By Bennett Marcus. Photo credit: Jimmy Ryan Photography
For over fifteen years Cristina Verger has run her eponymous events planning firm, creating everything from corporate and society gatherings to birthday parties, but it’s weddings that she most enjoys working on.
WEDDINGS: THERE ARE NO DO-OVERS
“A wedding is emotional, it’s forever, there is no do-over. It has to be perfect no matter what,” Italian-born, New York-based Verger says. For that reason, she personally handles every detail of any weddings her firm takes on. “No one is going to speak to my assistants when they’re planning a wedding. They’re meeting with me on everything.”
She has always done it that way, even back when she was director of catering at prominent venues like Windows on the World, where she had a large staff and high volume. “Weddings can be very difficult. You have to know how to deal with people in a certain way. It’s almost impossible to teach someone; you either have it or you don’t have it.”
To make sure she is able to give each wedding the proper attention, Verger only takes on a maximum of eight per year. She goes the extra mile, for instance personally delivering custom-made table linens to the venues, and even performing the seemingly impossible, like bumping an entire wedding for 250 people to the following day in January 2016, when a blizzard hit New York City.
“Weddings are fun to do because it’s the event that really needs you, it’s where you really can have an impact,” she says. She is discreet about naming her high-profile clients, but among them are a television news personality, a professional athlete and an owner of the Minnesota Twins.
Rome, Milan, Florence, & Paris
With satellite offices in Rome, Milan, Florence and Paris, destination weddings have become something of a specialty of Verger’s, often in Europe, but also pretty much anywhere, from Vermont to Aspen to Costa Rica, where a couple had fallen in love with a jungle town that was practically off the grid, complete with dirt roads, and decided they had to marry there.
Hers is a boutique company specializing in giving clients a different experience. “If you want something unusual, it’s not a Pierre wedding, it’s not a Plaza wedding, it’s not a St. Regis wedding, it’s your wedding, that’s what I’m going to make it,” Verger explains.
She has spent thirty years working in hospitality. After a brief stint in finance, she got a job with the Helmsley Corporation at the St. Moritz Hotel, where within a year and a half she became director of the banquet department. After that, Verger worked at Windows on the World, running a department grossing $20 million per year. She then spent seven years as director of catering for the Harvard Club of New York City.
But she always wanted her own business, so eventually decided to take that chance, and the company is now in its 16th year. Now, while planning events at venues in New York, she often meets people that have trained under her or worked for her.
But her love affair with hospitality actually began in childhood, in Rome, where her family owned a hotel that her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother ran. “My dream was always to run the hotel, and it was against my mother’s wishes because she felt that that was a job that left you no time for your private life, just like hers.” She would beg to be allowed to skip school and instead spend the day at her mother’s side, learning the ins and outs of running the hotel.
The family moved to the U.S. when she was a teenager, but Verger thinks her European background and command of several languages benefits her clients. “I think if you’re born in Europe, because the countries are so close together, you are naturally exposed to so many different cultures, you create a much better bridge for the American who wants to get married abroad.”
Cristinaverger.com | (212) 715 – 0590