Archive for August, 2014

August 28, 2014 9:24 am

Thinking of Becoming an Event Planner?

Here’s What you Need to Know First

If you’re thinking of becoming an event planner, there are a few things you should know. A job as an event planner or wedding planner always looks like lots of fun in movies and on TV; after all, your work revolves around planning and attending parties, so what’s not to love? The thing is, like most jobs of its kind, it can be a lot of fun, but it’s also always a lot of work. And, as an independent contractor, you have a lot of additional work-related details that you’re responsible for—you don’t necessarily have access to things like employer healthcare, for example, and in addition to the nuts and bolts of the job you’ll also spend a lot of time on administration and other tasks that aren’t quite as enjoyable as planning menus, or helping a bride shop for her wedding dress! For the right kind of person, however, a job as an event or wedding planner is an absolute blast, and a career that will provide a huge amount of professional and personal satisfaction.

thinking of being event planner books

Personal and Professional Attributes and Skills

Enrolling in a course designed to teach you all about the nuts-and-bolts aspects of coordinating weddings and other events is definitely a good way to kick-start your career in this industry, but just as important is having the right mix of skills and personal abilities that will help you make your chosen career a success. So what are some of the essentials?

  1. Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written
  2. Exceptional organizational skills—especially because successful event planners are usually working on multiple events at the same time
  3. Time-management and multitasking skills
  4. Be able to visualize the big picture without losing sight of smaller details
  5. The ability to stay calm and in control in a crisis
  6. Be able to quickly recognize and solve problems, and apply creative and unconventional solutions when necessary
  7. Be able to work with all kinds of people
  8. Be prepared to work long hours, including on weekends and public holidays

One of the most important aspects of the job is to have a strong love of and talent for working with people, and the ability to be tactful, patient, and calm with clients, vendors, and suppliers, in all situations. For example, one wedding planner and event coordinator jokingly describes her work as herding cats, telling the future, and reading minds—which speaks to the fact that in any job where you’re working with people to create something to their specifications, many clients don’t always know exactly what they want. Sometimes, that means you have to figure out what a client wants, even though they don’t even know themselves. As well as this, planning an event like a wedding often means trying to please multiple different people all at the same time—the bride and groom, plus two sets of parents, all with different ideas of what they want.

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When it comes to the people aspect of the job, it’s not all about working with clients, however; a single wedding can involve dozens of different vendors, so an event planner also has to build up an extensive network of industry contacts to be able to do their job effectively. This is important because staying competitive in the event-planning industry requires having the right vendor and venue contacts to be able to offer clients plenty of choice and excellent rates. Established wedding planners agree that this is an aspect of the job that absolutely can’t be ignored.

As well as all this, if you’re someone who plans to run your own event planning business, you’ll also need a certain amount of competency in other areas too, such as marketing and advertising, accounting, and an understanding of the relevant legal aspects of the job, such as liability and contract law. With this in mind, it’s definitely a good idea to choose a course that covers all of this essential information.

Event Coordination is a Growth Industry

There are lots of things you need to consider when starting your own business, and one of the most important is whether the industry you’re interested in can actually support you. Is it a growth industry, or will you find that there aren’t enough clients to go round? Luckily, the news is all good for the event planning industry—the US Department of Labor predicts huge growth over the next ten years—a whopping 33% increase, which means it’s the perfect time to enter the industry.

Does this sound like the career for you? Click the button below to learn more about QC’s courses!

 


Moving in or sharing space with a friend or partner is not uncommon. Practicality, for one, is the biggest factor that brings very different people under one roof. This convenient setup also comes with a set of challenges that requires compromise—one of which is merging design styles.

Coming up with a cohesive place that still reflects your individual preferences is tricky, but here are few tips that might help.

How to merge design styles without losing your sanity

Get rid of the unnecessary

Make a list of all personal items and tick off what you don’t need. Next, take a look at each other’s list. For the same kind of furniture that you both have, choose to keep the quality, timeless pieces. Surely, one of you has better, long-lasting furniture. An antique table made of mahogany versus one made of composite wood? Keep the former and put the latter up for sale. You can always use the extra money to buy a new piece of furniture that both of you want and need.

Play with patterns and textures

Can’t get rid of a classic piece of furniture which sticks out like a thumb in your new shared space? You can always reupholster it. Traditional chairs and sofas can look chic and modern with new coverings. Replace the busy patterns with solid, bold colors that complement contemporary pieces. If you decide to stick to ornate seats, choose a center table with solid lines to avoid the feel of a busy room. Softer upholstery can complement even the most masculine of all leather furnishings. It’s all about striking a balance with patterns and textures.

Invest on new pieces together

If you’re looking to bring in new furniture, invest in items that define both of you. A decorative or functional piece that reflects each of your design styles can bring harmony to your space. Fuse your preferences with a few focal pieces, such as a timeless piece of wall art or a classic bookshelf.

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Go for comfort

As much as you’d like to let your style shine in a common area, you also have to consider that you’re sharing it with another person. Merging design styles entails a small amount of sacrifice to make sure all parties are comfortable. The idea is to complement, not overpower, each one’s preferences.

Complement each of your design styles

It is a misconception that combining two different design styles won’t work. For example, ornate pieces such as French antique furniture marry well with Asian or Victorian decor. Interior designers also swear by the 80-20 rule: as long as majority of your design styles complement each other, you can keep things interesting by introducing different elements in your interiors.

Experiment with the extremes

To be safe, most people moving in together just forego their extremely different design styles and settle with neutral tones and pieces. Although it is considerably much less of a hassle, wouldn’t it be more rewarding had you experimented and found unity amidst your unique tastes?

The key is to push the limits. When dealing with dramatic furniture and modern fixed pieces, you can successfully achieve an eclectic mix by juxtaposing the old with the new. You don’t need to keep that mirror with baroque detail holed up in the attic. Hang it up against clean lines and see how it complements your modern chairs.

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Consult a professional

If unsure, you can always consult a designer that can help you combine and merge your design styles. An expert’s’ eye can make you see what seemed impossible, without compromising each of your preferences. Meet with your professional designer at the same time to avoid confusion. Make sure you have communicated want you want but be open to new ideas.

Learn the art of compromise and everything will fall into place—even that antique piece of furniture. As long as you agree that this new space is a shared, then there is always room for different design styles.

 

About the author: Angie Cole is a fan of everything vintage and admires the true old-world craftsmanship. She is a fan of Antiques on Old Plank Road, home of antique desks and other French antique furniture.

 


August 25, 2014 10:32 am

Business Tips: How to Write a Blog

When you’re launching your business, your website is a crucial element that you don’t want to neglect. This is how over 90% of clients will find you at first and you can bet most of them will make up their minds about the quality of your services within a few seconds of reaching your site.

These days, it’s standard for a business website to have a blog. A blog allows you to continue posting relevant content that is useful to clients, along with helping tremendously with your site’s search engine optimization (SEO).

Unfortunately, not many businesses use their blog correctly. Here’s a quick guide to get you started on the right track!

Write about relevant, useful topics

In order to keep readers on your site, they have to find information that is useful to them. “Useful” can have many meanings: the blog article can be funny, informative, passionate, etc. What it can’t be, is a shameless self-promotion of your business. You have a whole website that talks about your business. Don’t use your blog as more of the same!

Use your business blog to demonstrate your knowledge and to cement your position as an industry expert in your field. And mix it up. Providing a variety of content to your readers will allow them to see that your expertise is broadband. Use different “content categories” to keep your articles organized and help readers find their way around your blog.

If you find you’re running low on content ideas, scour the internet for inspiration. Obviously you don’t want to steal anyone’s work, but by reading different blogs out there it can help spark an idea for a future blog topic of yours.

how to write a blog stay relevant

Mix it up!

When you write a blog, it’s important to post different topics and different types of articles to your blog to keep things interesting for your readers. Try mixing some of these different styles of posts:

• “Top 5 / top 10” style lists
• Expert advice
• Client stories
• Product features
• “Top picks” relevant to your industry
• Video content
• Infographics
• And anything else you can think of!

Post often

Especially when your business is just getting off the ground, you should be posting to your blog at least once a week, and preferably more!

Posting frequently to your blog will accomplish two goals:

  1. The more often you post new content to your website, the more search engines will index your site, which will lead to higher listings on search engine result pages.
  2. A high frequency of posts will resonate with visitors to your blog. If you post sporadically or at a slow pace, readers won’t stick around.

Be visual

A blog article that’s one long paragraph will not be read.

You’ll want to write your articles in an easy-to-read format. Use headers to separate key points, and try to write simple paragraphs. Bullet points can be your best friend as they allow you to convey a large amount of information while forcing you to be as concise as possible!

You’ll want to use images in all of your blog posts as well. Pictures, graphs, illustrations, etc. are a wonderful way of breaking up text and keeping your readers engaged.
IMPORTANT!

Make sure you have proper permission for whatever image you post on your blog. If you’re using your own pictures, make sure you have a signed photo release from any person who appears in the photo. If using images from another source, obtain written permission from that source and credit their work accordingly.

Use keywords

This is where your market research will come in handy. Not only should you be writing about topics that appeal to your target clientele, but you’ll want to take it a step further and use the exact keywords they use online.

While it can be tough to compete for high traffic keywords, you can easily rank for some highly targeted, long-tail keywords. Example: say you’re writing an article about the top 5 floral arrangements for a spring wedding. Instead of targeting “spring wedding” or “floral arrangement”, try targeting the phrase “spring floral arrangement with daisies”. You’d be surprised how well this works.

A quick warning about keyword stuffing:

Be careful not to oversaturate your article with a bunch of keywords. This is often a rookie mistake that can actually result in your entire website being penalized by search engines. While you SHOULD edit any article to have a focus keyword or two, make sure the final article is concise and cohesive. If the article ends up reading unnaturally, you probably want to go in and remove a few keywords.

how to write a blog keywords

Be authentic: write it yourself!

A blog is a wonderful place to show a bit of color, attitude, and personality. While you should always be mindful to your brand values, you can afford to be a little more personal on your blog. Use a simple, conversational tone that resonates with your audience, and have some fun! Tell interesting stories, explain why a specific topic is important to you, share your likes and dislikes with your audience, etc.

Probably one of the worst mistakes you can make with your blog would be to outsource it to someone else. Hiring an agency or a copywriter to write your blog content will reduce your blog’s efficiency very quickly. While an agency might help with keyword focus and might help bring more visitors to your website, but 10:1 those visitors will be much less qualified for your website and likely will be turned off by the impersonal tone of your articles.

Once your business takes off and you start being a little too busy to write an article per week for your blog, then your blog has accomplished its mission! At this point, I’d opt for cutting back on the blogging schedule instead of handing off this task to someone else.

Describe multimedia content

Posting videos or infographics is a great way to offer different types of content to your audience. But search engines are not yet able to read the content that’s found on a video or image. So, you’ll want to make sure to write up a few (keyword rich!) paragraphs describing what’s found within the video or image.

Use a strong call to action!

Have you ever read a blog article, and without even realizing it you’ve ended up jumping from one article to the other on that website, eventually landing on a product page? That website is using amazing calls to action (CTAs)!

On the flip side, have you ever read a blog article where you get to the bottom of the page and think “Well, I’m done here.” and left? Odds are, that blog didn’t use any CTAs at all!
A call to action is asking the reader to do something while they’re on your blog. These can take many shapes: from links inside an article’s body to buttons to fancy images. Many think CTAs are reserved for very important actions: namely, purchasing your service. That’s very untrue. A CTA can ask the reader to perform any number of actions including:

• Reading another article on your blog
• Visiting a specific page on your site for more information
• Watching a video
• Commenting on your article*
• Contacting you
• Signing up for a newsletter list
• Visiting your social media accounts

*If the comment box is on the same page as your article (which it should be!) you might want to think about another CTA on top of that so the reader has somewhere else to go once the comment’s been posted!

Whatever call to action you use, make sure there is some logical reason why your reader would want to take that action. For example, a designer with an article about restoring antique furniture could easily have a CTA to read another article about purchasing antiques, but would want to avoid a CTA that links directly to his/her feng shui design services.

how to write a blog call to action

Let’s get to it!

If you already have a blog on your website, it’s time to look it over and see if there are any improvements to be made. If you’re just starting out, I’m sure you’ll have a great time writing your first few post.

Do you have any additional business blogging tips? Let us know in the comments!

 


August 21, 2014 1:59 pm

Student Feature: Jessica DeCoste

Jessica DeCoste is a 23 year old student enrolled in the QC Event & Wedding Planning course. She was born and raised in Alberta and plans to stay there for the immediate future. She loves working with people, especially when it involves achieving a common goal.

Notes from Jessica

Though I love being out-going and personable, I am also always grounded to my work or a project that I am passionate about. I am very organized and, oddly enough, work well under pressure. I am always available to help, which is exactly what I want to do as an event planner. I want to take the stress away from clients to create an enjoyable experience for them.

Growing up I was always excited to plan my own birthday parties. I would have a set schedule with what games we were going to play, and when to open presents and have cake (thanks for providing the budget, Mom!) Everything was always planned perfectly because I always wanted my friends to have a good time, which they did!

After struggling with a career choice for a few years, I had to sit down and ask myself: “What do I actually enjoy doing?” Everything fell into place when my birthday came around. Even at 23 years old, I had it all planned out and I enjoyed every second of it. I even had a friend approach me for some help with her daughter’s birthday party. I like to help people and I always have. I think a career doing this is exactly what I want to do.

EDL 10th Anniversary 2013 edit

Did you always see yourself as an event planner?

As a career, I never considered being an event planner. I’ve always been one of those people who didn’t really know what I wanted to do but enjoyed learning everything I could. I went to school studying Communication Arts at Lethbridge College which was great in eventually leading me into to the world of corporate, conference and event planning that I am now a part of. Studying the QC Event and Wedding Planning Course is a great way for me to become even better at what I do. And I’ve enjoyed every second of it!

What are you enjoying most about the QC course thus far?

I really enjoy the ease of following the program. I have never studied anything in an online format, and I’ve always been more of a hands-on learner, so I was nervous about not knowing how and when to do everything (readings, assignments etc.) I love that everything can be done at my own pace and that the course itself is clear and easy to follow. Working full-time, volunteering and having two one-year-old puppies at home, my life doesn’t often allow for spare time. Being able to do this when I can has made the experience even greater than I had initially hoped!

The online chat is also a great resource if I ever find myself with any questions.

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What is the most valuable thing you have learned thus far?

I’m thoroughly enjoying the business start-up education and advice included in the program. I don’t intend to start my own business after completion of the course; however, I may decide to do so in the future, and it’s great having the resources and knowledge available to do so. I knew a little bit about business education when I started with QC, but certainly not enough to one day start my own.

I’m enjoying all aspects of the program as it is up-to-date with current trends in the industry, but also allows for creative freedom and ideas! I love to be creative and come up with “unusual” or “out-of-the-box” ideas and this course allows me to do just that.

What has your most successful project been thus far?

I have done a number of event-planning projects; however, I didn’t do them alone. I can’t take all the credit for their success!

I worked with a great crew when I was at the Lethbridge College Student’s Association. We worked on so many fundraisers, awareness projects, and some just-for-fun events that it is truly difficult to pick just one “favourite”.

What are some things about event planning that you find tedious or trying?

I find it tedious to remember each and every tiny detail of an event. Knowing that this is extremely important in the industry, it has forced me to become more organized, which really is the key to success. When you have a repeat client, they often request many of the same partners and suppliers from their last event. When you’re involved in lots of events, it’s hard to recall the suppliers and partners involved in each one. Keeping a record and knowing what happened one, two, three years ago has made it much easier for me to comprehend. It’s tedious work, but ultimately rewarding for you and your clients.

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What do you think is the next big thing in event planning?

Working in the industry, I know that there is a lot on the go and that it is ever-changing. I believe that clients want “something different” in their event. Many events are done “by the book” (and some clients like it that way!) but once in a while it is good to suggest something completely unexpected. Specifically, many corporate and business events are very similar and altered very slightly for each event. My favorite thing to do is to suggest “weird” and “unique” venues. Instead of having the gala in a conference room at a hotel, host it at a local vineyard or at a specific exhibit at the local museum. These little changes can make people say “Remember that event we went to that was held at the ________”. Having people talk about an event, after the event, is one of the best compliments an event planner can get!

What does the future hold for you?

To be honest, I’m not completely sure! I’m extremely excited to finish the course as I’m only three units in at this point. Aside from my full-time job, I hope that I can work on charity events and fundraisers for non-profit organizations. I love the rewarding feeling of helping people and organizations help others. I can say with confidence that I will definitely be working in event planning, one way or another!

To find out how you can become a student at QC Event School, click here!


August 18, 2014 8:53 am

So You Want a Career in Decorating…

You said you wanted a career that was creative, made you think on your feet, involved developing professional relationships with many different kinds of people, and offered lots of variety. A career in decorating will give you all that – and more.

 

You never know where you will be, or, for that matter, what you will be doing! In the course of one week, a call might come in from a very high-end client. Could you find time to fly to New York and Florida with her to advise on furniture purchase and decoration for the new penthouse she has just acquired in Miami? Sure you can.

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Later that week, the next call offers a staging contract for a house that needs to sell very quickly. You go for a first visit. Glamorous, it ain’t. You don rubber gloves and before you know it, you and your team are busy house cleaning. And it is quite the job. The house has been vacated by an elderly man who lived alone. Let’s just say his cleaning was not quite up to par. Before you can get into advising about new paint color, it’s probably wise to rid the house of the odor of cats.

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And, before you go to work on the house or send your cleaning team in, check out all the fabulous facts on vinegartips.com. A quick read and you will feel in charge of the whole world.

Just don’t forget to keep your gallon container of distilled white vinegar with you at all times!


August 15, 2014 9:00 am

Back to School Giveaway and Sweepstakes

September is just around the corner, and with this in mind, we’re launching our QC Back to School Giveaway and Sweepstakes! From August 15th to September 15th, ALL North American students (in makeup, event, and design) will receive a free QC tote bag when they enroll in the course.

And that isn’t all.

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*Tote bags available for North American students only

Whatever country you’re from, every makeup, event, and design student will have the chance to win FREE TUITION after they’ve enrolled in their course. Don’t miss out on your chance to win!

Here’s how to enter:

Step 1

Enroll online or by phone

Step 2

Enter the Free tuition draw

Step 3

Get more chances to win by:

  • Tweeting
  • Posting to the blog
  • Liking our Facebook Page
  • Pinning us

(These are all explained in greater detail once you enter the sweepstakes!)

Step 4

The winner will have his or her tuition FULLY REIMBURSED! This includes shipping fees, your deposit, and your course fee(s)!

Find out more about our Design, Makeup, and Event promotions.


August 14, 2014 8:40 am

Events for Wedding and Event Planners

Calling all Wedding and Event Planners!

Check out these upcoming events for wedding and event planners and see if there are any you can attend. These kind of events provide a great venue for networking, meeting other professionals in the industry, sourcing inventory, and staying on top of the latest styles and trends.

If you know of any upcoming events for wedding and event planners in your area, let us know in the comments!

United States

The Event Planner Expo

This expo brings together more than 1500 industry professionals and over 100 booths exhibiting venues and services to do business.

WHERE: The Metropolitan Pavilion, New York

WHEN: October 8th, 2014

MORE INFO: The Event Planner Expo

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Event Expo

Event Expo is great for anyone who wants to plan outstanding events. It is Cleveland’s premier trade show for anyone that has ever planned an event, office party, or company retreat.

WHERE: The Music Box Supper Club, Cleveland

WHEN: October 2nd, 2014

MORE INFO: Event Expo

 

BizBASH Expo

The BizBASH Expo will provide attendees with innovative and thought-provoking information from thought leaders and creative thinkers in the industry. They will learn of the newest trends, and meet the perfect vendors to create memorable events that “pop”.

WHERE: Jacob K. Javitz Convention Center (Hall A), New York

WHEN: October 28th, 2014

MORE INFO: BizBASH Expo

 

Wedding Market Expo

The goal is to help wedding and event professionals of all expertise levels to increase their business knowledge, stay on top of current trends, and network with other professionals.

WHERE: Multiple locations

WHEN: Multiple dates

MORE INFO: Wedding Market Expo

 

Canada

SHOWTIME Special Events Party Expo

The show caters to all aspects of the Event Planning industry and can be an invaluable resource when planning an event.

WHERE: 2-35 Carl Hall Road, Toronto

WHEN: October 1st, 2014

MORE INFO: Showtime Events Party Expo

 

IncentiveWorks Show

Canada’s largest event for professionals who plan, organize, or influence meetings and events. Education sessions and workshops provide insight, tips, trends, and memorable learning experience for every level of planner or supplier.

WHERE: Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Toronto

WHEN: August 19-20, 2014

MORE INFO: IncentiveWorks Show

 

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National Bridal Show

Taking place for three days, this event will showcase some very important exhibitions that include the latest in everything wedding, from registries to fashion accessories to favors and more.

WHERE: International Centre, Mississauga

WHEN: September 5 – 7, 2014-08-11

MORE INFO: National Bridal Show

 

United Kingdom

International Confex

International Confex is the UK’s all-encompassing meetings and events industry exhibition. It is a key calendar date for anyone involved in organizing, running, marketing or selling events.

WHERE: Olympia London, London

WHEN: 18-19 February 2015

MORE INFO: International Confex

 

The North East Wedding Show

This bridal show is set to be the biggest wedding event in the North East and is the perfect place to meet many of the region’s finest wedding specialists.

WHERE: The Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle

WHEN: 13-14 September 2014

MORE INFO: The North East Wedding Show

 

New Zealand

North City Wedding Expo

This expo features many different booths with all sorts of wedding-related information. Great for getting ideas and making connections with some of the best in the New Zealand Wedding industry.

WHERE: Te Rauparaha Arena, Porirua City, New Zealand

WHEN: 25 January 2015

MORE INFO: North City Wedding Expo

 

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Australia

Sydney Olympic Park’s Annual Wedding and Bridal Expo

This expo showcases over 140 wedding and bridal exhibits.

WHERE: Sydney Olympic Park, Sports Centre

WHEN: August 31st, 2014

MORE INFO: Sydney Olympic Park’s Annual Wedding and Bridal Expo

 

Liverpool Wedding Expo

This expo sports over 70 wedding and bridal exhibits including photography, gowns, invitations, cars, hair, makeup, flowers, venues, DJ’s and more.

WHERE: Liverpool Catholic Club, Liverpool

WHEN: Sunday September 28th, 2014-08-13

MORE INFO: Liverpool Wedding Expo


August 13, 2014 10:49 am

Dress Code 101: Women’s Attire

Fashion styles and trends are constantly changing and evolving from year to year, which makes it pretty hard to keep up! But do you know the appropriate attire to wear on different occasions? Our handy graphics may help.

 

Casual Wear

 

Casual wear constitutes the “everyday” look, such as what you would wear while running errands or shopping for groceries. Faded skinny jeans, runners, and a comfy t-shirt are perfectly acceptable for casual events. You can dress it up slightly with some accessories or keep it simple. Just be sure there are no stains, rips, or holes in your clothing and that all of your clothes are clean and fit properly!

 

Business Casual

 

Just what does “business casual” mean? This is an outfit that is work-appropriate. Most business places will have a dress code that is made up of either “business” or “business casual” attire. In some cases, there is a mix of both. Business casual attire can involve dark denim or pants, a flowy blouse, flats, accessories, and an optional blazer. Clothes should be clean and pressed (no wrinkles!) and lint-free.

 

 

Business Attire

 

Business attire is made up of clothes that you would wear to the office. Some offices expect strictly “business” attire, which is more formal and dressy than its cousin, “business casual” attire. A skirt or pant suit, high heels, modest accessories and a mandatory blazer are acceptable for business attire. Ensure that clothes are well-pressed, clean, lint-free and polished.

 

Formal Attire

 

Formal attire is what you would wear to a cocktail party, work dinner, gala, wedding, or reception. If the invitation does not specifically state “black tie”, it is safe to assume the dress is formal. A dress (knee length is fine!), high heels, pantyhose or tights, accentuated accessories and classic makeup are expected at formal events.

 

 

Black Tie attire

 

Black tie attire is most often specified on an invitation well before the date of the event so that attendees have time to prepare their wardrobe. It is reserved for very formal occasions such as weddings, operas, and galas. A long, flowing gown, lavish jewellery, classy heels and a tasteful clutch are acceptable for black tie affairs. (Note: if an invitations says “black tie optional”, you should wear your black tie attire!)

 


August 8, 2014 9:29 am

Event Planner Alexandra Slawek

In this article we get personal with Alexandra Slawek, one of QC Event School’s new tutors. She opens up about her career, her inspiration, and her recipe for success.

What made you decide to pursue a career as an event planner?alexandra-slawek

I’ve always had an interest in planning and organizing events. The first time I officially organized an event was when I was attending university, and I found I really enjoyed it. When my children had grown up, I found that I had a lot of extra time on my hands. I got a job at the Wedding Pavilion, a one-stop shop wedding venue here in Calgary, as an event manager. I think that’s when I truly fell in love with working with brides and grooms and the whole wedding ambiance. I decided to become certified through QC Event School so I could be more knowledgeable in the field. A year later, I opened my own business!

Tell us about the early years. How did you get your name out there, find clients and hone your craft?

When you’re first starting out, you have to do a lot of trial and error experimenting in terms of what works and what doesn’t for your business. The first way I reached out with my business was hosting a booth at The Bridal Expo. It happens every September in Calgary. I also placed ads in local community magazines and in the Calgary Bridal Guide. I didn’t have a lot of success with these initial endeavors, so I started networking with other wedding industry vendors. That proved much more successful. I also attended many workshops and conferences to get better ideas on running my business. My website has attracted a number of clients, so making sure it is top-notch is very important. Finally, I became a member of the Calgary Bride Association, which has helped me get my name out there and connect with other wonderful wedding planners.

What was your “big break”?

I think my “break” happened when I befriended another wedding planner. She was incredibly supportive and hired me on several occasions to work her events. I got lots of exposure and experience that way. Last year, I took part in a wedding show, “A Spoonful of Vintage”, put on by a team of vendors that specialize in vintage décor, dresses and photography. I designed a Downton Abbey table and that particular piece put me “on the map”, so to speak.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I am often inspired by my brides and their creative imaginations. I spend time on Pinterest and other social media sites watching for new trends.  I also network with other wedding planners to share ideas and collaborate.

If you had to do it all over again, would you? Any past career decisions you would change?

Yes, I would absolutely do it all over again! I really love it. The only thing I would change is the way I went about advertising at first. I’d put a lot more time into conducting research to determine what kind of advertising works for my target market. That way, I wouldn’t have wasted so much time or money on something that proved to be ineffective. It was an expensive learning experience, to say the least.

Alex Tutor 1

What are some “golden rules” you believe every single event planner should follow?

Here is a list of personal rules I follow:

  1. Always answer emails within 24-48 hours
  2. Return phone calls and texts ASAP
  3. Stand by your word. If I say I will do something for someone, I always do.
  4. Listen more to what other vendors have to say rather than talk about your own experiences. You can learn much more by listening!
  5. Maintain a solid reputation through integrity and honesty in business. I have found that having a good reputation is the key to other vendors promoting me.

Do you have any final words of wisdom for QC’s students?

To QC students: be passionate about your work! Clients love to work with people who are enthusiastic about their work and learn to trust in their passion. Be honest and have integrity in your work, and always be kind and respectful to other industry vendors.

Best of luck in your studies at QC!

Alex is a tutor in QC’s Event and Wedding Planning and Event Decor courses. For more information on these courses, head over to QC Event School.


August 6, 2014 10:49 am

Setting Goals and Staying Motivated

How to keep focused and stay motivated during your online studies

Motivation Ahead

Online learning is great. You get to learn at your own pace, on your own time, and if you take full advantage of your teachings, you come out well versed in your chosen industry and you have a solid foundation for an exciting career!

But that’s only if you graduate.

Since online learning is self-paced, your inner procrastinator will inevitably speak up sooner or later. It can be hard to shut up that voice and stay focused throughout your studies.

Unlike high school or even college, no one will stay on your case and give you deadlines. No one will be upset if you don’t show up for class. You really have to motivate yourself and keep going until you reach that finish line!

Lucky for you, here are a few tips that can help!

 

Set goals

Mistakes in Setting Goals

The flexibility of online learning can make planning for your course a little challenging. Some QC students complete their entire program within 2 months, while others take the full three years!

Where do you want to be on that scale? Perhaps you already have a job and a family and intend on taking a year or two to complete the course, which is just fine. On the other hand, you might need this certificate to get a job ASAP.

Whatever your situation, set a goal for yourself. Write it down in a calendar or day planner.

Note: Though you have up to three years to complete any QC course, we suggest you set your target date of completion no more than two years out. That way if something happens and you are set back, you’ll still have plenty of time to catch up!

 

Make a plan

Planning Ahead CalendarOnce you receive your course materials, read through your course guides and make a list of all the assignments you have to complete.

Now grab a calendar and give yourself due dates for all these assignments. You can do this by hand, in a google calendar, or any other software you use to keep you organized. Myself, I’m a huge fan of Trello and Asana. Both have lists, due dates, calendar integrations, email reminders, and just about everything you need to stay organized.

 

If you’re interested in checking out other tools that help you keep organized, read this: 10 great apps to stay organized.

Note: Make sure you give yourself realistic deadlines! Really think about how much time each assignment will take, then give yourself a buffer on top of that.

 

Keep Your Eye on the Prize

Next Exit - Dream Job

You probably enrolled in an online course because you think it will bring you closer to your dream job, right? So why wait until after graduation to get started?

Instead of looking at your online course as yet another roadblock before you can truly dive into the industry, try treating every assignment as real-world industry experience. Become a professional before you even graduate: get a few clients and work on their projects pro-bono to help build your portfolio. There are quite a few people out there who will entertain students in the industry for a discount, however they will still expect a very high standard of work.

TIP: If you’re worried about staying motivated, make a list of the reasons why completing your course is important to you, and keep it somewhere visible!

 

 

 

Expect Delays

This is the real world, darling, and delays will inevitably happen. Don’t be discouraged when you don’t complete an assignment on time or you’re falling behind on your school work.

Instead, use delays as an opportunity to make you a better planner. Take out your calendar (whichever one you’re using), and update future due dates based on what you’ve now learned. You might want to think about giving yourself a greater buffer between assignments, or lengthening the time spent on each unit.

 

Its go timeGet Help

If you’re overwhelmed, there’s no shame in asking for help. QC’s student support team is available to help you work through course assignments whenever you need that extra hand.

But it doesn’t stop there. If the road block is a personal one, try talking to friends or family about your hiccups and to get some encouragement. Even if you confirm with your friends that you were born to be a makeup artist, designer, or writer… it might be a much needed boost to keep going!

 

Celebrate your Accomplishments

If motivation is a problem for you, take the time to celebrate your progress. When you complete a reading or an assignment, reward yourself with a snack, a walk, a favorite movie, whatever you love to do!

Celebrate

Take breaks

Don’t be afraid to turn off for a day or two. If you schedule breaks, you’re less likely to stop half-way through a reading or assignment!

 

Have fun!

It’s easy to be motivated with something that’s fun. Whether you’ve enrolled in QC’s makeup artistry, event planning, design, or writing programs, it must be because you have a passion for that line of work.

So have fun with your assignments!

Create a makeup look you’ve always wanted to try, and get your tutor’s feedback on how it can be improved. Or redecorate your bedroom (possibly for the 15th time), and send the pictures to your interior decorating tutor for valuable insight. Write a short story about something that fascinates you.
Any of these sound like fun? Work them into your school assignments!

Motivation Level

As Greg Anderson once said, “When we are motivated by goals that have deep meaning, by dreams that need completion, by pure love that needs expressing, then we truly live.”

So if your school work is on the path to your dream career, keep that in mind as you complete your work and don’t give up!

 

Thinking about online learning?  Check out QC’s full course catalog to find a course that’s right for you!