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


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

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

Here's what you should put on your invitation

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

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

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

Here's what you should put on the outer envelope

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

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

Here's what should go on the reply card

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

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

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

Here's what goes on the reply envelope

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





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

5 Event Planning Pitfalls to Avoid

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

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

Lack of innovation


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

No attendee engagement

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

Forgetting social

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

Failing to “wow” your attendees

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

Ignoring event tech

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

Thanks to CVent for great information!

5 Tips for Drama-Free Bridesmaid Dress Shopping


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

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

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

1. Shop Around

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

2. Narrow Your Styles

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

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

4. Come Prepared

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

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

5. Enjoy the Moment

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




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

Easy Ways to RSVP to a Corporate Event


If you are in the process of planning a large-scale corporate event, you will probably welcome just about anything that will help to streamline the process and ensure that things run smoothly.

One of the biggest areas of concern for event planners tends to be the matter of sending out invites and keeping track of who is coming, as well as making sure that everyone who has signed up for it is kept up to date about where, when and how.

Thanks to the large number of free online invitation and registration tools, this process has been greatly simplified. Such tools allow organizers to collect accurate headcounts, compile information about the attendees, keep everyone updated and keep a detailed database of all-important information.

The following are some of the highest rated online registration options that will work well for your corporate event. Keep in mind, however, that if your needs are more sophisticated you may want to opt for a more expensive, but thorough tool.

Google Calendar

Google Calendar is a simple yet effective event planning tool. Event planners can create a date on their calendar; add a name, description, time and any other necessary information, after which it can be sent out by email.

The good thing about using Google tools is that it allows anyone to RSVP, even if they don’t use Google services, such as Gmail. If you wish to give others permission to edit the invite or add more people to the list, they will need to sign up for Google Calendar.

Although the event management tools are somewhat limited, since it all goes through email, it is easy enough to send out further information and update attendees about any changes that may occur.

Eventbrite

Eventbrite is an excellent tool for both free and paid events. If your event is free, the tool will be too, however, if you are charging attendees an entrance fee, you will need to pay a Eventbrite a small fee based on the price of your tickets. Nonprofits will receive a discount on their fee.

One of the biggest benefits of using Eventbrite is that you will have the option of customizing your registration pages by using your own logo, website colors and company information. Once attendees have signed up for the event, you can export their information to your own database and email them with further information.

Facebook Events

This event registration tool launched by the popular social network Facebook, has become one of the most widely used services for both professional and personal purposes. The service is entirely free to use and guides you through the process of creating your event page, appointing administrators and sending out the invites.

Once the page has been created, you can make announcements or edit information, and everyone who has signed up will receive a notification of the changes.

There are a number of benefits to this tool, including the fact that once you have invited people, you can allow them the option of sharing the event with more people, which can help your event to become more widely publicized.

On the other hand, if you only want certain people to come, you can also restrict access of the page to those people you have personally invited.

Another bonus is that most people are already familiar with Facebook, which will make it easier for them to sign up and keep track of all your updates. This benefit could also be a downside if you are dealing with people who don’t use Facebook and would have to make an account just to sign up for your event.

Evite


This is one of the most well established event registration tools on the Internet, and many event planners will already be familiar with it. It is easy to use and allows you to customize your invites, much like Eventbrite.

You will also be able to keep track of who has signed up to attend, who won’t be attending and who has not yet viewed the invite at all. It recently also launched an iPhone app that enables you to access your event page no matter where you are, making it easy to deal with last-minute changes.

The downside of using this tool is that the names of those who will be attending are listed publically, which some privacy-conscious attendees may not appreciate.

 If you are unsure about which service will best meet your needs and the needs of those attending the event, sit down and make a comprehensive list of everything you need and would like your RSVP tool to be able to do. This will make it easier for you to review each tool’s pros and cons and narrow down the best option.




Written By: Aileen Pablo
Original Blog Credit: https://www.uniquevenues.com/blog/easy-ways-to-rsvp-to-a-corporate-event

10 Secrets to a Fun Wedding Reception


10 Secrets to a Fun Wedding Reception

Okay, they're not really secrets—just awesome ideas we encourage you to steal.

While your wedding ceremony is both special and crucial (it's when you'll actually get married!), the reception is probably what you and your guests are most looking forward to—who doesn't want to eat, drink and dance? The best celebrations incorporate personal, fun and unique touches to keep guests smiling and talking about it long after the last dance. Get inpsired by our favorite reception ideas, from simple planning tricks to wow-worthy entertainment below, and by taking our fun Style Quiz. Then start planning your party here.

1. Arrange Seating Thoughtfully
 

It sounds obvious, but don't discount the importance of a solid seating arrangement. Place guests with people they'll know and get along with. It might seem like a great idea to play matchmaker, or force your guests to sit with strangers to make new friends—but at the end of the day, they're there for you, and to catch up with their own farflung pals. Put another way, a well-thought-out seating chart leads to great conversation, which leads to a great dance party, which leads to an unforgettable night. So seat your tween cousins with other kids their age and let your college friends sit together.

2. Hand Out Awesome Favors
 

Wedding favors should be the cherry on top of a fabulous reception. Let your guests know how much you appreciate having them there by offering a take-home treat (think: doughnuts, hot cocoa mix and marshmallows, a bag of your favorite coffee beans or jars of local honey), a cute succulent plant or a pair of sunglasses branded with your initials and wedding date.

3. Keep Toasts Short and Sweet
 

Wedding toasts are all about quality over quantity, so ask anyone who's speaking to make sure their toasts are no more than two minutes. If they have any longer anecdotes, they can feel free to share at the rehearsal dinner.

5. Shake Things Up for Your First Dance
 

All eyes will be on you during your first dance—it's the perfect opportunity to wow your guests with a fun surprise. Start with a romantic dance to "At Last," or other classic first dance song, then suddenly switch gears to a energetic Latin dance or break it down to Bruno Mars.

6. Plan Surprise Entertainment


Sometimes the best parts of a reception are what guests don't see coming. Surprise your loved ones with unexpected entertainment during the cocktail hour or reception, like a magician, mariachi band, aerialists or a salsa dancer.

7. Play Music Everyone Can Dance to


Whether you've hired a band or a DJ, if you want to keep the dance floor packed, plan a playlist that will please the whole crowd, not just you two. You may love obscure indie rock, but now isn't the time to show off your discerning taste in music. Sure, mix in a few of your favorites, but don't leave out the past and present hits, otherwise you risk an empty dance floor.

8. Have a Lounge Area
 

If your site and budget allow, set up comfortable lounge chairs and couches in your reception space. Instead of having your guests sit around the same tables all night, even after dinner's over, a change of environment will promote conversation, give your energetic dancers a resting area and keep your nondancing guests entertained. It's also an elegant and comfortable way to let elderly guests relax and chat while others take to the dance floor. Look into renting or borrowing couches, chairs and other furniture to create stylish, cozy vignettes complete with pillows, flowers and votive candles in your wedding colors.

9.  Hire a Day-of Coordinator
 

You may have a ton of fun ideas lined up for your reception, but no matter how organized you are it's much more difficult than you'd think to keep each of those plans and moving parts in check. If you already have an event planner, you're all set. If not, look into booking a day-of coordinator to oversee the details (trust us, it's worth it). Check out the different types of planners you can hire.

10.  Roll Out a Tasting Station
 

A full bar is a must-have for a great reception, but take it up a notch with an interactive drink experience. A wine, beer or whiskey tasting lets guests sample different drinks and learn a few tasting notes. A hand-rolled cigar station also fits the bill, as does a make-your-own margarita bar—who could say no to that?




Original Blog Credit: https://www.theknot.com/content/secrets-to-a-fun-wedding-reception
 

How to Personalize Overlooked Areas for your Wedding Reception

Your wedding reception is very personalized and is a reflection of you and your groom's personality.  Don't forget to dress up several forgotten areas at your venue to further personalize your day!
  1. Entrances-No matter where you wed, first impressions are essential for the ceremony and reception space.  A personalized entryway for both will make your site welcoming and help guests feel party ready from the start.
  2. Bar-The bar is a spot that most of your guests will visit at least a few times throughout the night, which is precisely why it's a great place to add a burst of color, special floral arrangement or personalized decor.
  3. Cake Table- The cake table is often a main focal point of the reception space where many of your guests will congregate to take pictures.  It's also going to be the center of attention for your cake-cutting photos, so you'll want to set that stage..
  4. Aisle-Sure, the altar is going to be the star of the ceremony (along with you and your partner, of course), but don't forget to deck out the aisle as well.  Florals or candles are a perfect touch.
  5. Lounge-A cozy spot to relax and mingle during the reception is a must.  Make sure it feels like part of the overall vibe with a few throws in your colors or pillows featuring your new signature monogram.
  6. Bathroom-No need to get too fancy in the facilities, but adding few thoughtful touches, like a petite flower arrangement and basket full of often-forgotten essentials, can make freshening up between dance numbers that much more pleasant for your guests.
  7. Escort table-Assign seating ahead of time and create a pretty spot for guests to stop by on the way to their table with an escort card display.  Use it as an opportunity to creatively speak to your theme.
 
Special thanks to THE KNOT for these great tips.

9 Steps to Perfect Wedding Flowers



Choosing your flowers is one of the most exciting parts of wedding planning. But before you make any decisions, there are a few points you'll want to consider. Use this step-by-step wedding flower guide to get started.

1. Find the Right Wedding Florist

Before you venture out and start the meet-and-greets with selected florists, think about the type of person you work well with. Do you want someone who's going to grab the buds by the stems and take control? Or are you looking for someone who wants you to guide them every step of the way? A combination of both? You'll also need to get a good idea about design tendencies (and if they match yours) -- insist on seeing a portfolio before you commit. Talk to friends and relatives who recently got married and find out who they used. Check out the listings in The Knot Local Wedding Resources of great florists in your area. If you find someone you don't know or haven't heard of, be sure to check out the company with the Better Business Bureau where you can find out if anyone has had problems with them in the past.

2. Consider Your Wedding Flower Budget

This one is a no-brainer. Figure that eight percent of the total wedding cost will go to flowers -- from the bouquets and boutonnieres to the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception decor. At the start of your first meeting, ask straight out: What great things can you do with $__________? (Don't get sucked into $5,000 worth of flowers and then let your florist know that your bottom line is $2,000.) And remember: There's a lot of stuff to consider, so don't be surprised if you end up spending more. So we suggest you pad in an extra 10 percent.

Need to adjust some numbers? Figure out your wedding budget.

3. Establish a Vision


Have a general idea about your taste. Are you a true minimalist? Or are you looking to do an uber-romantic Gatsby-style wedding? Create a file of magazine tear-outs -- and not just bridal pics. Lifestyle shots, colors, and fashion photos will all help give your florist a clear idea of your loves and love-nots. And don't forget shots from friends' weddings. Maybe you flipped over the centerpieces, but hated the bouquets. Now's the time to bring it up (to your florist, of course, and not your friend).

Look through our bridal bouquet gallery to get inspired.

4. Consider Your Reception Site Specifics

This is a biggie. Think of your reception site as a blank canvas on which the florist will create her masterpiece. Is there bright red wallpaper that she needs to consider? Is it a botanical garden that won't need much floral accent? Or are you starting with a clean, empty loft that will need lots of work? Bring along some sort of photo (a press kit or pamphlet) in case she's never worked a wedding there before, and ask her to visit the site to get an idea of its size and style.

5. Create a Wedding Color Concept

Don't even think about visiting a florist without knowing what your bridesmaids, groomsmen, and moms are wearing. There's literally no point -- you can't pick any flowers if you don't know what colors will work. On the flip side, you won't know what colors your flowers come in without knowing which flowers you want. First tackle the attire, then choose your ideal color palette and make a list of your favorite flowers, and then see if your florist can accomplish both.

6. Consider Your Wedding Dress

At this point, you should have already picked out your gown, seeing as that will dictate what kind of bouquet you should carry. While you might not think so, florists base many decisions on the bride's gown -- how ornate it is, whether it's white or cream, if it's classic or contemporary, and so on. Most florists think of the wedding dress as the centerpiece of the day, so this will give her a good idea of where you're going with the wedding style.

7. Map Out Your Wedding Style


Your style is different than your vision. Are you looking to carry a very dramatic, long bunch of flowers or a tight posy of blooms instead? Do the same thinking about the other people in the wedding party: Should Mom wear a corsage or carry a nosegay? Should the bridesmaids carry a single stem or a tussy mussy? Style will also affect price accordingly, as well as the choice of flowers that will or won't work in the type of bouquet you're eyeing.

A tussy what? Brush up on your bouquet lingo.

8. Size Up Your Crowd

Don't listen to your groom -- size does matter! How many people are you planning on having to the wedding celebration? That number will determine how many tables and, consequently, how many centerpieces you'll require. How many attendants will you have to outfit with flowers: groomsmen, bridesmaids, flower girls? This will dramatically impact the price. On the other hand, if you are requiring fewer than average centerpieces, you may be able to get those orchids flown in from China that you swore you couldn't live without.

9. Get Everything in Writing


All the work you will do to get this far will mean nothing if you don't have it all in writing. So make certain that your florist drafts a contract, specifically stating the flowers you're going to have, how many bouquets you'll need, price, and what time you can expect her to arrive on the day of the wedding. Don't hesitate to include the things you absolutely don't want, as well. That way, you'll have recourse if your florist doesn't come through for you.



Original Blog Credit: https://www.theknot.com/content/steps-to-perfect-wedding-flowers
 

Wedding Tasting Etiquette


The food that is served at your wedding has an important role in determining the overall wedding experience. Most of the guests, if not all, will look forward to the food that is provided on your wedding day. So, you do not want them to be unhappy with the meal offered, while everything else was done to perfection.

Most wedding vendors offer a tasting session before you book your order. With this option, you can actually see, taste and experience the food that will be served on your wedding day. We suggest that you take your caterer up on this offer and make sure everything is just right, so there are no regrets later.

As with anything wedding-related, there are certain etiquette do’s and don’ts where tastings are concerned. Before we move to this list, let us first try to understand what you can expect at your tasting session.

What to Expect at Your Tasting

Tastings allow you to sample the menu you have chosen for your reception. It gives you a real idea of how the service will be, and how the food will look and taste. While some caterers offer complimentary tastings, others charge you for it. Some vendors, however, offer complimentary tasting, if you sign the contract first. This is because it can end up being very expensive for the vendor otherwise.

If you are just shopping around, and want to taste the food prior to committing to the order, this is also usually possible. The caterer may then ask you to pay for the food that will be served at the tasting.

If a vendor disagrees to conduct a tasting prior to paying a deposit, you can ask him to make an exception if you would be ready to pay for it. If he refuses, think twice about booking. The service at the reception may go either way, and the last thing you want is to regret booking it without an idea of what you would be receiving.

Prior to your tasting session, you will be expected to discuss your expectations and choose the dishes you want to try, from their menu. Full-size portions are usually served, so you can actually see and experience how the wedding meal will be. The drinks that will be served, will also be included with the meal.

Now that you know what to expect at the tasting session, let us move on to the general etiquette for a successful tasting session. Follow the list we have provided, and you are sure to have a positive experience, whether you choose to go with the caterer or not.


1.Keep your entourage limited

While many caterers offer complimentary tasting sessions for up to 4 guests, you should be able to include more if you are paying for it yourself. However, as with bridal dress shopping, you can achieve best results if you keep the entourage to a minimum. With more people, you can easily lose focus and this isn’t favorable for neither you, nor your caterer. Bring a small group of three to four people at the most, and they should be ones who can give honest and helpful feedback. If you have a wedding planner, she should be at the tasting. This is because she is experienced enough to look beyond basics, and can spot potential problems in the quality of food and service. She can also relate the service and dishes to how the meal would actually work at your venue, and make suggestions that will help.

2.Be flexible with your schedule

Remember that there are a lot of factors that go into planning a tasting session. Your caterer will have to put his staff on duty to prepare the meal, however small it may be. Different vendors handle tasting sessions in different ways. While some conduct open-house tasting sessions for a number of couples, others may give you a special session where you can have a personalized sample of what you would like for your wedding day. In certain cases, your caterer may even ask you to attend a function that they are catering at. This may be so you can see how they conduct their service, and also sample the food as it will be done on your wedding day. Whichever be the style of your caterer, you should be able to accommodate it into your schedule, if you want to consider his services.

3.Don’t lose focus of why you are there

A tasting session is about understanding how your reception food will be. Your caterer would prefer that you focus on the food at the tasting, instead of any other things that are going on in your life. Do not consider this as an occasion for family discussions or friendly feuds, and try to limit your conversations to the food and the wedding. Remember that your caterer will be near, observing you throughout. So, don’t be disrespectful or ignore the purpose of why you are there. Save the serious discussions for later, unless you want to sound rude. Keep the chattering to a minimum and pay attention to what is provided. Attend your session with a notepad and camera, so you can make notes and click pictures for future reference. This will also help you better to make suggestions for changes.

4.Come prepared for the tasting

Apart from being prepared to take notes and pictures, it is important that you are also involved in the tasting. Plan your tasting session for a day when you do not have any other pressing engagements. Only then can you concentrate and make the most of the experience. Be mentally prepared and attentive. If you have any pressing work problems or other things on your mind, schedule the tasting for another day. Do not eat a heavy meal or fill your stomach up with snacks, prior to your session. Neither should you starve yourself. You should be hungry enough to enjoy the session, but not too hungry to just gobble it down without recognizing if it is actually tasty. Remember that it is a full course meal that you will have. So, make sure your evening is entirely devoted to the tasting. You’ll probably also have to cancel any other plans later that day, as you will just want to crash into bed and snooze, once it’s over.

5.Don’t be too intimidating at the service

There are some couples who stare and keep such a close watch, that it can seem creepy to the waiters at the service. It is surprising how the same people are usually relaxed and laid back when they dine out at other times. Don’t feel like you have to be so attentive, that you intimidate the people who serve you. Stay composed and relaxed, and try to enjoy the experience for how it is. If you aren’t happy with the dried out cheese, wilted vegetables or shabby presentation, don’t look upset or openly cringe. If there are things that you aren’t happy about, don’t worry. This is not the actual thing, there is scope for improvement once you give your suggestions. You can even consider switching to another vendor, if you are entirely unhappy with what you experienced at the tasting.

6.Don’t go overboard with the drinks

You will usually be served wine or another beverage at your tasting, and the same will usually be served at your wedding. Don’t drink too much, so you become tipsy and can’t focus any more. Just take small sips to identify how it goes with the rest of the meal. Remember that you should have a clear head to identify how the tasting is, and too much of alcohol can damage the possibilities. Not only is it good manners to keep yourself from being inebriated, it is also essential to the purpose of why you are at the place.

7.Be discrete when you discuss things

We know that you may want to discuss certain factors with the rest of your group, before making a verdict. There may be other things that you want to draw their attention to. If these are negative factors, don’t be too loud or overly critical when discussing it. Discuss it briefly, and keep it on a positive note. Don’t hesitate to check with your catering in-charge, if its a factor that really bothers you. But don’t get into an argument or be too patronizing about it. Most people are open to positive criticism, but may not be too happy if you only have negative things to say. As with any other social situation, mind your manners when you voice your opinion. Be courteous and clear, but do not insult or embarrass with what you say.

8.Be honest with your feedback

If you enjoyed your meal, it isn’t likely that you will have much trouble saying so. Now, if it were the other way around, we know why you may feel a little hesitant to say so. Nevertheless, you should provide an honest feedback. If there is anything that you would have liked to be different, make sure your chef or waiter knows. This way, they can rectify it on the actual day and make sure you are happy. Whether it is about the food, the presentation or the service, telling your vendor at your tasting session will help him move things around to meet your expectations. Nonetheless, be mindful of the way you say things. Even if it is a negative opinion, try to focus on the positives as well, so you don’t sound like you are reprimanding them. Be diplomatic, offer suggestions on how it could be made better and appreciate all that you liked. This is just being plain courteous.

9.Tip the waiter who served you

The fact that you are at a tasting session shouldn’t alter the way you normally behave at a dinner. It is in fact pretty similar, considering that there were people who served you and who were attentive to your needs, at your tasting. Even if it is a complimentary tasting, it is customary to tip the waiter who attended to you. So, make sure you do it. Do it as you would do when you eat out otherwise. Consider the total amount the meal would cost, and tip the same percentage that you would do normally for that price.

10.Personally thank the chef

The main person behind the scenes is obviously, the chef! Although you will be in touch with the catering manager or venue manager, remember that they are not the ones who are actually responsible for whipping up delicious food. This happens in the kitchen. The chef and his team are the star players in creating the flavors that your guests will feast on. So, you need to meet them and thank them for their efforts. It is not necessary, but is nice if you do so. Request to meet personally with the chef, and appreciate and thank him for his work. This nice little gesture can do amazing things for your wedding. The chef will remember you for how nice you were, and will add that extra dose of care into his dishes for your wedding day. This can be really worth that little effort of yours.

If everything goes well and you enjoyed your tasting session, that is one thing you can strike off your wedding planning list. However, if the opposite happens, and you hated it, what do you do? If you haven’t signed the contract, you can just walk away from there and keep searching for a better option. If you have already signed the contract, consider the following options.
  • Provide specific details about what you didn’t like and ask them what they can do to change it
  • Be polite, but firm and vocal when you insist you want something changed, as it isn’t up to your expectations. A caterer is expected to make adjustments to please your palate. So, don’t shy away from it and settle for food you aren’t happy with.
  • If you have suggestions on how things can be improved, tell them about it and see if they can accommodate these changes.
  • If they offer different menu items, make sure to taste them before you approve the change.

Visit Best for Bride for more wedding-related tips, advice and shopping needs. You can find everything you need, including vendors for your wedding in our list of services. Check out their website today, and move one step closer to having a fantastic wedding day.






Original Blog Credit: http://www.bestforbride.com/bridal-shop/22/wedding-tasting-etiquette-10-things-you-should-be-aware-of/

Written By: Olga Pomeransky  
 

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
 
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