Vendor Spotlight: Union3 Event ProductionsVendor Spotlight
For our Vendor Spotlight, we wanted to learn more about Alexa McCulloch, Partner and Owner of Union3 Event Productions.
How did you get your start in the industry?
I started out in Boston at Harvard Business School, planning events for their executive education division. I simultaneously volunteered as an event assistant for Rafanelli Events and helped onsite with events like the Chanel Fashion Show and the Boston Public Library Gala… after I saw events like that, I was hooked. I moved back home to Baltimore and continued my career at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, planning major events for their office of external affairs. After taking some time off to start a family, I decided I wanted to go back to work but wanted to be my own boss. I was lucky enough to scoop up the opportunity to partner with Lindsey at Union3 and, together, we quickly grew Union3 into what it is today. We’ve been “work wives” for over 10 years now and have had the privilege of producing some of the top events in the region at Union3.
Favorite event you have worked on with Select Event Group?
There was a fantastic 50th birthday celebration that we partnered on with Select and it actually remains my all-time favorite event to this day. I was hired 8 weeks before the event date to fully produce this bash and we didn’t have a location for the party until 4 weeks out. The time crunch meant we needed to build the event first and then worry about where we were going to put it later (talk about carts before horses) but I love that kind of challenge and, together with Select and the rest of my trusted vendor team, we put on one of the most amazing parties this town has ever seen. We ended up renting the Harbor Point pad site (before Exelon HQ was built) and Select was a critical partner helping me to navigate the unique environmental restrictions we faced. Ultimately, it was just one of those events where all the stars aligned, the client fully trusted my vision, and every single vendor brought their “A” game. To this day, guests and vendors alike, still tell me that’s the best party they’ve ever been to. When vendors are saying that (and still saying it 7-8 years later), you know you did something right.
What is your favorite stage in the event planning & execution process (design, load in, launch, etc.)?
Load-in thru doors is hands down my favorite. I love watching everything we’ve planned come together and watching our vendors execute our vision – I love conducting that crazy orchestra. I even secretly love it when things go a little crooked (and inevitably they always do) and we’re challenged as a team to problem solve in real time. There’s no greater satisfaction than putting my head together with my vendor partners, pushing through a problem together and coming out on top on behalf of our client.
What event trends are you loving right now?
I’m obsessed with the minimalism and modern clean lines that we’re seeing now. I’ve always loved incorporating interesting shapes, patterns and textures into my designs and this modern trend really allows me to embrace that in a different way.
Any trends you are glad to see go?
I’m hoping that “rustic farm chic” finally dies a definitive death. Please… no more mason jars… ever.
Top three pieces of advice for those selecting an event planner?
1. You get what you pay for. We know events are expensive but it’s a truly bad idea to cheap out on a planner. They’re the hardest working person on your team and working over a much longer period of time than any other vendor. Complex events can take hundreds of man hours to produce… do you really want someone who charges less than minimum wage for their time managing your financial investment?
2. Don’t just hire a planner who makes things look pretty… hire someone who is a master logistician. Things ALWAYS go wrong leading up to and during an event. You want someone who has logistically planned for success so they are able to pivot when an unforeseen challenge arises. It doesn’t matter how pretty the event is if your planner failed to account for the correct power requirements or didn’t consider the logistics of parking cars in a field during a rainstorm.
3. Remember that caterers, florists and venues aren’t planners. They have someone on staff to liaise with you on your big day to make sure things go smoothly in their own lane, but they’re not managing the whole team.
Favorite song to get the crowd pumped?
Anything old school hip-hop. If your dancefloor is clearing out, a good set of old school hip hop the best way to get it packed again.
To connect with and learn more about Union3 Event Productions’ range of event services, and to see their impression portfolio, head to Union3Events.com.
Union3 Event Productions knows how to throw a party, below is another event Select and Union3 partnered on.
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