Recently, I had the pleasure of chatting with talented and extremely sweet event planner, Kristin Kaplan. Kristin is the owner and lead event planner of Simply Stunning Events, located in Nashville, TN.  Her fresh approach to event planning has helped her make a living doing something she loves. I feel privileged that I was able to interview Kristin to find out more about her and her successful company. Let’s get to know her…

GM: How did you get started as a professional event planner?

KK: I have always been obsessed with organization and being in control of situations so it was only a matter of time before I discovered that event planning was a great fit for me. Unlike many other planners, I wasn’t “in love” with weddings before becoming a planner but I was always planning social events in college and in my previous career working in entertainment in Los Angeles. When my husband’s job took us to a new city (Nashville), I didn’t have a job myself so I figured, why not start a business? I had dabbled in wedding planning in the past and enjoyed it so I dove right in and opened an event planning company!

GM: What event planning services do you offer?

KK: I offer a range of services beginning with wedding day management to full event planning and design. I feel it is important for clients to have several packages to choose from so they can receive just the right amount of assistance. I specialize in weddings but I do plan a few social events such as birthday parties and Bar & Bat Mitzvah’s each year.

Photo Credit - Chris & Adrienne Scott

GM: What sets you apart from other event planners?

KK: I have always felt that a planner’s largest asset is their personality and planning style. My own style tends to be very direct and honest but also relaxed and fun. It is my job to make the planning process simple and stress-free for my clients but to always remain in control and on top of every detail. It’s difficult to balance those attributes but that’s what makes me good at what I do.

GM: What is your favorite part about being a professional event planner?

KK: I absolutely love running a business, sometimes even more than the event planning part! I love that every day is different and I am able to have my hand in so many different things. While I get to work with budgets and timelines, I also get to be creative and play with colors and textures. And some days I am completely focused on the business and examining marketing, sales, and financial strategies. It never gets boring or repetitive!

GM: If you could work on a specific event type more than you currently do, what would it be and why?

KK: I would love to do more with entertainment industry events since that is where my background is and I understand that industry. Nashville has a large music scene and I think planning album launch parties and award show events would be a good contrast to weddings. It’s definitely fun to mix things up.

GM: How does entertainment fit into the events that you plan?

KK: Entertainment is a HUGE factor in all of our events because our clients always tell us they want their events to be memorable and FUN. Hiring the right entertainment plays a large part in making both of those things happen for the client.

GM: Why do you use GigMasters for finding entertainment?

KK: I love how easy it is to search for entertainment on GigMasters and within minutes I can compare different bands, DJ’s, and other musicians, get an idea of their pricing, look at sample playlists, and quickly find options that are the right fit for my clients. I also LOVE reading the reviews! GigMasters is such a great resource especially since there are hundreds of entertainment options out there and it saves me a lot of time during the search process!

Photo Credit - Mclellan Style

GM: What’s the biggest misconception people have about event planners?

KK: Most people still think that they can’t afford an event planner and that event planners are only for high-end events. This is certainly not true! Anyone planning an event can benefit from the knowledge and expertise of a professional planner and there are planners at almost every price point.

GM: What’s the one thing you wish people knew before they hired you?

KK: I wish people knew and understood that while I can certainly plan an amazing event for them, I’m not a magician and therefore can’t make stuff appear for free. Just like many planners, I have great relationships with the vendors I work with most often and can sometimes secure discounts and bonuses, but I can’t convince vendors to cut their prices in half or give you tons of free stuff.

Photo Credit - Phindy Studios

GM: What’s the biggest mistake people make when planning a big event on their own?

KK: People often don’t know how to correctly create a budget and realistically analyze how that budget may fit with their event expectations. People see all sorts of events and weddings on blogs and in magazines but don’t realize just how much those events actually cost. It takes a lot of research to know and understand vendor pricing and how to get the most value for your money when planning.

GM: What’s the one piece of advice you’d offer anyone about finding a planner?

KK: Do lots of research and be sure you choose someone that you like and enjoy working with! Many people make decisions regarding who to hire based on price alone. When that is the only factor considered, a client may end up with a planner they don’t like working with, or someone who has no idea what they are doing. Go with your gut and choose the planner that gets you truly excited about your event!

GM: What’s one piece of advice you’d offer anyone planning a party on their own?

KK: Research everything! Before hiring any vendor, be sure to read reviews and get referrals. Check to be sure they are professional, experienced, and carry the right licenses and insurance for their business. There are a lot of fly-by-night vendors in this industry and you don’t want to be taken advantage of during your planning.

Photo Credit: Phindy Studios

GM: Anything else you would like to share?

KK: I have always loved music and entertainment and even have a degree in Recording Arts. It was always my plan to work in the music industry but life led me in a different direction and I couldn’t be happier! - If you are interested in working with Simply Stunning Events you can contact them at 615-681-0878 or at Kristin@SimplyStunningNashville.com. You can also learn more about this wonderful company on their website or Facebook page.

Have you worked with Simply Stunning Events before? If so, share your experience in the comments below.