Welcome to Ellwed Talks – the first podcast about destination weddings in Greece! Join me in this new episode where we talk with Dimitra Grigorea
Dimitra is an event planner at DplanV and the founder of The Event Operator, a b2b service for event planners. However, she is also a teacher of event management for Hospitality & Tourism Masters degree at the Metropolitan College in Athens.
She lives between London and Athens and she started her career in production management in the arts and theatre industry. Despite that, curiosity led her to the hospitality and tourism where she fell in love with the world of weddings and events.
Her articles on the current situation were published on many local news sites and her interview in Ellwed issue No.12!
Meet Dimitra in this episode and learn all about wedding and event planning and how she can help at your event!
We also talk about the current situation in Greece. Stick to the end to get some of the best advice on how to start planning!
Listen to the episode here!
Can you tell us more about your business and your story?
I’m a long time event coordinator expert based in Uk and Greece. In short, I work non stop from 2003 as production manager in the arts industry (Opera, Theatre and Live music).
However, in 2013 I moved to hospitality and tourism industry running luxurious events for various hotels in North Greece. In 2015 I was lucky to meet in my career path Ms. Vanessa Souravlia the creative director of DeplanV (www.deplanv.com), who was my mentor and introduced me in destinations wedding planning. My cooperation with her upgraded my overall style and gave me the chance to prominence my strengths – all related to the event daily logistics and operation management.
The last 2 years I introduced my own label “ The Event Operator”, which was created aiming to cooperate with private event companies & with digital, advertisement and PR agencies or with individuals, who are searching for one or more specific planning actions rather for a full package.
That means that I create a 100% personalized plan for my clients focusing to their needs and being flexible in terms of costs, team size and ways of cooperation. Additionally there is no limit in the event type that I can handle. You can reach “The Event Operator” for any type of event– there is no specific area of expertise. From social events like weddings, to corporate, or even mega events, art festivals or roadshows all of these are included in my portfolio.
As you said, you also work with private and corporate clines or B2B services. How can you help or what you can do for your B2B clients?
Yes you are correct the idea behind “ The Event Operator” is to work in B2B style on behalf of other companies or individuals, who are organizing one or more events covering on their behalf one ore more services based on their needs and budget.
In short, the main aspects that others can reach me are:
- Event administration or back office
- Hosting and RSVP management (guest list)
- Greek and International Law consulting related to contracts with vendors and sponsors
- Wedding paperwork preparation for civil, symbolic and religious weddings (Catholic, Orthodox, Muslim, Maronite, Hindi, Jewish, Christian ceremonies etc.)
- Any daily logistics actions like travel consulting, for guests and crew, VIP services, vendor’s management. Scheduling, special licenses.
- Wedding planning based in event logistic management services and event design consulting
- Production management for TV and Cinema projects
- Venue hunting and investigation for the appropriate venue for an upcoming event
- Budget management
- Entertainment services including party theme concept and design along with a professional entertaining plan
- General management services like crew management, social media management, on the spot coordination, new business development
- PR services (press releases, invitations, press and general PR management, sponsorship management)
- Coaching, education and training of crew or new employees related to event industry
Everything can be an event. There is no limit on the type of event that I can work for. If I had to choose though it is always very interesting for me to run wedding events -since these type of events give me the chance of having a more personal “communication” with the clients – being part of a very personal moment of happiness that they will remember for all their life. Also I enjoy a lot working for Art related events. It is so so so creative to run a project related to Music or Theatre!
Oh wow! That is amazing! I know some people in the event industry need a second pair of hands or a bigger team, especially when dealing with larger weddings or events. What services can you provide to some other Event planner or organizer?
To begin with my overall business attitude is based in low profile style. I’m not a competitive person and I enjoy so much working as a part of a team. Having these abilities can make it very easy for me to cooperate with other companies of the same field without anyone feeling that I’m trying to steal their know- how.
I can assist all professionals or individuals in one or more of the above listed services, but I can investigate more custom made ways of cooperation based on their needs. One of the things that certainly seems to be classified first in the list of requests I receive. To design from scratch a business and promo/ social media plan for new companies related in one or other way with events industry (like catering companies, event spaces, hotels, chefs, restaurants, djs etc.).
It is great to hear you care more about the team spirit and successful projects than personal gain! We really appreciate this and also believe in this mentality and that we can be stronger together! In your years of experience, what would you say is the most common problem or issue some event planner has to be aware of and how can you help them?
I would prefer to focus my reply to an issue related mainly to Greek event planners. From what I see, here in Greece. To explain, we tend to start planning from design and guide the clients how to upgrade their events in terms of design. And with that, ignoring some other important parts like logistics or guests management.
I can understand that the “picture” and the general ambience is what can make one event better than the other. However, I feel that some planners might work more to achieve that Instagram perfect image. Rather than focus on their clients’ real needs. Having me in their team can help them to create a balance in between all these. Giving priorities and giving space in their in house teams to do whatever they know to do better. I will be there to do all the rest on their behalf.
What is the one thing that drives you in your line of work? Where do you find inspiration for your business as an Event Planner?
One of my abilities is to place the best person to the best position. I can certainly understand the balances of my team and the qualifications of each person guiding him to the correct job. That’s why teaching event management at Metropolitan college Hospitality & Tourism Master degree and having in my class students between 22-30 years old, is one of the things I really really enjoy. That is to say, there I get the chance to meet with young and very talented people. These are the future event planners and I get to help them find their path in this industry.
Things can also go sideways fast! As an event planner, what is your secret to stay calm for when and if something goes wrong?
The fact that I had the chance to work for all kind of events and with all kind of vendors. The fact that I had to face all type of problems during an event preparation, and finally survived! And the fact of the 18 years in the industry help me to place everything in a logic path. I’m calm because I can predict the future. I know inside me that the show will go on. And at the end we will find the solution and be ready on time. Nothing is impossible.
Is there one question that almost every client asks you? What is it and what is your answer?
They usually cannot understand how I can work for them successfully, without being a permanent employee of their company and without the 8 hours office schedule. I would like a lot to say to them that if I have internet along with my Mac laptop, my car, my smartphone, with WhatsApp and Viber, I can work from anywhere and run all around the world if they want. Of course I’m a professional event planner and I know how to organize my daily schedule and when to ask for face-to-face meetings with them. Being in a flexible cooperation helps me being more creative and getting focused to the job that their hired me, rather in other non-related to me daily office run requirements.
Do you have a favourite place in Greece? Can you tell us which one and why?
As a professional event planner, my best memories are related to Kefallonia Island. In this island I hosted some of the best events -as a part of DeplanV team – for one of the most easy going and good vibe clients that I have ever met. If it was my wedding though, I would love this to take place at Milies village a small and so pretty village at the seaside of Pelion Magnesia. I was born at Volos and all this area is related to some amazing childhood memories.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with us for this exclusive interview for Ellwed Magazine. This was really informational and I hope you can help more professionals to elevate the wedding and event industry together!
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