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Down to Business: Event Planner Augusta Cole on the World of Event Production and the Keys to Thoughtful Entertaining

 

 

When event planner Augusta Cole reached out to us in May, looking for perfect dinnerware for a Sea Island wedding, we were thrilled to help. We have been a big fan of Augusta’s for some time now, admiring her work as Executive Director at award-winning, Easton Events. She recently launched her namesake planning and design company—Augusta Cole Events—and we cannot wait to see the beautiful affairs she brings to life.

We recently “sat down” with Augusta, to learn about what goes into running a successful events business, what it’s like launching a company in the midst of a global pandemic, and key tips to effortlessly hosting a memorable affair, be it an intimate dinner party or a “micro wedding” in today’s crazy world.

What are your favorite types of events to plan?

I love it all! While the majority of our events are wedding-related, I am inspired by the legacy aspect
of working with a family through all of the major milestones. From anniversaries, baby showers, to
major birthday celebrations, I love to be the through-line to make these experiences seamless and
personal.

9-Person Sea Island Wedding, photo by Olivia Rae James, courtesy of Augusta Cole Events. Pale Blue Serenity plates from Land of Belle, custom linen by John Robshaw, chargers from Tory Burch Home, and Cotton Candy Napkins by Sffera.

What was the most challenging part of starting your own business?

The obvious answer is my timing – I officially went out on my own in March of 2020. What a year!
But, I am looking at this as an opportunity rather than a pitfall. It’s an opportunity to launch with a
flexible and open mindset.

What advice would you give people who are interested in the event planning industry?

Experience and relationships are key! In the same way that we as businesses garner many of our
clients through referral, doors to opportunities in the industry open in a similar way. The other
critical piece of advice is hard work never goes out of style. The event industry is exciting, inspiring,
and does not sleep. Smart workflows and strong work ethics are paramount!

Most memorable event you’ve planned?

There really are too many to count! I could write a novel about why each of my events earns a spot as
“the most memorable”. But, for this year, it is easy… the nine-person wedding, I planned on June 27th 2020 for Jacquie and Marcus at Sea Island was my first Augusta Cole Event and that felt fabulous!

Sea Island Wedding in June, Photo by Olivia Rae James, courtesy of Augusta Cole Events

Describe your aesthetic in five words or less.

Fresh, Layered, Punchy, Engaging, Timeless

Three qualities that make you a go-to event planner?

Leadership, Empathy, Collaborator

What’s a skill that doesn’t come naturally to you that you wish did?

Baking… as much as I tried, I couldn’t nail Banana Bread or the perfect chocolate chip cookie, even
during quarantine!

Four keys to a successful event?

1) Thoughtful Guest Communication and Direction

It is so important to cut out the mystery for your guests through the pre-event collateral,
upon arrival information, and directions. The subtle guidance allows them to effortlessly
enjoy the flow of the evening!

2) Easy Access to the Bar

Backups at bars or lacking-service for tray passed refreshments can immediately create an
anxious setting for your guests. Be sure to strategically place your bars for ease of approach
and have plenty of space for multiple bartenders. You typically need 4 feet per bartender and
its always best to do a ratio of 1 to 30, when possible.

3) Fabulous Entertainment

It’s a rule of thumb – everybody remembers the band! But don’t forget the first impression
sound and creating a memorable, but conversational vibe during cocktails.

4) And of course… beautiful design that reflects the client!

A Wednesday wedding, 9.9.20, “This couple had to reschedule their wedding not once, but twice! They decided to do the wedding at Westhampton Country Club and hired me with three weeks to plan. Tim Willoughby was the photographer.” -Augusta Cole, photo by Tim Wiloughby, courtesy of Augusta Cole Events

When working with clients, what are event elements you recommend splurging on, and what are areas where you can save while maintaining taste and beauty?

Thoughtful design often means practicing restraint! I am not a proponent of more is more,
but rather a beautiful balance of textures, textiles, color, floral, candlelight, and key focal
moments. I take a full study of client priorities, evaluate their desired budget, and then
together we strategize where to implement their funds in the most impactful and meaningful
way!

If you could plan a dream dinner party and invite five people living or dead, who is at your table?

Genius question! Now if only this could become a reality…
Bunny Mellon
Oprah Winfrey
Julia Child
Martha Stewart… if she wants to bring Snoop – excellent!
Ruth Bader Ginsburg

September wedding at the Westhampton Country Club, photo by Tim Wiloughby, courtesy of Augusta Cole Events

Quickfire round:

Go-to flowers?

Peonies, Lilac, Sweet Peas, Peegee or Limelight Hydrangea, and French Tulips

Highlight of your day as an events planner?

Sharing that eureka idea with your clients or creative partners that lights everyone up and recharges the creative process!

Most challenging part of your day as an events planner?

I accept the challenge and take this role very seriously – contract negotiations. Especially in the wake of COVID, we have to think through all worst-case scenarios while protecting both parties involved!

Bridesmaids: to match or not to match?

I am on the not-exactly-match train at the moment!

Band or DJ?

Band… but love a DJ afterparty!

Wedding speeches: The more the merrier or less is more?

Less is more!

Thank you notes should be sent within…

A year of your wedding, but ideally as the gifts roll in. Pro tip- having your thank you notes ready and sending them out upon receipt of the gift is a much more manageable process!

Shop Augusta's Favorites

Corvo Cachepot

Aerin

$595.00

Olive & White Fringe Collection

Land of Belle

$72.00

Parrots Collection

Laboratorio Paravicini

$95.00

Light Horn Marbella Collection

Alain Saint-Joanis

$94.00

Olive Fiesta Placemat

Land of Belle

$40.00

Green Bilia Bottle

Zafferano

$90.00

Amber Bilia Tumbler

Zafferano

$24.00

Pink Bilia Tumbler

Zafferano

$24.00

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