I have admired her from a far for quiet some time, so I am sure I don't have to be very descriptive with how excited I was the moment I had the opportunity to interview her. Ms. Richardson-Hall is most recognizable from Style TVs, "Whose Wedding Is It Anyway?". She has been featured on numerous episodes as the designated Wedding Planner. Linnyette also owns Premier Event Management, has been known to speak at various Special Event Conferences around the country, as well as hosting her very own "I Do" Brunch for Wedding Planners. I would classify her as a Mentor to many. Linneyette is based in the Baltimore Maryland area, however clearly her reach is beyond geographic local. Now that I have shared my delight with The Wedding Diva, I now share with everyone the Interview of the Diva.
Social Butterfly Diva: How long have you been in the Event Planning Industry and what attracted you to begin a career in the industry?
The Wedding Diva: I've been in the industry since 1993 - I suppose that I love the "art of the party" is what got me started...oh, and I got married along the way too :)
Social Butterfly Diva: What advice would provide to newbies in the business?
The Wedding Diva: Research, Homework, Education and on-the-job-training. These tenets are the cornerstone of building any successful business - you cannot just "hang a shingle", you've got to come correct and do the advance planning in order to start off on the right foot.
Social Butterfly Diva: What are some of the absolute No Nos that every Event Planner should be knowledgeable of?
The Wedding Diva: No Kickbacks - for me this is a big one. You have a responsibility to your client and you don't want to answer to 2 "masters". It's unethical and it can cast such a dark shadow on your reputation and your business.
Social Butterfly Diva: You have been in the Industry for a number of years, what would you say has secured your success and why?
The Wedding Diva: I think the fact that I definitely "walk to the beat of a different drum" is what keeps me above the fray and on top of things. I've never done what everyone else has - I do what works for me. I also think that because I come from a business background, it keeps me focused on the little and big picture side of the house - I love event planning, but I am a business owner first.
Social Butterfly Diva: Your career has lead you to building a clientele of the average and celebrity. What specifically do you believe has attracted an array of clientele to your business?
The Wedding Diva: My company services a wide variety of clients - I'd like to think that the main reason we have such diversity is because we are known for being honest. Totally, brutally, without exception - honest. We tell clients the truth - not a sugar coated fairy tale. They respect that and they see what the end result is. Then they tell their friends :)
Social Butterfly Diva: What are your thoughts about the state of the Event Planning Industry today?
The Wedding Diva: I think the industry is at a crossroads - it grew expotentially so FAST, that all of the precepts and concepts that should have been instituted were not. So now, we have this "legion of planners" -some know what they're doing and conversely...some don't. We need to create balance and boundaries in order for the industry to survive and maintain itself.
Social Butterfly Diva: Most of us want to leave a lasting legacy. What type of legacy do want to leave and be known for generations to come?
The Wedding Diva: Hmmm....legacy. If anything, I want people to know that I stayed true to myself and the industry I love. I don't compromise integrity for success, because you need BOTH in order to survive.
Social Butterfly Diva: What is most important to you to achieve when planning an event and why?
The Wedding Diva: What I like to call the "guest experience" - the absolute feeling guests (and my clients) have of being totally immersed in their event on all sensory levels. When that happens (and I can tell just by the look on someone's face!), I can honestly say "mission accomplished".
Social Butterfly Diva: Tell me a time that you planned a very challenging event. Why was it challenging and how did you overcome the challenge?
The Wedding Diva: We've experienced many types of challenges over the past 17+ years - I'd have to say getting violently ill at an event, being carted away to the emergency room and NOT being able to manage the wedding tops the list for me. However......the wedding went on without a hitch and the bride didn't even realize I wasn't onsite. I have a top-notch staff who took over, discreetly and capably, so that the ship left the dock on time with a couple of hundred happy guests aboard. No man is an island - which is why I train my team in the "method". Our "method" is simple - hustle, follow the production schedule and make things happen!!
Social Butterfly Diva: Tell me an Event Planner that you look up to as a mentor and why?
The Wedding Diva: To be honest, I've only had one - and it was the first person I really "connected" to when I started out. Shelby Tuck-Horton is the Maryland State Coordinator for the Association Of Bridal Consultants and is really one of the most professional people in the game. She encouraged me to stay true to my nature and "work the plan"...I did and the rest as they say is history.
Thank you Linnyette for allowing me to interview you. I personally believe that all Planners will be better for the wisdom conveyed in this interview. Linnyette is definitely right about the Industry and it also applies to all Industries. We must become students of our trade to be better producers and providers of service. You can catch Linnyette in action in Baltimore, on Style TV, or a Special Event Industry Conference around the country. Until my next interview or blog.