Monday, June 18, 2012

Does "Celebrity" bring you clients?

As most of you know I planned celebrity Bethenny Frankel's wedding (as well as her baby shower and birthday).  And some of you may or may not know I've recently planned events for Star Jones.  However, planning events for celebrities has come at a cost and this became clear when a past client recently contacted me about an upcoming event.  She was actually hesitant to contact me because she thought that since I was now a “celebrity planner” I would be too expensive for her.  Plain and simple I am an event planning and design expert who just so happens to work with a few celebrities here and there.

All too often in my industry (events, party planning and event design) the word "celebrity" is used (and in my opinion overused).  While the word celebrity brings credibility and while it may be true that you've worked with celebrities, it can also bring the notion you are not accessible.  Don't get me wrong one should be proud that a celebrity thinks your work is so fabulous they want to hire you.  And you should be proud of that; it's a huge accomplishment!  However, there's one thing to remember, the word "celebrity" may be bring the notion you will only work with celebrities.  Maybe you do…but what if you don't?  What if you work with clients of all budgets?  How will the "celebrity" affect your business?

After my first appearance on Good Morning America a good friend called me up…not to congratulate me, but to warn me.  The producers used "Celebrity Wedding Planner" under my name…He said be careful with the use of that phrase…You're better off with the phrase "Wedding Planning Expert".  If you choose the route of "celebrity" you may no longer be accessible to your clients (current or former).  It was good advice and I still use it today anytime I do an interview or a TV segment.

Accessibility is what any client wants…especially the non-celebrity.  These clients (current or potential) want to feel as if you are accessible to them, their vision and importantly their budgets.

Professionally I plan a wide range of events with a wide range of budgets.  And while I have a minimum budget that I work with, I am unlike other planners and designers that boast they will only take on events with "X amount".  I've found a way to create an exclusive product (me and my designs) while staying accessible and making a profit.  Plain and simple I try not to boast of the celebrity.

Before you call me a hypocrite, I do list on my website the celebrities I've worked with…BUT I work with clients who aren't celebrities more than I work with clients who are.  And after being in the business for over twelve years that makes me more of a wedding planning expert than it does a celebrity planner.

Personally, I haven't changed (you can ask anyone who really knows me).  I am the same person I was when I started in this business.  A little wiser, a touch more confident and with a little less hair…but I am the same person.  I am me.  And "me" is what sells my business.  Me being accessible is what sells my business and I believe avoiding the phrase "Celebrity Wedding Planner" is what sells my business.

The bottom line is to treat all clients like celebrities.  If you do then you'll be labeled an expert as opposed to a celebrity.  And who's more accessible?  An expert or a celebrity?

Let me know what you think and........



  1. Love this Post Shawn!!! So true! You are amazing and so talented!! Great article!!!

  2. No one is more accessible when working with a planner than you are, Shawn! You return phone calls and emails promptly and you make your clients feel like they are the only ones you are working with at any moment. It's a gift and you've got it. I'm no celebrity, but you made me feel pretty darn special. Thank you for being so relatable and easy to work with. Miss you!
    Tara Murphy

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