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Celebrity party planner talks about entertaining the A-list

7 April 2013
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There's nothing quite like an A-list party. Arguably the best celebrations on earth, those lavish events are parties of dreams. Simon Cowell had a shark tank at his latest event, Mariah Carey flew her friends to Barbados in a private jet, and Naomi Campbell celebrated her 40th birthday in a week-long bash on the French Rivera. Behind those luxurious scenes, however, always lies a mastermind. Meet Steven Duggan, the definitive party planner to the stars.Joining forces with Elton John, Adele and Leona Lewis to make some of the best bashes of the business, Steven has an impressive celebrity clientele to his name. Creating inspired events for celeb land and the general public, Steven's eye for detail and vivid imagination has even got Simon Cowell nodding in approval. Speaking about his favourite parties yet, the event planner chatted to HELLO! Online about the devil in the celebrity planning details… 

How did you create Steven Duggan Events? 

My mum is an interior designer and my dad is an architect, so I was definitely inspired by them. I went on to study Interior Architecture at Trinity College Dublin, and then later studied Events and PR at King's College London. I began my career working on My Super Sweet 16 parties for MTV, and found myself drawn to the art behind creating the events. Then three years ago, I decided to branch out into creating my own events, exploring the fun behind event planning.

Do you take an editorial role in the business or are you involved in every step of the creative process? 

Admittedly, 90% of my clients are unsure of what they want, but they have firm ideas about what they want everyone to feel when they enter the party. I generally opt for a theme and colour palette and liaise with the client to ensure that their objective is achieved.

Celebrities are known for wanting the VIP treatment. What is the zaniest request you've dealt with so far? 

I'd probably say my most outlandish requests have come from my non-celebrity clients. At Christmas I arranged a proposal delivered by seven dwarves. It was one of those things where I didn't know whether to laugh or to take it seriously.

As you deal with such unique requests, does a Steven Duggan experience normally require a big budget? 

Although my costings have gone into six-figure sums before, I have a large non-celebrity client base who want to create a sophisticated event for a more modest sum. Celebrities are not necessarily the biggest spenders either – I have known plenty [of celebritieswho have tried to knock my fees down.

Now you are an established name in the event planning industry, what has been your most rewarding moment so far? 

When I put on an event for the Katie Piper Foundation at the London Savoy Hotel, I had a rather large number of celebrity guests to please. When Simon Cowell said my event was amazing, I was ecstatic. However, being in the industry still hasn't sunk in. The team and I have come such a long way, and it was great to know that a man like Simon appreciated our hard work.

Elton John is known as one of the best celebrity party throwers there is. Was it interesting to work with such an esteemed client? 

Elton is of course, a seasoned party planner. There is a purpose behind each and every one of his parties. He's traditional, and knows what to say yes and no to.

You also planned Adele's 24th birthday party. Was it an enjoyable experience? Adele has good taste. She knows what she likes – fun, bright colours with adventure. Her celebration was inside her own house, in keeping with her down to earth attitude.What would be your top five tips for throwing a good party? Don't be afraid to push your creative boundaries, it's fun to experiment. Avoid spaces that are too large as well, the event can look really empty. Use every corner to make the best of your area. Invite as many guests as you can, it creates a great atmosphere. Pay attention to detail too – try and pay attention to your space from every possible angle. Of course, choose the right venue to match your theme – consistency is key.For more information visit:

Interview and report: Jasmine Andersson and Melissa Evans

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