We sat down with Laura Gardner of Love, Laura Events and talked to her about how rules & boundaries can actually improve your party.
How do you try to figure out new ways to make a party you are planning better than the last?
I recently discovered Priya Parker's book, "The Art of Gathering" and it has made me think about events in an entirely new light. I used to think the chill host approach was the best one: don't make too many rules for your guests, but it's actually the opposite. The more rules and boundaries you can create at an event, the more comfortable guests will feel. I now encourage my clients to not be afraid to make rules. For example, require a dress code and don't be afraid to make it playful. Whether your guests are high powered CEOs or a coffee barista, doing this will help them feel like equals and will also encourage easy conversations. Happy guests make a better event.
When you think of the best party you ever planned, which one comes to mind?
Ah! It's hard to choose. One of my favorites was a wedding that I planned in upstate New York. The theme of the weekend was Upstate and Chill. For the welcome bag we included everything from local soaps to sheet face masks. We also incorporated a lot of little fun details, for the welcome dinner we had an upscale BBQ and and placed a logo on all of the fry and burger bags which was also carried onto all of the other stationary and branded items for the weekend. Their wedding was in a beautiful brand new venue, and it was fun to create a beautiful event from an entirely new clean slate.
What was one of the more stressful challenges you have come across when planning an event?
A few years ago I planned an event for 200 people in Tuscany in late June. All of the local Italians and even the venue owners told me that it doesn't rain in Italy in the summer and there was no reason to rent a tent. As luck would have it, the forecast suddenly changed a few hours before the event and it was too late to get a tent. So instead, I utilized the indoor spaces and made the cocktail a bit longer than I had planned until the hail storm (yes, hail) passed. The beauty of this is that your guests don't know what you don't tell them. As far at they knew, the plan all along was to have cocktails inside before dinner. This also made the reveal of the dinner which, overlooked the rolling hills of vineyards, that much more of a magical reveal.
Any seasonal/holiday suggestions or favorite tips and tricks?
If you are on a budget or short for time, candles are your best friend. They can turn even the most boring places into a great space. Just turn off the lights you have an instant vibe. And when it comes to candles, more is more!