Kastina Morrison is the creator of Kastina & Co, an event company in Minneapolis, MN. She has over 10 years of professional event planning & management experience, including hundreds of weddings since 2010. Launched from a foundation of venue management she has been involved in several high-end venues in Minneapolis. The majority of her work comes from creating weddings at ARIA in Minneapolis, MN during its founding years.
Kastina is driven by a passion for people, dedication to design, and a love of logistical planning. Kastina & Co. looks at event production through a theatrical lens with an aesthetic sense in order to create extraordinary experiences for guests and clients.
What are some tips for creating an elegant and memorable event on a tight budget?
Consider what elements have the biggest impact. I see a lot of clients blow $500 on Etsy on things that have little overall impact. When we get down the road to looking at things like a wine pour at dinner, or floor length linens or hanging a chandelier – we’ve run out of funds for things that would have created a bigger impact or better guest experience.
My best advice, skip the custom cocktail napkins and disposable party favors; rent floor-length linens instead. Or cut the floral budget and consider lighting instead – lighting can transform a space, for less money – than floral can.
How important are your relationships with vendors and what are some ways that you successfully cultivate and ensure good rapport?
Cultivating healthy and supportive vendor relationships is one of the most important things you can do as a planner in the event industry. I would even go as far to say, very often, vendor relationships are more important than client relationships (yes, I said it). Our clients are not typically ‘repeat business’, but the vendors we work with often repeat. Vendors can be your biggest support & referral system. Having supportive vendor relationships can help you get through tough timeline logistics or lay boundaries with a difficult client.
Fellow vendors can also be your biggest and best client referral network. We all have our own network we’ve spent years cultivating, so keeping positive vendor connections only helps you expand your own network to projects and clients you would not have gotten on your own.
What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?
The future of eco-friendly events & products. My biggest moral hurtle being part of the event industry is the amount of waste that we see from almost every event. So much food, paper, floral and decor is thrown out after an event that it breaks my heart. Personally and professionally I am excited to see the changes we are making to become a less wasteful Industry, but we have a long way to go. I recently learned about a company in Minnesota that can make any catering service product 100% compostable, and that’s huge!
What’s the first event you can ever remember planning and how did it go?
Fun story. Growing up my dad was a ‘World Religion’ teacher and encouraged me to throw a Holiday Party that would be inclusive of any religion. Everyone was invited.
At a young age, I learned menu prep and planning, beverage service necessities (don’t forget the ice!), temperature control and the importance of a coat check in winter. My dad and I would work on party playlists for weeks before the event.
By middle school, the party grew and the entire graduating class was invited. Hundreds of kids would be dropped off at our home and picked up later in the evening. By High School, we had to consider parking and traffic logistics! They went great, my parents got fellow teachers to help even. I’ve been planning events every year since.