EM – Event Management is a New York City based event planning and coordination company with years of experience behind it. It’s director and owner is Emily Lester (Cahnmann) who has done numerous events over the past 23 years.
EM Event Management was founded officially in 2004.
An Interview with Emily
How long have you been doing what you do and how did you get to be an expert event planner?
Officially, I’ve been in business since 2002, unofficially since 1990. I say unofficially because I had been doing events for and with so many different people in different areas of the country, both private and corporate that I decided to do this full time upon so many people’s urging. Experience has helped me become an expert planner. I’ve dealt with all different sized events, different cultures and styles. I’ve worked in the corporate world by being part of the events, seeing all the planning that took place, to doing the actual planning of private and corporate functions.
Who are your clients exactly?
They range from the small 2 person wedding couple who wanted to get away to a destination wedding in NYC to a 500 person Indian wedding in the heart of NYC. I do affairs in the NY Metro area (not afraid to cross any river) and my events have been in very upscale spaces as well as more modest locations or even outdoors. It doesn’t matter the budget, the goal is the same – to have a successful, relaxing, fun and memorable event.
LOCATIONS I've worked with include:
- Waldorf Astoria (NYC)
- Guastavino’s (NYC)
- Midtown Loft (NYC)
- Capitale (NYC)
- Metropolitan Club (NYC)
- Sky Studios (NYC)
- The Puck Building (NYC)
- Manhattan Penthouse (NYC)
- Alger House (NYC)
- The Harvard Club (NYC)
- The Yale Club (NYC)
- Wave Hill (NYC)
- Tavern on the Green (NYC)
- Tribecca Rooftop (NYC)
- NYC Fireman’s Museum (NYC)
- New Leaf Café (NYC)
- Battery Park Restaurant (NYC)
- Terrace In the Sky Restaurant (NYC)
- Carlyle Hotel (NYC)
- Metropolitan Building (LI City)
- LaGrenouille (NYC)
- The Barclay Hotel (NYC)
- 3 West Club (NYC)
- Union Theological Seminary (NYC)
- Ritz Carlton Hotel (NYC)
- The Liberty House Restaurant (NJ)
- DeSeversky Center (Long Island)
- The Whitby Castle (Rye, NY)
- Tarrytown House (Tarrytown, NY)
- Glen Island Harbour Club (New Rochelle)
- Bubby’s Restaurant (Brooklyn, NY)
- Villa Barone Manor (White Plains, NY)
- Renaissance Hotel (White Plains, NY)
- Old Bermuda Inn (Staten Island)
- Elmhurst Manor (Long Island)
- Timber Point (Long Island)
- Swan Club (Long Island)
- Astoria World Manor (Queens, NY)
- World Yacht
- Prestige Yacht Charters
- Bateaux – NY
- Fair Isaac Corporation
- Trade Wall Street
- Lederle Lab
- At Ease Inc.
- Ford Motor Company
- Asphalt Green
- Gymboree Corporation
What happens if you haven’t yet worked an event such as mine?
First, I’ll be honest about it and tell you! There will always be a new and different event and I’d be happy to accept the challenge. I treat EVERYONE’S as a new and special time just for them, there is no “cookie cutter” planning or coordinating. If you would like to engage my services, I’d do everything in my power to research and formulate an event that you feel comfortable and happy with. Experience from other types of events would still come into play even though the logistics or nature of the function may be “newer”.
How are you different from other event planners?
- I feel that I’m very individual when it comes to my services. There are packages that I offer but I always cater the “package” to the exact needs of my clients.
- I do not charge by the hour but a flat rate and will take the time with that flat rate to do an excellent job for your event. I do not stop working when I get to a certain number of hours for a project.
- I do not request fees from requested vendors. I only will match a preferred vendor to your event if we both feel that the vendor is the best one for your event. Because I have a relationship with them, your pricing will be less expensive, not more because they have to pay me a fee for requesting them. I only ask that my vendors make me look good by providing you with excellent service!
- I do not charge a percentage of your wedding budget; I feel that this is working against you and that you are already paying my fee. It should not be based on what you want to pay for your entire event.
- I am not a large corporation with lots of people to talk to about different avenues of your event. I’m the one working on your event. If I am booked for your date, I have access to staffing of superior assistants who will manage your event.
- I’m a nice person to work with! Sometimes planners and coordinators have given the industry of event planning a bad name because they are not flexible enough to listen to their clients (it’s there way or the highway), they are not friendly and respectful of venues and staffing at the venues and they are sometime harsh and inpatient working with the family and guests. Fortunately, I am not that type of planner :-)
- The event is not about ME it’s about YOU and YOUR requests and needs. That will be my sole focus.
- I also am very adept working in new venues where they have certain “ways” of doing things. I patiently and respectfully work with them to enable you to have YOUR event the way YOU want it.
- You can ask venues and caterers about working with me and they say that I’m quite different – in a good and pleasant way! I’m also very open to working with new vendors if you have your heart set on working with someone I’ve never worked with before. Hey, my list can always expand!! I bring no ego to the table except that I want to have a perfectly wonderful event for YOU!
Who do you work best with and what is expected of me?
I work best with someone who believes that I am working for them and with them. I like to be trusted as I trust all my clients to let me know what they need and if they feel that they need changes etc… I like to be able to communicate with my clients on a regular basis and also get communication from them in order to move through and plan effectively. The most important request is that you have fun working on your special event with me – it can be a wonderful experience for you if you relax and let it be so.
What exactly are your services/packages and what do they include?
You can see my wedding packages on my wedding page. I handle each event individually. So much depends on the nature of your event that I cannot give you a set price without more information about your event desires. If given more information, I can certainly give you a price range. I can tell you with certainty that I have had many past clients tell me that I don’t charge enough for all the work that I do!
What results can I expect (and how soon)?
If you are ready to go, so am I! I’m big on communication and pride myself on getting back to each client’s phone call or email within 24 hours. I may be in the middle of another event, but I will get back to you and let you know that I’ll contact you as soon as possible. If you are willing to make decisions and get going then we can go quite quickly, if you need more options and research done – I can do that, too, if you have the time. Usually, after speaking with a potential client on the phone, I can get a proposal to you within 24 hours and we can then set up an in person meeting to see if you think that I’m the coordinator/planner for you!
Can I contact some of your former clients to see what it's like to work with you?
Absolutely, in fact, many of my clients ask to be referrals! I do like to respect their privacy and ask if you could contact them and the method of contacting (phone or email) them.
How quickly can I start?
How soon do you want to decide?
Will I recover the investment I put into hiring you?
Absolutely! I’ll save you time and money in my referred vendor list. I’ll help you along the way to cut unnecessary items out of your budget to help you stay within your budget and realistically help you visualize your event to be the way that you want it. Time is money and I will save you time from worrying about vendor coordination, guest/client management, event flow, set up and break down of your function. Because I’m a smaller company, you are also not paying for a “store front” or for a large staff, this can help keep my costs to you down.
Emily, based on everything I've read and heard about you, I know you're the one I want to work with. What are my options for getting started with you?
This depends on your timeline. I’m ready to go and will make time to get things rolling on your end to go whatever pace you’d like to travel.
OK, I know which service I want.
How do we get started?
Give me a call and I can get you a proposal with price range after this conversation. We then need to meet in person to see if we’re the “right fit”. I then will adjust the proposal to fit your event needs and give you final pricing in the contract. We sign and get going! I have planned events over the course of 2+ years and in a few weeks – whatever fits your schedule. Of course, it goes without saying that the less time you give yourself, the more money you MAY have to spend and there will be fewer options available to you.
Will I lose control of my own wedding if you are planning it for me?
By no means! I will communicate with you every step of the way and only with your permission if you want me to. Some clients just say “go”. I encourage loads of involvement so that you can get the event that you feel is truly you through and through.
Will you work with vendors I’ve already found or people I really want to work with?
Oh, yes! Happy to do so unless I see that they are not the quality that you deserve. If that is the case, then I speak with you and work with them so that you get what you deserve. My list of preferred vendors is constantly expanding. All I like from vendors is to do a great,
Do you take credit cards and can we have a payment plan?
I can take credit cards via PayPal (there is a slightly higher fee to cover the cost of Paypal), I take personal checks as well. We always set up a payment plan that you are comfortable with and I only get my final payment the day of your event.
Do you take more than one event per day?
I will ONLY if the second client is aware that I, personally am booked that day. I have some assistants who can execute all of our planning. These assistants you would meet and would need to feel comfortable with before I would book with you. I pride myself on exclusive personal attention with each event!
If I'm not sure I'm ready to get started, how can I sample your work to see if it's the right service for me?
We could have a consultation and I could give you specific information about your event’s needs. I could even just help you with one aspect of your function (i.e. finding the location) and if you feel that we’re a good “fit” then if you’d like to hire me for the rest of your event, you are welcome to do so. I’m always ready to show photos, give referrals and answer any questions. My number is 212-246-9771