How A Planner Can Help You | Part 1; Design




May 24, 2016


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“The Devil’s in the Details”

You’re getting married. Or you’re having a retirement or birthday party. Or maybe you are hosting a big surprise party for a couple who are moving out of state. If you want it to be fabulous, you need to hire a planner, and here’s one reason why. The details matter. The details are crucial. Period. Why is the “devil in the details” – because if not tended to, planned for, addressed, created or dismantled, the outcome of an event can be everything but flawless.

Details can make or break an impeccable event plan and can be broken down into two major categories.

1. Organizational Details

I call these “pre-event details” and, from my experience, know these to be the foundation of actually making the event happen. An event will not come to fruition unless plans are made, organized and implemented. From the beginning strategy to final day production – organizational details are the bedrock and preface to a happy ending. A good planner will have all of these strategic “to do” elements laid out for discussion when you first meet. Then, he/she will work behind the scenes to create and organize a full scale plan for you, based on your concepts, needs and wants. Depending on the event, some of these details will include, sourcing vendors, negotiating contracts, receiving and selecting bids, design elements, music options, paper goods and personal memorabilia, guest list, seating arrangements, travel or transportation, event content or timeline, and potential problem solving and/or conflict management.

So why is this important? Because you are paying this person to ensure the choices you make are good ones comprehensively. Let your money work for you. Maybe you aren’t worried about your color scheme and want the planner to figure it all out for you based on three color samples. Maybe you have an absolute plan for your color palette and already have the design idea in mind. Great. Your planner will take all of your ideas, whether fixed or open, and create a full scale event plan for you. He/She will ensure those three colors tie in at every level, in the smallest of detail, and perhaps offer you additional design ideas that you did not initially have in mind. Let that happen. Focus on the purpose of the event and let him/her make it happen.

In addition to design organization, the planner is going to collaborate with vendors and bring you quotes. Cost savings for vendors might come in handy for you if the planner is established because most likely he/she will be offering you quotes from trusted and reliable vendors with whom there is a special and discounted arrangement. You will also receive the benefit of using vendors who are steadfast partners with your planner ensuring they deliver your event needs with care and precision. It’s their name on the line in terms of business to business trust and you will benefit from the result of that. It will be hard to beat this kind of service unless you are connected in the planner world, or a planner yourself – and then, you’re most likely doing your own event because everyone else is afraid to, or refuses to do it for you.

While you are working on a random Tuesday, your planner will be sourcing the best options for catering and will bring you quotes. The planner will get you tasting appointments so you can decide whether or not the chocolate ganache cake is better than the simple vanilla. Your planner will also be simultaneously working to create a design for your space, using feature elements that exist or bringing ones in if it’s a blank canvas. Are you using existing furniture? Do you have a separate seating area in mind? How many tables, what style, and size? Your planner will do all of this organization for you, at a cost yes, but the “worth it” factor will be tremendous, I promise. Your planner is swirling above at the 30,000-mile-high level looking at each component of the event during the organizational design phase. Then he/she comes down to earth in very intentional way in order to organize the details within the larger framework. Each element is critical and each element should be treated as such.

2. Day of Details

I call these the “Five-Star” details. It doesn’t matter how small or big your event is going to be. It doesn’t matter if your budget is 5K or 150K or if it’s a luxury event or quite plain and simple. Your taste and event style choice will dictate that for you. There can, however, be something in common from the most expensive and grand event to the small and simple one. Five-Star details. A ten-person intimate dinner can have five-star details, just as a 150 person wedding reception or corporate celebration can. And here’s how your planner does that for you.

It’s the day of your event. You’re thrilled that it is all coming together, and you’re now focused on you. You’re getting ready. You’re with your family. You’re with your friends. You have things to do that involve you and your event, with the ones you love or the ones you work alongside. It’s time for you to step back and let your planner ramp up the adrenaline and go to work, for you. Your planner has spent an incredible number of hours in the organizational part of the pre-event phase. Planning every detail with, and for you. Designing your space, planning your order of events for you, and planning the choreography it will take with vendors and personnel to produce your event effectively. And now it’s time. Your planner is going to do everything he/she can to be certain all of the work you’ve done together culminates to create the flawless event you have been awaiting.

If the planner has ever been hyper sensitive to keeping time, it’s now. And it’s not your job to be keeping time. It’s your time to be in the moment. If the planner has ever been prone to being hyper critical, the time is now. Each detail, down to the crease in each napkin will be inspected. If your planner has ever been anal retentive about aesthetics and placement/spacing, now is the time. Your planner is spending this day, your day, looking at every single item displayed, every centerpiece, every place setting, each table individually and then as a collective. Your planner is walking the space with the vendors to reaffirm the layout, design needs and timeline. Your planner is keeping you on your timeline, along with others in your event group. Your planner is walking the photo op map with the photographer and ensuring the sound check runs smoothly. Your planner is checking each picture, candle, table skirt and linens for placement and spacing. Does it all align? Is it symmetrical? Or asymmetrical on purpose? Are the angles appropriate? Is the lighting appropriate for the space? Is there a focal point for the space and if so, is it clear that it is actually a focal point? All of the previous work is coming to fruition. Small details of aesthetics and timing. Whether a birthday, wedding, corporate meeting, or retirement party. It’s all coming together and your planner is working until the last moment before the first guest arrives to ensure they witness a five-star quality event as soon as they walk through the door – and will ultimately, will keep the attention and scrutiny to every last detail through the event in full. No matter the size, cost, or purpose of the event – five-star attention to details will help make the difference in opening the door to a priceless and memorable occasion. Now the rest is up to you to begin creating memories in the space that’s been delicately and vigorously created for you.


Denise Campbell,Ed.D.
Sr. Director of Marketing + Development, Altez Vacations
Denise worked as an event planner in Los Angeles for a decade and has trusted Owner + Creative Director, DeNeitra Burnett at Savvy Events for the planning of some of her own personal and memorable events.

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