In 2015, Nicole Eichenwald Braghin from N events and Arianna Grijalba from Queen of Hearts merged forces and created Plan Design Events. With over a decade of experience in the events industry, Arianna and Nicole combine their love and attention to detail to bring uncompromising quality to every aspect of the events they produce.
We are a full-service event planning, design, decor, and production firm and we execute all of our florals in house. We create seamless experiences from beginning to end, making sure our events are filled with magic and fun!
Conceptualizing ideas is our passion. Our approach to design is sophisticated, sensual, and incredibly personal. In an industry where outdated rules are vanishing and artistic freedom abounds, we stand out as visionaries in creating parties that delight the senses. We don’t believe in simply meeting our clients’ expectations; we exceed them.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced while planning an event and how did you overcome it?
We had a wedding for 250 guests that was going to be in the Keys. Unfortunately, a hurricane hit a little less than a month prior and we had to relocate the entire event. No venues were available but we had previously executed an event at one of the family’s friend’s homes in Star Island, and we suggested our client ask their friend to borrow the property (which was empty as it belonged to their late mother). The friends were more than happy to oblige and our bride was even happier with the idea since she had practically grown up in this property. We leveled the garden and set up a tent and transferred all vendors to the new location creating a spectacular wedding and not bringing panic or sadness to our bride and groom.
If you had unlimited resources, what would your dream client and event look like?
Someone who really cares about details. A client that likes to have fun because we like to create personalized fun experiences. Mostly, a client that will trust our ideas and allow us to really create something spectacular filled with surprises at every corner.
How important are your relationships with vendors and what are some ways that you successfully cultivate and ensure good rapport?
Having good relationships with vendors is one of the pillars for running a successful company. Vendors become our family away from home, and vendors make our events possible.
Treating all vendors with respect and clear communication is key. We always offer hot meals when we are on location for all the delivery staff that will be on-site for more than 4 hours. We provide water and clean restrooms and always have a smile for all of them.
What advice would you give someone who needs to plan a fundraiser but isn’t sure where to start?
Planning a fundraiser is really tough because it usually involves a committee. The committee usually has different ideas about how to run the show. It is important to set a common goal and have one representative be in charge of the final decisions.
A monetary goal is beyond important and so are clear and realistic expectations. Having a guest list with people that will actually spend money on the cause and not just come to the gala is also crucial.
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 grew up in a family that always threw parties. My grandmother and mother always set the table even for lunch with a creative centerpiece. My mother is an artist so I think it is in my blood.
I studied economics at Boston University and from the beginning knew that sitting behind a desk was not for me. Ever since I was in high school, all the parties were at my house. I would throw parties to raise money for things and I love music and dancing.
After planning my wedding it was clear to me that I wanted to do this full time. I sat with my husband and spoke about the seasonal uncertainties and if we could handle my having a full-time job in such an unpredictable market and we decided yes.
I started with some smaller events for friends and quickly grew the company through word of mouth due to my attention to detail.
What’s the first event you can ever remember planning and how did it go?
It was a bar mitzvah for one of my cousins. We had 250 guests and it was at the Four Seasons here in Miami. My aunt is really detailed oriented but likes to be super budget-conscious. The concept was an Israeli souk or market. We used burlap bags filled with spices for the centerpieces and did the children’s area with cushions on the floor.
It was super fun! Some kids did get a bit rowdy and throw some spices around but we calmed the situation quickly and effectively!
What are some things you wished you knew before starting your businesses?
In the beginning, because I was so young, I treated all my employees like family and like friends and there were no boundaries. I think it is important that although you treat everyone super well there still needs to be boundaries so you can be respected as a boss and not taken advantage of. I think that later in my career I became much more effective as a business owner and I learned to guide my staff professionally.
What’s the most surprising or unusual request you have ever received from a client and were you able to fulfill it?
We did a surprise birthday party for a client where their siblings were very eclectic and asked us to procure a dwarf, drag queens, a donkey, and a polka band. We are magicians so the client asks and we provide…
Anything else you’d like to comment on while we have you?
In 2015 I joined forces with Arianna Grijalba, my current business partner. Ari had been in catering and logistics for about 10 years and has really amazing organizational skills. I think this is what brought us both to the next level. She focuses on logistics and functionality and I focus on design and creativity.
With our mixed expertise, we are able to plan and deliver events that are stunning but that actually work and that are fun. We don’t want someone to say “Oh, I went to a party”, we want them to say “I went to so and so’s event and it was awesome! I could see them in every detail, and I had the best time ever!”