Alchemy – A Seemingly Magical Process of Transformation or Creation
Alchemy Events is a wedding and event planner based in New Orleans servicing destination events internationally. We design, plan & coordinate nonprofit, corporate, social and other events for every stage of life. Whether you want to elope to New Orleans for a micro wedding or host a fundraiser or large scale event, our 20+ years of experience means we are the best New Orleans wedding and event planner available. Each of our clients is given an event or wedding website to use in conjunction with our client portal & phone app that have wedding checklists, floor plans, design boards, budgeting tools, guest list manager and more.
For over two decades Alchemy Events has provided event coordination, design and styling for clients who are looking for something truly unique. Whether it’s a classic, over the top look to “wow” your guests or a non-traditional wedding that pushes the envelope, Alchemy Events produces events unlike any other, often incorporating breathtaking production elements and custom-made installation pieces. Alchemy Events only accepts a limited number of clients per year to make sure each client gets the attention they deserve.
An expert in her field, Rena Sweeney, owner of Alchemy Events, hasn’t just been involved in multicultural or belief-specific weddings, her unmatched expertise means she intimately understands and guides you through the planning process. Her expertise includes Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Assyrian, Celtic, Latin, Japanese, Lebanese, LGBTQ+, vegan, pet-friendly weddings and more! Extensive time working with non-profit and corporate events means that she is also familiar with the challenges these organizations face as well.
I have been creating exceptional experiences in New Orleans & around the world for over two decades for clients who are looking for something truly unique. Nothing is more exciting than crafting a magical event that perfectly embodies who my clients are & giving their guests the experience of a lifetime!
We get to know you intimately to create a truly unique, one of a kind experience for you & your guests, whether that is an out-of-the-box design or something more traditional that simply incorporates those “wow elements” that make it unique to you. We encourage you to embrace your wildest dreams & let our design & styling skills make them a reality while also working to coordinate all the details to help you maintain a stress free experience.
I love working with corporate & nonprofit clients also, my favorite being my partnership with the Humane Society of Louisiana, whose Board of Directors I am also a part of. I co-chair a 2 day vegan festival, NOLA Veggie Fest, for them, coordinating the event & sponsoring the volunteer area. I also participate in other HSLA events such as disaster rescue & relief, fundraising & traveling to Baton Rouge to support efforts in passing animal rights legislation.
I started my professional life in events & over 20 years later it has continued to be my passion & lifelong career. I love helping others & would love to help you tell your story as your guests celebrate your unique union. Embrace who you are and let’s make some magic!
How did you get started in event coordination?
-I began my career working in corporate events such as trade shows & then went to work for a wedding coordinator. I quickly found that some of the “standard practices” were things I questioned. Then without warning, the owner moved out of the country, taking client’s money with her & leaving me unpaid & in shock. I realized that my uneasy feelings about clients paying her the full budget for her to then distribute to vendors was in fact a bad idea. Some clients had vendors who had never received payments or it became obvious that this person had been getting kickbacks or jacking up the prices on the back end to pocket more herself. I committed to helping those couples free of charge & launched my own company based on a foundation of transparency. In the early years of my business, I was also the in-house coordinator for several venues in New Orleans. I have also helped with the plans & design for the opening of another local venue & helped train their staff for several years when they first opened their doors. Venue consultation is still available on a very limited basis.
I’ve been told that most coordinators limit communication. Does Alchemy Events limit how often I can communicate whether it be via phone, email or text? What about after business hours?
-No, the more communication, the better! Our clients are free to contact us as much as you’d like! Additionally, as we work with clients around the world, differences in time zones are often a factor. We also know that clients are often not able to discuss personal matters during the workday so we are flexible to meet our clients needs, whatever they may be.
I’m interested in having an event in New Orleans but don’t live there. Am I able to ship items ahead of time and have you receive them, then ship them back after our event? How do we handle selecting our vendors?
-Yes, shipping items is something we handle for our out-of-town clients frequently. When it comes to vendor selection, we are always able to do live video site visits at venues or take you around New Orleans if you’d like to make a trip during your planning process. We will work together to coordinate your schedule with your vendors and once we have that confirmed, our clients typically book their travel. Alternatively, some clients we don’t meet in person until they come into town for their event, so we are comfortable working either way.
I would like to work with you in a location other than New Orleans. Do you charge travel fees?
-No, we typically do not. However, that is dependent on location, amount of travel & staffing required for your event.
Will you personally be at my event?
-Yes! I am personally on-site, hands-on with each event I produce and while I have staff that work alongside me, I am always the lead on each and every event that Alchemy Events produces! I don’t show up as you walk down the aisle or leave you in an associate’s hands after the first dance, I am there from start to finish.
How many weddings do you plan a year?
-I am dedicated to giving you the experience of a lifetime! As such, I typically plan no more than two events per month, however, that number is dependent on the scope of each event. I never book more than one event per weekend, ensuring you are my sole focus!
How do your payments work?
-We follow the industry standard, requiring a 50% deposit at the time of booking with the final balance being due no later than two weeks prior to the event. Payments toward your final balance may be made at any time or set up to automatically process via our private, secure system in the client portal.
Do you charge less for an intimate wedding than one with a large guest list?
-No, pricing is based on the quantity of work involved and not necessarily the size of your guest list. We have had events for less than 100 guests that have rivaled much larger events in terms of budget, number of vendors, details involved, staffing needed to flip a space, etc. so the number of guests is typically not a factor.
Do you receive referral fees or kick backs from vendors you recommend?
-No, we only recommend vendors to you based on our experience with them, knowing they will be the best fit for your style & budget! We feel strongly that transparency is key so all contracts are between you & the vendors themselves, you pay them directly & you can be certain that any discounts they offer to you as an Alchemy Events client are just that- a discount, as we are not receiving referral fees from them for the recommendation. Often vendors tell us that they know working with us will be much less work on their end & as such, they’re glad to offer our clients a discounted rate. We are here to help our clients & do what’s best for them! Of course, even if a vendor does not offer discounted rates, you can still trust that you are getting the best service & quality available based on our years of experience!
How do event planners determine their pricing?
-According to a recent study, modern couples now spend an average of 528 hours of planning on their wedding! Consider if you are planning something more elaborate or are having a multi-day affair how many more hours it takes. Additionally, full service planners are often putting more detail into it than you might realize, as our timelines are often inclusive of details almost all of my clients say they would never have thought of. Thus, the commitment involved along with our level & years of expertise are factored into our pricing. Additionally, Alchemy Events gets to know our clients on an intimate level to customize each wedding to the specific couple, so we are also offering a level of service not provided by most others in our field. With all of this in mind, we offer a free phone consultation to each potential client to get an idea of the level of service that will be involved & then send you a customized proposal as a starting point. Most couples should expect roughly 10-15% of their budget to go to planning & design services, depending on your specific circumstances. Considering that you are paying someone to work for you for a year or more, entrusting your budget, emotions & every aspect of one of the largest investments you’ll ever make in your life, it’s an investment worth taking seriously!