Event Planner Spotlight: EH Social Events

Nicole SteegerContributor

Today, we’re getting to know Erika Hernandez, the talented and creative force behind the fabulous event planning company, EH Social Events. Based out of Rahway, New Jersey, Erika helps clients in the tri-state area celebrate life’s biggest moments. I had the privilege of interviewing her recently and she truly is a lovely and impressive event planner. I'm happy to introduce you to Erika, let's get to know what she's all about. 

GM: How did you get started as a professional event planner?

EH: Since I can remember I’ve always been drawn to creating; as a child I looked forward to Saturday morning craft classes at the local craft store. For me, bringing different elements together to create extraordinary masterpieces is nothing less than fascinating. As I got older I grew a passion for colors, textures, fashion, music, and celebrations. Being such a creative person and having so many interests only led me to explore different career paths that never made the cut. So, I decided to open a small party store where, after some time, I realized that I was close to my “calling” but not completely there. After three years of selling party supplies and doing on-site decorating I sold my store, went back to school and EH Social Events was born. It’s been over 7 years now and I’ve never felt more complete doing anything else. There’s no better feeling than to wake up each morning looking forward to going to work. 

Photo Credit: EH Social Events

 GM:  What types of events do you typically plan?

EH: I offer full, partial, month-of, and day-of event planning services as well as design. 90% of our events are social celebrations such as milestones, reunions, showers, etc. The rest are corporate events. My company fluctuates from one type of event to another. In the early years, it was sweet 16’s and quinceaneras with a few corporate events in between. Then it was showers, reunions and children’s parties. But, within the last two years we’ve been planning quite a few business launches, music industry events and weddings. In the past, I’d steered away from the whole wedding thing but now they are the majority of the events we plan. 

Photo Credit: Richard B Flores Photography

GM:  What sets you apart from other event planners?

EH: If I was to say my outgoing personality or straight forward honesty, that wouldn't make me very distinct. I think what sets me apart from most would have to be the fact that I listen, and become emotionally invested in my client/s. I am a firm believer that each person on this planet has a story and unless you are willing to listen, you'll never know how amazing one person’s life may be. I find my client's story and then deliver an event. My favorite part about being a professional event planner is being able to see my client’s vision come to life, and the process it take to get there.

GM: How does entertainment fit into the events that you plan?

EH: Without some kind of entertainment, an event is not complete. Guests come to an event not only to celebrate and enjoy themselves, but to escape their everyday routines. Whether it’s a DJ, band, soloist or even a juggler, entertainment sets the mood of the event. Before ending each consultation I always ask my clients, “What are your 3 most important categories for this event?” When clients reply, entertainment is always one of the three categories they choose.

GM: If you could work on a specific event type more than you currently do, what would it be and why?

EH: This is a toughie but if I can only pick one type it would have to be music industry related events. Music is one of many things I enjoy and these events give great opportunity to work with an endless list of great professionals. I’m a sponge! Any opportunity I get to learn something new, I take full advantage of the experience.

Photo Credit: Richard B Flores Photography

GM: Why do you use GigMasters for finding entertainment?

EH: It’s easy, quick and saves time! GigMasters has done most of the work when it comes to searching for the right entertainment; it’s more than just the Yellow Pages of entertainment. I’m a big review reader and I love that about the site!

GM: What are the biggest misconceptions people have about event planners?

EH: Some people are still under the impression that event planners are a luxury and not a necessity. In my career, I've come across people who feel that they can plan an event themselves, and chances are they can. However, what most people don’t realize is that planning an event, no matter the scale, is a full time job. There are planners at all price points; there's one for almost everyone. 

Photo Credit: Richard B Flores Photography

GM: What’s the one thing you wish people knew before they hired you?

EH: I wish people knew that I live for what I do and couldn't imagine myself doing anything other than this. I take each event extremely personal, and for that reason I plan each and every one as if it was the very last event in my career. For me there is no bigger gratification then to overhear guests talking about what a good time they're having or commenting on the beautiful the decor. Every time a client comes back to say “this is exactly what I wanted”... It reassures that I'm doing exactly what I was meant to do.

GM: What’s the biggest mistake people make when planning a big event on their own?

EH: They blow the budget too fast during the early stages of their planning process! A budget is a “MUST” and should not be mental, it should be put on paper. Making sure you follow and stay within the budget you set for yourself is soooo important. 

Photo Credit: EH Social Events

GM:  What’s the one piece of advice you’d offer anyone about finding a planner?

EH: Follow your instincts! If in your initial consultation you don't feel comfortable with the person, then find someone else. Chances are, the event you're planning is a once in a lifetime experience and when you're hiring a planner you're hiring their trust, and their knowledge to be able to execute your vision. If you can't imagine this person being your new best friend or extended family member during your planning process then they're not a match for you. The relationships I build with my client/s continue past the event; they become friendships.

GM: What’s one piece of advice you’d offer anyone planning a party on their own?

EH: The secret formula to any successful event is to do the math, be creative, stay organized and have fun! 

Photo Credit: Richard B Flores Photography

If you are interested in working with EH Social Events you can contact Erika through the website. You can also learn more about this wonderful company on their Facebook page.

Have you worked with EH Social Events? If so, share your experience in the comments below.