As one of Lebanon’s most successful wedding planners, Toni Breiss has created the perfect day for some of the region’s most influential couples.
His passion for perfection has seen him reach an impressive level of success with his events and weddings company Level Toni Breiss which is recognised all around the globe for its world-class luxury events. While Toni’s business began with a core focus on Beirut and Paris, he has since branched out, organising events and weddings across Europe, The Middle East, and The United States. He prides himself on only producing the best of the best for his clients, with each event or activation unique in its own way. Toni has gone from strength to strength over the past 20 years, with celebrity weddings, VIP events and even luxury brand consultancy on his portfolio. Now, as his biggest wedding ever is set to take place this season, we caught up with him to find out what’s next on his journey to success.
Tell us about your company and where you are at today.
We have been in the business for 20 years and are very pleased with our progress. Our company is expanding, and the scale of our events is increasing, which presents new and exciting challenges. Some of our events are now more global and international, which is very motivating and exciting. We have also expanded our work beyond Europe, Lebanon and KSA, into the extended MENA Region. We are also very proud to be working in the USA. Our agency specializes in creating unique and irreplicable designs for events, not just weddings and hotel openings but a vast range of luxurious events, including the Joy Awards in KSA, which is equivalent to the Emmy Awards for Arab countries. We have also opened a branch in our company specialising in consultancy for luxury brands, specifically those looking to open new boutiques and we are currently doing this for two high-end brands in the Middle East.
What first inspired you to get into the world of weddings and events?
I love working on weddings and events because I am passionate about creating beautiful concepts. I enjoy seeing my ideas come to life and I love to see how a place can be transformed into something completely different. Everything we create is custom-made and unique. We have a love for remodelling an entire space into a new and full experience that captivates guests, transporting them into another world of beauty, that is what sets us apart.
Tell us about your work in the Middle East and what clients expect from their events and weddings here.
The Middle East is one of our biggest markets. Many clients in the Middle East expect uniqueness and originality. They expect great new ideas, and they like to experiment with new choices of materials. It is a challenge because Middle Eastern women are very knowledgeable and have great taste. We are here to create new, fresh, and luxurious experiences that meet these expectations.
What are some of the biggest wedding trends for this year?
I would say there aren’t too many specific wedding trends these days, if you are hiring a big designer, they are supposed to set the trends, not follow them. It’s not about flower types or colours, we design the trend for each event based on the style of the bride and groom, the colours we decide to play with, the tradition, and the period we are in. It’s about transforming the venue to make it look contemporary and unique, and it must be a new idea.
You have worked with many interesting clients and celebrities – what have been some of the highlights?
We are grateful to have had the chance to work with many high-profile clients. We have created weddings that cover 6000 to 7000 m² for hundreds of guests, and currently, we are building a wedding from scratch in Cairo to accommodate over a thousand guests in a ten-thousand-meter square area. We also had the pleasure of working with Tiffany Trump in the United States. Her wedding was very American-style, intimate, elegant, and refined. While we have worked with reputable families, the importance for us is not who they are, but rather what we can create for them.
In this issue, we are talking about success – in your opinion, what is the secret to success?
The secret to success is hard work. You always must be present and hands-on, no matter how big your team is. You must be the first to arrive and the last to leave. You have to be passionate about your work and follow up on everything enthusiastically.
Is there anything that you have changed about your business since the impact of the pandemic?
Many things have changed. My mentality has changed, and we are now focusing on bigger and more challenging projects. The era has changed, especially our client’s demands. The sizes and timelines of weddings have also changed, and “living the experience” is becoming more and more important. Our internal organisation has evolved too, with people working differently but with the same passion and same productivity. Post-COVID, Zoom meetings have replaced in-person meetings, even many of our clients opt for online meetings although we might be available at the office. Hybrid work has become common, and we have had to adapt to these changes.
Working in events can be a stressful business – how do you keep calm when things get hectic?
I try to stay organised and centred as much as possible because I am the leader of everything that’s going on in a wedding or event. This means managing the progress with the production team, creative team, office team, florist team, caterers, photographers, and more! I manage my stress level so that everything stays smooth, and nothing gets out of control.
Tell us about yourself – how do you like to spend your time when you’re not working?
I like to relax and recharge my energy. I spend time with friends and family, which is very important to me. I also like to travel and to work out.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned throughout your career?
Be patient. VERY patient.
What piece of advice would you give to young entrepreneurs or others looking to start a business in the events industry?
Starting a business in the events industry can be a very long and exciting path, but it can also be exhausting. You need to have the will to fight day and night for it: even if it looks glamorous, behind the scenes it’s very tough. To succeed in this business, you need to put a lot of yourself out there.
What is the professional motto that you live by?
“You have to achieve success because you should not achieve failure.”
Who is someone that has inspired you throughout your career?
I mainly get inspired by anything that’s beautiful. It could be a piece of art or a beautiful nature scene. I also get inspired by many fashion designers and architects like Jerome Ville and Zaha Hadid. But my main inspiration remains beauty, anywhere I see it.
What else is in the pipeline for you for the rest of the year?
As we speak, we have a huge wedding under construction in Cairo, literally under construction as the venue for it is being built now! Then later this year, we have huge destination weddings, several boutique openings, and four-day weddings which include several events pre and post-wedding, one of them is in production in Spain right now. We also have a couple of luxurious events coming up. Follow us on social media to discover them!