We had the opportunity to interview Fearon May of Fearon May Events, a national award recipient for best table top design by the National Association of Catering and Events (NACE). She recently received the 2015 California Excellence Award from the US Commerce & Trade Research Institute (USCTRI) for excellence in customer service.
Fearon also is known for planning weddings in Lake Tahoe, for a rock star celebrity musician, or a three day extravagate wedding for an actress in Sonoma. Fearon May is known as the go-to person in planning a celebrity tribute dinner in Napa, for Kevin Costner and Michelle Monaghan. She has been hired by the Napa Valley Film Festival as the Vintner Circle Director where she plans all the VIP dinners for the celebrities, filmmaker and sponsors attending the festival. She has also planned corporate and social events for Mercedes Bends, Cadillac, Chevrolet, McClatchy, Yocha Dehe Wintun Academy and many others. She also won the President’s Award from the Sacramento NACE Chapter for her volunteer services.
BB: Hello and welcome to this episode of our program. My name is Beverly and I am with Business Mavericks and today we have Fearon May with Fearon May events.
Welcome to our program Fearon.
FM: Thank you thanks so much for having me.
BB: Why don’t you share with us about your back ground and how you got started with event planning?
FM: Sure it’s actually quite a funny story. I wanted to be a casting director so when I was in college I moved home to save up some money before moving down to LA. I started working at a golf course as a beverage cart girl and then I started doing the banquets and weddings on the weekends so I was bar tending and serving where I received working experience.
A worked a lot of weddings and events so I was able to learn quite a lot from these weddings/events. They then moved me over to their sister location where I managed the entire event facility and bar & grill with a staff of 30. I did the weddings and booked the weddings for weekends there and this is where I met my husband. We moved to Sacramento and I got a job at a really high paid wedding event company, so there was a venue that had 3 ballrooms and any one year I think I did 1000 events, really got the education I needed and high paid.
So from there I really decided that weddings and events were for me. I loved being in that industry and in 2010 I left to start my own business, I have had my business now for 6 year. While starting my business, I also worked for a prop and decor company, where I learned even more about decor and design.
I learnt a lot about the design process of weddings and really I started with the best education you can get for weddings and events or being a planner. I worked from the bottom and learned how events actually work. I got to learn how to set the tables and what size linens go on what tables and all the fun stuff that goes into planning a wedding.
BB: Your current career as an event planner is intriguing to many but do you find yourself asking and answering the same questions again and again?
FM: Sometimes it’s the same questions again and again as far as brides and grooms go. But, once I answer the questions to everyone’s satisfaction they understand I have everything taken care of and things will go smoothly.
BB: Is there training to become an event planner?
FM: Yes and no I mean I get asked all the time how did you become a wedding planner? I feel like there are people out there, who think that they can just plan one event or their own wedding, and then decide that they want to be a wedding planner. There needs to be more education than that. You can’t really just pay for a certificate and say that you are a wedding planner. There is definitely an education and experience needed. You have to think quickly on your feet and you need to know all the details that go into it planning.
Details like how many forks get set with the courses that you are serving for the dinner. What size linen, how many bartenders you need, how much staffing you need per event? All those details come from experience when working on those events, so the best education that you can get is really just starting from the bottom. Intern or go work for a banquet facility for some time it’s a great education.
BB: So what does an event planner actually do?
FM: We handle all the logistics and vendors in helping you book the best vendors you could possibly book for your wedding or events. We manage the time line, we manage floor plans, how to set everything up, working with all the vendors, making sure what time they are going to be there, what time to set up, we do a lot of the design makeup so making sure that the linens match, the flowers and match all the other décor that is going into the event.
We work with the property or venue where they event is being held at so we make sure everything is good between them and make sure that everything the venue has is what we are talking about, I am like the fairy godmother and I make sure everything goes as planned and the event is very special.
BB: What type of events do you organize the most?
FM: I would probably say weddings; I work a lot with the Napa Valley Film Festival. I plan all their VIP and celebrity events, so it’s really a mix for me of high end corporate events, as well as the weddings that I do.
BB: Which events do you actually enjoy doing?