Appetizer Ideas for Your Cocktail Hour to Make Sure Everyone Tries Everything

We’ve all been to those cocktail parties with the same-old traditional finger food appetizers. You know them by heart: pigs in blankets, chips and dip, a fruit bowl, etcetera, etcetera. There’s nothing wrong with these dishes either—I myself am a huge pig-in-blanket fan and don’t plan on ever turning down one of those little, juicy bad boys—but they leave you bored and mindlessly munching until the main course is ready.
Your party should never have a dull moment, so here are some prepared foods to make sure it doesn’t:

Sandwiches

Mini Grilled Cheeses
Ah an ole classic from childhood. Its an easy step-by-step, ready?: Take your regular-sized gilled cheese sandwich and shrink it down to finger-food size. Then, unless you’re a strict traditionalist, throw some bling on those ‘wiches with red chili flakes, mushrooms, basil, and/or arugula. Ta-da! A childhood classic thrown through puberty for your unforgettable reception!

Deviled Egg Sandwiches
Looking for something a bit lighter with fewer calories? Consider these tasty bites that give a more relaxed mood to your cocktail party. A pretty basic how-to: 4 eggs, 2 tbsp. mayo, ½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce, ¼ tsp. paprika, chives, 1 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar, salt n pepper. Throw some of that between two slices of white bread and fin!

Deli Sandwiches
Here’s another classic. Deli meats with cheese and appropriate accessories provide a reliable fallback plan for potential guests who are looking for good old healthy protein basics. Of course, we’ve already established that we’re not about to have a boring cocktail hour, so keep these interesting by offering options with a multitude of options. Turkey, ham, salami—sure—hot pastrami, corned beef, grilled chicken, YES! American, cheddar—ok—Munster, swiss, provolone, GREAT! Be sure to have sauces and mayos on hand too for an extra perk.

Cups & Bites

Blue Cheese & Steak Bites
A personal favorite of mine—because steak—and it’s relatively quick to prep. Start with tiny, toasted, garlic breads sliced and topped with salty blue cheese and medium to medium-rare pieces of steak. Drizzle with a balsamic reduction and finito!

Stuffed Shells
A little messier but they pack a truckload of taste. You know those shell-shaped pastas? Find the jumbo ones and cook those to al dente. Fill ‘em with prosciutto, asparagus, garlic powder, and cheese (I suggest mozzarella, parmigiana, and ricotta). They’re SO worth some messy fingers after eating!


Cajun Shrimp & Guac Bites
Calling all avocado fans! I’ve never tried this one but I’ll be damned if I don’t go home and cook some tonight. All on a sweet potato cracker: your favorite guacamole recipe with a single large shrimp seasoned with chipotle chili, paprika, cumin, red pepper flakes, and salt. I mean, look how good that looks!:

Spinach Dip Bites
This is sure to get the kiddies to eat their vegetables. You’re making a dip out of artichoke hearts, garlic, spinach, peppers, cream cheese, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese. Scoop that into a bunch of crescent dough cups. A cute and an easy way to sneak some healthiness into all the cake and cheese eating!

Forks

Teriyaki Salmon
To start of our section of finger-foods-you-can’t-really-eat-with-your-fingers, or “Forks” as I like to call it, we have salmon bites that look so good I’m jealous I’m writing about them instead of eating them but it’s fine. You can serve these alongside steamed vegetables to make this appetizer into a mini-meal. One word of caution though, the reviews on these bites are so good, you might want to make sure your guests don’t fill up entirely on them.

Mozzarella, pepperoni, and olive bites
This app will be a nice change from the one above, where it will be much more difficult to fill up on, but will keep your party guests busy and talking. You can change-up the order you stick these on a toothpick, but for simplicity’s sake we’ll stick with olive on top, pepperoni in the middle, and mozzarella cube on the bottom. Easy, budget-conscious, and of course, taste bud-friendly.

Bacon-Wrapped Potato Bites
You didn’t really think that we’d go through this entire post without mentioning bacon did you? These wrapped little guys are as easy as they sound too! Step 1: Cook potatoes, step 2: dice potatoes, step 3: season potatoes, step 4: wrap seasoned potatoes with bacon, step 5: spear with a fork or toothpick. Done!

Shooters

Tomato Soup Shots
To wrap everything up, we’re gonna head back to our early companion, the grilled cheese sandwich. But here’s the twist: the grilled cheese is only a compliment to what is actually the appetizer. Pair the sandwich bites with a quick shot of tomato soup (Just make sure you try to use a soup other than Campbell’s). Another childhood classic all grown up!

Picture credits: http://cf.runningtothekitchen.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Blue-Cheese-Steak-Crostini-2-optimized.jpg
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Plot Twist: Brunch Weddings!


More and more couples are opting for wedding receptions in the morning, in place of the traditional evening affair for various reasons. Choosing brunch instead of dinner can considerably lower the catering and venue expenses. Or it could be so they want a unique wedding twist, or even so that they can set off on their honeymoon early and enjoy more time together.
Whatever be the reason, reception brunches work well when planned and executed properly. In fact, wedding reception brunches are convenient, and your guests will enjoy the function.
Here is a quick and easy guide to getting the little details for your wedding reception brunch perfect.

Keep the atmosphere friendly instead of formal
Unlike the formal plated dinner, brunches have a casual air. This allows you to have a more intimate gathering and enjoy quality time with your guests. The ideal location for a wedding brunch is outdoors, so plan your seating to utilize the beauty of the natural setting. Outdoor wedding brunches are ideal in spring or fall, when the weather is pleasant and the beautiful landscape adds a natural charm to your wedding. Plan the décor so it works well in natural lighting, and add elements like fresh flowers or vividly colored balloons that are casual, yet colorful.
Winter brides can also benefit from reception brunches, as the evenings are usually dark and depressing and daytime is more refreshing. Consider warming up your venue with a log fire and decorating with holly and mistletoe. Add to this, an enchanting white backdrop, and you will have a fairytale wedding to remind your guests of your lifetime event.

Plan your food choices wisely
A formal food service may seem out of place during the day. Opt for an interesting buffet instead. Include food choices that allow your guests to eat well, but not feel weighed down. The platter should include both breakfast and lunch-style dishes, so your guests can have their pick. Choose food that is great for late morning or early afternoon. Frittatas, cheeses, pancakes, pasta and sandwiches are good choices. You could also add a few exotic dishes like dimsums or chicken curry for a pleasant variation. Omelet and pancake stations, or s’more bars would be well-received and also add some action.



Don’t skip wedding cake or drinks
Just because you are getting married in the morning, you needn’t skip the wedding cake. Choose a light flavor like lemon or vanilla, and keep it fresh and welcoming with white frosting. Or you could replace the wedding cake with wedding cake cupcakes in multiple flavors instead. Since the portions are small, your guests will be tempted to try it. You could also get creative with a dessert buffet, and give your guests a variety of treats to choose from.

For drinks consider refreshing and lighter choices like cocktails, white wine, fruit juices, scented teas and fruit smoothies. If the weather is warm, fizzy drinks infused with lemon or ginger, or yogurt smoothies would be nice.

Doesn’t all this sound romantic? If you are smitten by this idea of wedding reception brunches, go ahead with it. Don’t forget to get the perfect wedding dress for the occasion!

Blog idea original source: http://www.bestforbride.com/bridal-shop/19/breaking-wedding-traditions-how-to-throw-a-fantastic-wedding-reception-brunch/
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Defining Dress Codes

With so many different dress codes out there, it can be difficult to know what to wear, even when the type of dress requested is stated on the invitation. Even then, there are so many variations to requested attires that this topic naturally lends itself to an answer of, “It depends…”. But If we can help you here, even a tiny bit, we’re going to go for it!


Smart Casual
Women: Wear a pencil skirt or dress pants, paired with a silk or button-down top and high heels.
Men: Opt for dressy trousers, paired with a collared shirt and loafers.
Typical places to wear Smart Casual: Office parties, happy hours, or a business luncheon.



“Dressy” Casual
Women: Avoid wearing denim, tennis shoes, and cotton tees. Instead, opt for silk pants, dress pants, or a skirt. Pair with a patent leather flat, or one with nice embellishments such as a bow, buckle, or a print.
Men: Wear trousers and a dress shirt with leather loafers, oxfords, or a slip-on shoe. Pair with a blazer or sport coat. Avoid showing up with wrinkles or clothes one size too big, too small, or in a non-coordinating color. A tie is optional.
Typical places to wear “Dressy” Casual: Church/Temple, dinner, or an invite received via phone or e-mail.


Country Club Casual
Women: Choose an open-necked or polo shirt. You can also go with dresses and skirts with minimal accessories.
Men: Wear an open-necked or polo shirt, paired with khakis. Accessorize with leather shoes and a belt.
Typical places to wear Country Club Casual: The country club (obviously), a friend’s home for dinner, or a nice restaurant.


Business Casual
Women: A skirt, khakis, or dress pants paired with long sleeve or three-quarter sleeve tops. A casual dress and flats are options as well.
Men: Wear a button-down or a polo shirt, paired with khakis, or dress pants. If you so desire, layer with a V-neck sweater, a blazer, or a sport coat. A tie is optional.
Typical places to wear Business Casual: A company party, daily work attire (depending on your job), or business lunch meetings.


Cocktail Attire
Women: Wear a shorter dress with some frill. The classic little black dress makes for great cocktail attire, and is the easiest to show your personality by accessorizing to suit your mood.
Men: Wear a dark suit, coat, and tie. Opting for dark jeans paired with a jacket and tie is also acceptable at some cocktail events, depending on how casual the atmosphere is.
Typical places to wear Cocktail Attire: Adult birthday parties and evening social events.


Lounge Attire
Women: Wear a dress that would be appropriate for brunch or afternoon tea. It should fall to, or slightly above, the knee, and not be too sparkly or low-cut. Incorporate a jacket or shawl to cover the arms.
Men: Opt for a dark suit paired with a crisp, white shirt. You can go with or without a tie. Opting for a vest instead of a tie adds informality of the look.
Typical places to wear Lounge Attire: Daytime engagement parties, business breakfasts, and afternoon tea.


White Tie
Women: A floor-length ball gown is a must. Accessorize with opera length gloves, glamorous jewels, and up-do hairstyles.
Men: Wear a short or waist length black tailcoat (tails should reach the back of your knees,) white bow tie, starched white shirt, and a cummerbund (optional). Sport high-quality black pants.
Typical places to wear White Tie: Charity fundraisers, government ceremonies, weddings, and the opera.


Black Tie
Women: Gussy up in a floor-length ball gown. A very dressy cocktail dress may be acceptable depending on the venue of the event.
Men: Wear a dark suit or a tuxedo without tails. Pair with a white shirt and a tie, or a bow tie with or without a vest and a cummerbund.
Typical places to wear Black Tie: Charity fundraisers, political dinner parties, and weddings.


“Creative” Black Tie
Women: Dress up in a long gown, cocktail dress, or snazzy separates. Accessorize with the latest trends, such as feathers, sequins, sheer fabrics, and capes. Show off your personality with every detail.
Men: Incorporate trendy prints in with your tie and a dressy shirt. Mix fabrics such as a silk blazer and a dress shirt to create a formal—yet interesting—look.
Typical places to wear “Creative” Black Tie: Galas, silent auctions, weddings, and formal dinners that have a fun atmosphere.


“Warm Weather” Black Tie
Women: Wear a long gown with white gloves (optional) and minimal jewelry.
Men: Wear a white dinner jacket, in a worsted wool, gabardine, linen, or cotton fabric material. Pair this with a white dress shirt, bow tie, a cummerbund, and nice black leather shoes.
Typical places to wear “Warm Weather” Black Tie: Formal events that are held outdoors, such as a cruise line or country club dinners, weddings, and galas.


Black Tie Optional
Women: Look glamorous in a long gown, cocktail dress, or luxurious separates. Accessorize with items such as long gloves, clutches, and jewelry to top off the whole look.
Men: If you own a tuxedo, wear it. If not, wear a suit in a dark color such as charcoal or black, paired with a white dress shirt, and a solid colored tie. Make sure patterns are kept to a minimum and shoes are shined. Accessorize your look with a pocket square and cuff links.
Typical places to wear Black Tie Optional: Elegant events such as galas, silent auctions, weddings, formal dinners.



Blog credit: https://www.artinstitutes.edu/about/blog/defining-dress-codes-what-to-wear-for-every-occasion

Ideas For Engaging Large Audiences


It’s no secret that most people have a difficult time with the idea of speaking in front of large audiences. But what is less often thought of is that even those who are comfortable with public speaking likely have a difficult time commanding the attention of their peers, especially if they’re speaking to a larger audience.
So, when it comes to that big business meeting you’re speaking at, how can you be sure your audience will be engaged with you and focused on what you’re telling them instead of idly standing by?

Make what you say first and last memorable
It’s often used as a studying strategy, that is, studying for shorter periods of time more frequently. This is because the human brain remembers what is said or done at the beginning and end of a sequence better than what is done in the middle of that sequence. That’s why TV commercials often begin with a loud sound or a funny image and end with their branded logo.
So, how does this translate into helping you with your meeting? Well, barring any late walk-ins to the meeting, making the beginning and ending to your speech creative or fun is one way you can get your audience to remember you and what you were talking about.
One option is to start with something that people aren’t accustomed to like a creative ice breaker. Before anything else is said in the meeting, ask a general question. An example for a morning meeting where attendees may be groggy and tired is: “In one word, what is your morning?”. This is a short, creative question that doesn’t require much brain power for your audience to muster, and you can display their results in a unique way such as this word cloud:


Personally, I have found that concluding your speeches and meetings is a bit trickier. If you’re speaking about something that is personal to you, make sure you close it with something meaningful or emotional. This way your audience will be more inclined to listen even if it has nothing to do with themselves. If you’re speaking at an annual business conference, maybe focus on a motivational vision or idea that you have to end your speech strongly. Whatever you choose to do, do not leave any loose ends hanging. Cliffhangers are great for books and movies but detrimental to public speaking. Cliffhangers won’t make your audience want to hear more from you but will instead irritate them because your speech ended anticlimactically.

Make the meeting into an event
Don’t just have your audience sitting there listening while you say what needs to be said. This is how people start day dreaming and letting their mind wander elsewhere. Make your meeting into a discussion by using a web application that streams your audience’s live answers onto a screen. Websites like Peardeck (all you need is a Gmail account to sign in) allow admins to ask questions and then display their users’ answers live on the screen, creating a discussion or competition for their audience. By doing this, it is much more difficult for the audience’s attention to wander and much easier to see exactly who is paying attention and actively involved.

Use multiple choice questions and polls
Let your audience test their knowledge of the company or whatever subject you’re speaking about by asking questions with definitive answers. By asking a series of questions, you can hammer home key points (like the actual reason sales are up) and your individual audience members can have a competition between each other to see who can answer the most questions correctly.
By polling your audience, you can ask key questions about almost anything without receiving an awkward silence from the crowd. Often speakers ask for a single answer and receive crickets in response for one of four reasons: 1) the audience isn’t sure if it was a rhetorical question, 2) the audience believes the speaker wants them to all to agree on a single, unified answer, 3) no one in the audience wants to offer up their own answer for risk of being wrong in front of countless people, or 4) the audience is just plainly not paying attention. Polling the audience as a whole negates all of these potential problems for the speaker and keeps the meeting light and efficient.

Whatever you decide to do to spice up your next business meeting, conference, or big toast at a party, remember to make it engaging, use pictures and graphics if the topic calls for it, and make it stand out from those in the past. Use some of the ideas above or come up with your own ways to form a more productive meeting or a more encapsulating speech. Just remember that you don’t need to make it the greatest speech ever spoken or the best meeting ever planned; just make it memorable and give it an attention-grabbing beginning and a strong closing!

Ideas for this blog were inspired by: http://www.polleverywhere.com/blog/all-hands-meeting-ideas/
Picture credit: http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/53/00-Blog_Thinkstock_Images/Science_Backed_Tips_for_Public_Speaking.jpg
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Gadgets That Take the Worry Out of Travel


While traveling for a meeting or FAM can be an exciting part of your life as a planner, there are sometimes niggling safety issues to being on the road that can put a damper on all that fun. By investing in a number of stress-reducing travel gadgets, you can check your worry at the door and keep your belongings safe and secure throughout your travels.

There’s nothing like an $800 pair of blue suede Blahniks, except when they’re sitting in that unsecured suitcase, along with confidential work files and a new camera lens that anyone can easily gain access to with a single zip. GAH! A luggage lock is a must-have for any traveler concerned about their belongings, or carrying important items that need to stay safe. TSA-approved combination locks come in handy for those times when you want to be certain, such as storing luggage at hotel reception on check-out day.

Used to be, just keeping your credit cards in a secure location was enough. Now anyone with nefarious intentions and the technical know-how can skim your credit card information without ever reaching into your pocket. Take a bite out of electronic crime with an RFID-blocking wallet, able to block credit card and passport info from leaking out, and can also keep electronic hotel keys secure.

Yay for seaside meetings! Now, what to do with your keys, wallet and phone when you step from your lounge chair into the water for a swim or a paddle? A portable beach safe is just the ticket in this case, which you can load up with valuables and secure to a chair or other beach furniture while you play.

When standing at an empty airport carousel, two things typically run through your mind after all the bags have been packed off: they lost my luggage, or someone picked up my bag (by mistake or otherwise). If your bags have a luggage tracker inside, you can simply dial up the app on your phone to find its exact location on a map, and avoid the headache of your airline’s lost luggage office.

You never need it, until you do. All that charge you thought your phone had is suddenly showing red, and you need to call your contacts as soon as your plane lands. Fortunately, you packed a portable back-up phone charger that gives you enough juice to make it to your hotel. Such back-up chargers are small and cheap enough these days to make packing one a no-brainer.

Sure, you can play ‘guess that weight’ with your bag, which is all fun and games until the check-in agent slaps you with a heavy bag fee. A portable luggage scale can take the guess work out of packing, and help you avoid unwanted fees, by simply attaching the device to your bag and lifting it up to get a readout of the weight. They’re also small and light enough to not tip the scales themselves.

Are your first thoughts when you hit the tarmac along the lines of: Did I turn off the heat at home? Are the doors locked? You can banish these worries for good with a smart home system that controls everything from your thermostat to your smoke detector. These systems then link through an app on your phone that allows you to make changes from anywhere in the world. Smart systems such as Nest also include indoor and outdoor security cameras that send you alerts if any trouble is detected.

Source: http://blog.elitemeetings.com/2017/05/gadgets-that-take-the-worry-out-of-travel/

Wallet-Friendly Wedding Planning Tips

Starting to get the budget blues? With a little planning savvy, creating an amazing wedding doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are some of our favorite money-saving tips.

GO OFF-PEAK
High wedding season — spring, summer and early fall — is typically the busiest and most expensive time of the year to host a wedding. Consider having your wedding during the off-season (such as late fall or winter) to net a considerable discount. Certain venues may have different peak times, so check ahead to determine its least busy time of the year.
AVOID SATURDAYS
Most weddings are held on Saturday evenings, so it can be less expensive to pick another day of the week, such as Friday or another weekday. Hosting a brunch or lunchtime wedding can also often be much less expensive than an evening wedding.
PICK AN ALL-IN-ONE VENUE
Choosing a single venue for your wedding ceremony and reception can be a great way to reduce your overall cost. You won’t have to worry about transportation between two locations for the wedding party and oftentimes won’t need a separate cocktail hour because guests can flow directly into the reception space right after the ceremony’s finished.
KEEP THE GUEST LIST IN CHECK
Trimming the guest list is an obvious, yet often necessary, way to reign in your budget. Invite everyone you couldn’t imagine celebrating the day without. Then consider any extras you don’t have to extend an invite to, such as former co-workers, friends you haven’t seen in over a year, distant relatives or your parents’ neighbors or friends you haven’t met. Also consider eliminating plus ones for any guests who don’t have a spouse or serious significant other.
BE FLEXIBLE WITH FOOD
Work with your caterer or venue to choose menu items that are delicious yet budget-friendly. For example, instead of a formal, plated dinner, consider a buffet with a couple of protein options, salad, veggies and then limit sides to a few crowd-pleasing options. For dessert, if your heart’s set on a big cake, choose a cake with a faux tier or two to add height, and have a separate sheet cake in the back that guests can be served from. Also find out if the venue charges a cake cutting fee. Another money-saving trick is choose alternative dessert options such as cookies, pies, tiered donut cakes, cake pops, cupcakes, etc.
REIGN IN THE ALCOHOL
Instead of offering an open bar all night, offer one or two beer and wine options to keep things simple and keep the budget under control. Check with your venue to see if it’s possible to bring in your own alcohol to save money. Just be aware that some caterers may charge a corking fee, even if you bring in your own wine. Another area to save is skipping a champagne toast, which many guests won’t drink anyway. Let your guests toast you with whatever drink they already have in hand instead.
GET CREATIVE
Brainstorm what you can borrow, DIY and let others help you out with whenever possible. Pinterest is a great resource for a plethora of fantastic DIY ideas. Consider asking friends and family if you can borrow items for your wedding, whether it’s a veil, jewelry, get-away car, décor, etc. Also tap into some of your guests’ hidden talents in lieu of a wedding gift. For example, maybe your cousin is ordained and could serve as your officiant, or your aunt loves flower arranging and would be happy to take handle the flowers, or your friend is an amazing baker and would love to make your wedding cake. Give them an opportunity to show off their special skills to make your big day even more personal.
FIND BUDGET-SAVVY GIFTS
You don’t have to thank your wedding party for their role on your wedding day with an expensive gift. Also don’t worry about getting everyone the same exact thing. Choose gifts based on each person’s personality and interests instead. There are many budget-friendly, yet thoughtful gift ideas to consider. Check out online retailers for affordable personalized gifts or Etsy for unique handmade gifts.
SKIP FAVORS
While favors are a great extra if you can work them into your budget, you can easily skip them without anyone noticing. Guests will remember the amazing time they had, rather than the great piece of swag they took home.

3 West Club offers fantastic wedding packages and can work within your budget means. Contact us today!
Source: https://themanregistry.com/groom-101/wallet-friendly-wedding-planning-tips/

10 tips for planning town halls & executive briefings

Periods of uncertainty also create anxiety for employees. In the corporate world, town halls and executive briefings to address employee concerns directly are far more likely to be beneficial than comfort animals. Corporate event planners can play a vital role in organizing these interactive meetings.

Town halls vs. executive briefings

Town halls are informal meetings that date back to traditional town meetings in Colonial America. They are an opportunity for leadership teams to provide updates and address employee questions and concerns.

Executive briefings are more formal presentations to convey the direction of the organization and clarify the mission and vision during times of uncertainty.

Here are 10 tips for planning and organizing effective town halls and executive briefings.

1. Select the appropriate design.
If there is a lot of anxiety among employees, the highly interactive and unstructured format of a town hall is likely to yield better results. If there is confusion, an executive briefing will make it possible to convey more information. The trade-off is that question periods are shorter.

2. Determine the best platform.
Town halls and executive briefings can be offered in face-to-face, virtual or hybrid formats. If an organization has many dispersed locations, a virtual or hybrid meeting will ensure consistency of messaging. If you opt for a virtual or hybrid format, it is important to provide vehicles for interaction and a way for participants to obtain answers to their questions.

3. When possible, keep the group size small.
Smaller groups are likely to encourage more participation. If possible, cap the group size at 50 for each meeting. A series of meetings will make this achievable for small-to-medium-sized organizations. Another approach is to begin with a large meeting and move to breakout rooms for discussions and questions.

4. Send out save-the-date notices as soon as a decision has been made to host a town hall or executive briefing.
5. Provide an opportunity for employees to submit questions.

A short online survey via the company’s intranet is the fastest way to this.

6. Select a venue with excellent sight lines.
For example, wider is better than deeper.

7. If budget is a concern, invite employees to “brown bag it.”
8. Use video to ensure consistency in messaging to dispersed locations.

A video by the CEO can be deployed to remote locations via the company intranet or through the distribution of DVDs, thumb drives, etc.

9. Create a safe environment to encourage participation.
This is not the time for partisan politics or scapegoating.

10. Prepare a summary of key questions and answers and distribute it to employees as soon as possible after the town hall or executive briefing.

Source: http://planyourmeetings.com/10-tips-for-planning-town-halls-executive-briefings/

Why An Intimate Wedding May Be For You


One of the biggest decisions a newly married-to-be couple must decide is what size wedding they want to have. The big wedding is always a consideration because of the all-out partying that goes on with so many guests invited and because Hollywood usually shows the massive extravagant wedding, so that’s what people normally think of. But what may occasionally get swept under the rug is the thought of having an intimate wedding. At 3 West Club, we’re here to help you with your wedding day in any way we can whether it’s big or small. So, here, we’d like to bring up some of the positives of hosting an intimate wedding.
  1. You Will Spend One of the Best Days of Your Life with the People Who Matter Most to You
    1. By only inviting close family and friends, you will be able to share this beautiful day with them for years to come over and over again. With a big wedding, a lot of couples end up spending their whole day feeling like they’re running a production where they’re having small talk with everyone and their cousin and having less of a wedding.
    2. The Savings!
      This is a big reason a lot of couples lean towards an intimate wedding. They’re better able to keep track of their expenses and avoid going over-budget to stay less stressed all while keeping the lavishness of their day intact. On top of that, intimate weddings are environment friendly without even trying because less waste is being produced by so many guests and the venue itself.
    3. Don’t Forget To Splurge!
      If you do decide to host an intimate wedding, you likely won’t have to decide between the centerpiece you have always wanted and the centerpiece that will keep you under your budget. What we’re trying to say is: an intimate wedding will let you go all-out on the details and things you have always dreamt of instead of constantly weighing what you can get if you don’t get that and what you can’t get because you got that.
  2. Intimacy Leads To Shorter Timelines
  3. Whether you’re just way too excited to get married that neither nothing nor nobody will make you wait any longer than you have to or you just hate the idea of planning a wedding out from A to Z, a smaller wedding will let you tie the knot in three months instead of a year.
  4. Spare the Awkwardness
  5. 1. You will avoid the uncomfortable task of meeting all these people you have not seen/may not see again for another 10-15 years during your wedding.Instead, with an intimate wedding you will be able to focus on having fun.
    2. There won’t be any awkwardness when trying to explain to the people who are outside your circle of family and friends why they didn’t make the cut of 30 guests. It’s much more difficult to explain to them why they didn’t make the cut of 200 guests. They will have their feelings spared knowing it was an intimate wedding and nothing outrageous.
  6. Go Off the Beaten Path
  7. By hosting an intimate wedding and not having to pay for 200 guests’ dinners, you and your new partner in life can play with the idea of honeymooning somewhere unique. You can go somewhere you may not have been able to ever go if you were to host a massive wedding. Greece? New Zealand? Prague? Finland? Tibet? The options are endless!
Hopefully we shed some light on the upsides to hosting an intimate wedding—but remember—what you do for your wedding day is entirely up to you, not us. Go ahead and have that big wedding you’ve always dreamt of, or take some of the ideas above into consideration. Whatever you decide, we’d be ecstatic to help you plan it!

Source: http://www.intimateweddings.com/blog/20-reasons-small-wedding/
Picture credit: http://www.ajiroan.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/small-intimate-wedding-ideas1.jpg

7 tips for next-level team-building events



Team-building activities can be an essential part of creating a stronger bond amongst co-workers and an effective way of boosting productivity. There’s no reason to think of team building as something that only boosts productivity—there’s much more to it! This means that the idea of team building can potentially be taken up a level, giving employees and employers something more.

There may be some hesitation as to what this will entail, but it’s not something that should worry anybody who is thinking of organizing team-building events. There are some very simple steps that you can take to ensure that your workers get more out of their team-building day than normal. Why not give them a read in order to see if there’s anything that you might not have thought about before?

How to go about taking team building further

Taking team building to the next level isn’t too difficult and can actually be broken down into seven different steps. Some tips may be more valuable than others, but you should aim to reach all of them so that you can be certain that your team-building activities are taken to the next level.

Ask your workers for ideas

When it comes to planning such events, there’s no doubt going to be some disgruntlement from certain employees. Some will prefer outdoor team-building activities and games, whereas others would prefer to stay away from that and pursue indoor activities. Instead of deciding on something yourself, take it to the next level by getting some input from workers.

Get your workers to take a more active role in organizing

As an extension of the previous tip, actually get the workers to help you in organizing something. Even though it might sound like just an excuse to get help in what could be a rather laborious task, it is, in fact, a sneaky way of taking team building to the next level. It will almost be like a challenge they are given without even realizing it as they have to work together to actually organise the day out.

Ask your workers to document the day

It’s all well and good to arrange a day of team-building events, but there is always the possibility that it could ultimately lead to nothing. If the participants think of it as just a “day off” they might risk losing/forgetting all the positive contributions that they make that day and fail to bring lessons back to the workplace. In order to combat this, have each of them write down their experience.

Make them step out of the comfort zone

One of these days should involve a task that isn’t in the regular itinerary for the workers…really try to enforce this. For example, if they are used to being stuck in a boring office all day, arrange a sports day or a sailing activity. If they are normally outdoors, then bring them in for a task of chocolate making, corporate cookery or even pottery sculpting.

Test their knowledge

This might sound a little harsh, but there’s nothing wrong with making sure your employees are in top form when it comes to general and specific knowledge. If you are serious about taking the idea of team building to the next level, then it’s only fair that you get some sort of result. Carefully construct a team-building quiz with questions aimed at getting the answers you want to show what they really know.

Test their strengths and weaknesses

Ordinarily, team-building days are quite generic and your employees will discover their strengths and where they need to improve by themselves. However, you should deliberately organize an activity for which you know they struggle already to see how they handle the situation. The way they react could help you see for yourself where they currently stand.

Conduct a survey

Similarly to having employees write about the day, it’s a good idea to conduct a survey afterwards, just so that you get an idea about what the employees really thought about the events and whether there is anything you can do to improve and take it even further.

There are numerous ways in which team-building activities for adults can be taken to the next level. Those in charge of organizing such days should give these ideas some food for thought as they could prove worthwhile in getting the most out of employees. It will mean that you will also be tested since you will have to provide more creative input.

Nobody can deny that events such as team-building days can help to boost productivity, but that doesn’t mean that it has to stop there. Companies should always aim to take things to the next level, no matter what. So why not go down this route when it comes to team building? Your employees are worth it and it could prove beneficial all around.

Source: http://planyourmeetings.com/7-tips-for-next-level-team-building-events/
Picture Credit: http://www.floridaescaperooms.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/teambuilding-main-1.jpg

5 Reasons Why Meeting Face-To-Face Is Best



In most situations, having a meeting with someone in-person is the most effective and efficient way to communicate and get work done. However, in today’s business environment where many businesses’ functions span time zones--and even nations--meeting in-person isn’t always doable. This is where we get into face-to-face meetings where apps like Skype and FaceTime are pivotal, because seeing someone as opposed to just hearing them can make a world of difference.


Everyone is familiar with the troubles and frustrations with telephone conference calls. Someone is doing something else while “on the call” or has the call on mute and doesn’t respond when called upon. And of course, the dreaded roll call to start off a call with the frustrating “Is Nancy here?” [Nancy is], “Is Alex here?” [Alex isn’t] etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

This is where face-to-face meetings come in.

1. You must “be at the meeting”
With face-to-face meetings, there is no way someone can multitask or put the call on mute because what they are doing/focused on can be easily seen by everyone else who is on the call. The saving grace here is that there is no roll call to be done, because everyone who is on the call can be seen immediately from the get-go.

2. Body language is rampant
Spring boarding off #1, each person’s body language is evident while in the meeting. As anyone will attest to, it is much easier to get your point across in nearly every situation if you can be seen. Humor comes across as funnier, seriousness and promptness are far better received, and friendliness is more apparent, because inflection can only go so far.

3. The material is obvious
What “material” is referencing here is the medium in which information is being passed through. Documents can be visually seen and clarified between parties and, depending on what app you choose to use, screen sharing can be extremely helpful in coordinating information and documents.

4. More participation
When on a conference call, like it or not, there is bound to be at least one person who is being quieter than they should be. This could end up leading to poor assumptions or decisions being made on a lack of information or insight that that one person may know. If that person would have spoken up, a whole different decision could have been made. Whether it be anxiety, unfamiliarity, or cautiousness that keeps that one person from speaking up over the phone, this lacking participation must be avoided at all costs. Face-to-face meetings almost force people to participate because they can see everyone else and adjust themselves to (what is hopefully) a welcoming group of coworkers. Now, no one can sit in the corner and be ignored.

5. Time savings
With fewer disruptions and more inclusion in terms of people and information, there is a greater ability to breeze through the meetings and, likely, a greater urgency to do so. This fifth point isn’t really its own reason but more of a final compilation of the previous four. Nevertheless, it’s worth explicitly noting as another pro to face-to-face meetings.

So when you’re looking to have your next in-person or face-to-face meeting, consider one of our spaces here at the 3 West Club to allow you to do so!


Ideas parlayed from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ellevate/2015/02/20/why-face-to-face-meetings-are-so-important/#19c8b0f5aee9
https://timemanagementninja.com/2012/10/5-reasons-why-meeting-face-to-face-is-best/

Who are your meeting stakeholders and why are they so important?



In order to plan an effective meeting, you need to understand why it’s happening and what would make it successful. That’s where your meeting stakeholders come in.

Simply put, stakeholders are any group that is affected by the meeting. They tend to fall into two groups:

1. Internal stakeholders
2. External stakeholders


Internal stakeholders

Internal stakeholders are people who work within your organizational structure. They can be your events team, co-workers, your boss, your boss’ boss and/or the board of directors.

Internal stakeholders are the ones who can tell you about:

The meeting’s history
Its purpose
What it should achieve
Who it’s for
What’s worked in the past
What hasn’t worked in the past
What should be different this year
What success would look like


If the event is new and there’s no history or if they can’t articulate what success would look like, ask them:

Who are we trying to attract?
What will they get from this event that they can’t get anywhere else?
How do you want people to feel while they’re on-site with us?
What do you want them to do after this event is over?


That information should give you a good idea of what your stakeholders’ main goals for meeting are, which in turn will help you create S.M.A.R.T. objectives and calculate the ROI for your event.

External stakeholders

External stakeholders are people that you don’t work with, but who have some relationship to the event and can be positively or negatively affected by its outcomes. They can be your sponsors, exhibitors, vendors, paying attendees, association members, speakers and industry thought leaders, among others.

Historical data from surveys, testimonials, sales numbers and past marketing campaigns can help you identify what your external stakeholders like, dislike and what they hope to achieve by participating in your event. That information will influence:

The content of your meeting
Your marketing and communication strategy
Your sales strategy
The participant’s onsite experience


Not all stakeholders are created equal, however, that’s why you need to prioritize their goals and objectives.

Source: http://planyourmeetings.com/who-are-your-meeting-stakeholders-and-why-are-they-so-important/
Picture Credit: http://blackseatourism.net/new/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Stakeholders1.jpg

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 out of the air and locking them in prematurely.

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. Leaving planning until the last minute.

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. Failing to take advantage of low and swing seasons.

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 venues before determining the shape of the agenda or the activities you want to include.

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. Paying late and watching your budget skyrocket due to currency fluctuations.

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.

source: http://planyourmeetings.com/6-event-planning-mistakes-that-will-destroy-your-budget/

9 Ways to Increase Media Interest In Your Event

Publicity can dramatically change any event, whether a team-building exercise, presentation or quarterly meeting. With media support, corporate training can easily be transformed into a social occasion. A company’s anniversary will become a big celebration for the local business community and a new product presentation will be an important industry event. Media can be responsible for tens of thousands of people talking about your business. Below are a few ways to increase media interest for your event.

1. Prepare your strategy before distribution

Before sending the first press release about an event, consider your overall strategy for working with the media. It is very important to understand which media editors will be interested. If it is a social project or a particularly large-scale project, then the news media will want to write about you. If the project is connected with the internal tasks of the company, influential industry magazines and blogs may be interested.

2. Style is your everything

Each publication writes in its own style: Some use loud headlines, only publish texts shorter than three paragraphs or insert professional jargon, which can be unclear for a wider audience. You can save an editor’s time by adapting your press release for mass media. It is not necessary to rewrite the text every time, rather make minor edits to get to a couple of versions for different sources. If in doubt, read a couple of the publication’s articles then re-evaluate your text. If it doesn’t feel out of place, send it.

3. Follow the hierarchy

Generally, the media falls into two categories: mass (tabloid) and professional. The rule of the food chain works for both categories. When sending material to mass media, first write to those with large readerships, then write to smaller ones. If your press release interests larger organizations, then lower-ranked websites and publishers may repost the materials with reference to the original source. You’ll save time and effort, plus secure the trust of the large mass media because uniqueness of the original publication will belong to them.

The situation is slightly different with professional publications. In this case it is important that the information is presented individually to each publication—never send the same text to multiple media outlets. The best way around this is to dispense information to a variety of sources. In one release you can discuss the event’s VIPs or speakers, in another add other event schedule highlights and in yet another, describe an interactive element.

4. Make plans and follow them on time

You will need to outline the approximate plan of action before sending the first press release about your event to mass media. How many qualitative press releases (containing real information) can you prepare before the event? How often are you planning to send them to the media and to which publications are they going to be sent initially?

Make a schedule of the press releases, list the planned topics and never confuse matters with post-event press releases. The news that dispatched a day or two after an event will have long been “spoiled” and only dilute the newsfeed. Present your story as something hot and actual. Only then will it be interesting to mass media and readers.

5. How many emails will be enough?

The most important question often occurs after long preparation: How do you write to mass media editorial offices? If you can’t find any individual editor contact details, simply write to a corporate email—this is usually found under “contact us” on the organization’s website. Social networks can also help: Journalists and top bloggers sometimes include their email addresses there.

But please don’t send a press release as a personal message on Facebook or LinkedIn. Public people appreciate their personal space—for work they use email, for chatting with friends and for operational issues they use instant messengers or social networks. Do you like receiving promotional mailings in WhatsApp? At best, the material will be sent to the recycle bin; at worst you will be blacklisted.

6. Forget about bulk emails

Learn to write personalized messages to reach journalists and editors, otherwise your messages may be blocked by mail spam filters. Don’t be lazy: Send press releases in separate messages rather than mass mailing 10 addresses. Ideally, it is worth writing personally to leading journalists or editors, addressing them by name in the greeting. If there are no such contacts, it is appropriate to send it to a general editorial email address.

Try to make your letter a little bit different to the hundreds of press releases that editors receive every day. Begin with a personal greeting or a simple explanation as to who you are and why you are reaching out to the publication. It is important that your letter stands out from the general stream and that editorial staff immediately understand that it is an interesting subject worth working on.

7. Don’t dilute your brand with plugs

A logo on each photo and a long list of partners at the end of a press release can become a stumbling block for publication. Most media clearly separate advertising and editorial content, therefore they will remove info about commercial partners or even ask you to pay to have the news published. But what if you have already promised partners that you will mention them in the publicity materials? Our advice is simple, make the event interesting for the media, regardless of brands. The more you push the media to mention your partner companies through press releases or at the event itself, the less likely they will be to want to share it. Take an organic approach: Let the catering be so good that visitors and journalists want to know who is responsible for the buffet reception, and let the sponsor provide gifts.

The same rule applies concerning photos with company logos. Even if such photographs are published in the media, “advertising blindness” will affect readers and the logo will remain unnoticed. In this case, bold colors and striking color combinations, simple symbols and fonts will create the strongest identity. Just remember, mobile operators have already discovered this and have created strong brand identities without even mentioning their own name in the branding.

8. Share backstage

The final photo report or video from an event does not always show the real picture. Go slightly further and show another side of the action: the preparation process, final rehearsal, first guests meeting, etc. Backstage is often perceived as something very personal, because you show what wasn’t seen by active participants at the event. In addition, these shots are valued by trade publications for which off-screen material is more important and more interesting than a traditional multimedia report.

9. Build relationships

Working with the media is a relationship. Start building that relationship right away. To start, simply show care and a serious attitude: Save an editor’s or journalist’s time by sending prepared and crafted material which corresponds to the style of the publication. Don’t try to include all the info about the event in a single press release. If additional info is needed, they will write or call to get details.

And, of course, keep a database of friendly media, including personal email addresses and phone numbers of editors and journalists that are open to you. They have to be first to receive the details of hot and fresh news about your projects. After all, the one who possesses information rules the world!

Source: http://planyourmeetings.com/9-ways-to-drive-media-interest-for-your-event/

5 ways to motivate your team with recognition-rich meetings



Like some of our favorite superheroes who wore masks to avoid the spotlight, some of your best in-house talent are doing great work behind the scenes. Recognizing their efforts out of the spotlight is one of the best ways to keep your team motivated, as they chase those business wins both big and small! Ultimately, it’s all about building a culture of recognition in the workplace.

The importance of employee recognition is indisputable, so it’s crucial to prioritize recognition in the workplace. One of the best places to start with: The humble meeting.

You’ve probably had so many meetings in your lifetime, that you’ve quickly lost count. It’s because meetings are so regular and ubiquitous that they’re perfect opportunities to pioneer a better, stronger culture. So you know it’s worth doing, how are you going to get there?

Here are five tips for building a culture of recognition in the workplace through your meetings.

1. Cook up an appreciation sandwich

It’s as effective as it sounds delicious! An appreciation sandwich aims to start and conclude the meeting with opportunities to show appreciation to the team.

A good way to begin is through establishing the agenda and recognizing your team’s collective efforts in the broader business mission. Take time to identify how everyone’s work has pushed the team and the company as a whole closer to their goals.
Ultimately, you’re putting everyone’s efforts in context of the business vision and bringing everyone onto the same page.
Conclude the meeting with an opportunity for individual employees to identify wins from fellow team members. These moments of appreciation don’t have to be long. Rather, effective recognition requires regularity.

2. Bring everyone onboard

Culture begins with everyone. First and foremost, your managers aren’t omniscient beings, so it’s near impossible for them to catch everything. They won’t always be there to witness Sally’s nearly seamless software configuration or Dave’s accounting magic at it’s best come tax time—and they can’t be expected to witness everything.

Recognition from fellow employees means it’s easier to celebrate all of the wins—no more forgotten wins slipping through the cracks. Furthermore, many people often find peer recognition in the workplace the most rewarding.
The end of your meeting is a great time to give a quick shout-out and pat on the back to those legends that have gone above and beyond.

One way of collecting those wins is through a quick pre-meeting survey, giving everyone the chance to nominate people who they’ve seen doing great things that week. Creating a physical “wins” board is also a great option for recognizing everyone’s efforts and it becomes a conversation starter around the office.

3. Follow up with an actionable summary

The secret to brilliant meetings isn’t just about what happens within those minutes at the table. A successful meeting involves the following.

Everyone walks in knowing the agenda and objectives of the meeting.

Everyone walks away with greater knowledge, understanding and a clear direction to meeting team objectives. Excitement levels are high following a productive meeting, your next best steps are mapped out and your team is onboard to put your game plan into action.

Within 24 hours of your meeting coming to an end, it’s crucial to send a follow up email summarizing key points raised in the meeting—the sooner, the better! An actionable summary highlights the current situation, next best steps and team wins to celebrate.

4. Celebrate curiosity and learning

Investing in someone is a testament to your belief in their potential. You’re on their team, recognizing the blood, sweat and tears going into their work, appreciating their efforts and equipping them with the tools they need.

Ultimately, encouraging learning and development goes hand in hand with a recognition-rich workplace, so take the time in each meeting to check in with your self-motivated learners. Who’s taken time out of their week to “upskill” or recently completed a new certification or course?

Through encouraging curiosity and recognizing wins you’re motivating your team to go above and beyond and chase those business wins!

5. Always, always, say thank you

“Thank you” is one of those phrases parents will hammer into our heads from the time we’re little, yet it’s often overlooked and underrated. Saying thanks is a no-brainer for nurturing a culture of recognition in the workplace.

The secret to saying thanks the right way: Be specific. Identify the specific ways key individuals have gone the extra mile in the past week or month and thank them for their work. Often, big change can start simply with small words of gratitude.

At the end of the day…

Great business begins with great people. You’ve got the team together, so showing them you care and are on the same page with the same mission is a big motivator. When you’ve got your dream team together doing great work, everyone’s a winner—make sure they feel that way! How are you pursuing a stronger culture of recognition in the workplace?

Source: http://planyourmeetings.com/5-ways-to-motivate-your-team-with-recognition-rich-meetings/
Picture Source: http://www.dianedavidson.me/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/happy_people.jpg

7 Ways to Stop Forgetting Stuff at the Hotel

For many planners, discovering new cities or re-visiting old favorites is one of the more appealing aspects of the job. Accidentally leaving personal items behind at the hotel however, is not – but it’s an all too common occurrence in the rush to check out. So how to fool-proof your departure no matter how short you are on time? Try these simple hacks to help you keep track of your stuff when traveling for work or pleasure – and make it back home with everything you left with:

Set up the office.
As soon as you roll into your room, resist the urge to collapse on the bed, remain in work-mode for a few more minutes and set up your office headquarters. Clear the desk of all hotel items, signs, stationary, clickers, menus, etc., and stick ‘em in a drawer. If the room is short on desk-space, supplement it by dragging over an end-table or coffee table to add surface space to your work area. Lay out (non-confidential) work files, pens, snacks, waters, etc., and you’re ready for action.

Build your bathroom base camp.
Next, do the same in the bathroom. Start by clearing the sink area of everything but the drinking glasses and repurpose them to hold makeup, spare change, toothbrushes, shavers, etc. Organizing items in drinking glasses prevents items from rolling off the sink or sitting in puddles of water – and seems to result in less shifting around of your toiletries by the housekeeping staff.

For clothes, think open plan.
Quit hiding your clothes, shoes and accessories in closets or drawers, or on the back of the bathroom door. Tidy as it may be, placing stuff out of sight also puts it out of mind, making items easy to overlook when you’re racing to catch a flight. Instead, keep everything in full view, so when it’s time to pack up, items will be easier to spot – and quicker to collect and stuff in your suitcase.

Make the bathroom into a walk-in closet.
Centralize and store everything but your work supplies and electronics in the bathroom. Hang clothes up on the shower-rod. Store shoes and luggage under the sink. Before showering, hang clothes temporarily on the back of the bathroom door to help knock out wrinkles without ironing. Another big reason to avoid hotel drawers, closets and luggage racks? Doing so may help reduce the risk of bringing bed bugs back home in your luggage and clothes.

Contain your chaos – to only 2 areas.
Are you one of those travelers who throws stuff all over the room and then panics when a co-worker drops by? Granted, most people like to spread out a bit when on the road, but make your life easier by limiting your chaos to just two areas: the desk and the bathroom. This way, if your client drops by unannounced, all you have to do is close the bathroom door to hide your clothes, tidy up the desk (or not, if you want to look extra industrious!), and graciously offer the boss a seat, without needing to clear space.

Hang on to your phone charger.
Phone chargers top the list of left-at-the-hotel items, with phones following not far behind. So, how to hang onto both? Plug in where you’re more likely to see them easily, for example on the desk where outlets are usually plentiful. Plug in, leave the charger and phone in one of your favorite pairs of shoes and place on the desk. When its time to leave the room, just slip your shoes on and drop the charger right into your bag. Another reason to keep the phone out of arm’s reach? You’ll fall asleep faster and rest better with fewer phone-related disruptions.

Pack up your circus tent in seconds.
No matter when you’re heading out, you’ll leave less behind if you pack up almost everything calmly and neatly the night before you leave, versus in a tizzy 5 minutes before heading to the airport. Leave only the absolute essentials unpacked, place them next to the sink in the bathroom, and leave your packed suitcase in the bathroom as well. In the morning, toss the unpacked essentials in the bag and make your getaway, quickly and stress-free.

Happy travels!

Source: http://blog.elitemeetings.com/2017/02/7-ways-to-stop-forgetting-stuff-at-the-hotel/

10 Spring Wedding Ideas for 2017

Spring is upon us. To get us in the mood for bright flowers and longer days, here are 10 wedding ideas for Spring.



1. Lighthearted Wedding Invite


Some wedding themes, such as the incredibly popular "woodland" event, can work with every season. What changes about these themes is the color palette and surrounding details. We love the "foxy" example above with its muted color palette and more playful design. Another all-year staple is the floral wedding invite. Again, during fall and winter you might see florals in darker palettes and more formal illustrations. For spring weddings, you should highlight the sunnier days ahead with a vibrant and juicy palette.

2. Practical Destination Locales

If you want to have a destination wedding in a desert or Southern climate, spring might be a better choice than summer to keep yourself from melting in your wedding dress. This Palm Springs wedding (above) showcases the beauty of an outdoor event in a desert climate. However, this setting in August would be seriously uncomfortable.

3. Pretty Wedding Cakes

It's time to leave the rich jewel tones of winter behind and embrace wedding cakes decorated with sweet florals and pastel shades. This last winter, wedding cakes trended towards dark and metallic, so one that both looks and feels lighter will highlight the mood of your spring event.

4. Bridal Separates

For those brides in northern destinations, spring doesn't necessarily mean guaranteed warm and sunny weather. Although you certainly won't need a faux fur shrug, you also might not want a strapless gown for your outdoor ceremony. We're in love with bridal separates, not just for their chic aesthetic, but also their practicality. Pair a blush tulle skirt with an ever-so-slightly retro sweater for the ultimate spring wedding sophistication.

5. Farm Wedding Perfection

Weddings at local farms can be so charming during summer and fall, but we think there's something really magical about hosting them in the spring. With the budding leaves on trees and green pastures popping up, it's a significant and meaningful backdrop for your new life together. Plus, cute animals.

6. Rainy Day Preparation

Spring weddings have one big issue: the unpredictability of weather. And the old adage about rain being good luck is of little comfort when your guests are getting drenched. Spring days can go from sunny to apocalyptic rain showers in moments. Make sure to be prepared in a very stylish way by providing umbrellas to your guests in case of a sudden sprinkle. You can also incorporate colorful umbrellas into your ceremony and reception decor, or even your exit!

7. Focus on Greenery

Greenery-centric arrangements have grown so much in popularity over the last few years. However, for spring weddings these centerpieces and bouquets are even more appropriate. Particularly in early spring, flowers may not be in full swing yet, but leaves are. We love elegant greenery hanging installations as a way to transform a blank space into a spring paradise .

8. Spring-Inspired Flowers

For late spring weddings, bring on the tulips! This quintessential spring flower is often the first bloom to pop up and can be readily found during this time of year in a multitude of colors. This garden wedding centerpiece with orange tulips and carrots is a whimsical nod to spring, whereas the elegant boxed centerpiece reflects the bursting of fragrant gardens after a cold winter.

9. Herb Favors

While not all of your guests might have the green thumb necessary to nurture delicate flowers, everyone can grow herbs. Give your guests herbal favors either in seed packets or already potted starts that double as your centerpieces and reception decor.

10. Playful Details

The best spring wedding ideas are those that involve a whole lot of fun! Shake off the formality of winter events by adding playful details to your spring wedding. Throw in a pinwheel or two. Hand out lollipops. Create a dynamic kids' table that will make all the grown-ups green with envy. Spring weddings are the perfect time of year to play with whimsy.


Source: ​http://www.mywedding.com/wedding-ideas/colors-themes/10-trending-spring-wedding-ideas/
Picture Credit: http://img.huffingtonpost.com/asset/,scalefit_600_noupscale/56e9b0981500002a000b2411.jpeg

5 Conversations to Have Before Getting Married



Maybe you're in premarital counseling right now, or maybe it's the last thing on your mind. Either way, you already know there are a few touchy issues engaged couples are "supposed" to talk about before making it official. Well, we asked a few seasoned couples therapists to tell it to us straight. They mapped out the tough talks to have with your soon-to-be spouse before heading down the aisle, so consider this your guide to counseling yourselves.

You should talk about: Kids

If it hasn't already come up, now's the time to discuss whether you want children. But here's the surprising thing: You shouldn't stop there. Our experts agreed that it's important to discuss where you each stand on the issues that'll crop up once you start trying to have kids and when the tykes are actually around. "Are you open to adoption if it's necessary?" asks Rebecca Hendrix, a licensed marriage and family therapist in New York. And once you have kids, "How should they be disciplined when they disobey?" asks Vivian Jacobs, a licensed marriage and family therapist in New York. Issues like these can become knock-down, drag-out fights later on, so it's better to discuss them now.

But it's okay to disagree on: How many kids you think you want right now. "Once a couple has their first kid, they'll have a better idea of how many children they really want," says Jaclyn Bronstein, a licensed mental health counselor in New York. Right now, the number isn't as important, Jacobs explains, "as long as you agree on a timetable -- how many years you want to wait before having children."

You should talk about: Money and your careers

One of the biggest things married couples fight about is finances, so talk now to skirt arguments later, Bronstein says. Decide whether you'll pool all your money or keep separate accounts, and determine which accounts you'll draw from for everyday expenses and for big investments. And if one of you is a spender and the other is a saver, choose amounts to set aside for the future and for personal spending that you'll both be satisfied with. "No one has the right answer to what your money strategy should be," Jacobs says. "You just have to live within your budget, figure out what works for you, and be reasonable and communicate." On the same note, talk about your career plans. Where do you want to be in five years? How do you see your 9-to-5 -- and your salary -- evolving over your lifetime? Getting both your expectations in line with reality will cut down on money-related arguments later, Jacobs says.

But it's okay to disagree on: How many hours you should be pulling at work right now. "If someone has a busy job and works 12- or 14-hour days, that might be a big issue at the beginning of a marriage," Bronstein says. "But maybe they agree that getting financially stable is more important in the long run." That's a trade-off that works, she says.

You should talk about: Religion and values

Our counselors all brought up faith and moral values -- they might not seem like a big deal now, but religion and morals play a bigger role in marriage than some couples expect. "For a lot of people, fights happen when the other person turns out to be more religious than they thought," says Bronstein. Adds Jacobs, "You might go into marriage not caring, but the problems start as the children arrive and you're deciding how to raise them." So talk about your faith, and how you see it affecting your shared life, right now.

But it's okay to disagree on: Issues with your in-laws. Those family matters are common hiccups in any marriage and they're survivable. For example, "You can agree that it's okay he goes to see his parents and it's okay that you don't come every time," Jacobs says. The crucial part is that neither of you feels like the in-laws get priority over you, she says.

You should talk about: How you'll handle fights

Arguments are inevitable, but our experts agreed that it's how couples handle them that determines whether they'll get through the fights. "Make sure you understand each other's way of managing conflict," Hendrix says. She suggests thinking back to a recent fight: What happened? "Did one person refuse to talk, while the other couldn't sleep without resolving the issue?" she asks. Whatever your argument style is, hash out what counts as acceptable fight behavior and what's off-limits. "Tweak how you handle arguments to accommodate each other. If she doesn't like to talk about it at 2 a.m., learn to pull back a little," Hendrix advises.

But it's okay to disagree on: The little things. "People are going to disagree about how to run the house, chores, who cleans the bathroom," Hendrix says. "But those are the kinds of things that people can, if they work on their communication style, work through."

You should talk about: Your deal breakers and your bucket lists

If there's anything else that you know will drive you nuts in a marriage, it's better to chat about it sooner rather than later. "Let your partner know that you won't be able to tolerate it if he's always flirtatious with other women or if she blows all the money at Atlantic City," says Jacobs. On the other hand, you should also be up front about the big life goals you're dying to accomplish. Aiming to live in another country or own your own business someday? "Make sure your partner knows about that dream and is open to it," Hendrix says.

But it's okay to disagree on: Your hobbies and pastimes. "If your partner isn't into one of your passions at all, you can continue to do it on your own," Hendrix says. The key is making sure that you're both okay with how much time you spend apart.

Source: ​https://www.theknot.com/content/things-to-talk-about-before-marriage
Picture: ​http://www.terranea.com/assets/images/masthead/mast-5.jpg

3 West Club
3 West 51st Street
New York, NY 10019
 
 

Picking the Right Wine for Your Business Dinner



Picking the right bottle of wine at a business lunch or dinner has become almost as stressful as buying the appropriate anniversary gift for your partner, especially if you are on a budget. That makes spending $4,000 on a bottle of the 1982 Petrus most likely out of the question.

But wine lists are as getting so big these days that if you dropped one on your foot you'd break your toe. Not to mention people's tastes are ever-changing and, well, you need to close this deal. So do some homework. Most restaurants have their wine lists online. Study it before you go. Then you have the opportunity to look up the wines online and see what will work with your budget. But if you are like most of us and barely have the time to read your children’s homework, never mind a wine list, then you have to just go for it when you get to the restaurant.

So what do you do?

Take a deep breath and order a round of cocktails or a bottle of bubbly to buy yourself some time. Now your guests have something to drink while you dissect the wine list.


Here are three simple things to consider when choosing your wine:

1. Avoid the easy way out.

“Stay away from favorite varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay,” says Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen, a.k.a. the World Wine Guys , who are wine, spirits, food and travel writers. Too many people know the prices of those wines these days and many of those bottles -- like Caymus, Silver Oak, and Cakebread -- have big markups on wine lists because they are crowd pleasers.

2. Be brave and go for the unknown.

That means stay away from regions like California, Bordeaux or Burgundy. If you need to stay in Europe, there are tons of delicious affordable whites like German Rieslings, Spanish Albarinos, and Italian Pinot Grigios, says Alyssa Rapp, founder and CEO of Bottlenotes, an interactive media company in the U.S. wine and craft beer industries. And if you need a red, Spanish Tempranillos are inexpensive and consistently impress as well, says Rapp.

But there's no need to stay in Europe. Almost every corner of the Earth is producing wine these days – from South Africa to Bulgaria to even Virginia here at home. So spin the globe in your head and just pick a wine in your price range. If its something no one has had, it is easier to taste and critique it together. Then it becomes conversational and there are no expectations.


3. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

"If you’re not looking to channel Portuguese world explorer Vasco da Gama, then use your sommelier,” says Jessica Certo, wine director at Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse. This is what they are paid to do.

Certo always suggests you hold the wine list in front of your sommelier and discreetly point to a price. Say that you are looking to stay in that particular range. The sommelier will immediately understand and then all you have to do is be open-minded and leave it to her. Certo loves it when people say, “This is my budget bring me something I never had.” Then the wine tasting becomes fun and adventurous. It becomes part of the discussion, and could arguably be translated into the way you do business. Even better, your guests will have learned something knew...and may even walk away with a new go-to wine that consistently reminds them of their dinner with you. The added bonus will be that the wine is a respectable price point.



So the further you stay away from the predictable wines on the list, the more room you have to find a great, inexpensive bottle that your guests will love.

That’s all good business.


Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/249718
Picture: ​https://static1.squarespace.com/static/50b3b799e4b01c11f0f37ec5/t/5803b017e6f2e133b164bfc7/1476636700725/wine.jpg?format=original


3 West Club
3 West 51st Street
New York, NY 10019

Most Popular Wedding Songs of 2016



According to Spotify, there are more than 6.7 million wedding-themed playlists around the world.

The streaming service examined all of them and created categories featuring the 50 most common first dance and wedding reception songs.

Out of those playlists, Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud,” is the most popular first dance song in the world, and Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” is top among reception songs. (At 683 million streams, “Thinking Out Loud” is actually the third-most-streamed track of all time on Spotify.)


10 Most Popular First Dance Songs:​
  1. “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran
  2. “At Last” by Etta James
  3. “You Are the Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne
  4. “All of Me” by John Legend
  5. “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri
  6. “Make You Feel My Love” by Adele
  7. “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz
  8. “Everything” by Michael Bublé
  9. “Better Together” by Jack Johnson
  10. “Amazed” by Lonestar​


Top 10 Wedding Reception Songs:
  1. “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey
  2. “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas
  3. “Marry You” by Bruno Mars
  4. “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson
  5. “Hey Ya!” by OutKast
  6. “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” by Beyoncé
  7. “Dancing Queen” by ABBA
  8. “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” by Whitney Houston
  9. “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson
  10. “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison

What is your wedding playlist?

Source: https://www.buzzfeed.com/terripous/we-found-love-right-where-we-are?utm_term=.bv2b9eKmw#.qs9PoY9nQ​
Picture: http://www.bridalguide.com/sites/default/files/blog-images/real-brides-speak-out/rigo-claudia/first-dance/first-dance-glitering-lights.jpg​
 

3 West Club
3 West 51st Street
New York, NY 10019

10 Ways To Have More Productive Meetings



Who hasn’t struggled to stay awake through a three-hour meeting, or left a department-wide pow-wow wondering what the point was?

It’s amazing how many bad meetings we have to suffer through at work: Each month, people spend about 31 hours in unproductive meetings, and the U.S. spends a whopping $37 billion on salaries for hours spent in unnecessary meetings.

Here are 10 tips to ensure your meetings aren’t time-wasters.

State The Objective

How many times have you gone to a meeting with only a vague agenda and sat through a discussion with no end in sight? The most effective meetings are ones where the objectives are clear. A simple statement of what you hope to achieve can shave an average of 17 minutes off of your meeting. In my experience, a basic agenda, shared in advance with any relevant documents, keeps everyone on track.

Be Exclusive

When I get a meeting invite, I’ll usually ask (politely) if I actually need to be there. Often, office politics get in the way of who really needs to attend. Google caps attendees at 10 and Amazon has a “two pizza” rule (i.e., never have a meeting where you can’t feed the whole group with two pies). It all serves one purpose: only invite essential personnel, and you’ll find things stay on track.

Time It To The Second

I’ll often request 22-minute meetings. This idea comes from an Ignite talk by Nicole Steinbok, and may sound a little silly, but I’ve found it’s a hyper-effective way to keep everyone conscious of both starting and ending times. People tend to fill the amount of meeting time they’re given, so I generally get just as much done in 22 minutes as in a standard half-hour meeting.

Leave A Buffer

It’s amazing how often we’ll book back-to-back meetings without thinking about the logistics - the time it takes to walk from one office to the next, for instance, or to top up your coffee. Building in even five minutes between bookings (and there are plenty of calendar apps, like Calendly, that can do it automatically for you) will help avoid snowballing late starts for the rest of the day.

Ditch PowerPoint

At Amazon, Jeff Bezos banned PowerPoint outright. Too often, we’re stuck listening to a presenter read an entire slideshow, verbatim. Visuals can be a great tool, but if you’re using PowerPoint as a crutch, your meeting is going to feel like it’s on life support.

Change Your Scenery

A boardroom is usually the most sensible meeting space for a group, but when you’ve got a one-on-one booked, a walk-and-talk outside makes for a nice change of pace. Not only can it be an opportunity to get some privacy if you’ve got an open-concept office, but walking also helps creativity, according to a recent Stanford study. Plenty of big thinkers love walking meetings - in fact, they were Steve Jobs’ preferred method of conversation.

Provide Some Entertainment

Some people might hear “icebreaker” and groan, but a round-table question gets the conversation going. Or take it one step further and incorporate a team-building activity to break up a dull topic - the meeting we did with a short improv lesson had us all on the floor laughing and energized to tackle our agenda.

Unplug Your Laptops

Studies have found that students who use laptops have a harder time remembering what they learn in lectures and are less likely to understand complex ideas; the same goes for the office. When you’ve got half an eye on your email, you can’t be fully present. So unless you’re taking minutes or absolutely need your computer, turn it off.

Meet Face-to-Face

How many conference calls have you tuned out of? I’m guilty of it, too: letting my mind wander when I’m not physically in the room. One study found revealed that 65% of employees regularly do other work while a conference call is happening. (A full 47% have even gone to the washroom during a call). A good meeting is about connecting minds and ideas, and face-to-face is ultimately the best way to make that happen. That’s not always possible, but there’s really no substitute for face time.

Lead With Purpose

Great meetings happen when you have great leaders. It’s not always easy to be the one ensuring things are moving along, but someone has to be accountable for running meetings that don’t suck. Once you’ve set standards for efficient, effective and entertaining meetings, your team will follow - and meetings may start to be the best part of your workday.

How productive are your meetings?

Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/brianscudamore/2016/06/15/10-simple-ways-to-have-more-productive-meetings/#15e4da60706f
Picture: https://media.licdn.com/mpr/mpr/p/7/005/0ae/277/2a19223.jpg; https://probonoaustralia.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Women-leading-a-board-meeting-RS.jpg
 

3 West Club
3 West 51st Street
New York, NY 10019
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