Following a fifteen year career in luxury hospitality, I set up my own event planning business; originally the main focus was on weddings, and we’ve expanded to parties and wider events over the years…”

Bruce Russell

INTRO BY NICKY SUMMER: “The international event organiser Bruce Russell is a French Canadian who made his way to London via New York and is now a British citizen; from his base just outside London he plans, designs, and produces magical weddings, milestone celebrations and fabulous parties of all sizes, all over the globe. Recently, Bruce set up a branch of his company with a long-term friend, now partner, in the exclusive Hamptons on the east coast of the USA. Here, we discuss what Bruce has coming up this summer, his favourite locations and motivation at the top end of the luxury lifestyle arena:

ABOVE: Kelly Ripa; Tower Hill, the home of Christie Brinkley; Gwynneth Paltrow

I believe in collaborations and partnerships with like-minded people, and over the years this is how I’ve structured my business…”

Bruce Russell

NS: ”Bruce, tell me how it came about that you set up in the Hamptons; it’s such a beautiful place in the summer and so many well known faces have homes in the area…”

BR: ”Last year I set up a US office in San Francisco which is focused on business in Northern California and I also have a partner, and long-time friend, who’s based in the Hamptons – we used to work at The Plaza New York many moons ago, and we reconnected last year whilst I was planning a wedding in the city.  Over the past few years she’s been toying with the idea of starting her own business in the Hamptons so we’ve joined forces; it’s a special place, and my partner being ‘a local’ in the community means a lot to those who call it home during the summer months. In the Hamptons, there’s a simplicity around entertaining, however service and professionalism are still very important. Having someone who understands the lifestyle, who lives in the community and who is part of a respected global brand is perfect!”

In the world of events, I feel that US clients put more importance on design details than the British; the US clients also appreciate and understand the value of the services I provide – I’m not selling a product, but rather an experience. Anyone can look at endless visuals of events I’ve designed and produced, however what I offer is more than that. Clients often don’t fully appreciate the value of the total experience until after the event…” 

Bruce Russell

NS: ”So you have both the east coast and the west coast covered, and obviously London too – where are you currently spending most of your time and which are your favourite locations?”

BR: ”Where I spend my time really depends on the day/week/month! My clients are international, and most of the events I produce take place in a variety of destinations. This year already I’ve been in London, New York and San Francisco; I have a wedding in Malibu shortly, followed by a large charity benefit in The Hamptons in August. There’s a three day destination wedding planned for Marrakech later this year, along with a birthday celebration in Northern California.  I’m sure something else will pop up in the coming months as our lead time for events is typically a period of only three month-six months!”

BR: ”There are so many outstanding venues around the world that, when asked, I always tend to answer that my favourite is ‘the next one’ as there simply isn’t an easy answer to the question. I’ve always wanted to plan an event at is Versailles – that venue’s top of my list!  Claridge’s Hotel in London has to be the best hotel in the world for any celebration; it’s perfect.  I visited Stanly Ranch, part of Auberge Resorts, in Napa last year and instantly felt a connection to the resort and the setting. Then there is always the blank canvas of working within the setting of a private home… creating something completely from scratch which fits in with such a personal location – that’s what excites me about opening business in the Hamptons…”

NS: “When business ground to a halt over the – and here comes that dreaded word from the recent past – ‘pandemic’, we ourselves took a long hard look at how our business was structured and the direction we wanted to go in; many in the lifestyle arena did the same – what about you at Bruce Russell Events?”

BR: ”The pandemic gave me the opportunity to not only look at my business, but how my work and personal lives intertwine… that time for reflection is key – both personally and professionally.  I do what works for me, and not what society or social media makes me think I need to do or who I need to be. I take time for myself, and my family; I work with people I enjoy working with, and who elevate me. On that, I trust my instincts!”

NS: ”Since the covid lockdowns there appears to have been two very different trains of thought when it comes to event design for 2023… some clients are going for the restrained and cautious ’recycled and organic’ vibe, others are heading completely in the other direction and going for the complete excess of ’live for today’, particularly when it comes to floral decor – what are your thoughts on themes?”

BR: ”Personally, I’m not a fan of the words ‘theme’ or ‘trends’ – clients and event organisers should do what’s right for them and for their event. Elements and details – which are increasingly more popular and help elevate the guest experience of any event – include immersive entertainment – characters and performers who are not only part of the design, and entertainment, but almost fit in a blend with guests. Clients have difficulty understanding this concept, but I always give this example – imagine you’re the very first guests to arrive at a party… immersive entertainment makes it feel like the party is already in full swing. So, do that and the vibe has immediately been set!”

Personalisation of details is very important – the entire tablescape concept of setting the table has taken over social media; our clients want a table setting that their guests will be in awe over, and are guaranteed social content gold!”

Bruce Russell

CONTACT: http://www.brucerussellevents.com

Comments are closed.