Seasoned in hospitality and well versed in elegance, Jack Kelly and his team at JK Wedding Collection expertly orchestrate the days of “I do.”
A graduate from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, Kelly’s eye for detail was sharpened upon a move to Galle, Sri Lanka in the early 1990s, when he designed and built the Twenty Three Palm boutique hotel. He created the all-inclusive resort amid the country’s civil war but, despite national conflict, the hotel grew to be a vacation destination.
Kelly then traveled extensively throughout Europe, where he fell in love with Lake Como in Italy, and later found paradise in Tulum, Mexico. Each international destination became an inspiration for ways to execute exceptional experiences. Thus, a wedding company took hold.
With the world as his teacher, Kelly is the curator of seamless design for his clientele, ranging from ethnic weddings to LGBT weddings. He divides the collection into three experiences — “platinum,” which includes destination and large-scale weddings; “hometown,” of mid to large sizes; and “luxe elopement,” which includes the intimate but glamorous.
As more millennials are eschewing lavish, oversized parties, choosing instead to spend money on the honeymoon, JKWC has dubbed this style of understated elegance as the “runaway bride.”
“People would rather have more of an interesting, opulent wedding and have less people. Especially when half of those people are those they don’t even know,” Kelly explained, adding, “I love when it’s just the bride and the groom. We get a chance to do some fun things, unique ideas that you might not otherwise think of. They’ll take their best man and their maid of honor and they’ll fly them to Tahiti for a week and that’s their wedding. These are the two best friends of their lives and they don’t tell anyone until they get back. It’s kind of liberating and takes the stress away.”
JKWC has a plethora of resources and can accommodate even the most lavish of requests. Jet off to Sri Lanka, enjoy the crystal blue waters of Mexico, watch the sunset from San Francisco, or walk the cobble streets of Williamsburg.
“I don’t lock myself into one venue. Clients want to know that they’re understood,” Kelly said. He acts as a listener and observer. Clients discuss ideas with him directly before the planning process begins.
A large part of decision-making in most affairs is the food, a centerpiece of the event. “As an international wedding, event catering company, we take our chefs and do events all over the world.” Kelly’s creative culinary team includes approximately 50 expertly trained chefs, a staff of 75, and a 10,000-square-foot catering kitchen. With a masterful execution of palatable experiences, no cuisine is off limits. “Most wedding companies don’t have our resources. What really makes things especially great is my amazing partner in the Wedding Collection, Lorraine Girard.”
Family recipes are continuing to make their way into client requests. Couples want to share their traditions with loved ones. “Weddings are so emotional and unbelievably personal. Sometimes we get asked to prepare foods that have been in the family for generations,” Kelly pointed out. Beyond a four-star meal, the chef has a responsibility for recreating a memory through taste.
Building upon the success of the Wedding Collection, JK Chef Collection began early in 2018. It has Kelly running from the Hamptons to New York twice a week, meeting with five chefs a day. In addition to weddings, the collection hires private chefs for homes and events. The company additionally hosts weekly round tables with four chefs at a time. “It’s all about sharing ideas, philosophies, and recipes. I really love that. It’s a camaraderie. If I have a big event with multiple chefs, I’ll pick the ones who got along really well around the table. It’s really beneficial and a great way to evaluate chefs and their ability to listen.”
To learn more, visit www.jkweddingcollection.com.