Encore Event Center in San Diego, an interview with Leo Kats
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
My name is Leo Kats and I manage the Encore Event Center in San Diego. The facility replaces the historic channel 6 building which is the second TV station in San Diego. We formerly operated three other separate venues among the event center in San Diego and are consolidating into a venue with multiple halls specializing in weddings with an indoor chapel, two outdoor ceremony areas and rock garden along with 5 themed halls. It is a one of a kind wedding event center in Southern California.
Which parameters are the most important to couples?
Top questions center around timing. Event center access, setup time, ceremony, appetizers, grand entrance, special dances, dinner, cake cutting and so on. Getting in line with the couples’ ideal event timing is important to meet expectations.
”Because our event center is themed, we see many weddings that take advantage of the existing décor. For people into sci-fi and fantasy, this hall has been used for dozens of themed events.”
What sets your event center apart from others?
In combination, the Encore Event Center features allow our clients a unique set of advantages over other venues. Although the facility is in a historic Spanish Colonial setting with many outdoor areas and 4 hotels within walking distance, it is in an otherwise commercial area allowing events to go to 2 AM with no noise restrictions or parking issues and near 4 major freeways.
The recently renovated facility itself offers indoor rooms with capacities ranging from 30 to over 300 person banquets. One hall is a unique indoor/outdoor space. Finally, I believe one of the biggest benefits of Encore is the full-service nature of the facility where we take care of or assist with just about every aspect of your wedding.
What is the most unusual wedding you had at your event center?
Because our event center is themed, we see many weddings that take advantage of the existing décor. Our Myst hall has had some interesting weddings. For people into sci-fi and fantasy, this hall has been used for dozens of themed events.
A couple of more notable weddings are a full costume Princess Bride themed wedding with a reenactment of the “Mawage” scene for the ceremony, a Star Wars wedding with stormtroopers and a costumed Magic The Gathering card game themed wedding.
”Although we don’t have specific packages, we do offer full service events at Encore Event Center. Everything is ala carte, but I am happy to put together a customized package which will cover 80 – 90% of what most weddings require.”
What does your day at the wedding itself look like typically?
In most cases we are providing a turn-key package for our clients, which means we are the event center, decorator, caterer, entertainer, and coordinator. During the weeks leading up to the wedding, we are making sure inventory staffing and supplies are available as necessary. There are always last minute updates so we have to be ready to change the plan on a dime.
On the day of the event, managing the crew and vendors becomes the focus. Ideally, the planning has been well executed so there is minimal running out for something that is missing.
Do you offer any packages?
Although we don’t have specific packages, we do offer full-service events at Encore Event Center. Everything is ala carte, but I am happy to put together a customized package which will cover 80 – 90% of what most wedding venues require.
This includes one of seven different event center areas, indoor or outdoor ceremonies, custom catering, bar, staffing, linens, centerpieces, furniture options, DJ/MC’s, photo booth, formal dishware and more.
”Since every event is a little different, it’s always some amount of last minute decisions and improvisation to some degree.”
Was there ever a time you had to improvise?
I have found that just about every large event center is like a duck. Pretty calm on the surface but under the water lots of paddling. It’s always hectic leading right up to the event and scrambling in the back to have it be seamless for the couple and guests. Since every event is a little different, it’s always some amount of last-minute decisions and improvisation to some degree.
What is the one thing you would ask of the brides and grooms?
Knowing their expectations is always quite helpful. Some couples have exacting ideas while others are laid back but everyone wants a stress-free day. It’s great when we are given a written set of instructions so that it can be shared between the event center departments taking the guesswork out of our hands.