Thursday, March 24, 2016

5 Ways to Manage Your Time Better as an Event Planner

As an #eventprof, you work around the clock trying to make sure the events you’re planning and the parties you’re throwing go off without a hitch.

Because, everyone knows that as an event professional time is money!

So how do you manage your time?

If you’re not sure, don’t worry! We’ve got five ways to help you manage your time better.

Keep reading to find out.

#1 Do the Most Important Task of the Day First

After you’ve had your coffee and got to your workstation, it’s time to hit the ground running with your most important project.

The morning is the best time to get your creative juices flowing and tackle major tasks that need your utmost attention.

Think about it, say you have a project that you’re not sure how long it’s going to take you, but you know it’s crucial to your event. Instead of crunching it in the last part of the day, start working on it early.

And besides, working on projects throughout most of the day helps you feel accomplished when you go to sleep at night.

#2 It’s OK to Say No

Yes, it’s perfectly alright to tell someone no!

Say your client approaches you at the last minute to ask if you can add something else to their event—and they need it to be done ASAP.

It’s alright to tell someone you can’t tackle that project at this moment.

Of course, you’re not giving them a flat out no. You’re just letting your clients know you’re taking time to produce the best results for other projects they wanted.

Being honest and upfront, even if that means saying no, is something that your clients will respect.

#3 Hide Your Technology

It seems as an #eventprof you always have a tablet lying around, or your phone attached to your hip.

Technology is your lifeline, so even thinking about being without it gives you anxiety.

But when you have a big project to work through (that doesn’t require any form of technology) it’s best to hide it from yourself.

Put your phone or tablet in the next room, turn it on silent, and focus on your work.

Trust us, when you don’t look at your phone every five minutes, you’ll be shocked at how much work you can actually get done.

#4 Take Breaks

It doesn’t matter who you are. You need to take a break for five minutes, every 90 minutes. And every 17 minutes, you need to stand up and stretch your legs.

Your mind (and your body) needs time to reboot and recharge.

Taking a break allows you to jump right back into thinking creatively, and it helps speed up your productivity too.

We understand when you get into a time crunch you feel like you can’t take any breaks, that you have to power through.

But do yourself (and your work) a favor, set a timer and stop working when it goes off.

#5 Set Deadlines for Yourself

Most people work best on a timeline—a schedule of when everything should be done.
For event professionals, you typically work on a very extended schedule—usually months out from an event.

This is why you should set deadlines for yourself!

If you need to get the flowers ordered, the table placings designed, and the seating arrangements established, set yourself deadlines and stick to them.

You’ll be amazed when you set a schedule and work under a deadline how much work you’ll get done.

So #eventprofs, are you ready to better manage your time? We believe in you and know that you can! 

Tell us about a project that made you work under a tight deadline and how you managed your time to complete it? Let us know in the comment section below or share it with us on our Facebook page.  

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Thursday, March 17, 2016

5 Crowd-Pleasing Cocktails You’ll Want Served at Your Next Event

Want the ultimate cocktail hour at your next event? Your answer better be yes!  

A cocktail hour is a great way to make smooth transitions between different parts of your event.

But besides just as way to buy you some extra time, cocktail hours help keep your guests thoroughly entertained while they wait for you.

So we’re here with some killer ideas to make your cocktail hour the best, as well as to tell you about some must-serve signature cocktail recipes.

Ready to get started? Alright, bottom’s up, my friend!

Cocktail Hour Must-Haves

During cocktail hour there are several things you have to have to make it the best:

1. Comfortable Seating

Sure, the typical cocktail hour theme is high tables and a bar. But don’t forget that some of your guests would prefer to get off their feet.

Be sure to include comfortable seating in your cocktail space to make your guests feel a bit more at ease.

And it’s not hard to do, grab some extra chairs (or a sofa) to make a nice cozy sitting area!

2. Music

During cocktail hour, people are usually feeling more calm and relaxed. For them, the party hasn’t officially started, so no need for the dance music quite yet.

Now we’re not suggesting you play elevator music either.

Find some music that fits your theme (i.e. tropical music if you’re having a beach-themed wedding).

3. An Open Bar

I know, I know. You’re probably looking at your budget thinking, “there’s no way I can afford an open bar.”

Well, we hate to say it, but having a cash bar at your event is a major no-no.

We understand budgets are tight, so make a choice. You can either ditch the liquor (the most expensive part) and just serve beer and wine. Or, you can create a special signature drink to serve instead. Bottom line though, don’t make your guests pay for their drinks.

4. Nonalcoholic Options

Not everyone at your event enjoys the taste of alcohol, so make sure you have some other options on the menu.

We suggest making mocktails and/or refreshing drinks during the summer, and hot mixtures of cider or cocoa in the winter.

There’s plenty of nonalcoholic drinks options out there to find, just make sure you offer them at your wedding.

5. Crowd-Pleasing Cocktails

Now on to the part you were waiting for, five cocktails sure to impress your guests!

1. Long Island Iced Tea

No one can deny the sweet and tangy taste of a Long Island Iced Tea. This lovely blend is made up of tequila, vodka, rum, triple sec, and gin.

It’s refreshing and easy to drink, making it one of the best cocktail recipes to have at your event.

2. Mojito

On those super hot days, nothing says thirst-quenching like a Mojito.

Blended with rum, mint sprigs, lime juice, sugar, a splash of club soda, and garnished with a lime, Mojitos have to be on your cocktail list.

3. Margarita

As one of the top requested liquor drinks in America, it’s not a party unless you add Margaritas to the mix.

Coming in either shaken or blended varieties, Margaritas are the easiest choices for your guests to choose from and enjoy.

4. Bloody Mary

Everyone needs an overdramatic sister at their event, so why not invite this little heartwarmer.

A Bloody Mary is a nice blend of vodka, tomato juice, spices, worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, celery, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, celery salt, beef bouillon, horseradish (and it seems like whatever else you might find in your kitchen spice cabinet).

And while they’re known for their complex ingredients list, that shouldn’t discourage you. This drink is a must-serve!

5. Manhattan

Nothing says classy like New York does, so you have to include this little city-slicker drink on your list.

Made with whiskey, sweet vermouth, bitters, and a splash of cherry juice, a Manhattan will win the hearts of your guests.

And for the men who prefer their drinks served in a lowball glass, the Manhattan is the real MVP.

What signature drinks did you serve at your event? Let us know in the comment section below or share with us on our Facebook page.

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Thursday, March 10, 2016

How in the World Do You Afford a Wedding?

The most popular questions asked on every wedding planning forum is “how can I possibly afford a wedding?” It seems like every woman (and man) dreams about having that $100,000 wedding shown on TLC’s A Wedding Story. And who could blame them? You’ve probably been dreaming about this day ever since you were little, so of course you want to go all out. But how much can you realistically afford? And how do you even begin to pay for a wedding? Because at the end of the day, do you honestly have over $30,000 to spend? From someone who’s helped direct and plan a lot of weddings, I’ve got some tips that can help you save up and afford your dream day.

Using Simple Math

So before we get into breaking down the budget, lets first figure out how much you can actually afford compared to your wedding time frame. Say you have a budget of $15,000 and you have a year to save for it. Now divide 15,000 by 12 (number of months in the year). That brings your total saving per month to about $1,250. Think you can save that much a month? If not, it’s time to cut that budget down a few thousand.

By thinking of your budget in smaller chunks of money, it’s easier to rationalize what an appropriate budget will be. Now you’re thinking, well how do I possibly do that? Don’t worry; keep reading!

Cut Back on Your Expenses

You have a quite bit of money you’ll need to save so you can afford your wedding, guess you’re going to have to cut back on a few things, right? Take a look at your expendable income (the gym, movies, subscription services, etc.) and total how much all of that comes to. You’ll probably be surprised that it totals a couple hundred dollars. Well, cancel those subscriptions and throw that extra money into a savings account for your wedding.

Another thing to watch out for is your spending habits! Maybe you and your significant other love taking date nights every other night of the week. Why not scale that back to just one or two nights a week? Or maybe you spend money on that coffee after lunch, or a quick breakfast sandwich in the morning. You’d be surprised just how much that adds up after a while. Cutting back on those extra expenses and putting it all in a savings account will definitely help when it comes to saving for a wedding.

Be Creative on Additional Ways to Make Money

It’s time to get creative with earning extra money. Maybe you love dogs, so why not pick up a second job as a dog walker or pet sitter on the weekends? Hey it’s a couple hundred bucks you could add to your bank account. Or you might be able to pick up a couple freelancing jobs in and around your area. There are great sites out there helping connect companies to freelancers. Or maybe you have a few items lying around your house? Try selling them on eBay or start your own store on Etsy. Anything you can think of to help you raise a little bit extra cash is great.

Vendor Options

Now that you’ve done everything you can to save for a wedding, let’s talk about your budget.

-Find Family/Friend Talent 

Know someone who is really skilled with a camera? Or how about someone who knows calligraphy? Instead of shelling out money, ask your friends and family for help. Use as much talent as you can find, helping you save big money. 

-Pick In-Season Flowers

Did you know that peonies are three times more expensive than roses? Or that choosing a flower that is out of season can be pretty costly? Well if you didn’t, we’re here to set the record straight! Flowers can run you a lot of money, so choose wisely. 

-Seek out Discounts

Don’t be afraid to ask vendors for discounts. You’ll be surprised on how much of a discount you might be able to get by simply asking for one. Vendors won’t be upfront about possible discounts, which is why it’s always important to ask.

Ask for Help

There’s nothing wrong with asking for a little bit of help from your family members. And times have certainly changed where a wedding is not just a bride’s dog and pony show. Husbands-to-be can step up and ask their family to chip into the wedding fund. But be aware, there are few things to know before approaching your family to have the money talk.

  1. Ask politely if your parents are willing to contribute
  2. Be prepared to discuss budgets and plans
  3. Be open to what they have to say
  4. Understand that your feelings might get hurt if a parent declines to help

We know setting aside money for your wedding is tough and it takes lots of planning. But we hope these few tips have helped you and your significant other start planning for the event of your dreams.

Recently married? How did you save money for your wedding? Let us know in the comment section below or share it with us on our Facebook page.

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Thursday, March 3, 2016

How to Plan for Unexpected Spring Weather on Your Big Day

So you’ve settled on the perfect date for your wedding. And it’s in the middle of spring!  The flowers will be out, the birds will be chirping, and wedding bells will be ringing—you just can’t wait until your big day arrives! But have you thought about how you’re going to plan around the weather?

Oh yeah! When it comes to spring, there are a variety of weather patterns you’ll have to watch out for. So get started now. Don’t let unexpected spring weather crash the party on your big day. We have some tips to help you plan for the best and prepare for the worst when it comes to unexpected spring weather.  

Avoidance #1: Rain

When people say make sure you plan for unexpected weather, one of the first things people think about is rain. And rightfully so. Rain is always the biggest unexpected guest to show up at your wedding. So be prepared to not let rain wash away your happy moments!

Set aside money in your budget for a tent or extra umbrellas. They’ll come in handy when you’re trying to enjoy your day. Besides, wedding pictures under umbrellas are the new trendy look.

Avoidance #2: Wind

Everyone prays for a cool breeze to blow through their venue during their outside wedding, but no one asks for the winds of a thousand hurricanes to tumble through. Wind has the potential to blow your entire wedding away if you don’t weigh anything down. From your hair, to the dresses, to the programs, wind can certainly ruin a happy moment.

Secure everything with zip ties, make sure the tent stakes are deep in the ground, and that anything paper is weighed down with a paperweight. The extra precautions you take will be worth it.

Avoidance #3: Sun

Just like a cool breeze, everyone wishes the sun will make an appearance on their big day. But not so much sun that it scorches anything left uncovered.

To beat the heat, plan for the hottest summer day imaginable, which means rent a tent, buy sunglasses and sunscreen, and install fans and parasols throughout the venue. Everyone wants to party and have a good time—not melt in the heat. And trust us, when it comes to wedding dresses and tuxedos, you’ll want somewhere to cool off.

Avoidance #4: Cold

Spring is one of those seasons where it could be warm one day, and wintry cold the next. And it can even happen within the same day, with the evening sending chilly temperatures your way. So it’s best to plan for the heat, as well as the cold. Most of your guests might not think to grab a light jacket when it’s warm around noon, but they’ll need it when the sun goes down.

Plan to have heat lamps set up, a nice cozy bonfire, or plenty of blankets to go around. These items will keep your guests warm, but also make for pretty candid shots for you to look back on. And hey, while you’re at it with the bonfire—why not make s'mores?

Avoidance #5: Bugs

So yes, we know that bugs aren’t necessarily unexpected weather, but they are unexpected (uninvited) guests. No one enjoys a creepy crawly walking across the table—or their food. And don’t get me started on itchy bug bites or bee stings.

Provide your guests with all-natural bug spray or lavender essential oils. They’re not as harsh smelling as other types of bug repellants, but are still packed with all the protecting power you’ll want.

Isn’t planning for unexpected spring weather fun? Although you can’t stop the weather from happening, all you need to fight it from taking over your big day is a little bit of planning. And we hope our tips helped you start thinking about weather preparations!

Have you had to deal with bad weather at a wedding? If so, let us know in the comment section below or share it with us on our Facebook page.

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