In addition to the stress of finding the perfect gift, holidays often bring the stress of planning the perfect party. From party snacks to decorative napkins, the host/hostess has to think of all the details that will make a holiday bash a success. Some are better than others at coming up with innovative ideas and remembering all the party essentials when planning a big event. Those who find the task particularly challenging seek professional help.
Cheryl Domingo is a twenty-seven year old event planner and she’s in the business of planning the perfect party. Domingo has worked for a Montreal meeting and event planning company called Conservus for a little less than a year now and she’s very happy with her job. While she started out planning relatively uneventful corporate meetings, Domingo has recently been given more exciting assignments to plan colourful 5-a-7 events, as well as birthday and anniversary parties.
Domingo’s clients are all corporate. Her official title is Director of Group Services, which means she deals with large companies and the various event-planning needs they have. Domingo may be asked to make personal arrangements for a company CEO visiting Montreal, or she may have to plan an entire training session for the full staff of a given company.
Someone from the company will contact Cheryl’s office and put in their request for a given event. Cheryl, or one of her colleagues, will then do their best to come up with the most interesting and original ideas for the corporate event within the budget given by the company.
“The bottom line is, you want the most, for the least amount of money,” Domingo said. “[It all depends] on who the client is, and what kind of look they want.”
Some clients have been dealing with Conservus for years and have started to give them more varied tasks.
Conservus has been in operation for ten years in Montreal. Her bosses, Domingo said, have managed to make numerous contacts within the city. Having connections helps make the sometimes overwhelming job of planning a huge event more manageable.
“All I need to do is ask one of my colleagues, ‘Where do I start? Who can I call for this?’ And they always can give me five names off the top of their head,” Domingo said.
When it comes to some of the specifics of her search for party-planning tools, Domingo said she often turns to the internet.
“I love Google,” she said. “Things like party supplies, you know, if I need a hundred fedoras for two days from now for some gangster theme party – [I]’ve just got to find it on the internet.”
Some of the requests Domingo has had in the past have been out of the ordinary. A limited time allowance sometimes means she has to work fast to meet off-the-wall demands.
“A random one I got was; ‘I need a hundred pink flamingos put on my father’s lawn tomorrow morning.’ – and he called me at like 4 p.m. It needed to be done by six in the morning with a big sign saying ‘Happy Retirement Dad’,” Domingo said.
Because her company has a policy of following up on requests by the end of the day, Domingo found herself scrambling to satisfy the request.
“Since.most places close at 5 p.m., I had to find a place with pink flamingos in an hour,” she said.
After going through company connections, internet searches and random phone-book checks, Domingo will sometimes refer to her own personal sources for information on where to find certain items, and where to get various services at a reasonable rate.
“Sometimes, when it comes down to it, I just start calling friends I know who would definitely know something that they can help me with,” Domingo said. “It’s basically everything you can think of.”
Domingo makes an effort to keep up with the current trends in parties and party-planning, so as to always be able to come up with fresh ideas.
“If you’re into it – which I am,” she said, “You’ve got to keep yourself informed. I look through magazines whenever I get a chance to get ideas of what they’re doing in New York, and L.A., and Miami.”
Domingo said it’s important to always have the most original idea for a proposed event, because corporate clients will shop around for the perfect event-planner.
“There not just going to ask you,” Domingo said, “they’re going to ask a few companies to give them ideas, and then from there they pick who has the best idea. Who’s going to give [them] amazing food, open bar, great d