Dos and Don'ts of Special Events Planning


Updated: Ten Tips for Partnering with an Event Planner

Frank: When working with an event planner, allow them to attend all event planning meetings with your client. It will allow the planner to garner a better understanding of the client's corporate culture, environment and personality - resulting in an incredibly well branded event.

Sandra: Always plan an event from a guest perspective. How do you want your guests to feel when they arrive? What are some details you want them to notice?

Frank: Present your goals & objectives to the event planner and give them the freedom to brainstorm creative ways to bring those objectives to fruition.

Sandra: Getting the biggest bang from your buck in terms of event design: invest in lighting! Forget about flowers - they are small, expensive and do not make much of an impact unless you have alot of flowers to work with. Use flowers as an accent only.

Frank: As a PR professional, focus your attention on managing the project - not the event. Managing the event is the planner's expertise. If you stick to managing the project, you will have more time to ensure incredible promotion and media coverage. The planner should report to you, and you to your client.

Sandra: If your event is held outdoors, always ask the venue for 1 day advance set up so you can test out and spot all the lighting the night before the event.

Frank: Event planners usually have the insider-scoop on the latest trends, hotel and restaurant openings - plus, they are usually friends with the right staff people. Partnering will allow you to secure value-added benefits as a result of the planner's relationships. Often times, you will receive a discount that they would never give to anyone "outside the industry."

Sandra: Always work with a budget range (for example: $8000 to $10,000) instead of a set budget ($10,000 max). A lot of times you don't really know how much something cost until you see it. Having a range gives you the luxury of splurging on a few items to make your event a bit nicer.

Frank: If you are worried about losing billable time, the event planner should bill your PR company direct. Your billable time is in managing the overall project - everything from overseeing the event planner, helping to choose the menu and deĀ“cor, media relations, etc. You should also place the standard agency mark- up on the cost of the event planner.

Sandra: The recommended RSVP date for any event is 1 month before the event date. This will allow late RSVPs to come in and still give you enough time to make guest count updates with all vendors involved with the event.
Both of us agree that, in short, your event planner will become your best friend...we all know how stressful events can be. Months of planning, endlessly reviewing tasks lists and thinking of (and addressing) everything that could possibly go wrong. Your event planner has been there, done that and can do it again for your event. He or she will be your place of zen when things get stressful and the first person you hug when it's all over.


What does it take to pull off a killer event for your company or client? Join us as two professional event planners share some of the tricks of the trade that will help take your 2011 events from good to great. Learn the importance of building a timeline, managing your budget carefully, and focusing on the things that really matter to your guests. They will also share tips on avoiding common mistakes and discuss the benefits of utilizing a professional planner to maximize impact.


When: Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Where: Anthology Marketing Group's 8th Floor Theatre (1003 Bishop Street, Pauahi Tower)


Founder and CEO of Island Events, Frank Robinson, is an expert at bringing innovative and high-touch client service event planning and design to Hawaii. With more than 20 years of expertise in the industry, Robinson has provided domestic and international clients with event planning and public relations management, including Four Season's Hotels & Resorts, Ritz-Carlton Hotels, Fairmont Hotels, The Manele Bay Hotel and The Lodge at Koele. Island Events specializes in luxury-level corporate and incentive events, non-profit fundraising galas, luxury weddings and private social events.

Sandra Williams began her career in the event industry in 2002 while planning million-dollar events for non-profit organizations in Southern California. In 2005, she launched Finishing Touch, a boutique style wedding planning company with a strong focus in overall event ambiance design. Williams' designs have been featured on the STYLE Network, Hawaii's OC 16, Pacific Weddings, Hawaii Bride and Groom, Destination I Do and Your Wedding Day. Additionally, Finishing Touch was invited to join a group of elite wedding professionals on the Grace Ormonde Wedding Style Platinum List in 2008. Finishing Touch is also the producer of Social Light - an educational and inspirational bridal event teaching couples the true secrets of designing the most amazing wedding.


  • $20 PRSA Hawaii Members
  • $25 PRSA Nationa Members
  • $30 Non-Members
  • $20 PRSSA Student Members

Register online or for cash/check payments, RSVP to Payment due at door or mail to: PRSA Hawaii, PO Box 3566, Honolulu, HI 96811. Credit card payment will not be accepted at the door.

Due to the increased cost of doing business, reservations to PRSA Hawaii programs made via credit card will be assessed a nominal processing fee.

Parking: Parking validation will not be available.

  • Alii Place - $0.75 for first two hours. After first two hours, $1.50 per half hour to be paid to booth attendant upon departure. Garage entrance on right side of Alakea St. after Mandalay restaurant.
  • Bishop Square 0 $4 every half hour to be paid to booth attendant upon departure. Garage entrance on left side of Alakea St. just before Hotel St.

For more information, email or visit

Reservation and Cancellation Policy:
Advance registration will close at 3 p.m. on the day prior to the event. After that, a $5 walk-in fee will apply. Due to out-of-pocket expenses incurred, there is a $5 cancellation fee for reservations made via credit card; no refunds will be issued for cancellations received after the deadline; and no- shows will be invoiced.

<Back to All Events