Pavel Zamakhin—whose production house Yagoda brought the “Science. Space. The Future” theme to life at this year’s Hong Kong Tatler Ball—tells us how to put on a spectacular event

In novels, films and plays, beautifully orchestrated events are always the pinnacle of glamour—and pivotal to the action. And it turns out the same is true in real life. At this year’s Hong Kong Tatler Ball, there might have been the rumblings of a typhoon outside, but inside the Grand Hyatt guests were dumbfounded by the beauty of the ballroom.

This was all down to one man’s creativity—Pavel Zamakhin, whose production house, Yagoda, turned the five-star hotel into a perfect visual representation of the theme “Science. Space. The Future.” This included beautiful, custom-made light fixtures and decor for all the walls and walkways.

And while Pavel might be from Russia, he understands Hong Kong perfectly. He studied Putonghua and Cantonese at university and now works across Asia, creating weddings, parties and corporate events for the elite of the continent. We sat down with him to find out some of his secrets.

Language lover

I speak Russian, English and Putonghua. I used to speak Cantonese but over the last eight years I’ve lost so much of it—I plan on practising it a lot in 2019. In my opinion, it’s impossible to organise an event abroad without any knowledge of the local language or culture, even if you have an interpreter. The planner has to understand the country and not have any limiting factors if he or she is going to be truly creative.

Wordly outlook

Each country has its own specific reasons why an event can be tricky—in Hong Kong it’s probably the unpredictable weather and high prices. Russia has its own unique issues, while in the United States and Europe the approach is very similar. An experienced planner should be prepared for any situation, wherever in the world they are.

Perfectionism is my middle name

It’s not possible to be an events planner without being slightly obsessive about the job. All our events bring me such a sense of satisfaction, but I know I only get that feeling if I get every detail right. I like to imagine that I’m arranging it for myself, which means I am just as excited as if it were my own event.

By nature I’m a perfectionist and maximalist, so the grand affairs are the ones that really thrill me. If I had to choose just one event that I’ll remember forever, it would be a Russian winter wedding that we organised in just 21 days in 2015. It was truly spectacular.

Kid's club

Yagoda already does private and corporate events, as well as weddings, but in the future we’re hoping to launch children’s events, applying our team’s experience to creating fashionable, modern parties for under-12s. I think we can make it happen, because we already create elaborate concepts and do décor and photo and video production, in addition to event management. Now we just need to make our thinking younger.

Creating chemistry

In the end, event planning isn’t just about the artists, haute cuisine, famous guests and high emotions; it’s about a unique sequence of actions and the collaboration of hundreds of people to ensure every detail works. It’s a synergy between the team and the client.

My advice to anyone planning a party would be to find the best professional event planner who shows you the task is very important to them. And if there is chemistry between you, start collaborating. There’s no need to experiment and create an event by yourself when there are professionals who can help you.

Also, remember that after the planning, choosing a great venue is the next most important decision—and then just think happy thoughts.

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See also: Hong Kong Tatler Ball 2018 event gallery

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