3 Ways to Get Millenials Excited About Your Event


The Millennial audience is a subject of interest and wielder of influence for good reason. A Brookings Institution study predicts that Millennials will account for 1 in 3 American adults by 2020 and up to 75 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2025.

That ubiquity carries with it the ability to affect numerous industries, including live events. Our study with Ipsos and Crowd DNA found that in the past year, 89 percent of Millennials attended at least one event, up 7 percentage points from three years prior.

As the current crop of 20-to-36-year-olds extends its purchasing power, event creators need to continue making the group a priority and to construct the kinds of events that appeal to a Millennial audience – a demographic whose impact will only grow.

How to Host Events That Engage Millennials


Millennial consumers crave authentic experiences. Whether it’s the materials they read or the brands they associate with, this audience wants to trust and connect with what it consumes. For example, 43 percent of Millennials say they connect more with the authenticity of a news story than its content, according to an Elite Daily study.

Millennials want a similar connection with the events they attend. They don't want to just attend a conference or festival, they also want to feel they’re a part of it. So, if you want Millennials to value your event, try these three tactics to foster connections:

1. Use event apps to your advantage. Millennials engage with their smartphones constantly. To keep them engaged with your event as well, create an app that allows users to customize their event experiences and connect with other attendees.

Link your event app to the social networks your users value most. The best event apps encourage participants to communicate with one another, creating micro-communities that give events a more intimate feel.

2. Facilitate sharable moments. Millennials on social media don’t just love to share their own lives, they also enjoy peeking into others’ lives. Almost 50 percent of Millennials admit they attend events just so they have something to share online, while 78 percent say they enjoy seeing others' experiences on social platforms.

Embrace your attendees' desires for connection by using shareable moments to build hype before your event and display excitement during it. Start a contest beforehand that encourages users to attach a hashtag to content associated with your event or set up a photo booth to encourage people to distribute photos, videos and GIFs on the spot. You no longer have to rely on advertising to relay that you put on a good event – people can see for themselves.

And don’t limit yourself to Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Blogworld, for example, utilizes Snapchat, Plancast, USTREAM, Sched.org, Foursquare and Plixi to enhance its social media conference experience. Millennials rely heavily on word-of-mouth marketing to inform their decisions. Think of shareable social media moments as another way to promote your event to that audience.

3. Create unique spaces. An event’s shareable moments aren’t just limited to scheduled speakers or great sessions. The venue itself factors heavily into an event’s presentation, so make it a unique space that engages your attendees’ senses and entices them to share with others.

Getting outside of the ordinary can also make branding your event easier. Find a renovated firehouse or gallery space and the décor will largely take care of itself. Tech giants like Facebook and Google have held events at 111 Minna Gallery in San Francisco and have used the contemporary art and exposed piping to create unique-feeling atmospheres.

If you can’t find a suitable off-the-beaten-path location, transform your venue space with fabric, lights and entertainment to create an unexpected experience. You’ll likely need to bring in an expert to make your branding effective.

Millennial values are changing the business and consumer landscapes in America and to put on a successful event, it’s essential to prioritize the kind of authenticity Millennials seek in their events and experiences. Have you had success in marketing events to Millennial attendees? Share your experiences and advice below.

Original Blog Post Credit: https://www.corporateeventnews.com/3-ways-get-millennials-excited-about-your-event

Is Projection Mapping Right for Your Next Event?


The best events transcend engaging the audience – they make the subject matter and entire experience come alive. An increasingly popular method is projection mapping, a technique that upends all our memories of flat-screen home movie projections and creates 3D experiences like those at the Courtyard by Marriott Super Bowl Sleepover in New York City.

From theme parks to Super Bowls to brand activations, event organizers are increasingly incorporating the tech. Also known as spatial augmented reality or video mapping, the technique maps projected images onto nearly any surface, such as a building exterior, interior wall, object or landscape, and transforming it into a video screen.

The result is a dynamic projection that immerses an audience into that creative environment, enabling event organizers to go where traditional creative has never gone, making images come alive in 3D where they never could before.

Long embraced in Europe and growing in popularity elsewhere, projection mapping can provide truly memorable event experiences and the kind of audience engagement that can become contagious. Millennials, in particular, would rather spend their money on cool experiences than accumulate objects and are driven by their peers' posts about live experiences to get out and attend events themselves. And thanks to social media and smartphones, projections live beyond their initial showings. Audiences feel compelled to share the view with friends, spreading the post-production impression of the event.

Wondering whether the technology is right for you? Here are three questions to consider:

1. How much budget are you working with?

Adding projection mapping to an event creates a “wow” factor many audiences in the U.S. rarely expect to see, partly because it was historically the province of European public arts projects. But increasingly affordable technology has made projection mapping a more accessible option to bridge the gap between audience and presenter.

Prices for projection mapping can differ significantly from one location and vendor to another, though you can reasonably expect quotes to range from $150,000–$450,000 and up. But don’t assume the price will match what another event paid or what another provider quoted – always seek your own information, as each program is custom-designed for each venue or event.

While some coordinators assume renting the projector is the biggest part of the bill, other expenses behind creating a projection map, such as creating the video itself, location and permit costs, show length and crew costs can add up quickly. Ask a professional to evaluate your venue and determine what will fit within your budget.

Also, consider your time budget for setting up a projection. From approvals to storyboard to the animation design, coordinators need at least eight weeks – preferably twelve – to build a show.

2. Can your venue accommodate a projection?


Projections operate on a huge scale, so work with your production partner to check the local laws before planning your event, and reserve a location that will fit the needs of the projection team and accommodate the audience size you desire.

From the beginning, evaluate venues for their ability to facilitate a show. Factor in the size of the building or screen on which you want to project, the venue's size relative to your expected number of guests and any related outstanding costs.

The surface type available at the event is also important. An all-glass building will be unusable unless the event producer adds vinyl to project upon. At one show our company produced, we had to cover 30,000 square feet of window space to present a projection – but that might not be possible everywhere.

Finally, plan a projection event when daylight won’t interfere. Ambient light is the enemy of projection mapping technology, as it makes the projection itself difficult to see. Schedule your projection shows, which will likely repeat five to eight times throughout the event, after dusk to ensure viewers experience the shows’ full impact.

3. Can you keep attendees and technology secure?


Work with your vendor or partner to research the location of your activation to discover how audiences will flow through the event and how your projection will impact the surrounding area. If your event can be seen across nearby streets, for example, the local government might require you to shut down those streets to prevent distracting drivers or pedestrians.

In addition to making sure attendees are safe, talk with your partner about taking precautions to ensure the projection equipment remains secure before, during and after your show. If event setup will last more than a day, investing in 24-hour security for the duration will help guarantee your vendor's tech will be ready and working on the day of the activation.

Projection mapping can be an incredible addition to many events, immersing attendees in a one-of-a-kind, unforgettable experience. By asking yourself these simple questions, you can ensure your activation is as effective and engaging as possible.


Original Blog Post Credit: https://www.corporateeventnews.com/projection-mapping-right-fit-your-next-event

Nine Conference Mythodologies

Since 1981, Adrian Segar has designed, convened, and facilitated hundreds of conferences in North America and Europe. He has been designing participant-led and participation-rich events, commonly known as unconferences, since 1992.

Long ago, consultant Tom Gilb coined the term “mythodology” to describe erroneous but commonly held beliefs about how something should be done. Here are nine mythodologies about conferences.

Mythodology #1: We know what our attendees want to learn about.

Reality: No, you don’t. At least half the sessions programmed at traditional conferences are not what attendees want.

Mythodology #2: Event socials are a good way to meet people.

Reality: People tend to stay with people they already know at event socials. Participant-driven and participation-rich events provide far more opportunities to meet people you actually want to meet.

Mythodology #3: A “conference curator” can improve the quality of your conference content.

Reality: Sadly, conference curators don’t exist. But discovering the content wants and needs of participants at the event and satisfying them with the collective resources in the room is routinely possible and significantly improves the quality of your conference content.

Mythodology #4: Learning occurs through events.

Reality: Learning is a continual process; formal events only contribute a small percentage to the whole.

Mythodology #5: Conference programs should be stuffed full of sessions so there’s something of interest for everyone.

Reality: Downtime is essential for effective learning and connection, so providing conference white space is essential. (Trick: Stuff your program if you must, but give attendees explicit permission to take their own downtime when they need it.)

Mythodology #6: Adding novelty to a meeting makes it better.

Reality: Novelty is a one-time trick. Next time it’s old. But making your meeting better lasts. Go for better, not just different.

Mythodology #7: Big conferences are better conferences.

Reality: Better for the owners perhaps (if the meeting is making a profit) but not better for participants. Today’s most successful conferences are micro conferences. (And, by the way, most conferences are small conferences.) 

Mythodology #8: We know what attendees like, don’t like, and value about our meeting.

Reality: If you’re using smile sheets or online surveys, you’re learning nothing about the long-term value of your meeting. This is the meeting industry’s biggest dirty secret. Use long-term evaluation techniques [1] [2] instead.

Mythodology #9: We can contract a venue for our meeting before we design it.

Reality: Sounds silly when put like that, but it happens all the time. Designing your meeting and then choosing a venue that can showcase your design will improve your meeting experience (and can save you big bucks!)

I bet you can think of more mythodologies. Share them in the comments!

Original Blog Post Credit: https://www.corporateeventnews.com/nine-conference-mythodologies

How Google Structured Data Improves Event Search Results

What is Structured Data?

Simply put, structured data is a way for web developers to help search engines understand the content of your page. It is markup added to a web page that tells a search engine like Google specifics about your page information. Google’s crawler can do amazing things but it can’t always pull the right information from a web page. For example, if you own a restaurant and have a website, Google can’t automatically decipher the name, address and hours for your restaurant without a little help.

That’s where structured data comes in. If you embed specialized markup in your web pages, Google will be able to immediately find that markup and restructure its search results for your website. So, with structured data, your hypothetical restaurant’s result would show the name, address, hours, phone number and whatever other data you include in your markup.

Why is Structured Data Important?

Aside from creating a more useful and potentially more accurate search engine result for your website, structured data can also give you access to specialized search result types. If you’ve ever used Google, you’ve seen these results: the side-scrolling bar of news results at the top or the graphical results for recipes or videos. Structured data can also help with marketing, allowing companies to show a sidebar on the results page with company information and logos with links to important websites.

Structured data helps bring the organization running the website and potential clients together by creating informative search results. In the event management field, this can mean adding structured data markup so that potential attendees or exhibitors can easily find out about your event.

How Structured Data Functions on eventScribe


Google recently added an event search tag to the Google app and mobile web, so when users search for “concerts this weekend,” they will see at-a-glance details about concerts based on the structured data event organizers include in their sites. This is incredibly exciting for us at CadmiumCD and for eventScribe users, as it will let us customize each eventScribe website to include metadata about the event itself. Google will then parse the structured data and can return event search results.

The structured data is added to the footer of the eventScribe planner, so it is included on every page of the planner. When Google indexes the site, it will generate rich widgets in search results as well as other Google products like Google Maps. Here is a sample of how this widget might look, generated from Google’s structured data tool:



The biggest reason structured data is important to event planners is that your event will show up in the Google events search widget. If someone searches for “CME events this week for audiologists” or “audiology events next month,” Google’s events search could bring up the American Academy of Audiology’s conference. This is extremely helpful if someone is new to the field and hasn’t yet heard of your conference. The events search widget acts as a foot in the door for you to bring in new attendees.

Outside of the events tag, structured data simply makes your search result more effective. You can give potential attendees a quick snapshot that will entice them to click through and find out more about your event. With the addition of the events search widget, using structured data with Google and eventScribe adds an extra dimension to your event’s web marketing.

Original Blog Post Credit: https://www.corporateeventnews.com/how-google-structured-data-improves-event-search-results

Sustainable vs. Perishable Events. And Not the Green Kind

A sustainable event is one in which attendees remain connected to the organizer, sponsors and fellow conference-goers from the opening reception to closing remarks. General session seats are filled early, and facilitated networking events are as well attended as impromptu groups forming in hotel lobby bars.

You might not think the definition of perishable can possibly describe a corporate event but think of it in these terms: something perishable is likely to rot or decay because the core of the event lacks sustenance and nourishment to keep the energy alive.

Sustainability starts with one very important question. “Why should attendees care about attending this event?”

If you don’t know why they should care, then you cannot expect them to react. If gaining affinity is the only objective, a few A-list speakers and cool activations might do the trick. But at the end of the day if your goal is to inspire action, attendees need something more. The “why” is really your event mission statement and the strategy, creative and execution should benchmark against your mission statement.

Does your event story have a beginning, middle and end?

A sustainable event has a fundamental through-line, an overarching message that helps create a compelling narrative and a lasting impact. The through-line is your theme and should almost always incorporate a call to action. Event marketers as story-tellers should emotionally link the presenters and content to the audience. If there is a hole in the story, it is likely your event will become perishable.

If attendees can see themselves in your story the bond strengthens.

Appealing to many but speaking to one might seem like a daunting undertaking in pre-event marketing intelligence. Utilizing surveys at registration with general questions about interests, hobbies, industry pain points, causes they support, etc. will reveal general commonalities that can be addressed throughout the event to create personal connections.

Is conscious branding consistent throughout your event?


An audience that sees clarity on the brand’s identity, core values, beliefs and a commitment to transformation inspires action. Whether the audience is internal or external to your brand, using the event as a platform to create “evangelists” can be powerful. However, when a company’s message is contradicted in the details, a savvy audience will doubt your integrity. Communicating efforts to reduce the brand’s carbon footprint and offering Styrofoam cups, or a commitment to go paperless and handing out swag bags filled with notebooks and paper coupons puts holes in the story.

Attendees experiencing both physical and emotional interactions will forge stronger impressions about the brand.

When designing your event, think about how many of the senses are triggered. The more senses engaged, the likelihood you will create memories that attached to your brand. Besides triggering the senses, tap into the power of emanation through humor, compassion and empathy. If you can make someone smile or shed a tear, you know that it is the start of an emotional bond.

Is social currency considered in your event plan?

It is far more effective for attendees to socially share their event experiences than it is for the organizer to bombard social media with self-promotion. Attendees LOVE exclusivity and if they receive insights at your event they can’t find anywhere else, watch your messaging spread like wildfire.

Changing the physical and mental scenery throughout the event creates more energy.

Have you seen the movie “Groundhog Day”? We saw Bill Murray’s diminishing sense of purpose after waking up to the same scenery and experiences day-after-day. You might think comparing attendees at a conference is a stretch but consider how they feel sitting two mornings in general session, and although the speakers might change, the cold ballroom hasn’t. Every break-out room is usually laid out the same and your vendor showcase is a sea of booths. Event teams who can think out of the box on how to push out content in unconventional ways support a sustainable event.

Is the shared content in danger of being irrelevant within months of the event?


This tip shouldn’t require too much elaboration. Adding visionary speakers to the roster can lessen the risk of content being perishable.

Shared experiences have a stronger impact on how attendees view their individual experiences.

Events are evolving into community ecosystems where shared experiences are becoming an integral part of the attendee journey. Organizers need to think deeper, though, on designing group activations that have sustenance versus novelty. We’ve seen a lot of giant Jenga and life-size foosball tournaments and although the fun factor is undeniable, there is something so powerful about bringing attendees together to work on solutions.

Sustainable events have four things in common – immersion, inclusion, inspiration and intimacy. Which one is yours?


Original Blog Post Credit: https://www.corporateeventnews.com/sustainable-vs-perishable-events-and-not-green-kind

Bring a Fresh Approach to Your Event with Brand Ambassadors


Digital technology has changed the way in which business operates. At one time companies just had to focus on radio and print advertisements to gain popularity. The advent of television complicated this, let alone the rise of the internet. Suddenly advertisements are everywhere and come in a wide range of forms. Some businesses even only operate online! This means that companies and brands have had to become savier and more strategic in reaching their consumers if they want to succeed. It has become necessary for companies to become more creative in reaching the public because consumers themselves have also become pickier thanks to the number of options available to them. Oddly enough, it’s been proven time and time again, that the most effective way to market a service or product is one of the oldest: with human connection. This is crucial because everyone is more willing to try something new if they trust the source of the information. This is where brand ambassadors are valuable parts of a marketing plan.

What is a Brand Ambassador?

“Brand Ambassador” is one of those positions that is seen everywhere, but fewer people understand what it actually means. The truth of the matter is that a brand ambassador position is exactly what it sounds like: a brand ambassador should completely embody the ethos of the company or brand in question so they can properly convey it to potential customers. They should first and foremost take on the tone and ideology of the brand. From there they can begin to speak informatively about the brand and be able to answer any questions that a customer throws at them.

They are most often used when canvassing, at a trade show, or anywhere that a large number of potential customers are present. In these situations brand ambassadors are most often the ones who leave a first impression for the company and make personal contact with the customers and consumers. This is why it is vitally important that they make a long-lasting and positive association.

Why You Should Hire a Brand Ambassador

The main power of a brand ambassador lies in the fact that they have the ability to humanize the brand and company. This makes customers feel comfortable when they’re shopping and don’t feel like they’re being manipulated by a salesperson. The customer then begins to feel connected to the company and develop brand loyalty. People are able to associate a likeable face and a positive interaction with the company thanks to brand ambassadors. This is what advertising and marketing strategies strive to create after all.

Job Description


It is worth noting that brand ambassadors are very different from spokespeople. A spokesperson tends to be a celebrity, CEO, or recognizable face. This is attention-grabbing and brings their audience to the brand, but they are removed. This is of course an incredibly effective marketing strategy but it creates a very different experience and effect than that of brand ambassadors. Brand Ambassadors are more accessible and relatable to the general population.

Key Characteristics


Due to the role that they play, it is important that the right kind of personalities are selected as brand ambassadors. They need to be friendly, conversational, approachable, and just have a positive attitude overall. That being said there are a few more ideal features of a brand ambassador:

An ambassador’s purpose is to spread the word about the brand to as wide an audience as possible. Having a strong online presence is helpful for this. Not everyone has to have thousands upon thousands of followers, but they should have active social media accounts. They should also have accounts on multiple platforms to better reach a diverse range of people.
While brand ambassadors should be friendly and approachable, it is important to remember that this is still a job. They need to be professional individuals who are self-motivated and can work independently. Since they won’t be under constant supervision they should also be reliable and consistent.
Finally, a brand ambassador also needs to be a leader. After having worked as one for a while they should be able to direct and help new brand ambassadors. This will also keep quality high.

In The End…

Trade shows and other marketing events would not be successful without effective brand ambassadors. They bring new customers to the brand so that it can continue to thrive and expand. Without brand ambassadors many companies would not be where they are today.

Kill the Giveaways and Create an Experience Instead

I am often asked what giveaways are the most popular at trade shows. Event managers feel they should offer something but they are at a loss of what will draw people in so they can talk to them. However, they find that while giveaways were a good draw in the past, many of today’s show attendees are not interested in them. I have had multiple show-goers decline my offer of a giveaway because they don’t need it and this response has become much more frequent over the past three years.

This is in line with the demographic changes we are seeing in our population. Millennials have become most of the U.S. and Canadian workforce. Multiple studies show that they are prioritizing experiences over products. They don’t measure their success by what they own and instead focus on enjoying their life and collecting experiences they can share, often via social media, with their peers. They also tend to be more environmentally conscious and selective about what they own.

So, does that mean that there is nothing that will attract them to your booth? No, it doesn’t, it just means that you must be a little more creative than just offering the latest gadget to draw them in. More than half of Millennials will spend their money on experiences, so we know they value them. This is a strong indicator that you can attract those consumers by offering a unique experience.

How do you create an experience in your booth? First, you need to identify what your brand stands for and how to communicate that message. Once you know what that message is, you can design an experience to help communicate it. Part of that experience may include a giveaway, but then again it may not. It all depends on what will better communicate your brand message.

I often get the question: But what if my company is small and we don’t offer a product? How do we attract prospects? Here are some suggestions:

Identify Your Target 

Your brand message should guide what you do but you must also consider your audience. Not just your company’s target market, but also who is likely to attend your show or event. This will help dictate your next steps as they will determine your success.

Pick a Theme

Again, this should be brand-appropriate but interesting and attractive to your audience. For example, if your audience is made up of scientists they are more likely to respond to an experiment-themed exhibit than to a gambling one.

Rock Your Graphics 


Yes, they need to say who you are while having a big bold logo of your company and maybe briefly saying what you do, but that doesn’t mean they can’t tie into your theme and maybe also bring in a little fun.

Promote, Promote, Promote 

Communicate your theme before, during and after the show. This will make it more likely to be remembered and enjoyed by your audience.

Make It Playful


Create a game if possible, and if you can make it educational to your brand that’s even better. Whether it’s a quick iPad game where people get to select the top superpowers your company has or something more analog like a remote-control car race, having fun will ensure your company is memorable not only to the participants but also to observers.

Facilitate Sharing


Have an environment that is unique, provide a location specific to taking photos or video, promote the event hashtag and consider providing incentives to your visitors so they will share the experience.

Seize the Moment


While attendees may not want to clutter up their home or office with tchotchkes, they will want a giveaway that is useful to them. Since most attendees are traveling to and from the trade show, you know that there are some things they are likely to value. For example, earbuds for watching movies on the plane, a water bottle, snacks for their trip home, etc. If you are not sure you can always ask a few of your best customers for ideas.

Themed Giveaways 

If you can find something to fit your theme, this will also help extend the memorability of your show. If you have a charity you support or key values, those may be opportunities to have giveaways tie into your social responsibility. One exhibitor had a putt-putt golf activity in their booth and gave away branded golf balls to qualified visitors. One year we offered attendees at our show the option to have us donate to selected charities that aligned with our brand. Be sure that anything you offer reflects the quality of your brand.

Dress the Part

You can really increase the attention that your booth gets by having staffers coordinate their outfits with the theme or exhibit colors. You don’t have to be as dramatic as the staffers from Just Eat, but something as simple as wearing socks or a lanyard with your brand colors will make you stand out. Also, remember that Millennials appreciate it when you don’t take yourself too seriously.

By going through these steps, you are likely going to identify the best way to create a memorable experience for your audience. Make sure that if you do offer a giveaway that it adds to that experience and that you are not just offering it because you think you should. It is better to have no giveaway than the wrong one.

Original Blog Post Credit: https://www.corporateeventnews.com/kill-giveaways-and-create-experience-instead

Expecting the Unexpected: What to Do When Your Event is Over Capacity


In a perfect world, an event will never be oversold. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. Eventually, one of your hosted events might end up with more attendees than your venue can support. Here are some tips on ways to handle the situation.  

I recently attended a conference where the event team was woefully unprepared for the number of people who showed up. As a result, the building was far over capacity - the fire marshall informed everyone that they couldn’t allow anyone else in. I was among those turned away, even though I’d registered months in advance.

As you might expect, I wasn’t happy.

Ideally, you never want to oversell an event. As an event management professional, it’s your job to make sure that whether you’re hosting a conference or running a trade show, you only book as many attendees as the venue allows. Here’s the thing, though — people make mistakes.

The conference mentioned above isn’t the only one I’ve seen that was oversold — people do it all the time, from weddings to trade shows to fundraisers. Sometimes it’s a numbers game, depending on the type of event: not everyone who registers actually shows up, especially if the event is free. But that’s a big gamble to take.

I’ve seen even seasoned event professionals stare in shock at their guest list, their stomach sinking with the realization that they simply don’t have the space to accommodate that many people. And I’ve seen events where the people responsible for registration didn’t bother listing the venue as sold out when it got too overcrowded.

The first thing to do is of course to see if you can get additional space, either within your current venue or by moving to a new one. Obviously, that may not always be possible or feasible within your budget though.

If you do not have a solution that will enable you to add capacity you’re going to need to acknowledge as soon as possible that somewhere along the line, someone goofed. That means going down the list of people who registered late and telling them they were confirmed in error. That also means giving them a refund if there was a fee associated with the event. But you don’t want to leave it at just that.

You’re going to want to offer those guests some additional form of compensation. After all, you turned them away from an event that many of them were probably quite excited to attend. They’re going to be (rightly) angry with you about that — especially any who someone missed your communication and still showed up, or any who had already incurred travel expenses preparing to attend. If you don’t step up to address their anger, you’re figuratively spitting in their faces.

Consider offering one of the following ‘perks’ to those late registrants alongside their refunds:

A discount on future events. If you’re running an annual or repeating event, a good way to stem some of the ill-will could be allowing them to register for the next iteration at a lower cost.

Some free stuff. People like free stuff — and a swag bag as an apology for someone who can’t attend an event isn’t a bad idea.

A personalized apology letter. Wherever possible, reach out personally to anyone whose badge you had to cancel. Explain to them what happened, and be as candid as you can.  Acknowledge that you made a mistake and let them know you feel terrible about it and are going to do everything in your power to not to do the same thing again.

Basically, you want to find a way to mitigate their dissatisfaction — all while looking into how you can never err in this way again. The next time you’re selecting a venue, do some research into both its maximum capacity and the general level of interest displayed by event guests. Don’t register a single person more than your venue can support, but also make sure you have a way of keeping track of how many people wanted to attend your event but couldn’t.

Part of your job as an event planner is to ensure you’ve chosen the right venue, and that whatever venue you’ve chosen doesn’t end up overbooked. If you don’t do that, you’ve got a safety risk at best, and a ton of angry attendees at worst. That’s something you want to avoid — and now you have an idea of how you can.

Original Blog Post Credit: https://www.corporateeventnews.com/expecting-unexpected-what-do-when-your-event-over-capacity

6 Steps to Driving Technology Adoption at Your Event


With so much color, noise and evolution in the event tech landscape, it is sometimes a challenge to answer the question of “how can I get my stake holders to buy the ticket and take the ride.” Yes, it is true that “If you build it, some people will come,” however early adopters and innovators do not represent the bell curve that is often required for event technology to be truly impactful. As such, here are six simple steps to consider when you are looking to encourage technology adoption at your event.  

1. Align Event Tech with the Objectives of Attendees and Stake Holders

The success of technology adoption depends upon how well the objectives of the organizer, (and in-turn, the objectives of the participant) align with the technology in deployment. It is about the right tool set for the right job. So, the first question when devising the strategy should be “Why are the attendees/ exhibitors/ buyers coming to the event and what are they hoping to achieve?” Often this comes back to strengthening their networks, whether it be personal or professional, driving business opportunities and furthering their education. What is the most relevant technology to facilitate this? If a piece of technology doesn’t help participants meet their objectives, it will ultimately become noise and detract from the experience. 

2. Your Event Tech Provider Is Your Partner

Event tech is unique in the event space, as the way in which these companies have to adapt to change is far more accelerated than other facets of the industry. While this is incredibly useful, it can also be a weakness. The negative aspect of being so “adaptable,” is that there is often not as much legacy in terms of what stake holders understand about the product or service. The good thing is that your event tech provider is here to help. A good provider will guide you every step of the way in defining best operational and communication practices. These guys are pro’s, and are a gem for the time-poor organizer. Listen to them, speak with them and move forward together.

3. Create Environments and Shape the Experience

Once the organizer is in tune with the motivations of the stakeholders, they can positively affect adoption by looking at “how” the technology will drive the desired behavior. Creating an event environment, culture and format that stimulates participation and learning will encourage adoption.

As events are physical by nature, bringing together the physical and digital event spaces is a great way to form the experience as a whole.

Here are some ways event technologies can be utilized to drive engagement:

Gamification technology: Gamification is all about creating a richer event experience. By aligning event objectives with incentivized challenges, not only will visitors have more fun but they will also have a much more rewarding time.

Matchmaking and meeting scheduling: A fantastic way for maximizing the effectiveness of time on site, attendees, exhibitors and buyers create profiles that identify and match them with the most suitable people, as well as schedule meeting time slots.

Event mobile apps: Provide participants with a plethora of information and opportunity in real time. Everything from agenda building and mapped floor plans, to surveys and social media are common amongst today’s mobile event apps. The future of event apps will see a focus upon creating a unique experience to each attendee through targeted meetings, gamified experiences and content.

Smart devices
: The best way to build adoption is to put the technology in the hands of every participant and make it as simple as possible for them to use. Enter smart devices. RFID, NFC or beacon technologies are touch or proximity based technologies that allow attendees to network, share information, participate in surveys and compete in games in the physical event space, while harboring low learning curves or other barriers to usage.

Audience response systems: Features such as live Q & A, session polling and group discussions are changing the face of conference audience involvement, by turning passive listeners into contributors.

4. Recognize the Barriers

It is important to recognize what the limitations may be for a particular technology in relation to the event and the participants. The classic example here is the far too common lack of event wifi. For the organizer who has just invested in a state of the art event app, the adoption rates will provide a sad shock if hundreds or thousands of people are trying to download and use the app at one time. Barriers are sometimes not only physical or defined by space but can be due to the experience of the participant, or the process to access and use the technology. Take some time to think about the participant. Regardless of whether a certain piece of technology could greatly benefit them, if it considered complicated or otherwise outside their comfort levels, they simply won’t use it. 

5. Communication Is Everything

Educating your audience not only on what to expect but also how it will help them achieve their objectives before they arrive is paramount. If the participant is aware of how a particular technology will benefit them and how easy it is for them to use, they are more likely to be excited by it and will be ready to participate once they hit the floor.

Here are a few great methods of educating your participants:

Host informational webinars: For technology that may require a more detailed explanation, such as scheduling meetings or advanced matchmaking, hosted webinars are a great tool for speaking directly to the audience in real time and answering their specific questions. Additionally, you can record the webinar to send to people who didn’t have the opportunity to sit in. Should you have different participant types, information can be tailor made, reducing the incidence of disinterest.

Create instructional videos or brochures
: Not everyone can be expected to see your webinars when they are live. Give people the option of learning about your tech features in their own time. Make it clear and make it simple.

Email Campaigns: Still the most effective way of directly getting in front of stakeholders. A steady drip campaign will mean more penetration. However, it is important not to flood your audience, otherwise they will equate the technology to being more hassle than it is worth.

Take it social: Once you have the content such as all those videos, webinars and brochures, share it across your social networks in a drip-campaign that acts as a continual conversation. People are social creatures. Sharing content that offers value not only serves to influence them, but also creates buzz around the event, so people are ready to enjoy themselves from the get-go.

6. Involve Stakeholders in The Reviewing Process

Involve participants in the process of reviewing the technology in use. This not only shows them that you are committed to improving the experience for them, but also allows you to learn what worked, what didn’t and why.

By the nature of adoption, there will always be the late bloomers or people who are resistant to change, and that is a part of the process. Once you have a critical mass engaged, you will see inertia stripped away and the event will be a smash hit. If my 92-year-old grandmother can call me across the world on Skype, so to can you get your audience involved.

Original Blog Post Credit: https://www.corporateeventnews.com/6-steps-driving-technology-adoption-your-event

The Impact of Social Media on Corporate Event Planning

Corporate meeting planners are no stranger to pressure: coordinating innumerable details, managing massive budgets and dealing with the preferences, opinions and emotions of multiple stakeholders isn’t a job for the faint of heart. But after attending the recent IMEX America 2018 conference, it’s clear there’s a new challenge underway as the very notion of what it means to be a corporate meeting planner evolves to meet the demands of a changing world.

Julius Solaris’s keynote presentation during MPI’s Smart Monday (leading into IMEX) focused on the concept of “legacy” and what it means when applied to events and the meetings industry at large. He challenged meeting planners to think beyond big-name speakers and flashy parties to get to the root of what events do: bring people together, in conversation, to make an impact and create value for industries and future generations. For the meeting planner, it means to think about meeting design as a way to “bring the message to life” from start to finish, in a holistic and authentic way.

With opportunities at all touchpoints throughout the meetings lifecycle, social media is an excellent tool meeting planners should more often use to deepen the conference conversation, support attendee experience and extend the life of the conference. Beyond supporting the success of an individual event, social creates a stronger network among attendees, leaving a lasting legacy of deeper, more productive relationships.

Looking for practical ways to get started? Here are a few ways to consider building social into your meeting design at each stage: before, during and after. At each stage, meeting planners should think about what’s happening in the conference lifecycle – and minds of attendees – and craft a social strategy that supports success.

Before

Leading up to an event, potential attendees are weighing the pros and cons of attending, learning about the conference and getting excited. Meeting planners can leverage the inspirational storytelling opportunities and niche targeting available on social media to drive attendance, supporting a strong, well-attended event. As attendees research a conference, learning about topics, speakers, vendors, etc., meeting planners have the opportunity to maximize the fear of missing out – or FOMO – of a conference by launching the conversation early on social. As potential attendees engage with content and one another, meeting planners can use social listening better understand attendee preferences and interests and craft a stronger live meeting that responds accordingly.

During

Think beyond a conference hashtag. Meeting planners should have a strong social media plan in place to participate, guide and amplify the social conversation that will happen during the event. Meeting planners should consider ways that social can be incorporated to facilitate conversations, make connections, and surprise and delight on-the-ground attendees in a meaningful way – creating deeper relationships and long-lasting memories. Furthermore, meeting planners can use social to maximize the event’s digital presence among industry partners and non-attendees, solidifying a client’s thought leadership position.

After

Attendees leave conferences feeling inspired by new ideas and ready to implement changes. Meeting planners can increase the effectiveness of the conference by capitalizing on this momentum and extending the life of the conference for several months. By creating shareable content and empowering speakers with the right social tools, meeting planners have the ability to facilitate and deepen this conversation. In this way, meeting planners can leave a legacy behind them, providing their clients with more engaged network of social advocates that can be tapped into moving forward.

If corporate meeting planners are expected to move away from “executing lists” and head towards creating a deeper conference experience, they’ll need to take on a fresh perspective and get creative. Social media holds enormous potential as a cost effective, relationship-oriented tool that attendees are already using.

Original Blog Post Credit: https://www.corporateeventnews.com/impact-social-media-corporate-event-marketing

Why Does Reducing Event Waste Matter?


It seems like a no-brainer that reducing waste from any source, including events, is the sustainable thing to do.

But do you know why reducing waste is sustainable?

In a country like the U.S. with robust waste management infrastructure, the issue isn’t rampant litter pollution or unsightly garbage piles. Most trash ends up in a landfill or incinerator, and these facilities are generally safely and professionally managed.

So why bother to reduce and divert event waste away from landfills and incinerators?

First, materials that end up in landfills and incinerators are missed opportunities. Many items that are thrown away are still usable, or are made of materials that could be recycled into new products. Even organic waste like food scraps and yard debris can be turned into nutrient-rich compost. Although some incinerators produce energy from burning trash, this is a less valuable form of reuse for many materials that could be put to higher use if they were collected separately.

Second, throwing items away drives the demand for new production and the extraction of new natural resources. It takes energy and natural resources to produce any of the supplies we use. The more times we reuse an item, the more those sunk costs are distributed, reducing the environmental cost per use. The longer we reuse our supplies, and the fewer supplies we use and throw away overall, the lower the demand is for the energy-intensive process of mining, farming or otherwise extracting resources from the earth, and manufacturing those materials into new products.

Third, waste disposal of any type generates greenhouse gas emissions. All waste disposal methods typically require hauling by vehicles, most of which are powered by fossil fuels. Both incineration and recycling require a lot of energy, again typically still supplied by fossil fuels. And landfills and compost piles both generate methane in varying amounts depending on how they are managed. Some landfills capture methane and turn it into energy, but most do not.

These three reasons are why it’s sustainable to reduce waste, and also to keep any waste we do generate out of landfills and incinerators if possible.

What does this mean for the meetings and events industry?

Meeting and event professionals should be mindful of the waste they generate and work toward the production of zero waste events.

What is a zero waste event?

A zero waste event successfully diverts 90 percent or more of its solid waste from landfills and incinerators. Alternate channels for waste often include reusing, recycling, composting and donating materials. A true zero waste event also actively reduces waste as much as possible, avoids the purchase of toxic or polluting products and seeks out recycled and sustainable versions of any necessary supplies.

For additional reading, the Zero Waste International Alliance provides excellent guidelines for the philosophy that should underlie a zero waste event.

By reducing and diverting waste at your events, you’ll keep useful materials in the economy, cut demand for natural resource extraction and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. With today’s growing audience of environmentally-conscious attendees, this powerful story will add tremendous value to your events.

Original Blog Post Credit: https://www.corporateeventnews.com/why-does-reducing-event-waste-matter
 

9 of the Most Romantic, Low Key Ways to Propose Ever

When I was dating my now husband, the most romantic proposal I'd ever seen was one without any pomp or circumstance. It was from the movie Stepmom (I realize I'm dating myself here) and Ed Harris crawls into bed with Julie Roberts and gifts her a ring box with a spool of thread inside. Having been married before, he tells her - while tying the thread to her finger - that he allowed the thread of love to break once, then slides the ring onto the string where it beautifully falls onto her finger, promising her it will never break again. I die. It was warm and intimate and relaxed and easy. And that to me is romance. Alongside with a STUNNING proposal shoot by Hannah Alyssa - with florals by Branch Design Studio, design by WED and paper by Dear Jane Designs - here are 9 of the most romantic, so low key ways to propose ever.

Take her to one of the most romantic cities in the country. 

Our picks? Charleston all the way for the number one spot. "From the cities’ cobblestone streets to their hidden alleyways, from their cozy cafés to their sophisticated style...Charleston is perfection." --Photographer, Hannah Alyssa

Followed in random order by Aspen, Savannah, San Francisco, Honolulu, New Orleans, and Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Write a love letter.

There are few things as special in this technology filled world as a simple, handwritten letter. In it, tell him/her about WHY you love them. When you fell in love. Where you hope to see your love go. Really think about those moments that made your story all come together.

Take her/him to the city, and the street, where you met. 

I will never forget walking around the streets of San Francisco with my husband after he proposed, getting a coffee at our favorite coffee bar, having dinner where we had our first date, just wandering around and seeing the beautiful homes that outlined the place where we spent those early days in our relationship. So so romantic.

Plan a luxurious dinner set for 2.

Flowers, candles, a beautiful backdrop and a wonderful meal. The recipe for the absolute most perfect proposal. Even if it's takeout from your favorite restaurant in your own backyard, setting the ambiance in a way that feels special is what will turn a regular dinner into a proposal worthy dinner.

Or rent out the whole place. 

While this may not be very budget friendly, there are pretty incredible bed and breakfasts, small restaurants and even homes in most cities around the world where you can rent out the space and bring in a small team to help you build the dinner and proposal of your dreams.

Write a fictional story based on the two of you...and as she reads the end, get down on one knee.

It may sound cheesy but writing down "your story" is something that you will treasure for years and years. Something that you will share with your children, that you will read to your grandchildren. Something that you can visit each anniversary as a tradition that will make you remember why you fell in love, how you fell in love.

Drive around to all of your favorite places and propose at the very last one. 

It's a far neglected past time...going for a drive. Visiting the places most meaningful, watching the sunset, "parking" with a kiss and a great song. While visiting Carmel-by-the-Sea my husband and I parked the car, cranked up the heat, rolled down the windows and turned up the music. It was overwhelmingly romantic and frankly, he should have proposed all over again.

Hire a photographer to do a couple shoot ... though have her really shoot the proposal.

There are very few times in your life where you have a photographer come follow you around. And while bringing up a "couples shoot" might clue her in, it's still a wonderful way to get this once in a lifetime moment on camera AND will give you both an excuse to dress up.

Gift her a keepsake box filled with memories...and a ring.

From pressed flowers to ticket stubs, birthday cards to emails printed. From souvenirs to receipts, photos to train tickets. Fill the box with the mementos that tell your story and deep inside, tuck a beautiful ring.


Original Blog Post Credit: https://www.stylemepretty.com/2018/10/01/9-of-the-most-romantic-low-key-ways-to-propose-ever/

How to Write Thank You Cards for Your Wedding

3 Key Ways to Future-Proof Your Event

Being a kid in the 80s was great. In the days before games consoles, streaming services and posting selfies on social media, there were countless hours of fun to be had on a Raleigh Chopper bike, listening to 7” singles on a state-of-the-art Fisher Price record player and watching the latest video rentals on a VHS player. Reminiscing about my childhood memories has two benefits:

It brings happiness
It serves as a reminder that many things around 30 years ago are no longer in existence

‘Future-proofing’ is a buzzword used to describe the approaches and methods adopted by companies to ensure a viable future for their goods and services. It is essentially about companies making sure that whatever they provide (in this case, events) continue to appeal to their customers (or attendees) not only today and tomorrow, but the following day and into the future.

While we can never be certain what the future will bring, here are three tips to help ensure your events live long and prosper (ok, I was a Trekkie back in the 80s), into the future:

1. Spotting trends and identifying their impact

A key part of future-proofing is spotting the trends and developments that may have a good or bad impact on the events you’re organizing. Often these trends can be easy to spot because they’re already happening and affecting people from all walks of life. Global phenomena such as resource scarcity, climate change or advancements in technology, make headline news every day. As well as keeping an eye on global news, it’s important for event planners to keep a close eye on emerging trends specifically within the events industry. Every event professional should develop a list of ‘go to’ information sources to help keep them informed and updated on what’s happening in the industry. These can include industry magazines, shows and conferences, face-to-face networking, social media, membership organizations and market intelligence reports.

2. Look beyond the confines of the industry today

The best way to be prepared for the event experiences of the future, is to create them yourself, now. This may seem a little daunting, but here are some suggestions:

Look beyond the existing events industry for new ideas and inspiration that can add another dimension to your next event. For example, the latest blockbuster movies showing in cinemas right now could hold the key to creating or inspiring a new and exciting theme for your next business meeting or conference.

Collaborating with individuals and organizations who are creative and innovative in their approach will enable you to enhance your own levels of innovation for an existing event or new event concept. A great example is Jamie Oliver (a chef with a love of music) and Alex James (a musician with love of food) who joined forces to create The Big Feastival, a two-day family festival centred around music and food hosted on Alex's farm.

3. Tailor events to specific needs of your attendees

Creating events that are tailored to the specific needs of your attendees is the best way to ensure higher levels of customer satisfaction and consequently increase the likelihood of repeat custom. Through a process commonly referred to as co-creation, an event planner will invite the target audience to contribute to the development of ideas and concepts for an upcoming event, such as location or venue suggestions, guest speakers or entertainers, food and beverage choices etc. Social media makes it easy for people to contribute their ideas, as well as respond to other people’s suggestions during the co-creation process. Above all, the co-creation process should be one thing: Fun! The more enjoyable it is for people to get involved and share their ideas, the more likely it is that the event will be a success.

While we can’t gaze into a crystal ball and know for sure which events will continue to pull in the crowds, these three approaches are key to ensuring your events are prepared for the future.


Original Blog Post Credit: https://www.koganpage.com/article/3-key-ways-to-future-proof-your-event?utm_content=80363203&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook

Corporate Event Trends Revolutionizing Today's Conferences

6 Corporate Event Trends Revolutionizing Today's Conferences

by Bonnie Dannen | August 07, 2015

Corporate events are changing just as much as special events and turning up the volume on everything from décor to attendee engagement. Today's corporations are looking for new and exciting experiences for event attendees. From destination events to innovative décor and increased technology, companies are creating unique experiences that go beyond the everyday. 
Read on to learn more about six of the hottest corporate event trends for this year. 

1. Unique and New Venues

While hotels are the go-to for corporate events, new trends in corporate event planning are serving up unique venues for corporate gatherings. Today, more companies are hosting their events in fun and unique venues like sports/concert venues, private villas, casinos, theme parks, or activity-based events like murder mystery dinners. 

Why this works: Creating a lasting impression on attendees is key to continuous attendance growth and conference longevity. These unique venues also create memorable experiences for all attendees, resulting in a win-win for both hosts and attendees. 

2. Event Transformation


Event when large companies are able to book unique venues for their event, they still require décor to brand their events. It would not be a conference if your guests are not able to tell they have arrived at the right spot. 

Turning away from the basics, today's companies, especially the young and tech companies, are elevating the way they brand their events with unique touches. Aside from the typical banners, companies are transforming event spaces into something familiar for guests.  Think Google, Salesforce or other large companies. 

Transforming a venue space into a company experience, whether a casino or racetrack, requires décor specialists who can metamorphose a venue with clever usage of linen, furniture, experiential booths, technology more. 

Why this works: A conference is the ultimate marketing event for a company. Whether it's a training conference or a sales conference, corporations require planners to design events that build brand loyalty and advocates. Effectively branding an event builds employee spirit and morale that translates into more engaged employees. 

3. Focus on Attendee Engagement

 Another corporate event trend that we'll likely see more of in 2015 is higher attendee engagement. In other words, organizers are making attendees a part of the event. Rather than sitting and listening for hours on end attendees can participate and pitch in. 

Increasing engagement can come in a variety of forms. Today's conference hosts are ditching the Power Point slides for total engagement activities such as live-feeds, video conferencing, hands-on audience participation or workshops, on-site bloggers, event-specific apps, event hash tags and more.  
Why this works: Increasing attendee engagement translates into better overall experiences. By being part of the event, attendees are more likely to gain more knowledge and skills than by simply being spectators.  

4. Ultra High-Tech Events


Not surprisingly, more organizers are implementing technology in their events. Aside from the must-have Wi-Fi, event planners and hosts are using advanced technology to create unique event experiences.  

While the traditional presentation is still around, technology is turning the traditional conference into truly unique experiences.  A few things that come to mind: 

• Event apps featuring presentation and workshops schedule
• In-app scheduling and communication capabilities 
• GPS event locator and navigation assistance
• Onsite social media networking (everything from event hash tags to Instagram feeds) 
• Information kiosks 
• On-demand video feeds
• On-the-spot surveys and contests
• Personalized push notifications (think meeting agenda or announcements)
• Real-time language translation

Armed with smartphone technology, this is just the beginning of how technology is revolutionizing the traditional corporate conference. 

Why this works: Technology provides an instant avenue to get all attendees on the same page. Canceled workshop? Inclement weather alternate plan? Meal ordering? The use of technology allows event hosts to easily and instantly communicate with every attendee while providing a personalized experience. 

5. Events as Communities

A new aspect of corporate event planning is the aspect of an event as a "community."  Instead of the typical two or three-day event, today's event planners have to consider a much longer lifecycle of their events than ever before. 

In fact, the event begins even before it starts. From registration to weeks post-show, event hosts have to build a community around the event. They need to create excitement before the event, during the event and after the event. 

The biggest challenge associated with these connected communities is that planners require additional resources to manage the communities throughout the lifetime of the event. From monitoring mentions on social media to reviewing event attendance stats and attendee preferences, corporate planners and event hosts have to be ready to proactively build and sustain the community. 

Why this works: In the past, an event planner would have to review all event happenings way after the show to learn what worked and what didn't work. By creating and sustaining a community for their event, event planners can count on event enthusiasts to spread the word and provide instant feedback to ensure the event stays on track. 

6. Local, Organic, and Sustainable


Food that is locally sourced has become commonplace and is not going anywhere soon. With companies more focused on social responsibility, many events call for every essence of the event to be sustainable and "organic." From the food served to the materials used to create event décor and staging, companies are utilizing events as a way to make a stand on social causes - be it environmental, health or other. 

Today's conference planners and hosts have to find innovative ways to promote local, organic and sustainable causes as part of the event. From "green" décor to locally sourced ingredients or farm-to-table settings, planners have to deliver on a message of caring and responsibility. 

Why this Works: In addition to being profitable, companies and their employees are looking to be part of something bigger. This is especially true of young tech companies with a large millennial population. Tying in a sense of social responsibility to events is key in helping companies confirm their commitment to social causes. 

The corporate event scene is experiencing a tremendous change from head to toe. No longer are events just a series of speakers, Power Point slides and brown bag lunches. Today's corporations and event attendees alike are looking for unique ways to maximize the gathering hundreds if not thousands of guests. 

As a corporate planner, it's important to embrace these trends to create one-of-a-kind events that will trigger higher attendance rates and attendee satisfaction.  

Original Blog Post Credit: http://www.successfulmeetings.com/Strategy/Meeting-Strategies/6-Corporate-Event-Trends-Revolutionizing-Today-s-Conferences/ 

Way Off the Beaten Track - 11 Cool Honeymoon Destinations

Way Off the Beaten Track - 11 Cool Honeymoon Destinations

Not into the Caribbean or Seychelles for the honeymoon? What about one of these instead?



By NIAMH

Your honeymoon, guaranteed to be one of the most memorable (and often, expensive) holidays of your life. As it's your first holiday as husband and wife, sure you might as well go all out and pick something that little bit extra special. So today I've gathered a list of eleven of the world's unusual and cool honeymoon destinations  - we're thinking you need a real wow factor and a dash of cool to impress the mates (you know what we're like - always have to be different!). This isn't a typical list I warn you, there's is a little bit of everything from the most hilarious Safari experience to unique honeymoon destinations in France and the UK, these are all places you'll come back from with brilliant pictures and great memories. As I'm an avid animal lover you'll easily find which one I'd be picking...



1 . Giraffe Manor

Giraffe Manor is a small boutique guesthouse in the suburb of Lang’ata Nairobi, 40 minutes from the main Kenyatta Airport. The estate is surrounded by giraffes, many of which are known to pop their heads through the window and greet you at your meals. I kid you not!

Website: www.thesafaricollection.com/giraffemanor | Location:Kenya | Wow Factor: The only hotel in the world where you can eat breakfast with a giraffe, need I say more?



2. Kakslauttanen Glass Igloos & Cabins

This Arctic resort offers glass igloos and log cabins as accommodation. For a truly remarkable stay book your glass igloo during the northern lights season, which begins around the third week in August and ends the third week in April.

Website: www.kakslauttanen.fi | Location: Finland | Wow Factor:Sleep in an igloo and watch the stars as you drift off to sleep



3. The Old Railway Station

The Old Railway comprises of 4 Pullman carriages with 8 lovingly restored suites in the English countryside. Many elements have been improved, like fully equipped bathrooms, while others are simply retained, such as the splendour of the decorations. Really quaint and the area is perfect for scenic strolls and a spot of antique shopping.

Website: www.old-station.co.uk | Location: West Sussex, England | Wow Factor: A taste of the Orient Express without the price tag!



4. Sextantio Grotte Civita

Sextantio le Grotte della Civita’s caves are historic and uniquely romantic. It took 10 years to turn these caves into boutique bedrooms, so it was a long time in creation, but definitely deserves to be among the cool honeymoon destinations, because although they have all the home comforts you'll need they stay true to the setting with simple furnishings and soft candlelight.

Website: www.sextantio.it | Location: Matera, Italy | Wow Factor: Channel your inner caveman (or woman)



5. Active Or Chilled In The Caribbean

For the more active hike, horse ride, or cycle through the amazing surroundings, snorkle and scuba in the stunning sea or if your more chilled simply relax in one of 3 infinity pools.

Website: www.fourseasons.com/nevis | Location: Nevis West Indies, Caribbean | Wow Factor: Dive & dine for lobster in the Carribean



6. Costa Verde Plane Hotel

Set on a jungle canopy, this refurbished 1965 vintage Being 727 plane is a suite perfect for 2 looking for something utterly unique. Super secluded and ideal for romantic honeymoons.

Website: www.costaverde.com| Location: Costa Rica | Wow Factor:Stay in a luxury "plane" 2 bedroom suite in a tropical forest



7. The Boot B&B

I couldn't compile this list and not include the boot hotel in New Zealand. Really cute and reminiscent of the old nursery rhyme, The Boot B&B is surrounded by pretty private floral gardens and you can go

Website: www.theboot.co.nz | Location: Nelson, New Zealand | Wow Factor: You really will be the (not-so-old) couple who lived in the boot!(



8. Utter Inn Underwater Hotel

If your idea of a cool honeymoon destination is being entirely away from the world for a while, then this could be for you. Not for the faint hearted or claustrophobic the Utter Inn is an underwater hotel based in a Sweedish lake. This one bedroom Inn is entirely secluded, so you'll be completely alone together - definitely a niche honeymoon choice.

Website: www.visitvasteras.com/utterinn | Location: Vasteras, Sweden | Wow Factor: Sleeping with the fishes (endless Godfather jokes from him)  in one of the world's only underwater bedrooms



9. Spitbank Fort

Off the English coast Spitbank Fort is your own private island getaway. Arrive by boat to Spitbank Fort and stay in one of its 8 luxury bedroom suites, all of which retain many of their original features.

Website: www.spitbankfort.com | Location: Portsmouth, United Kingdom | Wow Factor: Making like a James Bond villain for a few days, spying back at the mainland and plotting to take over the world!



10. Lake Hotel India

Built with romance in mind this Indian hotel offers anything and everything you could want on honeymoon. Each room and suite in the palace is distinctly designed to capture a different mood and period. Mosaics, exquisite artefacts, and other fine embellishments punctuate opulent silks, richly coloured frescoes and ornately carved furniture. Get me there now..

Website: www.tajhotels.com/taj-lake-palace-udaipur | Location:Rajasthan, India | Wow Factor: Utter luxury, far removed from reality, this is a watery palace for those who want to be spoiled but still have stories to tell.



11. Airstream Vintage Caravan Park

This vintage caravan park is just too much fun. Chose from one of the 11 uniquely styled caravans (don't worry these aren't your average caravan) in this French resort and just for a little while pretend you are loved up in an era long gone by.

Website: www.airstreameurope.com | Location: Midi-Pyrenees, France | Wow Factor: Sorta eco-chic, sorta hippy-dippy, definitely different, and you've got loads to do in the South of France!

Any other Cool Honeymoon Destinations we should include?

Have you been to any of our eleven destinations? 


Original Blog Post Credit: https://www.onefabday.com/11-cool-honeymoon-destinations/

5 Non-Diamond Engagement Rings


5 Non-Diamond Engagement Rings

1. Man-Made Diamonds

For the woman who doesn’t want a natural diamond, but doesn’t want to stray too far from modern tradition, man-made diamonds are an option.

While most people think of cubic zirconia when they think of synthetic diamonds, there are actually a couple different categories under this umbrella.

Cubic zirconia and similar materials like moissanite are considered diamond “simulants.” They look virtually identical to real diamonds to the naked eye, but are composed of a different substance.

The advantage of “CZ” (and other simulants) is that it’s significantly cheaper than real diamonds. But unless your lady is wholly on board with this option, I’d say it’s best to steer clear of it. Whenever people admire her “diamond,” she’ll be thinking to herself, “it’s fake,” which is a real romance killer.

Now the second choice in this category is much different – a more recently developed option I didn’t even know existed until I researched this article. These are “laboratory-created” or “cultured” diamonds. It’s not really accurate to call them “synthetic” because they’re created through an atom-by-atom crystal growth process that exactlyduplicates the physical, chemical, and optical properties of naturally-mined diamonds. It’s impossible to tell the two apart unless one uses advanced spectroscopy. For all intents and purposes, a lab-created diamond is a diamond.

Because lab-created diamonds can be produced ad infinitum, their price is lower than natural, mined diamonds, though not by as much as you’d think; because De Beers has sensed that these lab-created diamonds may represent the wave of the future, they’ve already made moves to control the market and boost the price! They’re a good choice for a woman for whom “responsibly sourced” doesn’t go far enough, and who would like to further decrease her ecological footprint.

2. A Knot



Ring by Indulgent Designs. This kind of knot works well for an engagement (or wedding) ring, as it forms the symbol for infinity — eternal love.

A perfect option for a woman with simple tastes. What better way to show a lady you’re looking forward to tying the knot with her?

Here’s another kind of knot that’s quite appropriate for an engagement ring. The maker of this ring describes its meaning: “This particular type, often called the ‘true lover’s knot’, was a popular ring style for sailors separated from their beloved. It’s made by interlocking two overhand knots in two parallel wires, so each one is flexible to move about the other, yet they’re inseparable forever. (Aw!) Another fact about this type of knot: in Victorian times, to show if a young couple’s love would last, each would take a small limb of a tree and tie a lover’s knot. If the knot held and grew for approximately a year, their love would stay true.”


A knot ring made with two different colors of gold works particularly well for an engagement ring, as it symbolizes the entwining of your lives. 


Ring by TND Creations

3. A Meaningful Gemstone


Antique, opal and pearl engagement ring from the Victorian era. Available from Trumpet & Horn.

There is a world of beautiful gemstones out there beyond the diamond, and they each have a traditional meaning as well. So choosing a gemstone with a special significance to you and your girlfriend creates a unique ring with a built-in layer of meaning.

Here are the meanings of a few gemstones that may tie in particularly well with your unique relationship and the sentiment you wish to convey when you propose:

Agate: truth, protection, strength
Apatite: communication, and the blending of the old and the new
Aquamarine: courage to overcome fears, protection on journeys
Blue topaz: courage to overcome fears and obstacles — associated with fidelity, friendship, gentleness, and integrity
Garnet: passionate commitment and devotion
Onyx: thought to deflect the negativity of others — associated with determination and perseverance
Opal: love, passion, lightness, inspiration, creativity, and spontaneity
Pearl (pearls are organic rather than a gemstone): harmony, humility, purity, worth
Rose quartz: gentle love, peace, and calm — associated with the removal of negativity and the healing of emotional wounds
Ruby: friendship, fire, love, royalty, happiness, the opening of the heart
Turquoise: friendship — associated with nature (the blue sky and green earth)

Gemstones can of course be put in a variety of settings, and can be featured as a solitary stone or grouped with other gems. Here are two unique ideas we both especially like:



His and hers birthstones: A ring that features yours and your girlfriend’s birthstones is a romantic way to express the feeling that you were born to be together. Ring by Peridot Mountain.



Two peas in a pod: A perfect ring for those who feel they’ve found their other half. From Peapod Jewelry.

4. The Claddagh Ring


Claddagh ring by lagnole.

The distinctive Claddagh ring is a traditional Irish ring that is rich in history and symbolism. Dated to Roman times, it is rooted in European “fede rings,” which took their name from the Italian phrase mani in fede (“hands [joined] in faith” or “hands [joined] in loyalty”). The ring features two hands, a heart, and a crown — symbolizing friendship, love, and loyalty, respectively.

The clasped hands represent the pledging of vows, and Claddagh rings were used as engagement and wedding rings during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. They continue to be an appropriate choice for this purpose today – particularly for a lass with Irish heritage.



You can combine the Claddagh with a gemstone, like a ruby. Ring by nellyvansee.

Traditionally, the ring is worn on the woman’s left hand with the point of the heart facing out when she is engaged, and then turned around to be facing her once she is married.

It’s also traditional for the expressions “This is my heart which I give to you crowned with my love,” and “Let love and friendship reign,” to be associated with the ring, so feel free to bust those out with gusto when you propose with a Claddagh. 

5. Family Heirloom



Who knows…maybe Grammie’s got an antique 5-carat sapphire ring stashed in her jewelry box. She’d be happy to give it to you since you’re finally ready to “Stop waiting and ask that nice Jennie to marry you already!”

Before you plunk down some serious cash for a diamond ring or any of these other alternatives, check with your relatives to see if there are any heirlooms waiting to be passed down. Not only does this option save you some serious cash, but pieces with history are much more meaningful and significant. Even a diamond ring that’s been in the family for generations becomes a lot more special than one purchased at Jared. My mother-in-law gave me a diamond ring that had belonged to her grandmother to give to Kate when I proposed. It fit perfectly, and she loved it and wouldn’t have wanted anything else.

If the size or style of an heirloom ring isn’t right for your girlfriend, you can get it re-sized, or you can remove the gemstone and put it into a new setting.

Original Blog Post Credit: https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/5-alternatives-to-the-diamond-engagement-ring/

5 Tips for Selecting The Best New York Wedding Photographer

New York wedding photographer Caroline Frost offers the very best in New York wedding photography

Getting married in New York, NY?  Who will be your New York wedding photographer?

Here are a few important items to consider when looking for your New York wedding photographer:

1. Personality

Its important when hiring a New York wedding photographer to consider their personality.  This is someone you will be spending the most important day of your life with.  Every moment from getting ready to cutting the cake, they will be there.  An attentive New York wedding photographer will also probably be meeting with their brides and grooms several times in the year leading up to your wedding.   Your New York wedding photographer should be professional yet personable, and know how to make photos fun!

2. Experience with New York

NYC offers special challenges that not all photographers are used to such as transportation issues, lack of natural light and rude people getting in the way.  Its import to hire someone who is used to photographing in such challenging environments such as that, and can guide you towards a schedule for your new york wedding photography that makes sense given the constraints of New York City.  Your New York wedding photographer should be able to roll with the challenges of the day and be able to adapt at a moments notice.

3. Price

While price always plays a factor when selecting your New York wedding photographer, its important to not let it limit you to someone without experience or talent.  Too often you hear of horror stories of brides choosing their New York wedding photographer purely on price, but at the end of your wedding day, your photos are all you have to remember it.

4. Albums and other products

What do you do with all the beautiful images from your New York wedding?  Whether you are displaying them on the walls of your NYC apartment, or purchasing an album to tell the story of your day from beginning to end, be cautious as many New York wedding photographers offer low-end products at a high end price.  Make sure you are able to touch and see the albums, prints, and wall art they offer before booking your New York wedding photographer.

5. Artistic Vision


Its important to have your wedding day captured by a New York wedding photographer who has your same artistic vision.  Whether you are looking for a photo-journalistic approach from your New York wedding photographer or a more editorial or contemporary approach, it is important to share these things with your New York wedding photographer so they can either focus on your favorite style, or help lead you to another New York wedding photographer who specializes in that style.

Photo journalist wedding photographers usually stand back and watch the day unfold.  Their photos might be less artistic or magazine worthy, but they are genuine moments.  An editorial or contemporary New York wedding photographer is often looking to help the pose bride and groom achieve artistic images that would be magazine worthy and look beautiful as art in your home.  When looking for an editorial or contemporary New York wedding photographer it is important that they also know how to make the couple look like themselves.


Original Blog Post Credit: http://www.carolinefrostphotography.com/blog/nyc-new-york-wedding-photographer/

Don't Want a First Look? 7 Other Ways to Connect with Your Future Husband Before the Wedding


Wedding planners and photographers often recommend a pre-ceremony first look for many reasons, one of which being the opportunity to connect as a couple. If you're a stickler for tradition and prefer to keep your first look reserved for the ceremony processional, here are a few alternatives that'll help you feel connected before the wedding.


Exchange Gifts

A custom that many couples partake in, the wedding-morning gift exchange is a great way to connect with your soon-to-be-spouse. Ask the hotel staff or a member of the wedding party to deliver the gift to your fiancé's room while they're getting ready. Some couples wait until the photographer arrives to do this in order to capture the reaction on film. Others may choose to sneak the gift into the suite early, then call one another to personally thank each other for the present.


Sneak a Surprise


Who doesn't love a sweet surprise from their partner on their wedding day? Plan something sweet and simple that won't be too hard for you to pull off on the morning of your wedding. This could be something as small as writing a note in a sneaky hiding place for your fiancé to find while getting ready, or decorating your getaway car with ribbons and flowers.


First Touch


Some wedding photographers encourage their clients to do a first look while others recommend a first touch. Meant to calm the nerves just before the ceremony, a first touch usually takes place on either side of a cornered wall or with eye masks on so the couple can't actually see each other. Photographer Lacie Hansen says, "I think it's all in—either see each other or don't," but to each his own, right?

 
Pass Notes

If you're getting ready in the same hotel or venue, passing notes or funny jokes through a bridesmaid or groomsman can a be a playful, tech-free way to connect with your fiancé on your wedding day. Keep the notes going until just before you walk down the aisle.

 
Get Ready Together

Wedding planner Alison Hotchkiss of Alison Events opted to get ready for her wedding with her husband. "Getting ready together is a different approach, but it's nice to have time alone with your fiancé before the ceremony," Alison says. "It allows you not to be so nervous during the vows. Plus, it was so fun to take time out and kiss in between getting ready!"


Text Teaser Photos


While you may not want to see each other the morning of the wedding, swapping little teaser shots back and forth can make the getting ready process feel more playful and connected.


Work Out Together


You may not want to do a first look but having coffee together and going for a long walk, hike, or yoga class can be a helpful way to start the day with a feeling of collective calm.

Original Blog Credit: https://www.marthastewartweddings.com/640941/options-for-connecting-with-future-spouse-before-wedding

8 Questions to Ask at a Food Tasting

Think about staffing, pairings, decor, and scale when meeting with caterers.


 A pre-event food tasting is more than just an opportunity to sample the cuisine that your guests will enjoy. It’s a chance to create an open dialogue with your caterer, plan for last-minute fire drills, and confirm even the smallest details. Here are eight questions to help you get the most out of a food tasting.

What is your specialty? What do you do better than other caterers?

Being open to new ideas and capitalizing on what your caterer does best can help ensure that an event runs as smoothly as possible. “It’s important to tap into what caterers are good at and not try to reinvent the wheel, especially if the event has time restrictions,” explains Shai Tertner, C.E.O. and founder of Shiraz Creative in Miami.

Plus, letting a chef execute a signature dish can elevate a menu from great to exceptional. “I always appreciate it when a client asks what we’d like to make,” says Sigrid Helgason, director of sales at Farm To Market Catering in Dallas. “It gives us a chance to showcase our creativity and our chefs’ talent.”

How do you accommodate dietary restrictions? Is there an extra cost for these options?
In today’s culinary climate, even small events are likely to include guests with everything from peanut allergies to gluten sensitivities. “I recommend asking what the caterer can do to create a great experience that takes into account everyone’s dietary needs,” says Julie Lindenman, owner of New York-based Julie Lindenman Events.

Offering options ensures that everyone is properly cared for and able to fully enjoy the cuisine. Jenn Day, director of catering at Charlie Palmer Group, suggests getting as specific as asking what types of milk will be available to guests. Be sure to confirm whether providing vegan, gluten-free, or other alternatives will come at an extra cost or if those dishes are included as part of the standard catering package.

How will this dish scale up from a few plates at a tasting to hundreds at an event?

Executing a handful of plates at a tasting differs greatly from serving an entire ballroom. Ask the caterer how each dish will be affected when produced on a mass scale.

Tertner recommends discussing how the venue will come into play. “Ask where the kitchen is located, how long it will take for a waiter to get from the kitchen to the table, and how that distance will affect the temperature of the plate they’re serving,” he says. Off-premise events in particular come with their own challenges, as the venue might not be equipped with a professional kitchen. “I want to know that the caterer is mindful of these factors and is setting us up for success,” he says.

Is what I am tasting and seeing today exactly what will be served at the event?

To limit the chances of unwelcome last-minute surprises, be sure that both you and the caterer are clear on how what is being showcased at a tasting will be replicated for the actual event.

“Ask how the portion size will compare to what you’re seeing at a tasting and exactly how the finished plate will look,” suggests Day, who also recommends confirming that fresh ingredients won’t be substituted later. “The kitchen should be putting its best foot forward at a tasting, so it’s best to confirm that what you’re seeing is exactly what your guests will get.”

If a dish includes seasonal or hard-to-find ingredients, confirm that there is an alternate plan in case they are not available on the day of the event.

How can we customize the menu to best represent and complement my specific event?

More than just a vendor, a creative and collaborative caterer can be a crucial partner in making an event unique and impactful, using food as a way to enhance the guest experience.

“I love asking about customization and personalizing things,” says Lindenman. “I have a lot of clients interested in customizing a menu in ways that the caterer didn’t show initially.” If you’re planning a corporate event, for example, ask if the caterer can include the company logo on a cookie or if the brand’s color scheme can be reflected in a cocktail.

For a themed affair, see if the dishes or presentation can be tweaked to reflect and complement the decor. “If planners don’t ask those questions, our hands are tied when it comes to tailoring dishes to the needs of the party,” explains Brad Widish, senior account executive at Presidential Gourmet Catering in Toronto. “Give your caterer as much information as possible so that we have a complete understanding of the event.”

Can you create dishes to pair with a wine or liquor?
If your event has an alcohol sponsor, share that information with the caterer. Ask for the bartender to create a specialty cocktail using that specific brand of liquor, or for a wine-sponsored event, request that each course be paired with a specific bottle. “Caterers often have a knowledgeable staff, and even an in-house sommelier, that can help choose dishes that pair well with the event’s designated vintages,” says Lindenman.

If the event doesn’t have an alcohol sponsor, ask the caterer for recommendations for wine and liquor that are the best fit for your audience, food menu, and budget.

What serveware options do you offer? For a buffet, what will each station look like?
Food and drink presentation, from tabletop items to linens to serveware, should match the feel of the event.

“Nowadays there are so many party supply rental companies that caterers use because keeping inventory in stock and up to health codes is difficult,” says Tertner. Experienced caterers often have relationships with rental companies and thus have access to several options for everything from napkins to stemware. Think about details like the colors of the tablecloths on buffet stations, and consider what decorative elements can be included on serving dishes and stations to make them blend with the event’s overall look and theme.

What will the staff-to-guest ratio be?

Caterers also handle the details of service. Staffing plans should consider the layout of the venue, as expansive spaces require more staff. “Everyone is watching their dollars, but compromising on the number of servers can have a big impact on the event,” Helgason says. “You don’t want guests to be cranky or ‘hangry’ because there isn’t enough service staff.”

For a 100-guest cocktail party with a full bar, Tertner recommends staffing of two bartenders, four waiters, one or two busboys, and one captain. At more than 150 guests, he suggests adding a sanitation caption. For a 100-person seated dinner, Tertner recommends 15 to 20 waiters plus two to five busboys, two bartenders, one captain, and one sanitation captain. At 150 guests, he would add an assistant sanitation captain.

Original Blog Credit: https://www.bizbash.com/8-questions-to-ask-at-a-food-tasting/new-york/story/35910#.W1oC_NJKhRY