Event Designers vs Event Planners

We are back from the Big Easy and full of inspiration. It was great to catch up with some friends I haven't seen in a while and make some new ones. Getting together with colleagues and talking about the state of the industry gave me great insight and definitely made me realize we are all in the same boat no matter what part of the country we work in. There are so many things to cover and I will be doing several posts on tips/tricks/trends etc.

Today though, I wanted to talk about a topic that was at the center of a lot of my design seminars: Event Designers vs Event Planners. Wow were there a lot of opinions on this! Event Design has become a trendy thing to say. But what does it emcompass? To me, it means pulling the overall look and feel of the big day together from the stationary to the ceremony to the tablescapes, lighting and overall ambiance of your event. I am proud to say that we have been Floral & Event Design from the conception of Soiree Floral - BEFORE it was trendy.

The debate during the conference was that so many wedding planners now say they do event design. I personally think that happened because One, it is trendy to say (I know, already covered that) and Two - people are trying to find a way to earn other money in this economy. That doesn't mean that your wedding planner is now a designer (and a good one at that). That would be like me saying we now offer services to book hotel rooms and we can offer travel packages to your guests. I would never dream of taking on such an important task.

My two cents at the conference was that there are people (like Preston Bailey, Michelle Rago)who started out doing flowers, and their businesses grew organically to include event design AND event planning. I've sat in on many a seminar with Preston, and he'll tell you he did that because it was easier to control things. I've had those same feelings myself, as did many of my peers in New Orleans. Why do we as designers need to be bothered with the 'hiccups' of dealing with a planner (don't get mad planners, keep reading)? There was a father/son design team who hosted a seminar and they talked about how they only do event design and have zero desire to do the planning aspect of an event (too many headaches as they so eloquently put it). My point is that planners are absolutely 100% necessary, helpful and needed during an event. There is a line that starts to be crossed, however, when one starts to say they now do 'event design.'

The solution and final thoughts from everyone in the room was to simply ask to look at the planners portfolio. You can't fake creativity - sure, it can be copied. That only goes so far in a design meeting though. A planner brings a whole set of their own unique elements to the table like budgeting, vendor selection, travel tips, keeping your event on a timeline, etc....invaluable information that is worth every penny you spend for that insight. Leave the design aspect to the designers - the people who can envision the overall event, who have the skills and ability to pull an amazing concept together for your client. In the end, everyone will look like rockstars!