Emerald City Designs LLC: Making Memorable Moments a Little More Glamorous

David McKnight has always considered himself a natural entertainer with a knack for event planning, but he’s also level-headed enough to know which risks to take. McKnight founded Emerald City Designs LLC (ECD) in 1993 as a side project to his career in corporate America and get his feet formally wet in the industry before diving in headfirst. Over the course of 19 years ECD has grown to become one of Michigan’s premier event-planning operations by continuing to redefine the hallmarks of high quality and personalized design with a touch of glamor.

Aside from the glitz, ECD’s key to continued success is the team’s ability to support clients of all makes and models – whether made of tin or straw – down a yellow brick road toward an event as splendid and memorable as the Emerald City itself. “We pride ourselves on being able to listen closely to each client to identify the key items that will reflect personal style and each individual’s vision for a specific budget,” expands McKnight, founder and owner of ECD.

The special event group is based out of Farmington Hills, Mich., and regularly works with client across the state and the major metropolitan centers of the country. ECD proudly boasts its ability to provide a complete package for each customer, providing planning, event coordination, agendas and event finalizations for a seamlessly delivered experience, whether a wedding, birthday, bar mitzvah, graduation or corporate event.

Bespoke Event Planning

Admittedly, every event and every host is different, and the team adjusts accordingly. ECD is happy to work with each customer to create just the right package from an array of a la carte offerings, including floral arrangements, rental settings and tabletop décor, textiles and stationary designed by an in-house graphic designer.

Tight budget or not, ECD aims to deliver a high level of customer service and communication, balanced by an infectious creative energy proven to excite clients. The energy is contagious, and ECD is always open to going the extra mile for any client.

“Anyone can be creative when working without a budget, but we have earned a reputation for working to be super creative within the confines of a client’s budget,” says McKnight. “When it comes down to it, I’d much rather have that standout item – whether it’s a textile or a specific table – at the event venue rather than sitting in storage.”

In fact, ECD’s reputation for creating memorable moments with high-quality designs prompted McKnight to establish The Poppy Shoppe, ECD’s sister company that operates in the same space. The Poppy Shoppe positions itself as an online fresh floral boutique delivering a small piece of ECD design inspiration for clients to take home. The Poppy Shoppe will ship custom floral arrangements to recipients across the country and customers will know each floral design will be one of a kind.

“Events will always be our mainstay and our primary focus,” explains McKnight. “But The Poppy Shoppe really gives us the opportunity to support our clients when they need something special on a smaller scale.”

The company also provides a formal outlet for ECD to display recent design experiments, new design trends and ECD staples like floral arrangements with rhinestone centers or wedding bouquets wrapped in love letters. ECD also hosts an annual Spring Bling Showcase at its head office in addition to other events like a monthly style showcase and the Winter Bridal Celebrations, part of the quarterly Bridal Show and Expo in Detroit, to display the team’s creations.

In Touch and On Point

Throughout ECD’s almost 20 years in the industry, McKnight remains conscious of those who helped push him in the right direction.
“I had a mentor years ago that always encouraged honest collaboration without ego or hierarchy,” recalls McKnight. “At the time we had been working on a very large project, and even though I was the driving creative force, I learned that even though we may be responsible for different things on the project, we need to create a team that works openly together to make the client happy.”

McKnight is currently collaborating with his team to complete a guidebook including everything ECD stands for, ensuring every part of the team has an understanding of the strengths and skill sets of each department. McKnight hopes that this esteemed collection will generate additional efficiencies and increase collaboration among ECD’s teams. “I trust my team a lot, and it’s because of them and the work we deliver to our clients that I jump out of bed, ready to go every morning,” he beams.

The future is nothing short of shimmering for ECD, as McKnight has never subscribed to the belief that the event-planning industry has ever been stagnant. The ECD team in turn continues to push itself to breathe glamorous life into the business by developing new products, service packages and designs to draw the eye of first-time clients and longtime clients alike.

The company has made a name for itself by emphasizing that big first impressions don’t require a big budget. The team’s ability to work together for the greater good will ensure the company remains one of the Midwest’s top event planners and always deliver a truly memorable experience the Emerald City Designs LLC way.