Posts Tagged ‘event planning’

PART 3: Marketing to Clients

As an event/wedding planner, you’ll be involved on both sides of the marketing fence: Business to Customer (B2C) and Business to Business (B2B). The first is your traditional marketing to clients. The second is marketing yourself to other businesses who can help you succeed (vendors, etc.)
Let’s start with marketing to clients.

B2C Marketing relies on knowing your target customers, inside and out. Once you understand who your target is and where he/she spends her time, you can start developing a marketing strategy. For example, most newspaper ads are obsolete… unless you’re trying to reach an audience who still goes to print for their primary source of information and entertainment. And the same can be said for the flip side: promoting yourself on social media is great, but make sure to focus on the websites where your clients will see your efforts!

As you go through this list of potential marketing mediums, ask yourself if they are right for your customers.

Direct Marketing

business advice

Paid Search (Digital)

This one is a no brainer. If your clients use the Internet, they probably use Google. Using Google Paid Advertising is an easy way to ensure your website shows up at the top of the list when a customer searches for your business name or the services you offer. You can easily set up a google AdWords account for free, and set a modest daily budget, targeting a few industry keywords to get the ball rolling.

Pros: You can get to the top of search listings without spending tons of time getting links to your website
Cons: Depending on which keywords you’re bidding on, Google can get pretty expensive.

Advertising in Newspapers or Magazines (Traditional)

You can buy ad space for your business in Newspapers or other print mediums. These spaces come in a variety of sizes and you can design your own ad to fit within the allotted space.

Pros: Most print ads have a high reach and can be relatively inexpensive
Cons: It is very difficult to gauge the effectiveness of print advertising; most readers have developed “ad blindness” and might not pay attention to your ads.

Direct Mail

Printing out flyers or brochures to be sent to potential clients as promotional mail is a way to get many impressions. A well thought out campaign (you have to think outside the box) has potential to get noticed.

Pros: Reach thousands of people in one fell swoop; target individuals, businesses, or both.
Cons: In order for direct mail to work, it can be very expensive and take a fair amount of your time to get it right. It’s also very difficult to track results, outside of sending out discount offers which can end up cheapening your brand.

Content/Social Marketing

BUSINESS ADVICE

Get a writer’s attention

Probably a more effective way of getting your name into a newspaper, magazine, or influential blog is to attract the attention of a writer who’s interested in your business. This can be done in a few ways:

  1. Reach out to reporters or bloggers to feature a special event or aspect of your business (are you planning a unique event? Do you have a funny story to share? Another piece of content that could be useful to their readers?). Just make sure it’s not self-promoting. No reporter will write about a discount or sale, for example, but they might write about an event you’ve organized.
  2. Offer your services as an industry expert. There are many reporters or bloggers who are looking for reliable sources to feature in articles they’re already developing. Resources like “HelpAReporter.com” are great ways to get your name and your business featured in leading industry publications.

Pros: Doesn’t cost anything but your time; you can end up being featured in very prestigious publications (especially with option 2)
Cons: It does take a lot of time and you’ll face a lot of rejection. That’s part of the challenge.

Using your Social Media Channels

If you’ve been following this series, you now have a website and a few social media accounts that are ready to roll. Facebook and Twitter are the overlords of the Social Media industry. Instagram is also a great medium for wedding/event planners, since the business tends to yield plenty of gorgeous pictures.

A few tips to succeed at Social Media Marketing:

  1. Post regularly and consistently. Have a “social media schedule” and stick to it. There are many types of software out there that can help you schedule posts in advance. A few examples are buffer and hootsuite.
  2. Treat your social media like a time bomb. Be ready to quickly respond to comments on your posts or direct messages from potential clients. Social Media users aren’t patient. Taking too long to respond to a comment, question, or inquiry is a recipe for disaster.
  3. Don’t ask without giving back: follow your followers and participate on their social pages as well. They’ll return the favor.
  4. Ask your satisfied clients to post their event pictures and tag your business. Word-of-mouth from a happy customer is the best advertising you can ever ask for.

Here’s a social media secret not many small businesses understand: Your followers don’t care about you, they care about themselves. Posting a message about how great your business is, is sure to fail. Posting content that is useful to your follower will be liked and shared, thus promoting your brand. (“useful” can mean anything from funny to inspiring to solving a specific problem.)

Blogging

business advice

Once you’ve set up your website and have a decent following on social media, consider launching a blog on your site. You can blog about anything related to your business, as long as you’re sensitive to your clients’ privacy.

A critical aspect of a blog is to keep updating it regularly: daily is best, but at a minimum once a week. Writing blog articles that are useful to your readers can attract new clients and help forge relationships with other industry professionals.

Which brings us to the final part of this series. Stay tuned for the upcoming fourth and final piece: Marketing yourself to Vendors.

Are you looking to start an event and wedding planning business? All of QC’s Event and Wedding Planning Courses come with our “Achieving Business Success” DVD series that offers much more detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to market yourself effectively to clients! Learn more here.


April 25, 2014 12:00 am

Graduate Feature: Amore Events by Cody

Cody GrannisName: Cody Grannis

Location: Charlottesville, VA

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Instagram

A little bit about Cody…

Cody Grannis, a lifetime Virginian, is an award winning, certified International Event and Wedding Professional (IEWP), holding certificates in Non-Profit Management and Meeting and Event Planning from the University of Virginia.  She has over 6 years of experience planning University events in Charlottesville and throughout the country.

Cody, the mother of four, is the founder of Amore Events by Cody, LLC.  She has orchestrated many weddings in Charlottesville, Virginia and has an extensive network of reliable vendors in the region.  You will find her to be extremely dedicated and always working hard to ensure that each bride receives the wedding of her dreams.  Through Cody’s attention to detail and creativity, you can count on a wedding that will exceed your expectations.

Amore Events by Cody

Did you always see yourself becoming an event & wedding planner? What started the dream?

No, not at all! I started working at UVA in 2007 where my first job was an event planner in the Alumni Department. I had no idea that I would enjoy it so much! I had never traveled before, but for one of my first events at UVA, I was sent on a trip to Palm Beach to plan a small alumni gathering. I had so much fun on that trip, getting to meet new people and work in a new and exciting environment. After that trip, I knew that event planning was something I wanted to continue to do long term. A little while later, I switched jobs at UVA and starting planning much larger events ranging anywhere from 100-5,000 people. After a couple of years at UVA, I got tired of all of the red tape and bureaucracy, and decided that I wanted to do something more creative on my own. I did some research and decided to become a wedding planner! We are now going into our forth season as Amore Events and we cannot be anymore excited!

Can you tell us a bit about how you got to where you are today?

I was a teenage mother of two little ones by the age of 19. And because of that I had to work extra hard to get where I am today. Knowing that I needed to provide for my family, I jumped head first into research on how to become an event planner, getting my certification from the QC School, and even took a course an event-planning course at UVA. When I applied for my job at UVA, I wrote them a letter and told them how excited I was about the position and how I really felt that I could do the job. They trusted me and hired me even though I didn’t mean all of the qualifications because I showed them how I was a fast learner and knew that I would succeed in the position.

Graduate Feature - Cody Grannis

Let’s talk branding. It’s probably one of the most challenging aspects of starting a business, and we’re sure our students would love a little insight into how Amore Events became what it is today.

Branding is a daunting thought, especially when you haven’t done it before. One of my biggest regrets is including my name in my business because I can never sell it. It is possible to change the business name, but not without a lot of paperwork and paying a bunch of money. Another huge part of branding is a logo and website. One thing that is necessary is working with a graphic designer and working through lots of different options with them. Make sure you go see lots of different logo designs and website templates before you choose. Take your time with this part because it is going to cost a good bit of money and in the end, it should be exactly what you want. One thing to remember through all of it is to stay true to yourself and your own personal style. You want your logo and website and overall brand personality to reflect you and what you have to offer. It is okay to get inspiration from other planners or people in the industry, but in the end, your brand needs to be all about you. Something to remember is that you can always re-brand. That sounds crazy, but it is actually a big part of growing your business. You might re-brand when your style changes, or when you add different services to your packages, or even when you want to reach a different clientele. We are actually in the process of re-branding right now and it is already paying off.

QC Event School Graduate - Cody Grannis

In the event industry, making connections is key. When you were first starting out what was your approach to networking?

I started with just joining local event planning communities in the area. That is an amazing place to meet people, get your name out there and just make connections in the industry. A big thing I did that not a lot of other planners in the area did, was actually go meet with vendors face to face. I just wanted to get to know them and get to know their business better and really learn about how they like to work with planners.

I also joined free websites to market my business. The main ones I used in the beginning were Wedding Wire and The Knot. They were a big help in getting my name out in the industry and getting seen when couples search for wedding planners in Charlottesville. I also started requesting reviews from my brides. These reviews could be seen on both Facebook and Wedding Wire. This is a beneficial tool because I can use it to send to people who are inquiring about hiring me.

What do you find most rewarding about your career?

I just love working with my brides. I love taking care of them and being such a big part of making their special day as perfect as I can. My favorite part of the wedding day is getting to steal my couples away for a few minutes and show them that every little detail we planner together has come together in the most beautiful day for them!

QC Event School Graduate - Cody Grannis

What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far?

The biggest step in my career so far has been getting a studio space! It is a place that we have where brides came come and meet with us and can see all of our décor laid out. Something else that is huge for us with this space is being able to create a full mock-up of their reception tables. With all of our décor displayed in the studio, it is easy for us to walk around together, pick up things they like, try them on the table and really decide what they love. That is something we have never been able to do before, but it really adds an amazing touch to the experience for our brides.

A huge highlight of my career so far has been seeing our weddings and styled shoots on different national blogs, like Style Me Pretty, Southern Weddings and, Wedding Sparrow, and being published in Barn Weddings, a book by Maggie Lord. To see all of our hard work and our beautiful brides featured in these amazing places is really special.

QC Event School Graduate - Cody Grannis

As you know, many of our students have dreams of owning their own businesses. Do you have any advice for those who are just starting out in the event industry?

Some quick snippets of advice I would give are take your time with starting, really do your research about the industry and the market you are entering, have patience and kindness with both your brides and your vendors, be quick and assertive, learn how to say no, figure out your own personal design style, but also make sure you are keeping up with the trends.

QC Event School Graduate - Cody Grannis

You’ve been featured on sites like The Knot and Style Me Pretty. That’s something to brag about! What do you think the future holds for Amore Events?

Amore Events is really taking off and I couldn’t be more proud! One thing that I would really love to do sometime in the future is open up a wedding venue. I would also love to make more connections outside of Charlottesville. It is a dream to work with vendors in California and New York and even in another country. There is so much inspiration in the world that I don’t get to see, so I would just love to experience and learn about other styles and bring it all back to Charlottesville.

QC Event School Graduate - Cody Grannis

 Curious to learn more about the wedding and event planning industry? Check out QC Event School and read our free brochure!


Planning and coordinating an event is a stressful job! Whether experienced or novice, most event planners will make a mistake or two throughout their careers.  Here is a quick list of the most common event planning mistakes made, and our tips on how to get around them.

event planning mistakes

1. Doing it all yourself

Jack of all trades = master of none.  Do-it-all event planners will handle the guest list, all the finances, the decorations, the technical elements, the food… the list goes on. Having so many balls in the air yourself is almost a guarantee that you’re going to drop one or two.

The solution: As an event planner, your job is to coordinate all the elements of an event, not to execute on all the different pieces that come together on the big day.  Instead of tackling everything yourself, consider contracting out an event decorator, a bookkeeper, a caterer, etc. who can work with you to make sure your event is a great success!

2. Leaving it to the last minute

Whether “it” is a door prize, promotion, or equipment rentals, leaving anything to the last minute is a sure fire path to chaos, sooner or later.

The solution: Most events take months to plan. If you’re well organized and stick to a concrete plan, you should have all the pieces secured (including backup plans) at least 4 weeks away from the event… though we recommend 8-12 weeks to be safe!

3. Miscalculating the size of the event

This is a double-edged sword.  You want to make sure the size of the venue is adequate for the number of guests, but you also want to ensure the guest list is adequate for the venue!  Too many guests for a small space will lead to a very crowded and unworkable event. You might also run out of materials or food.  Too few guests for a large event will give the event an air of emptiness.

The solution: Confirm the guest list as early as possible, and give a final head count to your vendors as soon as you can. This will give everyone the chance to adjust the plan based on the number of attendees.  Also, if you’re unsure of the guest list, make sure you pick a venue that offers options for different group sizes and vendors who offer flexible services according to a finalized guest list.

event planning mistakes

4. Not allowing enough time for setup

Imagine setting up decorations as the guests are entering an event, or finding out you’re missing a power cord 10 minutes before your keynote speaker is supposed to go on stage. This nightmare is faced by many event planners and coordinators at least once during their careers.

The solution: Plan out the event setup well in advance, and make sure to hire enough people to complete all tasks before the event starts!  If it’s possible to have everything set up a day or two in advance, do it! If not, a well laid out plan (planned down to the minute), can make a difference between a success and a disaster!

5. Keeping clients in the dark

This is a nightmare for planners and their clients alike.  Phones and emails are the standard communication these days, but that can lead to confusion or misunderstanding down the road.  You don’t want your client to see the venue for the first time on the big day, and be disappointed in all the hard work you’ve accomplished because it’s not what they envisioned.

The solution: Schedule plenty of face-to-face time with your clients.  Walk them through the venue, and show them samples of wardrobe, décor, food, etc. before making any final decisions.  Keeping clients engaged throughout the planning process can save a lot of headaches down the road!

6. Forgetting it’s all about the guests!

This is actually a very easy mistake to make! You’re so concentrated on meeting the client’s needs and coordinating between the vendors, you forget about simple accommodations for the guests.

The solution:  Make a checklist of guest accommodations for any event, and keep it in mind at all times.  This list should at least include:

– having a parking plan

– coat check (for events in colder months or climates)

– signage leading guests to the venue (especially in confusing layouts!)

– having bathroom attendants (nothing like a dirty bathroom to kill an event!)

– making certain there are vegetarian/vegan food options available

– planning for inclement weather (tarps & umbrella stands)

Whatever your event, you should always remember Murphy’s Law: whatever can go wrong will go wrong.  A successful event planner will take a cue from the boy scouts and be prepared for just about any situation can just save your event… and your reputation!

Have you made these types of mistakes planning an event? Share your story!


February 28, 2014 12:00 am

Graduate Feature – The Bijou Bride

Bijou Bride

Name: Alexandra Merri

Business: The Bijou Bride

Location: London, U.K.

Connect with Alexandra!

Twitter: @BijouBride

Facebook: The Bijou Bride

Instagram: @bijoubride

Pinterest: Alexandra Merri

Alexandra Merri aka The Bijou Bride is a creative wedding planner and stylist based in the U.K.  Alexandra believes no two couples are the same and therefore no two weddings should be either.  Her services offer a bespoke approach to wedding planning that’s tailored to suit each couple’s lifestyle and budget.

The Bijou Bride

What first motivated you to get into wedding planning?

I’ve always been a creative planner, as one of my friend’s put it I “turn everything into an event” from birthday parties to Pancake day.  It was whilst working at a major film company organizing premieres, exciting team away days and so on as well as freelance fashion styling that I had that light bulb moment.  I realized that there was a career that would allow me to combine both my creative and organizational talents – wedding planning.  I had organised my own Midsummer Night’s Dream wedding (my middle name is Titania so needless to say it was a theme) within a 5 month time frame and been assisting various friends when I took the plunge and enrolled in the QC International Wedding & Event Planning course.  Luckily I passed with flying colors and the rest, as they say, is history.

The Bijou Bride

How did you choose QC Event School? What did you like most about your studies?

I researched the most valued, in depth event planning study programs and knew that I needed a flexible course which is what led me to QC.  Those messages from my mentor were so much nicer than just a typed email and I felt really supported by the QC team throughout my studies and long after.

The Bijou Bride

You graduated from QC Event School in 2011, how has your career evolved since then? 

It hasn’t been easy but then nothing that’s worth striving for is.  The real challenge is getting your name known and working out your niche within the industry.

Your website is absolutely beautiful. What inspired the design?

I wanted it to be clean and contemporary, I found that a lot of planning company’s sites were pink and swirly which just isn’t me.  Inspiration came from some of my favorite sites like Kate Spade and Topshop I think it’s important to stay true to who you are, your loves and taste.

beyou

What came first, the name or the tagline? How did you come to decide on this unique brand identity? 

I wanted to find a word that summed up my approach and ‘Bijou’ does just that.  By definition it is ‘desirable, fashionable, stylish, chic, sought-after, to die for’ just how a wedding should be.  The tagline just came to me; I want all my clients to feel that their wedding day is quintessentially them not a projection of others’ expectations.

bb2

We know you must always be juggling a dozen tasks. How do you keep on top of everything? 

My Google calendar is invaluable, I log my to do list in 30 minute slots and have it synced with my mobile phone so I never miss a thing.

Wedding trends change every year; what 2014 wedding trend are you most excited to work with?

There is definitely a move towards toned down and understated styling or as I’ve dubbed it ‘bare naked elegance’ that is reliant on a great setting and good furniture.

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What’s the most memorable wedding you’ve planned to date?

That is a tough one as they are all memorable in their own way.  A snowy winter wedding with a James Bond theme and 4 am finish time is probably the quirkiest though.

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You’ve been featured in quite a few notable publications and sites. Tell us! What do you see in The Bijou Bride’s future?

This year is my busiest to date for wedding bookings but I’m hoping to take on further branding projects with bridal designers and venues.  I love being creative so a variety of projects is never a bad thing.

The Bijou Bride Features

WANT TO BECOME A SUCCESSFUL EVENT & WEDDING PLANNER? SIGN UP FOR QC’S FREE BROCHURE TO LEARN HOW WE CAN HELP YOU GET THERE.


February 25, 2014 8:27 am

The Seven Best Event Planning Apps

Planning any kind of event can be a frenzied and stressful activity, even when you are naturally organized. Last-minute changes and hold-ups and endless project checklists all require attention and flexibility, and keeping on top of things can be challenging. Thankfully, the latest Smartphone and tablet apps really help to make things easier. Here are a few of the best.

Stay organized with these 7 apps

Eventbrite

This is one of the most popular platforms for ticket sales. It allows you to make the check-in process very quick, and removes the need for endless paper. You can integrate check-in with your mobile device and avoid having to carry guest lists around, too. Just scan bar-code tickets at the door for the correct list of attendees. It pleases guests too, as the time needed to process check-ins is vastly reduced.

Evernote

Evernote is a great little app. If you have the ideas and the team to organize them, the app will help you delegate and manage the event. It works effectively as a mobile filing system. You can organize everything here from venue research and evaluation to travel itineraries and menus, and you can share notes and updates rapidly with your event team. If you sync it across the team’s devices, everyone will be able to see the latest information.

Bizzabo

This app helps you to juggle complex elements of an event or conference. It allows attendees to see a mobile agenda and understand the capabilities of networking that will be available. It integrates with social media to share PR and buzz about the event itself. You can send out change announcements in real time and use the app to engage with your attendees before, during and after the event.

HeyTell

Ever fancied turning your Smartphone into an old-school walkie-talkie? This funky app allows you to do just that and stay in constant touch with your team during event set-up and management. It’s ideal when you need to speak to someone quickly and urgently and is far quicker than email or text.

Scanner Pro

Use this to digitize your papers and receipts, rather than trying to keep hold of everything in hard copy. There are various good scanner apps online which allow you to take a photo of the paper, convert it to a PDF and then send via email.

Dropbox

One of the best online storage systems available, Dropbox allows you to upload, organize and share all manner of documents digitally and from any logged-in device. Storage is available for free to start with, and you can earn or buy extra space. You can also edit files remotely and then share them.

Hootsuite

Stay on top of your social media engagement with this handy app, which allows you to keep up to date with the buzz online for your event, schedule news posts, and generally know what’s being said in real time.

 

Abi thoroughly enjoyed her time at university and now enjoys traveling around the country visiting places such as Richmond University, offering advice to students on how to manage their time, workload and other commitments.


January 8, 2014 8:46 am

10 Pro Tips for Event Planners

Whether it’s a birthday party or a corporate function, a wedding or a seminar, there are certain elements that are required for planning any event. Below are the top ten tips for event planners.

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail

Purpose

As the old cliché states, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” You need to know what you’re planning for because sometimes it dictates how you proceed. Planning to watch a championship sporting event with friends looks very different than planning a 50th anniversary party for your grandparents. Have some idea of what you want the event to achieve as you plan. Is the event a marketing tool or a celebration, formal or casual, traditional or modern?

Guests

Once you know the purpose of the event, it’s easier to know who should attend. For budgeting purposes, plan for approximately two-thirds of the people you invite to actually attend. Set a specific number and stick to it. Those in attendance should understand and “buy into” the purpose of the event. Nobody likes the bait and switch maneuver.

Themes

Themes are optional, but they have a way of tying everything together. Usually, the purpose of an event lends itself to a certain theme (eg. Halloween, graduation, retirement). But on the occasion it does not, let your creativity explore the possibilities. Just make sure the theme doesn’t overwhelm the purpose. They should complement each other.

Invitations

How do you plan to let your guests know about the event? Invitations can be as casual as a group text message or as formal as a custom print job. Many people are using online invitations to save the cost of postage and printing. The challenge with that method is that it can be easily overlooked or buried beneath other emails. Regardless of the method, give people plenty of time to mark their calendars and make arrangements to attend. For some events, two weeks is sufficient. Others should be sent much earlier, especially if travel is involved.

Decorations

For the most part, centerpieces are the hub of all other decorations. If you only have one decoration for the entire event, it should be a centerpiece. You can use a floral arrangement, a portrait of the honorees, or a symbolic representation of the event. In some cases, the centerpiece can also be a food item, like a birthday cake or a cheese tray arranged to look like a basketball, for example.

Food and drink

You have countless options when it comes to food and drink at any event, ranging from chips and dips to a sit-down meal, from potluck to catering, from a buffet line to professional servers. The important things to note about food and beverages at your event are as follows:

  1. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. You don’t want your event to be remembered for food poisoning.
  2. If you serve alcohol, keep watch for any guests who may try to drive home under the influence and provide them with alternative means of transportation.
  3. If you are unsure whether or not any of your guests have food allergies, label food items containing nut products and gluten to keep guests safe.

Entertainment

What will your guests do once they arrive? Will there be dancing? Is a presentation your focal activity? Do the kids want to play games? How you want your guests to spend their time is perhaps the element most closely related to the purpose of your event. If the event you’re planning is a Halloween carnival and the purpose of the event is so kids can obtain candy in a safe environment, then you need to ensure that the carnival is safe and that there are ways for the kids to get free candy. If you just want to have an end of school year celebration with friends, maybe local DJs are your best bet!

Venue

Choosing a venue is more than simply making a reservation. You need to consider the following things, too:

  • Is it the right size for what you want to accomplish?
  • Does it have the necessary equipment (eg. tables, chairs, projector screen, sound system, etc.)?
  • Is there plenty of parking, or can guests arrive on public transportation?
  • What regulations does the venue have about decorations, food or anything else that could potentially be prohibitive?
  • Does your deposit apply toward the final fee?

Hiring professionals

If you choose to hire professionals to help you put the event together, make sure you have a contract of some sort explaining expectations and costs so there is no confusion later.

Documenting the event

Once you go to all the trouble to plan and host an event, you want to be able to remember it later. Don’t forget to think about video or photography needs, whether that means your brother and his iPhone or a professional and their entire gamut of equipment. Do something to commemorate the event.

 

Written by Tiffany Marshall

Tiffany Marshall is a freelance writer with experience in event planning, karaoke events planning in San Antonio, wedding videography and bridal consultation.


November 9, 2013 10:00 am

Plan a Dinner Party for a Corporate Event

Corporate Event

When planning a dinner party for a corporate event, there are lots of different factors to consider, from creating the right ambiance to entertainment and menu options. Unlike a dinner party for family and friends, a corporate dinner party requires more structure. The event needs to be focused and goal orientated, whether motivating a team, attracting new clients or rewarding hard work and success.

Choosing the right location to hold your corporate dinner is key, with conference venues and hotels a popular choice. Seating and table settings are also important in creating the right tone for any corporate event. Place cards and seating charts can be used to seat colleagues together or apart, depending on the focus of the evening. They can be used to seat together those who know each other well to relax outside of the workplace, or for those in different departments to get to know one another better. Before the dinner begins, it is a good idea to have a precursor of drinks and canapes. This enables colleagues to mix and unwind together before sitting down to enjoy the rest of the evening, and can allow new clients to be introduced and get their first taste of what your company has to offer.

Food is an integral part of any dinner party, and at a corporate event there are two main options in terms of service. Firstly, a buffet can be provided. This enables guests to mix together whilst choosing their food, and can eliminate the problems associated with catering for those with food allergies, as everyone is able to select exactly what they do and don’t wish to eat. The second option is to have waiter service, usually silver service, whilst guests are seated at their table. This is a more formal option and would suit a corporate dinner party for smaller groups, events aimed at new clients or for those in a more senior role looking for a something a little more elegant and bespoke. Whichever food option you decide to use, most catering companies will provide a sample menu, so you can taste a selection of food and drinks before making the final menu choice.

After dinner speakers are a great way to entertain at a corporate event, providing motivation and inspiration for existing colleagues and new clients alike. Whether humorous or topical, there are plenty of companies with a selection of different guests to choose from, ensuring the right speaker can be tailored for the look and feel of the event. Another great way to entertain clients and colleagues is with hired games. These can be anything from interactive quiz shows, to Murder Mysteries and character led dinners. Games are particularly good for in house team building, whilst guest speakers are a great way to impress new clients without putting them on the spot.

Whether your corporate dinner party is aimed at rewarding company success or taking on new business, it is important that the evening is structured well and provides great food and entertainment.

This post was written on behalf of West End events. To grasp an idea of the presentation for corporate events, visit: www.westendevents.co.uk. You can also contact them with any queries, concerns or questions.


October 3, 2013 3:36 pm

How to Plan An Event on A Budget

As an event or wedding planner, you probably dream about planning big-budget, extravagant events. However, chances are you’ll have to plan several events with a modest budget, and you’ll be expected to make them look great. This will be especially true at the beginning of your career. Thankfully there are some easy ways to cut costs without cutting quality. Read on for our top five ways to keep costs down at your weddings and events.

There's a lot of opportunity to cut costs in event planning

1. Start Early

This is necessary whether or not you’re trying to stick to a budget, but by looking for a venue well in advance you’ll be able to be more flexible about dates – which can potentially save a lot of money. If your client isn’t picky about which day of the week the event will be held, that just leaves you even more room for savings. As well, some venues offer early booking discounts for those early birds. The earlier you start, the more you’ll be able to shop around and compare prices, making sure you find the best pricing. That leads into the next point…

2. Get Quotes

This is especially important when you’re starting out, before you’ve developed solid relationships with your vendors. The rule of thumb is usually to get two or three quotes from different vendors. That way, you can create competition and keep costs low. A few months ago, we posted a story from wedding planner Lynn Lee, where she talks about learning how to get quotes from vendors in the early days of her business. Read her advice here.

3. Look for discounts

Depending on the event, the venue, and the suppliers, you could qualify for special pricing. Some venues offer discounts to large groups, or events booked well in advance. Many suppliers will drop their pricing when you order a certain number of items. Make sure when dealing with venues or suppliers, you always ask about special pricing options. Don’t be shy to negotiate a better price!

4. Go Buffet!

If your clients are open to it, a buffet style dinner can save a lot of money. With DIY weddings and events gaining popularity, it’s becoming trendier to do a buffet dinner instead of the traditional sit-down. Plus, it will give your guests such a variety of food options to choose from.

5. Skip the Paper

You can save a lot of money simply by cutting out as much paper as you can from your event. And thanks to online programs and apps, you can still offer guests all the information they need.  Your budget-conscious clients might be open to sending e-vites instead of stationery. In corporate events especially, you can put nearly everything online – from programs and schedules, to maps and agendas.

QC offers at-home courses in both event and wedding planning. To learn more, visit www.qceventschool.com.


Make your outdoor parties special with some backyard games

Whether you’re hosting a child’s birthday party, family reunion, or neighborhood barbeque, any outdoor party is better with games. We’ve even seen them trending at outdoor weddings recently! They give guests something to do while they’re waiting for the hamburgers to cook, and they can make for some good memories and great photos. Take a look at a few creative game ideas for your next backyard party.

Lawn Jenga

The classic coffee table game can easily be made for the outdoors by making the pieces bigger. This DIY might take some skill with a table saw, but it requires virtually no materials other than wood. Guests could probably spend hours on a giant Jenga tournament…after all, the stakes have never been higher!

Homemade dunk bucket

A dunk bucket would be the perfect activity for some laughs on a hot day. With this game, one guest sits under a bucket of water, that’s triggered by a bulls-eye. Friends and family take aim with the goal of spilling the bucket on his head! Setup is a little more involved than the other games on this list (check out a tutorial here), but the results would be well worth it.

Water gun shoot-out

Bottles, ping pong balls, and water guns are all you need to create this Wild West-inspired outdoor game. Guests have to squirt their water guns from a few feet away from their target, trying to knock a ping pong ball off the top of a bottle. It’s an activity that both children and adults can enjoy, and the host could arrange for prizes to be given to the winners of certain categories. Cowboy hats optional, but would be an added bit of fun.

Ring toss

Everyone loves a good old-fashioned ring toss, and the party planner will love it even more because it’s so easy to DIY. You can make it fit with practically any theme, but it works great at a rustic chic party.

What’s your favorite backyard game? Let us know in a comment below!

 


June 2, 2013 1:25 pm

Flowers for Every Occasion

flowers for every occassion

Have you ever heard of the language of flowers? It’s an old belief that each flower has a certain meaning, and there’s an appropriate time and place to use them. People used to use flowers to express feeling that they weren’t able to say. Today we often pick flowers based on color or personal preference, but we wanted to explore how you can use different flowers symbolically for different events you’re planning. After all, there are flowers for every occasion! Let’s take a look…

Wedding Flowers

For the wedding, choose bouquets and arrangements that signify love, devotion, and hope for the future. Colors tend to be either all white, or deep, saturated colors. The baby’s breath, lilac, red tulip, and aster are all great choices for weddings, as seen below. They might not be your typical wedding flowers, but they look great, they have meaning, and they’re a bit surprising!

Baby Shower Flowers

A shower (whether a baby shower or bridal shower) is all about spreading hope for the future. For a shower, choose arrangements that symbolize happiness and good luck. These flowers tend to be white, and are more delicate than they are dramatic. Great examples are the daisy, gardenia, Casablanca lily, and bells of Ireland.

Graduation Flowers

The graduation arrangements are our favorites of the bunch, because they’re all so full of hope and well-wishes – they’re also all colorful and a bit different. Some great flower choices are the black-eyed Susan, iris, stargazer lily, and jasmine.

What types of flowers do you absolutely love to use for events and weddings? Let us know in a comment below!