By Angela Blue
When the Premier Events team loads up their truck full of props, lighting, table linens and centerpieces to head to an event, they have one rule: Don’t let Patty go back into the warehouse.
And that rule always gets broken.
“For every event that we plan, I make a ‘load list’ of each item that needs to go on the truck for the event,” explains Patty Ritzi, owner of Virginia Beach-based Premier Events. “And then I get to walk back into the warehouse, and if there’s any room in the truck, I get to add extra stuff,” she laughs. “Usually the last thing I grab is that one little detail that takes it over the top.”
Lional Teed, Premier’s production and event manager — and Patty’s husband — knowingly nods his head.
“No matter how full the truck is, she’s going to add something to it to make the event more special,” he says. “It’s her signature.”
Apparently, it works.
Premiere Events, which started as a small event business with some casino equipment, has evolved into a full service production company, coordinating more than 300 events a year in Coastal Virginia, Richmond, Maryland and Pennsylvania. As Patty celebrates Premier Events’ 25th anniversary this year, she looks back at some of the company’s most memorable events—and the family members who’ve made it happen.
Premier coordinate all types of events, including weddings, corporate meetings, holiday parties, proms and ring dances, fundraising events, branding events, green events, bar and bat mitzvahs—“We even did a dog bar mitzvah,” Lional notes.
They once planned a birthday party at Granby Theater that aired on MTV’s “My Super Sweet 16.” Then there was the Avatar-themed prom at Princess Anne High School, complete with a spectacular mural lit entirely by LED lights.
“We were able to hear the people come in, and they were saying, ‘Wow,’” Lional remembers.
“Getting to hear the client’s reaction is paramount to me,” Patty notes. “We create a moment for people, and it’s a memory. And I want that memory to be as flawless as possible and be as much of the vision that they’re hoping for.”
All In The Family
Going the extra mile for clients is something that Patty says she picked up from her mother, 76-year-old Lena Windon.
“My mom has been an integral part of Premier,” Patty explains, adding that Lena has helped to design many of Premier’s costumes, décor and flower arrangements and has assisted in bookkeeping and coordinating event details you can look here.
“She’s of the mindset that, when she’d answer a phone call, she’d never say, ‘No, we can’t do it,’” Patty explains.
Like the time in 1995 when Lena agreed to make giant, glittery, three-dimensional hearts for Hillary’s Clinton’s Valentine’s Day party and promised to have them delivered to Washington within three days.
“We didn’t make any money on this whatsoever,” Patty laughs. “It was just a claim to fame.”
Patty’s father, Larry Windon, played a huge role in Premier’s success as well, helping to provide initial funding for the business, building props and spreading the word. Patty’s first event was held at GE Aircraft Engines, where her father worked.
Even Patty’s daughter, Miranda, has had a major part in Premier’s event coordination and design décor.
“I have pictures of her when she was 9 years old building the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon balloon arch,” Patty recalls. “Miranda’s been as much a part of Premier as we have.”
But the person who Patty relies on the most, she says, is Lional, who happens to be Patty’s first husband and also her fourth husband. “First and last,” Lional laughs.
When Patty gets an idea for something, Lional is the one who makes it happen.
“He’s mathematically and more science-minded than I am,” Patty explains. “I just see a vision; he sees the parameters and works on the design side of it. It’s kind of like combining a right and left brain.”
Although Patty says there are instances when she and Lional don’t see eye to eye, they work together as a team.
“Most people ask, ‘How do you do that all the time?’” she says. “Part of our success in working together is the fact that we appreciate the time we missed together and appreciate every moment we have now.”