Dene Mckay and Chelsey Perrella (in photo above, courtesy of Best Day Ever), met in eighth grade and have been the best of friends ever since. In the spring of 2013, the gal pals launched Vancouver event company, Best Day Ever, with the aim of bringing all of their loves – parties, weddings, decor, design, marketing and creativity – to life.
Of course, working with your best friend can be wonderful, but also a tricky adventure. We connected with Dene and Chelsey to learn about how they make Best Day Ever succeed while keeping their #bestfriendshipever fully intact.
1. What’s the hardest part about being in business with your bestie?
Almost every get together and conversation becomes business related. It’s tough to balance business talk and pure bestie time.
2. What would the best part of that be?
Having a sounding board for ideas/decisions and knowing each other so well that you’re usually in sync on most matters
3. Is it just the two of you at Best Day Ever? Who else supports you?
We’re the two principal planners (party rockers) but we do work with a small team of day-of coordinators
4. According to your website, you really love Full House. Who are your favourite characters on the show?
Stephanie Tanner – We like her spunky personality. However, we have been known to be super fans of the Olsen twins once upon a time.
5. Now, I have to ask – what did you think of Fuller House?
Only watched a couple of episodes. Was Full House as cheesy as that?
(Editor’s note: I ask myself the same question every time I watch another episode. Someone tell me why I’m dedicating so much time to season two, please).
6. When did your (personal) passion for events begin? Why do you think it flourished at this time?
Our passion for events began when we realized that we could take our background in brand and marketing and apply those principles to the world of events. Combining our love for good design with the rush we get from a fast paced event day made for the perfect pairing.
7. When did you realize you wanted to be entrepreneurs?
We’ve always wanted an outlet where we could work for ourselves and call the shots. It probably started a couple of years into university. We brainstormed and wrote many a business plan before settling on event planning. I think our desire to be entrepreneurs even superseded our passion for events.
8. What was Best Day Ever’s first event?
We did decor for a backyard fiesta themed engagement party. Our first full fledged event was a wedding at Hatley Castle in Victoria.
9. Who has been your biggest support since the moment Best Day Ever launched?
Our husbands. They’ve been there through all the ups and downs of running a business and working through challenges. And they’ve been there physically too, setting up and taking down decor when the days are just too long or the pieces are just too heavy to lift.
10. What was the first event the two of you worked together?
We planned and worked a wedding anniversary party for the parents of a girlfriend of ours a few years before we even started Best Day Ever.
11. When I’m not working on A Quarter Young, I actually work in events, too! There are very long days and stressful moments that go into planning an event. How do you make sure your clients don’t see your stress?
We make sure that our client interactions are as positive as possible. Our clients hire us to relieve themselves of the stress of planning an event, so it’s our job to make sure they don’t have to take any of it on. We work through the stressful moments behind the scenes and make sure we approach emails, meetings and the events themselves with as much preparation and knowledge as possible. The more due diligence we do prior to an event, the less stress there is for everyone involved.
12. What are three planning tools you each need to have a good day?
Our day-of itinerary: It outlines the timeline of the day and contains all vendor contact information. It basically becomes our bible for the day.
Our emergency kit: From pins and bug spray to lighters and double sided tape, our emergency kit allows us to be prepared for anything.
Cell phone: Sometimes it seems like we’re running all over the place so our phones help us stay connected and in communication at all times.
13. You’re based in Vancouver – do you produce events in this city only?
The majority of events that we’ve planned to date have been in Vancouver as well as a handful of local destinations such as Pemberton, Whistler, Victoria and Gambier Island. That said, we’re always open to producing events out of our own city.
14. What’s the toughest thing about the Vancouver event market?
I’m not sure this is specifically unique to Vancouver, but one of the toughest challenges with being an event producer is educating the public on the benefits of working with a planner. This might mean hiring a day-of coordinator to make sure you wedding day goes off without a hitch or working with an event contractor to pull together the perfect vision and decor plan for your event.
15. As a creative person myself, I understand that sometimes creativity goes through dry spells (it’s just life)! Do you have an ideal place in YVR you frequent to find inspiration and keep the creative juices flowing?
I wouldn’t say this is as much about a specific place as it is just getting together to bounce ideas off one another. We typically divide up our client work between us so that each of us is the lead on specific events and then the other person is there to support on the day. We find it helpful to get together and help each other brainstorm decor and logistical ideas. Sometimes not being as close to an event helps to be able to come up with something the other person just didn’t think of.
16. What is the hardest part about organizing and producing weddings for clients (love birds)?
The majority of our clients haven’t had a wedding before (although most of them have attended a few). It’s always a bit of a challenge to take someone through the process of something they’ve never done before. They might want to do something or incorporate something that we know isn’t a good idea. It’s about finding the best way to communicate that without shutting them down in a negative way.
17. Events (weddings included) are spectacles! They take stories and themes and bring them to life. What is your favourite wedding theme? Why?
I wouldn’t say that we’re stuck on one particular theme per se, but we are proponents of good design. Whether we’re designing the wedding, we’re working with a decorator or the client is doing it themselves, we love a wedding that has a consistent and strong design element that weaves throughout all aspects of the event. From the stationery to the florals, it all needs to tell a consistent story.
18. I love your logo – who designed it? How long did it take you to settle on a design?
Thank you! We were pretty set and aligned on the aesthetic we wanted for our branding. Both of us come from a marketing/brand background so it was important to us to develop a strong visual identity. We have a friend who is a graphic designer and helped bring our vision to life but we were definitely very hands on with the process.
19. When you’re not working at Best Day Ever, where do you find yourself? What places do you like to explore?
We both appreciate a good dose of Vitamin D. When we take a break from work, you can usually find us exploring a sunny destination.
20. What do you hope the future of Best Day Ever has in store?
We hope that our clients love working with us and they come out of their events not knowing what they would have done without us. It is always our goal to have our clients do our marketing for us. Word of mouth truly is the best and we hope that our future holds many happy clients!
21. Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about you and Best Day Ever?
A business like your own wedding planning venture doesn’t happen overnight. We spent our first year in business building brand awareness, meeting vendors and getting a feel for the industry. Our best advice for women wanting to explore starting an event planning business or other creative venture is to be patient with the process and not be too hard on yourself…the journey along the way can be pretty invigorating and a great learning experience.