Event plan­ners win peo­ple’s vote

South Waikato News - - NEWS / HE PU¯RONGORONGO - By CAITLIN WAL­LACE

Or­gan­i­sa­tion is in the blood of Toko­roa event plan­ners Re­bekah Garner and Lisa Gray who have taken out the Peo­ple’s Choice in the NZ Wed­ding In­dus­try Awards.

Garner’s com­pany, Mad Hat­ters Event Man­age­ment, won its first award with 32 per cent of the votes and beat 57 oth­ers in the cat­e­gory.

‘‘It was a lit­tle bit of a shock, but stoked at the same time. It just goes to show you’ve got peo­ple be­hind you.’’

The ‘‘small bou­tique’’ com­pany was nom­i­nated for the hireage and plan­ning cat­e­gory as well.

Though they didn’t win that, Peo­ple’s Choice was the award ev­ery­one wanted, she said.

Garner has been or­gan­is­ing events since she was 17 years old and her first event in New Ply­mouth was a com­plete suc­cess de­spite hav­ing no train­ing.

‘‘ Me and my best friend or­gan­ised a fundraiser for Open Home Foun­da­tion . . . we made $5500.’’

‘‘I think it’s just what I’m good at.’’

Since then she’s helped or­gan­ise events across the coun­try and the world and set up shop in Toko­roa two years ago.

She never ex­pected it would kick off the way it has with at least two events planned ev­ery month.

‘‘ It’s kind of ex­ploded ...I thought I could just start slowly.’’

They’ve planned wed­dings, birthdays, char­ity func­tions and cor­po­rate events in­clud­ing the VIP sec­tion at Equi­days for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year, she said.

Gray, who’s Toko­roa born and bred, said they are both sim­i­lar in per­son­al­i­ties. ‘‘It comes from the OCD part of us.’’

It’s her day­time job and a ‘‘nat­u­ral’’ pro­gres­sion with ex­pe­ri­ence in char­ity fundrais­ing as well.

One of the cra­zi­est events they will have done is the up­com­ing For­est View High School ball in July with a Willy Wonka theme.

With help from their ‘‘prop guy’’ Stu MacPher­son, Garner said their three per­son team is go­ing ‘‘all out.’’

And now they’ve got this award un­der their belt, it’s only on­wards and up­wards from here.

‘‘Just to get big­ger and bet­ter, it’s all about mov­ing for­ward.’’

Lisa Gray have won the crowds and taken out the Peo­ple’s Choice award at the NZ Wed­ding In­dus­try Awards.

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