Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hawaii Weddings and Events Frequently Asked Questions

Trusting your "special day" to someone else is not always easy, so I always welcome questions from clients to make them feel at ease and comfortable with their decision.

Throughout my consultations, I have found some "common" questions, so I thought I would create a quick FAQ sheet:

What is your background? Prior to starting my own event planning business, I was the Director of Catering and Conference Services at the five diamond Kahala Mandarin Oriental, Hawaii resort (since changing ownership it is now called the The Kahala Resort). I have been in hotel industry since moving to Hawaii in 1984 working in a variety of positions at a vareity of hotels (front desk, assistant hotel manager, sales and marketing, food and beverage, controllers office and catering). Once I got into catering then I knew that was my true passion and pursued it.

What does CPCE and CMP stand for? CPCE is Certified Professional Catering Executive which is comprehensive exam covering all aspects of catering, food sanitation, laws, etc. (both hotel and off-premise) that the National Association of Catering Executives created to promote professionalism and excellence in our industry. CMP is Certified Meeting Planner which is another exam that Meeting Planners International has that covers the "convention" side of business (housing, shipping, meeting specifications, etc.) as I also handled groups when I worked at the resort. Currently I'm still the only person in the State of Hawaii that has both designations.

How many weddings have you done? When I worked at the resort I did over 800 weddings since I started in catering in September of 2007. That number does not include include the galas, fundraisers, Christmas parties, meetings, President George W. Bush layover visit, Michelle Wie's press conference or off-premise events including dinners on the stage at The Hawaii Theatre (which was very cool!). Since starting my company March 23, 2006, I just finished my 103rd event this past weekend and through referrals from my clients, my business has been growing rapidly as I approach my third year (........wow, time flies when you're having fun!)

How many events do you do in a month? It really depends on the scope and type of the event. In some cases I may be a "day-of coordinator" and in other cases I'm their full service planner, or most often somewhere in between as I really enjoy the "partnership" packages and working alongside the client. Other factors depend on location, number of guests, amount of time for set-up, number of hours the event is, etc. From my years of experience I know what I am capable of and I will not take more events than I can handle as giving my clients the service they deserve is very important to long term success. Money isn't everything.

We're not sure what package is best for us, do you provide a consultation? Yes, of course! I purposely don't post my rates on my website for the sole reason that it is better for me to learn more about your event, budget, etc. to determine what package may be best suited for you. I am also happy to customize a package for you.

We're from the mainland, do you do destination weddings? Actually, destination weddings represent 70% of my business! With today's technology, it makes it very easy to plan from afar (except that you physically can't see things which I know can be a little unnverving at times) but e-mail works out great due to the time difference. Even with my local clients, alot of the planning is done via e-mail because of convenience, so don't worry, it CAN be done!

Do you have an assistant? Generally I work alone as I am very methodical in my approach to planning and by the time the day comes I have literally done a "virtual tour" of the event through my head and know exactly what needs to be done, when and how long it will take me. If there is a "crunch period" due to short windows of time for set-up or perhaps alot of decor, etc. then I will bring in additional staff which is at my own expense. By working from a home-based business and not having to pay a regular full time staff I am able to keep prices down which in turn benefits you.

We're ready, how do we reserve the date!? A contract will be prepared and sent to you via e-mail to your attention requesting a 50% non-refundable retainer. Upon receipt of the contract and retainer the date is confirmed and a receipt will be sent via e-mail. I will also send a bridal questionnaire form that assists in the planning process.

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