Fashion / Weddings

How to Keep the Party Going (Safely) For Weddings, Corporate Events and Birthday Bashes — Planned With’s Creativity Gets it Done

Emily Rudelson's Events Planning Agency Goes Above and Beyond to Make Things Special in These Coronavirus Times

BY // 10.19.20

Chat with engaged couples planning a wedding during the coronavirus pandemic, and you’re likely to hear stories of changing venues, trimming guest lists and shifting dates. It’s enough to make even the most romantic of couples head to the county courthouse, snap a selfie and call it happily ever after. 

That option of frustration is simply not good enough for Emily Rudelson, owner of Planned With, a full-service events planning company that specializes in social, corporate and lifestyle events.  

Rudelson’s list of corporate clients includes heavy hitters such as Sweetgreen, DR Delicacy, Mayfield and Ragni Studio, Mutiny Wine Room, Benjy’s and GoodPop, but her expertise also extends to life’s most memorable moments. We’re talking weddings, graduations, bar and bat mitzvahs, birthdays and more.  

“People are still celebrating. They’re just celebrating differently,” Rudelson says. “Our large-scale live events and weddings are either postponed or aren’t happening as we know them, so we’re reimagining our live event experiences into hybrid events, which essentially combines in-person and virtual experiences. Also, a lot of our clients’ events are annual, and often they have preferred to continue on, even virtually for 2020 or 2021. This provides a unique opportunity to shift costs that are no longer necessary to offer creative ways in the hybrid events space as we all plan in the face of COVID.” 

Adaptation and creativity are at the heart of every event planner’s repertoire, and Rudelson employed both when planning a fairy-tale micro-wedding ceremony in a lush backyard for 20 guests. The couple had already changed their plans three times, so with Rudelson’s expertise, they decided to say their I Dos with 20 people in attendance while live streaming the intimate wedding for 200 of the bride and groom’s extended family. Cut to Create filmed the event and assisted with the Zoom stream.  

The new Mr. and Mrs. even found silver linings in the midst of the COVID wedding. 

“Our couple was able to invite more people than our original venue would have allowed, so that was a bonus,” Rudelson says. “Also people who were not going to be able to travel — like the bride’s grandmother in Columbia, she was able to watch and participate in the ceremony. That was definitely a blessing.” 

Since the pandemic began, Rudelson and her team have zigged and zagged for social celebrations and corporate events alike, incorporating key elements of the hybrid event experience such as printed or digital invitations, delivery of an event kit, following them up with memorable and interactive live experiences. 

Planned With
Planned With’s Emily and Brian Rudelson.

Planned With orchestrates a wide range of corporate events, including brand activations, product launches, business grand openings, holiday parties, client gatherings, galas and community happenings. As Rudelson continues to reimagine events during the pandemic, she is also staying apprised of the most up-to-date safety guidelines as established by local and state government agencies.  

“We make sure to keep tabs on the CDC’s recommendation throughout the weeks leading to an event, taking all precautions to clean the area, provide sanitization options for guests like hand sanitizer stations, and enforce (social) distancing between guests,” Rudelson says. 

For a fun 30th birthday party in Austin, Rudelson set up a hand-sanitizer station with masks at the entrance, but added a personalized touch: custom labels with the event logo on individual bottles of sanitizer on lounge tables throughout the pool area. Taking the necessary steps and adding whimsical touches to something as essential as hand sanitizer elevates an event of any size. 

Even though events look different right now, Rudelson says there is still plenty of time to plan holiday parties and corporate events.

Her updated checklist takes into consideration the current approach to planning a corporate event, which includes determining the new event vision, who the core team of experts will be, which virtual event platforms to use, and how to keep guests engaged with everything they need to celebrate in the comfort of their own homes.

Rudelson encourages clients to consider renting a mobile bar, Airstream concessions center or food truck. Hiring a celebrity chef from your favorite restaurant to cook a coursed dinner is another great option. She suggests using individually packaged apps in single-use, environmentally friendly disposable packaging. 

“We planned an impromptu, surprise coed bachelor/bachelorette party at FlopHouze and hired celebrity chef Monica Pope to cook an outdoor seated dinner for 12 people,” Rudelson says. “It takes the stress out of cooking. It’s intimate, special and it’s a safe way to enjoy food from your favorite restaurant that you might be missing.” 

Rudelson’s cultivated list vendors and community partners make up the gold standard for every occasion. Her network covers all facets of event planning and includes connections with the most innovative influencers in all of Texas’ major cities. 

Getting social during a pandemic means getting creative, but Rudelson’s focus on creating personal, interactive, unique and beautiful experiences remains the same. 

“We are heading into the fun season, so why not head outside for parties where you can safely social distance and still celebrate life’s special moment?” Rudelson notes. “Enhancing celebrations and alleviating event planning stress is why I love what I do.” 

For more information or to connect with the Planned With experts, check out the full site.