Prisma Events was created in 2009 from a place of love, passion, and a little bit of crazy. Owner Aimee Palifroni has been in the hospitality industry for nearly 20 years and has curated roughly 300 weddings. With a background ranging from hotels, restaurants, catering, and venues, she's brimming with experience and her "addiction to hospitality" shines bright through each of her events. Her team is small so that they can provide focused, personal attention to each of their clients. Keep reading to learn more about Prisma Events and how Aisle Planner has completely changed the way they run their business!
What inspired you to enter the wedding industry?
I grew up watching my mother host parties and she was always the most impeccable hostess (she still is!). It was normal for us to have a house full of people because we were in the military and your squadron becomes your traveling family. I developed a love of hospitality that led me through working in restaurants, hotels, venues, catering, and eventually to find a passion for helping people have the most amazing wedding day!
Why did you start Prisma Events?
When I started Prisma Events in 2009 (under one of the probably five other names I tried out), I already had several years of hospitality and event experience under my belt. Through working for other companies, I realized there was a level of service that I really wanted to provide but wasn't always supported in my "extra mile reaching" desires. I started planning weddings and small events for friends as a side passion project while still working full time. Over the years, those requests became more and more and when I helped my best guy friends get married in 2013, just a week before Civil Unions were passed in Colorado, I knew I'd found my calling. I became passionate about supporting and allowing people to celebrate in whatever way felt best for them. I started throwing "wedding rules" out the window and really listening to what each couple's story was and what was most important to them. In 2016 I was able to leave my last corporate job and run Prisma Events full time! I'm even more passionate now about letting our couple's personalities shine through on their day.
If you could change one thing about the weddings and special events industry, what would it be?
If I could change one thing about the wedding and special event industry, it would be the ability to separate the real deal companies from the hobbyists. It breaks my heart to hear stories of couples being swindled for thousands of dollars or having a less than desirable experience with a vendor because they didn't hire a true professional or they got scammed. Because we aren't a regulated industry, it leaves a lot of room for people to undercut the market or just call themselves a pro before they're ready. Anyone who really wants to be in this industry does it because they love people, so I encourage newcomers to start as a catering server or work in a hotel and take the time to build their experience and learn the art of hospitality first.
How does using Aisle Planner help you deliver the client experience you want to?
Aisle Planner completely changed the way we do business. It was one of the first big steps I took for my business when I went full time in 2016. Even back then, AP was still a growing company and it's been amazing to watch the transformation over the years and see our requests and recommendations come to fruition! Aisle Planner helps us deliver a streamlined experience for our clients from start to finish. From the first inquiry form they fill out, contracts and invoicing, onboarding questionnaires—it's all branded to us and provides a sense of professionalism and organization throughout their planning time with us. We definitely use it as a selling point in our consultations and I know we've booked clients based on that!
What's your favorite Aisle Planner feature?
My favorite Aisle Planner feature has to be the seating assignments. We put a lot of emphasis on just how easy it is for our couples to create their seating arrangements—I mean, it can't be easier than drag and drop! We love that the final guest list prints several different ways so we can share with our set up teams and quickly double-check that every table, place card, and entrée choice is perfect before guests arrive.
If you weren't the Founder of Prisma Events what would you be doing instead, or what would your life be like?
If I weren't running Prisma Events, I'd most likely be the Director of Sales for a hotel. Again, as a self-proclaimed "hospitality addict," I just love being around people, helping to create a great experience, and having every day look a little different. I also love to lead and nurture the best in people so building and teaching a team to rise to their highest potential would be a highlight of having that kind of position. I imagine my life would be different, but maybe not a whole lot. As long as I can set aside time for myself and my family, that's the most important element.
As a business owner, what are some of the challenges you’ve overcome and the benefits you’ve experienced?
As a business owner, one of the challenges I've had to overcome is simply myself. I'm a "your own worst critic" type and tend to set high expectations for myself and others. I've worked hard to stop comparing myself to other planning companies and try to hone in on what sets us apart and makes us special so we can attract our perfect clients. I'm still learning when to step away and stop tweaking and be happy with what I've done, but there's always a drive to keep getting better too. A definite benefit that's helped me throughout my journey are the different positions I held within the hospitality industry. Some may look at it as "job hopping" but I know that having all that background knowledge from those jobs makes me a much better planner today. I have insider knowledge of how hotels work, what questions to ask, how to negotiate contracts, and all of that comes into play when giving our clients the most well-rounded support.
What are three things you never show up without on event day?
Three things I never show up on event day without are a water bottle, scissors, and our emergency kit. Water is essential, especially while working in the high elevations and dry heat of Colorado. We make sure to remind all our clients and guests that water is one of the most important pieces of your day—for everyone—and we have stations set everywhere. Inevitably, someone is going to ask me for scissors so I always have a pair in my "wedding planner fanny pack" that's part of our day-of uniform. And our emergency kit is fully-stocked with nearly anything anyone could ask us for (and more)! From last-minute primping needs like bobby pins and hair spray to eye drops, band-aids, a mini steamer, breath fresheners, and even shoe glue—we try to be as prepared as possible so no one has to stress!
What’s your personal philosophy on becoming a great wedding and event planner?
I think my personal philosophy on becoming a great wedding and event planner starts with listening. I know that early on in my career I was pretty cocky. I knew I was good at what I did but I hadn't learned humility yet or experienced really messing something up. When things weren't perfect, I really thought about how I could avoid that mistake again. I started being quieter and really listening to what our couples (and vendor partners) were saying and asking for. You can be confident—and you should—but you have to learn that fine line before taking it too far and turning people off. They want to feel comfortable and heard and I think you get to the next level when you can master that.
What’s your trademark in the client or event experience?
Our trademark in client experience is that right from the get-go, we assure them that there aren't any rules anymore. It truly can be their day! Once all the base pieces are down, it's their own personalities that make it special. We aren't afraid of bright colors or non-traditional themes or coordinating a surprise Drag Queen show in the middle of a reception. Bring it on! It'll still be beautiful and everything they've dreamed of, but it'll be so much more because we allowed them to be comfortable and encouraged them to have a lot of fun planning and celebrating.
Is there anything you're particularly excited about working on this year?
As we've worked through as best we can during the COVID-19 pandemic this year, our excitement for certain things has definitely changed. What we can look forward to now is getting to celebrate with our couples next year. And some we get to celebrate with twice, which is amazing! We had a handful of couples decide to move forward with small private ceremonies this year and we'll be planning a one-year anniversary party for them in 2021! In times like these, you have to take the good with the bad. We've been thankful for the slower pace this year has given us and we've worked on updating our website, brochures, and gotten to tackle some behind-the-scenes business pieces that get pushed aside in our normal busy season.
Just for fun
What’s the most used tool in your emergency kit?
What’s one trend you hope to see more of?
Color! Blush and pink are both beautiful, but bring on the color!
Your favorite shoes to wear on event day?
Rothy's flats. Definitely stylish, comfy for long hours, AND washable!
If you could plan any celebrity’s wedding, who would it be?
Jonathan Van Ness from "Queer Eye." I love his quick wit and think he'd be a blast to work with. And you know his wedding would be over-the-top!
What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever created for a wedding or event?
We did a Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) themed wedding and the couple completely trusted us with their vision. It was so much fun to go into the warehouse of one of our costume and décor companies and pick out lots of pieces we wouldn't normally have for a wedding day. Colored glass lanterns, tons of candles, the most incredible cake, and even a lady skeleton dressed in traditional Mexican attire fit for a big celebration. It will probably always be one of my favorites just because we got to get way out of the norm.
Hero photo courtesy: Melissa Brielle Photography
Want to see more from Aimee? Check out her website prismaeventsllc.com!