In today’s hectic pace of life, many urban young and upwardly mobile consumers look services to make their life easier. This insatiable desire towards convenience has now created a new and ultimately lucrative profession – event planning.
A resourceful, well-connected and organized individual can enter the field with little capital. Friendliness, a genuine desire to help people find solutions to their problems, and quick thinking are assets that help one become successful in short order. Word-of-mouth in this segment of the hospitality industry is crucial, and must be sought during each event.
Most event planners get involved mainly in weddings, but large companies that organize shows, familiarity trips, promotions, fashion shows, and other social events are also excellent sources.
Event organizers must be able to determine the services required for a planned event which may involve venues, food and beverage, china, cutlery and glassware, linen, candles, tables, chairs, florists, bands, photographers, video-graphers, church or synagogue, transportation, rental of gowns, make-up specialists, hairdressers, beauticians, and arrangements for honeymoons.
In some cases all of the above may be required, in others, only part of the services.
Event organizers work on a fee-for-service basis, or on commissions for each service hired. Consumers are better off paying the event planner and cover all expenses themselves.
In many instances, an establishment, mostly hotels, are chosen for events that offer lavishly appointed banquet rooms with dance floor, audiovisual equipment, public address system, menus, different coloured linen, candles, and music on request.
The services of photographers/video-graphers and florists may be available through the hotel at additional cost.
In such instances event organizers may have to look after the transportation, rental of gowns, if required, and church services.
The advantage of an event organizer is that he/she knows most of the establishments or at least has information about their quality of services, food and keeping their contractual obligations.
When individuals organize a wedding event, they either rely on information from friends and/or relatives, or lack the time or initiative to find the best possible establishment.
Event planners with years of experience cut through all these time-consuming efforts and arrange with a hotel to stage a menu sampling and visit to the premises. If the price looks attractive and represents good value, valuable time is gained by booking. Hotel and often reputable banquet halls are in the business for the long haul, and will honour their contracts.
Small caterers may go bankrupt shortly before the event and you may lose your deposit in the bargain. Banquet halls come with or whiteout tables or chairs. In such cases, everything must be rented.
Caterers provide food. Some also offer china, glassware and cutlery, including servers. If the caterer simply provides food, the event organizer must find rental companies, arrange timing, and pick-up and negotiate costs of broken china or glassware and lost cutlery. Beverages must be purchased and made available in an appropriate fashion including glassware, ice, other condiments and services of a bartender.
Freelance people can hire through specialized agencies or arrange with friends with access to servers. This must be strictly supervised. In some cases servers fail to show up, or show up late, or show up high on drugs or drunk.
Music can be costly, and must be arranged with due care either by organizers or by the vent planner after due consultation.
Photographers and video-graphers can be hired by the event planner, or by referral from friends or relatives, of by simply consulting the Yellow Pages. There are a number of packages from which to choose. The best is to ask for samples of all proofs, and after examining them, make a decision.
Church services can be negotiated directly with the administrators and clergy. Some churches even have banquet halls, and kitchens for caterers, or have contracts with caterers. This is particularly true and most convenient in synagogues and if kosher food is required.
Kosher food requires a special kitchen under the supervision of a mashgiach and use of permissible foods, i.e. Front part of the beef, fish with scales only, ingredients by manufacturers that comply with kashrut laws, and exclusion of dairy and meat in the same meal.
Ceremony dates and times must be chosen carefully and booked well in advance if the church is popular and caters to a large congregation.
Transportation may range from the decorated car of a close friend to specialized companies that offer stretch limousines with wet bars, liveried drivers, and services to collect family members and deliver them after the banquet.
In all cases transportation must be well co-ordinated and timed between the church and banquet venue, particularly if both happen to be far apart.
The services of florists can be expensive and care must be exercised to select a reputable establishment to deliver flower arrangements as negotiated, and buttoniers for the groom and his entourage. The bride and bridesmaids require elaborate flower arrangements. Pending on season, flower arrangements can cost a lot.
Most brides want to buy their wedding dress, and some even have it specially designed and tailored. In rare cases brides will rent their gown. There are many rental companies. The same applies to grooms.
Hairdresser’s appointments must be booked well in advance during the wedding season (in Canada May and June) although in other countries it may extend to many more months. Even in Canada, mostly due to weather, wedding seasons may be longer, and today many couples marry overseas i.e Mexico, Jamaica, Caribbean Islands, and same even travel as far as Sri Lanka Hotels in these countries offer special packages. Some couples leave immediately after church or official ceremonies and arrange for a small banquet at he resort of their honeymoon. Such arrangements cost much less than in North America, and by necessity, the banquet is for fewer people.
Some weddings in North America are very large – 600 plus and very elaborate.
In India rural weddings can be for the whole village or community and require the help of many family members. There, only co-ordination of all events is required and little else.
In Europe, weddings banquets are usually small, up to 32, but things are changing.
Event organizers facilitate many of the negotiations, they know the “players” in the field and can advise accordingly.
If you have little time, or loathe running around from appointment to appointment, and play telephone tag with a number of people, you will be better off to contact an event planner.