When I first started in the industry as a corporate event planner, budgets were hefty and guest experiences were top-notch until they weren’t once the market crashed. Thankfully it seems as though now organizations are investing budget dollars back into events to boost customer and employee morale.


The majority of your budget should be going towards guest experiences that are tangible and can leave a lasting impression and it’s best to try new trends on a budget by focusing on one specific aspect. Focus on patterned votive candles or a few strategically placed linens instead of an entire room of bold design. In our personal design approach, we make sure to include stylish linens, innovative centerpiece designs, detailed signage, and you can never go wrong with innovative food and drink options that elevate the guest experience, late-night snacks and little favors that guests can take away.


Choose Wisely: On a budget, it’s best to stay away from overly trendy ideas. Classic is always the best route when budget is a concern. Try to remember what it will look like in photos 10 years from now. Choose wisely. Food, beverage and venue are what people remember so start there and build up. If you really want something trendy, pick one element and do it well.

I usually like to push for one great moment instead of a bunch of half-baked ideas. If social media-worthy moments are what the client is after, I say spend 20 percent of your budget. Typically I shoot for anything interactive that can be captured. Photo spaces, sexy lounge environments, interactive areas where guests have to participate in an activity. That could include 3D goggles, silent discos, or games with prizes. Anything that keeps the guests engaged is what I’ll fight to keep.


When it comes to budgets you want to know your big three—the three most important moments that matter to the success of your event. Invest your dollars in those to be the best they can be. We seek deeply to form partnership with and to understand each client and each project; to know what is valued and what constitutes success. It is only on that canvas can you start designing to a solution that will achieve results, meaningfully break the rules and bring joy to the guests experiencing it.

Guests have great expectations and want personalized experiences. It’s about how all of the elements play together and this is the space where clients sometimes go astray with their line item budgets. The beverages served at the bar matter as much as the bar they are being served from. The stage set is only as good as the lighting. The ability of the general session to successfully drive home the desired result is directly proportional to how much is invested in the guest’s experience of the space, not just the content. Line item budgets don’t always provide the necessarily peripheral vision to understand how to wrap all the elements together.

The other place where we see clients challenged is in this world of instantly searchable solutions and they try to understand who they are and what it is they are really shopping for. Are they looking for a service which will design them a solution? Or do they want to buy some pretty stuff for their party? Those are not the same thing.


With restrictions across the country in a state of constant flux, not everyone is ready to jump back into meeting in person. While some planners are eager to get back to “normal,” the long-term adjustment to new protocols and potential risks make some hesitant to gather.

While wearing masks and social distancing can help keep attendees safe, intentional design choices—such as including natureinspired elements and materials and plenty of plants—can also help calm attendees.


By the time the now-iconic photo of one Fyre Festivalgoer’s pitiful cheese sandwich had gone viral, social media platforms and news outlets were abuzz with shock and bewilderment—questioning how the seemingly star-studded island excursion could have resulted in half-built FEMA-issued tents, cancelled musical acts and stranded attendees.


With the fast-paced speed of events, follow-up is often forgotten, or the effort put forth is minimal. As the event host or planner, devoting more time and resources to the follow-up offers many benefits yet to be tapped by the broader event planning community. Professional event planners are experts in logistics, details and the experience, and often solely focused on executing a flawless event. Their engagement ends when the event ends.