Author: Kate Foster, CWC, CMP
It was such a pleasure to sit down with LA Wedding Planner, Michelle Sharp of Sharp Occasions. She’s been planning, designing, and creating incredible events over the past two decades. I’ve seen her in action many times and she is a force to be reckoned with! Here is what she had to say:
KF: Give our readers a brief bio on your background in the hospitality/events industry:
MS: During my over 20 years of experience working in the events industry, I have had experience in hotel event & catering sales, corporate event planning, venue management, and event production. This combined experience is what pushed me to launch Sharp Occasions. Having owned a special event planning company over 15 years ago, I knew this time around I was more than equipped with the experience & knowledge needed to succeed on my own. My most memorable & influential position was my time spent at the Luxe Rodeo Drive Hotel. As the Director of Events for over 4 ½ years, I had the pleasure of working with the most amazing staff, clients, and community. This experience heightened my level of customer service and laid the foundation of how I would run my own company. Second to the Luxe, my role as Event Director for Classic Party Rentals (later, Bright Event Rentals) was one of the more influential reasons why I decided to launch my own company. Not only did I have experience planning & selling hotel events, now, I was helping to produce major award shows and building events from the ground up!
KF: Being based in California, new guidelines have been released for the special event industry to successfully resume. This includes proof of vaccination or negative COVID testing w/in 72 hrs of the special event. As a planner/director, how do you foresee venues and planners working together to ensure that guidelines are being followed?
MS:I believe it is going to be particularly important to make sure venues & planners are working with experienced, professional, and responsible special events professionals to uphold these requirements for the safety of their guests. It is going to take a collective effort to ensure the entire team is adhering to the guidelines. If this means not being able to work with your favorite vendor, so be it! Safety first!
KF: You are an incredibly creative individual; I would love to hear what unique changes you predict will be used this year for special events and weddings?
MS: I do believe the concept of a micro wedding will stay around. I had the opportunity to plan a handful of micro weddings last year, and all my couples expressed that they would not be hosting a larger celebration, because their micro wedding was just enough and all they needed. Its personal and means so much more to know only those that are closest to you are there to celebrate such a beautiful moment. I also see food service changing a lot. More plated service and not so many buffets and more clients will opt for individual, pre-packaged meals for not so formal events. With the onset of covid, we are now seeing personalized PPE products and dedicated stations being designed to offer sanitation and PPE needs for the guests. I love to get creative with this set-up, so it encourages guests to practice safe measures while celebrating. This will not be going away anytime soon!
KF: As hospitality professionals, we are actually salespeople who serve. Whether it is selling weddings, events, guest rooms, catering, or cakes, nothing happens until someone sells something! With that in mind, what would be your top sales tip for sales professionals right now?
MS: Be honest and show your clients that you care and know what you are talking about! I would say at least 90% of my clients tell me that they decided to go with my company because they felt like I was the most experienced. Show your clients your greatest asset and be direct about pricing and the value behind your pricing. Ultimately, you will start to attract the clientele that is right for you.
KF: Thank you, Michelle, for sharing your experience and such valuable insight. I know you have so much to offer your clients! Where can our readers learn more about you and your services online?
Please visit www.sharpoccasions.com to learn more about my services and the clients we have had the pleasure of producing events for.