Private Estate Events Advice By Kristen Seaholm
Hosting private estate events is about as easy as learning the tango, but also just as fulfilling in the end. It may not be easy, it may test your patience and your dedication, but the reward will be immense.
Gone are the comforts of corporate-run hotels or resorts and their on-site staff ready to jump in and assist (or fix) as needed. Also, gone is the separation of church and state. Instead, we find ourselves engulfed in the beauty that is someone’s personal property, most likely their home. We find ourselves obsessing over the hidden little nuances thoughtfully incorporated throughout. Individually stunning, but as a whole creates a sense of belonging that is so strong, every person lucky enough to experience it will feel as though they finally found ‘home.’
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With great beauty comes great responsibility though, especially with the separation of church and state set aside. Homeowners that choose to open their home (or property) for hosting events must fully understand that they are offering up their sanctuary to complete strangers. And, in return, we as event professionals must do everything in our power, each and every event, to ensure said homeowners feel secure in their decision.
This dance is not for the faint of heart, on either side, as we all know how messy the behind-the-scenes production can and most likely will be. However, once the tango is perfected, it can provide a beautiful masterpiece in offering a unique, privately exquisite venue to couples and clients alike, ensuring all guests walk away with awe-inspiring emotion.
Things to Keep in Mind
So, as event professionals, how do we perfect this tango doing private estate events? Incorporate my top 5 tips for success:
We have to remember that this is someone’s home. They have spent an obscene amount of their personal time, energy, and finances creating this safe-haven and we have no right to think that we can treat it like our own, much less like any other private estate, and definitely not like a corporate-run venue. Just because something does not look “expensive” or “important” to you does not mean it will not resonate entirely differently to the owners. Not to say you must walk on eggshells every event, but you must tread carefully until a trust factor has been built between your company and the homeowners. We must all remember that the homeowners probably have no prior knowledge of events so it’s all of our responsibilities to help show them how wonderful they can be.
A follow-up to #1, asking questions, ahead of time, is key to any new private estate you are working at. Where and how should you store your belongings? Where should you take breaks? Which restrooms should you use? Where should you be parking long-term (whether on-site or off-site)? What areas are more delicate than others? Where can you find water and power? Assuming that every private estate is run the same way (or have the same rules) will only set yourself up for failure. There are particulars unique to each property and if you are going to work there, you must do your due diligence to ensure you understand those particulars in and out ahead of time.
Always Account for More Support
As I alluded to earlier, private estates typically do not come included with day-of engineers, landscapers, painters, room service, etc. This means that production and execution will take longer and be more taxing and you must account for this. Not only in your pricing, but in your support staff and timing as well. As this is most-likely someone’s home, it was probably not built with an event mind’s eye, meaning that you will probably be running around more than you would like to and should account for that within your timeline. Having an assistant dedicated just to run around on your behalf, or even better to be dedicated to the couple’s family or VIPs, will save you (and everyone else) stress and energy. It is worth every additional penny you charge. (An example can be found here of the Secret Garden private estate as well.)
Less is More
Part of the appeal for a private estate is having the whole property to yourself, or whatever areas of the property the owners have allowed/contracted to be utilized for events. However, as we all know, there can be too much of a good thing. This could be anything from utilizing too many different spaces to having too large a guest count and, in turn, losing the special nuances that made up the whole reason of hosting an event at that private estate in the first place. Instead, stick to the key places that resonate the most with the client and keep the guest count low enough that the venue can truly shine the way it did when seeing it for the first time.
Be A Team Player
There is no truer statement in the world of events than “it takes a village.” Without that village, we are all just lone rangers who will never be able to break through that glass ceiling. That is why I take pride in only surrounding myself with creatives that are driven, passionate, and like-minded professionals who want to push the limits of what they can do and support each other along the way. The thought process being that the more success that person has, the more success we all have.
This rings true even more than usual when it comes to hosting an event at a private estate. If you aren’t there to be a team player and support your counterparts, then you shouldn’t take on the responsibility of working at a private estate. I cannot stress enough the importance of Support, Support, Support! It is what makes our world go round and will be the greatest benefit to us all on event day.
We have only just scratched the surface for how to make working an event at a private estate more successful. To dive deeper and learn how you can collaborate, create, and innovate your way to success, contact me, Kristen Seaholm of The KS Experience to discuss further.