Brad Foster

Event planners could be in for a rude shock by unimpressed attendees if they don’t get greater budgets to create events with extra wow.

First birthdays and christenings are today looking a lot like the corporate events of a few years ago, with a new wave of “party planners” and “event stylists” setting up shop and being paid good money to create social gatherings that Donald and Melania Trump would be proud of.

A Google search will show you just how far people are now going to celebrate these and other family milestones. Rooms full of balloons, back-lit letters spelling out names, stunning plinths full of sweet treats, full bottles of scotch on table centrepieces, it seems like money really is no object.

Which is bad news for the professional event planner. And why? Well if you’ve been to a fifth birthday that was more opulent than a car launch how do you think your car launch is going to go?

On the look-out for a handful of decorations for our son’s upcoming 21st, I almost fell off my chair when my wife showed me some of the things people are doing at birthdays, christenings and engagements. We’re not talking weddings here either. This is a whole new genre that makes me glad my kids are in and beyond their teens.

No doubt great news if you’re a legitimate event planner and you do a little work in this space but spare a thought for those working wholly and solely in the corporate world.

Imagine if you’d just been to a first birthday party of a friend’s child over the weekend. The drinks were flowing so freely that you left your car there and caught an Uber home. The bottle of Scotch on the table centrepiece wasn’t the cheap variety, and the hired DJ was happy to take your requests. The little doggy bag of sweet treats was unexpected and… well, yummo. Even the photographer seemed happy.

The following week you’re off to a work function. It’s the launch of something. Or maybe an awards dinner. And gosh, the room looks pretty dull compared to little Jimmy’s first birthday. The wine’s not as good for a start.

Time to start asking for more money dear event planner. Or get into the party planning business.

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