A Styled Day – Kerri Sitrin, Starr Restaurants
We like to think some of the best restaurants in the country are located within the heart of Philadelphia. The options are truly endless, but we find ourselves returning to and constantly recommending each and every one of Starr Restaurants spaces throughout the city. They truly offer an exquisite experience, and their team of esteemed chefs never fails to fill every menu with delectable choices that cause you to start planning your return visit before your first course has even arrived.
One of the top questions couples always ask is where they can host the events surrounding their wedding. Of course Starr Restaurants came to mind first, so we turned to Kerri Sitrin! Kerri is the team’s Special Events Coordinator, and we asked her to take us through her day. Let’s just say, you’re in for a serious treat! Kerri’s day includes numerous meetings at Starr Restaurants perfect for bridal showers, bachelorette parties, rehearsal dinners, and more. Plus, she also mentions her favorite menu pairings. There’s nothing quite like hearing from an insider.
7am – Since I am an Event Planner for a living, my morning starts with a mental gameplan of my day. What calls do I have? What client appointments are scheduled? What restaurant chefs and managers do I have meetings with? Do I have any networking events? Will I make it to the gym on time (*crossing fingers*)? Once my day is mapped out, I am ready to conquer it.
7:30am – Take out my dog, Vinnie. I adopted him this past November from All 4 Paws Rescue. He is my first dog and has brought me so much love, happiness, and zen.
8am – I am a walker so my sturdy Cole Haan flats are lifesavers. I walk to my Old City office from my house in the Italian Market – as well as my appointments when timing allows – so sometimes this means 4-5 miles a day on my feet. This morning I am headed to Parc.
8:30am – There’s no better place to start my day than breakfast at Parc. People know Parc as the hustling and bustling highly-popular bistro that it is, but it’s delightfully calm and cozy before 9am. I am here with my laptop answering my first round of emails. I love the idea of kicking off a wedding weekend with a Bridesmaid Breakfast at Parc. French Toast, Grueyere & Fine Herb Omelette, and Buttermilk Pancakes surrounded by my closest girlfriends is exactly how I’d want my wedding weekend to begin… with a French 75 toast, of course.
Photo – Neal Santos
9:30am – Office time. This means calls and emails, confirm my client’s events are all set for the day, respond to all the glowing thank you notes from events the day before, check things off my to do list, post a photo on social media (#mystarrparty), send event agreements to new clients, and detail menus for existing clients. I work with 5 amazing ladies in Starr Restaurants Special Events Department, and I love my time in the office because our open floorplan allows us to brainstorm and bounce ideas off each other all day (not to mention in the office is when I am most productive).
11am – Off to meet a client for a Bridal Shower site tour on the roof at Continental Mid-town. Our roof is an indoor/outdoor space that is a great fit for a Bridal Shower, either reception style with cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres or seated family style with a classic brunch menu. Today I am giving my client suggestions about how to make the Bridal Shower more memorable: a featured specialty cocktail renamed after the bride, a personalized headline printed on the top of the menus, and the bride’s favorite dessert instead of a traditional cake.
And of course, no Bridal Shower is complete without our famous Cheesesteak Eggrolls or BBQ Chicken Quesadillas!
Photo – Max Grudzinski
12pm- More calls and emails. My daily travels include one laptop and two cell phones so I am always prepared. I love my Bandolier – or “phone leash” as my colleagues call it – because it keeps me hands free. I really think all Event Planners should have one.
Photo – @LaurieSatran
1pm – Lunch time. Most afternoons this takes place at my desk, but today I am dining with a Wedding Planner friend/client at El Vez. I think El Vez is such a great location for a Bachelorette Party. Margaritas, chips & guacamole, and everyone squeezed into the photo booth for a picture – Bachelorette Party perfection, am I right?
Photo – Neal Santos
2:30pm – Back to the office for more calls and emails. I don’t like to go too long without getting back to people so a lot of my day is spent doing this. Also, more event agreements and menu detailing.
3:30pm- Conference call with a lovely couple to determine an ideal rehearsal dinner location. Sometimes our guests reach out with a specific restaurant in mind (“I want The Dandelion for my rehearsal dinner because it’s my favorite restaurant and I had my first date there”) while others want to review all their options to see what Starr Restaurant would be the best fit for them. These calls are fun because it’s a game to determine their perfect venue. What part of town? Guest count? Casual or more upscale? Do you want a completely private space or do you want to be part of the action of the main dining room? Their answers help me narrow down a perfect match. In this particular couple’s case the answer is Alma de Cuba – it’s a prime location in Center City, the Semi Private Tobacco Room is the right size for their party, and it is within budget (it also helps that it’s a super romantic vibe!). One trend I have seen recently is cocktail party style Rehearsal Dinners. I think this is a wonderful idea for a few reasons. First, friends and family are often meeting for the first time the night before the wedding so instead of just talking to the people on either side of them, they get to meet everyone. Second, the wedding itself is traditionally formal and seated, so a reception style Rehearsal Dinner is a great way to do something really different the night before. Third, hors d’oeuvres are just plain fun and delicious. You can’t go wrong with Royal Palm Bacon Wrapped Dates, Empanadas Cubanas, and Smoked Marlin Tacos.
4pm – Site visit at Talula’s Garden with a bride along with Jackie Kemp from Beautiful Blooms, the event décor company we often work with, to brainstorm centerpieces for her upcoming wedding. Talula’s Garden is our most popular wedding venue within the Starr Restaurant family due to its beautiful garden and exceptional farm-to-table menu with locally sourced ingredients that reflect the season. I happen to think Talula’s Garden is the best place in town for a wedding, but I am a biased because I got married there two years ago. Some couples these days are opting for a more nontraditional restaurant setting to celebrate their big day, so a Saturday afternoon Talula’s Garden luncheon is often the perfect fit. At today’s visit Jackie is discussing with the bride centerpieces that match the setting. This bride went with garden classics – mason jars, votives, bud vases.
4:30pm – More calls and emails. I don’t leave for the day until my inbox is cleared.
5:30pm – Swing by a networking event to say hello to my Special Events industry friends. There are so many great organizations that host networking events each month for people in the hospitality business, and I do my best to attend as many as I can to meet like-minded individuals, stay up date on trends, and connect with people, something I genuinely love doing.
7pm – How do I de-stress from the day? With barbells, kettlebells, and wall balls at CrossFit 2st. This is my time to unwind.
8:30pm – Dinner and catch up on more emails.
9:30pm – Take my dog out, pack my gym bag for tomorrow, drink some tea, check social media one last time (if Instagram didn’t exist I bet I would get so much more sleep!), and mentally prepare myself to do it all again tomorrow.