BLOGS 10 Essential Tips for Planning a Wedding Like an Event Professional

January 30, 2019
10 Essential Tips for Planning a Wedding Like an Event Professional

By Holly Barker

Source: Event Manager

A wedding is one of the most important days in any couple’s lives. From engagement photos, to selecting vendors, to making checklists and choosing your wedding party, there are lots of items that need to be planned out in an orderly fashion up until you say those two magical words – “I Do.”

Planning your own wedding can sometimes feel overwhelming and stressful, but if you follow these stress-free tips below, you will find planning your wedding will be smooth sailing, and more enjoyable from an expert event professional mindset.

1) Set a Budget, and Stick To It

Weddings can be very expensive, and just like any other event, you may find yourself wanting to add additional items to your master list closer to the event date, which may not have been in your set budget.

Make a budget and stick to it. If you think you may have “wish list” items that will pop up closer to the time of the wedding, add those items in with your set budget from the very beginning. Aim to never exceed the set amount you have budgeted for from day one.

If you overspend on flowers, then you must cut back from something else on your list. Be flexible with yourself, and prioritize the big spend items and must-have items first on your budget, knowing that those have to be paid for, as opposed to “wish list” items that can get cut at anytime.

2) Create a Timeline

Besides the budget, a timeline is the most important part of planning a wedding as an event professional. Develop a reasonable timeline, fit to your schedule, and map out due dates on a calendar. You will find well-known wedding websites provide checklists with timelines for you, so be sure to follow these when planning out your calendar. Depending on the timing of the wedding, you will want to ensure you have ample time to plan and insert orders that can take more time than others.

3) Find Event Tools Fit For You

Event tools are an event planners best friend! Besides online wedding checklists, look for event apps with budgets, checklists and reminders that are used for weddings, or if you prefer to use your go-to event planning apps, those will work just fine.

Some planners prefer to work in excel, while others prefer the old school method of writing out every expense paid for an event – it’s up to you, but be sure to track all expenses at the end of the day to help make your planning efforts run smoothly!

4) Choose the Important Details

Once you have planned out the budget and timeline of the wedding, it’s time to figure out the most important details of all. The size of the wedding will determine more from a budget perspective, so first, create a guest list and stick to it as close as possible.

Once you have completed the list, move on to selecting a venue, wedding date and theme. The process for selecting the venue is very similar to selecting event venues for other types of events.

You will want to meet with venue owners, get a list of what they provide and do not provide on the day of the wedding, have them send you a formal quote, and find out what dates they have available that work with the timing you are working towards. Couples are constantly getting engaged, so finding the weekend that works best for you is sometimes hard to do, but most importantly, the details and service you receive at the venue are crucial.

Review the contract (and all vendor contracts) before signing with the venue, and be sure to ask if you can stop by when they may be having a party so you can see what the venue will look like decorated and full of guests! As a planner it’s always important to see your event space in action before you make any commitments.

5) Design with Quality

You may have several design resources you use for events on a yearly basis, and if one comes to mind for a wedding, be sure to reach out and ask for their help to design signs, invitations, programs and save the dates!

There’s nothing more special than a custom, creative wedding set with a unique twist showing off the style and character of the happy couple!

6) Vendors are Your Golden Ticket

Be diligent when hiring vendors. Find references for all of your vendors, and create a spreadsheet with contact info, and a back-up contact for all vendors. As a rule of thumb, always remember vendors are just the same as any tradeshow or corporate event vendor, but in this case, they may be a DJ, food and beverage caterer, lighting and décor or photo booth company, flower shop, or wedding dress boutique.

It’s important to set up meetings with all vendors, have follow-up meetings, make sure your contacts feel like an extension of you from the very get-go. Together, you are all creating one master experience for the bride, groom, and wedding guests.

7) It’s all About Customer Service

No matter what event is being planned, event professionals always go out of their way to guarantee amazing service. One thing to keep in mind as you are planning a wedding is to go the extra mile for anyone and everyone involved in the wedding. Use your gift vendors and personalize party favors for all of the gifts, find special gifts for the wedding family you can customize just for them that they will cherish forever, and create welcome bags for the wedding guests to drop off at the preferred wedding hotel of choice.

Inside the welcome bag, be sure to include the schedule of weekend or day events, times to arrive, and where to go, and goodies for your guests. You can customize your goodies to cater to the location of the wedding – for example, if the wedding is taking place at in a city known for a sports team, maybe include something with the team name on it, or a local beer! Your guests will absolutely love the welcome bags, and thoughtful ideas put behind them.

8) Take Time For You

Sometimes even wedding event planners in the role of bride or groom need some R&R on the day of their wedding! One great way to make sure you’re focused on you, is to hire a day-of coordinator who can simply pick up right where you left off in your amazing planning!

As an event professional, they will be blown away by your checklists and vendor sheets, which will come in handy on the day of your wedding. There are lots of smaller wedding event companies who provide day-of planning services for an affordable cost. Their services provided on your special day will ease your mind, and guarantee a stress-free day, where you can ensure your vendors are greeted by another event professional in A+ fashion.

It’s nice to know someone on your playing field will be filling in your event professional shoes for you while you get ready for the day you have been dreaming of your whole life!

9) Anticipate Challenges

No wedding, however well planned by the best event planners, will ever come off perfectly. Expect something to go not as planned, and when it does, if you are the bride or groom, you can either be well-prepared to have your day-of coordinator jump in and tackle the issue, or let it roll off your back! Day-of logistics can and do sometimes get overlooked, so as the wedding event planner be sure to triple check your checklist no matter what.

So many little items tend to appear on the wedding day you may not expect, such as broken zippers on dresses, missing centerpieces, not knowing where a vendor should be located at the venue, etc. Keep your cool at all times, and have a back-up plan to your back-up plan.

Weddings are not for the faint of heart if taking on the role of wedding event planner, so be sure to be quick on your feet when issues arise, and assertively step in to handle juggling balls as they come flying your way ☺

10) Soak It All In

Most couples forget to take a few minutes and look around the room once everything is all planned and in motion. Take a few minutes to relax, and enjoy the accomplishment of planning an emotional and fun-filled memory in your lives.

Remember all events take a huge amount of time, sweat and work to be pulled off, but weddings are events of a different nature. They take months, sometimes years to pull together, and being able to soak all of your hard work in will feel amazing.

In Conclusion

Weddings can be so much fun to plan as an event professional. Having the right tools and tips ahead of time, will help go a long way when taking the dive into the sometimes overwhelming, but very rewarding process of wedding planning. Hopefully these ten tips will come in handy for any event professional, or soon-to-be wedding planner!

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BLOGS 5 Signs Your Dinner Host Is Very Good at Their Job

January 24, 2019
5 Signs Your Dinner Host Is Very Good at Their Job

By Cambria Bold

Source: The Kitchn

There’s a special feeling that comes over you when you’re halfway through the perfect dinner at a friend’s house. She always manages to do this, your friend — make you feel like the evening could go on forever and you wouldn’t mind. Her last dinner was like this, too. You just really enjoyed yourself, and you’re not sure how she did it. Was it the food, the lighting, the people? You didn’t feel the need to pull out your phone even once, and that never happens.

True hospitality is subtle, as I’ve written before. You don’t realize you’re getting it until after you’re already feeling totally comfortable. One way to figure out the secrets of a superb host? Start with the end result, the good feelings that you, the guest, experience. Here are five things a good host makes you feel, and how they (slyly) do it.

1. You feel totally relaxed and comfortable.

The evening is well underway, and if your shoulders could talk, they would say “Thank you for finally removing me from your ears!” You’re mingling without obligation, you’re talking without feeling self-conscious, you’re laughing because, well, laughing is the best and something as funny. You may even be dancing. And you’re doing it all spontaneously! (And no, it’s not because of the alcohol.) What is happening?!

How your host does it: It starts with the basics, like making sure the house is clean and playing good tunes. After that, it’s all about fine-tuning. Everyone has a different definition of what’s comfortable, but a good host creates a vibe that works for anyone. It may be lounge-y and informal or glammed up; it may be communal or funky. But she lets her guests know what to expect, if necessary, and then helps them tune their inner stations to the vibe she’s working.

2 Tricks for Cleaning and Playlists

The key to making that work is the next point:

2. You feel pampered.

Someone just helped you put your stuff down and is now offering you a cocktail, while your host just came around the corner with a plate of appetizers. Your friend ushers you out to the patio, where she tells you to chill out for awhile while she finishes up in the kitchen. You offer to help, but she refuses. Not a chance, she says. Go enjoy your drink!

Out on the patio you settle into an Adirondack chair, which she’s plumped with a squishy pillow. The setting sun sends pink streaks across the sky. You put on your sunglasses, lean back, and take a sip of your Old Fashioned. You think you hear music, but it may just be in your head, since you are clearly in a movie scene right now. A bird chirps. And another guest strikes up a conversation.

How your host does it: As outlined above, from the moment you walk through the door, your host has set up the Path to Pampering. There’s a place to put your things (or someone to take them), something to eat and drink, somewhere comfy to do it, and someone to talk to while doing it.

That in and of itself is good enough for most people, but a good host keeps it coming. The cooler gets refilled before you even notice it’s empty, appetizers are replenished, a new wine bottle corked and set on the table. All the while the music keeps playing, and you never, ever have to ask for a roll of toilet paper. (There’s a full basket of readily available TP in the candle-lit bathroom.)

And yes, the pampering extends to accommodating special diets, but even there your host has a few solid options. How can things get any better? Well, at this point…

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BLOGS Top Event Planning Tips for 2019

January 17, 2019
Top Event Planning Tips for 2019

Source: In2Events

Event planning, no matter your experience, is a complex task that takes time, experience, dedication and creativity. As 2018 draws to a close, we thought we’d share our top event planning tips for 2019 to help you get ahead of the game.

Tip 1. Always Create an Event Brief:

Whether you are an event novice or an expert, there are some event planning staples that are vital to pin down for each and every event, no matter the size or purpose. Creating an event brief is one of them: produce a document that gives an overview of all the important information pertaining to your event, including the brand vision and overall objectives that are required to be achieved. With a strong plan and a realistic budget in place, the event planning process can begin with a clear focus.

Tip 2. Harness the Power of Data:

Data can provide powerful insights into events and provide intelligence that can shape your entire event programme. Data intelligence is key to measuring event success against objectives; creating delegate profiles to develop customised attendee experiences; analysing lead generation and sales performance and becomes a vital source of information for the planning of future events.

There are a various tools available to help event planners collect data, understanding from the offset what data you require to be collected from your event will help determine what tools are best for you to utilise.

Tip 3. Find a Venue That’s the Perfect fit:

Selecting a venue is one of the most important decisions in the event planning process and can influence so many other elements of your event plans and budget. Providing key information and asking the right questions is a must when liaising with venues and can help determine if a venue is a good fit for your event. To avoid any nasty surprises, it’s also advisable to visit venue options yourself to see the location and view the facilities first-hand.

Tip 4. Promote Your Event Effectively:

Get your event noticed with a well-thought-out event marketing strategy. Creating awareness of your event and engaging with your target audience before, during and after your event is a sure-fire way of contributing to its overall success. Understand your audience and reach them through relevant channels.

Tip 5: Engaging Experiences:

Your event has to resonate with and engage your attendees and this can come down to the content and the methods of interactivity included within your programme.

Keep your audience in the forefront of your planning at all times: anticipate how they would want information delivered and by who, incorporate opportunities for delegates to participate and interact throughout the course of the event.

From booking recognisable, highly-anticipated guest speakers through to implementing event technology that can enhance delegate experiences, there are a multitude of ways to deliver an event that creates an impact and leaves a long-lasting impression.

Tip 6. Ongoing Feedback:

Feedback should be collected before, during and after an event. Listen to your audience and how they are engaging with your event marketing in the lead up to your event. During the event create touch-points for attendees to provide live feedback and after your event has ended, incentivise your guests with exclusive offerings and ask them to provide their much-needed thoughts and opinions about their experiences.

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BLOGS 2019 Event Trends That Will Change the Path of Events

January 15, 2019
2019 Event Trends That Will Change the Path of Events

By Will Curran

Source: Endless Events

The year 2019 is almost upon us. How will the events industry fare this year, and what trends will rule the roost when it comes to event planners’ priorities? Let’s take a look at these trends and how you can ride their waves successfully.

2019 Event Trends:

  1. Your Audience Craves Authenticity
  2. Infusing Events With Hands-On Experiences
  3. Brain Dates: Networking 2.0
  4. Bleisure Travel Becomes The New Norm
  5. Using Metrics for Crowdshaping and Customization
  6. Saving on WiFi Costs
  7. Enhancing Event Cybersecurity
  8. Diversity Takes Root
  9. Sustainability Is Part of the Plan
  10. Facial Recognition for Security and Feedback
  11. New Rules for Influencers
  12. Using Wearable Tech Wisely
  13. Adding Personality to Chatbots
  14. Standing Out With Stage Design
  15. Furniture That’s Both Social And Empowering

Your Audience Craves Authenticity

Despite the increasing number of events held yearly, many still feel like copycats of other successful conferences. These events fail to establish their own identity, relying instead on mimicking what made others successful

This is no longer going to fly this 2019. Authenticity is important for immersion, but that only comes about when the event’s purpose is clear. It’s not just about plastering your brand all over the place, but also proving your expertise in the industry.

Authenticity involves making the right decisions every step of the way. Are we choosing sponsors that match our value? Do our topics reflect our event’s purpose and does it resonate with our audience? Do our speakers and influencers reflect our brand well?

Infusing Events With Hands-On Experiences

Interactivity during events isn’t limited to digital experiences. Workshops are fast becoming the preferred activity for many conferences and meetings. Attendees want to experience, not just witness, whatever the event is about.

Instead of long-winded speeches, short talks are combined with activities that let the audience learn first-hand how to apply what they learned. Hands-on experiences have the advantage of adding extreme value to learning, while also aiding in the stress reduction of the attendees. To facilitate an even deeper level of immersion, make sure your sessions have definite time frames and tangible incentives.

If you are considering adding workshops to your events, keep in mind to choose the appropriate venue that allows people to move freely to facilitate interaction. Also, add some budget to cover the logistics of the activities, both in time and money.

Brain Dates: Networking 2.0

Aside from the traditional conference format and the more immersive workshops, another event format is taking center stage: “brain dates”, one-on-one meetings that foster a new level of knowledge exchange.

Usually, the event organizer facilitates the brain date, asking participants both to fill out what knowledge they have to share as well as the knowledge they want to gain. It sidesteps the hustle involved when networking, letting pairs create deeper connections with each other. Aside from exchanging knowledge, brain dates are also a way to gain new contacts and customers.

It’s been picking up speed because of its innovative format for learning and teaching, satisfying the thirst for knowledge exchange without having to spend time and money in a huge event. In the same vein, brain dates are also fast becoming an event within an event, with large conferences like C2 Montreal initiating brain date sessions.

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BLOGS How to Start an Event Planning Service

January 10, 2019
How to Start an Event Planning Service

Source: Entrepreneur

The special events industry has grown enormously in the past decade. According to recent research conducted by Dr. Joe Goldblatt, CSEP (Certified Special Events Professional), spending for special events worldwide is $500 billion annually. Goldblatt is the founder of International Special Events Society (ISES), the founding director of the Event Management Program at George Washington University, and co-author of The International Dictionary of Event Management. “Suffice it to say, the marketplace is large enough to support and sustain your endeavor,” says Goldblatt. “If you’re working in one special events area, there are many directions in which you can expand. If you’re just entering the profession of special events, there’s a lucrative market awaiting you on many fronts.”

According to Goldblatt’s research, profits in this industry continue to rise. Just a few years ago, Goldblatt says, the average profit margin for an event planning entrepreneur was around 15 percent. His most recent studies, however, show profit margins can be as much as 40 percent. He attributes the industry’s good health to several factors, including the improved economy and the trend of corporate America to outsource their meeting-planning functions. Since you’re not some tech startup bidding for programmers, you can get started without a lot of money.

What Is Event Planning?

This question actually breaks down into two questions: What kinds of events are we talking about? And, what is event planning?

First things first. Generally speaking, special events occur for the following purposes:

  • Celebrations (fairs, parades, weddings, reunions, birthdays, anniversaries)
  • Education (conferences, meetings, graduations)
  • Promotions (product launches, political rallies, fashion shows)
  • Commemorations (memorials, civic events)

This list isn’t an exhaustive one, but as the examples illustrate, special events may be business related, purely social or somewhere in between.

Now we move to the second question: What is event planning? Planners of an event may handle any or all of the following tasks related to that event:

  • Conducting research
  • Creating an event design
  • Finding a site
  • Arranging for food, decor and entertainment
  • Planning transportation to and from the event
  • Sending invitations to attendees
  • Arranging any necessary accommodations for attendees
  • Coordinating the activities of event personnel
  • Supervising at the site
  • Conducting evaluations of the event

How many of these activities your business engages in will depend on the size and type of a particular event, which will, in turn, depend on the specialization you choose.

Why Do People Hire Event Planners?

This question has a simple answer: Individuals often find they lack the expertise and time to plan events themselves. Independent planners can step in and give these special events the attention they deserve.

Who Becomes An Event Planner?

Planners are often people who got their start in one particular aspect of special events. Business owner Martin Van Keken had a successful catering company before he decided to plan entire events. Many other planners have similar stories. This explains why planners often not only coordinate entire events but may, in addition, provide one or more services for those events.

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BLOGS Hot planning trends for 2019

January 8, 2019
Hot planning trends for 2019

Source: Crain’s New York

As always, planners will have to push the envelope to create events with an impact. Decor must make a statement. Food must cater to diverse needs. And innovative tech is no longer a nice-to-have; it’s a must.

“Attendees are more demanding than ever for a superb event experience in terms of industry-leading content, healthy and well-prepared food, and accessible and interesting locations,” said Mary E. Adams, CMP, president of the event management company ECG, which helps with full-service B2B meeting planning for the financial services industry. “Simply put, the ‘if you build it, they will come’ strategy is ineffective and if these details are ignored for too long, the event will become irrelevant.” 

Crain’s Custom spoke with event trends expert and keynote speaker Daniel Levine and ECG’s Adams to get the inside scoop on what exactly planners should expect in the new year. 


With technology advancing at such a rapid pace, keeping up can feel overwhelming. At the same time, it’s never been more important to stay on the technological cutting-edge. What’s a planner to do?

It should come as no surprise that, first and foremost, utilizing social media is critical. One exciting development is platforms like Instagram are being used to sell and distribute tickets. As of May of this year, planners can easily add a “get tickets” button to their event’s Instagram profile, seamlessly integrated with Eventbrite. Levine said social media options like this “offer terrific new opportunities for distribution.”

One of the more futuristic tech options available to planners is virtual reality, which can drive demand, according to Levine. Planners can, for instance, create virtual experiences or 360-degree videos on their event website to help attendees “feel” what attending in person would be like.

Another VR option? Virtual attendance for stay-at-home visitors. Webcasted presentations and live video feeds have of course been around for years, but the next frontier is far more immersive. At last year’s Golden Globes awards show, L’Oreal brand ambassadors in attendance wore special wireless video cameras synced up with Snapchat’s Spectacles service. The result? Circular videos with 115-degree fields of view, beamed directly to users’ Snapchat feeds.

Oculus, the most buzzed-about company in the VR space, also launched an app this year called Oculus Venues. Using distributed virtual-reality headsets, the service allows virtual attendees to enjoy real-time, three-dimensional views of live events.

Mobile technology remains a dominant trend as well.

“People who attend meetings are addicted to their mobile devices,” said Levine. “For planners this means meeting attendees where they are: on their phones.”

Event apps are nothing new, but the future will bring far more interactivity, according to Levine. Popular mobile engagement tools include, which allows event-goers to “talk” with presenters in real-time using their phone; Tap to Speak, which turns smartphones into microphones that can be used for asking questions during sessions; and Social Point, which creates social media displays synthesizing real-time tweets and posts about events, helping to paint a comprehensive picture as an event proceeds.

Another consideration for technology is its usefulness in helping to make events accessible to attendees with disabilities. Thanks to tech advancements, “meeting attendees with specific needs for mobility, hearing or visual challenges will be catered to more effectively than ever,” said Levine.

Voice technology is so evolved now, for example, that planners can easily cater to the hearing-impaired by offering high-quality closed-captioning. Automated systems like enCaption3 and AI Media produce real-time captioning on live or recorded video, as well as fast, accurate transcriptions. There have also been exciting developments for the visually impaired, like the BrailleNote Touch, an Android tablet with a Braille keypad that planners can offer to visually disabled attendees to help them take notes at an event.


As always, the pressure is on for attendees to deliver events that wow, and innovative decor plays a significant role in this. “The best venues, F&B and decor will be the ones that offer the most ‘braggability’ for attendees,” said Levine. “These days, experiences that are the most braggable are those that are most unique. As an event planner, if you can offer a once-in-a-lifetime experience, be it with food or surroundings, you’ve just hit conference gold.”

Increasingly, attendees are specifically looking for outdoor spaces that visually impress. Pools, garden, beaches and the like provide plenty of visual appeal on their own, and don’t require you to pay as much for additional decor touches. Still, to really make a statement, experts suggest adding some additional decorative elements; on-trend options include mix-and-match modular and functional furniture and Mediterranean or Old Hollywood thematic details.

Alternatively, you can bring the outdoors in by utilizing nature-influenced design. Plants in general are predicted to be a major trend in the new year; hang them from ceilings or arrange show-stopping floral installations for an earthy vibe that’s very of-the-moment.

As for color, it’s all about bold shades. Pantone’s 2018 color of the year, ultraviolet, is poised to remain popular in 2019. As Pantone puts it, the purple hue “communicates originality, ingenuity and visionary thinking that points us toward the future.”

There are also exciting new trends in finding decor inspiration. An increasing number of planners are checking out looks from high-profile fashion shows to come up with ideas on colors, designs and themes. The Pinterest and Instagram accounts of shows like New York and Paris Fashion Week are excellent places to start if you want to find out what’s next in style. You can also search social media platforms for home-decor trends that are easy to replicate at events.

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BLOGS Event Planning Trends for 2019

January 4, 2019
Event Planning Trends for 2019

Source: Omnience Events

In the event planning industry, with its constantly shifting expectations, thinking ahead is an integral part of your success. A seasoned event planner knows that looking forward is the best defense to prepare in order to catch and embrace the waves of event planning trends coming at you. Of course, planning events requires creativity and organization, but the ability to look into the future with an eye on building from past events is where planners give their clients real value.

The event professionals at Omnience™ know from experience that using the data and information available to them to create bigger and better events is a hallmark of smart, efficient event and meeting marketing, design, and execution. This means staying on top of trends and using them with precision. Here are some of the top trends you should be injecting in your events, and some tips for staying relevant in this industry built on change.

Seamless Tech Integration

Obviously incorporating technology into events isn’t anything new, but how guests expect to interact with it is. Instead of occupying their attention, they expect AI to enhance their experience by solving their problems. For any obstacle you have, from long lines at check-in stations to lags in speaker translation, there is an answer in the right kind of technology—and guests know this. They expect their needs to be met with the help of some high-tech strategic event planning that smoothly connect them to your content.

Facial recognition software can make check-in a breeze, alleviating waiting around in lines and increasing time with your sponsors. Give international guests the gift of easy translation with in-time audio straight from their phones, allowing them to focus on your event speaker’s message as it unfolds. Chatbots are increasingly showing up as an event planner’s best friend, since they can be programmed for everything from following up on leads to customer service responses. We predict chatbots will become even more integrated into event experiences, answering attendees’ questions at any point of their event experience. Embracing these solutions connects your attendees with your event more quickly and efficiently than ever before.

Location, Location, Location

We have seen a rise in creative and offbeat event venues, and we predict this is one of the event planning trends that will continue to grow. With a focus on creating memorable, interactive experiences, meetings and events that choose venues beyond the standard will drive attendee engagement. In the upcoming year, unconventional meeting and event venues will pique interest, build buzz, and create unforgettable memories, which will translate into a huge return on investment if executed correctly. From pop-ups in parking lots to luncheons in artist lofts, taking on the task of transforming an unexpected space will add loads of value to your event.

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