Meghan Alfonso of Girl About Town
How did you get into event planning? I have been planning events since I was 15 years old. I was always the one organizing a friend’s birthday dinner in high school or figuring out what my group was going to do over the weekend. After college, I worked for a small PR firm and enjoyed seeing how an event can unfold from start to finish. Working at a variety of nonprofit organizations and starting my own (Pearce Family Foundation), I thought I would start a side business to consult people on how to host an event. After just nine months of advising locals on the best florists to use or which venue has a great patio to hold a party on, we were asked to set up a margarita bar in an Airbnb and the whole idea of assisting out-of-town guests with their concierge needs unfolded. Today, we plan everything from where an incoming group will stay to filling their fridge with food and beverages, itinerary planning, decorating, hosting picnics and renting pool floats to travelers. Our most popular clients are incoming bachelorette parties; we have grown 500 percent over this past year, and on average setup 12 to 17 groups a weekend. Our goal at the beginning of the year was 220, and we easily surpassed that with over 400 groups, We have expanded to New Orleans and Denver, and next year are looking to franchise the brand so other entrepreneurs can be a part of a fast-growing company in this niche field!
What is your best advice for achieving a timeless, memory-making event? To pick a theme for the event, and by theme I mean to make the entire event based around a specific idea. Let’s say is it a birthday party and the guest of honor loves “Alice in Wonderland.” You will want every little detail to be thought of to make that theme be throughout the party. From the invites to the food to the decor, everything needs to encompass that specific theme. This creates a story for your event and allows your guests to be a part of the party and your vision. I promise your attendees will talk about that one amazing themed party you hosted for years to come versus a party that is all over the place. We try to push our clients to use packages we have created that are theme-specific; the most popular ones we have right now are Scottsdale Before the Veil, Last Disco, Final Fiesta and Barbie. The groups that use the themed decor are always happier than the ones who send us decor with a mishmash of items.
What is your biggest reward in being an event planner? What is the biggest challenge? The biggest reward is hearing how happy our clients are once they walk into the door. We put so much time and energy into creating epic one-of-a-kind events and try to make each setup better than the next, so to hear how happy the bride to be is makes our day. The biggest challenge is to not be discouraged when new planners pop up who are doing exactly what we are doing and promoting the same setups. There will always be competition, but it can be frustrating when they are copying all of your ideas. By now we know our reputation surpasses others, and it pushes us to think even more outside the box and to make our clients feel special.
Most memorable event project? This one is tough, but this past year we had a client book a picnic with us for a weekend in June. The weekend before she was coming, she started calling and messaging us asking when we were setting up. She accidentally told us the wrong date, and our tables were all being used. She was so upset but understood we couldn’t make it work but was pretty sad. My husband and I ended up driving to their rental and delivered a bottle of tequila and to apologize we couldn’t do a setup. As soon as she came to the door, she started crying and hugging me and wanted to show me the setup she did herself to get “approval” by Girl About Town. A week after she left, she sent the nicest email to myself, our event coordinator and our picnic coordinator thanking us for trying to make it work and how she felt so thankful for us even though we couldn’t do the setup. I know this wasn’t an actual event, but it was a client who was beyond kind and understanding to the situation.
Favorite Arizona-based vendors:
Desert Poppy (florist)
Food by Frank (chef)
a Bake shop (baker)
Jump Into Bliss (bounce house)
Harmony Boards (charcuterie board)
To learn more, visit www.girlabouttown.org.