Elegant does not necessarily mean over-the-top multi-million dollar displays.

Andrew Roby

Event Storyteller

Location: Washington, DC

My name is Andrew and I’m a Proud Army Vet! I like to call myself an Event Storyteller who is passionate about romantic weddings and engaging events. I drink a lot of tea, would fight you for some whiskey (kidding), love seafood, and was born in Miami so of course, I LOVE TO HAVE FUN!! I’m a world traveler. I’ve been to 25 different countries and counting.

Within my 13 year career, I have had the honor of working with brands such as The Knot, Munaluchi Bride, The CW, Simon Malls, The Art Institute, Northern Virginia Magazine, The City of Alexandria, VA, Vita Coco, Kind Snacks, and Honest Tea. My work has been seen in Washingtonian Magazine, Modern Luxury, Wedding Chicks, Logo TV, CNN, Fox, Wedding Wire, and many other leading publications.
I’m most proud of my work with some tremendous charities like Ms. Veteran America, Susan G. Komen, The Cinderella Foundation, and So Others Might Eat who dedicate their lives to helping others.

It’s not just about planning events. It certainly isn’t about me. It’s about making sure you get the best help to reach your bottom line. Events are more than just logistical work. It’s what happens before, during and after each event that resonates the most with our clients. This is why we have a 5-star rating. I’m super grateful.

About My Company

We are Andrew Roby Events, your Washington, D.C. wedding and event planners. What has made our events magical over the last 10 years, is our ability to listen to you and create an experience based on your personality and style. Events and weddings will always be about you. We give you the meticulous attention to detail you deserve. You don’t compete for our attention, but we certainly compete with vendors and venues to ensure you get the absolute best. It’s a no stress type of relationship.

Whether it’s a conference, an LGBT wedding or a charitable fundraiser, we pride ourselves on building experiences that are surrounded by the love we have for you. We believe that you are our family and we want to give you the royal treatment with custom made services to fit your needs.

We are a boutique event management company which means we limit the number of clients we take on each year to eliminate being overburdened and decreasing our quality of service to you. What does this mean? We produce no more than two weddings each month and no more than 6 corporate or social events each month. This ensures you have quality service and adequate attention to your events. There is never anything more important to us than your event or wedding! Each of our previous clients can tell you how much they appreciate this style of service.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced while planning an event and how did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge I have ever faced while planning an event was when the City permit office called me 3 days before our outdoor event and stated they didn’t have our permits. I was in shock. I made countless trips to the office prior to this making sure everything they needed, they had from us.

We were told everything was good to go at our final visit and it was not. Thankfully we were able to book a nearby hotel that had enough space for our multi-day event. What was left was us contacting the participants and attendees to let them know about the change in venue. The show still went on and it was a success.

No one ever wants to be placed in a situation like that. We worked quickly to find a venue that would not further inconvenience our audience or those participating. It was a huge lesson learned when working with a city’s park and recreation department.

What are some tips for creating an elegant and memorable event on a tight budget?

My biggest tip for creating an elegant and memorable event is to focus on what will catch everyone’s eye. So often people focus on what is on the table. If you are looking at the room while everyone is seated, you don’t see what’s on the table. I recommend focusing on one single wow factor and go from there.

Another way to make things memorable is to always infuse the personality of the host(s) into the design of the space. If you are a music fan, why not showcase that?

Ultimately it’s about the journey your guests take from the time they receive the invitation to the time they get a thank you card or email. Every step should be intentional. You don’t have to spend a great deal of money to make something intentional. Elegant does not necessarily mean over-the-top multi-million dollar displays.

If you had unlimited resources, what would your dream client and event look like?

I’ve always wanted to have a Count of Monte Cristo type event. It’s an outdoor party with huge spheres that serve as lights. All of the staff would be in a vintage Victorian style costume to welcome guests as they arrive. I would have guests arrive via yachts or horse-drawn carriages.

The host of the party arrives in a mini hot air balloon and the guests go crazy. Entertainers from fire breathers to stilt/tight rope walkers would surround tables as guests ate. Some of the world’s top chefs would be there at action stations creating signature dishes.

I would have various sitting areas to ensure guests are able to relax and roam around versus being stuck at a reception table.

We would have amazing performances by leading artists so that we would dance into the night. Just before we thought it was over, a fireworks experience would take place to close out the events.

How important are your relationships with vendors and what are some ways that you successfully cultivate and ensure good rapport?

I think relationships with vendors are very important. There is no one person that can make an event successful. Since we are not one-stop-shops, we rely on vendors and their areas of expertise to capture the vision of the client and help us execute.

However, cultivating vendors takes time. Often you see a potential vendor based on the work he or she executes, but that doesn’t always mean they are easy to work with. Just like clients, vet event and wedding professionals. It’s key that we vet each other to make sure we can work well together. Ask other vendors who have done work with the vendor you want to work with, how well they worked together. Ask the hard questions such as turn around times, how often they reply to emails and calls, how fast or slow do they execute on the day of.

These things you will not know unless you ask. You never want to wait until the day of to discover you booked the wrong vendor. When you do find a great vendor, keep them in mind. Send them business even if you are not working that event. Stay up to date on what offerings they have and have an in-person meeting with them at least twice a year.

Vendor relationships are forever on-going and something that we all can do better with.

What advice would you give someone who needs to plan a fundraiser but isn’t sure where to start?

My advice for someone seeking to plan a fundraiser is to first see who is on your team. If you don’t have someone that’s good with marketing, PR or is social media savvy, start there. The goal of a fundraiser (online or in-person) is to get as many people aware of the cause as possible.

Maximizing awareness can help you connect with the audience who is willing and able to give. Not only give but share your message with their friends so they can give. Having a team and then having a fundraising goal is critical. Create a plan on how you will inform donors. Are you doing a news interview? Are you using Ambassadors to help spread the word? Are you making fundraising into a competition like you see with charity races and walks?

The framework of your fundraiser starts here and then you can execute by letting the public know. You won’t get a lot of traction by simply saying give. Have a compelling story. This is the perfect time to be a storyteller and explain why giving to your fundraiser will make a difference. For example, if this is going to benefit a cancer patient, ask a few survivors what fundraisers like yours did for them.

Carry all of this over to the execution of your event. When people are moved emotionally, they will give. Make sure your programming speaks to their emotions. Don’t have great marketing leading up to the event and fall flat at the event. People will not return to the next one.

What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?

I am really excited about being bi-coastal. My goal is to live in both DC and LA working in both locations. I really get excited each time I get closer to making this goal a reality.

What’s the first event you can ever remember planning and how did it go?

My first event was at my apartment. HA! It was a mess. I never knew how much work it would be just to have people over. I also didn’t know how expensive parties can get. I tried to cook for everyone while also cleaning up, doing some decorations and anything else. I couldn’t handle it all so I had no decorations, ordered pizza and purchased alcohol. I figured, they are my friends, they will love the effort. Everyone came, had fun, I fell asleep and woke up to a mess. Took me the entire weekend to clean up. Was so worth it though.

What are some things you wished you knew before starting your businesses?

I wished someone told me I needed to build a team around me. I wish someone said to learn about mental health and having a work/life balance. To delve more into finance. How to build relationships. How to be a storyteller. How to adapt to social media and advertising on various platforms.

These things, you don’t learn in school and I wish I did.

Andrew Roby
Author: Andrew Roby

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