I was lucky to grow up in a family that owned a variety of businesses that were hospitality-based so I saw many challenges they faced and had an insider’s guide.

Anthony Navarro

Creative Director

Location: Chicago & Los Angeles

Liven It Up Events is a full-service wedding and event planning and production company. Our mission is to help our clients develop a clear vision of what they wish to create and achieve with their event. To create that vision, we use proven planning methods, innovative ideas, cutting-edge event resources, and relationships and professional expertise to make the event come to life. We believe that our relationship with our clients is strengthened as we partner and share through the process of creating their event.

With our proven methods and a strong client relationship, our goal is to produce a memorable event for our client and to create an experience for the guests who attend.

Anthony is the co-founder of an organization called STAND UP, Business Professionals for Marriage Equality, and co-creator and co-host of the Talk Show, “The Wedding Planners”.

He is also one of the co-authors of “Professional Wedding Planning Advice, Tips & Secrets from Top Wedding Professionals” and the author of “The Business of Becoming A Wedding Planner” and “Walk Me Down the Aisle”.

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

The best advice that I can offer someone trying to create an elegant event on a tight budget is to focus on what is important to you or the client and then spend the budget on those items. Instead of packing in many items into a budget, focus on one or two main concepts and spend the budget there.

For example, if the look of the event is the biggest element for you, you dedicate 60% of your budget to that. That can include decor items, lighting, table settings, and venue selection. The balance of the budget is dedicated to other items that are essential but not the most important to the event.

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

The dream would be to have a client with a clear vision of their event concept and for the event, they would bring that idea to me and I would have full creative control to execute the event. Basically, let me use my creative force to take the concept in their head, the one that they are imagining, and pull that dream out of their head into reality.

I do not have an exact idea of what the event would look like, but it would have my creative sense placed throughout it that completely mimics what the client wanted.

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

The relationships with our vendors are why our clients hire us. You work with an event planner to not only get the event that you were envisioning and planning,  but to bring on the ‘A’ team. The relationships we have with our vendors stretch from as far back as the company has been in business and when you have relationships that have been in place that long, they will go the extra mile for the client helping ensure that event comes together.

One time I can remember we had an event that was supposed to have 5 wooden tables and 10 days before the event. The rental company would not rent the tables to us because we did not have a full order with them. So, the decor vendor and I put our heads together, and because of the decor company’s relationship with another small company about 2 hours south of us, they were willing to MAKE exact replicas of the tables we needed in time for the event. It happened and the client was thrilled!

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?

The real inspiration came from my grandmother. She was the matriarch of our family businesses which were all hospitality-based, restaurants and hotels, and I saw how her hard work ethic lead to creating places for people to celebrate and gather. She inspired me to follow the dream I had to be an event planner and I did it.

It took about a year from starting to really get going, but once I got moving, I could not stop!

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

I was lucky to grow up in a family that owned a variety of businesses that were hospitality-based so I saw many challenges they faced and had an insider’s guide. The one thing I did not expect when working with clients is knowing how to filter my ideas to make sure they were tailored to what they wanted. A brilliant idea is not right for everyone. Getting in front of understanding what someone wants and then being able to deliver great ideas based on their needs is my job. I had to learn that in the first couple of years.

Also, understanding when to drop an idea that I’ve pitched to someone that was not in love with it, how to read the room, and move on to make sure they knew that my feelings were not hurt – it’s just an idea that I will save for later for another client.

What’s the most surprising or unusual request you have ever received from a client and were you able to fulfill it?

To this day, we get unique requests at events. The one unusual request that stands out was for a wedding client of ours whose only request was to have a nacho cheese fountain at their wedding for a late-night snack station. One would think that it would be easy to melt nacho cheese and keep it flowing, right? Not so much.

It took a month or so of research, working with the caterer, to find the right fountain that would hold the correct temperature of melted nacho cheese.

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