Hire a party planner for your next event; let someone else do the work for you

"Your vision, your style, your day

We make it happen"

- Wallan Event Design

Have you ever given a party or organized a wedding only to find you were unable to spend time with your guests and ended up completely exhausted at the end of the event?

That’s why you need to hire Somer Wallan of Wallan Event Design. Wallan says she does not only weddings but also other events such as retirement parties, birthdays, anniversaries and other celebrations.

Wallan was born and raised in Southern Humboldt. She is the daughter of Brian and Robin Elie who own Madrone Realty. After high school she moved to Healdsburg to attend Santa Rosa Junior College. While in college she worked at Sonoma Flower Company in the retail shop but rapidly progressed to working in the company’s event business. Once she started helping with weddings she was hooked and continued to work there after graduation.

But that changed when she decided to move home. There were two floral shops in Southern Humboldt already, and she realized she didn’t want to compete with them. But she knew she could offer more with event planning, so she started Wallan Event Design in 2007. She said her goal was simple: to do what no one else in the area was doing; offer the complete event design package.

When she came to speak at the Garberville Rotary Club her main focus was on wedding planning.

Wallan said, "Brides are spending more and more on weddings. The average wedding in Humboldt County costs about $23,000."

She does about 10 weddings a year, which she says keeps her very busy. She said about 40% of people getting married hire a wedding planner. She has loyal and dependable vendors she works with on a regular basis. One August wedding she did had 12 vendors she coordinated to put on the event. This is a huge undertaking for the average person.

Wallan thanked her crew and her husband, Russel, whom she said shows a lot of patience and support of her endeavor. She said their garage is filling up with more and more party supplies and equipment.

Among some of the services she offers are: consultations, budget planning, location suggestions for the ceremony and reception, vendors, etiquette advisement, invitations, seating and food service. She averages between 15-20 hours on the day of the ceremony and is the first to arrive and the last to leave. This includes cleanup, which can be the biggest job of the day. At one wedding the cleanup crew bailed on her and she and her crew had to wash over 1,000 dishes before they could leave.

Her fee for her services is based on a percentage of the overall cost of the event. She said most clients revisit their budget and usually run out of cash before the big day. Some couples end up putting the balance on their credit cards, which isn’t a good way to start off a marriage. This is where she can help you save money and stay within your budget.

Although she said she has been very lucky not to have worked with any "bridezillas," she has had one "groomzilla." She said he became hysterical and had a near meltdown when the caterer brought the wrong brand of vodka. Wallan said that was one of her easiest fixes and the groom was happy when the right vodka arrived.

She also said the feng shui table at one reception caught on fire right before the guests arrived. Luckily, someone thought quickly and put it out with beer.

Another problem arose at a wedding she put on at Miranda Gardens Resort. The official who was performing the wedding was not licensed by the state of California. Wallan said luckily she had a backup who signed the paperwork validating the union.

And then there was the wedding where the cake designer spent a really long time setting up at the wrong wedding. And the time the limo broke down on the bluffs between Garberville and Redway on the way to the reception at the Mateel with the bride and groom.

But then, there was the friend who had a pig in a pit but the meat wasn’t done in time for the guests to eat. She said it was amazing how the bride and groom said, "Hey, it’s not your fault and it’s no big deal. We’ll just open the bar and let everyone enjoy."

Wallan said, "I love what I do. I was very privileged to have one of my weddings in Hopland covered on the website for Style Me Pretty. And, I even had my own wedding planner on the day of my own wedding."

Wallan says she goes all over the place to put on events and that 70% of her brides choose to get married in or around Sonoma. Wineries are really big right now and with her prior contacts from working down there she can arrange anything you want.

She said she has yet to do a church wedding and non-traditional is really big right now. Manhattan is the most expensive place in the U.S. to get married with most weddings there costing in excess of $100,000.

So, if you are thinking about getting married or just having a party, give Wallan a call at 223-2060 and get on the list. Or check out her website at wallaneventdesign@gmail.com.

photo caption:


Garberville Rotary Club president David Katz, left, is shown here with Somer Wallan and Rotarian and dad, Brian Elie. Somer, who was the guest speaker at the Rotary meeting last week, was presented with a book to be donated to the Garberville Library in her name.