Life of an Event Planner – Part One
WEB-EXCLUSIVE: Event and wedding planner Natalie Vishny gives us the inside scoop on putting on a huge event.
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Part one in a series
A client calls with a dream idea: How about hot air ballooning off a Malibu cliff at 6 p.m. on an April day, followed by a tent with twinkling lights, gourmet catering and luxury swag bags?
Once the contract is signed, my team is off to work.
Calls are made to professionals that we know. Basic questions are asked: Can we lift a balloon in April in Malibu off a cliff? Wind studies done. Permits explored. Site visits to beautiful locations completed.
Several calls happen next for the following vendors: tenting, lighting, décor, and colors.
We then meet with our clients as well as industry partners.
Next is a catering tasting with two caterers selected by the client based on reviews and referrals.
Swag bag logistics are in full force: from Rodeo Drive to Etsy, we’re helping the client create perfection for their guests. After all, who doesn’t love great, free stuff?
Now, that everything is in place, we’re ready to go!
Our team begins at 6 a.m. and ends work at midnight. Every detail needs to be planned down to the minute and there is 1/10th of a percent of room for margin of error.
A minute-by-minute timeline has been produced, and all partners have the timeline.
We make sure that all details are covered: Do air balloon pilot and guests have water bottles? Is the generator working properly? How is catering and entertainment load-in? Are tent, rentals and permits signed off? Guest special dietary requests secured? Swag bags ready to go?
Balloon takes off without a hitch. Guests are amazed with the site, concept and party itself.
Event partners are onsite.
Cell phone conversations and walkie talkies ring behind-the-scenes.
Guests love every element of the evening.
Swag bags are a huge hit.
Our team is having breakfast with respective families, and a call comes in. Someone lost a cell phone (later discovered in Aunt Sally’s car).
Then another call comes in: "Thank you, thank you, thank you! You turned a great moment into a forever memory."
And that call makes it all worth it.
Why Parties Matter
For the past 10 years, I’ve been invited to create incredible events in gorgeous ballrooms, beautiful homes and unique venues all across North America with destinationgurus.com and swellegant.com. I’ve helped clients turn important moments into forever memories. Today, while watching a video montage created for a repeat client, full of photos from all of the parties that I’ve thrown over the past 10 years for this family, I realized something. Yes, parties do matter.
Parties allow you to:
1. Celebrate. Parties create moments to celebrate something great with those you love.
2. Honor someone. How awesome is it to take an evening to celebrate a couple, a friend, a colleague?
3. Get friends and family together. There's no better way than a wedding to gather everyone to celebrate love.
4. Appreciate art and design. Professionals in the industry love to create environments for you. Sit back and enjoy our work.
5. Create a memory. Small moments turn into memories.
6. Meet someone great. Parties allow you to connect and meet people.
7. Mark a milestone. A company’s success? A big birthday? Don’t let them go by unnoticed.
8. Eat and drink. Yes, please. Pay for the best food and drink that you can afford.
9. Live in the moment. Love the cell phone-free zone for a few hours.
10. Have a little fun. You deserve it. Let loose and throw caution to the wind. Monday will come soon enough.
Natalie Vishny is owner and creative director of Swellegant in Orange County. As a well-known dedicated event and wedding planner, she is known for her Midwestern-style customer service, culinary creativity and deep catering background, design excellence, strong leadership sensibility, and great sense of humor.