2 trends that I have been the most excited about (pre-COVID-19) is the focus on guest experience, both corporate and wedding, and the ability (thanks to technology) to share it instantly via social media.

Marisa Ferrell

Owner

Location: Healdsburg, CA

At So Eventful, our team is comprised of some of the most skilled and talented wedding & event planners: each with a unique background. What makes our team so successful is our passion to create extraordinary events and make our clients feel like a guest at their own event. We have a great ability to multitask and provide attention to every detail all while wearing a smile on our face. Our team has experience in events of all sizes and cultural traditions. We look forward to working with you and curating a wedding or event that you and your guests will never forget.

As no two events or clients are the same, we truly listen to your needs and desires. From here we guide you through the planning process with our expert advice, creative vision, and sunny dispositions. We’ll help you add those special touches that reflect you as a person or couple and make your day unforgettable for both you & your guests. We look forward to customizing our services to fit your needs!

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

I had some high profile clients due to get married in Cabo San Lucas. During the planning process, I had gotten pregnant. I was due well after the wedding date but the Zika virus had made it’s way to Mexico. On the Monday of the week of the wedding, the Bride raised concern that many of her guests had canceled due to Zika and being pregnant. I then had to inform her that I was pregnant in which she screamed out in joy and congratulation which then turned to terror. “You can’t come, my wedding planner can’t come, what am I going to do?” Mind you, I was supposed to fly out in two days.

Thankfully, So Eventful has an amazing team. We were able to pull another planner from our team off her wedding and send her down two days later. Just so happens that our planner had been to that venue in Cabo and had even met the bride once. We backfilled her wedding with another planner, who by total chance knew the bride. In the end, calm heads prevailed. Everyone was happy and both weddings went off without a hitch.

What are 2 trends in the event planning industry that you’re excited about?

2 trends that I have been the most excited about (pre-COVID-19) is the focus on guest experience, both corporate and wedding, and the ability (thanks to technology) to share it instantly via social media.

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

  • Repurposing items
  • DIY if done correctly
  • Using the resources/connections of a good planner

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

Many people think that clients with an unlimited budget are the dream client, but that is not always the case. The dream client is one that either has the creative vision and can communicate it or trusts in me to create a vision based on their requirements; a client who values hard work and appreciates and understands what goes into planning and executing a successful event.

The dream event is simply one that the client and all guests had an amazing time and were never aware of the issues that will always come up.

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

Relationships with our vendors are pivotal to successful events. Communication and feedback are key ways that we ensure a good rapport with our vendors. It all starts with communication. Everyone needs to be on the same page and understand the expectations. We are a team. It’s not just about one event. Most likely we will work together in the future so feedback is essential. Not only our feedback about their performance but ours as well. We need to look for areas of improvement and see how we can continually improve.

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

Find an experienced event planner. Do your homework, see referrals, ask around. We have planned many Fundraisers of all types and sizes. Now even virtual ones. In addition to the planning, design, and execution, we can also assist in marketing and sponsorships. A well experienced and connected Event Planning firm will make your fundraiser shine and ultimately raise a lot of money for your worthwhile cause.

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

The most exciting thing both personally and professionally (in a terrifying way) has to be working and living during a pandemic. As an Event Planner, we are expected to juggle multiple things at once which we do so with style and grace. Now, throw a pandemic in the mix and so much uncertainty for our clients, as well as our employees, and the future of events combined with trying to home school our children – well now I/we are truly being tested.

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 had always had a passion for throwing large parties and gatherings which I get from my mother. I had studied wine business in college and was working for a winery as an executive admin to the winemaker when the events manager left. There was a wedding scheduled and I asked if I could take it over. If it went well then I would take over their events. It went well and I began planning events for the winery and its clients.

After 3 years, I decided to go off on my own. I became a certified wedding and event planner and started So Eventful.

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

I planned a wedding for a couple from out of state at a local winery. Everything went great.

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

Just how many different hats I would have to wear. Event planner, marketing, HR, accounting, and legal to name a few.

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

I had some clients that wanted a Ferris Wheel and exotic animals. We made it happen.

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