Meet Arona Martin an Event Director at D3 Events who has worked with a ton of different clients and a variety of events, such as: HBO, Playboy, KODAK, Michael Jordon, the Clintons, etc. In this interview Arona Martin gives us her definition for “Party With Style”, tips on how to plan the ultimate 4th of July party, and her dream for a male-oriented baby shower honoring Matthew McConaughey’s baby.
How did you end up in a career as an event planner?
I think it started when I was a little girl and would invite everybody on my street over for a weekly tea party. I would hand write the invitations and require a strict dress code…everyone had to wear my grandmother’s costume jewelry and a boa (yes, even the boys). On one occasion, I even did a Magilla Gorilla theme and served bananas. As a teen, I’d host regular themed dinners (i.e. if we ordered Chinese food, I’d wear a kimono and chop sticks holding my hair up…)
What is your role at D3 Events and who are some of its clients?
I am the Event Director, and have worked with a ton of different clients on a variety of events. HBO, Playboy, KODAK, Michael Jordon, the Clintons, etc.
What is your definition of the phrase: “Party With Style”?
Making even the most lavish gala seem effortless…that, and still looking good after nine hours in stiletto heels!
What is the difference between planning an event for a celebrity, a corporation, or a politician?
My goal for every party is to make the client or company feel like they have celebrity status. I like to think I am changing people’s lives one party at a time. Who doesn’t want to feel like a rock star for a night?
What are some of the most memorable events you have organized so far?
I think it has to be my partner, Joey Vartanian’s surprise birthday party. It was a “Royal” theme, and aside from having horse and carriages on hand to take guests home, we had a 30 person Gospel choir sing “Hail to the KING” at midnight while knights brought in a 4 foot cake in the shape of a crown. Getting recognition for a job well done is great, but seeing him have great time was incredibly rewarding.
“My dream party to plan would be a male-oriented baby shower honoring Matthew McConaughey’s baby. From a cigar rolling station, to "how to properly wear the baby bjorn and still play Wii", to "hold the remote and the baby bottle at the same time," there is so much I could do!”
What would be your dream party to plan?
A male-oriented baby shower honoring Matthew McConaughey’s baby. From a cigar rolling station, to “how to properly wear the baby bjorn and still play Wii”, to “hold the remote and the baby bottle at the same time,” there is so much I could do!
How do you stay calm when things don’t go as they are planned?
I over plan for most of my events, so the night of I can concentrate on the client(s). I also truly love every event I create, so I try to act as a guest as well as the planner. There are issues that do come up occasionally, but that is why I have surrounded myself with an incredible staff that can handle everything. A few years back, I was preparing for a corporate party for 800, and 30 minutes before the doors opened there was a car crash right outside the venue that took out the electricity on the whole block. 5 minutes before the doors opened, we had 500 candles lighting the space….we quickly transformed the venue into an intimate cocktail party as guests arrived…an hour into the party the electricity came back and the transition was amazing, the client thought we planned it that way!
Is it difficult for you to enjoy an event someone else planned?
Not at all, I have a great time wherever I go – but sometimes it’s difficult to impress me.
What does it take to succeed as an event planner?
Most people would say organization- which is something that definitely helps- but I think the two key characteristics are: creativity and the ability to take risks.
What tips can you give us for planning the ultimate 4th of July party, or any theme party at home?
Here are some great twists to spice up this year’s 4th of July backyard BBQ party:
Acai Organic Cocktail!: Açai (ah-sci-ee) is a rainforest berry – a small, dark purple fruit that grows on palm trees on the floodplains of the Amazon basin. Recent scientific study has earned it the enviable title of “world’s healthiest fruit” in part, because it is likely to be the world’s highest antioxidant fruit. Use this organic juice to create a tasty cocktail and also be good to your body! Acai is replacing the pomegranate as the trendy cocktail mixer!
1 oz Bacardi Razz
1/2 oz Bacardi Grand Melon
1 oz acai juice
splash of lime juice
1 oz club soda
Shake and serve over ice with a wedge of lime!
SnoCone Machine (The adult version!)
Great for an outdoor party or any event where the weather is warm! The machine runs around $25 at any Target or Wal-Mart and the syrups come in all sorts of colors; why not do red white and blue sno cones?! Kids will love them, and you can add flavored vodka for the adults! Be a kid again with a kick!
The Updated Burger Bar:
In addition to putting out all sorts of fun toppings from shredded cheese, grilled onions, to potato chips, have 10 different sauces to choose from. What about ALSO all different burgers themselves? Like Kobe beef, Salmon burger, crab cake burger, turkey, etc. That could be cute? People will love to create all sorts of combinations, and with the guests helping themselves, it gives you time to enjoy the fireworks!
Anyone and everyone has thrown a "white party"…why not incorporate our nations red white and blue theme into the night and have guests become a part of the decor by wearing all blue, you can then add the red and white into everything else (like decorations), and la-ta! Your patriotic party is a hit!
Who doesn’t love a swag bag? Why not bring a little “Hollywood” to the outdoor BBQ and prepare gift bags for the guests. A “summer survival kit” is a fun touch (use the small grocery store recyclable ones they sell for $1) fill with suntan lotion in SPF 30 or more, mini bug spray, and a water bottle (again incorporating the eco-idea and cutting down on plastic waste). Guests will love it, and wont get bitten or burned!
What do you love most about your job?
Making every guest feel like they had the best night of their life!
How would you describe your own style?
I try to keep it casual with an edge, so it’s usually jeans with rocker heels ( I LOVE Beverly Feldman!) and some fun earrings. When I am working, it is all black. I don’t have a ton of time to go from drab to glam on an event night, so half of my closet is full of black “party” clothes. That, paired with over the top rhinestone earrings, and I’m ready for a red carpet entrance any night of the week.
You can learn more about Arona and D3 events at: www.d3events.com