Leah Hoos, Director of Social Events at Park Hyatt New York, knows that details matter when it comes to a seamless wedding. Hoos credits her strong relationships within the New York City wedding industry with her ability to host flawless events weekend after weekend, without a hitch. Hoos’ obvious passion for the job and years of experience mean she’s a pro when it comes to planning the Big Day. “Meeting with the clients and starting with a simple concept and watching it grow and come to life is something I truly love and have a passion for,” says Hoos. Here, she spills what details make or break the wedding and dishes on the most luxurious nuptials she’s ever planned.
What detail takes a wedding to the next level?
Each detail, whether it be big or small all come together to take an event to the next level. At Park Hyatt New York, even the smallest detail is taken into consideration. Whether it be incorporating a groom’s favorite local gin into the bars, or having custom cocktail napkins created, we are always looking to add that personal touch to make our clients and their guests walk away from the event saying “wow.”
What is something people often overlook during the wedding planning process?
It is my goal to ensure that we make every couple is completely happy and remind them that the event is about them and to not get lost in all the chaos that may be going on around them. I try to bring them back to the root of why they are having this event and what they are celebrating. Many couples will get overwhelmed with the thought of trying to please all of their family and guests, so I remind them that this is a celebration about them and to focus on what they want.
Some other more tangible things that people can overlook include having the marriage license with them and making sure someone has the rings during the ceremony. I make that one of my first questions when I welcome the couple on the big day – “where is the marriage license and who has the rings?”
How can a couple make their wedding a luxury experience?
The most important elements in making an event a true luxury experience are exceptional food, five star service and a stunning venue.
How do you make the wedding process easier?
Through becoming so seasoned in the wedding industry, I have created very close relationships with many of the best vendors in New York City, which is an added value for any client getting married at Park Hyatt New York. They can be confident in knowing that not only is their food, service and venue going to be five star, but I can also help them incorporate the best entertainment, décor, invitations, wedding dress, hair and makeup, etc. When you are working with the best people in the business, it always makes the planning process so much easier.
I also try to be very hands on with all of my clients. Whether it is creating the timeline and floorplan with them, or deciding which color show plate they should use, I am happy to be there along the way, in any way they need. I take great pride in what I do, and that is reflected in the confidence and care I put into every event.
Is there a best time of year to get married?
Fall has really become the most popular time of year for our clients to get married. Especially the month of October.
With our close proximity to Central Park, our clients love going to take photos there during the day. With the ever changing leaves, it creates a unique opportunity to have some incredible photos in one of the most iconic destinations in New York City.
What is the most lavish wedding request you’ve ever gotten?
I have been planning weddings for many years and have had so many over-the-top requests, but I think the most lavish request that topped them all was from a bride and groom that wanted to recreate the floral display that sits in the lobby of the Hotel George V in Paris. They turned the ballroom into a Parisian paradise with thousands of orchids individually suspended from the ceiling. To top it all off, they had the pastry team create individual three-tier wedding cakes for each of their 150 guests, each one designed differently from the next. It was a jaw dropper—even for someone like myself who thought I had seen it all.
Do you have a #1 tip for wedding planning?
The number one tip I could share with anyone planning their wedding is to enjoy yourself and have fun! At the end of the day, you are planning an exciting event that is celebrating an important day in your life. It should be a positive experience, and the time will fly by, so try to absorb every moment.
What’s your best advice for the day of?
Make sure the bride and groom eat food during the day, and drink lots of water! I always send up a complimentary lunch with lots of beverages when the bride and groom are getting ready, so they can have a chance to quickly eat and drink something before the photos begin. It is easy to forget something so basic when you are excited about everything that is going on, but it is an important part of making sure you feel good throughout the entire event.
What is your favorite detail from a past wedding?
I have had the opportunity to plan the weddings of so many incredible people over the years, but I think a moment that stands out was when a bride’s zipper ripped on her dress just before the cocktail reception started (luckily she made it through the ceremony!). I reached out to the store manager at Kleinfelds, and she was able to have a seamstress come to the hotel to hand sew a new zipper into the dress.
As all of this was going on, the bride just patiently sat in one of our spa robes and chatted with the seamstress as if nothing was happening. When most brides would have been freaking out, yelling and crying about their day being ruined, she stayed calm and was just so grateful that the dress was being fixed, and she knew she had a long night of fun ahead of her. It was so inspiring to see how she turned a stressful situation into a relaxing moment to kick off her heels and sit down for a minute, which she wouldn’t have been able to do during the evening otherwise.
I like to tell my future brides this story because it shows them that even if a big hurdle arises, they just need to take a deep breath and stay calm. We will always find a solution!