When it comes to Event Planners, Leslie Jones, of Leslie Marie Events is a true force to be reckon with. Leslie was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. At a young age, she loved planning and bringing people together.

Even as a toddler, her parties where the place to be. While attending Arizona State University, her passion and love for events made her the go-to-girl for planning sorority fundraisers, community and social events. Leslie’s favorite part of a wedding is watching the bride walk down the aisle, it makes her cry every time! Check out my interview below with LA’s very own, aka your favorite Event Planners, favorite Planner.

How did you get your start as an event planner?

I volunteered with two non-profit organizations while attending college at Arizona State University. For no particular reason besides the fact that no one else wanted to do it, I was put in charge of planning our events. They were typically community events or small social gatherings but it gave me the opportunity to get my feet wet in the industry. I quickly learned how a well-organized event could really impact those in attendance and I knew I had found what I wanted to do in life. When I moved back to LA, I started interning for a wedding planner that was transitioning out of the business. She taught me everything I needed to know about wedding and event planning. 

Did you have any mentors that guided you along your journey as an Event Planner? 

The wedding planner I interned for when I first moved back to LA was very impactful. I now have two other mentors I look to in the business and peers that I admire greatly and turn to often for advice. 

How important is collaboration in your industry? 

Collaboration is huge in the event planning industry. As a planner and designer, I can have an idea for an event but if I don’t have the right vendors to help me carry it out, the event would never happen. We call on the florists, caterers, photographers, rental companies, etc. in our network to collaborate with us to pull off a successful event.

What is your favorite type of event to plan, and why?

I absolutely love weddings! Granted they are a lot of work and there is so much more pressure around a wedding than any other event, in my opinion, but they are definitelymy favorite! I love working with couples and their families during the happiest time of their lives. It gives me the opportunity to really get to know our clients and we actually become close friends. Most times, this is the first big event they have ever planned. I love educating my clients and making their vision come to life, it is the best feeling in the world.  

What are 5 key items that anyone planning a party should have at their event.

I always tell my clients that they set the vibe for their event. I say this because I want them to be thoughtful when deciding who they invite to attend. So, I would say the first key element to planning a great party, is inviting the right people. Followed by good food, a unique or fun venue, music if appropriate and thinking of the small details. You want your guests to be comfortable when they attend your event. If the event is outside, order heat lamps. If you think there will be a long wait for drinks with one bartender, add another. 

What advice would you give future event planners who are trying to break in the industry?

Do not do it just for the money! Instagram and Pinterest have made my job a more sought-after career. Clients want their events, especially weddings, to go viral, and they are willing to pay a pretty penny to do so. Because often they need guidance on how to pull of an event of that magnitude, they are willing to pay a planner/designer to make that happen. So, there is definitely money to be made in this $72 billion industry. But if you do not have a passion for it, you won’t last long. Most events we plan are on the weekends and sometimes holidays. I can’t tell you know many friends’ birthday dinners I have missed or seeing my niece off as she goes to her high school dances. Although we build a family with our clients and our vendors, we do often miss out on special moments with our own families and friends. 

What is a quote that you live by

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

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Featured Image by A Sight of Love Photography