Muddy meets Lizzie Liebenhals
For the crème de la crème of party planners, it has to be Lizzie Liebenhals. Muddy snatched five minutes to pick the brains of this Surrey party queen.
Lizzie Liebenhals is a party planning extraordinaire. She started doing events back in 1994, so there’s not much she doesn’t know about parties. Through her company Halls and Halls, she has worked on some amazing sporting, celebrity and high-profile events – all high-end and with luxury at their core. And over the years, one thing led to another and Lizzie was asked to organise their private parties which led to her spin-off company Halls and Halls Privé.
Firstly Lizzie, I have to say – I have job envy. You’re a luxury party planner, and it’s your job to think big, bold and brilliant – and then make it happen. What fun! But how did this come about? Are you a party-girl at heart?
I have always loved being part of the events scene and been fortunate in my career to have been invited to some truly spectacular VIP parties. I remember a launch party where Sting performed for just 70 of us, Wembley Stadium closing party with Elton John and Bob Geldof, Capital Radio, Brits and Bafta afterparties to name but a few.
Owning Halls and Halls has been fabulous. As the business flourished our clients and celebrities we work with started to ask us to deliver their own private parties. And the more it made sense to take those services and brand them as Halls and Halls Privé. So now we deliver lavish high-end parties with exquisite attention to detail in around Surrey, Berkshire and West London.
You plan parties for all sorts of events, right? Weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and corporate events – is there a pattern to what you do, or is everyone different?
I love to deliver a variety of styles of parties, from birthdays, anniversaries, summer or Christmas soirees but I wouldn’t say weddings are our thing. I normally take them on a case-by-case basis as there are so many fabulous wedding planners out there. You are right though there definitely isn’t one set formula to what we do at all because each client has their own vision but I would say there are couple of key steps we as a team abide by;
- Listen to you client – so many party planners push their own ideas or try and book venues they have relationships with, and we really make sure our client is at the forefront of our minds all the time.
- It’s all in the detail – we only have once chance to make every party amazing. We can’t say sorry ‘that didn’t work come back tomorrow night,’ like a restaurant or hotel can do.
- Creativity… A lot of our clients who are based in Surrey, West London and Berkshire often know each other. It is so important that each client has the wow factor they want, and no two events look, or feel are the same.
I’ll be honest. The job envy is growing by the minute. So, what’s the best thing about creating bespoke events?
Definitely the creativity. The challenge to bring the images in clients heads to life. What I would say is hard and many party planners may agree is managing the expectation of Pinterest. So many of these photos are staged and are not realistic.
Do you have any insider secrets?
Are they still secrets if I tell you 😉
Awww, pretty please…
Pick a theme and run with it. I had one client who wanted tropical flowers, Mexican themed entertainment, and Indian food. It would have been chaotic!
Get your date sorted and send a save the date. There is NO point in having a great party if the people who you love and cherish are not there.
Get someone to professionally photograph and video your party – relying on Insta and friends means you can miss out on key moments and people.
And of course – get a party planner so you can get ready, enjoy your party and create the best memories.
Your parties are exclusive and lavish – I’m sure you’ve rubbed shoulders with many a celeb. Go on, tell us who?
See that is quite tricky – you are right, we do deliver a whole host of high-profile parties, but one of the main reasons we are commissioned is that we don’t disclose what we do. However, I can say we have worked with lots of celebs in the media, actors, and sport stars from around the world.
Can you share some titbits about some of the lavish parties you’ve created. What’s the most indulgent and elaborate party you’ve done?
A long time ago I delivered Muhammad Ali’s 60th birthday party. That was amazing and very glamorous – very Hollywood in theme and guests! And then a couple of years ago, we had to fly a harpist in to the UK from Dubai for a client! Oh, and we also did a Christmas party where we totally whited out their grounds with fake snow had beautiful Christmas lights in all the trees, and a classic 4-piece string quartet outside playing as guests arrived. It was very ethereal and beautiful. Immersive experiences are what we deliver best.
Any others? What’s the quirkiest?
I once had to smuggle a famous sport star dressed as Dangermouse into his own party so the press couldn’t snap him. I dressed all the security staff as Stormtroopers much to their dislike! We had drunk Tellytubby’s rolling around that couldn’t get up and we didn’t know if they were famous or not. That was without doubt one of the funniest and most bonkers nights ever.
Ah, I love it! Oh to be a fly on that wall. Any disasters?
Luckily not – touch wood. I think that you need to be fluid as a party planner. Things happen and you need to be able to have the experience to deal with them.
I did witness one funny but awful thing… at a friend’s BBQ their dog ran through the fence got into the neighbours marquee and ate the cake – 3 tiers of it – and I just remember pouring a glass of wine and thinking THANK GOD that wasn’t my event !!!
And what about Covid? Will that stop you partying?
Yes is the short answer as there are rules in place and whilst I am all for a great party no one wants to risk being ill. However I do believe we can look forward. A lot of larger parties that we organise need at least 6 months planning and if we are looking at starting now then we are looking into 2021 anyway. I know Covid seems like it’s ruined a lot of the party vibe but have faith.
And if you were attending your own party – how would it look?
So, I organised my own 40th at Vanilla, an amazing all-white venue in London. I had 2 celebrity DJs, Dita Von Teese, hoola hoop artists, a Beatboxer who did the most insane Michael Jackson medley, 10 different bowl foods with fish finger sarnies at midnight. I had flaming cocktails, dry ice shots, a light show. I had flown people in from around the world, arranged transport and hotels. It was the whole shabang BUT and this is exactly why I do what I do. I spent the whole time making sure that all the elements worked, and that my guests loved it, which of course they did that. I however didn’t enjoy the night!
It’s a good example actually of why working with a party planner is so beneficial. One of my clients said to me recently. You should have a slogan….
“Leave it to Lizzie”. And you know what? I quite like that!!