6 Event Planning Tips for Businesses on a Budget


Want to bring in the cash, attract clients with ease and network like a ninja? It all sounds great, right? These are just a few of the benefits of hosting your own business event. The good news is that hosting a successful event that achieves your goals can be done, even on the bare minimum budget.

The question is, how?

We’ve put together seven essential event planning tips and important things to consider when organizing small business events. These tips will help you save money and time while ensuring your event is a hit with your guests. You’ll be hosting and running a top-notch business event in no time, all without breaking the bank!

1. Set Clear and Measurable Goals

First things first: Sit down and set clear, measurable goals that you can use to guide all future decisions. The biggest money and time wasters are due to a lack of clarity, so defining your goals will help you avoid any unnecessary costs that aren’t serving your main purpose.

Some examples of clear goals you might set:
  • Sell 200 Tickets
  • Invite/book 3 Speakers
  • Start promoting the event and selling tickets in 20 days
  • Host the event in 60 days
  • Spend less than $500

Moving forward, you can relate every decision you make back to the goals you set. Per the example above, you won’t procrastinate and drag out the planning process because you’ve set a goal of promoting and selling within 20 days—and, for example, you won’t get distracted and tempted by every speaker opportunity that arises because you’ve set a goal of having only three.

When you’re ready to take action on your goals and bring your event to life, EventBrite’s got a handy timeline and template for taking the next steps.

2. Hone In on Your Audience
It’s important to have a great understanding of your audience so you can plan an event that will generate a lot of buzz and interest. Your event will be a reflection of you and your business, so you want to make sure it brings value to those who attend.

Some questions you should ask yourself to understand your audience better:
  • What are my target audience’s interests? (What sponsors would they relate to?)
  • What time and location would suit their needs? (Do they work late? Are they local? Could inclement weather affect the event?)
  • What price is suitable for my audience? (Are they students or professionals?)

When you are 100 percent sure on who the audience is, you can effectively use your marketing spend through tools like social media targeting and creating your marketing collateral in the language and style that most attracts them. When it comes to things to consider when organizing an event, defining your audience is perhaps the most vital.

3. Budget at the Beginning
One of the most important things to consider when organizing an event is outlining your budget from the beginning. It’s also necessary to define what you want to achieve with the event—is it to network, get new clients, raise your profile?

Work out how much a new client is worth to you, and use that to help guide your budget. For example, if a new client is worth $1,000 to your business, how many clients will you need to acquire to cover the cost of your event?

Setting your budget at the beginning will help you identify what you can and can’t afford. You can answer questions such as: Will you print paper tickets? Or will you save money and send electronic tickets? Furthermore, 10 percent wriggle room gives you the leg space to handle unexpected circumstances and expenses.

4. Use Free Event Management Software

Using event management software is one of the most important things to consider when organizing an event on a limited budget. Fortunately, there is a ton of free event management software you can use to help make the planning and organization of your event a breeze. Most software will include features such as ticketing, custom branding, event schedules, data management and registration forms.

At Little Tokyo Two, our favorite options for free event management software are EventLeaf, RSVPify and Odoo. One of the most popular and comprehensive platforms for event management is EventBrite. It’s free to get started on EventBrite, but you will have to start paying once you make a sale. You’ll also find plenty of event management tips for beginners within the platforms.

5. Implement an Social Media Strategy
Social media is a powerful platform you can use to promote your event and create buzz. Did you know a social media presence can increase attendee engagement by 33 percent? Facebook is the most powerful platform for marketing events, and if you can spare some money in your budget for Facebook Ads and the time to target well, they will be well worth the investment.

Facebook’s in-depth targeting features will allow you to deliver your ads to the right people, maximizing your chances of converting viewers to ticket sales. Offering a limited-time discount is a great way to get more people to buy. Consider starting a Facebook Event to raise more awareness and to keep in contact with people who have purchased a ticket.

LinkedIn is another great platform to use to promote your business event. You can update your LinkedIn status, publish a post promoting the event, post in relevant groups, and even advertise on the platform. EventBrite have also written a great article on how to use LinkedIn to promote your business event.

During the event, Twitter and Instagram are great platforms to use for attendee engagement and promotion of your brand and event. Using your event hashtag will not only raise awareness of the event, but it will also result in a great collection of photos and videos from the event that you can use later.

Having a social media strategy in place allows you to keep your guests updated before the event as well as engage with them after the event to get feedback. Some other effective social media strategies you can use to help your event succeed include creating an event hashtag, sharing behind-the-scenes content and streaming live video from the event. The best thing about social media: It’s only the time it takes to manage and enhances your public business profile.

6. Find Event Sponsors 

Finding sponsors for your event is a great way to save money if you’re on a tight budget. First, consider your event topic and the audience and then brainstorm what sort of businesses might be interested in being a sponsor.

You don’t need to think of big, wealthy companies when considering sponsors. Get creative and approach some local businesses that might be interested. For example, approach a local caterer to sponsor the food, or find a local business to sponsor gift bags for the guests. Relevant companies will also be interested in having their name displayed on emails, tickets and signs at the event and will consider the sponsorship as brand awareness and exposure.

You can also enhance your business’ social conscience by partnering with sponsors who donate a percentage of their profits to charity. For example, you could use The Good Beer Co., a social enterprise beer company, to supply beverages for the night. The Good Beer Co. donate 50 percent of profits to their charity partners.

Hosting an event on a shoestring budget will be a challenge, but it’s certainly possible, and the benefits you’ll receive will make it worth the trouble. If you use the event planning tips above you’ll be well on your way to planning a low-cost event with big rewards.

At Little Tokyo Two, we have event spaces in each of our locations, with the perfect space suited to your needs, body count and the environment you’d like.

Original Blog Credit: https://www.mpiweb.org/blog/article/6-event-planning-tips-for-businesses-on-a-budget

6 Things To Know When Choosing Mismatched Bridesmaid Dresses


Mismatched bridesmaid dresses are quickly becoming the new normal in weddings.


As modern brides chip away at traditional wedding rules, bridesmaids are finding themselves with a little more wiggle room when it comes to choosing a gown for the big day. Brides are instead providing guidelines for bridesmaids dresses around wedding themes, color families, and even a single unifying dress element. Instead of cookie cutter dresses, bridesmaid may even find a dress they can wear more than once. Imagine the possibilities!

When a bride opts for mismatched bridesmaid dresses, a whole new window of opportunity presents itself. Bridesmaids have a extra freedom for comfort, expression, and even cost (bridesmaids on a budget, we see you) while still honoring the couple and complementing the wedding’s aesthetic.

We’ve put together a list of tips sure to help guide and inspire brides interested in the idea of mismatched bridesmaid dresses. And if you’re looking for a tool to help you organize it all, we’ll show you how Blueprint Registry can help with that, too.

Set Your Wedding Scheme
Before your bridesmaids can begin shopping, your color scheme and wedding theme should be nailed down. It isn’t always so simple to make returns or exchanges on outfits (especially if they’ve been altered) if you later change your mind about aesthetics. You want to do your best to avoid any additional costs to your bridal party, because being a wedding guest and part of a bridal party isn’t cheap either.

Make sure your wedding date is firm, since the season may impact your thoughts on dress style, length, fabric, and color. Once you know the season your wedding will take place in, you’ll be able to narrow down options and relay them back to your bridesmaids.

Prioritize + Communicate

From the very beginning, it’s important to decide what is most important to you when it comes to what your bridesmaids wear. Is it your priority that your bridesmaids match the theme or wedding colors exactly? Or are you more concerned with their comfort?

Set aside a few (but not too many!) non-negotiables about the dresses, if you have any. If you’re firm on a length, color, fabric, or anything else, make it clear to your bridesmaids before they start shopping. If you have a specific vision for the day, make sure your bridesmaids understand and are respectful of it when they go off to shop. The last thing you want is for a bridesmaid to fall in love with a gown they think would work, only to have you shoot it down due to lack of communication.

Agree on Formality
You have the date, venue, and color scheme all worked out. But have you thought about formality and guest attire requirements?

The outfits of your bridal party should be consistent with the overall formality of the wedding, and every bridesmaid should shop according to it. The bridal party’s finished looks may not be cohesive if one of your girls is in a bedazzled fitted gown, while another is in a casual jersey maxi dress.

This Little MOH of Mine, I’m Gonna Let Her Shine
Having your maid of honor stand out from your other bridesmaids can get a little tricky when every bridesmaid has their own, unique look. Find an outfit element that will differentiate your MOH, such as:
  • Unique Pattern: If everyone else is dressed in solids, have your MOH in a tasteful pattern.
  • Dress Embellishments: Keep the dresses in similar colors and color families, but make sure your MOH’s dress has a little more sparkle than the rest.
  • Length: Maybe she’s the only one in a full-length gown, or the only bridesmaid with a shorter gown.
  • Shoes + Accessories: Give her a special pair of shoes, have her shoes closely match yours, give her special accessories, or even a unique hairdo.

Offer a Little Direction + Tie It All Together
Do you want your bridesmaids to have the same dress in complementing colors (ombré, for example), or different dress styles in the same color? Whether it’s the dress material, length, pattern, or color, consider having at least one unifying element to tie all the options together. For example, you’re firm on a sweetheart neckline and grey hues, but everything else is up to the individual bridesmaid.

Don’t consider it a done deal at the dresses, however. There’s still hair, makeup, shoes, and accessories to sort out. Will your bridesmaids have similar hairstyles and makeup looks? Perhaps you want varied dresses, but prefer matching shoes. The decision is up to you!

Use Blueprint to Help You Plan + Organize
If you are looking for a tool to help guide dress direction for your bridesmaids, Blueprint Registry is here to help! Create a wedding or celebration registry and add dresses (and shoes and accessories!) you love from any store. Bridesmaids will be able to browse your picks and choose the dress they want from the list. The best part? Bridesmaids can mark their chosen dress as purchased so there’s no repetition. Use Blueprint Registry to organize and plan your mismatched bridal party!
 
What if you have a bridesmaid that doesn’t find anything on your list that she loves? Have her shop around, consult you, and add it to the registry. Just remind her to mark it as purchased so no one else buys it.

Original Blog Credit: https://www.blueprintregistry.com/guides/wedding/wedding-planning/6-things-to-know-when-choosing-mismatched-bridesmaid-dresses

5 Simple Tips For Effective Event Budgeting


In a perfect world, event planners would have an unlimited budget to work with to create the perfect event experience. Sadly, it is not a perfect world and event planners need to stick to their budget so they don't run out of money and anger their client. Event budgeting is a skill that every successful event planner will learn, and there are some tried-and-true strategies every event planner should know to perfect the art of event budgeting. Here are several strategies for effective event budgeting:
 
What Should You Do to Stay On-Budget?
 
  • Ask Your Client as Many Questions as Possible: The earlier you do this the better so you can assess and manage your client's expectations. Chances are the client is going to have perfection in mind, which is fine, but it is up to you, the event planner, to educate the client about what is realistic with regard to budget. As an event planner, you should ask the client plenty of questions and work together to determine what is feasible to align the realities of the event as close as possible to what the client wants.
 
  • Create a List of Expected Costs and Update the Budget Regularly: Hopefully, you will have experience working on a similar event so you have an idea how to budget expenses. The event venue, catering services, clean up staff, and technology are just some of the costs you can expect to add to your budget. As you get quotes and place orders, be sure to update the budget to reflect costs and think about whether or not you're on track or need to make some changes.
 
  • Get a Few Quotes from Various Vendors: If you have a vendor you regularly work with, it's okay to hire them -- especially if you have good rapport and they do good work. However, by getting quotes from more than one vendor, you can save money.
 
  • Think Outside the Box: At Unique Venues, we specialize in providing event planners with a number of non-traditional event venue options. Oftentimes, these venues will be priced much more favorably than traditional venues. These event venues include movie theaters, museums, college and university conference centers, and more.
 
  • Give Yourself a Little Bit of Cushion: Every event planner will tell you that no event runs perfectly. Give yourself a little bit of cushion (10% is a good number) to account for any curveballs thrown your way that could cause you to go off budget.

Summer-Proof Wedding Hair and Makeup Tips From a Pro

Summer is right around the corner, so we can look forward to long sunny days, days by the pool, and of course, gorgeous outdoor weddings. But, with the warmer weather comes some beauty woes that even the professionals have to consider when making up their brides on the big day.

That's why we spoke with Megan Garmers, Little Black Book member and  founder of mg hair & makeup, about how she handles brides in the summer season. So whether you are a summer bride or a guest at a summer wedding, she's got the ultimate advice on how to keep your hair and makeup summer-proof.


1. What are a few things you do special for summer brides to keep their hair & makeup intact?
Depending on the type of skin/hair a bride has, there are different products and combinations that we use to help with longevity of the bridal beauty look. For oily skin, you don't want to have too many thick layers of product on the face. For hair, you want to make sure the hairspray is a strong hold to last even through the humidity.

2. What hairstyles do you recommend to summer brides?
Generally, the hairstyle should be however the bride feels most comfortable. On a long day at work, if she would normally put her hair up, then we suggest to do a style that would be away from her face and neck. If she feels most comfortable with her hair down, we would suggest half-up or all down depending. 

The only other thing to consider (and it sounds gross but it is an important factor...) is whether or not the bride sweats on her neck and back. If so, it is best to have the hair up and away from those areas because no matter how industrial-strength the product is, when the hair is being drenched in sweat, the curl and hair will go limp and the curl and body will be gone.


3. How do you keep makeup from melting/dripping off?

The most important thing to consider for makeup longevity is the skin type. Different types of makeup work better with different types of skin. Keeping the cream or liquid complexion products to thinner layers and using pressed powder as well as powder blush are generally better choices to avoid makeup meltdowns.

4. What are some things you tell brides to do after you leave to keep them looking perfect and sweat-free?
Having brides plan their day so they are not standing in the sun between 11 am-2 pm is the best way to stay sweat-free because those are the peak sun times and will be the hottest. If you feel like you are starting to sweat, it is best to have a paper towel (the cheap brown ones are great) and press the towel on the skin to absorb the sweat/water. It is important not to rub but instead press directly down and up from the skin so the makeup will stay intact

It is most important to address sweat as it comes up instead of waiting. The longer it stays there, the more opportunity the sweat and oil can mix to start breaking down the makeup from below (at the skin's surface) as well as from above (sweat dripping down in rivers).

5. What are a few things guests can do at home to keep their own makeup and hair looking great at a summer wedding?
The most important thing is to know your skin and hair type so you can purchase products that are best for you. Putting your hair up is generally going to be the longest lasting because it will be pinned in place. For makeup, if you are a guest, you don't have the pressure of being in all the photos so you can really focus on one area of your face (eyes or lips) so you can use lightweight products on the other area. Primers can help but be careful not to go overboard or make it too thick. Setting sprays can also be helpful. The good thing is that makeup products today are a million times better than 20 years ago and there are so many options to choose from.

6. Do you have any specific products you gravitate towards in the summer?

Balmain Session Spray is a great strong hold hairspray and holds up even in humid climates. Living Proof Thickening Mousse is also a great choice to help add volume to fine or thin hair. For makeup, Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer is a great choice because it is alcohol-based and waterproof. For lips, Make Up For Ever Aqua Lips are great to use and fill in the entire lip area as a waterproof base to help your lip color last longer.

7. What are some go-to summer makeup and hair looks you recommend? 

The best summer looks are ones that last and don't look too heavy. You can do a smoky eye with a bronze or plum color to add some depth without making it all black or dark. You can also do a darker lip color in a gloss so it is more sheer and seems more summer-y.

Braids are still really popular and can add interest to a simple bun or updo. They also are fairly heat and humidity-resistant so you don't have worry about if it will look the same by the end of the night.

Original Blog Credit: https://www.stylemepretty.com/2018/03/28/summer-wedding-hair-makeup-tips/

4 Proven Social Media Strategies for Conferences

Social media isn’t just a good place to promote your conference — it’s an essential part of the conference marketer’s playbook.

Consider this: nearly 25% of traffic to event registration pages comes from social networks, and people who register after hearing about your event on social media are 3X more likely to share it with others.

To increase the amount of people who learn about your conference and increase attendance, however, you need more than a presence on social media — you need a strategy.

Need help getting started? Use these advanced strategies to help you engage attendees and reach new conference-goers.

1. Encourage others to help spread the word about your conference.

You can spend countless hours trying to promote your conference on social networks — or you can enlist followers and partners to help. Here’s how.

Make it easy to share and connect: Include social sharing buttons on every page of your conference website. And include the handles of your speakers so it’s easier for attendees to tweet @ or about them.

Lean on your partners: If you have speakers and conference partners, ask them to invite their followers. Provide some branded images that they can use, too. The less effort it takes, the more likely they are to share your content with their audience.

2. Go all in on a great conference hashtag.

Using a hashtag consistently can help you boost the online conversation around your conference — and ultimately, your registration sales. Follow these tips to get the most out of your conference hashtag.

Don’t wait until event day to announce a hashtag: Choose one from the very first day that you announce the conference, and include it in all of your messaging. This will help build up excitement and help grow the community of those attending.

Make it visible at your event: Include it in your handouts, app, and screens throughout your venue. Better yet? Give people incentive to use your hashtag and share your event on social. This could mean setting up a photo booth branded with your hashtag, or creating a photo competition where the best photo using your hashtag wins a prize.

3. Have a conference day social plan in place.

You’ll have a lot going on during the conference, so it’s important to prep as much social content as you can in advance.

Automate your social posting: Create a library of assets and pre-written posts to post throughout your event. Then use a social media automation tool like Hootsuite to share them when it’s most relevant. So when a speaker mentions a recent study, attendees will be delighted to find a link to it on social media already.

Engage attendees through social: Have a dedicated person or team to populate your social media with live insights. For example, they can do Facebook live Q&As with vendors or post Twitter polls about something a speaker said.

Be responsive: It’s also wise to have a plan to deal with customer service issues that may arise. For instance, who will address attendee questions or complaints? What happens if your hashtag gets spammed?

4. Invest in targeted social ads.

Social media can be a cost-effective strategy for promoting your conference — even if you allocate budget for paid advertising. That’s because social media advertising allows you to reach beyond your followers and promote your conference to people based on their job title or industry.

Identify your audience: As you learn more about your core attendees, identify the people on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter who share similar profiles or behaviors and pay to target them (called “lookalike targeting”). This is one effective way to reach like-minded people most likely to attend your conference and expand the number of people in your targeted segment.

Rekindle interest with event-goers: Social media retargeting is a way to target people who visited your registration page but didn’t complete their purchase. These ads remind these interested event-goers about your event and encourage them to complete their purchase.

Original blog credit: https://www.eventbrite.com/blog/social-media-strategies-conferences-ds00/
Original blog author: Ronnie Higgins

Tips for Handling Your Wedding Guest 'B List'

Creating your guest list is arguably the most stressful part of wedding planning. You have your family and friends from all your life stages. Then you add your fiancé's friends and family, your parents' friends, and your future in-laws' friends. Now you have to think about how many people your venue – and budget – will fit!

Because all venues and budgets have their limits, an overflow, or "B list" is a great way to include more of the people you love. Here's how to navigate your second guest list with as few faux-pas as possible:



 
Make Your Guest Lists Early

Start making – and separating – your lists ASAP! When you ask your fiancé, parents, and future in-laws for their lists, give them a number and a deadline. You don't want them listing 100 guests if, in reality, they only get 30 names.

The sooner you and your fiancé separate the lists, the sooner you'll be able to send invitations, receive RSVPs, and include as many people as possible.

Be Consistent
While it is your wedding, you don't want friends within groups comparing invitations and feeling like they didn't make the cut. The best way to navigate dual timelines is to decide one set of criteria for close friends and family and apply it across the board.

Whether it's high school, college, work, church, etc., decide what qualifies for A list and B list and stick to it for every group.


 












Send Invitations Early

Most couples send wedding invitations 4-6 weeks ahead of their wedding date and request the RSVP card three weeks before the ceremony. By mailing your wedding invitations 8-10 weeks out and requesting an earlier RSVP, you'll have more time to receive your A-list responses and mail your B-list invitations to take their place. Your roommate from freshman year might never know she didn't receive the first round of invitations!

Bonus: Include a digital reply option (email address or wedding website) for even quicker RSVPs!

 
Prioritize Your B List 

Set thresholds for your overflow list. Who are the top 10 people you want to invite if some guests from your A-list can't make it? By prioritizing your list with names of people who barely missed the cut at the top and people who would be nice to see at the bottom, you'll be ready if A-list guests RSVP "no."

The sooner you mail their invitation with a separate RSVP card, the less obvious it will be that they didn't make the original guest list.

 
Print Separate RSVP Cards
 
The RSVP card is often a dead giveaway for the B-list. Nobody wants to receive an invitation with an RSVP due date that's already passed.

Print a few RSVP cards with separate (later) due dates for your B list. The response card timeline should line up with the invitation timeline, so pick a date that's at least a week after your guests will receive their invitations.

Keep Your Lists Secret

Who you invite to your wedding is completely up to you (and your fiancé). Never tell your friends or family who's on your B list. You'd never want to hurt a friend's feelings who might end up getting an invitation after all.

By the time you've mailed all your invitations, you'll feel like you've performed a small miracle! Keep in mind that, when it comes to guest lists, the earlier you decide (and mail), the easier (and less obvious) it will be to your B list.

Original Blog Credit:  https://stylemepretty.com/2018/03/23/wedding-guest-b-list/







 

6 Event Planning Mistakes that Will Destroy Your Budget





Many companies are especially budget conscious nowadays. Yet, many organizations continue to make event planning mistakes that explode their budgets.

Here are six common event planning mistakes that can negatively impact your budgets…and tips on how to avoid them.


1. Picking Event Dates Arbitrarily

It’s hard to coordinate calendars and dates, especially when planning executive retreats and events for senior executives who are notoriously busy. For this reason, many executive assistants and internal event planners contact all of the participants and lock in their dates before ever reaching out to hotels, venues, facilitators and independent meeting planners.

This presents a number of challenges:
 
  • Some destinations work with a dynamic pricing model. Depending on demand, pricing can vary from week to week. So, never assume that high-, low- and swing-season pricing applies in every destination.
 
  • Local holidays, when demand for flights and hotel rooms is high, can send air and hotel rates through the roof.
 
  • Holidays in countries that send many tourists to a destination can cause airfares and hotel rates to soar. For example, demand for Dubai and Oman increases dramatically during U.K., Russian and German holidays.
 
  • Special events such as major trade shows, Formula 1 races, golf tournaments and even spring break can lead to tight availability of rooms and high hotel rates and airfares.

Solution: Contact event planners, facilitators and hotels early. Ask them to give you an idea of the best value dates. Then, present only those dates to participants.


2. Last Minute Event Planning

Leave your planning until the last minute and you have absolutely no wiggle room. If you’ve selected high-demand dates (see mistake No. 1), you’re stuck and your budget will reflect that. Even though this is painfully obvious, it’s a common mistake.

Solution: This one is easy. In the words of that old commercial, “Why wait for spring? Do it now.” Yet this mistake is so common it would be interesting to have some comments about the factors that contribute to it.


3. Not Taking Advantage of Event Seasonality

Some destinations are just as nice during low and swing season as they are in high season. The Caribbean is one example. The savings for booking outside of high season are significant.

Solution: Even if you just book a few weeks before or after high season, you can get all of the benefits at a fraction of the cost.


4. Selecting Event Venues Before Determining the Agenda

It happens time and time again: Companies book rooms in the downtown core of a major city and then decide they want to include an adventure that is many miles away. Whether it’s dogsledding hundreds of miles north of Toronto or a desert or wilderness adventure, transportation costs can blow up a budget. Sitting on a bus for hours on end is also a frustrating experience for participants.

Solution: Postpone venue selection until you have a clear idea of the shape of your agenda. It is far better to wait until you have conferred with your event planner or facilitator and determined the activities that are of interest. Then, stay near where you intend to play.


5. Failing to include taxes and gratuities in your budget

Taxes and gratuities can add up to 31 percent to a budget in some destinations—that’s a hefty hit! Even in the same country, tax treatment can vary from state to state, province to province and city to city.

Solution: It’s really important to use event planners who are familiar with a destination. If you are an event planner who is not familiar with a specific destination, always ask about taxes and tax treatment.


6. Late Booking Hotel and Airfare 


We live in times of uncertainty and that means that currency can fluctuate dramatically between the time you book your event and when it actually takes place.

Solution: It’s best to pay hotel, airfares and all other big ticket items up front so that you can guarantee the foreign exchange settlement rate.

What are some event planning mistakes that can explode meeting and event budgets that you’ve noticed?


Original Blog Credit: https://www.mpiweb.org/blog/article/6-event-planning-mistakes-that-will-destroy-your-budget
Original Blog Author: Anne Thornley-Brown

How to Throw a Killer Company Party

Want to make people excited to come to your corporate party?
Surprise them.

              


There are so many great reasons for you to throw a killer business party. For starters:

 1. Human connection is a powerful tool
Especially when in business development, even through increased technology. Socializing with your potential clients or business partners (in person!) develops a strong bond.

2. Hosting an event generates a buzz
Whether it's via social media or within your industry. it'll start to spread. It gives your brand yet another reason to be talked about before, during, and after the event.

3. It's an impactful platform to release company news or products. 
By giving "insider" status to your network or clients, you'll likely cause them to be more emotionally invested in your news.
 
No doubt throwing a well-timed event is a good idea. But let's look at the flip side....

 ...many people hate "networking" events because they can be extremely awkward.


 Almost no one wants to attend an event with people they don't know - and they can't fathom how to walk up to a total stranger and start a conversation. Half the time, we go to events because we know we need to network, but really, we're looking for a way to excuse ourselves early, get into our jammies, and order a pizza. This is because most corporate events do not go the extra mile to set guests up for success. Sure, they are usually hosted at a nice venue and there's wine, but very little is done to break the ice or inspire a conversation.

In order to get your guests excited enough to haul themselves over to your venue after a long day at the office, you need to show what's in it for them. Here are two helpful tips: 

1. Set them up to have a great time

2. MAKE them successful at networking.
When they bond with other party-goers and generate a great memory - they will always remember you in an extremely positive light. They'll also talk about it to their friends and essentially become your marketers.

Ben Hindman is the CEO and co-founder of Splash, an event marketing platform that allows users to manage and market their event, analyze its success, and optimize for the next one. They have helped brands such as Thrillist, Spotify, and Sundance pull off major events....so they know a thing or two about being the hostus with the mostus.

Talking to Ben, I learned that "surpriseology" is a thing in event planning. When used properly, it can elevate your brand in a highly authentic way by generating loyal fans.

Here are Ben's top 5 tips on how companies can inject a little surprise & delight into their events (and make people actually WANT to go to their party):

1. Change up the lighting.
Events are like a story, so use everything you can do influence the evolution of that story. When the party is really getting going, celebrate the moment by dimming the lights and listen to your guests "ooh" and "ahh." Surprise pipe and drape around the dance floor is an awesome way to shift the surroundings. I've also had success with moving trees.

2. Remember: Moving instruments are better than stationary instruments.
If your venue space allows it, try surprising guests with an impromptu musical performance. One time I unleashed a marching band into an event. Another time I had an Irish step step dance team battle a breakdance team at a St. Paddy's Day party. And for a rooftop mixer, I surprised guests with a capoeira dance team. At one of their office parties this summer, MKG brought out the New Jersey Nets senior hip hop dance team.

High-energy, surprise performances are always the most Instagrammed parts of the night. Do it if you can.

3. Create opportunities for guests to co-create the event.
This tip comes from my surprise guru: Tania Luna, co-founder and surprisologist at Surprise Industries. (If you haven't watched her TED talk, drop everything right now and watch it.) Tania recommends having a ton of opportunities for guests to have an impact on the event. "Have them draw on the wall, or take turns DJ'ing," she recommends. I couldn't agree more. Participatory events generate stronger memories.

4. Give people something to do together.
They may not say it, but your guests always want an excuse to bond with each other. It may be as simple as letting them pet a puppy together. Or, as Tania recommends: Invite guests to have their photo taken on a trampoline. (Genius.) My favorite example of this is Wok & Wine, a collaborative eating event. The wine is the same (so everyone can pour it for each other), and the food is eat-with-your-hands shrimp. It's a great bonding experience.

5. Give digital high-fives before, during, and after every event.

Choose a few lucky RSVPs and high-five them on Twitter before the event with a funny GIF. (GIPHY's "dance" section is a goldmine.) Digital high-fives amp up the anticipatory excitement and is the perfect way to surprise guests before they even step inside in the door. Here's a great example.

As you're thinking about planning your own event, here is Ben's food for thought: "While there are a million and one ways to surprise and delight people at an event, you have to ask yourself: What are they going to go home and talk about?"

5 Things to Consider When Selecting Your Holiday Party Venue



Original Blog Credit: https://www.uniquevenues.com/blog/5-things-consider-when-selecting-your-holiday-party-venue

8 Tips for Planning a Bridal Shower

Hosting a bridal shower is such an honor to do for the bride to be. Though it can be very stressful to coordinate between what the bride wants and what the bridal party may suggest, there are simple steps you can take to make it the best shower ever!



1. Use the wedding colors.
If you’re struggling to come up with a theme, take advantage of the bride’s chosen wedding colors. For example, if her colors are blush and white, incorporate the colors into the flowers, decor and dessert area for a soft, romantic theme.

2. Make it a potluck.
Showers can get very pricey and unfortunately, one person usually ends up taking on the sole responsibility of hosting. Instead of burdening yourself with more work and expenses, have each guest (or each bridesmaid) bring a dish. Avoid repeats by delegating everyone to a different component of the meal. This way, you can concentrate on providing cocktails and creating beautiful décor!

3. Have fun games prepared. 
Not all the guests know one another, so playing a fun game that revolves around the bride (the one thing you all have in common) is a great way for everyone to interact. It also makes for a fun way to break up the shower and make the bride feel special. Keep it classy, though! Quiz games about the bride and groom or “he said she said” are always a good laugh!





4. Light bites and cocktails go a long way.
Looking for food ideas? Have a bruschetta bar with different fixings on crostini. Meat and cheese plates are always popular (and for good reason!). Throw down some bartending skills and create an appropriately themed signature cocktail to pass out to each guest when they arrive.





5. Shower your guests with cute favors (that they can actually use!).
Bath salts, nail polish, jars of honey or jam… anything small and genuinely useful will make for a nice party favor.





6. Splurge on florals.
If you go big on anything in your décor, I highly recommend having beautiful floral arrangements. It will make such an impact on the set-up and you can always send them home as a meaningful party favor for the bride and MOB.

7. Pass out dessert when presents are being opened. The unwrapping of gifts can usually take over the shower, so it’s the opportune time to hand out your delectable desserts.





7. Have a cocktail bar!
As mentioned, a signature cocktail is always a fun touch. You can also do a mimosa bar or cocktail bar. Provide the alcohol and little fixings for everyone to make a fun drink to enjoy!



Original Blog Credit: http://www.mywedding.com/wedding-ideas/advice/8-tips-for-planning-a-bridal-shower/
Original Author: Kaitlin Chad

2018 Event trends



Original Blog Credit: https://www.uniquevenues.com/blog/2018-event-trends

It's Summer. . . Time to Plan Your Holiday Party!

Considering that 75 percent of employees believe office holiday parties are “very good” for overall morale, it’s never too soon to start thinking about your company’s 2018 annual holiday party and how to make sure it’s the best one yet.

Company holiday parties provide the perfect opportunity for employees to come together and celebrate an organization’s success, but are also the perfect opportunity to rally your team around your company’s shared goals.

We’ve rounded up our top tips to make sure your next holiday party is a memorable occasion for all the right reasons such as employee recognition, reflecting on lessons learned, and sharing key company messages and initiatives.




1. Recognize Employees for their Accomplishments

A study conducted by the Incentive Research Institute found that millennials are motivated most by public recognition and feeling purposeful in their work. Rather than just a celebration with food and drinks, they are more interested in motivational and inspirational events that celebrated accomplishments and provided coaching in a fun atmosphere.

Adding an awards and recognition component to this year is a must. That means that you’ll need to start planning well in advance. Give your company leadership enough time to submit thoughtful nominations that recognize employees in a variety of categories relating to corporate culture, innovation, collaboration, as well as the top revenue producers within the company. 

At the beginning of Convene’s own holiday party, we celebrate employee achievements through “Colleague of the Year,” “Manager of the Year,” “Sales Manager of the Year,” and “Founder’s Award” winners. We’ve found that sets an inspirational tone and allows for the winners to fully celebrate the rest of the night with their teams!



2. Incorporate Team Building Activities

Including collaborative, team-building elements into this year’s celebration gives employees who don’t typically interact with each other an opportunity to work together in new ways. 

By engaging in interactive activities rather than passive activities, people tend to feel closer to one another. Try something festive and lighthearted such a cookie decorating contest or go bigger with holiday-themed games such as Santa Limbo, Christmas Mad Libs, or People Bingo.



3. “Surprise and Delight” Employees Throughout the Night

An employee raffle with unexpected and exciting big-ticket prizes can be a great way to “surprise and delight” staff for working hard all year.

While you have the time now, also consider providing custom gifts to employees to commemorate the night. “The gifts should be something that will be valued by the people attending, and the recipients should feel like it is a ‘thank you’ gift, rather than a promotional gift,” said Larry Cohen, CEO of Axis Promotions. “People will also cherish gifts with their names or initials. They are easy to produce and worth the effort,” he added.

For a more budget-friendly option, “custom cocktail recipes printed on rich cards can be a great leave-behind for guests to make the same drinks at home that were served at the party,” said Susan Kaden, Visuals Consultant at Atlas Print Solutions.




4. Generate Excitement for 2018

A segment of the night’s presentation should also be focused on introducing a theme or goal for the coming year. Corporate change management company Bain & Company found 63 percent of a company’s goals for change fail because of a lack of communication between managers and employees.

Introducing or reiterating company-wide goals or initiatives in a fun, low-stress environment such as the annual holiday party make them more likely to be absorbed.

To prevent the goals from sounding too boring or forgetful, Laura Londin from The Booth suggests a mission-driven photobooth, connected to the company’s theme. This can become an interactive element where employees write what the mission or theme means to them, and is an easy way that brings the theme to life. “People are more excited to engage with a photo booth when it draws out a theme that is connected to the event. Throw in signs or work in an overlay that matches the tone of the project,” Laura adds.




5. Celebrate in a Non-Conventional Space

The local hotel ballroom or surf-n-turf restaurant are no longer be the only options for corporate holiday parties anymore, especially since you have six months to plan!

There’s an opportunity this year to get your employees excited about going to a destination. The environment you’re choosing to celebrate in will impact how your employees engage in the event – from the moment they receive their RSVP invite all the way to the next day, when they tell their friends and family about it. “Never underestimate the value of a good event layout,” says Lauren Goldberg of AFR Event Furnishings. 



Original Blog Credit: https://www.convene.com/catalyst/summer-time-plan-company-holiday-party/
Written by: Jenna Wollemann

5 Questions Most Wedding Guests Will Ask + How To Answer Them


5 Questions Most Wedding Guests Will Ask + How To Answer Them


By: Melissa Baran

 


If there's ever a time that you don't want to be bogged down with questions... it's while you're planning your wedding. But chances are, you're going to have a handful of guests checking in with you. Do your best to avoid every guest (and their mama) calling and texting you by providing this info clearly for them. Keep reading for some of the most common questions guests ask and how to handle them!

Can I bring my kids?


This can be such a tough one! Where do you draw the line? Do you feel OK having close family children in attendance (hello adorable flower girl and ring bearer!) but you'd rather not have all of your friends with their little one's in tow? 9 times of out 10 most guests with kiddos prefer to leave them at home so they can fully enjoy the evening. When it comes down to it, this is your Big Day and you can do what you want, but be prepared for some guests to spring this question on you.

While the obvious solution is to put 'no kids' on your wedding invitation, it might not be the vibe your hoping to send when your guests open up that envelope. Here are a couple other ways to say no kiddos allowed:

The way you address is your invitations is a subtle way to get this point across. Address the invite to the adults only, rather than "The Smith Family". This leaves room for questioning still, so take it a step further with the approach below.

Another option is to include a wedding website link with more details, where you can address that this event is for big kids only. Some positive ways to word it:

"We look forward to celebrating with you! Kick your shoes off and enjoy a relaxing kid-free evening with us."

"To give all our guests the opportunity to let their hair down and have a good time without having to worry about little eyes and ears, we politely request no children."

Ceremony Only: "Children are welcome to the ceremony, however to allow all of our guests to enjoy an evening of relaxation, we politely request adult attendance only."

Can I bring my new bae?




You already had to cut down your guest list and shave off Aunt Suzy and Cousin Jon... but now your college girlfriend wants to bring her new bae—who you've never met before? Yikes. While you want each invited guest to have a great time, plus ones can get out of hand if you've got a lot of single ladies and gents in attendance.

Just like the no kids announcement, a wedding website is a great place to house this info. If you'd rather not have complete strangers witness your I dos, make sure this is clear.

If you are OK with it, simply address with "& guest"!

What should I wear?



First, get familiar with traditional wedding attire wording for invites. Our friends at Shutterfly have a great rundown:

Black tie (tuxedos and formal gowns)
Formal, black tie optional (suit and tie and dresses)
Semi-formal (suit and tie and cocktail dresses)
Cocktail attire (suits and party dresses)
Beach or garden party attire (summer suits and summer dresses)
Casual (button down shirts or polos and summer sundresses or a skirt or pants with a nice blouse)

It's always a good idea to make this clear right on the invitation but you can also add this info on your wedding website, too.

For Destination Weddings



Do you have a room block?


If you've already secured a room block, make sure to provide this info for your guests. This can go right on the invitations, or your wedding website if you wish to provide more detailed info. Things to include:

Travel dates (when your room block time period begins and ends)
# of rooms available
Types of rooms available
Rates

What do you recommend to do in the area?

Your wedding website is also a great place to put this info! This is especially helpful if your guests will have ample time to themselves before and after wedding events such as a rehearsal or welcome dinner or a farewell brunch.

Extra Steps

Lastly, if you'd rather not be the go-to for guest questions, kindly ask a member of your bridal party if they can help by being the point of contact and if they are OK with you putting their email or phone on your wedding website.

If you do prefer to be the contact, you can also simply list your email only rather than your phone number, which will deter guests from calling or texting you randomly when you're in the middle of a dress fitting or a cake tasting. No one likes to be interrupted when they're eating cake!

Original Blog: https://www.stylemepretty.com/2018/04/05/5-questions-most-wedding-guests-will-ask-how-to-answer-them/

Photos:

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How to Include Kids In Your Wedding

 

Whether you have your own kids or want to include your favorite niece or nephew in the big day, we are often subject to making them the flower girl and ring bearer. But for those that may have more than one child to include, want something a bit different, or simply need other ideas, here are some great other ways to include your favorite kids on your wedding day.

Include them in the Planning Process
If you have a kid of your own, the wedding can be a weird day for them. Instead of worrying about any mixed emotions they may be having, include them from day one. This can mean giving them little jobs to do throughout or trusting them with a project, such as DIY favors or stuffing envelopes (of course, this depends on their age!). They will feel proud for helping and it can even be a big help for you!
 

Ask them to Lead the Procession

If you have too many kids included in your wedding, ask a few of them to be the leaders of the procession. Before the flower girl walks down the aisle, have them come down first, holding cute signs that say "she's almost here!" or cheeky ones that read "too late to run now!" It's a cute, simple addition to the ceremony that will have the kids feeling super special.
 

Plan Special Pictures

You're going to be taking a ton of pictures on the big day, so why not add a few more specifically for the special little ones in your life? Ask your photographer to take a few of just you and the kids, bring a few props, and make it seem like a mini photo shoot (that will only take 5 minutes!). Not only will the kids feel important, but you'll have those photos to remember forever. You can even gift each kid with a framed photo from the shoot once you get the images back.

Have them Join the Cake Cutting
The cake cutting is a fun part of the reception that even the kids love to pay attention to. Ask the little ones in your life to join you for this special moment and explain that only the best guests get to do the cutting. Offer them the first slices, too, because what kid (and adult, for that matter) doesn't love cake?!

Create a Dance Together
If you really want to do something extra special, consider going a step further and choreographing a dance with them. This is something you can do together throughout the entire planning process and when you bust out your moves at the reception, we promise it will be a hit with all your guests—and a memory to last a lifetime.





Original Blog Credit: https://www.stylemepretty.com/2018/04/06/include-kids-in-your-wedding/
Written By: Jessica Tzikas

New Ideas For Your Mother's Day Party


What could be a better way to celebrate Mom this year than by throwing her a Mother’s Day party? The party can include your family, other families or a more specific group, like mothers and daughters. It can be held on Mother’s Day or the Saturday before, depending on your family’s traditional plans. No matter when you throw your Mother’s Day party or who you invite, make it memorable for Mom by planning out every detail in advance with these ideas
 

Evening Mother’s Day Parties

With Mother’s Day always on Sunday, utilizing the previous Saturday night for an evening event makes sense. This party plan allows the option of adults-only, leaving Sunday available for children to spend with Mom. It’s also easier to surprise her when she’s not expecting the festivities to start a day early. These six evening party ideas for Mother’s Day should get you started:

Famous Mom Costume Party: One appropriate theme is famous moms and their children. This can include historical figures, television characters, literary characters and political icons. Considering Mom’s favorite movies, books, television shows, theater productions and time periods provides more costume party ideas for the crowd.

Hobby-Based Bash: Basing the party theme on a hobby or activity Mom loves, like dancing or cooking, presents a natural direction for a Mother’s Day party. For the mother with culinary interests, hire a chef and throw a cooking party. For the dancing queen, have everyone meet at a local dance studio or bring in a dance teacher for group lessons.

Posh Mother’s Day Party: Break out the tuxes! Go all-out formal for Mom with a string quartet or band, heavy hors d’oeuvres and champagne. Don’t forget the layer cake decorated with flowers and silky fondant. The key is to make sure that mom knows all evening that she’s the guest of honor.

Whoop It up with Wine: A party that includes wine and food pairings creates a relaxing and elegant atmosphere for your Mother’s Day party. You can hire a local chef to oversee the pairing or design the courses yourself. TheWorldWideWine.com and WineIntro.com both offer suggestions and tutorials for pairing wine with specific foods.
 

Mother’s Day Tea
While this is probably the most common type of Mother’s Day party, many moms truly enjoy dressing up and having a tea party. It can be planned for the actual holiday or the prior Saturday afternoon. You can throw a unique tea party by adding a different twist here and there with the following tips.Location: Botanical gardens and parks are often lovely in May, offering natural beauty as décor. Charleston, S.C. offers several plantation sites where you can have your tea party out under the oaks surrounded by magnolias. The Japanese House and Garden of Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, Pa. offers a lovely tranquil setting with traditional Japanese tea service. If you’re planning an outdoor event, remember to stay abreast of weather conditions and have an alternate indoor plan in the case of inclement weather.

Guest List: While having a Mother’s Day tea may be a tradition in your family, switching up the guest list each year allows you to keep it fresh. If you come from a large family, inviting only mothers and daughters or granddaughters is an option. For smaller families, you might want to invite friends to throw a larger party. There’s no rule excluding men from tea parties and it might be fun one year to do a mother-and-son tea party with everyone dressing to the nines in honor of Mom.

Theme: Having a tea party theme adds life and zest to your social gathering. You could do a color theme, like an all white or all pink event, with the guests dressing to match. A literary theme, especially if Mom is a reader, offers up awesome ideas. One example is a Jane Austen theme incorporating the Victorian style with guests dressing like characters.

Planning around one of mom’s favorite books or authors really personalizes the party. Other theme ideas include: favorite movie, music genres and traditional cultures.

Games: You could just drink tea and eat those little finger sandwiches but you’ll liven up the mood by playing games. Matching famous mothers and daughters requires a little research, but not much set up. Pair up guests with the women’s names and see who can match them up correctly first.

How well do you know your mom? Compile a set of 8-10 questions like “Where did your mom spend her honeymoon?” and “What’s her favorite color?” Have mom’s guest complete the questions and then compare her answers to those.
 

Afternoon Mother’s Day Parties
At times, Mother’s Day parties need to involve the whole family, including little children. The following party ideas are ideally suited for all family members to help Mom and Grandma celebrate their special day.

Hawaiian Luau: If Mom doesn’t mind a more casual Mother’s Day party, this style seems to entertain young and old alike. Have a family member learn to do the hula or purchase an instructional DVD. WannaHula.com has DVDs for every level of hula dancing.Keep children busy with fake flowers and fishing line for making leis. Plenty of hula hoops will help kids and adults get in on the fun. Décor is simple with tiki torches, green streamers and anything related to the beach. Traditional cocktails like mai tais and pina coladas may be offered with or without alcohol. Chicken or seafood kabobs served with fresh grilled pineapple pleases almost every pallet.

Kid-Planned Party: If mom has children under 18 and a good sense of humor, this party theme will keep everyone laughing. Have the kids begin a few weeks early planning a Mother’s Day party without any suggestions from adults. Guidance from a designated adult, like Dad, will probably be needed to help them understand the boundaries of what they can accomplish and assist with transportation. Helping them set up a checklist prevents any detail from being overlooked.

The kids should decide on the theme, invite the guests and plan for food, decorations and games. They should also do all of the preparation, presentation and clean up for the actual party on Mother’s Day. This type of event yields the most fun when Mom doesn’t know ahead of time that the kids are doing all of the work.

Mother’s Day parties that focus on Mom and what she most enjoys will always be successful. When planning such an event remember to consider not only the food and décor, but also activities and games for entertainment. Mother’s Day parties create happy memories and bring families closer together, allowing everyone to benefit from Mom’s holiday celebration.





Check out the Original and Full Article
Original Blog Credit: https://www.everydayhealth.com/healthy-living/healthy-home/new-ideas-your-mothers-day-party/
 

5 Tips for Effective Email Marketing

Image credit: Unique Venues

Email marketing is a strategy used by many companies, among a variety of industries, to retain customer engagement, generate revenue, and gain prospective clients. It is efficient and cost effective with 59% of business to business marketers saying email is their most effective medium for generating revenue. According to a 2015 survey conducted by Marketing Sherpa, 72% of customers prefer business communication to be conducted via email as the main form of contact. It’s safe to say that email is one of the most valuable assets to a company’s marketing strategy, but what makes it so effective? Here are five tips that may help improve your email marketing campaign.

1. Create an email schedule and be consistent with it. Whether you choose to send an email weekly, monthly, or quarterly, find a schedule that works for you and stick with it. It is equally important to note that sending too many emails has a negative effect on creating and maintaining business.

2. Content is key! Quality over quantity is a good rule of thumb when it comes to creating an email marketing campaign. Simplify your information and include a link to your website, social media channels, and/or blog. This boosts traffic to your website, potentially increasing your revenue.

3. Know your results. Marketing analytics can help you analyze important data about the effectiveness of your email marketing campaign. This practice is vital to growing your business and helps optimize your return on investment (ROI). Adjust your email marketing accordingly based on the results of the data.

4. Be sure you’re sending your email to a relevant audience.  Your email marketing CRM allows for a set number of email recipients.  Targeted data and sending to the right clients for a campaign can help you manage your distribution numbers as well as avoid unsubscribes.

5. Have a call to action.  Whether it is simply for potential client awareness, such as “Learn More” or to convert a potential client with “Purchase”, a call to action keeps the receiver in your marketing funnel.

By creating a consistent email marketing schedule, delivering streamlined content, analyzing data, targeting a relevant audience, and having a call to action, you can create an effective marketing strategy that will yield successful results.





Original Blog Credit: https://www.uniquevenues.com/blog/5-tips-effective-email-marketing
Written By: Alyson
 

Old-School Wedding Etiquette: From Outdated Advice to Timeless Tips


Which rules still ring true—and the ones that don't.

Emily Post's first book about American manners and etiquette was published in 1922 under the title Etiquette and is now on its 18th edition, written by the original author's great-great-grandchildren. This go-to guide to all forms of social, business, and wedding decorum has produced some real cornerstones of etiquette advice that have been passed on from one generation to the next. While each edition is a genuine reflection of its publication date, there are a few tidbits of advice that have stood the test of time. And yet, there are some passages that are downright laughable by today's standards.

 Old School: The Hope Chest

Traditionally, this collection would've been accrued by a mother over her daughter's lifetime. The most recent iteration of this would be a cedar chest filled with bed linens, towels, tablecloths, monogrammed handkerchiefs, etc., all to be handed over to the bride as a wedding gift. Though even this version is a bit outdated, as most brides register for those items now.

 In the original 1922 version of Emily Post's book, she recommends "her mother buys her, as lavishly as she can, and of the prettiest possible assortment of lace-trimmed lingerie, tea gowns, bed sacques and caps, whatever may be thought to be especially becoming." This in particular probably wouldn't fly in the 21st century, but it's pretty hilarious to think about your mom stuck in Victoria's Secret trying to figure out what a bed sacque is!

 Still Great Advice: Introduce the parents before the wedding

In Elizabeth L. Post's 14th Edition of Etiquette (1984), she explains that the tradition of a groom's family "calling on" a bride's parents may be outdated in terminology, but the concept is a nice one to uphold. Either before or after becoming engaged, it's a lovely gesture to get both families together and introduce the parents. In many cases, couples have already casually introduced their parents to each other during holidays or dinner parties. However, if that's not the case, you'll certainly want to get everyone together prior to kicking off the wedding festivities.

Old School: No white allowed if the couple already lives together

While this circumstance would have been improper to acknowledge in 1922, Elizabeth L. Post's 14th Edition of Etiquette mentions what's "appropriate" for a wedding of a couple that is already living together. Apparently, white was unacceptable for the bride or any attendants to wear in the eighties, and with that, the use of white flowers in arrangements or bouquets would have been taboo. The bride in her off-white gown could wear a veil, but was not supposed to cover her face with it. Of course, none of this is off-limits in modern day weddings, especially seeing how many brides have taken to the all-white wedding trend of asking attendants and guests to wear all-white attire.

 Still Great Advice: Morning weddings are adorable

In the First Edition of Etiquette, Emily Post writes, "a simple early morning wedding where everyone is dressed in morning clothes, and where the breakfast suggests the first meal of the day—could be perfectly adorable!" And we couldn't agree more with this tidbit! Check out this adorable morning wedding on a Sunday in Toronto for real wedding inspiration if you're considering a morning ceremony.

 Old School: The double wedding

It's a struggle to wrap our heads around this concept, but a double wedding is a wedding ceremony and reception a mother puts on for her two daughters simultaneously. It's hard to believe this was ever in good taste, as it sounds more than a little complicated to host a wedding of this proportion. If you're interested in how the seating, processional, and reception would work, check out the 14th Edition by Elizabeth L. Post. One perk: At least each bride gets her own wedding cake!

 Still Great Advice: Saying goodbyes to both sets of parents

Ghosting is never good etiquette at any party, yet it's become the expectation at most weddings that the couple won't have time to say proper goodbyes. While that may be okay for casual relationships with friends, it's still important to pull parents aside and thank them for a wonderful night before heading out of the venue as a married duo. As Elizabeth L. Post's 14th Edition advice goes, "this small gesture pays many dividends in ensuring the bride a warm place in her new in-laws' hearts."





Original Blog Credit: https://www.marthastewartweddings.com/605685/old-school-wedding-etiquette
Written By: Alyssa Brown

Exactly What You Should (and Shouldn't) Put On Your Wedding Invitations


An invitation to a wedding is kind of like your profile picture on a dating app; it's your first chance to make a great first impression. Invitations are one of the first wedding details your guests will see, so it's important that it sets the tone. That being said, there are a few do's and don'ts of wedding invitations that are important for you to keep in mind as you send them out.

Some may seem obvious, but trust us, you'd be surprised what people forget (or decide) to include!

Here's what you should put on your invitation

Location (city, state and venue address)
If they haven't already, people will need to make their travel arrangements when they receive your invite. Specifying the state, city and venue location only makes it easier for your guests to get there smoothly.

Date and start time of the wedding
This is important because it can affect when guests may travel into town. If your wedding doesn't begin until the early evening, that gives people who aren't too far away the option to travel that morning. However, if your wedding begins in the early afternoon, guests may want to travel the night before. Be as specific as possible so family and friends can plan accordingly.

Wedding website
This is where people will find even more detailed information that won't fit on the invitation. Things such as registry, accommodations and detailed information about the timeline for the weekend, such as welcome parties or brunches, can be outlined here.

Here's what you should put on the outer envelope

First and last names of guests invited
This is especially important if you're only inviting a few members of a household to your wedding. For instance, if you're having an adults-only wedding, rather than putting "no kids allowed" on the invite, be as specific as possible on the outside of the envelope about who's invited so there's no confusion.
EX) Mr. James Sullivan and Mrs. Julie Sullivan

Name of your guest's plus-one
If you know the name of the your friend or family member's plus-one, be sure to include their first and last name. If you don't know what it is, do some snooping or ask the invitee. They'd rather have you ask for clarification than get an invite with no last name. If they don't have a significant other at the time the invitation goes out, writing "and guest" will work just fine.

Here's what should go on the reply card

Space for the invitees to write their name
If you're unsure of the spelling of a guest's name, this is a great resource to use when making the seating chart or place cards.

Food selection
If you're having a plated dinner be sure to include all the options guests can order on the reply card so they can mark their preferred choice. You should also leave space for guests to write down any allergies or dietary restrictions they may have.

Space to check yes or no if they can attend
Everyone you invite, no matter if they can come or not, will be sending in a reply card. Be sure to include a YES or NO area to check so guests can let you know.

Here's what goes on the reply envelope

Stamp
The reply envelope should already be stamped. It's poor etiquette to make your invitees pay for their own postage.

Address you want the reply card mailed to
Whether you're collecting replies or it's a family member, make sure to put the address on the reply card so the invitee isn't forced to guess where they're supposed to send it. We recommend not having this address be your work one, you don't want to be that co-worker

Here's what you shouldn't put on your invitation

Kid-free wedding
Writing out "no kids allowed" on your invitation isn't the nicest way to let your guests know they can't bring their little ones. It's fine if they're not invited, but it's important to say so strategically. Instead of printing that, be very specific about who is invited by writing the name of each invitee on the outside envelope.

Your phone number
The last thing you want is giving people the opportunity to call you with questions. Obviously, most of your guests know your phone number, but putting it on the invitation is, well, an invitation for people to reach you at any time. Refer people to the wedding website if they have inquiries.

List of accommodations & pricing
This is information that should live on your website. If you want to include a separate piece of stationery in your invitation suite with these details, that's up to you, but there's no need to put it on the main invitation when it would be perfectly appropriate on your website.

Your wedding hashtag
Again, this is a detail that belongs on your website or your Instagram. It takes up unnecessary room and takes the formality of the invitation down a notch.

Overall, excess information that isn't the wedding venue, date or time, can live on your wedding website





Original Blog Credit: https://www.stylemepretty.com/2018/03/27/wedding-invitation-details/
Written By: Sarah Title a Style Me Pretty Contributor

5 Event Planning Pitfalls to Avoid

5 Event Planning Pitfalls to Avoid (Unless You Want Your Event to Flop)

We have an important question for you: Do you want your next event to be a flop? No? We didn’t think so. Make sure you avoid these common pitfalls to ensure your meeting, conference, or trade show is a success.

Lack of innovation


Your event was a hit, people loved it and couldn’t stop talking about coming back next year. That means people want to have the exact same experience, right? Wrong. Yes, your attendees loved the event this year, but if they come back next year and you offer them a re-run, they’re going to feel like you wasted their time and money. Staying innovative, keeping a close eye on hot trends, and building upon successful ideas and themes from years past will make your attendees happy, engaged, and want to return again and again.

No attendee engagement

Back in the “olde” days, attendees sat in dreary conference rooms and listened to a litany of speakers drone on for hours on end…and we all know that just doesn’t cut it anymore for the modern attendee. People crave engagement, it makes them feel connected. 21st-century attendees stay constantly engaged via their mobile phones with friends, family, and work colleagues. If your event isn’t keeping your attendee’s attention, they’re going to tune out and look for engagement somewhere else. Involve your attendees with live polling via your mobile event app to get their opinions during speaker sessions, and offer live Q&A to make sure every *digital* voice can be heard. Your attendees have opinions and they want to express themselves.

Forgetting social

Your attendees are living in the golden age of social media. Sorry, there’s just no denying this. That means if you want to increase attendee engagement and create a truly memorable event experience, you need to create “insta-worthy moments.” This can be anything from cool performances and unique art displays to amazing happy hours. Your attendees can and will provide you with free publicity and marketing if you enable them with the right social tools, and use onsite tech to create awe-inspiring experiences. Remember to put aside some time to create a fun Snapchat filter, think of a unique event #hashtag and make it known so your attendees can use it, and if you have a mobile event app get the conversation going early by posting a live feed on Social Wall.

Failing to “wow” your attendees

This one goes hand-in-hand with “forgetting social,” and creating “insta-worthy” moments for your attendees. Your attendees have come to expect big moments when going to events, like concerts, plays, festivals etc. Don’t disappoint them by making sure you have some fun stuff lined-up for them to experience! At Cvent CONNECT, we set up an Innovation Pavilion for our users to visit during the conference where they could get actual hands-on experience with our new and emerging technology solutions. It’s always a big hit, with attendees bustling about trying out the new technology. Wowing attendees goes beyond technology, you also need to “wow” your attendees with pertinent educational sessions and relevant speakers who will impress and inspire.

Ignoring event tech

There are so many different tech tools out there, it can be tough to make a decision on what’s right for you and your organization. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put off making a decision though. You are organizing events for 21st century attendees who expect technology to be at the center of every event they attend, whether its personal or business. Streamline your check-in process by using an onsite solution such as OnArrival, which gets attendees checked-in and through the door faster than ever. Once in the door, make sure your attendees are connected by offering a mobile event app such as CrowdCompass. Your attendees will love the fun tech they get to use throughout their time with you. The benefits of these onsite solutions are almost immeasurable, but the data they can provide you when the event is over will help you gather key feedback and attendee behavior, helping you improve your events year after year.

Thanks to CVent for great information!

5 Tips for Drama-Free Bridesmaid Dress Shopping


From the moment I set foot in my local bridal boutique, I knew I was in the right place. First of all, the shop owner was one of the most genuinely lovely people I've ever met and asked all the right questions. She truly sought to understand the setting and feel of our wedding instead of immediately suggesting dresses and designers that were too formal or too trendy. When she asked if we'd thought about seersucker (given our wedding will be on Labor Day weekend, at the tail end of seersucker season), a light bulb went off and we never looked back.

I won't be sharing the exact style dress we wound up choosing for everyone until after our big day but the designer of the seersucker bridesmaids' dresses is Coren Moore and conveniently A Little Something White is one of her flagship locations. Four of my bridesmaids who live in New York were able to take the train up to Connecticut and play dress-up for the day.

I wanted to share some tips learned from my experience and hope this helps take the drama out of your bridesmaid dress shopping trip, too!

1. Shop Around

Don't be afraid to shop outside the box. I went to a couple big stores and found them totally disorganized and overwhelming. It was only when I found a bridal boutique right in my little hometown that I felt like we were in the right place. Shop around and find what works for you!

2. Narrow Your Styles

Have an idea of what you want before you bring in your bridesmaids. My mom and I had searched at length for seersucker bridesmaids' dresses before finally finding the perfect style at A Little Something White. The same way it's helpful to have an idea of how you envision your wedding dress before you try on a bunch of them in front of family and friends, it was nice that my bridesmaids only had to try on a couple styles before we found the right one.3. Be Open to Suggestions

That said, be open to everyone's suggestions and be mindful of their comfort level in whatever you choose. We all agreed that adding a navy silk faille sash took the look to the next level. It's also important to find a style that will flatter every body type in your group — if you're really struggling with this, consider multiple styles in the same color and fabric so your bridesmaids can choose the silhouette they like best.

4. Come Prepared

Ask your bridesmaids to bring a strapless bra and nude underwear. I also wish I'd asked everyone to bring a pair of heels the same height as they plan to wear with their dress (of course this depends whether you're asking everyone to purchase the same shoes or wear their own).5. Enjoy the Moment

Make sure this shopping trip is fun! Besides finding my own dress, this has been one of the most fun days of wedding planning so far. To have four of my favorite girls together trying on dresses for our big day made it seem so much more real! We also went out to brunch afterward so everyone could get to know each other a little better before the bachelorette party. These are the girls who will be standing by your side as you enter this next chapter of your life, so enjoy every moment you get to spend with them!

5. Enjoy the Moment

Make sure this shopping trip is fun! Besides finding my own dress, this has been one of the most fun days of wedding planning so far. To have four of my favorite girls together trying on dresses for our big day made it seem so much more real! We also went out to brunch afterward so everyone could get to know each other a little better before the bachelorette party. These are the girls who will be standing by your side as you enter this next chapter of your life, so enjoy every moment you get to spend with them!




Written By: Stephanie Weers
Original Blog Credit: https://www.stylemepretty.com/2017/05/15/drama-free-bridesmaids-dress-shopping/
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