Are We A Good Fit fOR EACH OTHER?
Hiring an event designer and planner is an important decision and we want to make sure that hiring MLE is the right decision for you! Before we take the big plunge together, we ask that you please review this information to learn more about our amazing team, what we’re passionate about and what services we invest our souls wholeheartedly in offering.
Q: How long has MLE been planning, designing and executing events?
A: With over 15 years of event planning experience, MLE’s founder, Michelle Cousins, launched MLE in 2010 when she decided to marry her love for creativity and design to her natural talent for organization and planning. Michelle has planned everything from luxury weddings, intimate ceremonies, social soirees and corporate events for a wide variety of clients both in the US and internationally.
In order to keep up with the demands of MLE’s rapid growth rate, Michelle expanded her business in 2012 to include a team of amazing and talented individuals with over 75 years of collective event planning and design experience.
This award-winning team has been the recipient of many accolades including being named Luxury Travel Guides 2018 Wedding Company of the Year, a Martha Stewart’s and Vogue Top Wedding Planner, the “Designer of the Year” by Z Gallerie, and nine-time recipient of Utah’s “Best of State Event Planner & Wedding Services Provider” awards. Personally, Michelle has been recognized and honored by Utah Business Magazine as one of their 30 Women to Watch, and a 40 Under 40 recipient recognizing her as one of Utah’s most successful and influential business leaders. Her latest honor is receiving the Distinguished Alumni Award from her alma mater, Westminster College.
Q: Why should I hire an event planner (do I REALLY need one)?
A: Planning an event is a full time job. It keeps the MLE team busy 24-7, six days a week (yes, that includes weekends and holidays). With a busy career and personal life, planning an event can be difficult and most of our clients hire us because they don’t have the much-needed extra time in their daily lives to commit to the rigorous demands of planning an event. There’s no such thing as a “small event” because every event (no matter if the guest count is 30 or 3,000) requires design, management, coordination and execution.
We understand that your friends and family have most likely planned an event at some point in their lives, and you are probably tempted to enlist their assistance (perhaps they even offered to help). BUT- putting your friends and family to work on something they have very little experience with is a one-way ticket to DISASTER. (Remember, there are no do-overs on event day). So what’s the difference between MLE and your crafty friends and helpful family members?
MLE is an organized powerhouse of trained event planning professionals with years of experience working under pressure. We have been through the event planning process many times before and we’re your ticket to finding professional and trusted vendors. We know the right questions to ask and who to contact to get the job done. We know what high-stress situations to plan for and how to manage them. We oversee the big and little details that haven’t (and may not) even crossed your mind. We help our clients avoid costly mistakes and hours of wasted time. In addition, MLE offers peace of mind. Our services provide our clients, their family and friends the freedoms of enjoying a stress-free and memorable event.
Q: What differentiates MLE from other event planners and designers?
A: We truly love and appreciate clients who trust us to identify the distinct differences and little details that make their story unlike anyone else’s. When that trust is given, we are able to capture their individuality and work with them to craft a one-of-a-kind celebration inevitably resulting in beautiful event design and unforgettable experiences for the client and their guests.
MLE’s custom three-step approach ensures that no detail is left unaccounted for:
Design Stage: In the beginning stages of our relationship, we work with the client to collaborate and foster a strong visual presence for the event. Throughout our custom design approach, we’ll have many discussions pertaining to the client’s priorities, desired visual aesthetics and the overall guest experience. Upon these discussions, MLE then creates a custom design proposal leaving no detail unaccounted for. Upon review, MLE and the client determine together what ideas proposed will transpire to the actual event.
Planning Stage: MLE is narrowly focused on meticulously handpicking each vendor we recommend for your event. We work with a wide range of talented, professional vendors who only provide the highest level of quality services and products for our clients allowing us to guarantee client satisfaction. MLE doesn’t “take over” planning the event in this stage, but our clients appreciate the experience and expertise we have to offer them through the vendor selection and hiring process. MLE wants to hire your event dream team and we understand that team looks different for each client. MLE tailors vendor recommendations to each client’s specific event needs, budget expectations and desired design aesthetics. Throughout the vendor hiring process, MLE serves as the liaison between vendor and client, promising prompt and timely communications, creative solutions, leadership and direction to ensure that all the elements proposed in the MLE design proposal come together seamlessly for an amazingly cohesive event.
Execution Stage: Our overall goal is to relieve you from the stress of event planning and that includes all the moving parts of event day-of management. Our clients enjoy their events because they know the complicated logistics and daunting behind-the-scene details of event execution are completely managed by the MLE team. We oversee the delivery and set up process, run the event according the to custom timeline we develop together in the Planning Stage, and clean up upon conclusion of the event so you can make a graceful exit and leave the mess behind.
We pride ourselves on offering our clients an event planning and design experience unlike any other and our personalized three-step approach undoubtedly separates MLE from our competition.
Q: What is the difference between a planner, designer & coordinator?
A: We’re so glad you asked! There seems to be a lot of confusion regarding these different titles. Here is a breakdown of those roles and services to help you better define the important differences between each:
Event Planners: Planners love logistics and have a complete roster of vendors and venues they’re able to recommend on the spot. Planners manage proper delegation of the event budget and negotiate competitive pricing with vendors in addition to reviewing contracts, looking for red flags, and answering important client questions. Planners obtain information regarding venue space to ensure all rules and regulations of the venue are respected by all involved parties utilizing the space. They familiarize themselves with the venue’s electrical capabilities and special logistics to develop layouts that accommodate the size of the event. Planners create timelines, orchestrate rehearsals, and make sure to communicate all expectations, important dates, times and other important information to the entire vendor team ensuring that load in, set up, execution and strike happen according to plan.
Event Designers & Stylists: Designers thrive on creative details and décor and have the ability to completely transform a space into an amazing atmosphere. They focus on colors, textures, lighting and ambiance, floral selection, table-top design, ceiling and wall treatments, paper details, cake design, furniture and more. Event designers focus on the big and small details that make events truly unique and personal while coordinating with design-related vendors to ensure all the visuals are cohesive and streamlined to produce amazing and memorable results.
One of the biggest benefits of working with MLE is that we offer BOTH planning and event design services. We feel strongly that in order to successfully orchestrate a custom event full of personal and unique details our clients will love, we need to have a hand in designing the stepping-stones that help us get you to the finish line.
We often hear this: “I don’t need a planner because my venue comes with a coordinator who is taking care of the details for me.” Really? Are you sure? While MLE is well aware of what your venue coordinator will and won’t do, the real question is, are you?
Event Coordinators: Event coordinators work at event venues. They don’t manage any details outside of their contracted services as a venue. Therefore, they are looking out for the best interest of the venue, not the event. A venue coordinator will only deal with aspects pertaining to the venue such as the set up of a room or space within the venue. They dictate set up and end times and communicate the rules and regulations covered in your contract pertaining to the use of space you’ve rented. They only manage details regarding the items the venue might provide such as tables and chairs. The venue coordinator is absent through the majority of the planning process. They aren’t necessarily there when set up begins and they often leave before the event has concluded. Their job isn’t to help you hire the right vendors (although they might provide you with a list of people they know). They don’t put out any fires when your cake doesn’t show up on time or your florist forgets half the centerpieces. They will look at you and shrug when the breakers blow because you didn’t account for the space’s power capabilities and your band brought in too many fancy lights and blew all the circuits.
Q: My caterer said they are also planners and my florist can design things.
My best friend coordinated her own wedding so I think I'm all set, right?
A: Plain and simple, anyone whose professional title isn’t Event Planner, Event Designer or Event Coordinator shouldn’t be offering you these types of services. We aren’t trying to be rude; we’re just being honest. MLE strongly believes that other industry professionals should focus on providing the service they specialize in. And no, planning her own wedding doesn’t make your best friend an expert, either. What do we mean by all of this?
Caterers aren’t wedding planners and shouldn’t offer to plan your event but they’re great at helping you develop a menu that will dazzle the taste buds of your guests. Florists put together amazing floral arrangements but they aren’t overall event designers with an eye for lighting and the perfect letterpress invitation suite. Your best friend is most likely not a paid, professional event planner and shouldn’t take on the management of your important event logistics. DJs, bands and photographers aren’t responsible for developing your day-of timeline and making sure everyone gets to the church on time. Venue coordinators aren’t responsible for helping you design your three-tier buttercream cake and help you make memorable musical selections. And the list goes on and on.
When you allow random vendors to handle the work and responsibility of other specialized professionals, things start to get messy very quickly and in the end, the client always pays the price. MLE only hires specialized professionals and then we make sure they stick to the specific services they advertise and are hired to do.
Q: What type of client does MLE work with?
A: We work with all types of clients each seeking a unique and personalized event experience. There is a common thread among our clients: they enlist and trust the MLE team to offer creative design direction while managing the stresses of planning. Our clients place an emphasis on an amazing guest experiences and trust MLE to deliver such an experience. Our clients know that little details are just as important as big details and throughout our partnership, our clients trust the direction and expertise we provide them. This dynamic is absolutely vital in order to continue executing the caliber of events MLE is known for and our clients expect.
Q: Does MLE Work with and support the LGTBQ+ Community?
A: Yes, we are an LGTBQ+ friendly company and would be honored to work with you to plan an amazing celebration!
Q: What type of clients aren’t a good fit for MLE?
A: MLE isn’t a good fit for everyone, and that’s okay! We’d rather see you hire a planner who is a good fit than struggle through a rocky relationship and an event that doesn’t meet your expectations. MLE isn’t the best fit for the following types of clients:
Disengaged Clients: Clients who are completely disengaged from the planning process and aren’t interested in giving us the necessary input needed in order to make important decisions leading up to the event aren’t a good fit for MLE. We prefer to establish a collaborative relationship with our clients in order to fully deliver an event that is as unique as it is personal.
Micromanagers: MLE appreciates clients who hire us and then trust us to do the job we were hired to do (and that includes trusting the vendors hired to do their job). MLE brings years of experience and expertise to each event we manage (this isn’t our first rodeo). We prefer our clients to realize the complete benefit of hiring MLE by allowing us to collaborate with them when necessary but then execute on their behalf when the time comes, especially on event day.
“Too Many Cooks In the Kitchen” Clients: We realize sharing the event planning experience with your friends and family is fun, and we understand that our clients may wish to enlist the feedback of others when making big decisions. However, MLE will not take direction from anyone other than our clients (our clients are identified as the individual(s) who sign our contract). This strict policy not only legally protects MLE throughout our working relationship with our clients, but our stance on this subject serves to protect our clients and avoid unnecessary miscommunications as well.
We discourage meetings that include a client’s entire entourage of friends and family or email chains where persons other than the client and vendors are included. We work best with clients who choose to engage one-on-one, completely and directly with MLE without the distraction of others to ensure everyone stays focused and is on the same page.
Q: What will my overall investment be?
A: No two events or client needs are the same. Because of this, MLE offers different levels of services and investments to meet the many needs of a wide range of clients, event ideas, expectations and budgets. To learn more about MLE’s different services, please visit our services page. If you are not sure what service best meets your needs or for information regarding pricing, please contact us to discuss further. We’re happy to help you determine what package best accommodates your event needs.
Q: Does MLE accept payment plans?
A: Yes, our payment plans are broken up into four total payments. An initial 50% retainer is due upon signing our contract followed by 3 additional payments. Based on the date the contract is signed, MLE then determines the three remaining payment dates with the final payment due 30 days prior to the event date. MLE accepts many forms of payment, all of which are discussed and defined in the contract process.
Q: What are the next steps and how soon should I book MLE’s services?
A: Please review the MLE Portfolio to review our work and the services page to determine which package best meets your event planning needs. Then contact us for any additional questions and to discuss getting started.
While you may be considering an event that is a few months to a year away, we encourage our potential clients to book as soon as possible. The more time we have to spend working with our clients, the more time we have to make their events truly amazing and unforgettable.
Q: What are other clients saying about their experience working with MLE?
A: We’ve received many accolades and sweet testimonials from our clients. We encourage you to read what others have to say about working with MLE events! Here’s a complete list of our reviews: