Meet Marisa Nicole, the fabulous talent behind California based event planning company, Marisa Nicole Weddings & Events. She stopped by to share the story of how she got started in the industry and to let us know what clients can expect to experience from a Marisa Nicole event. Let’s take a peek inside her world…

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

MN: I know this is totally cliché, but I actually kind of fell into it! For many years, event planning just so happened to be a large portion of whatever job I was doing at the time. I worked for several years planning events for non-profit organizations when I realized how precisely the whole event planning and design skill set fit with my personality and strengths. That’s when I decided to take the jump and launched my very own event planning business, and it’s been pure bliss ever since!

GM: What event planning services do you offer?

MN: We like to think that we offer them all! There are five main areas of event planning and design, and we help our clients with as few or as many of the areas they want (Venue Search, Administrative, Design, Vendors, and Coordination). We do everything from start-to-finish wedding planning  - where we’re by your side through it all, to week of coordination - where you are doing most the planning and design and then we bring it all together in the end.

Photo Courtesy of Marisa Nicole Weddings & Events

GM: What types of events do you typically plan?

MN: We mainly focus on events that tell a story and gather people together to celebrate. About 90% of our business is focused on weddings, but we do everything from fabulous birthday parties to boutique shower and holiday celebrations.

Photo Courtesy of Marisa Nicole Weddings & Events

GM: What sets you apart from other event planners?

MN: We specialize in designing events that tell a story. We believe that each and every celebration we design should feel distinct. Our goal is that your guests feel honored to be a part of your celebration, have a fabulous time and that you can sit back and enjoy the festivities.

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

MN: I think my favorite part of the process is seeing everything come together at the actual celebration. We work with our clients to come up with innovative designs and to create an event flow that enables people to have fun; watching all the pieces come to life is a feeling like nothing else! And then seeing how happy our clients are at their own parties makes all the blood, sweat and tears we pour into our events 100% worth it!

Photo Courtesy of Marisa Nicole Weddings & Events

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

MN: Every single event, no matter how big or small, needs some form of entertainment. The staple of entertainment at an event is typically music. Believe me when I tell you that the quickest way to make things super awkward is to have silence. There should always be something going on at your party that engages your guests. I have also found using unexpected forms of entertainment as a fabulous way to create a ‘shock and awe’ situation for your guests. We’ve worked with our clients to have surprise belly dancers, bagpipers, cartoon sketch artists, photo booths and anything else you can imagine… the sky is the limit!

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

MN: We would love to do more holiday celebrations. I adore celebrating any holiday to the fullest and far too often the styling for these events can get super cheesy. We want to do more events where we can push the envelope with design. Taking something iconic like a holiday and bringing in fresh aesthetic ideas gets me excited! Although we love working with our brides and grooms, doing more parties that celebrate the season is something we are simply itching to do more of (and they tend to be during our off-peak busy season, so bring it on!).

Photo Courtesy of Marisa Nicole Weddings & Events

GM: Why do you use GigMasters for finding entertainment?

MN: Sometimes my client is looking for a very specific kind of entertainment to have at their party that I haven’t needed before. GigMasters is great because I can search for the precise type of entertainment my clients are seeking in the geographical area the event will be held without having to spend hours blindly searching the internet.

GM: Anything else you would like to share? What else would you like our audience to know about you?

MN: We are an event planning company that you will actually enjoy planning your party with. Although we are always professional, we also understand that you are putting together an event that is deeply personal. We are there to take care of things professionally, but to interact with you personally, so that you don’t feel like you are hiring a contractor to plan your celebration, but a friend to bring your ideas for the event to life and offer a fresh perspective to the whole thing.

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

MN: People think they can’t afford us – but the truth is that we kind of pay for ourselves in the end. If you are debating getting a planner for your event, please know that through the discounts we get you and the advice we offer, most of the time we end up at least covering the cost of our own services.

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

MN: That we will be thinking outside the box to plan and design your event, so get ready to mix it up! 

Photo Courtesy of Marisa Nicole Weddings & Events

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

MN: They forget to start at the beginning, by looking at the big picture, determining the top priorities (what I like to call your ‘event values’) of the party and then going from there. Instead of focusing on their event, they start out with making grand, specific plans, but then have no idea how to bring them to life. By not focusing on the planning and design of the party, things can end up unorganized and aesthetically all over the place. I always have an initial ‘getting centered’ meeting with my clients, which then helps determine all our planning, budget, vendor and design decisions. Always plan big to small!

GM: Can you tell a story about a disaster averted?

MN: This question made me laugh out loud, since I feel I am continually avoiding mini-disasters throughout the entire planning and coordination process. They say the best-laid plans go astray. However I have found the opposite to be true: if you plan things out well, with strong contingency plans built into that plan, usually things don’t ever get to the point of disaster. There are always little things that come up: the photographer is two hours late, the flowers have wilted, the ring bearer is wearing white, the kitchen ordered the wrong number of steaks, and on and on. However, as long as we are there to make balance decisions discretely, disaster never strikes! 

Photo Courtesy of Marisa Nicole Weddings & Events

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

MN: You are going to be spending a TON of time with this person over the coming months. Take the time to make sure you enjoy their company. They should put you at ease so that you can actually enjoy your own party (and the whole planning and design process leading up to it).

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

MN: Remember that the difference between a good event and an unforgettable one is all in the details! Take time to think through your guests’ experience - they will remember that you provided them with flip flops, blankets and bug spray and be super impressed. Don’t just put some cute floral arrangements and linens on your tables and call it a day. Have a design and think through each aspect of every area of the aesthetic and flow of your event. Be intentional with the details and you can’t go wrong!

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If you are interested in working with Marisa Nicole Weddings & Events you can contact Marisa here: Marisa@MarisaNicole.com. You can also learn more about this wonderful company on their website and Facebook page, or by reading their blog.

Have you worked with Marisa Nicole Weddings & Events? If so, share your experience in the comments below.