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Interview with Wedding & Event Planner Shuki Moran of Exceptional Events

Weddings and Events In The Time of COVID-19


Fox Valley Magazine: You recently opened an office in Batavia. Why the Batavia location?

Shuki Moran: I was looking for a new location and since Batavia is a very artsy town, I thought Batavia would be a perfect fit for us.

Fox Valley Magazine: Are you offering any new services?

Shuki Moran: Exceptional Events is now representing high-end rental companies that are based in the city of Chicago. We created a new rentals company Luxury Rentals.

Due to COVID, we have had a massive reduction in our event sizes. However, we offer our clients the option to upgrade their rentals in order to create a finer, more memorable atmosphere.

Fox Valley Magazine: How has COVID-19 affected your business?

Shuki Moran: Our weddings, events and fundraisers for 2019 were postponed to 2021. However, we received calls from new clients that could not have their wedding in a closed venue. We coordinated several outdoor weddings with large tents, open walls and social distancing to ensure the safety of our guests.

Fox Valley Magazine: Do you have a mask requirement for your guests? What about for employees?

Shuki Moran: All of our staffing are required to wear masks at all events. We ask our guests to wear masks but cannot enforce it.

Fox Valley Magazine: How do you handle social distancing?

Shuki Moran: Because of the pandemic we had to think of a different way to keep our guests safe. At all events we check the temperature of all staff and create larger spaces between guest seating. Now that our brides having decreased their guests lists due to COVID, we can now provide more intimate décor.

Fox Valley Magazine: What safety measures do you have in place for staff?

Shuki Moran: All staff members are required to wear masks at all times. We also take staff members temperature, upon their arrival to each event in order to ensure the safety of all guests.

Fox Valley Magazine: Are there any special setups for the bar area at a wedding or event?

Shuki Moran: We have increased our staff in order to provide better quality service and to avoid a waiting time at the bar. We also offer our clients plexiglass shields to put on the bar so the guests are protected.

Fox Valley Magazine: What precautions do you take for presenting and serving food?

Shuki Moran: We have eliminated food stations. Now, we offer only sit-down dinners. the servers wear plastic gloves while the serving each course. The desserts are served in individual packaging for all guests.

Fox Valley Magazine: What do you do if someone decides to postpone a wedding or event due to COVID-19.

Shuki Moran: We completely understand and fully support every decision of our clients. It’s hard enough for them to cancel a wedding or fundraiser so we give them all the support so they can feel good and taking care of. All our vendors agree to postpone the agreement to 2021.

Fox Valley Magazine: What is the best advice you can offer a client who is thinking about hosting a wedding or event during this pandemic?

Shuki Moran: Our best advice is to do everything in your power to keep all guests safe. Try to choose open spaces to host your event. If you have to have your event indoors, like a private residence for example, the best way is to divide your event into shifts in order to limit the number of guests in each area. This way you can have a few parties at the same day but limited to up to 50 guests each. Lastly, provide your guests hand sanitizer and offer them a mask upon entering the event. Don’t assume they’ll bring a mask or hand sanitizer with them. We asked all our brides to provide hand sanitizer on each table and mask on the place card table.

Fox Valley Magazine: Could you tell us about some of the recent unique weddings and events you have been involved and ones coming up.

Shuki Moran: In August, we hosted an intimate wedding in Geneva, IL. The total guest count was 11 people including the wedding party. Guests gathered at RiverPark in Geneva for the ceremony, then were driven to The Walrus Room for the reception. Upon arrival, guests were seated inside a 15ft. x 15ft. tent in the back of the restaurant for plated hors d’oeuvres and a three-course meal. Although this was the smallest wedding that Exceptional Events has ever hosted, it will be one of the most memorable for our team.

In September, we hosted another wedding on a massive property in Yorkville, IL. We placed the 82ft. x 98ft. tent in front of their private pond for the view of the water and wild sunflowers as a backdrop for the head table. We were blessed to have amazing clients.

On October 23, 2020 we are coordinating a new style of fundraiser. Tuskegee NEXT is hosting a day of comradery and conversation to help promote their foundation. The day will begin at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet IL. From 10:00 am – 2:00 pm, guests will have the opportunity to learn and drive the supercar of their dreams. They will drive at speeds ranging from 60 – 80 miles per hour all while learning the ins and outs of how to race on a track.

Later that evening from 6:00 – 9:00 pm, Tuskegee NEXT will also host an intimate, 4-course sit-down dinner for 25 guests who will enjoy the view of the runways from the 3rd story of the DuPage Airport terminal. Guests will be seated distant from each other in order to ensure their safety. The dinner is being donated by Chef Rich Mancini, who appeared on Hell’s Kitchen. The table, decorated by Town & Country Gardens, will be draped in a natural linen tablecloth with fall flowers mixed with curly willow branches, floating candles, and wood candle holders to create a rustic yet elegant ambiance.

For more information on Exceptional Events by Shuki Moran go to exceptionalevents.net


Shuki Moran has a passion for hosting events and helping his clients organize the event of their dreams. Setting the highest of expectations for his team, event staff and himself, Shuki produces the most remarkable and one-of-a-kind events imaginable.

Born in Tel Aviv, Israel, Shuki began his career as a fashion designer for the clothing label ‘madness’. Upon moving to California in 1990, he began recognizing his passion for event design & production. Having managed one of the most successful catering companies in the greater Los Angeles area, Shuki built his reputation among corporate and private clients alike.
His record of successfully developing & delivering many of tinsel town’s high-profile events was matched only by his equal dedication to his private clients’ weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs & anniversary parties.
Shuki has appeared on multiple Television programs including the daytime talk show ‘Windy City Live’, reality show ‘Cooking with Coolio’, and the Reality TV show ‘Donnie Loves Jenny’.

His work was published in magazines such as: PEOPLE Wedding magazine, Chicago Style Weddings Magazine, Fox Valley Magazine, Glancer Magazine & US Weekly Magazine. Some of his celebrity clientele includes; Jim Carey, Will Smith, David & Victoria Beckham, Jenny McCarthy & Donnie Wahlberg, along with many other Hollywood stars.

With a strong reputation earned over his 25+ year career, Shuki continues to strive for success and excellence. His attention to the smallest of details at all events, open & loving personality, and drive to be “Exceptional” is why Shuki and his team have become one of the top Event & Wedding Planners.

Working closely with Shuki is his long time Production Manager, Paul Skaritka and his new Director of Event Operations, Graham Clark. The Exceptional Events by Shuki Moran team is dedicated to ensuring all expectations are exceeded and that every client knows they are going to be treated as the highest priority, VIP.

Office Phone: (630) 457-5478
Email: Shuki@exceptionalevents.net

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