#tbt to the October ILEA Austin meeting which was a special treat in many ways, from the gorgeous venue at Vintage Villas with its miles of open water views over Lake Travis, to the richly colored fall décor by Green Dot, the Inviting Pear, Monarch Event Rentals and BBJ Linen to the message presented by the star of the show, celebrity event guru Sasha Souza.
The meeting opened with cocktails on the terrace overlooking the lake, featuring amazing build-your-own mimosas with so many unusual fruit options. The weather couldn’t have been more beautiful to start the meeting in the fresh fall air.
Moving inside to a lovely brunch served by Vintage Villas catering, the menu featured quiche & stuffed French toast. ILEA members enjoyed the brunch while Sasha stepped to the stage to deliver an educational program full of solid real-world advice valuable not only to planners but also to vendors of every category.
The main focus of her talk was to take control of the event. If you don’t want to do burlap & lace for the millionth time, DON’T! Your client is looking to YOU to be the expert & to plan the event of their dreams, not by just blindly following trends or limiting yourself to the client’s vision, but to create your own trends & use your creativity to take their ideas to a level they could have never envisioned on their own.
When meeting with a client, whether on an initial phone call or at the first consultation, all the talking should be about them. Make them feel like they have a new best friend & your chances of being hired skyrocket. People hire vendors they feel a connection with & genuinely like. Don’t just ask about the event–talk about their life, their hobbies, family, pets, activities, interests, jobs, etc. Learn as much as you can about them, which will, in turn, help you create a more dynamic event matched to their personalities.
They’re coming to you for your expertise and opinion. Be confident & bold. Be honest with them. Don’t kiss up & say what you think they want to hear. If their ideas are awful, say so, diplomatically. Show them you can create a magical event beyond their expectations. Value your time. Set a process & adhere to it.
Take their Pinterest board & use it as inspiration & a springboard. Create a new board just for them with many ideas that are NOT from weddings & propose the overall vision from there. A big point was to present the client with as few choices as possible, to guide them where you want them to go, & also to prevent overload & indecision from having too many choices.
Sasha works with a long-time vendor team, & feels that you’re well within your role to insist on using fellow vendors you know, trust, & have many years of experience working together.
Thinking on your feet is a mandatory skill. Things will go wrong. Being able to handle them in a creative & non-disruptive way is key to ensuring a smooth & stress-free event for the client. She emphasized having backup power as one of the most crucial parts of the event, no matter where it is, even if it means spending several thousand more to ensure there is plenty of emergency backup.
After her dynamic & informative talk, Sasha stayed to sign her brilliantly colored books full of design inspiration & to talk with ILEA members. Members wrapped up the meeting with a sweet treat by Cakes Rock!
Thank you to our wonderful sponsors:
We hope to see everyone at the next ILEA meeting!
Blog written by Christy Seguin, the Rock and Roll Diva with Cakes Rock!