Q + A with Creative Director, Shaun Rao

I had the pleasure of sitting with Shaun Rao, Creative Director of RAOFACTOR Design House. Our goal is educate our clients on event decor from planning to understanding contracts. The event business can be tricky to navigate and we want you to have all the right tools to make your event stress-free.

Today, we focused on some general topics prior to meeting an event designer.

Should clients have the venue booked prior to meeting an event designer?

​​That is a misconecption. No, they do not need a venue prior to booking with an event designer. We recommend hiring an event designer before a venue is finalized. This way we fulfill the client's vision.

Sometimes, we encounter "venue poor" locations. This can be due to the restirctions placed at event site or the budget does not allow for a dream event.

If you hire an event designer prior to finalizng a venue, you have the luxury of consulting them on the contract and location. We also help negotiate the contract (ie. rigging, additional labor for event set up, linens and speciality chairs).

In event decor, what are the high priced items that needs to be accounted for?

If you are on a tight budget, a client should plan to spend on centerpieces, the backdrop and a lounge. The key for successful decor is creating a full and complete look. After we establish the types of design, we account for the cost of flowers and decide how much we allocate for real and faux flowers.

When planning an event, what are the extra hidden costs?

​​In general, a client should budget a third of their overall budget on decor. One of the main hidden costs is labor. If you have quick turn around or large guest count, this will be something to factor.

Prior to meeting an event designer, do clients need to have a color scheme or floral idea in mind?​​

Clients do not need to know specific colors or patterns. That is what the consulation is for. As an event designer, we like to understand the client's overall theme. For example, if they would like a rustic or elegant or modern feel for their event.

Is there specific legal documentation that clients should look out for in an event decor contract?

In any contract, look for the decorator's city miles restriction. If your wedding is in the outskirts of a big city, you may have to provide accomodations for the decorator. This is not an unusual requirement, but can be an unexpected cost if overlooked.

If you have any questions, please email us at info@raofactor.com. We love to see your comments and know additional content we can add.

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