What should the customer know about your pricing (e.g., discounts, fees)?
Flower prices change seasonally and I always recommend having the initial consultation in the floral cooler. Many other services are stream lined such as planning services, photo booth services and linens. Linens only vary by the type of fabric.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
The David Tutera Conference in Las Vegas (annually).
How did you get started doing this type of work?
I began planning events for the University of St. Thomas while I was a student there. In return for my services I was paid in credit hours. Which to any student this is better than money itself! I did this for 3 years and was able to get 60 credit hours paid for which is about 1/2 of the college tuition. I had a blast doing it and it became a passion of mine. It allowed me to tap into my creative side (as I was a prelaw major!). I then got a job working in hotels and event venue as well as for caterers and photographers while receiving my Masters in Restaurant and Hotel Management at University of Houston. I have enjoyed all of the aspects of the event industry but planning, managing and decorating is my all time passion and brings me the most enjoyment. I get to know my clients on a personal level and make lots of new friends along the journey of each event.
What types of customers have you worked with?
We average 2-3 photobooth events per month. We decorate for 4-6 high school proms per year and provide floral arrangements for an estimate of 36 events per year (weddings, corporate, church typically). Including some of the 36 floral events, we do provide a lot of planning and event management. Most people who hire us to manage their event end up asking for décor, linen, lighting, servers, etc along the way. We are happy to provide it in one bundle to stream line things and to have one point of contact. We will coordinate with the other vendors involved as needed.
Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?
Jamie's Hope Masquerade Against Cancer. The event could not have been put together without having top notch vendors, pulling their own weight and working together as a team. This does not always happen easily as some vendors forget to put the client first but this event went off without a hitch. It was not only gorgeous but extremely organized and guests took notice. When a guest comes up to you to offer you a compliment directly about a function, that says everything you need to hear to know that this event could not have been more perfect. This is what Jamie's Hope was for me. Not only successful from a planner/decorator standpoint but also from a guests point of view.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
Make sure you feel comfortable with the person that you are hiring. You want to like them and enjoy spending time with them because you may be spending more than a few hours together depending on what service you are searching for (florist vs. planner). Also, make sure they have good social skills if they are interacting with your guests (example: photobooth operators). If you are not comfortable with someone, walk away and don't look back. There are a lot of qualified vendors out there and you should not always select your vendor based on price. If you save $1000 but the vendor never calls you back, wouldn't you rather have spent $1500 and received top notch service? It's not worth losing the sleep over :)
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
I don't know how much to budget for a ______ (fill in for wedding, holiday party, fundraiser, prom, etc). The key is to hire a professional event planner. Although you are spending money up front the biggest complaint I hear is when someone does not hire help BEFORE they get stressed out planning their event. A true event planner and event manager will save you TIME and MONEY in the long run. You will sleep better and you will have someone to bounce ideas off of. Event planners have a list of qualified vendors from every area and often times receive discounts for referring so much business their way. This translates into money saved for each customer and in the end, the money that you saved on your vendors may have been enough to hire your event planner so you have made it out on top and stress free!