Meet Celebrity Planner Randi Lesnick

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Randi Lesnick, one of the nation’s premier event planners, works for Nashville’s brightest stars—people like Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw, Reba MacIntire, and Rascal Flatts. Her company has grown from a one-woman show in 1996 into two offices and a full-time staff of ten. Her firm, Hospitality Consultants, has two divisions: Randi Events and Nashville Event Space (which manages some of Music City’s hottest venues). We gave her an impossible task: to sum up the world of Randi Lesnick in just a handful of questions.

What inspired you to enter the world of event planning? I was an executive with Hilton when my husband’s job moved us from the New York area to Nashville. I intended to be a full-time mom for our new baby and two-year-old son. Well, it turned out I missed interacting with adults. So, when the opportunity cropped up, I offered to produce the grand opening for DreamWorks Records. That was a big success, and we just went on from there.

What stands out as your most memorable event ever? What makes it stand out? The release of Taylor Swift’s Speak Now album in New York. It was going to be at the United Nations, with live streaming worldwide. But the UN pulled out three days before the event. We had to move everything to the Metropolitan Pavilion—in just three days. That was tough, but it turned out great.

Can you name the No. 1 element of a successful event? Of course we always make sure everything from the food to the music is wonderful. But for me it’s the design that’s most important.

Johnson_Lamare_WeddingWhat element do you start with? The mission. Is it a product launch? A corporate event? An album release? Who’s invited? That narrows down where to hold it. Then, for instance, we might get our theme or colors from the product or album cover.

Is it a priority to minimize environmental impact? Going green is a must for many of our clients, especially anything involved with Country Music Awards, whether it’s an after-party or part of CMA Fest. Green is more expensive, but there’s no question about it in many cases.

Do you ever have to convince clients that cutting corners could hurt their bottom line? How do you do it? We make sure they know that because our name is on it, we’d rather turn down a job than compromise our reputation. Or here’s an example. A client might want to save money by serving finger food at a 7 to 10 p.m. event. We’ll steer them in the right direction by explaining that, without dinner, everyone will leave early, and so all the money for the whole event will be wasted.

How can a client best help you achieve their goal? They can give us as much information as possible. There’s no such thing as too much information.

 

What’s your biggest challenge? How do you handle it? The hardest thing is giving people what they want for the money. We just work very hard to make that happen.

What do you wish you knew when you started? There’s no way I could have known back then what I know now. It’s a different world. We’ve got marketing, staff, CAD drawings, Instagram—technology has changed everything. The only thing that’s the same is we’re still making the impossible possible.

Photos from randievents.com

Annette Burden

Annette Burden

Annette Burden has written and edited for Elite Meetings International since 2007. In addition to writing on travel for other publications, she founded and edited Meeting Traveler, Resorts & Great Hotels, and Destination Weddings & Honeymoons magazines.

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