We managed a snap of this beautiful place card table before the cards were yanked off by the waiting guests!
So You Are Thinking of Getting Into Events…read on…
So you are considering becoming an event planner…this post is actually inspired by a Facebook thread that I was tagged in recently. A woman was asking about becoming an event planner; what is involved and how much remuneration she could expect in the industry. Along with others, I gave her some information and we private messaged a bit about it. In the end, she decided the amount of work wasn’t worth the amount of money and would look elsewhere for her career.
That got me thinking. Do I make enough as an event planner to make all the work worth it? The answer is yes…and no. Yes, I make a decent amount of money and I love what I do. But…no, I can’t ever get those hours and minutes back that were spent on the phone with clients and vendors, the stress I incurred when dealing with last minute issues and changes, the aches and pains in my body after standing on my feet for 12-18 hours straight.
So if you are thinking of becoming an event planner, read this story of a wedding and let me know if you think it’s worth it.
THE LOFT WEDDING
Leading up to the wedding day:
This August wedding was booked in January so we had plenty of time to prepare. The young couple were lovely to deal with all throughout, so that made it all the more pleasurable!
We met with the couple three times, traveling into NYC (1.5 hours each way) for the initial meeting. There were numerous phone calls and many, many emails and texts over the next 8 months.
There were changes to the venue, to the menu, to the guest count and design plans. Many hours are spent on our computer, planning, designing, tweaking, adjusting, emailing and adjusting the event again. We spent time discussing the menu, layout, decorating ideas, etc. We made many orders, coordinated drop off times for all the vendors, organized all the décor we were providing from our warehouse, hired another planner to assist us for the day of…we were finally ready!
The Morning of…
It rained on the morning of the wedding, leading us to be in touch with the florist about possibly changing the location of the outdoor chupah. Luckily, it all cleared up and although it was extremely hot and humid, it was not raining, so chupah stayed on the rooftop.
There were 3 of us going to do the set up, myself, my partner Chany and our good friend and event planner, Erick. We met at our storage facility at 8am. We all loaded up a small truck and then went to Erick’s place to load up some of his props. We were hot and sweaty before we even got on our way!
We had lots of traffic going in to Brooklyn, and arrived there an hour behind schedule. Some of the vendors were already there, unloading. When we came to the street where the hall was located, there was massive roadwork being done all up and down the street. We had to crawl in around tractors and trucks. We managed to get a parking spot to unload, in front of the doorway. Then we discovered that the elevators were VERY SLOW. And full of passengers who were constantly coming in and out, visiting offices on other floors. We weren’t really supposed to be using the passenger elevator, but since the freight elevator was being used by the other vendors, they were nice and let us, but only in between passenger runs! It took us over an hour to get our stuff upstairs. It was the most frustrating hour ever!
Finally, we were upstairs in the hall with all of our stuff. (By the way, heat, humidity and frustration really tire you out.) By the time we got everything up, we needed a break, but there wasn’t time. We were behind schedule. My first job was to direct vendors that were dropping off their items, and to organize the items we had brought so everything could be found when needed.
The waitstaff began to arrive, so, as the event planner, we needed to give the captain instructions. The caterer was running 2 hours behind, so that was a constant worry in the back of my mind. When the rented oven was brought up, it was a behemoth! It wouldn’t fit through the kitchen door! There was absolutely no way it would go in and couldn’t be used anywhere else, so back in the truck it went. I called the caterer, who was still en route and told them what happened. They would have to figure it out somehow.
Place card disaster (almost)
In the meantime, I sat down at a table to write the table numbers on the log slices for each table. Chany and Erick were standing on ladders, stringing Xmas tree lights across the ceiling beams. All the while, we were directing the waitstaff and making little adjustments and corrections to their set up of the tables.
Then Erick went to set up the card table and I realized I didn’t have the place cards! I thought and thought, going back step by step to where I had ordered them from and when they were supposed to have been delivered. Soon I realized they were supposed to have come 2 days before, straight to my house but they hadn’t shown up and I (wrongly) hadn’t made myself a reminder to check up on them.
Three hours before…
I quickly emailed the printer to find out what had happened to them. He emailed back that he had sent them by messenger service to my house the night before. This messenger service (infamously) often comes in the middle of the night. Usually, they will just leave the delivery at my door. I made a frantic phone call and the service called their driver to find out where the delivery was. After half an hour, they finally figured out that the driver hadn’t wanted to leave the cards on my porch, so he took them back with him and figured he’d deliver them later the next day.
“Well,”, said I, “I’m in Brooklyn and you are in Rockland County (1 ½ hours away) and it’s 3pm and the guests are coming at 6pm and I need the cards.” They found a new driver and sent the cards with him. With the famous NY traffic, he barely made it in time. He arrived at 5:40pm. Erick and I were like a machine! He handed me a card, I quickly slid it into the cork holder, handed it back to Erick who placed it on the table in order. The guests were standing over our shoulders and grabbing their cards as they were set onto the table. Whew!!
And the wedding begins!
Despite begin late and having no oven, the caterer made their magic happen and all the food went out on time. Everything was wonderful. The guests loved the branded water bottles and hand-held fans that they grabbed on their way out to the chuppah. We had set up lots of little touches (signs and wagon wheels, etc) around the room, which the guests just loved!
After the chuppah was over and the dinner began, Erick, Chany and I climbed to the second floor (no elevator in the hall) and began setting up the dessert buffet.
Everything went smoothly and we all had a lot of fun dancing to the country music the couple had requested of their band.
All told, we were on our feet for 18 hours straight. We were so sore that we could barely move for 2 days afterwards! My clothing felt like it was melted onto me and would never come off! This is normal for event planners – just another day “at the office”.
This was a very smooth running operation. I’ve been at parties where the electricity went out (in Hawaii on a horse ranch in the complete black); food was burnt; the bride and groom’s fathers got into a shoving match; the manager of the venue pulled the plug on the band to make them stop playing to end the party, etc. etc. Yes, after 25 years in this business, I’ve seen it all. But I keep coming back for more, so I guess I can say it’s worth it…for me.
What do you think? I would love to hear from you in the comments section!
For more posts: DECORATIVE SIGNAGE FOR PARTIES