Cristina Verger is an event planner based in New York, who specializes in destination weddings. Cristina orchestrated an elegant, black tie wedding at the Sundeck atop Aspen Mountain this past April. We asked Cristina to answer a few questions on her experiences with planning destination weddings, and how she overcomes the obstacles of a mountaintop wedding.
Q: What led you to becoming an event planner?
A: I was born in Rome, Italy, where my family owned and operated a hotel. I’d always wanted to work in the hotel industry but my parents discouraged this path, because they believe a hospitality career takes over your life and leaves little or no time for raising a family or an active social life. Upon graduating college in the U.S., I began working in the banking world which I found very boring and cold. In my mid-twenties, I accepted a secretary job in the events department at the St. Moritz Hotel in New York City. I then became the director of the department and moved on to other properties. Though I truly loved my career, my entrepreneurial spirit always nagged at me, in addition to my desire to work without corporate restrictions. I finally bit the bullet, worked up my courage and started my own event planning company.
Q: What are some of your favorite aspects of a destination wedding?
A: Destination weddings are wonderful, as they are “new adventures.” Producing a destination wedding, anywhere in the world, allows me to put all of my “wits” to work. Typically, I’ll take a trip to the selected destination to scout it out and assemble the “local” team. I prefer to use as many local resources as possible, in order to give the guests an authentic feel. I like making the guests feel as if they’re “travelers,” not “tourists.” Therefore, I try very hard to incorporate local customs, entertainment, foods and whatever else I think will be appropriate, interesting, and make the wedding unique and memorable. Recently, I planned destination weddings to Tuscany, Provance, Cabo San Lucas, and remote countries such as Costa Rica, which presented its own set of unique challenges. Aspen is one of my favorites.
Q: How was your experience planning a wedding atop Aspen Mountain, given the variables of a mountain wedding when the elements may change plans?
A: When a couple chooses to have their wedding atop a mountain at 11,000 feet, they have to realize that the mountain rules, and must be prepared for last minute changes. The wedding I planned atop Aspen Mountain was fabulous, although the weather did not cooperate. The wedding ceremony was originally planned to take place outside on the Wedding Deck, and I recommended we move the wedding inside to the Sundeck due to dark skies and below-zero temperatures. Though the bride was, understandably, disappointed and insisted we keep the ceremony outdoors, in the end she came around and to this day tells me how right I was on insisting to move indoors. Their ceremony was gorgeous, and everyone was warm and cozy indoors. I think a good event planner has to be confident enough to be able to make the hard decisions for the good of her clients, who are extremely emotional on the day of their wedding and cannot rationally evaluate issues.
Q: Could you share reasons why you most recommend Aspen for couples’ nuptials?
A: Aspen is a fabulous place known as a travel destination frequented by the rich and famous. It’s an authentic mountain town, nestled in the Rocky Mountains, complete with scenery and activities for everyone. What’s even more enticing is that Aspen has a variety of high-end restaurants, shopping, lodging, and nightlife that allows a couple to create an experience that will long be remembered by all attending their wedding. In the winter time, Aspen is very most romantic place!
See more of Cristina’s work, and learn about the services she offers at www.cristinaverger.com.