Tuesday with the Pros is an ongoing blog series featuring experts in the wedding and event industry. Today’s authorities are Jessica, Christy, and Michelle, event and banquet managers at the La Quinta Resort in La Quinta, CA.
L-R: Jessica, Christy, and Michelle
LI: Describe your position at La Quinta Resort.
Michelle: I am the assistant director of catering, so I oversee the banquets and events here at the resort as well as at our golf club, PGA West.
Jessica: I am the on-site venue coordinator for weddings here at the resort.
Christy: I manage non-wedding events at the resort, such as corporate events, private parties, memorials, quinceñeras, etc.
LI: What makes La Quinta Resort unique from other Palm Springs getaways, or perhaps other resorts in general?
Michelle: Despite being such a large resort, it is very quaint and very quiet here. It’s lush and peaceful and has a lot of history—La Quinta Resort has been in operation since 1926. We have 41 pools, 53 hot spas, 23 tennis courts, and nine golf courses—once you’re here, there’s no need to go anywhere else for anything! Based on many of these features this resort also happens to be an original hideaway for Hollywood stars.
Jessica: Privacy and seclusion is valued here. We have so many pools spread throughout the resort that often no matter where you stay it will be like you have your very own pool right outside your door!
Christy: I think of this property as a true resort. This is THE place to come to relax. It’s why so many brides choose us as a wedding venue, but then also choose to return for anniversary getaways and family vacations as well.
LI: What inspired your career as a coordinator here?
Michelle: You’ve got to really love the place you work in order to sell it to potential clientele for events, and one of the things I love about working here at the La Quinta Resort is that the property sells itself. Once you’re here and you see it, you’ll fall in love!
Jessica: I’m a local. My husband and I took our engagement photographs here and I was also a bridesmaid in a couple weddings at this venue. Eventually I just applied for a job!
Christy: I began in culinary arts and at one point I held jobs in the kitchen, but worked my way up to a front position heading events. Now I enjoy the client contact, as well as still being able to work with food. It’s also nice to watch an event blossom into whatever a client has envisioned.
LI: What are some of your favorites aspects of your job?
Michelle: I like to see peoples’ faces when they first see this property for the first time, or when people return here for vacations. It’s just so peaceful and luxurious and has been around for so long, many of our clientele feel like returning here is coming home.
Jessica: I enjoy being a part of client’s most memorable day of their lives.
Christy: I like how every day, every client, and every phone call is different.
LI: What sort of profile do most of your event clientele fall under?
Michelle: La Quinta Resort used to be known for its group corporate event business, however in the last couple of years we’ve really begun to attract families arriving for vacations and wedding clientele seeking to take advantage of our beautiful grounds and professional event services. We also welcome quite a few concert-goers during Stagecoach Festival and Coachella, as we are the closest hotel to both.
Jessica: My clientele are exclusively brides. Who wouldn’t want to get married here?
Christy: Usually private parties, and sometimes memorial receptions. I know that a resort like this may not initially be the first place you think of for a memorial reception, but actually do do quite a few “Celebrations of Life” here from time to time. It’s nice because it’s peaceful, which allows mourners to relax, mingle, and reflect on life amid bright, beautiful scenery.
LI: Describe what you would consider a dream event to design here!
Michelle: We’d love to put together a Platinum Wedding; we’ve recently been named one of WeTV‘s top 10 wedding venues, so hopefully it will happen soon! Personally think any event that would incorporate a classic Hollywood style would be so much fun to see here at La Quinta. Just because this property already has so much old Hollywood history–Greta Garbo, Errol Flynn, Joan Crawford, Ginger Rogers, Bette Davis, Frank Capra—this resort was a favorite among many classic movie stars, so it would be great to see an event that could revive that spirit here.
Jessica: I’ve never had a “dream event” in mind, I’m always just looking forward to great clients who are fun to work with. It’s the people who make the event what it is.
Christy: I tend to agree with Jessica; a truly fantastic event would be a phenomenal client with a phenomenal budget, so we can easily make their dream come true for them without cutting corners or scaling back on anything. A lot of creativity on a big budget goes a LONG way.
LI: As event managers, what do you recommend to interested parties out there looking to save some money on their wedding or other function?
Michelle: Lose the favors. Unless you come up with some really amazing idea for favors, don’t do them. Pictures last longer anyway, so lose the favors and put the money you save towards a professional and talented photographer.
Jessica: Remain open to the idea of hosting your event on any day besides Saturday. Here at La Quinta Resort, we can actually offer a discount on the site fee for Friday, Sunday, or other-day-of-the-week events.
Christy: I think it benefits clients to focus on what is most important to them and making sure they have the money for those areas, and if not, perhaps channeling funds from lesser aspects of their event towards the important things, like the venue, or food, or photography. It really helps in the long run to organize and repurpose your budget. Any experienced coordinator can help you with this, as well.
LI: Do you have any exciting events coming up?
Michelle: Our whole world is exciting here!
Jessica: I have a really cool wedding that I’m excited about on May 1st. This couple will be completely transforming La Casa villa, one of my favorite sites here at the resort, so I’m eager to see how it turns out.
Christy: I’m excited to see that, too!
LI: What vital piece of advice would you impart to wedding clientele everywhere for a fun, festive, and stress-free event?
Michelle: Don’t settle on someone else’s dream. Do what you want to do, where and how you want to do it. Also, hire a wedding coordinator. Whether they are a full-service coordinator or just a day-of planner, they will lift a huge burden off your shoulders when it comes to putting everything together.
Jessica: I second hiring a wedding planner. I mean, if you really want to be able to enjoy your day and take it all in without popping your “bridal bubble,” that blissful state of wedding day excitement and joy, then someone needs to be doing the legwork for you.
Christy: I agree. It’s nice if a bridesmaid or relative steps up to the plate to coordinate some details for you, but unfortunately that means they won’t be enjoying themselves to the fullest at your event, either. It really is best to just hire a professional.
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