Catching up With Rare Affairs
I recently caught up with Chris Parsons of Rare Affairs to ask him what it’s like working with his wife (FVEPA President Sherryl Parsons), what Rare Affairs has going on this summer and what the Fraser Valley Event Planning Association has done for their business. Enjoy!
FVEPA: What’s it like working with your spouse? What do each of you bring to the team?
Chris: We agree working with your spouse is not for everyone, but the two of us have been working on projects and events together since the day we met over 14 years ago so it’s totally natural and part of who we are as a couple. We are like minded and have fun spending time together working, spending time with family or just having fun. Although we are often work on the same projects and events, we typically manage different aspects of them. Sherryl is very detail orientated and has a lot of experience in working with the venues, contracts, logistics, etc. and I am very technical with a performance background so I do everything from designing mobile event apps for clients to MC’ing and managing Audio/Visual.
FVEPA: What makes you guys different from other event planners?
Chris: Our size, experience and team! We have a boutique feel so we can offer that level of personalized service to our clients. The Company was founded in 1999 and Sherryl has been planning events for over 13 years so we’ve seen a lot too. However, the main differentiator has to do with the Rare Affairs team and our willingness to do anything to get the job done in the most effective and positive way possible. We strive to exceed expectations and make small budgets go a long way. We are told time and time again by our clients that they love the team and our ability to just make things happen. We are lucky in that some of our clients have been working with Rare Affairs for 12+ years. We always have our eye on the client’s goals and ideal event outcomes and work well with the committees and teams. We have fun, pull off great events and leave people wanting more.
FVEPA: What does Laura bring to the team?
Chris: Fun,sanity and the ability for to take things to the next level. She is an integral part of our Team who manages her events incredibly well and knows how to make clients feel understood, valued and important. Every day we ask ourselves what we did before Laura joined the company.
FVEPA: What’s the craziest thing that’s happened at an event you produced?
Chris: Definitely the delegate who was roaming the halls at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler at 2am playing his accordion….that was a fun phone call to get. At another event, the venue (an hour from the nearest town) decided last minute we could not chill the white wine in their fridge for our 150 attendees, so we chilled it in the lake! Then there was the keynote speaker who was running late and managed to get his car impounded for speeding through a school zone. He ran the rest of the way to the venue and jumped onstage while we went back to pick up his family who he’d left on the side of the road. I’ll stop there 😉
Chris: We have a busy summer filled with family friendly Community events that we organize for the Downtown Langley Business Association and the City of Langley. There is the McBurney Plaza Summer Series which has already seen us do “Build it in the Plaza” and “Theatre in the Plaza” and then we have “Art in the Plaza” on July 25th, “Animals in the Plaza” on August 8th, and then “Circus in the Plaza” on September 26th. In addition to that series we have the Open Air Sale & Scavenger Hunt on July 18th for all the shoppers out there and then for the foodies we have the Fork & Finger event on August 22nd. For more details you can visit www.downtownlangley.com.
Following that we’re off to run a corporate conference for a few hundred delegates aboard the Ruby Princess Cruise Ship in September and then upon our return it’s to the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola to assist with a large fundraising gala event for Camp Goodtimes.
FVEPA: Wow, those all sound amazing! Final question: What has being members of FVEPA done for your business?
Chris: We have met and worked with so many vendors and suppliers through FVEPA and had the opportunity to tour amazing venues and learn about industry trends and topics that we otherwise would not have known about. In the last year alone we have done business with 18 FVEPA members in some capacity or another. Some of our best connections, friends and event clients have come as a result of our involvement in FVEPA….and by involvement we mean getting active in FVEPA through volunteering and being a part of the board. We also find ourselves referring FVEPA members to people looking for vendors or planners when we don’t have the capacity to take on new events or the events don’t fit with what we do, like weddings. FVEPA has been a really important part of Rare Affairs and where our Company is today.
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