Many of us have been to a fabulous event; a wedding or a really well organized conference and thought â??That looks really easy, great fun and Iâ??m sure I could do itâ? about the planning of the event. But planning a function (although rewarding) is also a lot of work…..

www.all4women.co.za spoke to Michelle Pye, owner of Exquisite Events in the KZN midlands, to find out what being an events organizer entails.

How long have you been in the business? 

Six years (running my own business) and approximately 12 years experience in the hotel and hospitality industry.

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How did you get into event planning? 

I gained most of my experience from having worked for various hotels and game lodges where I specialized in Conference, Wedding and Events Management and so decided to take the plunge and start my own Events Management company, Exquisite Events.

Do you need any special qualifications or personality traits or strengths?  

•    Qualifications â?? these change from year to year as the tertiary education establishments have now started developing various courses such as: events management courses, wedding planning courses, project management courses, function décor courses, etc.

•    Personality traits â?? A person in this industry needs be a professional â??peopleâ??s personâ?, they must be well groomed, well spoken, confident, with very high energy levels, able to handle stress and pressure, they need to be able to pay attention to detail so that all aspects of a function are carefully planned.

•    Strengths â?? A person in this business, needs to be extremely well organized, professional, absolutely passionate about all aspects of organizing events, weddings and functions, they need to be very creative, need to have good ideas, they need to develop good relationships with both function suppliers (e.g. Musicians, Florists, Function Venues & Establishments, Entertainers, Photographers, etc.) as well as their clients (brides, corporate companies, etc.), must be computer literate.

What does your typical working day entail?

There is a lot of background and â??behind the scenesâ? organization and arrangements that goes into arranging a function.

Time management is an extremely important aspect of any average day.  Numerous telephone calls, emails and communications, specific to each function is required daily to ensure all aspects of the function are  properly planned.  There is a lot of admin work involved in the behind the scenes arrangements for each function, including financial management of the various events.

Many of the actual functions take place at night or over weekends and the duration of these vary, some going on to all hours of the following morning, so this involves much after hour and weekend work.

On the actual function date, we go to the venue and ensure that all the arrangements that weâ??ve made, run according to plan so as to ensure a spectacular function from start to finish.

What is the best part of your job?

I love the â??on the dayâ? arrangements, watching and ensuring that all the months of arrangements come into place and ensuring the function is a success.

And the worst part?

When a client wants a specific item and itâ??s one of those items that are really hard to source, we spend time phoning around, emailing, and itâ??s an item thatâ??s impossible to get but the client insists that they need that particular item.  We try to suggest an alternative, but the client wonâ??t budge â?? so this can be very frustrating.  Or if the clients want a spectacular event but want to do it on a very low budget â?? because this is very seldom possible â?? suppliers donâ??t work free of charge, transport is expensive, etc., so this all impacts on the costs.

What advice do you have for dealing with difficult clients?

Be polite, be kind, agree with them and their point of views and ensure that they are aware youâ??re doing your best and that their function is very important to you and that theyâ??re in very good, capable hands, because we are passionate about each event and function we arrange.

For more information or to contact Exquisite Events for that special function, go to www.xevents.co.za or email:  michelle@xevents.co.za, or phone 072 060 3130.