Meet Dania Mossman of Tropical Moon Events. Dania went from "green business-owner" to “boss-lady” by taking her cocktail catering service and launching it into a full-service professional wait crew combined with planning and coordination services. With 7 years of experience, she built a solid reputation in the Oahu wedding industry. Tropical Moon Events was born to provide clients with a qualified team of professionals for any and all wedding and event needs, adhering to the highest of standards and delivering unparalleled service.
“We pour our all into what we do, and we hope it shows.”
What inspired you to enter the wedding industry?
I’ve always been a self-starter and I knew I wanted to start my own business. A bartender for nearly a decade, I entered the events industry as a planning intern with the intent of learning the industry and creating a mobile bar service. I quickly realized that weddings are an amazing creative outlet for entrepreneurs and that I had a knack for detail, organization, and design work. I soon became a venue manager and a wedding coordinator while simultaneously launching my cocktail catering service. Our services have since expanded into wedding planning and design, as well as the full gamut of cocktail catering and professional waitstaff. Tropical Moon Cocktail Catering Co. has become Tropical Moon Events, and we are now re-branding our bar and staffing services as Star Bar Hawaii. It has been an incredible journey!
Why did you start Tropical Moon Events?
Tropical Moon Events was born out of a passion for entertaining and a desire to create experiences that give you “all the feels”. This is what I call “wedding magic”, and it is so real! Bringing together the right visual, taste, and sound elements harmoniously with well-planned event flow is essential to creating the overall vibe and outcome of the event. Our goal is to deliver an exceptional client experience and plan events that will be remembered for many years to come!
If you could change one thing about the weddings and special events industry, what would it be?
I’ve been thinking about it and I just can’t tell you what it would be! I just love the collaboration within the vendor community. Here in Hawaii many competitors are friends and can rely on each other for advice and even business opportunities. If anything, I’d just advise wedding clients to stay away from mirroring Pinterest and allow their vendors to exercise their creative muscles. Letting the pros “do their thing” will always deliver the best results!
How does using Aisle Planner help you deliver the client experience you want to?
We love Aisle Planner for the amazing collaboration tools it brings to the table. Not only are we able to invite and collaborate with our own team and other vendors, but clients can also invite their planning partners! Our clients are able to peek in on what we’re doing and we are able to communicate effectively through the layout, design tools, vendor contracts, and the amazing budget tool! Overall, Aisle Planner has simplified the planning experience and created a cohesive platform that makes sense of the zillion details that go into creating well-planned events!
What's your favorite Aisle Planner feature?
That is really such a tough question because I simply love so many aspects of Aisle Planner. From day-to-day, I’d say the checklist and contracts section is what I use most. The checklist helps me to keep myself, my team, and my clients on track. I never close a client file without first listing all the items that need to be done next, who will do them, and by when! I am constantly commenting on any needs or changes in the contracts, and also I love that you can add payments and due dates to all invoices. This really helps keep a good overview of progress and helps keep payments on-schedule. But then, of course, I was so excited when Aisle Planner added the layout tool. I seriously don’t know how I planned events before Aisle Planner!
If you weren't the Founder + Lead Event Consultant of Tropical Moon Events what would you be doing instead, or what would your life be like?
Although I majored in International Studies (cultural, political, and socio-economic studies) my real passion is design. I’m sure I’d be finding an outlet through graphic design, interior design, or decorating. However, I thoroughly enjoy the wedding industry and I can’t imagine doing anything else! Currently, in my spare time, you can catch me hanging at the beach with my kids, entertaining at my home, and playing music and singing with my husband (a drummer) and our band of musicians.
As a business owner, what are some of the challenges you’ve overcome and benefits you’ve experienced?
Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. There's a certain tenacity and chutzpah that you must have to persevere. It requires you to act with tact, make bold moves and difficult decisions, and lead by inspiring others. While working tirelessly year after year I’ve encountered countless challenges with regards to staffing, vendor communication, long-term business prospects, and just day-to-day troubleshooting. It’s part of the excitement to learn how to continuously navigate situations, overcome obstacles and improve practices. My team is always looking to me for the answers and I’ve grown immensely from a young, green business-owner into a “boss-lady” with a staff of over 40! The most difficult challenge has been making the finances work well so that I can not only be self-reliant but also continue to support my amazing team. Despite the enormous amount of work and constant challenges, I wouldn’t have it any other way. While building a business sometimes feels like an uphill battle, years down the line the benefits are truly beginning to show themselves. I have been able to scale my business so that daily operations can largely run without me, and I’m looking forward to a well-deserved vacation!
What're three things you never show up without on event day?
Timeline, Layout, and Production List. These three tools are the play-book for the big day. Although I usually have most of the details ingrained in my memory, these communication tools are a great reference for not only myself but my team and all of the vendors that we work with on the day of.
The other three would be a change of clothes, sunscreen, and a snack! We spend half a day setting up in the hot sun and it’s so refreshing to put on a nice outfit to get ready for guest arrival. Since we are there from early morning and we don’t eat dinner till late evening, a snack or lunch is totally essential to keep our motors running!
What’s your personal philosophy on becoming a great event planner?
Deliver a personalized planning experience that meets and exceeds all expectations with regard to communication, detail, and execution. Always be professional, yet totally down to earth. No room for “high maka-maka” here! You’ve got to put your heart into it to get (and give) the rewards out of it.
What’s your trademark in the client or event experience?
Expect a well-executed free-flowing event in a simply beautiful tropical setting! Our team is especially accustomed to working with Hawaii’s capricious elements in amazing outdoor venues on Oahu. We are on-point, well organized, and ready with all details, working seamlessly with vendors from start to finish to carry out our client’s vision.
Is there anything you are particularly excited about working on this year?
We are fully rebranding and building an entirely new website. We are set to launch in August and I just can’t wait to show the world the new “Tropical Moon Events” and our sister brand “Star Bar Hawaii”!
Just for fun
What are the most used tools in your emergency kit?
Glue dots, zip ties, and scissors.
I’m dying to design a wedding or event in…
Paris! I am enamored with the City of Love! I imagine a dreamy chateau with gorgeous old-world elegance or a modern roof-top affair with the backdrop of La Tour Eiffel!
What’s one trend you think should be left in the past?
Mason jar glasses. Thank you!
What’s one trend you hope to see more of?
Color and contrast. I love both beautiful bold colors and dark, sensual, moody design. Just because it’s a wedding doesn’t mean the palette has to be totally pale.
Your favorite shoes to wear on event day?
Sketchers slip-ons with memory foam! Can’t go without style or comfort on a 14 hour day.
If you could go back in time, what’s one thing you would change about your wedding?
I would have planned for my ceremony at the original serene garden spot, despite the threat of rain and muddy shoes (only moving it at last minute if absolutely necessary). I also would have ordered a ton more food and totally planned to dance with my father. Moreover, I would have hired a wedding planner to take the reins at least 30 days out!
Hero photo courtesy of Christine Sadoy Photography
Want to see more from Dania? See more of her work over at Tropical Moon Events!