Debra Morris is one of Manhattan’s premier event planners. She recently celebrated her 27th year as Founder and Creative Director of her award-winning firm, Eventsful, Inc., which creates bespoke events for clients around the world.
After beginning her career as Director of Catering at Windows on the World and Le Parker Meridien, Morris set out on her own to bring her singular flair to fabulous events, from Hamptons seaside weddings to farm-to-table engagement parties, from surprise birthdays to swanky museum galas. She has designed and executed unforgettable events for Food Network, Def Jam Music Group, 1-800-FLOWERS, the Young Presidents Organization, The Rubin Museum of Art, and more. In every event, she incorporates an element of delight, personalized touches, and buzz-worthy details designed to get people talking.
MAKE IT PERSONAL
Everything about creating an amazing event is emotional. Incorporate details to touch their hearts—personalized glasses, a favorite surprise guest, an unexpected menu item all can come together to make the event feel magical.
LOWER THE LIGHTING
Just as lighting in fine clubs is very different from the lighting in the corner diner, the lighting decisions you make can set the tone. Use dimmers, uplighting, even candlelight to create an environment for entertaining.
KEEP THE SURPRISES COMING
Seeing a tray of the same hors d'oeuvres come around time and again can get boring fast. Plan to bring out new food every hour to keep it interesting.
CONSIDER THE SOUNDTRACK
Nothing sets a mood like music. Is the event swanky and exclusive, or family-oriented and fun? Do you want to encourage conversation or get them on the dance floor? Create a soundtrack that suits the atmosphere perfectly.
PREPARE A THOUGHTFUL MENU
Are any guests on your list allergic to shellfish or sensitive to gluten? Do they go all in on cheese or have a unique love of bourbon? Tailor your menu to suit your guests, and all will know that you thought and cared about them.
GIVE THE NIGHT A FLOW
When planning your event, give it a clear beginning, middle, and end. Maybe the music changes, or the menu transitions. Consider milestones that will keep things moving and prevent boredom.
GO OVER THE TOP
Invite a cotton-candy artist to the event, park a food truck in the driveway, or arrange for personal transportation to and from your venue. Unexpected, over-the-top details will keep them talking about the event for years to come.
REMEMBER MONEY ISN’T WHAT MATTERS
It’s not about how much you spend, it’s about the experience you create. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to create a special time for your guests.
CLARIFY THE DRESS CODE
Make guests feel comfortable by letting them know what wardrobe your event calls for. Is it a pajama party or black-tie affair? Are jeans fine, or are they discouraged? Take the guesswork out of the decision for your guests.
When you create a moment that makes people laugh, suddenly the whole room has something in common.