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EBE Spotlight: Jonathan Harwood – Rio Bandleader

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This week we would like to introduce you one of our EBE Entertainment Representatives and the Band Leader for EBE Rio, Jonathan Harwood.

Jonathan is a 24-year music industry veteran who has been with EBE Events & Entertainment for 15 years.  He plays both the guitar and bass, and loves getting a crowd hyped-up while performing.

In an effort to get to know him better and discover what it is that makes him tick, we recently had the opportunity to sit down with Jonathan and interview him for this Q&A piece.

 

Q: What genre of music is your “specialty”?

A: Rock / Dance / Pop

Q: Who is your hero?

A: Pete Townshend

Q: What is your favorite movie?

A: The Highlander

Q: What is your zodiac sign?

A: Libra

Q: Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about?

A: I’m a really good cook

 

Q: What is your go-to at karaoke?

A: “Slide” by the Goo-Goo Dolls

 

Q: If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

A: Sushi

Q: If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to and why?

A: 1945, the end of WWII

 

Q: If you were a superhero, what powers would you have?

A: All of them

Q: Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life?

A: Bradley Cooper

Q: If you could join any past or present music group, which would you want to join?

A: The Who

 

Q: If you had to describe yourself as an animal, which one would it be and why?

A: A Pitbull Terrier. Because they are extremely loving and gentle, but fiercely protective.

Q: What was the best event you ever worked?

A: Union Transfer 4/26/17

 

Q: What motivates you to work hard?

A: My family

Q: What is your favorite thing about your career?

A: Getting the audience all hyped up

EBE Spotlight: Jon Mulhern – Emcee and DJ

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This week we want to introduce you to EBE Emcee & DJ Jon Mulhern.  Jon has been with EBE for 11 years and is an 18-year industry veteran.  

Music and entertaining have been in Jon’s soul since he was young; he continually finds himself to be the life of the party wherever he goes.  

In an effort to get to know him better and discover what it is that makes him tick, we recently had the opportunity to sit down with Jon and interview him for this Q&A piece.

 

Q: What genre of music is your “specialty”?

A: House, trance, breakbeat, EDM, top 40, throwbacks, 80s-90s hip-hop/pop/rock/dance, alternative, classic rock, mashups, remixes, and sing-a-longs

 

Q: Who is your hero?

A: Some of my favorite human beings are Arnold Schwarzenegger, Joe Rogan, Tim Ferris and Ray Kurzweil. As for a hero; my dog was my hero. She saved my life and taught me how to live and love.

 

Q: What is your favorite movie?

A: It’s a tie between “The Matrix” and “Stand By Me.”

 

Q: What is your zodiac sign?

A: Sagittarius

 

Q: Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about?

A: I spin fire poi – even performed in front of members from Cirque du Soleil and at Woodstock ’99.

 

Q: What is your go-to at karaoke?

A: Sweet Home Alabama

 

Q: If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

A: Steak and eggs with potatoes, mushrooms, peppers, spinach and broccoli – topped with cheese and salsa, and a tall glass of Goji Berry Green Tea!

 

Q: If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to and why?

A: It would be 1995 when I was 15-years old. I always think of my 15 year-old-self and how much “he’d” be freaking out over all the music and sound equipment I have. I’d go back and tell myself all I know today. I’d tell myself to continue to explore and examine my curiosities, to always work hard on developing tolerance and understanding, to take chances on things I love and want… and I would strongly advise against dating that girl Jaime when I turn 16! HA!

 

Q: If you were a superhero, what powers would you have?

A: Cosmic manipulation

 

Q: Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life?

A: Dwayne Johnson, obviously!

 

Q: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of love?

A: Not giving up when it gets rough and learning to be vulnerable.

 

Q: If you could join any past or present music group, which would you want to join?

A: Either Led Zepplin, The Talking Heads, or anything Brian Eno was working on – that dude is a genius and he changed the world of music!

 

Q: If you had to describe yourself as an animal, which one would it be and why?

A: I’ve learned a lot from dogs throughout my life. They are always present in the moment, capable of loving unconditionally, unwavering determination, fearless protectors, endless sense of adventure and playfulness. They forgive but don’t forget.

 

Q: What was the best event you ever worked?

A: July 4, 2002. I did a friend’s Family and Friends 4th of July Reunion. It was my first private event; before that I was only in nightclubs. I was so nervous, but I had the time of my life. I felt a personal connection to the crowd that clubs never offer. It’s a sense of duty and responsibility.

There was a wedding I did in April 2012 that set the standard for what a good time at an event looks like to me. DJ Brickhouse knows what I mean – we still talk about it to this day! That’s what I strive for at every event. They made us feel like rock stars and they partied like they each won the lottery!

 

Q: What motivates you to work hard?

A: Teamwork, being valued and appreciated, my passion and love for what I do.

 

Q: What is your favorite thing about your career?

A: Seeing people celebrate their love and commitment to each other is a very special and beautiful thing. It’s an honor to witness it and to help set the tone for their celebration. I love that every event is as unique as the couple’s love. I also love seeing so many different venues and locations.

EBE Spotlight – Tim Parsons: Drummer and DJ

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Pennsylvania’s own, Tim Parsons, has been an EBE Drummer and DJ for the past four years.  Along with the drums, he also plays the piano.

The Penncrest High School graduate has been fostering and growing his musical talents from a young age thanks to the ongoing support of his parents.  Due to his love of music and personal drive, Tim was able to further channel his musical abilities into becoming a top list DJ performer as well.

We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Tim and interview him for this Q&A piece in an effort to get to know him better and discover what it is that makes him tick.

 

 

Q: What genre of music is your ‘specialty’?

A: Hip-Hop

 

Q: What instrument(s) do you play if any?

A: Drums and piano

 

Q: Who is your hero?

A:  My parents are my heroes because they introduced me to music and have always supported my ambitions, even pushing me beyond what I thought I couldn’t accomplish.

 

Q: What is your favorite movie?

A:  Miracle

 

Q:  What is your zodiac sign?

A:  Capricorn

 

Q: Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about you?

A:  I can clap with one hand…and I play lacrosse and hockey!

 

Q:  What is your go-to at karaoke?

A:  Ghost Town DJs “My Boo”

 

Q:  If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to and why?

A:  If I had to pick one year, it would be 1994. With all of the legendary hip-hop albums from many of my favorite artists, 1994 has to be one of the biggest years for the genre. If I could stretch the rules, I’d love to travel back to all of the 80’s so I could catch the end of the funk phase and the beginning of the East vs. West Coast hip-hop phase.

 

Q:  Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life?

A:  James Franco

 

Q:  If you could join any past or present music group, which would you want to join?

A:  The Roots

 

 

Q:  What motivates you to work hard?

A:  Knowing that playing music is a gift and that this gift is something that I’ve been blessed with to share with others.

 

Q:  What is your favorite thing about your career?

A:  Seeing people dancing and enjoying the music is something that never gets old to me, especially when clients express how much they appreciated having me play at the end of the night!

EBE Spotlight – Benjamin Ostroff: MC & DJ

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Benjamin Ostroff has been with EBE Events & Entertainment for 15 years as an Emcee, DJ, and Entertainment Representative.

With an unmatched knowledge of music and all things pop culture, Ben has been performing at a wide range of events since his early teens. Utilizing his talents as a Club DJ, Ben was the House DJ for both the Philadelphia 76ers and Flyers from 1997 until 2015. He was a popular fixture at all home games, pumping up the crowd using a mix of music, trivia, and sound effects. He understands how to reach an audience, especially the youth scene, with the latest sounds.

Ben honed his skills on the weekends during college at American University. His talents are requested from Philadelphia to DC and everywhere in between.

In an effort to get to know him better and discover what it is that makes him tick, we recently had the opportunity to sit down with Ben and interview him for this Q&A piece.

Q: What genre of music is your ‘specialty?’

A: Anything mainstream since the 1960s.

 

Q: Who is your hero?

A: Bruse Springsteen

 

Q: What is your favorite movie?

A: Fletch

 

Q: What is your zodiac sign?

A: Leo

 

Q:  What is your go-to at karaoke?

A: Born to Run

 

Q: If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

A:  Pizza

 

Q:  If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to and why?

A:  I’m more interested in the future, but otherwise 1973.

 

Q:  If you were a superhero, what powers would you have?

A:  Invisibility

 

Q:  Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life?

A:  Kevin James (People often think I am him.)

 

Q:  What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of love?

A:  My engagement proposal.

 

Q:  If you could join any past or present music group, which would you want to join?

A:  E Street Band

 

Q:  Do you have skills or talents that most people don’t know about?

A:  With a little more practice, I would have been a legendary NFL punter.

 

Q:  What motivates you to work hard?

A:  The immediate gratification from every bride and groom

 

Q:  What is your favorite thing about your career?

A:  Being around music all the time.

Wedding Planning Basics

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You’re newly engaged and ready to start the process of planning your wedding…but where do you start and what all does planning a wedding involve?  While there are several variables, like budget, location, and size, that will impact your wedding planning specifics, we wanted to go through the general basics to help give you a guide to get the process started.

Wedding Planning: First Steps

When you’re ready to get the planning process started, the first thing you want to do is create a wedding binder.  Give yourself a good 2-3 weeks to really pull your ideas together.  This binder will be your goto book until your big day.  It will also make a cool keepsake once you’re married.  You’ll want to keep a variety of things in your binder as you go along:

  • Articles and photos from bridal and lifestyle magazines and websites
  • Contact information for your wedding team
  • Budgets and contracts
  • Swatches, colors schemes and a photocopy of your vision board (if you opt to create a poster size version)
  • Copy of your invitations, reserve the date cards, and your announcements

Your next step is going to be to define your budget.  Decide what the absolute maximum you can afford to spend is and then define your ideal goal.  This way you’ll know how much wiggle room you have to splurge as you go along.

Finally, you want to select your wedding party and pick a date.  Your bridal party will be by your side throughout the process so you want to get them confirmed early on.  And let’s face it, the entire planning process will revolve around your wedding date, so this is a must have before you move forward.

These first steps should take you about a month from start to finish.

Wedding Planning: Bringing in the Professionals

Most newly engaged understand the value of a wedding planner but are under the impression that it’s too expensive or that they can handle everything by themselves.  We caution against this misconception as hiring a professional wedding planner can actually save you time, money, and stress down the road.

When selecting your wedding planner, remember ‘referral, research, and interview’ in order to find the right wedding planner for you and your soon-to-be spouse.  Also, it’s a great idea to share your wedding binder with your planner during your first meeting.  Seeing your binder, and vision board, if you have one, will give your planner a good idea of your wants and likes and will make the overall process much easier for you both.

Once you have your wedding planner secured, you will begin the process of selecting a venue, an officiant, photographer, caterer, band, and florist.  When it comes to finding the perfect wedding professional services, your wedding planner will be able to guide you and help to set up tastings, meetings, and events where you can experience for yourself which services you would like to book.  The monthly EBE Live Band Showcase is a great example of how you can hear tons of great bands in one afternoon and find the perfect sound for your upcoming wedding.

This phase typically lasts about three months from start to finish.

Wedding Planning: The Little Things

Your wedding planner will guide you through everything as you get closer to your big day, but some little details to keep in mind include:

  • Reserving hotel room blocks for out of town guests
  • Creating wedding goodie bags for out of town guests they’ll receive upon arrival
  • Creating a wedding website
  • Developing a day-of timeline so everything is laid out in detail (make this available to your maid of honor as well)

Create a detailed checklist with your wedding planner so you’re sure everything that’s important to you is covered, no matter how small the task is.  RealSimple has a great checklist that you can use as an initial wedding planning checklist guide.  This checklist will help guide you through the remainder of the process, right up through your big day.

The two most important things to remember are that no two weddings are alike….this is your big day, so make it personal and a reflection of you.  This is your love story to tell, not anyone else’s.  Secondly, relax and have fun!  This process can be an overwhelming one, so lean on your wedding planner and maid of honor (that’s what they are there for) and soak up every moment along the way to your big day.

EBE Spotlight – Nick Centrella: Bandleader EBE Sydney

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Nick Centrella has been with EBE for 4 years and is the bandleader for EBE Sydney.  The Philadelphia native has been on the Philly cover scene for the past 20 years, performing in clubs and music venues up and down the East Coast.  Nick has fronted some of the biggest bands on the circuit.

Nick is an avid Philly’s sports fan and, when not performing, enjoys coaching.

We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Nick and interview him for this Q&A piece in an effort to get to know him better and discover what it is that makes him tick.

 

Q: What genre of music is your ‘specialty’?

A: Rock / Pop / Top 40

 

Q: What is your zodiac sign?

A: Taurus

 

Q: What instrument(s) do you play if any?

A: Vocals

 

Q: How many years have you been in the music and/or event industry?

A: 20 years

 

Q: What motivates you to work hard?

A: I’m motivated by success.  I always try to be the best at everything I do.  I don’t believe in second place.

 

Q: What is your favorite thing about your career?

A: I love entertaining people and being able to provide memories that will last a lifetime.  I love that my bandmates and I get to provide the soundtrack to the most important day of their lives.

 

Rules of Engagement

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The day has finally come and you are officially engaged — congratulations!  Now what?  Well, outside of beginning to plan for your upcoming wedding, there are a few things that go along with being engaged that most people don’t talk about, so we thought we would take a few minutes to cover them with you.

Don’t Down Play Your Proposal

However it happened, wherever you were, it was special and was about the two of you, so don’t downplay your story or try and compare it to the lavish experiences of others.  When people ask, share all the details of the moment if you want or simply say something like ‘it was quiet, intimate, and perfect’ and leave it at that if you prefer to keep the details of memory to yourself.  And be prepared to repeat the story because people will ask.

 

It’s Polite to Stare

I know your mother always told you it was impolite to stare, but in this case, stare away at your ring all you want!  For many newly engaged, things are still a bit surreal — even if you were expecting it.  Enjoy staring at your ring as the reality sinks in.

And be prepared to show it off!  Get a manicure immediately because people are going to ask to see the ring and you want to be prepared.

 

It’s Okay Not to Know

Right out of the gate, people are going to ask you if you’ve chosen a date yet.  It’s okay to say ‘no’ or ‘we haven’t even started planning yet.’  It is more than acceptable to take a step back, let the reality of your engagement sink in, and just enjoy being engaged for a while before you select a date.

Remember, this is your engagement and your wedding, so it’s fine to take things at your own pace.

 

Happy and Unhappy

While you know the majority of people will be as excited as you are about your engagement, be prepared for the occasional nay-sayer.  For whatever reason, some people are down on marriage or might be less supportive than the rest of your friends and family.

When you run into a negative reaction, just be polite and move on.  Don’t dwell on it and don’t let it ruin your excitement.

 

Know-It-All Married Folk

Be prepared for your married friends to start shelling out advice immediately about how to plan or who to call.  Just remember that they mean well.  Graciously accept their advice and take their suggestions in stride.

Remember they are just trying to be supportive.  At the end of the day though, it’s your special day and you can take or leave their advice because you’ll be planning a wedding that is a reflection of your love story and not their’s.

 

Enjoy Being Engaged

Don’t try and rush the process or become so consumed by planning your wedding that you miss out on enjoying being engaged.  Even if you’ve been living together for a while, becoming engaged will feel different and your relationship will need some time to adjust to this new level.

It’s a wonderfully unique and special part of the getting married process, so try and soak up every moment of it.

 

EBE Spotlight – MC Thomas Hefferon

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Thomas Hefferon has been with EBE for almost 9 years and been in the music industry for 20 years.

Tom went to College in the summer of 1998 and during his time there he was immediately drawn towards music. He joined his college radio club and began interning and working at Philadelphia radio stations and even a local record label. Tom spent fifteen years in the radio industry.

Along the way, he started to DJ on weekends. Tom started as a wedding DJ in 2006 and has done hundreds of weddings since then. He truly loves his role as a wedding DJ because, unlike playing music on the radio, he can see an immediate reaction to the music he is playing and loves it when the dance floor is packed with people who are having fun!

We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Tom and interview him for this Q&A piece in an effort to get to know him better and discover what it is that makes him tick.

 

Q: What’s genre of music is your “specialty”?

A: Early 2000’s Hip-hop and pop music (that was when I was working for to Q102 FM in Philly)

 

Q: What is your go-to at karaoke?

A: “Gettin Jiggy Wit It” For some reason I know all the words by heart!

 

Q: If you were a superhero, what power would you have?

A: The power to make people who hate to dance, dance. (Oh wait, I already have that one!)

 

Q: What was the best event you ever worked?

A: There have been so many great events that it’s hard to pick just one.

 

Q: What motivates you to work hard?

A: My family!  I’m a father of two fantastic kids and a husband to my wonderful wife, Kristin.

 

Q: What is your favorite thing about your career?

A: Making people happy!  Nothing is better than hearing someone that they had a magical night.

 

Rockin’ Sweet Sixteen Party Ideas

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It’s the birthday many little girls dream about….sweet sixteen!  Here are some of our favorite ideas to help inspire you to create a truly rockin’ sweet sixteen celebration for your daughter.

Sweet Sixteen Party Themes

The party theme sets the stage for the entire event.  Theme options are truly limitless and you can really go big or small, depending on your budget and party location, with any theme.

Here are some of our favorite themes:

  • Color Theme (use your child’s favorite color or traditional pink)
  • Club Dance Party
  • Red Carpet
  • Shopping
  • Paris
  • Masquerade
  • Music

 

Now that you have your theme, it’s time to create your invitations.  Today’s invitations can be almost anything from a traditional paper invite to a passport, a decorated mask, or even something as simple and modern as a digital invitation.

Whichever way you opt to go, just remember to have some fun, be sure to include all the basic details for the party, and make sure it supports your theme because your invitation is your guest’s introduction to the celebration ahead.

 

Centerpieces are amazing additions to your overall decor and really help to tie everything all together.  They can be lavish or simple and small.

Not only are they a beautiful addition to the party, they can also be used as raffle prizes for your guests to take home at the end of the event.

Centerpieces can including lighting, candy, and treats, statues, stuffed animals, large Oscar trophies, photo frames, flowers….you name it!

 

Sweet 16 Party Stations, Food, and Activities

Typically a sweet sixteen celebration won’t’ have assigned seating so there is no need for a seating chart, but establishing reserved tables for the adults is always a good idea.

Setting up a gift table at the entrance next to the seating information station is another must do idea.  This way, the bulky items are out of the way for the celebration and everything will be collected in one location.

To keep cards from getting lost in the shuffle, set up a collection box on the gift table that is decorated to support the theme.

 

Photo booths and photos stations are amazingly popular at parties and events these days.  They are a fun way for guests to get to express themselves, cut loose, and get a one-of-a-kind party souvenir.

If you opt to go with a traditional booth or photo area, make sure there are tons of accessories guests can use when taking pictures.  Everything from silly mustaches on sticks to hats and boas.  If you can tie it into the party’s theme, even better!

 

Having your party guests leave a message in celebration is a tradition…but who says that it has to be done in a book?

Today’s sweet sixteens allow for true creativity when it comes to the party ‘guestbook.’  You can do something that supports your theme or that will just make a unique and creative keepsake for your daughter.

Ideally, you’ll want to set this up close to the entrance where guests can stop as they come in.

Here are a few of our favorite ideas:

    • A large mirror where guests can sign with a paint pen or permanent marker
    • A photo frame where guests can sign the photo mat
    • A photo station with a lifesize cut out of your daughter (collage all the photos into a shadow box after the event)
    • A video station where guests can leave your daughter a personal video message
    • A memory jar where guests can fill out a card with their favorite memory of your daughter and then drop it into the keepsake jar

While cakes are the tradition, today’s sweet sixteens are open to modern interpretations.  You can set up a cupcake tower or cake pop display or even a combination of a cake surrounded by cupcakes. You can also pre-cut your cake instead of having guests wait in line allowing guests to grab and go with the perfect serving.

When it comes to the type of cake, every flavor is on the table as an option, but just make sure that the decorations match your theme.

If you have any guests with food allergies, then you can offer a separate gluten-free or vegan option.

 

Gifts and favors are a great way to tell your guests how much you appreciate them coming out and celebrating with your daughter.  When it comes to deciding what to give your guests there are two things to consider: your theme and your budget.

You want your gift to be something nice, but you don’t want to break the bank.  Come up with something that also supports your party theme, that way they have a memento that will remind them of the day and that will be fun…something for them to enjoy later.  This can be anything from a goody bag filled with treats and trinkets to a photo frame signed by your daughter.

Need a little more inspiration for your daughter’s sweet sixteen celebration?  Check out our EBE Sweet Sixteen Ideas board on Pinterest and then contact our EBE Event Planning Team and let them help you create a truly one-of-a-kind event your daughter.

Destination Wedding and Local Reception

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Destination weddings are increasing in popularity, so we thought it was time for us to dive into the topic ourselves.  From etiquette to inspiration, we have everything you need to know about planning a destination wedding and holding your reception back at home.

Planning Your Destination Wedding

Before you settle on the ‘perfect location’ you will want to do your research.  Find out everything about your hotel, resort or venue.

Here are some common questions you’ll want the answers to before choosing your location:

  • When is the hurricane or the rainy season?
  • Are there any health or safety issues guests will need to be concerned about?
  • Is your destination LGBTQ friendly?
  • Are children allowed at your venue?
  • Will there be discounts or special rates offered to your guests?
  • Is this an all-inclusive venue and if so, will your guests receive any of those benefits?
  • Are passports required to attend your wedding location?
  • Are there limitations as to what you can bring with you (drinks, flowers, gifts, etc.) for the event?
  • Does your venue offer any guarantees or money-back returns for you and your guests should the event be canceled and if so, what is the policy for cancellation? (Note: Guests might have to cancel or inclement weather could prevent the event from taking place as scheduled, so this is always good to know ahead of time.)

We also recommend that you visit your venue before booking your wedding.  Yes, photos and reviews can tell you a lot about a place; however, nothing will give you the best information like first-hand experience.  You’re about to ask your friends and family to shell out some cash to attend your destination wedding, so you want to make sure everything is in order and the place is all it says it is before inviting your guests.

When it comes to inviting your guests, be as clear and transparent as you can about any potential costs.  It’s also helpful to secure a travel agent as part of your wedding planning team and include their information in your invitation details.  Also, send your invitations out extra early in order to allow guests ample time for planning and purchasing tickets.

Planning for Your Reception at Home

You most likely won’t be inviting everyone to your destination wedding, so it will be time to celebrate with family and friends once you’re back!  You’ll want to plan this party before you head out for your wedding and send out the invitation out 5-6 weeks prior to the event.

A post-destination wedding local reception works very much like a traditional reception, except you will have been happily married for a few weeks.  If you want to redo your vows that’s absolutely acceptable.  If not, then do your best to allow your local guests to experience what the wedding was like by setting up a photo and/or video station by the sign-in book.  This way they can see everything that transpired and feel like they were a part of your big day as well.

When it comes to what you, your new spouse, and the bridal party should wear, you have optionsEveryone can wear their wedding attire or you can all opt for something more casual. If you do go for casual, consider displaying your wedding dress and tux just to show them both off, and keep with your wedding colors.

The rest of the event will run pretty much like a traditional wedding with food, drinks, music, and dancing. You can include as many or as few formalities as you would like – the most important thing is to celebrate!
Looking for assistance planning your destination wedding and local reception?  Contact our EBE Expert Wedding Planners and let them help to guide you through the entire process.