Well-Planned: The Many Lives of Lexi Stolz
Lexi Stolz knows how to throw a party. The wedding planner and designer has also embarked on a new career adventure as the founder of South Fork and Spoon, a Hamptons weekend and food concierge service.
She begins her day bright and early, shopping for fresh picked produce and all the accoutrements that go into sourcing meals for her clients from the markets and farm stands clustered around Bridgehampton, New York. During the course of her day, you may also find her dashing into a store to choose fabric swatches or photographing floral displays to send to her clients as she consults with them about their upcoming nuptials.
"I devote Mondays exclusively to my wedding planning," Lexi says, "and that leaves the other days to work on South Fork and Spoon. I launched it this year [after] spending many years driving back and forth between the Hamptons and the Upper East Side of New York City, arriving at the Bridgehampton house with no food or wine available and a late reservation at a local restaurant, thinking all along that there had to be a better solution to this kind, unsatisfying hectic lifestyle," she says.
Getting Hitched - Stolz Style
Stolz has embraced South Fork and Spoon with the same enthusiasm and attention to design she applies to wedding planning. The correlation, she says, is that both businesses are centered in the Hamptons and both are geared toward satisfying the individual tastes of her clients. She is also a newlywed and applied both these skills during the planning for her own marriage ceremony when she tied the knot last June with Kim Stolz, a former MTV VJ who now works in the financial sector in New York.
"The trend these days among my wedding clients is that they are departing from the traditional, and leaning more toward creating a memorable wedding experience for themselves and their guests," says Stolz.
"And people want to party. Planning weddings is less about wheeling in the cake for a cake cutting ceremony or the other traditional rituals, and more about celebrating one another and their individual spirits. Dining after the ceremony is increasingly more family-style, which creates a more intimate experience. And weddings are more playful these days. I work with couples so that their wedding accentuates unique aspects of their personalities."
"With today’s prices, weddings can be expensive, so couples want to keep an eye on costs, too. Increasingly, these couples choose to have longer cocktail hours. It’s less about offering guests a chicken or fish option on the menu. It’s more about the couple choosing their favorite foods that they want served in a way that they are most comfortable with. If they want to serve Italian food and it’s August, they will go with that rather than choosing a traditional food option."
Lexi and Kim’s wedding last June took place in Kim’s parents’ Bridgehampton backyard and was featured in Us Magazine. Both brides wore stunning white gowns as they walked arm-in-arm down a grassy path festooned with flowers and rose petals.
A Taste for Life
"Food has always been a big part of my life," Lexi says, explaining that she grew up with a single mom who, she says, "could have very easily ordered a pizza for dinner but instead insisted that we cook together and prepare healthful meals." She also worked alongside Kim at The Dalloway, a popular restaurant, which was sold in October. "Preparing food and sitting down to a good meal should be an important part of our lives," she adds. "It’s a time when you put your cell phones away and actually communicate with one another."
With just enough clients to make the work rewarding without having to hire additional staff, Stolz actually begins her shopping at 11 p.m. at the King Kullen supermarket in Bridgehampton when the fresh food is just being stocked.
There are a few hours of rest before she rises at dawn the next day, continues her shopping from the area’s farm stands and specialty shops, and then heads back home to begin cooking. The Hamptons are known for farms, vineyards and an abundant aquaculture. She views the region as a culinary ecosystem, carefully selecting from what is seasonably available so she can offer clients the best from local food purveyors.
"There is always a learning curve whenever you start a new venture," she says in response to a question about the downside of her new business. "It’s the sorting out of everything, making sure the clients are clear about what they want, knowing what’s in season and where to get it."
She’s a self-proclaimed "Google docs junky," because "it is a computer tool that exists in the cloud, and my clients and I can fine tune what they are ordering, so we can get it right together." She has an order form that she’s also learned to fine tune. "It was unwieldy at first, but it is now much more manageable," she says.
Her clients entrust her with the keys to their homes in the Hamptons. Armed with the freshly prepared foods, she readies their homes in advance of their arrival from the city.
"I call it farm to fridge," she chuckles. "All my clients do is walk in, fire up the grill, or turn on the stove, and in short order they have a home-cooked meal." She prepares bouquets of flowers to greet them, knowing only too well how stressful that long ride from the city can be to get to their Hampton’s homes for the weekend. She also advises her clients on where to find the best locally produced food and wine. She mentions Wolffer Estate Vineyard and Round Swamp Farm as two favorite places she frequents. She also prepares lunches for clients to take to the beach and says she has become quite adept at fixing up tasty lobster rolls.
Stolz is still living two lives -- wedding planner and food concierge -- but you could say she’s living three lives, because beyond planning weddings and meals, she is also creating events. Before our conversation finishes, she mentions she is helping her wife, who is also an author, plan an upcoming book signing event in New York City.
"I may spend long hours in the car running to and fro," Stolz says with an audible giggle, "but I find it all very rewarding."