The winter season in Kuwait is unlike any other. With all of the events of the year taking place in the small time span of only a few months, your calendar is most definitely overflowing with plans to attend and, more importantly host, an event of some sorts. You also have your best friend’s bachelorette party to plan (hello wedding season!), your child’s birthday is in two weeks, and you’ve taken on the additional role of planning the annual office Christmas party. The inevitable reality is that you will run out of ideas, and could use a creative mastermind to aid you through these arduous tasks. Fret no more and get in touch with events guru Rita Merheb Khair. Before you commit to a mainstream events planning company, get to know Rita and her personalized touch when it comes to events, in this interview.
How did you get your start as an event planner?
Well, event planning was always more of a hobby than a career to me. I love doing it as much as I enjoy doing any of my other hobbies, and I think that in order for anyone to succeed in what they want to do, they really have to enjoy it and not deal with it as a job, or as something you have to do. My motto has always been “I don’t design for a living, I live for designing…”
What do you like about event planning?
I like the whole process from A-Z. I enjoy talking to my client and getting to know them and to know what they want, as much as I enjoy seeing the people enjoying and having fun on the actual day of the event. And most of all, I love the various details that you have to take care of and deal with in order to insure a successful event.
Tell us a little about your background?
My background is in Graphic Design. I got my Master’s degree back in 2003 from the Academie Libanaise Des Beaux Arts “ALBA” Lebanon. I worked in the field of Graphic Design both in Lebanon and in Saudi Arabia. I was a creative director in an in-house creative department in Saudi Arabia. In 2006, I moved back to Lebanon, and I started teaching Graphic Design in 3 different universities. I also managed to finish my second Master’s degree in “Multimedia for Education” in the University of Balamand. In 2009 I moved to Kuwait and I am currently an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design in the American University of Kuwait.
Did your Graphic Design background have any role in you getting into Event Planning?
Of course, a very big part of my passion for event planning stems out from my passion for Graphic Design. Design is one of the most important ingredients in the recipe of a successful event. I actually make it a point to follow the principles of design and take the various elements of design into consideration both when I am planning and executing any event. It helps bring everything together in a really nice way that would be practically impossible to achieve if you didn’t have a thorough background and experience in design.
How would you describe your work style?
Unique and personalized. It is always very easy to search the web for subcontractors and item providers, everybody can do that, and the end result will most of the time look similar to something you saw or something that was done before. And personalization really involves much more than just getting a design and sticking a name on. When you take every event on its own, and you understand the client’s needs, and the target audience, that is the people invited, and you build / design the event from the ground up around those coordinates, the end result will automatically turn out to be totally unique and personalized. Everything in the work is built around those coordinates, the color palette, the typeface, and the style of the imagery and illustrations. Everything is built to meet and exceed the needs and the expectations of the client.
Besides personalization, what makes your work stand out from the rest?
Many things come to my mind as I think about the answer to this question, but mostly the attention to detail – I always make sure that everything is under control. The smallest detail can turn into a disaster once the event starts. The other thing is the wide spectrum of services I offer to my clients. In addition to all the traditional design matters, I offer multimedia services, such as animations or videos that can play during the event, interactive invitation cards, and animated teasers that are perfect for social media accounts. With all those services, the sky is the limit, the challenge becomes what the client wants to exclude from the event, and not what to do for the event.