The Philosophy of viva bella

The Philosophy of viva bella

"viva bella" means "a beautiful life", and we're passionate about creating inspiring, fun, and innovative experiences that uniquely reflect who you are and bring your vision to life.  Our goal is not only to execute beautiful weddings and engaging corporate events, but also to produce experiences to make you and your guests feel celebrated.  Whether you are planning an intimate family wedding, an over-the-top ballroom soiree, or an awards presentation for an entire division, we want to connect with you to hear your vision and collaborate on a unique design. Then, our team will work to deliver an event you and your guests will feel, experience, and remember.

Our Team

The Heart & Soul of viva bellaWe're proud of the team we've assembled, and the style we exude. Our professionalism, imagination, and attitude are at the ready to serve you with excellence.

Click here to see our team at work

Dora ManuelOwner

Dora Manuel
Photography by Kortnee Kate
Dora found her passion for weddings and events after a 10-year career in sales and marketing, most recently working as a national account manager for a Fortune 500 company. Realizing she had found her calling, Dora left her corporate career to launch viva bella - and hasn’t looked back. Dora’s professional background, coupled with an exquisite sense of style and an eye for fashion, make her a natural for the event planning business. She’s a born leader, loves building relationships and helping others to be their best. Her warm personality and genuine love of people shine through in everything she does. Dora is also passionate about enjoying her life: she enjoys gourmet cooking, international travel, and running marathons. She is also fluent in Spanish. Dora savors spending time with her husband, Steven and two daughters, Joy & Ada. She considers marriage and parenthood to be two of life’s most beautiful experiences!

Steven Manuelowner, communications director

Steven Manuel
Photography by Kortnee Kate
Steven is viva bella's creative "ace in the hole": his flair for visual impact and creative harmony have garnered him raves from everyone who sees his work. Steven Manuel has both music and communications degrees, has been designing and executing creative experiences for over ten years, as well as more than fifteen years of experience creating content for presentations. His first experiences in staging unique events came from his background as a touring musician, playing alone and with bands throughout the south and in the midwest. His years as an arranger, band leader and writer have served to give him a unique perspective, which he brings to the viva bella team. Steven loves to design immersive experiences to inspire or instruct, incorporating all senses into an imaginative moment of beauty. "I believe there's something transcendent about beauty, and when we can infuse beauty into the practicalities of our lives, we make those practicalities transcendent, too. I believe every human wants that, and discovering and creating beauty is what I want my life to be about." viva bella's Creative Director for six years, Steven continues his passion to write and record music, and give life coaching to men. He's trained in video production and editing, sound engineering, and design layout. Steven also writes for television and film, loves to travel, and has an almost religious allegiance to chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.

Monica KurlemannSenior Event Planner

Monica Kurlemann
Photography by Belle & Blanc
Since the age of ten, Monica Kurlemann has been designing and planning events. As a child she envisioned and pulled off themed birthday parties for her younger sister. Since the age of fourteen she’s planned specific menus for her extended family’s holiday meals (and cooked them, as well). While studying in Munich during college, she put on American-themed parties for her new German friends. And now, Monica uses her talent for planning and execution to help create inspired events and weddings for viva bella. With a knack for helping turn themes, dreams and visions into practical realities, Monica is viva bella’s go-to researcher for efficient and effective execution of ideas. She’s the one who investigates various venues and vendors to find the right feature…at the right price. Monica’s zeal for perfectly realized events and weddings fuel her detail-oriented pursuit of wonderful elements which, together, create a beautiful whole. When not teaching a weekly Pilates class, Monica spends time with her family, roots for the Reds and the Bengals, and bakes the world’s greatest brownies — Kahlua brownies… a recipe of her own creation.

Marianne CafaroNew Business Development Manager

Marianne Cafaro
Photography by Belle & Blanc
Marianne Cafaro has known that she belongs the hospitality industry for a long time. From hosting her own parties, and incredible professional experience gained by over a decade of working at two of the largest event venues in Cincinnati, she knows what it takes to make an event unforgettable. Marianne's calm confidence is just the right recipe for creating lasting partnerships with our clients and creative partners. She is a foodie who loves the local dining scene and keeping up with trends in wine – which is a great passion to tap into when we're looking for the latest ideas for keeping guests well-fed. You can find Marianne participating in a yoga class or volunteering her time when she's not building relationships on behalf of viva bella.

Nicole PattonAssociate Event Planner

Nicole Patton
photo by Jose Mesa
When Nicole joined the viva bella team she took her passion for planning events off the back burner and made it her career. Nicole is the girl you want on site at any event because of her can-do attitude, hard work ethic and cool-under-pressure demeanor. She has a genuine love for people and making new connections. Nicole takes time to explore ideas with each client, and then shapes a unique event that reflects their personality and interests. The warmth and care that Nicole provides makes each experience relaxed and comfortable. She is currently planning her own wedding, and offers great advice from one bride to another – "take a deep breath and relax." When not planning events, Nicole loves to play with her black lab, Ricky.

Sara RansonEvent Coordinator

Sara Ranson
Photography by Belle & Blanc
With a background in marketing and anthropology, Sara Ranson has a genuine passion for people and the things that are most important to them. Sara's energy and natural leadership make her an exceptional addition to the viva bella team. Sara brings excellence and an attention to detail in everything she does. Her warm and calming demeanor come from a love of relationships and a desire to not only put on the best events, but to ensure the best experiences during the entire planning process. Sara and her husband Kyle are enjoying first hand the joys uniquely found in marriage and parenthood with two young sons, Ben & Eli! She loves traveling with her family, engaging with friends, and is an active participant in bringing love and hope to those in poverty. Sara is also crazy about freshly baked cookies, which she ravishes once a week!

Hanna MinorEvent Coordinator

Hanna Minor
Photography by Belle & Blanc
With a genuine desire to exceed clients’ expectations and a wealth of experience, Hanna is a perfect fit for the viva bella team. Her experience includes wedding and event planning for the Cincinnati Art Museum, Conference Manager for the InterContinental Hotel Chicago, and Catering Manager for the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza. Hanna considers it an honor to be a part of such special occasions. She believes all brides should be able to relax and enjoy their wedding day. She likes to say “when again will you have all of the people you love in one room? Relax and cherish this moment!” Hanna and her husband, Will, enjoy life with their daughter, Molly and beloved dog, Moby. She loves crafting, yoga, and taking Molly & Moby for strolls around Hyde Park. She is a serious Cincinnati Reds fan and even has an impressive baseball card collection!