Sign up to our newsletter for inspiration and advice to help you plan awesome events
Getting to know Emma Barr
Meet Emma Barr. Currently the Head of Event Management at Merivale, Emma started out in Hospitality at the age of 15. This resourceful event pro confirms all suppliers, even when she didn’t book them to make sure all of her events run smoothly. She loves a dress-up party and the people that she works with. So join us as we get to know another event pro…. Emma Barr.
Give us a snap shot of your career to date.
I started in the US in hospitality at the age of 15 and loved every minute of it. At University I studied communications and public relations and ended up planning and executing events once I graduated. My family brought me to Australia where I was able to work my way up in the events industry. Now I am lucky enough to lead a team of amazing event managers who put their heart and soul into this job to pull off some of the best events in Sydney.
The most memorable event you have worked on and why?
My most memorable event was a Food & Beverage Conference closing party hosted in Denver Colorado. We created everything from scratch, building marquees, creating the atmosphere inside each one through styling, creative food offerings and interactive entertainment. I remember it most vividly because we really pushed the boundaries between entertainment and food, all while keeping it simple. Also because I hired 5 food trucks for the event and the menu tasting happened during a blizzard and one of the food trucks got stuck in a snow bank!
What did you ‘learn the hard way’ when planning an event?
Always reconfirm suppliers prior to the event whether you booked the supplier or not. My first wedding, the bride booked her own photographer and I didn’t confirm days prior to the wedding. He was a no show and when I called he said he didn’t have a wedding! I scrambled (thinking I was the one that messed up) and get another photographer just in time for the bride to walk down the aisle. Not only did the other photographer save my butt, it saved her wedding as she wouldn’t have had photos otherwise. The bride was very thankful that I was able to get someone so last minute, given she booked someone else. Moral of the story, always confirm all suppliers, no matter who booked it.
What are three personality traits that are required to succeed in the events industry?
If you could share one piece of advice to those starting out in the industry what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice. You don’t have to know everything when you start out and the more questions you can ask, the more you will learn. Time and time again I see people answering questions they don’t know the answer to and then ending up putting people in positions they shouldn’t be in.
If you don’t know, say it and find the right answer.
If you had to choose one meal to eat for the rest of your life what would it be?
Soft shell tacos with fresh pico de gallo and guacamole
What superpower would you choose and why?
I would like to be able to teleport people so that I could spend more time with my loved ones who don’t live in this fabulous country.
What skill or talent would you most like to learn and why?
I would like to learn Spanish, Italian, French and Chinese fluently because I think it would be great to be able to live and work in other countries.
The Paddington on a Sunday!
What do you prefer, cocktail party or sit-down dinner?
Sit down dinner, I love getting to know people on a more personal level which you can’t do as much at a cocktail party!
How do you unwind after a big event?
A nice glass of wine and a bath to soak my tired feet!
What’s your drink of choice at an event?
Champagne or if only sparkling is available, Rose
Favourite party theme?
Anything dress-up, I love a dress-up
Who would you love to invite to dinner (past or present)?
Why do you love your job?
I love my job because of the people I get to spend every day with. The team here at Merivale really do become your family and it is the reason I get up every morning.
If you weren’t working in events what would you do?
I would volunteer my time to charities by planning their fundraisers so that they can focus on making a difference in peoples lives.
Best event styling tip?
Less is more
Words to live by?
Do something daily that takes you out of your comfort zone