Waikiki Beach Wedding

Having worked in the Waikiki event planning industry for almost 7 years there are not many surprises left – but occasionally I still get the, “They did what?” pass my lips! Why am I not surprised anymore – because over the years the number one rule for event planning is putting time into the pre planning of the event, and then planning contingencies for the exceptions that may happen?

So where do you start? As far out from the event date as possible as getting space is the first step. In Waikiki, where we do a lot of work, it is not unusual to be booking one year out at some of the venues, as they are booked solidly every week.

The first few decisions are the easiest. What is the budget? What is the event about? A party, corporate seminar, convention, festival, wedding, or an anniversary – the list is endless, but one thing remains constant once the event has a name and the type of event is decided, the next step will be to decide where to hold the event. This is where the real event planners stand out from the crowd. So you have an event – okay lets book a hotel is normally the next answer but why would you miss out on an opportunity to create a unique experience?

Wedding Ideas - Designing Your Own Wedding Ring

Ever wonder what a wedding planner REALLY does?

Most people rely on movies like "The Wedding Planner" to form their definition of a typical wedding planner. For the most part, J.Lo as a headset wearing ''star of the show'' is fantasy when it comes to being a wedding planner. Unlike Matthew and Bridget's unlimited budget, you will be hired for your budgeting skills. But your bride will be stressed and this is where you DO shine. You will be called upon and hired or not hired based on your abilities to perform under pressure, like there is no pressure. Learning your role in brides' and grooms' weddings is the first piece of the wedding planning puzzle. Below is a list of the 3 most recognized service selections your clients have to choose from. We refer to these as ''packages.'' However, I am here to tell you, if you want to excel past the cookie cutter wedding planner, then it is up to YOU to define these packages by adding your own pizazz to your unique services.

Wedding Planner - def (n)

A person who creates magic, pulls answers out of hat, and performs a flawless wedding (without sweating).

There are many services a wedding planner can provide to a bride. Depending on the bride's needs and personality, it is up to the wedding planner to service her client's needs. Not only is it important to meet the client's expectations, but exceeding their expectations will enhance your referrals to help you find your next client.

Full Service Planner

A full service planner is able to really help the bride from literally the beginning to the end of her planning. From the moment the groom pops the question the bride comes into the planner's office to begin the journey. This bride is often new to the area, gets overwhelmed easily, doesn't like to make decisions, or is very busy in her career or education. A planner's main responsibility is to be the representative for the family and keep communication lines open amongst all parties involved. Becoming the mediator is often a crucial role in this phase of the planning process.

Main Responsibilities of a Full Service Planner:

oSet budget (stay on budget throughout the planning process)

oFind reception/ceremony location

oBook vendors (photographer, videographer, florist, entertainment)

oNegotiate pricing for all vendors involved

oCreate personal décor style for bride/groom

oCreate vendor timeline/bridal party timeline

oAttend all meetings

oOrchestrate the rehearsal and wedding day

oPersonal assistant to family

oFollow up with miscellaneous tasks post-wedding

Partial Planner

This is the most popular program wedding planners can offer to their clients. Brides will come into the appointment with some of the choices already made, but would like professional guidance in the midst of the planning process. Brides think they can do it all themselves only to find frustration and an endless list of things to do hence, why they turn it over to a planner. This type of bride likes to have the final say in the decision making process, but wants a professional opinion each step of the way.

Main Responsibilities of a Partial Planner:

oCollect all information/contracts from client

oEvaluate the budget

oMeet all family members involved in the planning process

oCreate road map/set goals for each month with client

oBook remainder vendors

oNegotiate pricing when available

oPersonal Décor (upgrade program)

oCreate vendor timeline/bridal party timeline

oAttend final catering meeting

oOrchestrate the rehearsal and wedding day

oPersonal assistant to family

oFollow up with miscellaneous tasks post-wedding

Day of Planner

A Day Of Planner is someone who comes in and picks up all the pieces (often referred to as the personal assistant to the family or the manager of the overall wedding). The main responsibility of a day of planner is to ensure the plan the bride and her family has created runs smoothly according to their expectations. Reception décor and ceremony timing is crucial the day of the wedding. The most important piece of the puzzle is to make sure the vendors are directed in the right place at the right time along with the bridal party. The timeline is the heart of the event. Without a solid timeline, people will not know where to go and when they are to report. A day of planner is only as good as her timeline. 5 minutes off the time of the wedding day, means tough filet mignon in the hotbox. This is often referred to as "Game Day."

Main responsibilities of a Day of Planner:

oCreate timeline

oCall all vendors to check arrival time and location

oPunch out meeting with bride and groom (collect personal items)

oGet help

oAssign staff with bride (assist in getting dressed)

oAssign staff for reception décor (implement plan)

oOverall manager for family

oOrchestrate rehearsal and wedding day

oFollow up with miscellaneous tasks post-wedding

There are three main services a wedding planner can provide: full service, partial, or day of planner. Knowing which type of service the client is seeking will help define the type of program to sell her. Each client is unique and some programs might have to be customized to fit her needs. Remember, the bride is the client you are the director. It is up to the director to guide the client into the right program to suit her needs.

Affordable Wedding Venues

Wedding Ideas - Designing Your Own Wedding Ring

Having worked in the event planning industry for almost 15 years there are not many surprises left - but occasionally I still get the "they did what" pass my lips! Why am I not surprised anymore - because over the years the number one rule for event planning is putting time into the pre planning of the event, and then planning contingencies for the exceptions that may happen?

So where do you start? As far out from the event date as possible as getting space is the first step. In Orlando where we do a lot of work it is not unusual to be booking one year out at some of the venues, as they are booked solidly every week.

The first few decisions are the easiest. What is the budget? What is the event about? A party, corporate seminar, convention, festival, wedding, anniversary the list is endless, but one thing remains a constant once the event has a name and the type of event is decided, the next step will be to decide where to hold the event. This is where the real event planners stand out from the crowd. So you have an event - okay lets book a hotel is normally the next answer but why would you miss out on an opportunity to create a unique experience for your client. Stop thinking like a newbie!

Look around the city where you are and start looking for that space that is different! We once held a red carpet fashion show right outside the Lingerie store that was promoting their opening! What's unusual about that? Nothing except the two lane highway outside we had to close, get planning permission and then build a 150ft marquee over the roadway, flooring, carpeting, stage, runway, extravagant lighting. All in one day. That's planning. Or the client that wanted a nautical theme, so we brought in a pirate ship complete with water cannons, pirate uniforms for everybody including the CEO! Ahh Captain. Get the idea, think outside the box - everybody does hotels, make your event unusual. What about an event/launch or party on the top floor of a multistory car park, we have even taken over parking lots for major festivals downtown and invited 5000 people to attend. Used castles for car launches and produced tours for musical competitions.

So know we have an event and the location/venue. Do you need planning permission for the event? If you have tents, or are somewhere public the answer is going to be Yes. Get that permit application in quickly, the city will have lots of questions for you to answer. Don't worry they will let the event happen they just want every answer and t crossed, so allow time for them.

Are you helping with the marketing too? Now is the time to get all this started and the timeline built when the copy, printing, mailing emailing needs to be done. Do you see a pattern starting, timelines, pre planning, etc.

Next on the list is going to be catering commonly called F&B. Is this a sit down event, stand up cocktails, dinner reception, hors-devours, alcohol, etc. Again another decision and one that needs a budget figure. Hot meals catered with full service can cost upwards of $50 a plate or as low as $19. Its all about the budget. Once you have decided on what is required your event planner will have a list of suitable caterers who can produce the meals.

If the event is themed, then the next step is to design the layout of the tables, surroundings, and make the venue become an experience. I remember erecting a Marquee inside a tall ballroom for one client, as they did not want the tradition ballroom space. A local hotel has two weeks of Ice sculpture in their ballrooms and kids can play on the ice slides, play in the snow and experience below freezing conditions - in Central Florida

Another area that will need addressing is entertainment, is their music, DJ what style and what purpose. Is it for dancing to or just background ambience? Again if the event requires a headliner you will have to contact the booking agencies in plenty of time to ensure schedules are available - you did have a second choice ready as well didn't you?

So now we have an event, the date(s), a theme, a venue, food and drink, entertainment and the permit has been granted by the city!

What about Sound and lights and video for the event - usually called Audio Visual or AV again the event planner will know what and where to get the appropriate systems from and the size of equipment required depending on the number of attendees. While we are looking at AV, we may as well mention the videographer to film and record the event for the DVD and also the photographer to take a zillion shots during the evening making sure to get everybody in at least one picture!

The event date is obviously getting closer. If this is a corporate event you will want to make sure that there is all the appropriate insurance and Public/General Liability insurance certification in place. The policy should be for at least $1 million dollars of protection.

The fire Marshall always wants to know about events in their city and no matter how big or small, a phone call to answer their questions and get approval is always part of the planning stages. It is your responsibility to contact the fire Marshall not theirs to contact you.

One area that a number of people forget about is how are people getting to the event, are people flying in, are you booking the tickets? And if so what transportation are you providing from the airport for them? We use certain limo services that have given us great service and deals over the years and we know that guests are in good hands.

So far we have overcome every problem but as this is a summery of event planning, every event will be different. Seminars for instance will need registration tables, classroom style layouts, etc each event has its own nuance.

On the day of the event, everything comes together as planned, if you didn't plan for the contingency then panicking doesn't help. Look at every part of the timetable and second guess what if scenarios? Plan around those too so that your day runs smooth.

Lastly the day isn't over until the last guest leaves..errr no! until the venue has been restored to how you found it, until all the decorations are removed, the catering has packed up and left, the AV guys have got all their gear in the vans and the venue operations personnel have finally said goodnight and thank you.

Steve A Brown
Event Planner - Resource Management Alliance
http://resourcema.com.


Hawaii