How much fun does party planning look? Dream job, right?! We asked the creative director of Les Enfants Party Planners , Katie Burnett, who planned our amazing 6th birthday party, to take us through a week in her life. Read on to discover how Katie juggles motherhood, working and attending events.
I arrive at 8am at Sloane Street station, an hour early, not sure how that has happened, I hate being late but I must have overestimated the journey time. It is pouring with rain and we have no umbrella, so make the most of the time and pop for a coffee and some planning of our Christmas themed events, there are lots of props still to order. Today is event day for me, I love this theme “Alice in Wonderland” at The Jumeirah Carlton in Knightsbridge. We are seating 54 children, so we’re expecting a busy party.
By 9am the van has arrived with our crew, luckily we use a fab crewing company who carry all the props in for us.
By 10am we have most of the kit in the Garden Room and our “Alice in Wonderland” theme starts to take shape. I’m very excited about our new boxwood backdrop and the Alice props we made ourselves. The client requested a bright take on the theme and we have certainly done that. As well as a dessert table, tea table, backdrop and party bags we have also themed some great craft tables which look fabulous. The end result is a very happy birthday girl.
The event finishes around 6pm, by the time we take it down it’s about 7.30pm, luckily the crew are able to take over and ensure everything gets packed back into the van. With sore feet we decide to get an Uber only to have pressed the wrong button and end up in a pool car with a girl heading to a party in Camden, never a dull moment!
I woke up at 8.45, I must admit to having a bit of a lay-in today as my colleague Helen is in charge of this job, so I am only attending to lend support. We have a really fun event today at The Berkeley. It is an M&M themed party and the emphasis really is on the fun in every aspect.
I get to the site at about 10.45am and everything is in full swing, it looks amazing, and I am totally blown away by the activities and styling. Our client loves lots of different entertainment and we have certainly delivered. The sweets table is also a complete indulgence and Robin’s cake is a big hit. The party is so much fun and I end up staying until the end, I enjoyed being on the sidelines making sure party bag tags were straight and table cloths were correctly boxed. This is much less pressure for me today than when I manage an event.
By 7pm we are all getting the tube back home, pleased with how the event has gone.
Arrived to work on Monday at 9am. On Mondays, if you have worked at the weekend you almost suffer from event jet lag. Event work can be very physical so tiredness after working a 7-day week is a reality. We are actually all so busy all of the time that there is no chance for a relaxed start to Monday morning. Our styling team start work today on the My 1st Years birthday party brief and I quickly see they are creating something fab! I have big rolls of fabric which need to be sent to the factory to be made into tablecloths. I am also signing off graphics work for our Peter Pan Christmas theme as well as working on event plans for the following week. The phone does not stop ringing, we have decided that we are really at capacity now so need to consider what else we take on before the New Year. Monday is always a full day of work for me as I have childcare and make the most of it, I’ve also tried to cut back on meetings this week as I really need to spend some quality time at my desk.
Arrive at work again for 9am today. The phone continues to ring off the hook, our hire business, Little Party Hire, is really getting lots of interest, but the enquiries and information required are very different to that of party planning. It is great though to capture sales so quickly when with party planning the process from brief to confirmation can be a lengthy one. Today I find a fabulous vintage sideboard, perfect for a dessert table we are working on, arrange delivery and brief Chris in our warehouse on the paint job required. I double check the loading bay to ensure all the kit is ready for the My 1st Years Birthday party tomorrow.
Lucy and I set off for My 1st Years about 7.15am, no school run for me this morning. Juggling both motherhood and party planning has its challenges; I need to make sure I am back in time for swimming and football clubs. We arrive at offices in Stanmore to find our lovely crew have loaded everything in already, so we get to do the pretty bits. As we start to layer up the sweets and tea tables, I realise what a great job the styling team have done. We have the most amazing graphic designer and head stylist who are producing some really bespoke items in our little design studio. The response from the My 1st Years team puts a big smile on our faces, they are so generous with their compliments it makes such a big difference when people appreciate your work. We are completely looked after and manage to utilise a bit of office space to talk about the styling of another event we have coming up at The Berkeley, a beautiful pink party that I am falling in love with.
The event finishes at approximately 1.30 and after a really productive morning and a successful event, we pack away. I think I will know when I have made it when I finally don’t have to put the soft play balls away one-by-one, not there yet! I work from home in the afternoon and evening to catch-up after my mummy duties.
At 11am a life-sized Nana dog and a small alligator arrive in the office today, props for our Christmas set. I’ve got to remember my son is racing for the school in the cross country and need to make sure he has the right kit. It’s also Children in Need, so he needs a new onesie and I read very late in the day that we’re supposed to make and decorate a cake, well that is a step too far for me as a working mum, big fail.
At 2pm I start to work on a project we have in the background, it’s a very exciting opportunity, I hope to tell you all soon but I am think it is going to be good for the business and my team.
I leave the office today at about 3.30 as football club collection takes priority.
At 8.45am I start my day with a skinny americano, anyone who knows me well knows that I can’t start the day without it. After which, I head into the office as I know it is going to be a long day. The priority is to ensure all the jobs are loaded up correctly in the loading bay, with all the kit marked up for the delivery drivers. The day seems to go at warp speed, and my head is in figures which I have to say is not my favourite place. I favour anything creative and have a low threshold for the figure work. I am excited and nervous about Saturday; I am working with Rob Van Helden, an amazing florist styling a 40th birthday party. This is not our usual work but we do pick up jobs where clients seem to love what we do so ask us to help out.
By 5.30pm I head home, only to get the laptop out again but at least I can work and see the children at the same time. This is my 12th working day without a day off, day 14 is my day off and it still feels a bit of a way off.