meet Jill Gordon
People always want to know, how did you become a Wedding Planner? And lucky enough to live in the Hamptons?? Jill Gordon Celebrate was launched in 1995 when a friend was getting married at her father’s Georgica Pond property and asked for my professional help. After many years working in boutique catering, both in New York City and the Hamptons, Wedding Planning incorporated many of my talents and passions. To be able to create beauty, collaborate with the most talented designers, live in a world of flowers and stationery, gorgeous tabletop and beautiful meals – this was my absolute dream.
After growing up on the Upper West Side and graduating from University of Pennsylvania, I returned directly to NYC and began my career catering events for the likes of Ralph Lauren, Gianni Versace and Vogue. East Hampton had been a second home since early childhood, so I was curious when an opportunity arose to move here year-round and spearhead the catering department at the new Red Horse Market. I felt connected to the area – the beaches and farms, lovely towns, good friends and family – but wondered who I would hang out with when February rolled around. That was 1993; I’m still here and feel lucky every day.
Here’s what I love most about wedding planning: the opportunity to fully support my clients, to listen deeply to their vision and inspiration, help them realize their most personal wedding goals and navigate through any challenges that arise. It is the source of my deepest satisfaction. The job incorporates many of the same skills as my past catering life, but the working relationships are deeper, developing over several months and often involving the couple, their families and all the dynamics born out of engagements. This feels meaningful.
I’ve developed a strong viewpoint about the importance of hospitality, taking good care of our couples and their guests. Entertaining is about people – about sharing love, fun, sentiment, appreciation and a moment of grace. I’m so lucky to have an incredible team who embody that spirit as well. It’s our driving mission at Jill Gordon Celebrate.
At the end of the day, my job is to provide an incredible experience for our clients: alleviating their stress, maximizing their joy and creating lasting memories at milestone life celebrations. I take that seriously and love every minute.
When I need a break from all that seriousness, you’ll find me fueling inspiration by entertaining friends and family at home, cooking a fabulous meal, setting a beautiful table, sharing a lot of laughs and good conversation. Travel is my jam; I’ve literally been around the world, soaking in culture and landscape and food and art, snapping photos of it all along the way. Perfection is a day at the beach with a high-brow novel or a night on the couch with some low-brow TV. I still miss some of what’s left behind in NYC – mostly ethnic food, movie houses and walking city streets (and Barney’s, don’t we all miss Barney’s?) - but life at the beach is pretty damn dreamy.
Jill’s BEST planning TIPS
rain or shine
Don’t let the fear of bad weather discourage you from doing a tented event. We love tent weddings best of all, and when properly planned, a tent is comfortable and inviting in any weather scenario. Like everything else, it’s all in the details.
“Maximize your joy, minimize your stress.” We see ourselves as your friend, collaborator, ally, guide and overall wedding guru. Weddings are joyful; we want the planning process to be as fun as the event.
make it yours
Timing really IS everything. Events are all about memorable moments, comfortable flow and a build-up of energy throughout the night.
Weddings, even large ones, should feel personal, inclusive and intimate. Trust us, we know so many tricks for making this a reality! In a perfect world, you should want to hug each and every guest at your wedding – and know that when you look at your photos twenty years from now, these are people who will still be important in your lives.
One really good tip: end the evening on a high note!
burn baby burn
There’s no such thing as too much candlelight.
When starting to plan your wedding, begin by identifying your priorities. Let’s put the focus on the elements that are most important to you - and the moments that will have the biggest impact on your guests’ experience.
create a legacy
Choose a great photographer. Photos are the legacy that live on well beyond your wedding weekend. Don’t forget about video too; it captures something that still film can’t possibly, and future generations will be thrilled to watch your family and friends as YOUNGER moving versions of themselves.
Entertaining is about exciting all the senses. An event should not only look gorgeous but also offer tempting tastes, festive sounds, inviting scents – and ultimately lots of comfort and memories for your guests.
feed your soul
The best wedding menus feel like beautiful dinner parties. How would you serve a favorite meal at home on a Saturday night in the Hamptons? We think in terms of fresh, seasonal, local and colorful – never fussy, always flavorful and often straight off the grill.
mix & Mingle
A weekend wedding is a great opportunity for everyone to get to know one another in a relaxed setting, kind of like summer camp. Consider kicking off the weekend with a casual Friday night get-together, like a beach bonfire or a backyard barbeque. An easy Sunday brunch is a moment to re-hash the weekend and leisurely say goodbye.
from point a to b
If you’re going to do buses – do them right! People love to share their wedding horror stories with us and here’s one we hear all the time: “we were on the bus for over an hour” (or “we got left behind”). We promise, you will never hear this from a guest at a Jill Gordon Celebrate wedding.
Seasons of Love
Every season is a good season in the Hamptons. Summer is when everyone wants to be here for sun and fun. Spring is equally beautiful and a bit more relaxed, with fewer people and the magic of first blooms. Everyone loves the Fall – great light, less traffic and bountiful farm stand finds. And don’t write off Winter – roaring fires, cozy meals and lots of opportunity for beautiful tabletops.
best day ever!
“This was the best wedding we’ve ever been to!!!” Wedding planning is hard work but hearing this phrase repeatedly from our couples and their guests makes it worth all the planning time, attention to detail and crazy effort we put into each and every job.
The vast majority of our weddings are tented, and we’ve been told by the experts that we really know what we’re doing. When we plan tented events or any outdoor component, we work on the basis of three plans: An “A” Plan for a perfect day, a “C” Plan for utterly awful weather and a very flexible “B” Plan for everything in between. One particularly concerned father-of-the-bride wanted to make sure that we were prepared for inclement weather; as soon as he saw our Run of Show detailing all three scenarios, he just laughed and said, “ok, you’ve got this.”