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Sunday, May 26, 2019

Deena Greenstein prepares a sample place setting for an event. (Credit: Bracha Schwartz)

The table is set for an outdoor event at Oz Farm. (Credit: Courtesy of LBK Events)

Seating for an outdoor wedding ceremony at Oz Farm. (Credit: Courtesy of Oz Farm)

The barn at Oz Farm is arranged for a wedding reception. (Credit: Courtesy of LBK Events)

The dance floor at Rain on Water in Teaneck. (Credit: Courtesy of LBK Events)

There’s a picture-perfect equestrian center in upstate New York that is helping Deena Greenstein, proprietor of LBK Events, answer a challenging question. “I’m getting many calls from clients asking if I have an unusual, out-of-the-box setting for a kosher wedding,” Greenstein said. “I knew I was onto something when I worked on my first event at Oz Farm with noted Chef Donny Rogoff. It had the right space, flow and a gigantic 7,000-square-foot barn-style ballroom which can accommodate 600-plus guests for dinner and dancing.”

Oz Farm is an 84-acre working horse farm in Saugerties, New York, owned by Jenny Oz LeRoy. The name Oz pays homage to Jenny’s late grandfather, Mervyn LeRoy, producer of the film “The Wizard of Oz.” Greenstein thinks the farm is as magical as the film. “Within moments of meeting Jenny, I realized that we shared the same vision and together we could put this rustic, breathtaking destination on the kosher event map,” Greenstein said. “Now I produce all of their kosher weddings.”

Sara Weiss of Teaneck was looking for a different setting for her spring wedding. On the recommendation of a family friend, she contacted Greenstein and they brainstormed about venues. Oz Farm was the winner. Her mother went with Greenstein to check it out and loved it. Then Weiss and her fiancé visited. “We really liked it; it was a done deal,” she said. Weather permitting, Weiss is hoping to have an outdoor chuppah, dinner in the smaller of two barns and dancing outside. “I would have loved a destination wedding but that’s very hard for the guests,” she said. “This is a good balance. You feel like you’re away, but only an hour and a half from Teaneck.”

Weiss said Greenstein has been great from the beginning. “She’s very enthusiastic and easy to work with. She’s making the process super easy.”

In addition to managing all the kosher events for Oz Farm, Greenstein handles event production and catering for Rain on Water in Teaneck. Rain is a sleek, high-end, “one-stop shop” event space that began as a venue for bar and bat mitzvahs and has grown to include fundraisers, sheva brachot, engagement parties, corporate and holiday events and small weddings. Greenstein recently launched an in-house Glatt Kosher catering program at Rain with “top chefs, outstanding presentation and fantastic menus” under RCBC supervision.

Greenstein also plans custom events with individual clients. Whether it’s searching for a unique wedding venue or arranging a home-based party, Greenstein approaches each event with a client’s budget, style and theme in mind. “Every customer has different needs,” Greenstein said. “I can put together a dessert-only L’chaim for 50 people or a wedding for hundreds. I do them all.” Greenstein can select and coordinate all the vendors: venue, caterer, décor, invitations, music and photography, with careful attention to every detail.

Greenstein was a junior high school teacher with young children when she decided she wanted a career with more flexible hours. As a fine-arts major with a flare for creativity, event planning came naturally to her. She volunteered to coordinate an event for her shul, and got many accolades from attendees and the vendors with whom she worked. She took the plunge to open her own business and quickly found many clients.

Greenstein named her business LBK Events to remember an endearing name given to her by her late father, Seymour Schechter. He called her Little Blonde Kid. “I feel he’s always with me, encouraging me, supporting me and giving me direction,” she said. The little blonde kid is now an entrepreneur whose clients are thrilled to have the simchas of their dreams. Her father would be so proud.

For more information about LBK Events, contact [email protected].

By Bracha Schwartz