Category: Party Planning

TOP THREE REASONS TO HIRE AN EVENT PLANNER – REVISITED

About a year ago, I wrote an article that outlined the top five reasons to hire a professional event planner. You can read it here. Well, my son just got married a few weeks ago, and I have a WHOLE NEW perspective on precisely why hiring a professional event planner is so important. Given my recent experience, I thought I’d take a moment to provide a fresh viewpoint as both an event professional AND as a host.

#1: IT’S YOUR EVENT, BUT YOU CANNOT, AND SHOULD NOT, DO IT ALL

Not only do I have more than twenty years of expertise in the event industry, but I was one of the principal designers of my son’s wedding. I designed and produced the invitations, florals, centerpiece décor, and event signage. The bride’s mother and I made the bride’s veil and I made custom engraved wood hangers for the bride and all of her bridesmaids. I even created a custom ketubah (Jewish marriage contract) and wedding programs. I put together a detailed information packet for the wedding participants so everyone would know where to be and when to be there, as well as what to expect. I thought through every last detail and spent hours fine tuning a very comprehensive timeline. We had a group of our closest friends, as well as some of our vendors, willing to help run the event for us.

That was a mistake.

Having expertise in one aspect of event planning does NOT mean I have direct knowledge of other aspects of event planning. As a custom invitation and décor designer, I’m one of the vendors whose work is mostly completed and set up before an event even begins. I don’t generally see how those same events actually run in real time. Yes, I’ve put on a few parties of my own, and I absolutely have the skill set to manage a wedding. So it’s not that I wasn’t capable of managing things. But as I’ve now learned first-hand, a wedding, with more than two hundred guests, two different families, and the emotional attachment of this being for my own son, is a completely different animal from other kinds of events I’ve planned. I was mistaken to think that I could (or even should) manage the event myself, or rely on my vendors and friends to do some of the event management for me.

As I tell all my clients, “be a guest at your own event.” I also tell my clients “whatever happens on the day of your wedding would have happened whether you planned for it or not.” So no matter how capable you are, you simply cannot be a guest at your party when you have to manage all the “unplanned” mishaps that happen at every large event. Our mishaps included a member of the bridal party knocking over a vase in the ceremony hall during photos, spilling broken glass and gallons of water all over the floor. Another member of the bridal party missed most of the photos because she took too long to get ready. And the rental vendor mistakenly came back three hours early to pick up his rentals. Your event planner should handle these kinds of mishaps, not your friends, and certainly not the mother-of-the-bride or mother-of-the-groom.

We were very lucky because to our guests, our event went very smoothly. They didn’t see all of these “mishaps,” and only a few people even knew about some of the behind-the-scenes “drama.” Perhaps it’s part of our relatively easy-going nature that we were able to allow all of this to roll of our backs and not let any of it affect our enjoyment of the day (another piece of advice I give all of my clients). And my friends did a GREAT job and were absolutely incredible. But it would have been BETTER for all of us if we would have hired a professional event planner who was THE contact person for everything and everyone, and to manage the venue, caterer, DJ, photographer, videographer and all these little “mishaps.” You can still do a lot of the fun planning and design work yourself, as we did. But when it comes to the actual day of the event, having a professional event planner who has been on board with the planning from the beginning is key so that all of the details you carefully prepared can be implemented by someone who is dispassionate, who is not emotionally involved in the event, and who is looking out for YOU.

#2: PROFESSIONAL PLANNERS PROTECT YOUR INTEREST AND MAKE SURE YOU GET THE PARTY YOU WANT

As I wrote in my last article, a professional event planner is a neutral, disinterested (as in not emotionally involved) person who you can turn to for direction and advice. He or she is hired to protect your interests. For example, we all know that some people have their own opinions about things, and not everyone will be happy with the details you choose or the choices you make. For example, at our wedding, guests were supposed to greet the bride in the downstairs outside patio. The venue manager, therefore, did not want our guests entering the reception hall before the ceremony, and was shooing people out. However, it was almost 100 degrees outside, and some of our elderly guests needed to get out of the heat. A professional event planner could have helped act as a buffer between what the venue operator thought we wanted and what our guests needed at the time.

#3: PROFESSIONAL PLANNERS ALLOW YOU TO BE A GUEST AT YOUR OWN PARTY

This reason bears repeating. The best part of any event is participating fully. If you’re too busy worrying that the photographer is running late with photos (this happened to us), or that the videographer is yelling at the venue manager for moving his equipment without asking (yes, this happened at our event, too), or that one of your tables didn’t have enough chairs set up (yep…this also happened at our event), you won’t enjoy yourself. A professional event planner will act as the official point person to deal with any issues that may arise so that you can enjoy the ceremony and reception and be in the moment. As the host, neither you, and especially not the bride and groom, should even know about any of these behind the scenes moments.

Even though the services of a professional event planner are not free, what I’ve learned firsthand is that the cost can be well worth it because it will allow you to focus on what’s important to you: your family, your friends, and the joy of your event.

For a list of professional event planners I work with, contact me at Marlene@InvitationMaven.com.

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Decorate with Candles for a STUNNING Effect

Invitation Maven was honored to provide décor for Pedram’s 40th Birthday Party on March 31st, 2018. His amazing girlfriend Denise wanted to plan a party he’d remember forever. She wanted to accentuate the stunning views of the venue with accents of white and lots of light. Here are photos of our finished work. I’d say it was truly stunning indeed!

The client had a vision and we helped bring it to life!

Guests were greeted when they arrived at the party by a beautiful candle and flower display in the entry.

Read more

Ordering Custom Invitations – How Much Lead Time Do I Need?

I am often asked “How much lead time do you need to create a custom wedding invitation?” Well, the short answer is “It depends.” That may not sound very helpful, but every invitation design is unique, and because there is an almost endless choice of styles and printing techniques, the TYPE of invitation we’re creating largely dictates the amount of lead time we need.

However, here are some general guidelines to help you figure out your timeline for ordering custom invitations for your wedding or event. You’ll need to account for design and production time, as well as your mailing window. We’ll start with design and production.  Read more

Invitation Maven designs on www.AisleSociety.com!

Invitation Maven is proud to announce that a styled shoot we participated in and that was featured on Southern California Bride a few months back was reported on Aisle Society! Here’s a link to that feature:

https://www.aislesociety.com/post/elegant-spanish-styled-wedding?utm_source=southerncaliforniabride&utm_medium=email&utm_term=unclaimed-featured&utm_content=Rebecca+Theresa+Photography&utm_campaign=Elegant+Spanish+Styled+Wedding

And here’s a link to the original feature from Southern California Bride:

http://www.thesoutherncaliforniabride.com/2017/09/elegant-spanish-style-wedding.html

 

 

Thinking of planning a mitzvah on your own? The top 5 reasons why you should hire a professional event planner instead

Many people don’t think a bar or bat mitzvah is as big a deal to plan as a wedding. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Often, bar and bat mitzvahs, even small ones, can have just as many (sometimes more) details to keep track of as weddings. And if you truly want to enjoy yourself at your party, hiring a good professional event planner is key.

Here are the top five reasons why hiring a professional event planner is a good idea:  Read more

What to Do When Beloved Friends and Family Can’t (or Won’t) Attend Your Special Event

Relatives won’t come to your party? Friends say they’re not interested? You’re not alone.

I just got off the phone with a client who confessed she is experiencing some unexpected drama as the responses for her twin’s b’nai mitzvah are coming in. A beloved aunt and cousin, who live out of state and who my client anticipated with great joy would come to her event, unfortunately declined her invitation. The reason why they aren’t coming isn’t because they are ill or can’t afford the trip, but because they just don’t want to. My client attended all four of the bar mitzvahs and bat mitzvahs for her cousins’ children, her aunt’s grandchildren, at great expense and effort by the way (they live on the other side of the country) so she is understandably feeling greatly hurt and disappointed that her aunt and cousin aren’t making a similar effort, even this once.

This same client has a so-called friend who also declined because, according to the friend, “I’ve been to too many bar mitzvahs already so I’m not going to come to yours.” Coming on the heels of hearing from her cousin and aunt only made this so-called friend’s callous response even more painful.  Read more

Do It Yourself (DIY) versus Professional Invitations: Pros and Cons to Help You Decide What’s Best for You

Last month, I wrote about how to add unique and personal touches to your wedding or party décor with projects you do yourself (known as Do It Yourself, or DIY). The article was actually about how you can hire a professional to help you if you don’t think you can or don’t want to do the work yourself, but still want that personal touch at your party. This month, I thought I’d delve a little deeper into the Do It Yourself decision as it pertains to invitations, and present some pros and cons to help you decide whether or not you should make your own or hire a professional. This article will help you figure that out so you can set the right tone for your event.

INVITATION STYLE AND DESIGN

The invitation you choose for your event is largely based on how formal your event is and what tone and expectations you want to set for your guests. If you are throwing an elegant affair, you’ll probably want to have an invitation that imparts the formality of the event. Fancier invitations such as letterpress, foil stamping, laser cut designs, and printing on things other than paper (like plastic or wood), are not easily done from home. Ordering invitations from a professional company expands the range of papers and printing styles you can choose from. Also, if you have a specific design in mind, the best option is to Read more

Five Common Invitation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

When designing your custom event invitation, whether it’s for a wedding, bar mitzvah, fundraising event or milestone birthday, there are a lot of things to keep in mind. There’s more to it than simply creating the invitation and placing it in the envelope. Here are the top 5 mistakes most people make when creating their invitations and some tips about how to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Not including all the necessary information on the invitation

I find that some clients worry that their invitation includes too much information. However, I counter that it’s best to include all of the information your guests will need to know rather than leave something out for the sake of cutting out a few words. Of course, your invitation should include the basic details of the event such as the day and date of the event, the time the event starts, and the location of the venue, but don’t be afraid to include inserts with additional details. For example, one of the most common inserts is a Map and Directions card. Even though most cars and phones have navigation software to help guide guests to the location of your event, including a pre-printed map or printed directions in the invitation, especially if the venue is difficult to find, is a courtesy many guests will appreciate.  Read more

Don’t Get Duped When Planning Your Wedding – Common Wedding Scams and How to Avoid Them

It’s wedding season and wedding planning is in full swing for couples seeking to tie the knot over the next few months. Speaking of wedding planning, I just read a timely article about wedding scams that are making the rounds. As someone who has worked in the industry for more than 20 years, I have heard of some of these scams, and never heard of others. So I thought I’d write a quick post about what to look out for and how to avoid becoming a victim, whether you’re a wedding vendor or a bride.

Accidental Overpayment

One of the newest scams targeting wedding vendors and event planners is referred to as “accidental overpayment.” This is when a supposed bride or groom contacts a vendor purporting to throw an extravagant wedding and tricks the vendor into sending money from a bad check she deposits.

Here’s how this scam works: a bride and groom contacts a vendor about providing services for their wedding and sends a check for more than what is required. They then claim the overpayment was an accident and ask the vendor to deposit the check, and then ask for the vendor to “refund” them for the overpayment. However, instead of sending the refund directly to the couple, they ask the vendor to send the refund to another business that is supposedly working with the couple. That payment goes through, but the original check bounces and the vendor is out that money.  Read more

DIY Not Your Thing? Hire a Professional to Help Create Personal Details for Your Wedding or Mitzvah

As a professional designer of custom wedding invitations, I see all manner of design incorporated into a bride and groom’s special day. My absolute favorite events are those where the bride (and sometimes even the groom) create their own beautiful handmade details. I love these weddings because the details make the event personal and bring guests closer to the bride and groom. And with sites like Instagram and Pinterest, Do-It-Yourself, or DIY, is more popular than ever.

These websites provide a plethora of ideas brides and grooms can search for inspiration. Many of the ideas even include How To instructions and links for finding necessary supplies and materials. But what I hear most often from my clients who LOVE what they see is that they just aren’t able to do it themselves. Either they don’t feel like they’ve got the creative bug or they don’t have the time or inclination.

That’s where I come in.  Read more