again – especially at the same time – and encourages you to go back and listen to their previous episodes of the podcast by going to The Wedding Biz’s website and typing in their names in the search bar. Be sure to also subscribe to the podcast so that you never miss an episode, and if you can think of at least three good friends who would benefit from listening to the podcast, share it with them! Andy would also appreciate a positive review wherever you listen to the podcast!

    Have you heard about Stop and Smell the Roses with Preston Bailey on The Wedding Biz Network? Listen as Preston shares the secrets, tools, and technologies behind his extraordinary ability to create a theatrical environment out of any space. Also, don't forget about Sean Low's podcast The Business of Being Creative, where Sean discusses the power of being niched, pricing strategies, metrics of success, and so much more. You can find both shows on The Wedding Biz Network.
     
    SUPPORTING THE WEDDING BIZ
    Become a patron and support Andy and the show! If you are so inspired, contribute!
     
    Time Stamps
    [0:24] - Andy reveals this episode’s two guests – Jose Villa and Laurie Arons – and gives their credentials.
    [2:11] - Jose reveals that location and communication are some of the key elements for a successful collaboration with a designer.
    [3:02] - We learn that Laurie considers a lot of photography experience as well as commitment to be very important when working with a photographer.
    [4:39] - Laurie and Jose talk about their collaborative process together, and Jose reflects on the stressful aspects of his job.
    [7:39] - Laurie explains how she tries to keep Jose as informed of details as possible.
    [10:30] - Laurie reflects a little on the difficulty of obstacles such as the bride wanting her hair redone and how that negatively impacts a set schedule.
    [11:25] - We hear examples of how weather can negatively impact events.
    [14:47] - Laurie and Jose share what’s important to them in relation to the guest experience.
    [16:06] - Laurie and Jose describe a very long wooden pathway that Laurie wa

    • 27 min
    509 SUSAN LACZ/Ridgewells Catering: Quality and Culture in Business

    509 SUSAN LACZ/Ridgewells Catering: Quality and Culture in Business

    Join Andy this week as he sits down with Susan Lacz, the CEO of Ridgewells Catering. With a career spanning over three decades, Susan has been a pivotal force in the catering and events industry, steering Ridgewells Catering through significant transformations and challenges.
    Listen in as Susan shares her inspiring journey, starting with her early influences, notably her grandmother, whose culinary skills and hospitality left a lasting impression on her. She discusses her initial foray into the food business, from working at a deli in Wyckoff, New Jersey, to bartending in Washington, D.C. Her passion for sales and marketing, paired together with her love for food, set the stage for her ascent in the catering world.
    In this candid conversation, Susan recounts the challenges and triumphs of taking over Ridgewells Catering in 1997, a company with deep roots dating back to the 1920s. She describes her mission to restore the company’s former glory by emphasizing quality, creativity, and fresh culinary approaches. She reflects on key milestones, such as firing her former boss to initiate positive changes and hosting an innovative rebranding event at the Halcyon House.
    Susan emphasizes the importance of culture in her company, highlighting the sense of ownership and appreciation that permeates the workplace. She and Andy also touch upon the broader shifts in the catering and events industry, from the increasing focus on decor and presentation to the critical role of staying ahead of trends.
    Susan’s insights into navigating the saturated market, her strategic decision to divest from rental equipment, and her recent exclusive venue management agreements offer valuable lessons for industry professionals, and Andy hopes that you enjoy listening to this conversation with her! If so, then please don’t keep it to yourself! He would appreciate it if you were to share it with a few good friends and industry colleagues who might also enjoy it! Andy would also appreciate it if you were to leave a top review wherever you listen to the show because that really helps the show out! Lastly, don’t forget to follow The Wedding Biz on Instagram and subscribe to the podcast so that you never miss a new episode when it drops!
     
    Have you heard about Stop and Smell the Roses with Preston Bailey on The Wedding Biz Network? Listen as Preston shares the secrets, tools, and technologies behind his extraordinary ability to create a theatrical environment out of any space. Also, don't forget about Sean Low's podcast The Business of Being Creative, where Sean discusses the power of being niched, pricing strategies, metrics of success, and so much more. You can find both shows on The Wedding Biz Network.
     
    SUPPORTING THE WEDDING BIZ
    Become a patron and support Andy and the show! If you are so inspired, contribute!
     
    Time Stamps
    [1:01] - Today’s guest is Susan Lacz, CEO of Ridgewells Catering.
    [1:57] - Susan's grandmother, an immigrant from Poland, was her strong role model and inspiration in cooking.
    [3:16] - Susan explains that she is a salesperson first and enjoyed selling food and beverages, including pastrami sandwiches and drinks.
    [4:18] - Susan wanted to restore the company's original quality and allure after multiple ownership changes.
    [5:19] - Hear about some of Susan's milestones, such as firing her boss, focusing on quality, hiring new culinary leaders, and creatively rebranding Ridgewell.
    [6:54] - Susan prioritized creating a strong, appreciative culture, guided by mentors including her entrepreneurial father.
    [9:34] - Hear about some of the challenges Susan faced, especially during COVID, and how she credits her team.
    [11:25] - Susan noted the shift from food to decor in the industry and evolved by focusing on culinary excellence.
    [13:35] - Susan is excited about managing the iconic Mellon Auditorium, now a preferred caterer there, which opens new opportunities for her team.
    [14:53] - Prioritizing balance and ment

    • 17 min
    508 KERRY BRACKEN & JENNIFER ROCHER/LAVENDER & ROSE: A Marriage of English Charm and French Elegance

    508 KERRY BRACKEN & JENNIFER ROCHER/LAVENDER & ROSE: A Marriage of English Charm and French Elegance

    Andy welcomes Kerry Bracken and Jennifer Rocher of Lavender & Rose this week! Lavender & Rose is an exclusive event planning company based in the enchanting French Riviera. Join Andy as he explores their captivating journey and how they have crafted bespoke weddings in the stunning locales of Southern France and Paris!
    Listen as Jennifer and Kerry share personal stories of how they first got into wedding planning, with Jennifer bringing her local French expertise and Kerry contributing her British flair after moving to France in 2007. They reveal how their partnership began organically, evolving over time as they discovered their complementary skills and shared passion for creating unforgettable wedding experiences.
    Kerry and Jennifer offer valuable insights into the unique aspects of planning high-end weddings in France. They discuss the allure of the French Riviera and Paris as prime wedding destinations, emphasizing the luxurious venues, from coastal estates to historical buildings. They also highlight the typical budgets for these lavish celebrations and the seasonal considerations crucial for planning.
    Jennifer’s and Kerry’s aesthetic and dedication to guest experience shine through as they describe their approach to wedding design, and Andy is so honored to have had them on The Wedding Biz! He hopes that you enjoy this interview, and if so, please don’t keep it to yourself! Share it with a few good friends and industry colleagues who might also enjoy it! Andy would also appreciate it if you were to leave a top review wherever you listen to the show because that really helps the show out! Lastly, don’t forget to follow The Wedding Biz on Instagram and subscribe to the podcast so that you never miss a new episode when it drops!
     
    Have you heard about Stop and Smell the Roses with Preston Bailey on The Wedding Biz Network? Listen as Preston shares the secrets, tools, and technologies behind his extraordinary ability to create a theatrical environment out of any space. Also, don't forget about Sean Low's podcast The Business of Being Creative, where Sean discusses the power of being niched, pricing strategies, metrics of success, and so much more. You can find both shows on The Wedding Biz Network.
     
    SUPPORTING THE WEDDING BIZ
    Become a patron and support Andy and the show! If you are so inspired, contribute!
     
    Time Stamps
    [0:34] - Today’s guests are Kerry Bracken and Jennifer Rocher of Lavender & Rose!
    [2:25] - What was Kerry doing before partnering with Jennifer?
    [3:14] - Learn what Jennifer was doing prior to partnering with Kerry.
    [6:52] - Jennifer's and Kerry's partnership surprises people because we're very different, with unique backgrounds in France and America.
    [9:22] - The ultra-luxe wedding market focuses mainly on the French Riviera, Provence, and Paris.
    [10:59] - Learn what the approximate budgets are for ultra luxe weddings in France.
    [12:09] - The ideal wedding season is late April to early October, avoiding peak tourist times and events.
    [15:03] - Jennifer explains that the south of France has a short wedding season, from late April to early October, with many venues closed the rest of the year.
    [17:38] - The high cost of labor in France, including staffing and delivery fees, surprises many international planners.
    [20:39] - In France, modifying contract clauses can be slow due to limited legal resources and translation needs.
    [22:55] - How would Kerry and Jennifer describe their signature and style?
    [24:14] - Lavender & Rose focuses on bespoke designs, emphasizing intricate details and prioritizing the guest experience.
    [25:29] - Hear about the challenge of limited availability of decor in France compared to the United States.
    [26:35] - We learn that, furthermore, limited furniture options and storage space in France significantly impact event production.
    [29:01] - Andy reveals where Lavender & Rose can be found online.


    LINKS AND RESOURCES
    Videos:
    Vimeo - Chlo

    • 29 min
    507 TORI WILLIAMS: From Glam Services to Global Recognition as an Event Curator and Designer

    507 TORI WILLIAMS: From Glam Services to Global Recognition as an Event Curator and Designer

    Andy is so honored to bring Tori Williams of Tori Williams Events onto the show today! Tori is a world renowned luxury event curator who has showcased her work on major television networks such as Lifetime, Bravo, and The Food Network, and she is even the star of the VH1 original series My Celebrity Dream Wedding! She joins Andy today to discuss everything from childhood influences to pivotal moments that shaped her career!
    Tori shares her journey from cosmetology to becoming a sought-after event curator and designer. With a client list featuring names like Tyler Perry Studios and the Atlanta Ballet, Tori's expertise extends beyond simply planning events; it's about crafting unforgettable experiences!
    Listen in, and discover the secrets behind Tori's rapid success as she sheds light on the importance of client experience, the creative process, and the challenges of balancing business with creativity. From TV appearances to hosting workshops, Tori's passion for her craft shines through as she discusses her plans for the future, including a focus on large-scale productions and education initiatives.
    Join Andy for an inspiring conversation filled with insights into the world of high-end event planning and the dedication it takes to create magic for clients. He hopes that you enjoy this conversation, and if you do, he would really appreciate it if you didn’t keep it to yourself and were to share it with a few good friends and industry colleagues who might also enjoy it! He would also appreciate it if you were to leave a top review wherever you listen to the show because that really helps the show out! Lastly, don’t forget to follow The Wedding Biz on Instagram and subscribe to the podcast so that you never miss a new episode when it drops!
     
    Have you heard about Stop and Smell the Roses with Preston Bailey on The Wedding Biz Network? Listen as Preston shares the secrets, tools, and technologies behind his extraordinary ability to create a theatrical environment out of any space. Also, don't forget about Sean Low's podcast The Business of Being Creative, where Sean discusses the power of being niched, pricing strategies, metrics of success, and so much more. You can find both shows on The Wedding Biz Network.
     
    SUPPORTING THE WEDDING BIZ
    Become a patron and support Andy and the show! If you are so inspired, contribute!
     
    Time Stamps
    [0:04] - Andy announces that, to catch up on past interviews, two new episodes per month will be released temporarily.
    [0:50] - Andy’s guest today is Tori Williams of Tori Williams Events!
    [2:17] - Tori reflects on how her grandma's influence shaped her love for hosting events and how pursuing cosmetology led to a master license.
    [4:41] - Why and when did Tori transition into event planning?
    [7:26] - Tori’s focus is on the experience, making clients feel special in their milestone events.
    [10:14] - Tori never actively pursued television opportunities; they found her through social media or referrals.
    [12:40] - Balancing regular job duties with TV filming was stressful but valuable for Tori's brand.
    [14:28] - Tori reveals that she is expanding beyond weddings and is focusing on larger productions and diverse events.
    [17:56] - From where does Tori get her inspiration?
    [20:20] - Tori shares how, last year, she organized an award show for entrepreneurs, embracing creativity without client direction.

    [22:25] - Tori also gives an example of having coordinated a wedding for a friend, putting trust into the design process.

    [25:11] - Tori argues that strong business ethics, a dedicated team, and structure are crucial for success.
    [28:00] - Tori restarted hosting workshops post-COVID, attracting 32,000 subscribers through webinars and challenges.
    [30:47] - Tori reveals that she often speaks on event production, luxury industry entry, celebrity clients, television, and business insights.
    [31:39] - In her current career, Tori aims for a few large productions anually and

    • 33 min
    506 REVISIT CHRISTINA MATTEUCCI – Using Performance and Storytelling Techniques to Engage with Impact

    506 REVISIT CHRISTINA MATTEUCCI – Using Performance and Storytelling Techniques to Engage with Impact

    Tune in to this episode of the podcast as Andy talks with Christina Matteucci, executive director of David Beahm Experiences! Christina has actually been on the podcast before in episodes 188, 307, 346, and 214, and she joins Andy in this episode to discuss how everything that we do in business has an element of performance involved and how we can best understand and use performance when dealing with clients and giving presentations.
    The main focus of Andy’s and Christina’s conversation is the importance of using storytelling – especially storytelling that employs effective imagery – when engaging in a sales pitch, corresponding with clients, and with public speaking. Storytelling is an interwoven part of what it means to be human because we love to both tell and hear stories. Stories draw us in, and, in fact, Christina even recommends starting a sales pitch with a story even if the story isn’t relevant to what you’re selling or proposing!
    Christina talks about what techniques that she has learned as far as storytelling and preparation are concerned, techniques that she learned having been a student of Storytelling School. She stresses the importance of understanding who your client is and that your performance might be different depending on the demographics of your audience. She and Andy also reflect on current times and how the need for meeting virtually via tools such as Zoom has been on the rise. They discuss how to make use of the techniques upon which Christina elaborates when meeting virtually and how meeting virtually differs from meeting in person.
    Performing and telling stories is not a skill with which we are all born, nor is it something that we all necessarily enjoy. Some of us are not predisposed to it, but, as Christina assures us, it’s not rocket science! You can seek help and advice and can learn. Christina says more than once that it’s important to prepare rather than plan, and she and Andy also talk about how important that it is to not only prepare practically but to also be well rested and hydrated!
    Andy hopes that you will enjoy listening to his chat with Christina Matteucci as much as he enjoyed chatting with her. She offers a wealth of helpful information and tips from which listeners can definitely benefit! If you enjoy the episode, reach out to at least three really good friends who might also enjoy and benefit from it, and also be sure to leave a review!
     
    Have you heard about Stop and Smell the Roses with Preston Bailey on The Wedding Biz Network? Listen as Preston shares the secrets, tools, and technologies behind his extraordinary ability to create a theatrical environment out of any space. Also, don't forget about Sean Low's podcast The Business of Being Creative, where Sean discusses the power of being niched, pricing strategies, metrics of success, and so much more. You can find both shows on The Wedding Biz Network.
     
    SUPPORTING THE WEDDING BIZ
    Become a patron and support Andy and the show! If you are so inspired, contribute!
     
    Time Stamps
    [2:03] – Today’s episode is a revisit of Andy’s May 2021 interview with Christina Matteucci, executive director of David Beahm Experiences.
    [2:14] - Andy posits the idea that there is a level of performance involved in business situations, and Christina clarifies that the performance is authentic.
    [3:20] - Christina emphasizes how important imagery and storytelling are for her when she prepares a presentation.
    [6:27] - Christina recounts a couple of the storytelling techniques that she has learned.
    [8:10] - Christina shares that she learned that she should start a sales pitch with a story.
    [10:41] - We learn what Christina does to prepare for a sales pitch.
    [12:54] - Christina discusses how she also considers choreography when she prepares for a speech, using her TED Talk as an example of when that was important.
    [15:12] - It’s very important, as Christina advises, to listen to hear rather than listen

    • 41 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
117 Ratings

117 Ratings

AutumnWashington ,

Incredibly Resourceful & Even More Inspiring

I first discovered this podcast in 2017, shortly after my move to Atlanta from Michigan. I had just taken a job at a popular event company and the commute was an hour from my home. Once I listened to one episode, I was hooked!! It became a part of my morning routine! Six years later, it still is. I love this podcast! By far, the most entertaining & informative wedding podcast available! Thank you Andy for creating SUCH a masterpiece! You’ve offered your listeners a glimpse into the background of industry royals, a crash course into how they achieved their success and a road map for listeners that aspire to do the same! ~ Autumn Washington 🥂

K Bella Events ,

The show for every wedding pro

I’m an avid listener of Andy’s show - it’s such a great resource for discovering the diverse background stories behind icons in our industry. Andy’s interviews offer listeners an inside perspective into industry veterans’ journeys, often revealing insights and advice for wedding pros to leverage in their own business. Highly recommend. Thank you for providing this resource Andy.

omgannoyed ,

A must listen!

Andy interviews his guests with wisdom and respect. He has great voice so it’s also pleasant to listen to. So many great nuggets in each episode! There are a wide range of incredible guests to learn from. It’s a “must listen”, especially if you are new to the wedding industry!

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