CHRIS WEINBERG AND HER TECHNICOLOR DREAM TEAM CREATE DAZZLING EVENTS THAT AWE AND SURPRISE, MAKING THE INDUSTRY MORE CREATIVE AND MORE COMPETITIVE.
By Linda Marx | Photography By Patty Nash
Whether she is building a seven-foot ice wall for a bar mitzvah, hosting a themed food station spilling out from a school bus for a bat mitzvah, or creating a 30-foot tall volcano for an extravagant party with Wyclef Jean performing, Chris Weinberg is never short on creative ideas.
The Miami area event planner has been dreaming up cool functions, charity galas and theme parties for the past 10 years and loves every minute of it. “My background is managing people, and I know how to make each one feel special,” says Weinberg. “I work well with all personalities and have traveled around the world, so I can offer novel ideas.”
Chris Weinberg Events is a full service event planning and management company designed to create memorable experiences for its clients. She and her staff, which grow to accommodate each client’s needs, will travel to any destination to make emotionally important occasions zing with energy and flair.
From the Bahamas to the Keys to the lavish interiors of multi-million dollar mansions, nothing intimidates Weinberg. As her boutique company expands rapidly, she handles about 25 events a year and hopes to increase to 30 by December. The company specializes in bar and bat mitzvahs, weddings, birthdays, corporate functions and charity events.
Born and raised in Miami, Weinberg grew up surrounded by glamorous people, parties and entertaining. Her mom was a talented model, artist and designer; her dad, a product of the big band era, was a music executive and pioneer in the recording industry. So she met fascinating people at every turn on the dance floor.
“My parents were divorced,” she says. “So I lived with my mom amid Miami Beach glamour and visited my dad and his exciting life in New York.”
After attending Northeastern University in Boston, she moved back to Miami Beach and later got involved with fundraising to benefit Mount Sinai Hospital. She wanted to do parties and had “a lot of wealthy friends.” This combination of passion, talent and opportunity led Weinberg into the business world.
One of her first functions was to handle the logistics, coordination and installation of more than 17 different model yachts, as well as daytime operations, in the showroom for the Miami International Boat Show, when it lasted for nine days. She went on to manage private and corporate events for a variety of employers.
In 2002 and 2003, her first theme parties had corporate sponsors and were very successful. The first was a Studio 54 costumed event for 500 guests at the Deauville hotel, followed by a James Bond 007 themed bash at the same venue where 500 costumed guests entered through the service elevator. “This was designed to create mystery and intrigue,” she says.
She was so charged by the success of these events that she formed her own company in 2004, never looking back.
“I believe fun and memorable events should have elements of surprise and balance, presented in a way that creates exciting experiences for the guests,” says Weinberg of her instant success. “We do everything from audio visual to design, flow, flowers, catering, lighting, gifts, etc.”
The mother of three children, Max Aaron 18, Shay Madisen 15, and Zoe Jager, 14, with childhood sweetheart husband Mike Weinberg, a financial planner, Weinberg lives in Bay Harbor Islands and loves the challenge of presenting over-the-top events. Dynamic and innovative, she is prepared to tackle any desire.
Examples of these tackles are when she hosted a tango-themed party for 300 guests on Miami Beach’s Star Island to celebrate a birthday, or when she was initially hired to do a party at South Beach’s opulent Casa Casuarina (the Versace mansion) for 50 people, and on the day of the event, she was instructed to raise the guest list to 500! “They decided it had to be a wing-ding,” she laughs. “Somehow we pulled it off!”
My background is managing people, and I know how to make each one feel special,
Several years ago, she handled the 50th birthday for a Bal Harbour resident with 250 guests. She set up benches and hired drummers from Orlando. At midnight, the drummers began performing and convinced the guests to join in. Everyone had a blast!
Another time, she hosted about 100 people on the Bahamian island of Bimini. In May, she created a destination wedding in Key Largo. For a recent bar mitzvah at Temple Beth Sholom in Miami Beach, she transformed the ballroom into a night club with green flowers, lucite, lights, live musicians and a DJ, plus a tequila shot wall. Even the toilet paper in the bathroom was a showpiece in green. Gifts-to-go were mini-speakers to attach to iPhones.
“We pay special attention to little details and thus enhance the overall guest experience,” says Weinberg. “We love to personalize and customize to make the client happy.”
One of her favorite events was last February’s Vizcaya Museum & Gardens bat mitzvah for 350 people. The clever theme was butterfly: from a caterpillar to a butterfly, the metamorphosis of a young girl into a woman. Weinberg modeled it after the 2006 film, Marie Antoinette, by Sofia Coppola. They had a cocktail party in the garden with performers, and women wore butterfly costumes with wings. “It was amazing,” she says. “Just beautiful.”
Weinberg prides herself on going all out in ways that enhance the wants and needs of her clients. From those who request the outlandish and luxe, to others who prefer quiet and intimate gatherings, nothing is too difficult for her talented team.
“I listen to what my clients say,” she emphasizes. “Then I give them the party that they want.”