Wedding Essentials (WE) was fortunate enough to get a chance to spend some time with Rita Neri, well-known event planner to celebrities such as Ryan and Judy Ann Agoncillo, Aga & Charlene Muhlach, Paul and Toni Soriano, Vic and Pauline Sotto, just to name a few. Her vast pool of celebrity clients even includes international Chinese film and music personalities.
Curious about how she deals with planning events for her celebrity clients, its nuances and differences in the preparations and planning, WE sat down to interview her to shed some light and satisfy our curiosity.
Do you only do celebrity weddings?
RN: Our company, Rita Neri Event Planners, does every kind of events but admittedly, we are more known for weddings. One of our earlier events was the “Lord of the Rings” inspired debut of KC Concepcion. Lately, we have also been doing a lot of baptisms and kiddie parties for celebrities.
What are the challenges in doing an event for a celebrity client?
RN: Because they are celebrities, they come with a lot of extras to consider such as:
- Limited time for meetings because of taping or movie schedules, so meetings can run late into the night or odd times and days.
- Security requirements must be discussed and planned because as much as most celebrities want to involve their fans, they also still want to keep the event private.
- Privacy issues are always a prime concern because one must always control the information about the event, especially the details.
- Media or press situations also have to be considered and acted on.
- Depending on what their vision is of their wedding/event, the overall logistics is of prime concern always.
Is doing celebrity weddings as glamorous as most people think?
RN: Yes and no. Yes, because you’re up close and personal with your clients and their other celebrity friends. If you’re lucky, you get to develop a lasting relationship with them and you become friends.
The best part is when you realize how normal most celebrities are, and what they do is just mostly blown up or talked about differently.
I also say ‘no’ because it can be far from glamorous, depending on the character and personality of the celebrity. Just like any other client, some celebrities can be warm, welcoming, and very approachable, while others can be guarded and not as open.
Many perceive the glamorous part when the interviews, pictures or TV specials are shown, forgetting the long hours and effort done in creating it.
How did you start out as being a celebrity event planner?
RN: Firstly, just to clarify the term ‘celebrity event planner‘ to mean an event planner who has worked and continues to work with clients who are celebrities, and that I do not consider myself a celebrity.
Working with celebrities was not a planned marketing focus, but rather a serendipitous effort of being in the right place at the right time and being in a position to do the event and do it well. From the first few celebrity events that we did, word spread that we are the event planning company to go to for events, for both celebrities and non-celebrities.