Monique Banks, owner of Monique Banks Party, is a premiere party planner who, for the past two decades, has been behind some of the biggest and most fabulous events across the Tri-State. When it comes to planning a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, Monique prioritizes finding the perfect balance between tradition and celebration. We had a chance to sit down with Monique to find out some of the key elements to creating a successful party.
Tell Me About Monique Banks Party
My business evolved out of doing over 3000 custom themed birthday parties in 11 years. After I did my son’s bar mitzvah 17 years ago, people started to ask me- What do you recommend? Can you help me with this? It started to branch out from my immediate circle to people I didn’t even know. I would be spending hours on the phone and my husband finally said, ‘This is sort of ridiculous. Why don’t you do this as a business? ‘
So, I began to segue out of the birthday parties and into full on event planning. I plan all different kinds of events from Bar and Bat Mitzvah’s to weddings to 40th birthday parties to 60th wedding anniversaries to corporate events. And one of the things that I love about it is that they are all different.
What’s the most important thing to keep in mind when planning an event?
My philosophy about whatever kind of party you are planning is that it should reflect the guest of honor or the family of honor, because that’s what makes each event unique. You could have two people who are lifelong best friends but when you get to know them they are really quite different. Your guests should be saying to themselves, wow… that’s so them!
Any specific tips?
First of all, embrace it. The planning of the event should be a joyous process. I always feel like its amortizing the expense of the celebration itself.
Second, figure out your budget. That’s really important. Once I know what the budget is I can navigate my clients toward where the money is best spent. One thing we do know is that you have to feed everybody. And I think the food has to be very good. I would rather you choose the best hamburgers and hot dogs on the planet than serve a not-so-good filet mignon.
It is really important to me that clients don’t lose sight of what they are celebrating. As much of a party girl as I am, it’s never just about the party for me. I love to weave in details to highlight the meaning behind an occasion. It’s not just that your 13 year old is now a man or woman, it’s that they are now considered to be old enough to contribute in a meaningful way to society. When you weave in the significance of the occasion, it adds to the warmth of the event.
And finally, invite people who are truly invested in your joy. It doesn’t matter how many bells and whistles you have added to your event, at the end of the day, if there are people there who are not invested in your celebration, it changes the warmth and vibe of the event.
If you were to have a couple of bells and whistles, what would they be?
I would say definitely a photo booth. Everyone loves photo booths. For boys, a couple of games, like pop-o-shot or foosball, go over really well. Especially during cocktail hour when girls are often busy with presentations. Besides that, I am not a big additional entertainment person. My premise is: spend the money on a really good entertainment company that will make the party amazing.
What should you look for in an entertainment company?
I work primarily with one entertainment company and that’s because they give 110%, just like me. They are professional, set up with plenty of time and test the montage in advance. I look at all of this like pieces of a puzzle that on the day of the event that have to fit together seamlessly so that our only goal is to create the most perfect day for the client.
What is your favorite thing about what you do?
Seeing the joy on my clients’ faces. It’s a happy job. It’s crazy and it’s stressful but at the end of the day, I am surrounded by joy. It doesn’t get better than that.
Reach out to Monique Banks for your next event at www.partybymonique.com