Champagne & Chandeliers: Wedding Industry - Unwrapped

Mastering the Art of Event Planning: An In-Depth Conversation with Cindy Altunis

July 07, 2023 Julian Ribinik Season 1 Episode 5
Champagne & Chandeliers: Wedding Industry - Unwrapped
Mastering the Art of Event Planning: An In-Depth Conversation with Cindy Altunis
Show Notes Transcript

Show Notes:

In this episode of Champagne and Chandeliers, we engage in a comprehensive conversation with renowned event planner Cindy Altunis. With over two decades of experience in the dynamic landscape of New York City, Cindy provides invaluable insights into her work, the importance of relationships, and how she consistently delivers unforgettable events.

Key Points:

  1. [01:10] - Cindy talks about her journey in event planning, explaining how her extensive experience and understanding of New York City give her an edge.
  2. [04:20] - Discussing the significance of matching clients with the right vendors and maintaining a pleasant temperament throughout events.
  3. [08:30] - Cindy shares a challenging experience with a difficult photographer and stresses the importance of selecting vendors who are not only skilled, but also easy to work with.
  4. [11:50] - The concept of the planner's role during a wedding reception: how Cindy stays active and engaged, ensuring the smooth flow of the event.
  5. [16:20] - Cindy's philosophy on treating clients like family and the special bond she forms with the brides she works with.
  6. [20:10] - Julian and Cindy discuss the potential for repeat clients in the event planning industry.

To connect with Cindy, visit her website at or find her on Instagram @CindyAltunisEvents. Links are available in the show notes.

Don't forget to like, subscribe, and share "Champagne and Chandeliers" with your friends and colleagues. Stay updated on all our latest episodes, interviews, and insights by subscribing on your favorite podcast platform.

To view Julian Ribinik's stunning wedding photography portfolio, visit our website at Also, be sure to follow us on Instagram @julianribinikstudios for the latest updates, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and beautiful wedding inspiration.

So that was from like the weight that you were carrying? Yes. See, I didn't know you had that weight. I know you as how you are now and I know you've always been into fitness. 

That's for last seven years. 

Wow. Yeah I'm a better person if I don't get to the gym, if I don't get my exercise in, I'm not, it's like something is missing from that day and it actually puts me in a bad mood if I don't get my workout.

It does for sure. And my kids notice. And if, I behave differently daddy, you didn't go to gym today. And I was like, oh, I can feel terrible. 

Meanwhile, your wife is probably did you get to the gym today? Get to the gym today. 

, my wife also goes to the gym almost every day 

we don't meet there much. I live, she comes and but we, have a separate schedule for 

that. Same. My husband goes, he's there first thing in the morning, and then I go a little bit later it, works out fine. Listen, you have to just get it in. It doesn't matter what time. Just get it in for sure.

And you need your beauty sleep. Yes. We 

don't sleep. Do you, after a wedding, are you able to sleep right away when you get home? We often get home midnight, one o'clock in the morning. I'm like, Amped up after a wedding, it takes me like an a good hour to decompress from the entire day.

I can't just fall asleep. 

To us, it's been a problem once. Now from the routine that I have developed and from all the things that we do to sleep well, my average falling sleep time is three minutes. Even on event days, it doesn't matter.  Julian, you're going to bed and that's it. I disconnect the two 

color of work.

Julian, please teach me how to do this. 

I promise I will sit with you on that and that's a real promise. 

I'm gonna hold you to it. 

Absolutely. We will have a separate conversation on that.  

A lot of routine things 

involved.  I can't wait to learn more about it. Normally I don't have too much trouble sleeping, I think the exercise definitely has a lot to do with that. But the event days it's often 10, 12 hour day, and then there's travel on top of that, some days it's a 14 hour day and you know you're on your feet.

We don't get to go to an office and sit down. We are on our feet for no less than 10 hours a day. And it's, a lot on the body and I think  you need to be physically fit in order to endure this profession. 


For me personally, no matter what time it could be 10 o'clock at night, 11 o'clock at night, if anything comes up during the wedding,  I smile and I'm on it, and I have to be on it. I don't. I don't disappear at 9:00 PM I'm there usually till the very end. I know you guys are there very late too.

And it's an experience that we're providing for the client, for their guests and we have to be smiling and happy to deal with whatever comes up. 

I remember last time I flew in from Italy at 5:00 AM I went to gym . But that's not the big thing. The big thing is that if I would put myself seven years prior to that, if I wake up at 7:00 AM I'm dead and I cannot do anything, and I didn't fly anywhere.

So the difference that fitness did and proper nutrition did changed everything for me, for my business, for how I am able to work with clients and now I don't care if it's it's a South Asian wedding that means to start at 4:00 AM it finish at 3:00 AM which happens, and before that it would be quite impossible.

This is fascinating. You need to tell me all of your secrets. You should also start a separate podcast about. Health and fitness and all your secrets into sustaining this kind of lifestyle when you have a really demanding 


Finally, that you say, I, you recorded first episode two days ago and I just about to put it into the world. Can you invite me back? 

Of course. Yes. Okay. Invite 

me back. Okay. We'll talk about fitness. Yes. . Cindy. Thank you so much. It's been really, good. I wanted to ask you this. What do you believe that puts you apart from other planners, other professionals, your colleagues, in our very competitive planning landscape,  

what do you bring to the table that you think that others might not? 

It's over 20 years of experience, 20 years of experience being in the landscape of New York City, being with all these vendors, all different kinds of personalities. I think that it's so important when you choose your planner, when you choose your photographer, especially, You wanna choose somebody that you vibe with, that you know will capture your essence.

That's a pleasure to work with. That's nice. That really cares that. No, everything about you, your families, your wishes. And I think I have that ability. I really connect, especially with the brides. I'm a former New York City girl myself. Many of my brides are from New York City. I speak that same language.

I understand the landscape of weddings and I'm immersed in them. And so I think that sets me apart. It's my experience, it's my temperament. It's guiding the client in the right direction,  to the right. Vendors. Julian, it's always such a pleasure working with you.

You always have a smile. You always go with the flow I've had nightmare situations where we worked with a horrible photographer and the photographer is glued to the bride, and groom is glued to the families. There's no breaks. You're there, you're on the floor.

You have to capture the speeches, you need to capture the first dance. You need to capture everything that goes on. In addition to the first look, in addition to all the family photos and the photography that takes place prior to the wedding, prior to guests coming there and there was one time that this photographer was just not a pleasant person.

She was barking at the, bride in the groom. She was barking orders at the bridal party and people were , Taken aback by that so it's, really important when you're selecting your vendors, your planner, your photographer, two of the most important people that are with you the entire day, standing literally next to you all day for 10 hours, sometimes longer.

You pick that right person. So I feel that it's my personality, it's my temperament. It's really caring and it's doing my job with a smile always. 

I agree a hundred percent and I can attest to that you are there and we've seen other vendors who  coming and they there in the beginning.

Then they know where to be seen when actually you have issues and someone needs to resolve something like that gun or they're just walking around and not doing much . They disappear when? Yeah. And when you are there, you actually are full speed working. Even during the reception you are looking that everything is going fine, that everything ist happening on time, that people get their food even, and that that blew my mind.

That's not your job. Literally, 

 I stand on the floor literally all night. Let's just talk about the reception, right? The reception itself, which is like four to five hours. I am on the floor. I am liaising between the. The band, the maitre d, the bride and the groom. The parents the best man, the maid of honor.

They need to know when it's their time to get up to speak. We're not gonna have the band call someone up and meanwhile, in the bathroom. That doesn't happen. At my weddings, I am there. I am spearheading the whole wedding. I am heavily involved with all of the team players.

I'm making sure that this wedding goes off seamlessly, that when it's time to do the bride and groom introduction, the bride and groom are ready to go. I, there was a story a while ago that. The bride and groom, I guess the planner. I'm not sure what happened, but the bride and groom weren't ready for the introduction and the band is there queuing them and the bride and groom is not coming out because they weren't told that 

it was time to do the introduction. These are the things that can come up. And so for me, I take pride in that. I am on the floor. I'm there, I'm monitoring the room, I'm reading the room, I'm making sure the food is coming out quickly. I'm making sure that aside from the bride and groom being fed and the parents, I'm making sure that the grandparents' table is the next table to get fed and they're not the last table to get fed.

So there's so many things that, that go on. And so I'm there. I'm very mindful of everything. I've been doing this for a very long time. I'm very mindful. I'm watching everyone. I'm watching your guests. I'm watching the vendors, and that's what helps to make it a successful event. 

It truly does, and it's always such a pleasure to see you work and  you are doing it with a smile.

 It's not always all fun. No. . It's a very important quality for someone who works with people to project only positive no matter what's going on, because otherwise it'll reflect on others and it cannot be helpful. And maybe on the wedding day, our clients are like our children and we need to show them that we are there for them.

100%. I always say my brides are my adult daughters. They're like 

they literally are and they don't get married every day. So they don't. They don't. And hopefully just one time, hopefully. 

We don't hear about the divorces most of the time, right? 

No. No. Although we did have a bride that we had two weddings of her.

She came back to us for a second wedding. And that was a huge honor. Absolutely. And yeah, she said, from all my p previous wedding, all I remember was ex my experience with you, and it was amazing. So here we go again. That is so great, which I don't wish to anyone, but it was really, nice 

to hear.

Absolutely. And you know what , when she has children one day and. The children are adults. She'll be coming back to you and you'll be, you're so fit and so big on fitness that you're gonna be working into your eighties. 

I dunno if I want to work in my eighties, but we'll see about that.

Hopefully I can enjoy somewhere, something You will be very able. Thank you so much Cindy. It's been so wonderful. And the podcast name is Champagne and Chandelier, so it'll involve alcohol. I ask everyone who is coming to the podcast, what is your favorite alcohol drink? 

Appall Spritz. Let's go. My new favorite.

My new favorite. It's so light and refreshing and it's so perfect for spring and summer. 

We are right in the season of that, so enjoy that. Thank you. Responsibly. Yes, always. Thank you so, much for being here. It's been a huge pleasure to speak with you again and to see you on your birthday.

Thank you, Julian. It's always a pleasure. I'm so happy to be a part of this. , I would love to come back. Please feel free to invite me anytime. I'm all yours. Birthday or not birthday. I'm all 

absolutely do. Thank you so, much.  Do these who want to hear more about you or read about what you do contact you.

Where can they find you on the internet? 

They can go to directly to my website, which is cindy, or they can find me on Instagram at Cindy Altos events. 

Wonderful, and we will link you in the show notes, so it'll be very easy for everyone to just click and go. 

Perfect. Thank you so much, Julian.

Thanks again for having me. Thank