Our philosophy is rooted in our mission to educate our clients in industry best practices, realistic expectations based on our years of knowledge and experience in the industry, and expert advice on a wide range of possible topics unique to each client’s specific event goals. We want our clients to feel empowered with as much knowledge they need in order to be set up for success at every stage of the event planning process. We will continually update this resource for you to explore many of the common questions we have been asked over the years.
What is the difference between event management and coordination?
Event management is a more well-rounded service offering for those clients in search of a “day of” or “month of” coordinator. Watch this video to understand the difference in these terms of art, and why event management is really what you are looking for:
Valerie Gernhauser explains the difference in what we offer at Ruby & Pearl Events for our most commonly booked service, event management. In the past, our company offered “day of” and “month of” coordination as a service option, but we discovered our clients were frustrated with the lack of available communication earlier on in the planning process, and as service providers, we were frustrated in the missed opportunities our clients could have appreciated had we been involved earlier in the planning process than 30 days out. Event management is the solution to all of these issues; watch the video above to find out why!
How do I determine an overall budget?
Many of our clients at the outset of the planning process want to know how much they will spend on their event, but have a difficult time understanding how to best predict their expenses having limited experience planning events. We are here to shed some light on the situation:
The most important driving factor of any event budget is the guest count! We believe it is much more informative to talk about your event budget in terms of price per person than an overall budget, which is only part of the equation. A single overall budget number means a lot of different things when you have small vs. large guest counts. Find out how to calculate your price per person, as well as what service level with Ruby & Pearl Events might be the best fit for your investment.
Do you offer partial planning services?
If you are looking for more than event management, but less than full service planning, we can help. We do not offer “partial planning” per se. Watch to discover how our solutions-based service offerings present a little something for everyone:
Partial planning with any other company is a big gray area for clients – how are you to know exactly what your planner is working on and responsible for? What should you be doing on the other aspects of planning? The Ruby & Pearl service offerings extend a very clear delineation of responsibilities and a division of labor that is clear from start to finish. Discover more about the differences between planning, design + production, and event management services, and which combination is a good fit for you.
What does your design process look like?
How we work is different from most any other planner or designer you’ll interview. Our process-driven design is key to making the most of your time investment, and increasing your enjoyment of the planning process overall. Watch to find out more:
We work on behalf of our clients to communicate effectively with each of the vendors on their creative teams to come up with a cohesive, beautiful design under the leadership of one creative director. Find out how we go about doing this in the video, then contact us to discuss the possibilities of your event design with our team!
What is the difference between “event management” and “day of/month of coordination?
Our team of event producers at Ruby & Pearl Events is the same team serving clients under our sister brand, Sapphire Events. We are the best in the business and collectively have decades of planning experience under our belts, and an excellent reputation among venues and vendors alike. We’ve honed our event management procedures, as well as our design and planning processes, based on nearly a decade of experience trying different service offerings and experiencing events of all shapes and sizes. We know what works best for our ideal clients is having an expert on hand from day one, the moment they sign an agreement with Ruby & Pearl Events. Your event producer is available from the beginning of your planning process, offering you consultation advice, guiding you in the right direction as you plan aspects of your event on your own, and setting each one of our families up for success so that you can enjoy the best day ever. If you need to talk to us at nine months out, six months out, or four months out – whenever you most need to consult with your advisor on aspects of your event as you are planning, we are ready to help you and make the most of the time you have available.
We simply do not believe the best service can be delivered on a short time frame, entrusting the best laid plans (not to mention your tremendous emotional and financial investment!) for a day as important as a wedding to someone with limited experience, stepping in to the process only a month prior to the big day. Even six weeks from the event date simply isn’t enough time for any coordinator – no matter how experienced or talented they may be – to be able to faithfully take a year (or more) of your planning efforts, and be able to pull together your details and comprehend your vision and overarching plan for such an important day in your life. Simply put, “day of” and “month of” coordination leaves you at risk for important points getting lost in translation, missed opportunities for savings earlier on in the process, and overall disappointment on the biggest event day of your life.
I’ve talked to other planning companies and find that everyone charges differently. How does your pricing structure work?
This is my favorite question! We have multiple service offerings for our clients, so the full prices vary depending on which services you ultimately select. Contact us if you’ve not yet received a copy of our Ruby & Pearl Lookbook describing each of our service offerings and their prices.
Event Management services are one flat fee ranging between $2500-$3500, dependent upon your specific event logistics (including expected guest count and the number of different venues involved).
Design services are a flat fee for our design work plus a percentage of your design contracts with which we are involved. Contact us for specific pricing for this service level.
Planning services are a flat fee of $4000. We will work with you to negotiate and book your venue (including a day of site visits), build your specific budget, and book your photographer, videographer, entertainment, and catering. Contact us for more specifics as to what this service entails.
The best part is: you can pick and choose which services are right for you! Choose all three services, pick two, or select just one. It’s up to you!
Do you accept kickbacks from vendors?
Absolutely not! We understand that there are planning companies charging their clients a low flat fee up front. Buyer beware! What clients often don’t realize is that these planning companies are getting compensated behind closed doors from the vendors the planner has selected to work the event. The client thinks they are paying the vendor one price, sometimes touted as a “discount” that the planner has earned through loyalty with that vendor over the years; the reality is the planner demands that each vendor lower their price as much as possible, and the planner will pay the low rate, keeping the difference of the higher rate that the client has actually paid for that product or service. This is an unfortunate practice that has been in place for a very long time – and one that leaves the client in the dark about how their money has been invested in the celebration of such an important milestone in their lives.
We absolutely despise this practice, and our clients value our transparency and honesty in managing all of the event expenses. Our clients will see every vendor quote and bill directly from the vendor – not on an invoice run through our company. Our clients will sign contracts with each of their vendors directly, and pay their vendors directly – I would never ask my clients to write one large check to Ruby & Pearl Events in order for me to pay their vendors on their behalf (this is another hallmark practice of a planning company taking kickbacks!). My fee is 100% paid directly to me by my clients alone, and not from any other company or third party. If you are looking for transparency and honesty, contact us so we can discuss in great detail where your investment will be faithfully submitted for your celebration.
I found someone offering coordination for half of your price. What gives?
You will always find someone offering coordination services at a much lower rate than ours. Not all planning companies are created equally! We know there are many options available and that you are prudently interviewing a number of planners to find the right fit for you. We encourage you to make a choice on personality match, finding a service provider with a planning and communication style that fits with your daily life as well as your expectations. It’s an investment worth taking seriously that will directly correlate with your peace of mind on event day!
In order to actually make money as a small business owner, at a rate of $1000-$1500 for another planner’s coordination service, that planner would have to book at least TWICE as many events just to keep their doors open. With that many events committed on their calendar, that means less time for each individual client to have their needs addressed, and for their details to be finalized and double checked, not to mention the risk of burnout that planner will experience especially in busy season, having worked back to back weekends (and even multiple events in a single weekend!) just to keep their business afloat financially.
Planners charging less than $2000 for their coordination or event management services are spreading themselves too thin – and that will certainly show in their customer service to you. We believe our clients deserve the best of us, and we charge appropriately for the care and attention we are committed to giving you, so we don’t have to overwork our team. The peace of mind that our clients report after their experience with us speaks for itself!
How much should I expect to budget for my event? What service is right for my budget?
It is easiest to think of the overall budget in terms of price per person, rather than an overall target budget amount. The guest list is the single biggest driving factor of the budget – so the closer you are able to whittle down the guest list to the actual number of people you would like to attend, the better! To determine your per person dollar figure, divide your overall target budget by the number of anticipated guests you’d like to attend – and there you’ll have your estimated price per person!
If you are seeking event management services, our typical clients expect to spend a minimum of $350-$500 per person on their event. If you are planning an overall target budget of $100,000 for an expected guest count of 250 guests, your price per person is $400, making you an ideal candidate for event management services.
For design plus event management services, our typical client spends anywhere from $500-$700 per person. For instance, if you are planning to spend a target overall budget of $175,000 and expect a guest count of 300 people, you would have an estimated price per person of around $580 and be a great candidate for design services plus event management.
For those clients selecting planning, design and event management services (i.e. full service planning from start to finish), typically a budget range of $500-$800 per person is common. As an example, if you are planning to spend an overall budget of at least $120,000 and have a target guest count of 150 people, you would have a price per person of $800 and would be a good candidate for planning, design, and event management services.
Our typical guest counts range anywhere from 100 – 250 or more people, with varying levels of production values and specific details. The ranges calculated above serve as examples given the varying choices clients make in the overall level of décor design and production value they desire for their event, which can range given a multitude of factors personal to each and every client. We work with events of all guest counts and overall target budgets, so contact us to make sure your expectations for your event are in line with your target budget in our complimentary initial consultation.
How many events do you take on in a year? How far out should we book you?
We take pride in our work, and for the reasons described in our answer to FAQ #4 above, we only take on a limited number of events in a calendar year. At Ruby & Pearl Events, we only book a maximum 20 events annually. Of those 20, about half are event management only; another 5 are event management plus design, and another 5 are all three services (planning, design, and event management). We believe in maintaining a high quality of customer service for each of our clients, so once we have reached our maximum for the year, we will begin referring business out to colleagues that we know and trust will do a great job.
Our clients come to us at every stage of the process: sometimes before they are engaged, sometimes with four months or less before the big day. Truthfully, we only need about two weeks of time to physically plan any event (heavily relying on our trusted team of professional creatives to pull through for us)! Our typical clients book us somewhere between 5-9 months out from their date, and it is quite common for clients to hire us right around the one-year mark.
What if I need more than event management services – do you offer partial planning?
We have a little something for everyone! We do not offer partial planning per se. Our years in the business have given us the wisdom to understand that our clients seeking more than event management but less than full planning are served really well with the addition of our design services to their event management contract with us. Because of the way we have structured our service offerings at Ruby & Pearl Events, we also offer planning services only, design services only, and will also offer planning + event management services if you already have a designer in mind that you want to work with.
We have found our flexibility paired with our experience in the industry have served our clients quite well! Contact us and let us know what you think would be the most beneficial for you, and we can answer any questions you have about what makes our process different from anyone else!
Do I have to work with your list of preferred vendors?
We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with creatives all over the country – so our preferred list of vendors we use as a tool, knowing we have worked with tried and true professionals that love their job as much as we do and are experts in their craft! We will make faithful recommendations to you based on your event goals and financial targets for vendors that we believe are a good fit from our experience, but if you have someone in mind you’ve been dying to work with, let us know! We love making new friends in the business.
Will your company work with another designer?
Yes! We love collaborating with creatives of all kinds – and under our planning + event management service level, we find it easy and convenient for our clients to be able to collaborate with a design team of their choice!
Who will I be in contact with throughout the planning process?
It takes a village to make our events as seamless and spectacular as they should be! Once you are fully on-board in our project management system, you will be put in touch with your lead event producer, who will introduce herself and exchange contact information with you. Every one of our event producers is communicating directly with our vendor teams on a daily basis, and we have weekly team meetings where we discuss all the details and progress on each of our events with the entire team – so that everyone is abreast of each event on our calendar and where it stands throughout the planning process. You will hear from your event producer pretty consistently, checking in with you periodically if we have not heard from you in a while, and making sure you stay on task with your planning calendar and progress with building your vendor team. We are readily available to you when you need a phone call, meeting, or anything at all. Because we are intentional with the number of events we take on, our entire team of experts is able to address your needs in a heartbeat.
How many meetings will we have with our event producer?
Since our total number of events is limited in a given calendar year, we are available to meet with you whenever is necessary. Once you are fully on-board in our process shortly after booking with us, we will work with you to schedule meetings and phone calls on an as-needed basis, through our process of developing the design and production details geared toward your event goals. We are here to set you up for success, and happy to plan meetings and phone calls with you when you need them most, so that you can rest at ease knowing you have an expert on call to faithfully advise you along the way!
Are you able to secure discounts with vendors on my behalf because of your relationships with them?
The reality of the coveted “vendor discount” is actually that it is a hallmark for planning companies that are promising special prices when in fact they are taking kickbacks (see FAQ #5 above). There is no such thing as a discount that any planner would be able to secure for you, since each of your vendors is a creative professional and very likely a small business whose very livelihood and reputation is built on each and every job they book, being paid for the value of the time and services they work hard to deliver to our clients. If a vendor has a volume consumer base with business-to-business discounts that they are occasionally able to offer to clients under special circumstances, then rest assured that our company is working to secure the very best price for you that each vendor can offer, for the very best value in products and services to serve your event goals and financial targets.
Even better than a vendor discount, because of our reputation and years of experience in the event industry, our vendor teams want to work with our teams at Ruby & Pearl Events and our sister company, Sapphire Events, to align their brand with ours. As a result, we often find ourselves in the fortunate position of having the best vendors in the business delivering goods and services above and beyond the call of duty, in an effort to earn future business and referrals from our company in exchange for a job well done. Since our reputation is one of the best event planners in the country, our clients benefit from the extra effort and high quality our team of creative vendors put forth on any and every event with our company.
How many event producers will be working my event?
The number of event producers from our team varies from event to event, but at a minimum you can expect your lead event producer plus at least one additional event producer on a typical event day. For event weekends featuring multiple event days in a row, the number of event producers will necessarily increase, and for guest counts in excess of 250 guests with multiple locations in a single event day, we will also add additional team members to ensure high quality service and oversight for all the moving parts over the course of the event experience.
How many years have you been in business? How did you get started?
I founded Sapphire Events in 2011, after a year in the event industry working for a venue. I came into the event planning business as a result of unemployment – I had graduated from law school at Tulane and passed the bar in 2009, in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis (remember Bear Stearns?). It was a wild time, and I knew a lot about weddings having just planned my own. I decided to start an event planning company by building a brand that I could sell one day when law jobs picked back up. Luckily for me, I found that I had a real passion for running the business, and I was very good at it (and, perhaps most importantly, I realized I enjoyed my work much more than any of the law jobs I’d had before). My clients felt I had something to offer that other planners and coordinators they spoke with didn’t; I enjoyed connecting with people and using my skills to bring out the joy of life, celebrating important milestones.
I founded Ruby & Pearl Events as a sister brand of Sapphire Events in 2015, in order to serve a wider range of clients seeking a planner offering quality control, expert planning and consulting advice, and an experienced team of event producers to execute their best laid plans. We are happy to offer a flexible set of planning options to our clients, affording each the opportunity to have as much or as little involvement in their planning process as they desire. Our foundation is born in the necessity to offer advice from a seasoned event professional to all our clients – making sure everyone of our events culminates in the best day ever!
Do you travel for destination events?
Yes! We love to travel and have a network of connections in markets all over the country to offer to you as resources for your special event. We bring the party wherever we go, so let us know if you are planning a special celebration beyond New Orleans and the Southeast. We will be there with bells on!
Do you help with other events during a wedding weekend, like rehearsal dinner and farewell brunch?
Yes! We often plan a full weekend of events, and offer our design and planning services from start to finish for each day you’ll be hosting guests in your event location. Contact us to find out more about how we can plan the specific details for each day of your celebration.
Are you ready to talk to our team and learn more about the best fit for you?Get In Touch