Chelsa Cohen of Evoque
How did you get into event planning? I moved to Arizona from Nebraska in 2007 and was hired by The Phoenician in Scottsdale as an executive meetingsSpecialist. This was my first job in the event world, and I quickly learned the importance of client relations, event efficiency and the behind-the-scenes operations to produce a successful event. A few years later, I was approached by a local wedding planning company, Some Like It Classic, and started working as a wedding coordinator. This is where I began building valuable relationships within the event industry.
What is your best advice for achieving a timeless, memory-making event? The guests’ energy and how much the guests feel during the event is the variable that will create a timeless memory toward the day. There are four elements I focus on when creating events to “Evoque” this energy: decor, food, lighting and entertainment/music. It does not matter the size or budget of the celebration, if one of these are off, the guests will feel it.
The more thought and cohesiveness you have with these elements, the stronger the guests’ emotion is toward the event. The goal is harmony. When there is this underlying connectivity of harmony between the four elements, the guest will embrace and remember it.
Most memorable event project? For the past 10 years, I have been actively involved as a volunteer member for a local nonprofit, Scottsdale League for the Arts (SLA), which raises money for local youth art programs. To help this organization, I created and chaired a new event concept hosted at Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North called Cooks and Corks. This one-night event under the stars brought together 15 of the Valley’s top chefs, wineries and entertainment in an intimate outdoor setting. Cooks and Corks became the most profitable event for SLA and was ranked the Best Culinary Festival in Arizona. The Arizona Republic included Cooks + Corks as one of the top food and drink November events in Phoenix.
What is the biggest challenge? Innovation is a critical part of my business model. Without innovation, design is stagnate and repetitive. One of the personal challenges I have is to constantly recreate and provide something new to the client that inspires emotion. Clients usually have trouble expressing their vision. They may have a general direction such as a color scheme or theme, but it is my responsibility to help bring these ideas to life. Clients can also be indecisive and really look to me to help guide their decisions. They want something that’s personalized and unique to their taste that brings energy to their event. I am continuously researching new ways to twist ideas to give my clients their wishes. Innovation also takes a lot of personal time for me but when I see the final product and the excitement in clients’ reaction, it is all worth it.
What is your biggest reward in being an event planner? I absolutely love being a trusted resource for my clients in helping them design and develop an experience that will become a staple memory forever. Building an event is a very intimate experience. The client is sharing all of their passions and interests. You are getting to know their personality on a deeper level because you are creating a special occasion that represents them and the event that they are about to celebrate. You can get to know someone quickly through the planning process and organically friendships can form. One of the biggest rewards outside of these incredible relationships is when clients trust my work so much, that they refer my business to someone who is now trusting them.
Favorite Arizona-based vendors: We are so blessed in Arizona to have a thriving industry once again. People are so excited to throw events and the best part is that we have some of the most talented vendors in the country! I have been lucky to work with the best of the best.
Lauren Allen offers an exceptional catering experience with food that could celebrate a James Beard restaurant. Her hospitality team and chefs create custom menus for each of their clients, so every dinner with this team is something you won’t find or eat at another party.
Event Rents and Bright Event Rentals have a plethora of beautiful furniture, tables, linens and bars that will set the tone for the other design aspects such as floral and decor. These two companies are professional and always take the extra step to bring my events to the next level.
When it comes to essential decor, Confetti Studio sets themselves apart. Unique and exquisite plates, flatware, colorful glassware and decorative candles are the key to a perfect tablescape; Confetti Studio has it all. I love including them in as many events as I can.
One of my favorite ways of branding an event that has a specific purpose is to utilize signage and menus. This is a great way to bring color, energy and a personalized message to an event experience. Page & Parcel always delivers. They are the icing on the cake when it comes to leaving a true impression on the guest and sometimes a memorable souvenir for the client to keep with them forever.
Divinity Lighting makes all events sparkle! Lighting can make all the difference to add depth and dimension to evening functions. They have created so many magical evenings for my clients.
Bloom & Blueprint’s team of floral designers are truly artists when it comes to arrangements. Their out-of-box thinking translates into unique floral masterpieces.
To learn more, visit www.evoqueaz.com.