I am a picnic and luxury event planner in Los Angeles
- Lauren Rivard is the founder of “The Picnic Collective”, a luxury picnic planning company, based in Los Angeles.
- It caters to celebrities and influencers with picnics that can cost anywhere from $ 399 to over $ 10,000.
- This is what her job is like, as freelance writer Molly O’Brien has recounted.
- See more stories on the Insider business page.
Growing up in Las Vegas, I was surrounded by the hospitality industry. I moved to California for college, got a job in marketing for a human resources outsourcing company, and dabbled in event planning, social media, and general marketing tasks. . Then at 23, I was diagnosed with a health problem that forced me to slow down and take a step back. During the healing process, I came up with the concept of The Picnic Collective because I was looking for a more creative outlet.
We were very lucky to get started just before the pandemic in 2019, so we already had an infrastructure in place with office space and employees. When COVID hit, our business exploded in popularity. By starting this business, I felt totally out of my element, but I was able to use my marketing skills to get the business off the ground. It’s crazy since it quickly took off.
Originally the business started with myself – I was a sole proprietorship for several months.
My husband was able to quit his full-time job shortly thereafter to come by my side and help grow the business.
Today, we have around 30 employees, so it is developing very quickly. It’s exciting because we are crossing over and expanding to new territories across the country. We hope to expand into Texas and New York this year. So far, we have organized over 3,000 picnics. I would say that on average, in any given week, we have between 30 and 50 picnics and events.
At the very start of containment, we had to completely stop offering events. We switched to providing home delivered picnic baskets this month until the beaches reopen and we could safely start offering our outdoor picnic experiences again.
One of the funniest parts of my job is having the opportunity to be creative in everything we do. It’s almost like designing an event space, but you can do it on such a small scale and customize it over and over again for different clients. We also do a lot of celebrity events which is exciting.
The most lavish “picnics” aren’t always a picnic.
From an awe-inspiring cliffside picnic with ocean views to big influencer parties, we’ve been fortunate to create magical memories for our guests.
We’ve set up a picnic with thousands of rose petals scattered along the picnic perimeter, picnics with alpacas, and large scale floral backdrop installations. We have organized large corporate vacation picnics on the beach, where we provided several live Christmas trees. We’ve planned a gorgeous Disney ice-cream-inspired eighth birthday party with personalized flowers, balloons, and grazing boards – an Elsa character even came out to bring out the birthday cake.
Our picnic packages vary in price depending on the size of the group. We have a “Bliss Date Night” for two that starts at $ 399 and a “Simple Pleasures” package for $ 499 for up to six people and $ 1,199 for up to 18 people. We also offer a la carte add-ons, such as premium dessert and drink stations and personalized tent and tipi decor.
I would say the most expensive picnic we planned was definitely on the rise in the $ 10,000 range. It was a very extravagant picnic experience. The client wanted to organize a romantic picnic for him and his girlfriend. The sky was the limit, and he had no real budget. He just wanted to go wild with the event and make it all (as impressive as) it could be.
The scenery for this picnic was amazing – we had something like 10 dozen roses sticking out of the sand on a trail to the picnic. It was a totally personalized event for them. We created a bunch of beautiful signage, and all of their desserts were romantic, amazingly presented, and fully personalized. We provided a private chef to meet the needs of the two of them who made custom sushi rolls for them, right on the beach. It was an extremely extravagant event for two.
Each of our events can be fully personalized according to the client’s preferences.
To book one of our experiences, clients go to our website, submit a request and are put in touch with one of our coordinators. They would book the package they are most interested in, pick some ‘add-ons’ (like the sushi chef), and then a member of our team would send in a final proposal to lock everything down.
Then they chose the specs on what kind of stylish decor they wanted, what kind of food they wanted – everything down to those little details. Our staff would show up on setup and organize day, and all they have to do is show up and enjoy the experience.
There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to throwing luxury picnics.
This includes transporting the equipment to the location, bringing in the heavy umbrella stands, and generally determining what is working and what is not. We have evolved over time and have had a huge learning curve. From hiring employees to growing a business, it has certainly been a lot of learning in a short period of time.
As the owner of a rapidly growing business, there are many hats that I can wear that can be both fun and empowering. All team members learn to work together just like we are working with first-time clients. From creating new concepts and products for the company to building our team, every day is an adventure.