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    Sunday, 21 September 2014

    Anna Maria Island Wedding Experts - Part Two

    Thinking about planning a wedding on Anna Maria Island? Well our latest Island experts are the go to people!

    Our first expert is ChrisAnn Silver Esformes, who has a lot in common with Chris Tollette (who featured in our last Island expert blog post). They both have backgrounds in videography and event planning – ChrisAnn co-owns a business called Thread Events and she also has been more and more involved in officiating weddings and commitment ceremonies over the past few years.

    Both she and Chris Tollette often are referred to their clients by Weddings by Christina a small, local business that connects brides and grooms with wedding vendors all over the sun coast. ChrisAnn was also involved in establishing the Anna Maria Wedding Festival that Chris Tollette helped conceive.

    This overlap in background and skillsets and interests might make you think these women would be competitive with one another. But ChrisAnn says that the environment among local wedding experts is a supportive one, not a combative one. For one thing, everyone has their own niche: every wedding is special and different in its own way, and a lot of times the style or values of the couple will dictate who is the best officiant for a certain job.

    Anna Maria wedding business

    For another thing, the wedding business in Anna Maria is booming, and there’s plenty of work to go around. In fact, if Chris or ChrisAnn is booked already, they may refer a couple needing an officiant to each other or to some of their other local friends in the business.

    ChrisAnn’s background in videography and event-planning also serves her clients well. She doesn’t shoot wedding videos anymore, but knows at least one other videographer with a style similar to her own and will often refer people to her. She’s also very familiar with many of the local vendors and is able to make recommendations on anything from venue to rental accommodations to food.

    The wedding business community is essentially so well-established and open with one another, that if ChrisAnn is unable to perform a particular function, she knows the strengths and business acumen of the other people in her field and is happy to make those connections. This is why she recommends that people planning to have destination weddings on the Island should have a local contact to manage all the details, and why she also encourages her couples to be flexible and creative.

    ChrisAnn is also good at a crisis management. When an outdoor wedding  venue for a ceremony with 200 guests was rained out by  Tropical Storm Debby she managed to pull together a large enough tent on one of the Pineapplefish properties so the fun-loving group could carry on with the nuptials as planned.

    Thread Events Anna Maria

    It is no wonder then, that her event company Thread Events isn’t your typical events company.
    Thread Events Anna Maria Island
    Thread Events
    First, they put on events of all kinds that are fun and quirky to the nth degree. They revel in running with clients’ ideas and taking them to an entirely new level. A recent birthday party for twins who were turning one, turned into a vintage circus-themed extravaganza that was as visually sumptuous for the adults as it was fun for the kids!

    But more importantly, they’re interested in bringing together local businesses and nonprofits in order to make real change in the community. Thread Events can throw a great party, but there’s a social consciousness at their core that makes them really special.

    The Loft Anna Maria

    And while we’re on the topic of events companies, it’s only fitting that we would talk to A.J. Laterri. Her company The Loft covers everything you need from planning to setup to breakdown.

    The owner of this one-stop wedding shop has the right connections to get the best food and staffing for whatever style of event you’re having, and brings her own inimitable sense of style to every event. The Loft isn’t just about making your event run smoothly (though that’s a major part of what they do): they want to help you curate a one-of-a-kind experience perfectly tailored to suit your needs.
    The Loft Anna Maria Island
    The Loft
    During her time working within the restaurant industry A.J saw a real need for someone to be able to connect private chefs with clients, especially those in town for a short vacation or for an event. Out of that, The Loft was born.

    In the seven years that The Loft has been open, A.J. has acquired three warehouses full of props and seating, enough so that she can mix and match and augment with new pieces to keep each experience unique. She loves setting up little vignettes of rustic and vintage furniture for unexpected seating arrangements, and adds a luxe touch by ordering.
     
    Recently, A.J. has also fostered a very special connection with the King Family Farm. For three years, they have collaborated on stunning farm-to-table dinners (one in particular was featured in Southern Living magazine). This connection has helped A.J. add another really special dimension to her business: she now has a wonderful source of fresh local produce that she can incorporate into her other events.

    This often leads to awesome party treats like rhubarb soaked in organic vodka (great as a garnish on a martini, or just as a fun boozy snack). This is all part of A.J.’s ethos of using locally-sourced provisions as much as possible. By utilizing local florists and bakers and making referrals to independent vendors, not only does it lower an event’s carbon footprint, it helps the economy.

    Anna Maria wedding advice

    Over the years, A.J. has gathered all sorts of great tips for making sure your Anna Maria wedding or event runs smoothly. For starters she recommends always having a plan B, especially if your event is outside. Unexpected rain or wind won’t ruin your day as long as you have an alternative site planned.

    She also recommends hiring local musicians in place of DJs for weddings and other events if they’ll be running later into the evening. A guitar or a steel drum can lend a laid-back, more intimate feel and you won’t run afoul of local noise ordinances .

    Whether you’re having a destination wedding, a family reunion, a fundraiser, or just a really cool party, the Island Experts featured in our blog posts have the connections, the ideas, and the vision to help you pull off something truly spectacular!

    You can reach Chris Tollette and ChrisAnn Silver Esformes through the Weddings by Christina website: you can also contact them directly by calling Chris at (941) 812-0699 or ChrisAnn at (941) 538-8002. A.J. Latteri can be reached via email at aj@theloft5.com.


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