2018 Wedding Trends You Need to Know

 
 

Another year, another influx of fresh wedding trends for 2018 to get excited about! While a lot of wedding traditions you’ll want to stick to timeless themes, there are some new 2018 wedding trends emerging that will set your day apart from the rest and make it even more personalized to you and your groom’s taste. From floral updates to décor trends, here’s what 2018 will bring in wedding newness.

2018 Colour Of The Year - Ultra Violet
 
The Pantone color of the year has been revealed! And this is always a big indicator of what's to come in wedding trends... Last year's colour of the year was Greenery and we saw an influx of brides opting for green decor within tablescapes, installations and bouquets. 2018 is all about Ultra Violet purple. So expect to see plenty of purple floral inspiration, as well as invites and table decor; like napkins and plates, plus new-age additional like crystals and agate coasters used as name places. It also makes the perfect partner to gold accents to luxe up any Ultra Violet styled look.
 
Quirky Dessert Tables 

While we’re still obsessed with our wedding cake or alternative - doughnuts and macaroons, 2018 will see more brides going for a dessert table over the traditional last course. This way you can get really experimental with your puds. Choose cheesecake, meringues, multiple flavors of cookies and you can even add a wedding trifle into the mix! This way, everyone gets more dessert - what’s not to love? 
 

While we’re still obsessed with our wedding cake or alternative - doughnuts and macaroons, 2018 will see more brides going for a dessert table over the traditional last course. This way you can get really experimental with your puds. Choose cheesecake, meringues, multiple flavors of cookies and you can even add a wedding trifle into the mix! This way, everyone gets more dessert - what’s not to love? 

Transparent Elements
 
Wedding Planner & Blogger, Charley at London Bride (london-bride.com), tells us 2018 will see a surge in see-through settings and décor. ‘Everything from the venues themselves think Glasshouses, or light bright spaces with full windows to Perspex hanging seating plans, tablescapes featuring an abundance of glass details with printed goods on semi-transparent paper. Great for modern and minimalist couples who like clean lines and Scandi vibes’.

Floral Updates 

Grace & Thorn founder Nik Southern says next year's focus is not just about flowers but vessels too! ‘Brides are loving the eclectic mix of vintage and new pieces. Coloured glass, geometric shapes, concrete and vintage cut glass.’ And On the flower front? Nik says, ‘The bolder the better, pastels with a punch of colour if you want to play it safe.’

Invitation Innovation 

Susie, founder of wedding and event planning and styling company Knot & Pop tells us invites and name places are getting more creative… "Stationery always plays a key part in our designs and for 2018 we are seeing couples being more adventurous with the choice of material used. You don’t always need to think in ‘paper’. Fabric, perspex and natural elements such as stone and wood, can all be used to add a twist to the traditional paper stationery suite.” 

Cutting The Guest List 

Weddings are getting smaller. With couples opting to leave off relatives they haven’t seen for years, choosing more intimate gatherings with the people that matter most. This also cuts the wedding budget considerably, meaning extra cash saved to afford everything you really want.   

Destination Weddings That Embrace Local Culture


An easy way to make a destination wedding feel entirely new? "Embrace the local culture," said Lynn Easton, the planner behind Easton Events. "Exotic destinations for wedding celebrations will continue to trend in 2018 , especially in locations where you can get off the grid." The best part of these unique places are the local traditions and customs—like the Montenegro guitar procession, seen here—which makes incorporating them a must-try in 2018.

Going Back Indoors


2017 might have been the year of the outdoor wedding, but JZ Eventsfounder Jennifer Zabinski believes that couples will reclaim indoor spaces in the future. The types of venues at the top of these couple's lists, however, aren't your average banquet hall. "Industrial, loft-style spaces" and "rooftops or museums" will be venues of choice in 2018, she explained. With high ceilings and open space, they're just as airy as the great outdoors.

Textured Linens

Planners and brides are "taking cues from the runway" for linen inspiration, said Julie Savage Parekh of Strawberry Milk Events. "We'll see more laser-cut, illusion reception details in white and neutral tones," she explained. "Think lots of textured linens." Case in point? This laser-cut overlay from one of Parekh's recent projects, which brought an expected layer to a cream tablecloth.

 Marble Dance Floors

"Texture will reign supreme in 2018," said Calder Clark—even on the ground! "Our latest favorite is deploying Calacatta marble for a jaw-dropping dance floor," she explained. Just be sure to take an aerial photo to capture your guests twirling on the swirled marble.

 Colored Candles

There's no better way to add vintage romance to your big day than with statement candelabras. But Los Angeles event planner Mindy Weiss wants to give them an upgrade in 2018. "Instead of the standard white and ivory candles, couples are looking to add a splash of color," she said. "Colored candles on tablescapes or peppered throughout the event space are an easy way to add something unexpected to your décor."





Original Blog Credits:
http://www.bridesmagazine.co.uk/planning/receptions/reception-themes/2017/2018-wedding-trends/gallery#!photo1

https://www.marthastewartweddings.com/624928/new-wedding-trends-2018?slide=870234
Written By: Sarah Schreiber
 

Promise Rings for Valentine's Day


For those who are not quite ready to propose should consider giving their partner a promise ring on Valentine’s Day. There are many misconceptions of what a promise ring symbolizes, how much it may cost, and how it is supposed to be given. The Knot interviewed expert jewelers to demystify the meaning behind this post-modern, pre-matrimonial trend.

What Is a Promise Ring?


The definition of a promise ring varies between couples, but promise rings are widely used as a symbol of commitment. "The appeal of the promise ring is derived largely from the many meanings it can represent," says Kimberly Kanary, vice president of public relations and social media at Kay Jewelers. "While many couples use the symbol as a way to signify a future engagement, others simply wear the ring as a means of reflecting devotion to one another."

As the name suggests, promise rings signify that a promise is being made, but the meaning of a promise ring differs from couple to couple. At its most essential, it symbolizes a partner's love and commitment to the relationship. "You're promising yourself to each other," explains Brooke Brinkman, vice president of marketing and communications at Simon G. Jewelry, who received a promise ring from her now husband a year and a half before he proposed. While in Brinkman's case, the ring was a promise that an engagement would ensue, that's not always the case. "I often think of promise rings as similar to the mid-century tradition of a guy giving a girl his class ring or pin in high school," says Elizabeth Woolf-Willis, GG, AJP, marketing coordinator at Simon G. Jewelry. "Now it's more than just 'dating'—there's a physical symbol of the relationship to show the outside world." Brinkman has noticed that the rise in popularity of promise rings echoes a growing trend for couples to happily cohabit and/or marry later in life. While they may not be ready or wanting to commit to marriage, a promise ring shows that their commitment does extend beyond merely sharing bills.

History of Promise Rings


According to Brinkman, the idea of giving a ring as a promise of love and affection dates back several hundred years. Posy rings—so named because they were engraved with romantic poems—date back to 16th-century England, while Acrostic rings—spelling out a word in gemstones, for example, a ruby, emerald, garnet, amethyst, ruby and diamond spelling "regard"—were popular in the Georgian and Victorian eras.

It's only in the past decade that promise rings have become a mainstream trend, largely thanks to the publicity surrounding famous owners of such rings like the Jonas brothers and Miley Cyrus. Though, thanks to the young celebrities' public declarations—in 2008, Joe Jonas told Details that the brothers' rings symbolized "a promise to ourselves and to God that we'll stay pure till marriage"—promise rings became synonymous with purity rings. "Some people have gotten the terminology confused," Brinkman says. “When you talk about abstinence, and a ring given by a parent to a child, or to oneself, it's called a purity ring." Promise rings, on the other hand, are typically given as a token of commitment within the confines of a romantic relationship.

The tradition of wearing a ring to demonstrate loyalty and fidelity dates back to ancient times, says Brinkman, who states there's evidence that Roman brides wore engagement bands in the 2nd century BC. The reason they're typically worn on the ring finger of the left hand, she says, is because there's a vein that runs from that finger to the heart.

Promise Ring Etiquette

Although it doesn't carry the same levity of an engagement ring, a promise ring should not be treated lightly. "A promise ring should be given after a couple has dated for a significant amount of time—a year or more—to show how serious you are about the relationship," says Kelly McLeskey-Dolata, founder of Bay Area event planning and design company A Savvy Event.

In terms of style, anything goes when it comes to promise rings. Common themes include hearts, intertwined designs to commemorate the idea of a couple's union, Claddagh rings and eternity rings, as well as bands with a mosaic or composite of stones. "Engagement rings have such a sacred nature; promise rings are often viewed as more of a fashion piece," says Brinkman, who cautions against choosing a style that might compete with an engagement ring, if that's your eventual intention. "They both serve a purpose," Brinkman says. “You want to make sure they don't look the same—or even close." For ideas, browse The Knot roundup of promise rings you can buy now.

Unlike with engagement rings, there are no rules or guidelines around how much to spend on promise rings, but it's usually significantly less. At Simon G. Jewelry, promise rings typically range from $500 to $2,000; at Kay Jewelers, they range from $199 to $599. "Remember, most people purchasing promise rings are younger and don't have the financial means to be spending a lot of money," McLeskey-Dolata says.

There's also no right or wrong way to give a promise ring. It doesn't require the same "on bended knee" tradition as engagement rings, and they're most often given as a birthday, Valentine's or Christmas gift, McLeskey-Dolata says. A romantic dinner for two is sufficient to set the scene. "In the case of a promise ring, it's more of a conversation about the meaning behind it, and the promise that's being made," Brinkman explains. "Whereas for an engagement, the focus is on the ring and the 'moment.'"

Which finger does it go on? It's entirely up to the individual. Promise rings can be worn on any finger, Brinkman says, adding that they're sometimes even worn on a chain around the neck. But usually promise rings are worn on the ring finger of the left hand (if not married) or the right hand (if married).

While promise rings are intended to be a lifelong vow, we all know that things don't always go according to plan. Even if the pledge is rescinded, promise rings are not always returned. "It depends on the nature of the breakup," Brinkman says.

 


Original Blog Credit: https://www.theknot.com/content/what-is-a-promise-ring
Written By: Claire Coghlan

Work-Life Resolutions For the New Year



If I were to take a look at your goals for the new year would I discover “find work-life balance” amongst your resolutions? Now’s the time for a fresh start and to gain some tips on how to make that goal a reality. Our newest digital magazine includes five tips on having a life and making a living.

1. Go to Lunch 

Whether it's just 30 minutes or an hour, step away from your computer and phones every day to recharge. That doesn't mean grabbing lunch and eating it back at your desk, either. Take your meal outside to a picnic table or one of your favorite green areas, or plan to meet a friend at a restaurant. Whatever your lunch break looks like, make sure it is away from your desk so you can feel refreshed for the rest of the afternoon. 

2. Discover Your Work Passions
Everyone has tedious responsibilities in their job, the kinds of tasks that are saved until the last minute because they seem boring or like mountains to conquer. Break down the work into three smaller steps so you can make movement, cross the item off your list and get to the things in your job that you are truly passionate about every day. Think about what it is in your job that makes you happy to accomplish and talk with your colleagues and boss to see if there are ways you can increase those responsibilities. 

3. Find a Hobby
Maybe you love to cook, or you're interested in joining a book club or you want to try a new class at the gym. Go for it! Find activities that interest you outside of work and enjoy them with your family or look forward to making new friends. Filling your downtime with fun and investing in relationships. 

4. Get Active 
Even something as simple as taking a walk on your lunch break or getting in a run after dinner can have great benefits. Studies have shown that just 20 minutes a day can get the creative juices flowing and make you feel refreshed. 

5. Purge Social Media
Get ready to detox. When you're away from the office for the weekend or a vacation, make it a habit to store away your smartphone. Instead, focus on the real people and real conversations around you. At night, try adhering to no social media after dinnertime. 

These little things can make a huge impact in how you feel about yourself and your workload. Think of it as an investment in your future self and your ability to avoid a mental breakdown from stress. 




Original Blog Credit: https://www.uniquevenues.com/blog/work-life-resolutions-new-year

Haters Gonna Hate, So What Will You Do?


Haters are gonna hate, so let’s become proactive and figure out a response mechanism for responding to the haters.

1)   Follow Up: Review the hits and misses frequently. Have check-ins during the conference to make sure the group is set up for success. This means checking-in daily to see the win’s and loses during their conference that can be improved or praised.

2)   Conduct a debrief: While follow-up during the conference is important, it is also important to conduct a debrief. A debrief should consist of what worked well for the client, what staff made an impact, what communication was efficient, and how to improve for the future. Conducting the debrief immediately following the conference is a good idea because the successes and challenges are fresh on the minds of both the planner and the venue. Use that to your advantage.

3)   Take Action: Develop an action plan to combat complaints… EARLY. Check the surveys nightly or weekly to see if an issue can be addressed. Send a thank you if people write their name on the survey. Let them know you implemented their idea. This lets them know they have been heard but also gives you a win in implementing great ideas that will truly change the customer service for the better.

4)   Surveys: Conducting survey’s is only half the battle. You have to review the results and act on them. Share positive and negative comments with your staff. Make sure comments are shared with both the front line staff who check-in the guests as well as the food service staff who serve the chicken nuggets. This will let the staff across the board know how they are doing, feel appreciated, and work harder to improve for the coming weeks.

Overall, stop the haters in their tracks and give them positive experiences to talk about. Your venues are unique, so make a positive lasting impression on your clients.




Original blog credit goes to: https://www.uniquevenues.com/blog/lesson-3-customer-service-haters-gonna-hate-so-what-will-you-do
(Check out the rest of the series)

5 Tips for Engaging Millennial Event Attendees


Have you thought about who is attending your events? Ever wonder how to keep them engaged while learning in order to return to their offices with new ideas? We have a few ideas to keep your millennial event attendees engaged while creating a unique experience for all conference guests.
 
1. Break the Schedule: Allow time for networking. Millennials thrive from connection with other people so give them time in their schedule to make their own schedule. This gives attendees time to network or catch up on email from the day. This will leave them feeling more engaged and well connected with other attendees.
 
2. Take a cue from TedTalks: Shorten breakout sessions to 20 minutes or less. People are more inclined to pay attention in smaller bursts of time. This is also a cue from Twitter and Facebook how the millennial generation wants bite sized information in quick doses. Shorter sessions allow for these attendees to remain engaged.

3. Plan for the families: Attendees are bringing families to their meetings. Make them a welcomed distraction by scheduling family activities. Maybe you plan for on-site babysitters or provide a list of local attractions that families can check out during their spare time. This will make the conference a destination, increase bed nights, and ultimately increase attendance numbers.

4. Use and encourage Social Media: 
Millennials view experiences at live events as a valuable content to be shared with their online friends. Event professionals shall seize this trend and aim at creating tweetable moments that millennials might spread to their extended online communities. Create the event hashtag and promote it so the millennials can live-tweet and spread the word about your event to the non-onsite attendees. Set up the tweet walls onsite and incentify participation by offering small rewards.


5. Incorporate live polling: Majority of millennials are interested in being part of live polls during event sessions! They want to be an active part of the presentations – express their opinion, interact with speakers. They don’t want to be mere observers. By engaging millennial delegates with live polling during the presentations, presenters create a strong group experience that leaves the audience feeling like they all have been part of the event story.





Original blog content credit goes to: 
https://www.uniquevenues.com/blog/3-tips-engaging-millennial-event-attendees
https://blog.sli.do/5-things-millennials-expect-from-great-conferences/

 

The Pros & Cons of a Winter Wedding


THE PROS

1.  Nothing says dreamy like a fresh snowfall to amplify your already-perfect day. “When we’re lucky enough that it has snowed and everything is white, we love that any color palette just pops because the world has been neutralized. This goes for not just colors but for lighting too, you’re just turning it up a notch,” says Michelle Leo Cousins, Owner of Michelle Leo Events.

2. Options, isn’t that one of the most important factors for a successful wedding? We sure think so. Winter allows for endlessly rich dessert tables, hot cocoa bars, and copious amounts of comfort food. Your guests will not be leaving hungry or unsatisfied. 

3.  It’s also all in the details, because they make all the difference. Some might think that cool temperatures are limiting, but it really allows for additional creativity. If you want an outdoor winter ceremony, you can have one — you just need clear tents, portable heaters, and maybe some champagne right after you say, “I do!”

4. If fireplaces, candles, and dimmed lights are all you’ve dreamed about since you first got that ring on your finger, you can have all of them — and more. A winter wedding is the perfect place and time for calm, cozy, and casual details that you and your guests will enjoy together. 


5. Depending upon the specifics, it’s safe to say that you can save extra money when booking all your vendors for a winter wedding. It’s typically a slower time of the year, and what’s better than having leftover wedding budget money to start your marriage? 

THE CONS

1. If having a large attendance at your ceremony is a deal breaker for you, think about the holidays you are competing with. A Christmastime wedding can be absolutely gorgeous, but keep in mind that many of your guests could be traveling back home — in the opposite direction of your event — leaving you with a present in the mail rather than their physical presence.

2. “A challenge with winter weddings is booking them with enough notice so you can get invitations out a bit earlier than normal,” says Leo. If you want to have the best possible attendance in this season, getting your invites out before your friends book flights and commit to holiday parties is crucial.

3. Snow-focused venues are highly sought after and can be everything they’re dreamed to be, but they come with complications. “I absolutely adore winter weddings, I have one scheduled on Jan. 9 in Park City but am holding my breath that we don’t have a terrible storm,” Leo says, “It’s awful for vendors trying to get places and transportation for guests; adding snow can be a total game changer.” 

4. While there are many twists and touches winter weddings allow, there are only so many hours of daylight to utilize them all. Depending on the month and location of the ceremony, the sun sets fairly early, and the day needs to start — and end — much sooner. This can increase stress during planning and execution stages of the wedding as you’re trying to fit everything into a tight schedule. And if you're looking to party into the wee hours of the morning, you'll definitely want to look into hosting an after-party. 

5. Even though wedding dresses have tons of fabric and multiple layers, you’ll most likely need a second piece to add to your dress in order to stay warm. And finding the perfect jacket to go with your perfect gown can be a real headache. Not to mention, your poor bridesmaids will be freezing their tails off in your outdoor pictures — prepare them with tights and wraps to stay warm.  


Check out the original blog for the pros & cons of all seasons

Original blog: https://www.bridalguide.com/planning/the-details/season/pros-cons-wedding-season
Written by: Brianna Bailey

 

Guidelines for Searching for your Perfect Wedding Venue

Congratulations to those of you who are newly engaged after the holidays! Now it's time to get down to planning for that dream wedding of yours. Here are a couple thoughts to keep in mind when searching for a venue.

Choose your wedding date. "Wedding dates can be significant for a variety of reasons; some couples choose to wed on the day they met, their parents' or grandparents' anniversary date, or for auspicious reasons that numbers have in their culture or religion. Others may pick a specific time of year and season but not a specific day," says Margo Fischer from Bright Occasions. If you can be flexible with your date and choose an off-season month, you’ll often be able to secure the venue of your dreams at a lower rate. For example, you'd likely pay less for a Friday wedding in February than you would for a Saturday in June. Time of year, day of the week, and your engagement length will all impact your negotiating leverage with vendors.

Since dates can book up quickly at popular venues, call around to check on date availability before going to see places in person. (If you're not getting married on-site, a good rule of thumb is to check in with your place of worship first before booking the reception venue.)

Email or call prospective venues to schedule official walk-throughs with representatives who can answer all of your questions (come prepared with a pen and paper to take notes). If possible, try to make arrangements to visit the site when it's set up for a wedding. This way, you'll be able to assess the size of your reception area once all of the tables, DJ or band equipment, sweetheart table, and any other necessary components are set up. The event-planning team at Gramercy Mansion recommends, "Don't bring your entire family for an initial site visit. While it's great to have feedback from parents and your maid of honor, limit the first appointment to just you and your fiancé (and a planner, if you have one). Venue selection is a very personal choice, and it sets the tone for your entire event."

Don't book the first venue you see. You may want to get it over with, but trust me. Select at least three places that may be a good fit for your budget and style; then write down the pros and cons of each one. I promise it will make the process easier and more fun!" Kolanović-Šolaja says. Plus, getting quotes from multiple venues will ensure that you're getting a good value.

Take photos and videos on your cell phone of the elements you liked and disliked at each venue.
(If you're visiting multiple locations over the course of a few days, it helps to take a photo of the sign/exterior of each venue so that you don't accidentally get them jumbled up.)

Ask for referrals. Many venues have great relationships with past clients who would be more than happy to let you know about their experiences. Ask about the service — was anyone difficult to work with? Or did they go above and beyond to ensure the event was a smashing success? How was the food? Was there anything they wish they would have done differently?

Consider how guests will get from Point A to Point B. "Transportation and parking vary depending on whether you're getting married in a city or out in the country, whether the ceremony and reception will take place at the same venue, and whether guests are local or it's a destination wedding," Fischer says. If the venue you're considering doesn't offer overnight accommodations, research nearby hotels or inns, including how much they cost and whether they have enough rooms available. Is there on-site parking for guests at the venue, and if so, is it free or will you cover any fees? Is there nearby off-site parking, such as street parking or garages? If parking isn't readily available, are there valet options that you can provide for local guests (some venues charge extra for this) or will you need shuttle buses and/or limos for the bridal party?

Since weather can be unpredictable, it's crucial to have a contingency plan for an outdoor wedding. Before booking, ask what the plan is and walk through it with them. Make sure that you like the backup spaces in the event of inclement weather; if you don't, then you may want to consider another venue or hiring a planner to help out along the way.

Determine if there are any vendor restrictions. "Preferred" vendors are usually businesses vetted by the venue who work there often and know all the ins and outs of the spaces. "Some venues have strict policies on vendors and you may not be allowed to use the planner you wanted to work with or the photographer you already booked. Other establishments may use this list to suggest businesses they like to work with but ultimately allow couples to bring in other vendors," Fischer says. (More than likely, all the venue will need is proof of liability insurance from the vendor.) Have an open dialogue with your venue and go a step further to find out why they are "preferred." Is it because the vendor has experience working at the venue, or did they pay to be on the list strictly as marketing? "If it's the latter, you may want to search other vendors," Kolanović-Šolaja says

If the venue offers catering in-house, find out if you can do a tasting before the wedding. Consider bringing your parents along to get their opinions, and keep your guests' tastes in mind in addition to your personal favorites. You'll also need to make the venue aware of any special dietary restrictions. Drink preferences may come into play as well: Are you and your guests connoisseurs of the vine, or are craft beers more up your alley? There's no need to break the bank on a premium bar if you won't be pouring fancy cognacs and vodkas.

When negotiating, it's easier to work with a substitution than to deduct from the bottom line. For example, if you don't want an ice sculpture that's part of the venue package, perhaps you can ask the venue to remove it and add something else instead. "Most importantly, remember to be kind and thoughtful when you ask to negotiate anything. A grateful heart will give back to you in many ways," Kolanović-Šolaja says.

Don't get pressured into signing right away. If a venue has your desired date open, but you aren't ready to book, ask if they can place a soft hold or give you a courtesy call if someone else is interested in your date. (Some places may charge a small deposit fee to hold your wedding date if you haven't signed a contract yet, which is usually taken off the final bill.) Take a few days to talk it over with your fiancé and make sure that your financials are doable in the time frame that you have.


Check Out More Tips (Credit Goes to): https://goo.gl/RpE6G1 
Written By: Stefania Sainato


 

Managing Difficult Clients from a Meeting Planner Perspective

Original Blog Credit: http://bit.ly/2zoTrRS
By: Todd
 
Let’s face it: meeting planning is a service-oriented business, so there will be times when you will encounter a difficult client. Although 90% of your clients will likely be wonderful, it’s how you handle the other 10% that will determine whether or not you will become a successful meeting planner. Solving difficult problems and managing challenging situations are simply part of the job. Whether you have a know-it-all client or a client who keeps changing their mind, we wanted to offer you a few suggestions to successfully manage these and other difficult clients.
 
Be a Good Listener

The best thing you can do is to listen closely to what the client says and take notes. Ask a lot of questions and repeat their answers to them, so everyone is on the same page. Many meeting planners email their notes to their clients as well, which not only provides assurance that they heard them correctly, but provides them with a record they can go back to. If they change their mind or say they wanted something different, you can at least have these notes available.
 
Set Your Own Ground Rules

Although you work for the client, the relationship must be professional at all times. The best way to establish boundaries is to set up basic ground rules up front. For example, you might want to establish a cut-off time for which the client can call you. How many meeting planners out there have been woken up by a frantic midnight call from a client about something that could have easily been handled in the morning? In most cases, the client will accept these rules – especially if you’re able to deliver.
 
Anticipate What They’re Going to Want Next

The best meeting planners will be able to read a difficult client, notice specific behavioral patterns, and anticipate what they’ll want next. For example, if your client is concerned about finding meeting locations, present them with a list of venues that coincide with what they said in previous discussions before they ask for it. By providing solutions before you’re even asked, you’ll be better able to win the client over.
 
Know When to Walk Away

The truth is that some clients simply won’t work out no matter what you do. It is easier to sever an agreement before a contract is signed and the wheels of the project start to go into motion. In your initial discussions with a potential client, assess if you believe you will be able to work together. In many cases, you will even if it will be difficult. However, in some cases, the best thing for both of you will be to suggest someone else to plan the meeting. 
 

Effective Ways to Make Your Event More Interactive

Original Blog Credit: http://bit.ly/2z51vGW
By: Todd 


When planning a conference in your industry, there will be many different factors that will figure into its success. Some are obvious. You’ll want to choose an event venue that has enough space for all attendees, speakers, and vendors. The location should have ample lodging for out-of-town guests, and it should have a variety of dining options too. The event will need to include thought leaders in the industry, relevant vendors that offer products and services attendees will be interested in, and a variety of attractions that will keep everyone engaged.

So how can event organizers facilitate active engagement? To answer this question, we thought it would be a good idea to cite some tips that some of the leading marketers have written about recently. In order for an event to be successful, organizers will not only have to promote interactivity during the event, but in the months before and after it as well. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind from the experts themselves:
 
Engagement Begins Before the Event Even Starts
 
Thomas Pauly wrote a blog post for Certain.com that discussed how event planners and marketers should consider what they do before an event as this will influence how excited people are. He suggests that those in charge of marketing and planning should first construct a blog post to introduce people to the event. This allows prospective attendees to learn important event information and begin sharing that info with others. Another way, he writes, to create engagement pre-event is by starting up a hashtag that can serve as a hub for content about the event. Finally, organizers should keep room design in mind to promote engagement and encourage participation. 

Facilitate Stronger Audience Interaction
 
The basic PowerPoint presentation is not going to cut it in 2017. Audiences are looking to be wow’d. sli.do audience specialists suggest that event organizers hire a professional moderator to keep things flowing and act as the go-between for speakers and audience members. Another point to consider is eliminating the presentation altogether and, instead, going with a Q&A and interview session. Finally, some event organizers are increasing audience interaction by using tools that gather questions so there is never an awkward pause during a Q&A. Collaborative post-presentation sessions are also becoming increasingly popular as they enable audience members to participate and discuss what they heard and saw.

Continue the Conversation after the Event

Once the conference is over, the discussion doesn’t have to end. Jenny Stanfield writes in EventManagerBlog about the importance of keeping the excitement and conversation going after the event. Organizers can make sure the event goes on by applying parts of the discussion to social media and creating a Google Hangout or informal meet-ups inspired by the main event. Stanfield also suggests that organizers create a contest pertaining to the event, asking participants to talk about what they liked and how they used what they learned in their own profession. 
 

10 Wedding Photos You Must Have


Everything you've heard is true: Your wedding day comes and goes so quickly. That's why preparation is key. Once you nail down your photographer (do this 9-11 months in advance!), it's time to start thinking about your shot list. While your photographer will guide you on the moments they plan on capturing, it's important to know exactly what you want too. After all, you'll want to keep these memories intact with the perfect photo album. Get ready for your close-up by taking a look at these pretty picture ideas you might want to include.
 
1. Ring Shot



2. Glam Squad



3. Hair Moment



4. Moments before the First Look



5. Ceremony Views



6. Escort Cards



7. Centerpieces



8. First Dance



9. The Cake



10. 4-Legged Party Members



Check out the Original Blog "26 Must-Have Wedding Photos You Don't Want to Miss" here: https://www.theknot.com/content/must-have-wedding-photos

Written by Amanda Casertano

 

Tips to Feel and Look Confident


 
Speaking in front of a large crowd, interviewing for a reputable company, meeting the parents for the first time, are all extremely nerve-wracking experiences. No matter how much we prepare ourselves, sometimes we just crumble under the pressure and feel helpless. Fortunately, there are ways to convince others and even yourself that you are confident, prepared, and genuine. Listed below are some body language cues that can help yourself and others believe you are fearless.
 

 
1. Prepare yourself by looking in the mirror and practicing dominant poses
 

Push your shoulders back, stand up straight, lift your chin up and give yourself a pep talk in the mirror. These gestures have been proved to physiologically impact you and can give you the extra boost for reassurance right before an intimidating interview or speech.
 
2. Eye contact
 
 
It is important to make eye contact with your audience whether it be one person or a hundred people. Looking at your shoes or staring at the clock can disengage and distract the audience. Friendly eye contact can show that you’re effortlessly confident and make the situation less awkward and more enjoyable.

3. Use hand gestures and don’t fidget

Fidgeting not only distracts your audience but also shows your anxious tendencies. It’s hard to stop chewing on your lip, shaking your leg, putting your hands in and out of your pocket but these are signs that clearly show lack of confidence. To prevent these nervous habits from exposing your insecurities during an interview, practice hand gestures. Don’t overwhelm your audience with excessive hand gestures as that can lead to distract them. Using a moderate amount and necessary amount of hand gestures from time to time can help engage your audience and portray enthusiasm.

4. Smile
 
Depending on the situation, smiling can help communicate to your audience that you are comfortable in your own skin and happy to be there. Practice your smile in the mirror and try to be as genuine as possible.

5. Speak at a comfortable pace
 
Speaking fast is a common nervous habit. However, this is one of the easier ones to fix with minimal practice. Speaking slow helps the audience understand more clearly but it can also help you think more thoroughly as well. Taking pauses when you’ve been speaking at a moderate pace can help you retract thoughts without seeming awkward.

7 Honeymoon Locations to Consider

Honeymoons come in all shapes and sizes and are based more on the couple's joint personality than on tradition. This list is just a snapshot of 10 of the world's hottest honeymoon destinations, from sunny beaches to snowcapped mountains and even fairy-tale theme parks.
1. Camino Real Acapulco Diamante

 
Once the honeymoon destination for John and Jackie Kennedy, Acapulco is still a popular place for newlyweds celebrating their new life together. Temperatures hover in the 80s throughout the year, and the warm water is ideal for swimming and snorkeling. As if that's not enough to tempt you, the prices in Acapulco are affordable and can allow for an unforgettable honeymoon even on a tight budget. The Camino Real offers well-designed rooms overlooking the private Pichilingue Beach, as well as fine dining and a variety of activities. The hotel's convenient location allows guests to appreciate the clubs of Acapulco by night and the natural beauty of the beaches by day.
 
2. The Bellagio Hotel

So maybe you didn't escape to Las Vegas to elope, but who says you can't celebrate your nuptials in this hot destination? Vegas is an ideal place for newlyweds looking for an action-packed and exciting honeymoon that still allows for the option of being pampered, all for a reasonable price. The Bellagio Hotel offers fine accommodations and a fun nightlife, plus gourmet dining, stunning gardens, an elaborate pool complex, a first-class spa and even fine art on display. Las Vegas' romantic side is undeniable, and the whirlwind of available activities is sure to provide an unforgettable vacation.
3. Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

Prefer to spend this precious time with your honey making snow angels rather than slathering on sunscreen? Situated on the edge of the glacier-fed Lake Louise, the Fairmont Chateau offers an abundance of winter sports, creating a heavenly honeymoon haven for snow bunnies. The wide variety of winter activities includes downhill and cross-country skiing, as well as snowshoeing, ice skating and even dogsledding. Guests can get pampered in the hotel's spa and then set off for a romantic sleigh ride into the wilderness. The idyllic lake setting makes the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise a popular honeymoon spot even in the warmer months, when guests can take advantage of the resort's outdoor activities, which include horseback riding, white-water rafting and hiking
4. Amankila

Even savvy world travelers can find fresh and enchanting destinations to celebrate a new life together — it just may require some more time onboard. One such spot is tucked away on the island of Bali in Indonesia. Amankila translates to "peaceful hill," and this popular resort meets the expectations of its name. Overlooking the Lombok Strait in East Bali, the Amankila offers stunning views of the sea and a lovely 3-tiered pool. A day away from the resort promises an experience of rich culture steeped in religious tradition at one of the island's 10,000 temples
 
5. The St. Regis Florence

If it's romance you're looking for, a trip to Florence, Italy, guarantees starry eyes, hearty meals, amazing art and much more. Like a room with a view? Housed in a former 18th-century palace overlooking the Arno River, the St. Regis Florence is oozing with Florentine culture. Rooms are still fit for royalty, decorated with frescoes and marble. The hotel is ideally situated near the picture-worthy Duomo cathedral, the splendid Uffizi Gallery and the shops at Ponte Vecchio. This need not be the only stop on a Mediterranean adventure, and many honeymooners may choose to travel on to other Italian hot spots, such as Rome, Venice and the Amalfi Coast.
 
6. Caneel Bay Resort

Located in the 5,000-acre Virgin Islands National Park, Caneel Bay Resort is surrounded by 7 beaches and offers a wide range of pampering and activities. A visit to Honeymoon Beach is a must for all lovebirds. Some rooms have ocean views and patios that open right onto the beach, while the resort's most extravagant lodging option is a private cottage. Daytime entertainment includes relaxing on the beach, scuba diving, kayaking and taking yoga-for-2 classes. The food is top-notch, and the Beach Terrace offers the highly praised grand buffet on Monday nights
7. Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa

Nestled on a powder-white beach and a crystal-blue lagoon, Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa invites newlyweds to revel in post-wedding privacy in bungalows perched above the water on high stilts. Take a romantic dip or snorkel anytime right from the swimming platform. And with full views of the lagoon, you can catch a surreal sunrise without leaving your room. Couples can relax and be pampered at the resort’s Hina Spa, which overlooks the lagoon with breathtaking panoramic views.


Check out the full and original blog here: http://www.travelchannel.com/interests/romance-and-honeymoons/articles/top-10-honeymoon-destinations

Written by: Valerie Conners
 

Don't Ignore Your 30th Birthday



Turning 30 is a dreadful moment for most adults. You’re no longer in your twenties but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. No one can change how you feel about your 30th birthday, but you can! So here are some ways you can celebrate it to make this birthday experience a bit less miserable.


When you turn 30 and start thinking about everything you haven’t accomplished, stop yourself and think about everything you have accomplished and what you still wish to accomplish. Everyone has a bucket list and whether it be skydiving, traveling, buying that car or handbag you’ve always wanted, just do it. Your 30th birthday should be about reflection and change.



Whether you’re feeling happy or sad about the big 30, no one regrets contributing to charity work. Helping individuals and watching your efforts positively impact people’s lives is unforgettable. Invite your friends to celebrate your 30th birthday doing charity work. It’ll have you all leaving with a positive attitude and experience.




Sometimes you just need time to accept the change. Invite all your friends over for a pajama party with some junk food, beer, and old movies. Stay up all night talking about all your hilariously crazy life experiences and memories. Enjoying a night like this with all your loved ones is necessary every once in a while.



Maybe it's best you don't pick up your old college habits of reckless partying, but wine tastings are a great way to stay classy and still have a fun and wild time with your friends. Rent a chauffeur for the day, so you're a responsible adult living up to the expectations of a truly thirsty thirty birthday.


Credit: https://www.ranker.com/list/30th-birthday-ideas/samantha-dillinger

 

5 Trending Wedding Dresses for Spring 2017

Like many other trends, wedding dresses also have trends that come and go. Keep scrolling to see which hot trends are staying for Spring 2017.

1. Bridal Capes

If veils just aren't your thing, then give bridal capes a try. Wear the cape for your ceremony and whisk it away to reveal a different look for your reception.  

2. High Collars

Is it a surprise high collar wedding dresses are back in when turtle necks and mock necks have been trending? Certainly not a coincidence! An updo perfectly complements this high collar trend.

3. Deep V Necklines


Deep V-Neckline dresses not only elongates your frame but also flatters your upper body. Ladies, this ultra-feminine look is a must-try.

4. Streamer Sleeves


Want to draw more attention to you and your dress on your special day? Consider wearing a wedding dress with streamer sleeves. The movement of the sleeves when walking down the aisle will guarantee every eye on you.

5. Bows


Need an over-the-top feminine detail? Make a dramatic exit with a large bow on your train, or add some structure and accentuate your waist with a bow sash.

 
Original Source:  https://www.theknot.com/content/bridal-fashion-week-spring-2017-trends
Written by: Shelley Brown

 

Need Help Deciding Who Makes the Wedding Guest-List Cut?



 
Wedding planning can become extremely stressful. In fact, if you’re in the middle of planning a wedding as you’re reading this, there are probably hundreds of possible disastrous scenarios running through your mind right about now. Since there already is enough to stress about when it comes to planning a wedding, let’s discuss how you can avoid inviting everyone you know in an effort to please them.

The reality of your guest list is that it is nearly impossible to please everyone. There are many complications that may come with the guest list. Some couples receive financial support from their parents, which allow their parents to invite a certain percentage of guests to the wedding. If that’s the case, try to focus on the number of guests you and your fiancé can invite.

Here are 5 questions you can consider when deciding whether this person makes the guest cut list:

1. Would you be offended if you weren’t invited to this person’s wedding?

2. Have you talked to this person in the past year?

3. Would not inviting this person do more harm than good?

4. Are you inviting this person just to make someone else happy? (And is that someone else worth it?)

5. What will the long-term repercussions be if you don’t invite this person?

Think these guidelines through and make the best decision you and your fiancé can make. After you ask yourself these questions, you should be able to see if this person is worth inviting. In the end of the day, this is a special day for you two. The main focus should not be how happy everyone else is. What matters most is that this wedding day is exactly as you imagined it to be.
 
Check out the original article: https://withjoy.com/blog/wedding-guest-list-tips/

Reshaping Event Planning with Technology Trends


There’s no question that technology has changed the way we do many things in life. Meeting and event planning is no exception. I’m sure you can imagine just how much of an impact technology has made on event planning. Here are some specific and technical changes in the professional meeting and event planning.

Crowd Streaming:
 Crowd streaming is basically live-streaming on a large scale. Five years ago, it would have been very difficult for individuals to broadcast their experiences at an event. This is no longer the case as you can see. You can now crowd stream to people all over the world through various mobile apps, such as Facebook live, Snapchat, Periscope, and more. It allows your event to be seen from the perspective of the attendee, adding a level of authenticity. Encourage your guests to crowd stream and spotlight your event.

RFID Technology: Radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology uses radio waves to track and identify objects. It is frequently used in inventory management. However, it is also used in a wide variety of other applications, including event planning. Everything from registration and check-in’s to social media engagement and contest sign-ups can all be done using RFID technology. Event planners can also use RFID technology for quantitative and qualitative data analysis to determine what works and what might need improvement for future events.

Event Apps:
 The days of the thick event binder could be in the past very soon. More event planners are using event apps to present itineraries, panel information, speaker bios, and more in a convenient manner on one’s phone or tablet. I’m sure you’ve had a glimpse of this if you’ve utilized event planning on Facebook even for a simple and small friend gathering. However, it’s important to know that these apps can be expensive so they must provide use to guests after the event is over to realize their full value.

Wearable Technology and Virtual Reality:
 Wearable technology is already well-known to the public, but we are only starting to see the benefits event planners experience using it. Wearable technology can be used for everything from registration and facial recognition to food and beverage selection, completely changing the logistics of an event. Virtual reality booths are a cool way to present information and provide answers to questions attendees might have.

If you found this content interesting head on over to Uniquevenues.com to read more about venues that can accommodate these needs.

Original Source: https://www.uniquevenues.com/blog/what-are-some-technology-trends-are-reshaping-event-planning
 

Engagement Rings For Dummies


Just like us humans, engagement rings come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes. Trying to understand every aspect of all the rings that exist and is yet to exist, may take too long .  So let us run through the basics of “Choosing a Diamond” that everyone should know when shopping for an Engagement ring. Are you excited? You should be!

Briefly listed below are the 5 general steps to buy the perfect ring. For more in depth information about each step, visit the source of this article, brilliantearth.com, linked at the bottom.

5 Steps to Buy the Perfect Ring:

 
1. Set a Budget
2. Choose a Diamond (Keep reading to learn about this step)
3. Select a Ring
4. Metal Options
5. Find Ring Size
 
RING SHAPES
NOTE: it may be helpful to know that round diamonds are by far the most popular choice due to their incredible brilliance, fire, and light performance. Round brilliant diamonds make up about three-quarters of all diamond purchases, and offer maximum sparkle.

The 4 C’s
 
Carat:  Many people start with size, as this is the most visually apparent aspect of a diamond. Keep in mind that a carat is actually a unit of weight, but it can be used as an approximation for the size of a diamond. You may find the measurements of a diamond another useful indication of the actual dimensions, as seen face up.


 
Cut: The most important quality characteristic of a round brilliant diamond is the cut, which impacts the brilliance, fire, and scintillation of the diamond. With round brilliant diamonds, the cut is easy to assess because it is formally graded by independent diamond laboratories. For other diamond shapes, the cut is much more subjective. Cut grades, if given, are more arbitrary. For engagement rings, we typically recommend round brilliant diamonds with a cut grade of very good, ideal, or super ideal. Choosing a high cut grade maximizes the beauty of a diamond for a given carat weight.


 
Color: most people prefer a colorless or white diamond, or at least a color that is not very detectable to the untrained eye. With engagement rings, the most common color grade selection for the center diamond is F-H color.
 
 
Clarity: Clarity is usually the characteristic determined last, given it has the least impact on a diamond’s appearance. Some diamonds graded “SI2” or “SI1” do have visible inclusions, but at Brilliant Earth we will contact you if the diamond you have chosen has an inclusion that we can see with the naked eye. Many Brilliant Earth customers choose the “VS2” or “SI1” clarity grades for the center diamond of their engagement ring. A few customers for whom clarity is important go as high as the “IF” or the “VVS” clarity grades.
After learning about the 4 C's, the engagement ring shopping should be much smoother. Although there are more factors involved in deciding on the perfect ring than just choosing the diamond, the metal options are less complex and or difficult to understand.
 
Original Source: https://www.brilliantearth.com/how-to-buy-an-engagement-ring/

5 Spooktacular Reasons to Propose on Halloween


Halloween is a day full of mystery and surprise, but the ultimate surprise just may be a proposal. If your partner adores Halloween, and by that I mean, he or she starts putting up Halloween decorations in September, loves to watch all the scary movies that exist, and enjoys eating chicken fingers that look like actual bloody fingers, a proposal on Halloween may be the way to go. Now many of you are probably wondering how a proposal on Halloween could be successful; so here are five reasons proposing on Halloween shouldn’t be an underrated move.
 
 
1. Your partner won’t expect it

As long as you’re not too nervous and unconsciously dropping too many subtle hints that the proposal is coming, your partner is probably too busy preparing for Halloween that the thought of a proposal will completely slip his or her mind. Not many people hear about proposals happening on Halloween and that’s because it is secretly the best way to do it. Proposing on a jumbo screen at a sports game is nice but there are probably at least 50 people in the audience thinking this may be their potential proposal.



2. It’s easy to dress for the occasion

One of the best reasons to be in a relationship on Halloween is for the couple costumes; they are so entertaining and adorable. Dress up as your favorite celebrity couple, or your favorite Disney prince and princess, or food pairings that will always go well together. What better proposal pic than to be dressed that you’re obviously perfect for each other!



3. The proposal ideas are endless

Finding a ring in your champagne glass or biting into your cake can be exciting and romantic, but for true Halloween fans, spelling out the big question in lighted carved pumpkins, zombies serenading your partner, or scary dolls screaming out the question in unison just might make your partner laugh, cry, and scream all at the same time. A proposal is always going to be heartwarming and exciting but wouldn’t it be a little more adventurous to invoke a little bit of fear and laughter to it?
 
 
4. Now you’re right on time for Holiday Cards

Now that you’re engaged to the love of your life, (hooray!) you’ll be right on time to send your families and loved ones the ultimate hilariously cheesy holiday cards.  You’ve only got three weeks until Thanksgiving and only a month after that until Christmas, so you two better get busy mailing those delightful cards.
 
 
5. The holiday you two loved just got more lovable

Halloween was already a day of joy and thrill for you two and you probably couldn’t have imagined it getting any better. Well, no need for imagining, because the love of your life said yes to spending the rest of his or her life with you on this glorious holiday revolving around monsters and the souls of the dead.
 

How to Hire a Quality Keynote Speaker


Picture: https://www.missioalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/keynote-speaker.jpg
Original Blog: http://blog.events.com/event-planning/how-to-hire-a-quality-keynote-speaker
Written By: Sarah Hovis

If we’re honest, a huge selling point when figuring out whether or not to attend a conference depends on who the keynote speaker will be. As a planner, when hiring your keynote speaker, what you can afford will factor in to your decision. That being said, you should also:

Look at the role the speaker will have in your conference (e.g., motivational/inspirational or trend expert).
Think about why you’re hiring a keynote speaker and the results you’d like to achieve (e.g., educate, promote awareness, or inform/entertain).

Forbes.com contributor Micah Solomna asked Dr. Nick Morgan, one of America’s top communication theorists and coaches for his advice on how to hire a quality keynote speaker.

Mistakes to Avoid
Scheduling keynotes during a meal—or right after one. The meal and the speaker should never be in competition for the attendee’s attention.

Asking to see the keynote’s presentation ahead of time and then distributing it to your attendees. Keep an element of surprise!

Best Practices to Keep in Mind
Add a dynamic emcee or host (Note: this person is not your keynote speaker) to interact with the audience throughout the day, create opportunities for interaction, and ensure that things don’t fall between the cracks.

Build in some breaks. Think of how much more you can accomplish if you create networking opportunities outside of mealtime.  

Booking and Fees

Book your speakers at least six months out. That gives you a better chance of getting quality speakers you can adequately promote.

Fees will vary by speaker. For example: a published author could cost anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000 or more, while a New York Times bestselling author is $40,000 and up. And always remember that travel expenses are additional. One final piece of advice for planners: don’t try to nickel-and-dime the speakers. Think of what you’re spending on the venue, food and drinks, rooms, etc., and you’ll understand why trying to shave off a few dollars from the speaker’s fee is counterproductive.
 

The 5 Wedding Menu Rules Every Couple Should Follow


Written by Lauren Rodrigue;
Wedding Wire https://www.weddingwire.com/wedding-ideas/wedding-menu-rules
Photo: https://img1.etsystatic.com/138/1/11298940/il_fullxfull.1008794715_nvuj.jpg

Wardrobe, florals, invitations, first dance…all of these are amazing ways to let your and your partner’s true personalities shine through at your wedding. But did you know your wedding menu is another amazing way to showcase your great taste on your big day? (Pun intended!) An artfully curated wedding menu can expertly exude who you both are while also pleasing the diverse preferences of your guests and be totally memorable—but beware, making your wedding reception food too personal might be off-putting to some guests.

There’s a way to find a balance between pleasing your guests and catering to your own tastes—here’s some advice on creating an amazing wedding menu.

Offer options.

Keep in mind that your wedding menu should reflect your tastes and preferences, not cater solely to them—after all, your wedding food is more or less a gift to your guests to thank them for taking the time to come celebrate you and your partner. It isn’t all about you—so even if you’re both die-hard vegetarians, you should still offer an option for carnivores, since you’ll likely have many in attendance. If one of you has a certain intolerance, like gluten, it’s totally OK to offer wedding food ideas that are gluten- (or whatever-) free, but there’s no need to craft a completely gluten free menu (your caterers should know how to handle preparing food for people with intolerances safely and securely—make sure you talk this over with them in detail before you sign the contract!). Work with your caterers to let your wedding menu highlight your preferences, rather than be steamrolled by them—for example, if you’re vegetarian, let the vegetarian dish take top billing and offer something meat-oriented as a second choice.

Stay grounded.

Maybe you and your partner are total foodies, but that doesn’t mean that your whole wedding menu should be made up of items no one on your guest list has never heard of before. Besides celebrating love, people go to weddings for two things: food and fun (“fun” being the open bar, usually…). Regardless of your exotic tastes, you shouldn’t make the “food” part a struggle for your guests to get through—not everyone is excited by escargot or thinks truffle foam is #dinnergoals. Further, if people will be doing a lot of drinking, the food should be substantial enough to soak up all that liquor, and super-fancy food that half the guest list is afraid of won’t make the cut. Instead, share with your caterers that you and your partner love adventurous eating and would like to incorporate that creatively (and sparingly) into your wedding menu. The safest places to do so would be during cocktail hour or as sides during dinner. That way, you can have some delicious classics alongside more unique picks, and everyone can get their fill how they like, while maybe trying one or two new things they’ve never tasted before. Remember, really well-made, thoughtful, simple food never goes out of style, so when in doubt, don’t put trendiness over time-tested favorites.

Be realistic about timing.

Love the idea of a super-late dinner? Or a super drawn-out one that takes up most of your reception? Maybe you want food to be the main event because you and your partner love food as much as you love one another (or, almost as much), but it’s important to be thoughtful and courteous of your guests when it comes to figuring out the scheduling of your cocktail hour and meal. The bottom line is, wedding guests become hangry very easily. As is expected, as they’re essentially beholden to you as their only source of food and hydration for an eight hour block of time! You can expect much from a wedding guest—like asking them to stand in the rain and still be happy to watch you exchange vows, or dance like no one’s watching in 100,000-degree weather—but you cannot expect them to wait till 11pm to eat when they’ve had nothing but canapes at 3pm and champagne… since. So, time things kindly. Want a late dinner? Have a second round of passed appetizers between cocktail hour and the main event to tide people over. Or have your full dinner at regular dinnertime, then offer a fun late-night meal for those still partying and in need of refueling. If you’re thinking of a lengthy, many-course experience for dinner, start a little earlier so servers aren’t plating food while people are going crazy to "Uptown Funk" on the dance floor. Fine dining and wedding dancing just don’t mix, and it’s not fun for guests to have to switch gears between dancing and dining to avoid FOMO.

Make the wedding reception food fit the mood.

So, you were dying to have a ballroom wedding, but you’re also dying to have a pizza truck cater it. My first piece of advice is “do whatever you want,” but if you’re really concerned with guest experience, it may behoove you to try and make the fare match the venue a little more closely. Guests showing up to a formal wedding are expecting—and dressed for—a formal dinner. Likewise, guests attending a rustic barn wedding probably are expecting something a little more low key and casual (and don’t necessarily want a fine dining experience fit a Michelin star restaurant). The best caterers today are creative and innovative, and can take your inspiration—whatever it is—and make it fit your venue, as long as you’re clear about what you want and have vision. Love the idea of pizza at your formal affair? Ask your caterer to serve fancy flatbreads as a starter. Want to dial up the elegance of your menu at your camp wedding without making it feel out of place? Explore classics with a modern, refined twist.

Set the right scene.

A quick anecdote for this one—my now-husband and I devised an amazing wedding menu with our caterer that I’m still proud of a year out from our wedding (maybe I should move on? I dunno). I felt it fit our personalities perfectly, and our rustic venue, too—there was a local salad, fried chicken, tomato pie, and more. Everything was delicious, and everyone raved about it! The one thing that didn’t work? The bamboo utensils I selected based purely on appearance, which cracked in half as people attempted to cut their crispy chicken, and were totally useless for picking up tender salad greens! Looking back, we all laugh at the cacophony of fork-snapping sounds that accompanied our amazing dinner, but also, I totally regret putting style over substance when it came to picking out our table settings. The truth is, you can plan a masterful wedding menu, but if you let your vision take over and aren’t strategic about the servingware and settings you provide, or renting enough of whatever you need, or even the way you seat tables (i.e., making sure not to cram people together!), your guests’ dining experience can be compromised. Which means that food you put so much thought into? Totally overshadowed. The best way to make sure this won’t happen is to talk over your dinnerware, servingware and table setup ideas with your caterer—after all, who better to ask how their food should be served?—then let their insights guide the choices you make. (Rather than letting your Pinterest board guide you.)



 
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