First Luggage recently sat down with luxury event planner Amy Burleigh of Raspberry Rhubarb to get some top tips on how to plan a super luxe event. Here’s what we found out…
So Amy, you specialise in the luxury market. What are the main differences working in ‘luxury’ to other areas of event planning?
Well, event planning is all about detail and whether an event is ‘luxury’ or not doesn’t mean you plan it any differently. You may be working with higher end suppliers and with clients that have extremely high expectations but as an Event Planner my expectations are always high by default. I always expect the suppliers I work with to deliver to the absolute best of their ability regardless of whether they are in the luxury market or not.
An interesting point, but still a pretty great niche to work in. What’s been the best event you’ve worked on?
Ah, this is so hard to answer! I’ve worked on so many lovely, amazing events all around the world, from luxury incentive trips to Zambia and Botswana, chartering private planes and taking over exclusive safari lodges to a global meeting at the UN Building in New York. I think for me it’s all about opening guests eyes to a whole new experience, whether it’s the best dinner they’ve ever had, driving a luxury car, or experiencing a destination as a whole. That’s the buzz for me.
You must have visited some amazing places, what’s the most luxurious?
Grand Hotel a Villa Feltrinelli on Lake Garda, Italy stands out. I was there in September as Consultant Event Manager running a driving tour through Italy for Elegant Resorts and Aston Martin. Not only was the hotel stunning in interiors and location, but the attention to detail and service levels absolutely blew me away. It was probably the most luxurious hotel I’ve ever stayed at and was a privilege to work with them. They made my life very easy!
Sounds stunning, I’ll be Googling straight after this. Now what about insider tips? Any planning hints you can give to those who might want to arrange something special for their clients?
I’ll give you six, any more and I’d have to charge you!
1) Put everything in writing and keep a copy with you at all times, whether it’s on an email on your phone or in a folder. You never know when you’ll need it. The one time you don’t have it in writing, you’ll need it, it’s guaranteed.
2) Always be early.
3) Be nice to your suppliers – they’re human too
4) Trust your instincts, if you think a venue / location /supplier isn’t right, it probably isn’t!
5) Always consider the experience from the end client / guest perspective – walk it the whole experience minute by minute as if you were them.
6) Never leave home without – a fully charged phone with all the numbers you might need pre-loaded, a bold lipstick and a smile.
What do you look for when you are sourcing a venue, particular with your luxury clientele in mind?
Service, service, service. This is the easiest thing for a venue to get right (and it’s free!) but so many get it wrong. I would only ever recommend a venue that I know will deliver. That’s also why I rate First Luggage, they are one step ahead always anticipating their client’s needs rather than waiting for problems to occur. Also a client’s experience starts from the moment they leave their front door, what better way to start a trip than to have your luggage taken from your door and to be at the venue when you arrive?
If you could plan an event anywhere where would it be?
I love Scotland, it’s just beautiful all year round. I recently worked at an exclusive use fairytale castle on the shores of Loch Ness – Aldourie Castle – 13 bedrooms, amazing service and a real house party feel – but in your own castle. Luxurious but in no way pretentious. It really was the stuff dreams were made of.
If you could work with any brand what would it be?
Ooooo tricky question. One with lovely clients!
Thanks Amy, we look forward to hearing about your next event. To find out more about why top luxury planners use First Luggage check out our testimonials page here.