Party, Wedding And Event Planning - Getting Started

There can be a lot of anxiety that goes along with planning a party which can make the whole experience less enjoyable. In this episode we talk about some of the pain points when it comes to planning a party wedding or event. We discuss how long it takes to plan a typical party or wedding and options to make it stress free. We look at the pros and cons of hiring an event, party or wedding planner and what they can bring to the table.

Party, Wedding and Event Planning - Getting Started

                                       Podcast Transcript

Introduction (00:05):

Welcome to the Partyology Experience with your host Marcus Prentice.

Marcus Prentice (00:16):

Hi guys. Welcome to the Partyology experience. Yes your here with Marcus Prentice and I’m here today with our guest speaker, Emma DeJong, the general manager of feel-good events. Welcome Emma.

Emma De Jong (00:25):

Thanks. Hello, how is everyone?

Marcus Prentice (00:27):

Excellent. How was your weekend?

Emma De Jong (00:29):

Yeah, you know Good. I’ve had a week off, so I’m feeling great today.

Marcus Prentice (00:33):

Im sure you are. Now enough of the small talk in today’s episode, we’re talking about planning. Now this is something we’ve talked about before and is super, super, super, super important and thats is planning. We quite often say the you can’t over plan it. Well, I guess you probably could, but the more planning you do, the more chance that your party, event or wedding is going to be a success.

Emma De Jong (01:01):

I agree. Be organised.

Marcus Prentice (01:04):

If you think about planning a party or a wedding, the stats going round, if we’re planning a wedding, say, is it takes about 200 hours to plan a wedding, which is a lot of time.

Emma De Jong (01:13):

It does. Yeah. Trust me Im in the thick of it.

Marcus Prentice (01:17):

Yes Emma would know and you’re in, you’re in the event industry. So you have a head, start. You already know a lot of stuff, but for Joe blow, who knows nothing or has an organized a wedding before, which is most people, 200 hours is alot of time.

Emma De Jong (01:31):

Yeah. Minimum, I think. Yeah. I think even more by the time I’ve done research and everything above. Yeah. You’re looking at a minimum of 200.

Marcus Prentice (01:37):

We say for organizing a party, you’re looking at at least 50 hours again, by the time you do all your research and venues thinking about venues and whether you go and look at stuff, or it’s just done online. Emails back and forth from suppliers, venue, whatever it might be you know, even going out and trying on a new dress or a suit or something like that, it takes time. So it can take a lot of time.

Emma De Jong (02:05):

Yeah, it’s like a full time job. I know some brides will ring and go, I should have just started working part-time and then done all the extra wedding planning on the other days, because they just don’t have the time to organize their wedding. They say I just didn’t realize how long this takes. So its alot of time.

Marcus Prentice (02:19):

Usually with weddings most brides and couples think about it at least a year out because they know you’ve got to plan lots of things. So you’ve got a lot more time, I guess, for a wedding. For parties I don’t know if they think that far in advance and then it can become more stressful because there is a tighter time frame. They then become stressed because they there’s so much to do. They then realize there is as much to do for a party potentially as for a wedding, just slightly different. So in today’s podcast, we’re going to talk about where do you start? So Emma has a lot of experience in this, especially organizing weddings and we’ve organized obviously hundreds and thousands parties. We speak to people about this sort of stuff all the time. Emma, when you’re recommending what people should do from the beginning or where to go, what do you usually suggest?

Emma De Jong (03:10):

So for us, because we’re a supplier, we really need more details when people come to us. So making sure that they know exactly what they want. So if you’re having a party and you think you’re gonna have a theme or a style or something like that, you really need to do your research on what type of style you want to do and how you actually gonna execute that. So I love Pinterest, everything on Pinterest, like fanatical, like Marcus would know this, I have boards upon boards upon boards of themes. And I think that’s a really good idea because you start getting a bit of a pattern of what you, like. I find people we like are like this type of style, but then they start pinning things and then realize I’m going down a bit of a different path here. Where am I going to end up?

Emma De Jong (03:46):

So it’s really good for us as supplies and just other event companies to understand where you’re going. We have lots of clients that will actually share their Pinterest boards with us. And that really helps, Oh my God, I love it. I’m an organized freak. So I love any, like give me more information, overload me. I love it. So those sort of things, Instagram is becoming huge as everyone knows Facebook has such, I think it’s more for like communication and sort of working out some suppliers, but Instagram, these days for events, huge. Lots of inspiration and you get to see what clientele that company are doing, what type of functions they’re doing. Are they sort of on the same path as you? It’s a really good idea to start looking at all their socials and all those sort of things to get an idea of what you like.

Emma De Jong (04:28):

Be realistic of what you want. We have lots of photos of, you know, fairy light installations. God, they look good, but they look a hundred thousand dollar custom made very light installation. So be realistic as well. But research is a huge thing. Come to us with all the information. Of course you don’t know everything, but just a starting point would be really great just to get some ideas of what you sort of think. And then we can then add to that as well and say, what about, we could do this. You could do that. It really gets all the ideas flowing. And then we know if we are on the same page as well.

Marcus Prentice (05:01):

That’s what the research is all about. It’s about creating that vision or the mood board. So that then helps with the rest of the planning. So when people plan their events and parties, quite often, one of the biggest stresses that we’ve noticed in our business and lots of other businesses is that do you trust those suppliers? Or how do I find a supplier that I can trust because no matter what type of the event you’re going to deal with lots of different suppliers. Whether it be the function venue, a florist or somebody makes you a cake, the DJ, whatever it might be, how do you know you’re going to trust them? So is there something that clients can do to know that they can trust that supplier?

Emma De Jong (05:47):

Trust is a hard thing to come by when you dont, know that business personally, I think if you are a real people person, I would go and see the business in person or ring on the phone and have an actual conversation with them. You get a pretty good vibe from someone by either meeting them face-to-face or over a phone call. If you really sort of feel like they understand you and you kind of feel comfortable talking to them thats a good start. Everyone’s not going to be for everyone. We’re not going to suit everyone and vice versa for other companies. So make sure that you’re happy with that person you’re dealing with on the phone, or just also, you know, looking at all their socials and just their business as a whole. Are you happy with their culture? Are you happy with who they are? You happy with what they do. It’s sort of those things, all those things that add up to do you trust them? I think if you can say that they’re working at, you know, decent venues, they’re doing decent jobs, you know, all those sorts of things, you go, well, they must be doing a good job.

Marcus Prentice (06:42):

Google reviews and those sorts of things.

Emma De Jong (06:43):

Google reviews Is a hard one sometimes because you know, we’re not all going to have five star reviews and there is going to be like a juggle between good and bad. But most of the time, if you’ve got mostly good reviews, you know, there’s going to be one off. So it always is how can you get, if you’re getting five stars all the time then wow. Little things happen, but those things like reviews, you know, testimonials from other clients of how happy they are. Of course every company’s going not going to put out what everyone said about them, but if they got lots of testimonials from people saying they really happy and wrapped with their, their service and everything like that, then you kind of know that they’re a good business.

Marcus Prentice (07:19):

Suggestions from friends and recommendations, from function venues. Usually the function venue is the first point of call if you’re hiring a function venue and you’re not planning to have something at home. Usually a lot of venues have a supply list and some of them are strict on what supplies they let into their venues, because it does represent their business as well. So if a supplier does a bad job, then it can potentially make the whole function go bad. So a lot of venues will only recommend decent suppliers. So that’s a really good start. I know lots of venues will recommend some top quality suppliers whether it be florists or photographers or whatever. This is a good way to get to find some event suppliers to begin with and to make contact with them.

Emma De Jong (08:11):

The best thing about that, as well is that those suppliers know those venues. Now there’s lots of venues here in Melbourne and around the world that aren’t the easiest to actually get into. You might have to pick up equipment at midnight and having a supplier that already knows all those ins and outs is a good start. A supplier that knows all the ways that the the actual function venue works and the people that work there, it makes your life a lot less stressful. I already know that then you don’t need to do all that running around worrying about suppliers getting into venues etc the client is alot happier.

Marcus Prentice (08:38):

And sometimes, it may cost a little bit more for thats supllier, but it may be worth it just for the stress free experience.

Emma De Jong (08:42):

A hundred percent. I think that that’s the way to go. Of course you can find your own people and most venues will allow you to bring other people in. But people that know the venue is always a good thing.

Marcus Prentice (08:51):

That is another good point. Some venues are so fussy about who they let into their function venue, that they will actually charge you extra if you don’t use their suppliers. So that’s something that when you’re looking at a venue and thats not a lot of venues, but you need to look into that and ask those questions. If I bring in my own supplies, is that okay? And if so, are you going to charge me? Which does seem a little bit strange, but there’s certain venues in Melbourne that we work at that we know that the clients have to pay extra If that supplier is not on their preferred supplier list.

Emma De Jong (09:25):

There’s reasons behind that, that’s for them to make sure their reputation stays quite high, that their suppliers are always top notch doing a hundred percent to what the client wants. I’m not saying that all the other companies aren’t that are going to come in, but they’re just very particular on who they’re letting. I understand that.

Marcus Prentice (09:40):

Recommendations from venues. I think you can put a lot of value in, and also to your friends and family, if they’ve used a particular DJ before or photographer or whatever, you’re going to have a bit more trust from your friends or family. So that then leads to the key because it is so stressful in organizing a function or wedding or party, you know, should you hire a function planner, event planner, party planner or a wedding planner?

Emma De Jong (10:05):

All of the above what are you going to do? Everything.

Marcus Prentice (10:08):

Should you do it? Now there are some benefits and obviously most of these benefits all comes at a cost. So obviously you’re going to, you’re going to pay for that service, but in the long run, it can be worth your money. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed by organizing a party or a wedding, the first thing I would suggest is if you can’t afford a, a function planner or event planner, keep your function very simple. Don’t try and do elaborate things. just get the basics that you need and keep it as simple as possible. This will make it as stress-free as possible. If you are going to do it yourself and you want to keep it as stress free as possible plan ahead. Give yourself as much time as possible as that will help you.

Marcus Prentice (10:53):

If you do have it in your budget to hire a party planner or event planner then there’s going to be lots of benefits in that. They will know decent suppliers, they’ll have their own group of suppliers that they work with. They have expert knowledge in how to set up a function space, the dynamics of how the function works, what you should and shouldn’t do. They’ll help you with color choices and decor and when to do things and, and all those types of things, things that you probably wouldn’t even think of. All the finer details, they will will help work in with your budgets and they’ll save you a lot of time. They’ll save you money probably because, you’re going to save time. you’re going to save money as well. An event or wedding planner will keep you on the right path because they might have a mood board they’ve got so many different images and the clients thinking where do I go with this? The clients like I’m so excited. I love every theme and style which can cause issues. The event planner will then help keep you on the right track. There’s so many pros for this.

Emma De Jong (12:01):

It’s the money thing as well. I think sometimes if you can’t afford it, which is totally fine. Another really good thing is if you’re going to have suppliers, really use them to your advantage. Just Because suppliers might just hire equipment doesn’t mean that they don’t understand how things work. They can give you so much information. So I think use that as a key. Most suppliers we’ll give you information without having to pay for it. So they’re not going to plan your function for you, but they can give you really good key elements to really focus on and make sure that you’re sticking with your plans, you planning properly, and you’re actually doing what you want to do for your party. So you use that to your advantage.

Marcus Prentice (12:34):

And every supplier is an expert in their field, so they will give you good tips.

Emma De Jong (12:39):

That’s why we do this as jobs. We have all that information in our brains.

Marcus Prentice (12:42):

Again, that comes down to trust. If you do end up hiring a party planner, if you’re one of these people that just, I want to do it and want to do it my way, you probably better off not hiring a party planner or a wedding planner, You’re going to be frustrated because they may not agree with everything you say. So the party planner is there to help, you know, create your vision or your wedding vision so have some trust in them. That’s easier said than done but something that’s super important.

Emma De Jong (13:14):

You need trust because they’re going to do things that you might go, I don’t know about that. On the day you’ll get there and go, I’m so happy we did that. And that’s where you need to have some trust because they are the experts. It’s important to listen and we can do some things that you didn’t even think were possible.

Marcus Prentice (13:29):

One of the other key things, and this is something that most people sort of forget about is on the night of your event now, whether it be a party or a wedding, having somebody there to help run the night, Especially for weddings but even so for parties. There’s lots of things that happen on a night of a function that if you’re the host and maybe having it at your house or, even at a function venue, having somebody there to keep the night flowing and ticking over is a big win. Someone to be the function manager for that particular type of event can help with a lot of stress. So there’ll be things like entertainment showing up through the night that needs to have direction. Another example is the bar, if you’re having it at a home and you’ve organized by staff and they need some extra ice. Where do the cater is go, or I’ve run out of food or all these things If you don’t have somebody to manage those sorts of things on the night, you could end up working at your function and not enjoying your function.

Emma De Jong (14:31):

Most of them end up doing that and I’ve seen it happen so many times. We’ve had lots of clients who have gone to their houses and they wanna throw these amazing parties. I’m like, so who’s doing all the organization on the day and on and on the night. You got to remember all your suppliers are coming to do the setup on that day as well. Are you going to be there? Because if you’re doing hair and makeup, you’re not there for half the day, who’s organizing to make sure that they do what you’ve actually wanted them to do. And on the night when everyone’s actually arrives, supply wise and that sort of thing who is going to manage this. You’re going to be there with all your guest. You’re not going to be wanting to be worrying about everything that is happening? It is a lot to take on and I think if you’re wanting to have a good night and just relax, please organize help.

Marcus Prentice (15:09):

It might even be that you’ve just hired a friend,

Emma De Jong (15:11):

Or someone you work with. It’s not really a friend coming to the party, but it’s happy to take on the job.

Marcus Prentice (15:16):

Yes and you pay them a couple of hundred dollars for the night and they’re the go-to person. It could be something as simple as the neighbors are complaining about noise and they’ve come and knocked on the door or the police have showed up because it’s too noisy. Who’s going to deal with that. And you need somebody to manage all these things. The amount of times at functions where people as we say, they’ve run out of ice at the bar or they’ve run out of clean glasses and they’re going to go looking for the person who’s having the function.

Emma De Jong (15:42):

Because that’s all they know. And that’s where they live they’re going to know more than anyone else. Even just food if you, haven’t got a caterer they’re looking after the food or you’ve got a grazing table, for example, it’s very popular at the moment. Who’s going to look after that because I can get real messy really quickly. And then something like that, something so simple that you should not be wearing. If you spend all this money to have a party and it’s your 40th and you’re having to do that all night, you’re not going to have a good time. And then most people are gonna be looking for you to want to talk to you and stuff like that as well. It’s just not a nice, environment, especially when your spending that much money.

Marcus Prentice (16:12):

That’s where we say, do you want to work at your function or do you want to enjoy it? And a lot of people end up working at them.

Emma De Jong (16:17):

And most of the time they want to enjoy it and that’s what they want. And then they have the night and they’re like, I should have just hired someone.

Marcus Prentice (16:21):

But it’s just an oversight. They just don’t realize that they’re all these things going to be done. Now, obviously, if you hire a function venue, then a lot of this stuff can be taken care of by the venue, which is great. But even then sometimes there’s still things that come up that aren’t fitting in with their, what they normally do. And it might be, you know, something to do with the entertainment or, you know, you’ve got Showgirls coming in and where do they go to get changed and stuff like that. So having somebody there to manage those sorts of things is really important on the day. Extremely important. So yeah, again, lots to think about there when it comes to planning, which can be quite stressful. There is good and bad things about hiring a party planner or event planner. We strongly suggest that these days for weddings, more and more people, are time poor and weddings being even more involved and a lot more cost involved, sometimes hiring a wedding planner or somebody to think of all these small things and help create your vision, is super important.

Marcus Prentice (17:20):

Hopefully we’ve touched on some good ideas today and giving you some good tips on what to think about when starting your planning. Thanks for listening and tune in again soon.

Speaker 4 (17:35):

Thanks for listening to the partyology experience with your host Marcus Prentice. Don’t forget to subscribe or check out our website for more party tips and expert advice at