We’re lucky to say that we’ve had the immense pleasure to work with central coast wedding coordinator, Mark Padgett Event Design a few times now. Mark is one of the most accomplished wedding professionals on the Central Coast. He has a spectacular amount of artistic genius that really brings new meaning to the often mis-used term “fabulous event”. His experience in the arts really shows in his work and his attention to detail leaves no stone unturned and keeps the event flowing perfectly.We’ve decided to interview him to learn a little about how he works his magic and really learned a lot of valuable info. We’re happy to share with you!
What is Event Design?
An event designer, essentially starts working with the bride, groom and their families from the beginning and creates the entire experience for the brideand groom and their guests, all the elements: the site, the cuisine, linens and fabrics, the flowers, lighting, entertainment, photographers and the atmosphere or feel for the wedding day. It’s similar to an interior designer that you hire for your home. Somebody who, based upon your desires, taste and budget, creates a design for you then finds the vendors that can bring the design to life.
Are you a coordinator as well?
Yes, I’m both. I think the combination is the best way to go. That way all the elements are brought together with the total vision in mind.
Are you a one-man show or do you have a team?
It depends on the service but I do have a team. It can vary greatly from event to event, but I always have an assistant with me, helping me be in 20 places at the same time. If the event has many elements like props, furniture, chandeliers then I have a larger crew. Aside from my crew I really do consider all of the vendors as the team. A designer or coordinator is only as good as the people he/she works with. Certainly the caterer is HUGE, they not only supply awesome food and drink but all the labor to set up, serve and clean up. They are a very crucial aspect. Of course every vendor is important to the overall success of the event, but if you don’t have good food, drink and service, you are in trouble!
Do you usually get to choose the vendors?
Almost always. It depends on when they come to me. The venue is often times chosen; often a photographer may already be on board as well. But, if you think it through, an event designer should be the first vendor on board. Starting from the top, a couple should convey their desires to me and let my design and experience manage all other aspects. Starting from the site, then to photographer, then caterer and so on. Most of my clients are with me for about a year.
When do you choose your DJs?
We usually start looking at DJs about half way through the process depending onthe date of the wedding. If it’s going to be a popular date you touch base with all the vendors as soon as possible.
If a bride has already chosen other vendors before you will you still work with them?
Yes, of course. It’s a bit more challenging as I really like to get to know the vendor as a person and as a company. Local vendors are always preferred for many reasons. I know how they work, I know their pricing structure and they know the area: They have most likely worked the site before, know the layout, where the sun sets and what flowers will hold up on a August day in Paso Robles! They also have a higher level of responsibility within the community and you cannot go “greener” than hiring someone local. I am only as good as my vendors, so I feel it’s imperative to work with them before the event as much as possible. At the end of the day, it’s all about your vendors.
What does your service include?
Well….. the skies the limit… really. Anything and everything needed to create a beautiful, fun and flowing celebration.
What sets you apart from your competition?
Well, I’ve been doing this for 14 years here on the Central Coast. I really know my job, the area. the vendors that are the best, how the weather patterns work, where to find anything and everything needed to create the perfect party. And I learn something every single event and I have done over 300. I also think my sense of humor helps keep the planning moving along without drama and stress.
What’s your favorite type of client?
Well, again, it’s a wide range. I’ve done events with budgets from $10,000 to $100,000 and I find that it’s really about finding the priorities within the client. It’s really about making sure their hearts are in the right place. If they are looking to provide a really awesome experience for their wedding day and for the people they love, that’s the perfect client.
What’s your favorite type of venue?
Well, I’ve done events anywhere and everywhere by now, and there’s certain things I look for now, but to be honest with you, a dirt field. A blank slate. Love it. I love taking nothing and turning it into something special. Wineries are very in right now and I love working there as well. They have a lot to offer, but there can be restrictions. Tasting rooms often don’t close ’til 5 or 6 so there may be people tasting wine when the guests arrive, you have to be done by 10pm and there’s no mixed alcohol.
What’s a good question to ask when choosing vendors?
Well, first; trust your gut. There should really be something inside that just clickswith that person. The rest will get done. You should be having a good time when you meet with them and feel like they value you. Make sure you enjoy their personality, the way they communicate with you and how they feel about their job. Always look for the passion. I guess a good question would be; “why are you in this business?”
How do you help manage a couples wedding budgets?
After I gain a decent amount of knowledge about who they are, what is and isn’t important to them on their wedding day and where they place their priorities, then I have an excel spreadsheet that we drop their goal budget amount into and it spreads it out to all the elements of the event. Then, let’s say for the Photographer, we talk about; “how important are these specific images to you?” “How about the album?” “What do what to do with the photos after the wedding?’ Then we take the percentages up or down, leaving more or less to go toward the other vendors. It’s imperative to understand your budget limitations before you start choosing vendors. If you spend too much for the site you may have to scrimp on something you really love.
What’s your favorite part about your job?
Dreaming up the design. Laying it out in PowerPoint. I love the first meeting with the bride and groom, their faces when they first see the reception room and the bride walking down the aisle and the fact that I get to throw parties for a living!
What size budget do you work with?
Well my average is probably around 35,000 to 45,000. Of course I have done both smaller and larger events and you would think that having a huge budget is more fun but not always. More money can mean more pressure to make it fabulous, more elements to control, a massive timeline and higher stress. Oh, who am I kidding, I love big budgets!!
Any advice you could give to a newly engaged couple?
My most important piece of advice would be to keep your priorities in place; at the end of the day it’s really about getting married, the rest is just details. (Fabulous details, of course, but really just details). Then, always hire professionals. Don’t have your 17-year-old nephew DJ your event with his iPod, he invariably forgets the right cord and it’s not at all a good idea to have Aunt Kathryn make your wedding cake. It can lean like Pisa or melt in the sun or just plain look and taste dreadful. That’s certainly tough for you but even worse for your aunt! The poor girl will likely feel guilty for years to come. You want professionals that know their trade and how to execute it reliably. Of course the best advice I can give to a newly engaged couple is to call me!http://www.markpadgetteventdesign.com/