Reston Limousine recently caught up with Vicky Choy, a busy Arlington-based special events planner with an unusual background. As founder of Event Accomplished, a special events planning and management company based in Arlington and serving clients throughout the Washington DC metro area, Vicky is all about “Creating Memories, Celebrating Life.â€
On your Web site, www.eventaccomplished.com, your bio mentions that before you became a special events planner, you were a proposal manager and project manager. What’s the background on that?
Vicky: I worked for Bechtel Group Inc, an international engineering, construction and project management company for 8 years. The last position I held there was a proposal manager, managing all aspects from bid strategy to staff coordination to proposal production, requiring a combination of creativity, attention to detail, customer understanding, business savvy, and ability to work under extremely stressful conditions. Prior to that, I held different positions in project management, managing project schedules and costs on domestic and international engineering and construction projects. While in the commercial division, I worked on power plant projects in the Middle East, Asia and Europe. In the government division, I worked on projects for different government agencies. Crazy, right? That seemed like a completely different life!
What made you decide to transition from the corporate project management to your own special events planning business?
Vicky: While I enjoyed my time in the corporate world and would absolutely do it the same way all over again, I was pretty burnt out and ready for a break. And although I found my work rewarding, I felt that they were a bit esoteric and abstract, and often times took years to complete. I was looking for something different where I could work really closely with my clients, make an impact in their lives, and feel relatively quickly the sense of accomplishment. While attending business school at George Washington University, I stumbled upon event management and the rest is history. It was a happy accident.
What’s your best wedding story that you can share with the general public?
Vicky: To pick a best wedding story would be tough! Every wedding comes with such unique back story about the couple and their families. Come to my blog and read about them instead!
Your blog, http://eventaccomplished.wordpress.com, does a great job of promoting local vendors in the metro DC area. What do you do to keep abreast of national trends and how do you find local sources for those trends?
Vicky: Thank you! To keep abreast of national trends, I read a variety of trade publications and attend conferences. I keep in touch with local vendors to see what new services or products they have to offer. I often discover new vendors at various industry events.
Your blog also mentions that you provide practical advice from “no nonsense, straight-shooting kind of women.â€ Would you say that also characterizes your approach to wedding and other clients?
Vicky: Absolutely. My clients are busy professionals and really don’t have time to waste. They hire me to help them save time so I don’t really see the point in beating around the bush. While I am open to trying just about anything, I am also first to tell you if I think something is tacky, is not practical, or is logistically not possible.
What advice do you give to your brides when it comes to transportation services?
Vicky: Plan ahead. I often find that couples consider transportation way too late in the planning process. By then, they have no money left in their budget. If providing transportation to your guests is important to you, price out your transportation options as you are putting your budget together. This goes for valet parking also. It’s not fun to decide last minute that you want to transport all 150 guests from Point A to Point B, on three 55-passenger buses. See what that will do to your budget at the 11th hour!
If you do provide transportation, consider the routing. For example, Old Town Alexandria’s narrow streets are extremely difficult to navigate by anything larger than a limo. Trust me. I’ve seen a stretch Hummer trying to make a left turn onto King Street. It wasn’t pretty and it took a very, very long time. Your sales reps should be able to help you with these issues. Finally, do not underestimate travel time. Allot more time than less time for traveling between places. Especially in the DC area, you just never know what traffic would be especially during tourist season!
On your blog, you called Reston Limousine your “go-to transportation company,â€ and we appreciate the support! What have we done to earn the honor?
Vicky: Reliable. Your drivers are courteous and friendly, always arriving ahead of schedule, and take good care of my clients. Dan Oh, my sales rep, is very helpful and responsive and I’ve been working with him for years. I can always count on him to help me solve a transportation dilemma.
Just to give you an example, we had anticipated a guest who would be using a wheelchair [recently] and had reserved a handicapped accessible bus. The hotel where the guests were staying was located on a one-way street in DC with its entrance on the left side of the street. Our bus driver called me prior to arriving at the hotel, as your drivers always do, to say that he was almost there but that it would be unsafe for the wheelchair-bound guest to get on the bus since the bus door was on the right hand side and the guest would be exposed to oncoming traffic. I didn’t even think of that! Unfortunately, the guest decided not to attend the wedding. But I’m sure that if she did, your driver would have suggested a safer solution for us.