What do I need an Event Designer for? Isn't that why I have a florist?

We feel it's important that we take the time to educate and inform on event design. The more we work with clients and meet the wonderful couples we are lucky to know, the more we realize that people just don't understand what Event Designers really do and why it's a value.

Open up a Martha Stewart, You may see pictures like this:

This is the work of Rebecca Thus, a well respected Event Designer. Note the details and how everything seems to tie together. That is event design. An ED will create an overall concept for your event at the start of planning and should ensure that every visual detail works as a cohesive whole. This may include partnering with your florist and lighting specialist, or using one in house. Florists do flowers and can do some structural work depending on the florist. Event Designers, design events from top to bottom. So now you're may thinking, but I can do that myself. And you're right, you probably could. But the couples who hire ED's are very interested in creating a stunning and unique event. You're not hiring someone to go buy vases and tie bows. You're hiring a creative team for their brains. The same reason why artists can sell a painting for thousands of dollars. You aren't paying for the oil paint and canvas (bows and boxes), you're paying for the creativity that maybe you didn't have.

These pictures above are the work of RJ Balthazar, another event design firm. They happen to also do florals as well. You can see the creative touches though that go well beyond just flowers.

Clients who end up working well with event designers are those who value something different. A good event designer won't simply recreate what you saw in a magazine. They will instead take your ideas and create something that has never been done before (Or they should!)

Something now that couples are asking about is getting published in a magazine. Magazines won't just publish a wedding that was "expensive", they will specifically want to see original details. If the details aren't there, it's not worth sharing for them. (from the mouth of a well respected bridal mag editor).

These pictures are from Art Fool, another great ED firm. A few last pointers and insights about Event Designers.

Their job is to create something beautiful. They will charge for their concepts and time and bill for materials based on your budget or vision.

They generally aren't coordinators. They may partner with a day of coordinator if you think that is something you are looking for, but designers are different people than coordinators.

Please value their time as you would value a photographer's or a florist's time and understand that you aren't just paying for some linens and cute nick knacks.

Working with an Event Designer doesn't mean giving up all creative control either. Good ED's should partner with you! Find people you like and you can have fun with! We absolutely love everyone of our clients and are lucky enough to work with people we want to spend time with.

Yay for Event Design!


Min said...

Hi social design,

do you have any recommendation on ED in LA and orange county area?
How much does it cost to hire ED? Do they act differently than wedding coordinator?

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Anonymous said...

Do you think there is such thing an "overproduced" event? I find some of these weddings featured in magazines to be a bit hyperstylized, and it makes them seem forced.

SocialDesign said...

Good question Min,

I don't know where in Cali they are but check out Square Root, and RJB(mentioned in blog)

Costs really do vary and it's hard to say.

Yes this is very different than wedding coordinator. Think of the coordinator as managing the business side of your wedding, handling vendors, day of timeline, etc. ED's plan the look and feel of your event. ED's are closer to florists than to coordinators.

SocialDesign said...

Yes Anonymous, we do! You may notice that although we respect him, we aren't huge fans of Preson Bailey which is the look you may be talking about. I think personal details and thinking outside of the box can make an event stunning and you don't need gobs and gobs of overflowing flowers to making something beautiful. There is beauty in simpicity and the details!

At home with Kim Vallee said...

This is a very good assessment of what does an Event Designer. People get confused all the time. They want us to coordinate the events as well. In Montreal, it is a concept that people do not grasp yet. I made the mistakes to handle some of the coordination job on small projects in the past which only confused more people about my role. Now I concentrate only on the creative side which is the added value of an Event Designer.

Anonymous said...

Reading this post makes me depressed. I want to hire a lighting designer, and a wedding planner, but can't afford to also hire an event designer. It seems just too expensive. It scares me b/c I feel like if I don't have all these things, then I'm throwing a cookie-cutter wedding.

SocialDesign said...

anonymous...in regards to it being too much and too expensive...the best bet is to hire a full service event designer who can give you one quote for floral, lighting and coordination. They will usually do it in house or partner with companies. You'll usually get a better deal this way and it will make your life easier. Also, when the ED works closely with these other vendors you get a more cohesive look. Good luck!

t. said...

My "coordinator" is also a full service designer as well. I initially hired her for day of coordination but have since added a few hours of consulting for design.

She has hooked me up with lighting (don't you love me, SD?) and rentals for my event AS WELL as coordinating with my vendors for floral, catering, etc.

I am northern california and am having my event in wine country so I am paying a mint. However, she is worth every single penny and I truly feel our day will be one of a kind.

Blue Orchid Designs said...

Great post! Very educational and a topic that always needs to be addressed, in my opinion. :)

Oh Happy Blog! said...

Thank you for this post... I have worked both sides of the events (coordinating and ED) and too often brides feel overwhelmed when you let them know that they need yet ANOTHER vendor on their superstar team... I like to explain to my brides that a designer is much like a creative director - they envision the event and ensure that every aspect of the creative process is covered.. whereas a coordinator takes a more logistical stance, ensuring that vendor contracts, scheduling, and agendas are kept... the two really do need to work together and it is important to have both a the right and left brain on staff in order to have a beautiful, cohesive, magazine-worthy event...