Valley Voices – January 2017

“Formidable Female”

Originally published by Valley Voices in January 2017.

Read original article here.

valley-voice-jan17

Shari Zatman is the owner and principal event planner and designer for Perfectly Planned by Shari. The Fox Chapel resident first found her love for Pittsburgh after she moved from the Philadelphia area to study at Pitt. “I started my career in interior design after college. I always loved the idea of planning events when I was in high school, but colleges didn’t have majors in event planning like they did for interior design, so I wasn’t sure that was an option as a career,” Shari said. “I later got my first event planning job as a meeting and conference planner for a non-profit organization. I went on to do the same kind of work for two different startup software companies. Before starting my own event planning company, I also worked on the vendor side of the business helping to run one of the largest linen rental companies in Pittsburgh.” About 12 years ago, Shari launched Perfectly Planned by Shari — her own business specializing in designing and planning luxury weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs and corporate and special events. “A few years ago I added another division of the company called It’s Your
Day, which specializes in partial planning and design for weddings and day-of coordination for weddings and events,” Shari explained. Shari’s career has been fruitful, but she also makes time to enjoy her family — her husband, who she’s been married to for almost 18 years, 12 year-old twin sons and a Bichon-poodle mix, who is treated as a third child. “When I’m not working, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, exercising, traveling and going to the theater. I’m also in the process of writing a memoir about my wedding planning experiences from the last 10 years and the life lessons that those experiences have taught me. That has been a really fun process,” Shari said.

WHAT IS IT LIKE TO WORK AS AN EVENT PLANNER?
You have to have very high energy. I’m usually on site 12 to 16
hours on event days because of set-up and tear down time in
addition to the length of the event itself. As a professional event
planner, I have the experience to be able to think and respond
quickly on my feet — that differentiates an experienced event
planner from an inexperienced one. I am constantly fielding
questions and situations from vendors, clients and guests all day
long who are looking to me for direction.

HOW EARLY IN ADVANCE DO YOU BEGIN PLANNING
FOR AN EVENT?  For weddings, I typically start 1 to 2 years in
advance, but I have also planned very special and detailed weddings
in only 3 to 6 months. A longer time frame is ideal because
securing the best venues and vendors is more likely, but I
can also plan in shorter time frames.

HOW MANY WEDDINGS HAVE YOU ATTENDED IN YOUR
CAREER? I have designed, planned and attended hundreds of
events during my career.

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE
IN YOUR CAREER? I think it can sometimes
be a challenge to make people understand
the importance and value of a
professional event planner and what I
can “bring to the table.” People can view
it as a “luxury service” they don’t need
or can’t afford. However, I have the
knowledge, professional relationships
and industry experience to make their
event better than it could be on their
own and quite often I can provide costsaving
ideas and ways to more effectively
and creatively work their budget.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE
WEDDING COOKIE? What wedding
cookie don’t I love — I have such a sweet
tooth! If I had to pick, a favorite I’d probably
say my favorite are French macarons
(salted caramel).
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WEDDING
SONG? I have so many, I can’t pick just
one. Hard to narrow to even top three,
but: At Last by Etta James, You Are the
Best Thing by Ray LaMontage, and Everything
by Michael Buble.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT
YOUR JOB? I love designing a custom
event from beginning to end. I thrive on
creating unique, non “cookie cutter”
weddings and events so each time it feels
new, fresh and personalized. I also love
working with my great clients and vendors.
Teamwork is very important to me
so I like to enjoy the entire planning process
with everyone.
WHO IS YOUR BIGGEST
INSPIRATION? I am inspired by many
powerful and successful female entrepreneurs.
I love strong women who have
figured out how to have success in both
their personal and professional lives
simultaneously. Balancing both is not
easy.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT
OUR REGION? We have a large number
of talented professionals right here in our
area. I always try to utilize local vendors
first if they are the right fit for my clients
before looking to bring them in from out
of town.

Information: 412.901.0082 or
www.perfectlyplannedbyshari.com
Photo by Leeann Marie Photography