Clutch Events is a full-service wedding & event planning company. We know how amazing, fun, and stressful planning an event can be! To help your celebration be amazing, fun, and stress-free we offer an array of packages to fit everyone’s needs!
Giving clients peace of mind and confidence that their event will be flawlessly executed is what I thrive on! There is nothing better than seeing a bride at the end of the night and her saying the coveted phrase, “I couldn’t have done it without you”. Moments like that demonstrate that event planning is my passion, not just my career.
My combination of cheery personality, down-to-earth demeanor, excitement for social gatherings, and my natural organizational skills make Clutch Events the ‘go-to’ for a fun event planning company for any occasion.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced while planning an event and how did you overcome it?
Two days before an international incentive trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina was set to begin a volcano in Chile erupted causing all US operated flights to immediately land (wherever they were) or turn around in mid-air which halted travel through the affected airspace. I had clients already onsite, scattered around South America and across the US.
It was a few long days of waiting for the air to clear, re-booking flights, speaking to each guest, and constantly working with our hotel and DMC on the ground in Buenos Aires to make sure rooms were ready and ground transportation was updated. I had to take a very overwhelming and ‘moving’ situation and break it down for each person. It was time-consuming, but everyone felt heard and taken care of. The program was delayed a day, but once everyone was settled everything went off without a hitch!
Generally speaking, in thinking through my most challenging moments during an event, it always comes down to how quickly, calmly, and efficiently you communicate to your team, vendors, and guests. Keep a level head, make a mental checklist of what needs to be done and forge ahead!
What are some tips for creating an elegant and memorable event on a tight budget?
Anytime something is personalized, it makes a guest feel special. It is a thoughtful touch and it shows your guests you made an effort. If you are on a tight budget, I would focus on only one moment or item. For example, having your seat assignments hand calligraphed with your guests’ first & last name is a nice touch. You can find talented artists who charge between $1.75 and $2.50 per card which is a small amount, but makes an impact when your guests take their seats.
If you had unlimited resources, what would your dream client and event look like?
An unlimited budget with a dream client?! I’m getting excited just thinking about it!! My dream client is a kind couple with a point of view! I love being able to get to know a client, figure out their wants and needs, present them with beautiful/fun ideas and vendors that I know are the right fit and they go for it because they trust me and my experience!
For their wedding, to start, I would make it a destination event, solely because it makes the celebration last longer and momentum builds as the days go on! We would add personal touches of the couple and their guests everywhere so they really felt catered to! My dream event would have a cohesive design so that when you arrived you can feel you are ‘in a moment’. It would have an open bar and a full dance floor!!
How important are your relationships with vendors and what are some ways that you successfully cultivate and ensure good rapport?
The relationships with my vendors are key to my success! I put the trust of my business in their hands when I refer them and so staying in the loop on their business and communicating often is very important.
I have a very social relationship with most of my vendor partners. We are in the event world so we get the luxury of being friendly and social with one another. We are very much a community vs competitors and I really think that plays a major part in keeping one another accountable. I would never want to disappoint one of them and I KNOW they don’t want to let me down!
What advice would you give someone who needs to plan a fundraiser but isn’t sure where to start?
Fundraisers have so many working parts that I would organize the event into functions and recruit a team of leaders to be in charge of each piece. Most fundraisers need the following:
- Event planner (the theme, design and day of timing, etc)
- Marketing & PR team to promote the event
- Procurement team (gets auction, raffle items)
- Tech team (event website, online ticket sales management, registration, auction software)
Once you have your functions identified, I would make a complete list of everything each team is responsible for and create a working calendar and timeline from the beginning to the completion of the event so everyone can see the big picture of how everyone intersects and how the fundraiser will get completed.
What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?
*Currently delayed due to COVID-19, but hopefully sooner than later, I will be leading a group of 50 on an international incentive trip to the Philippines and Singapore!! I love taking groups abroad and this trip is going to be a 10-day luxury vacation! It will be my first time taking a group to Asia, so I’m very excited about it!! I’ll get to highlight the beaches, the cities, the food, and the culture of each destination! This particular group loves to participate in group tours as well, so I will have a lot of fun planned for them!!
What inspired you to launch your own company in the event industry? How long did it take from initially having the idea to setting up and starting to attract a client base?
I was always the planner growing up and so it was a natural progression for me to turn what I was naturally good at socially to a profession. I started Clutch Events in 2007 and then the economy took a dive in 2008, so I had a bit of a slow start building a client base, but in hindsight that allowed me to get my feet underneath me and build my vendor relationships. Many of whom I still work with, 13 years later!
What’s the first event you can ever remember planning and how did it go?
If we really want to go into the weeds, I planned my high school’s homecoming events, proms, etc. And they were great;) Professionally speaking, my first event was an intimate wedding at a private home and it POURED rain all weekend! Everything was supposed to take place outside and we had to pivot the night before the wedding and tent the yard, move furniture inside the home, rearrange the catering space, etc.
I learned a lot of lessons on the fly, one of which is how costly tents can be and always have a backup pair of shoes! The silver lining is that it allowed me early on to see that the majority of guests are very accommodating to such circumstances and that they are there to support the couple and to have a great time!
What are some things you wished you knew before starting your businesses?
How to be a better bookkeeper & accountant! The planning I had down, but the logistics on the ‘back end of the business’ was a steep learning curve.
What’s the most surprising or unusual request you have ever received from a client and were you able to fulfill it?
I had a couple that wanted to get married by Elvis Presley and we surprised their entire group, bridal party and parents included, with an Elvis impersonator who came down the aisle singing. He took over for the officiant, married them, and sang them down the aisle! It went perfectly!!