Known for throwing a grandiose celebration or two for big-name clients, the designer, entrepreneur and reality television star Artie Thompson is never out of great ideas! Spotlighted expert and star of the Bravo hit reality series Chef Roble & Co., Artie’s infinite attention to detail and finesse distinguish him from the competition. Under his own company, Artie’s Events, Inc., Artie provides clients with a one-stop-shop for all event-planning needs, from food to staffing to décor. PYNK editors were able to catch up with him to get his perspective on a few important factors of event planning. Get ready for a free consultation with the events guru.
It’s no secret that the economy is tough and tight budgets are common, so PYNK’s first question was the golden one: How do you finagle a fantastic event on a moderate budget? Artie’s answer was simple. When you’re out to a high-end dinner, “ask yourself, ‘How much would I spend on myself?’ Use that as a reference of how much [food]would cost you per person.” And event planners, please don’t forget to multiply that by the number of attendees to make sure that the total cost is within your budget. Another suggestion you wish you’d thought of earlier from Artie on staffing an event on a budget is to hire help from your local culinary school or school of the arts that has an event planning program. Artie reminds us NOT to mix business with pleasure and hire a friend in this situation because they will want to enjoy the party too.
And speaking of friends, what about those acquaintances that show up at the door without an RSVP? Sorry party-crashers, but Artie declares that attending an event uninvited or sans RSVP is a poorly mannered no-no. Event planners, estimate 1.5 appetizers per person and one salad, entrée, and dessert per person as a rule of thumb to make sure you’ve provided enough food for everyone. If you still want to entertain attendees who did not RSVP, set your limit at 5 to 10 percent more food than guests.
Not sure what to serve to make everyone happy? Keep it patriotic. Artie reminds us that “American cuisine is always safe because it’s a blend of different cultures.” Remember to include vegetarian and multiple meat options. If you’re indulging guests at your event, this next tip is for you. When it comes to pairing drinks with a meal, red is always a respected choice. Artie’s go-to is a good Cabernet Sauvignon. A refreshing cocktail to include on the menu is a Grape Gin Fizz. As we get closer to the holidays, Artie also proposes a seasonal treat, cider vodka. “It’s a great starter cocktail to greet guests from the cold weather with,” he says. When it comes to sweets on a budget, Artie advocates Godiva truffles as a tasty yet inexpensive dessert. Make them even sexier by serving them on a platter. Warm pecan pie and German chocolate cake or a moist cheesecake with a fruit topping will also satisfy a sweet tooth.
At this point, you’re thinking, “Drinks are flowing and guests are fed. Done, right?” Wrong! If you’re looking to host a fun event of real caliber, there are still decorations and entertainment to plan. Yes, those can be achieved within the budget. Decorate your venue using items you already have. For example, to decorate a holiday shindig, Artie recommends arranging some old Christmas ornaments in a vase as an easy DIY adornment. Also, a must-have staple of every event is flowers. Check out your local florist for deals! Setting the ambiance doesn’t stop there. For fiscally responsible entertainment, connect your iPod with a predetermined playlist to speakers for an intimate party at home. Tip: Jazz is great for a low-talking crowd. Hire a DJ or live band for a larger event in an outside venue. The final touch, if within your price point, is to send guests home with a gift bag. The contents can be inexpensive, but make sure they are useful and look elegant.
If you’ve gotten nothing else from the Maestro’s advice, remember to AVOID these two worst-case scenarios: money and time shortages. Artie strongly cautions against going over budget. “Carry a calculator around everywhere you go and stay within your budget!” he warns. Poor time management is another major recipe for disaster in event planning. Here’s where hiring help comes in handy! Overestimate how much time you’ll need to decorate and prepare yourself, and leave at least one hour before the event to get completely dressed and ready.
PYNK girl party planners, you are now equipped by the hottest in the game to throw a fabulous soiree. For more inside tips, find the event master on Twitter and check out his website. With a recently launched bowtie and accessories line, titled A2, and an all-new, one-of-a-kind BBQ sauce debuting later this year, we can’t wait to see what else Artie has in store for the world of food, fashion, and fun!
About the Author: Desirée Chavis
Desirée Chavis is the Communications Associate for Delete Blood Cancer DKMS and a freelance public relations consultant. Keep up with this entertainment enthusiast via Twitter: @Desiree_Manuela