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Party at Peterson’s!

Okay, so it’s actually Peterson Party Center, a veteran of New England’s event world, but they have hosted a lovely vendor party in their space!*

*Disclaimer – as we’ve stated before – we love all of our vendors, but can only blog so much!

We recently had a chance to swing by PPC to visit with Gina (Hi Gina!) to look at linens and while there were treated to the grand tour. It was only about two years ago that they moved in to this space in Woburn, but it is filling up fast.  They have a machine that cleans tents… TENTS people!  – but I digress.

storage

On this particular day, they had used so many tents that they had to clean some “old school” – by hand. BY HAND!!!

 

 

Some people think “Peterson’s” and think “rentals”

china

This is correct.  They have been curating a lovely collection of rental items (furniture, china, linens, flatware and more!) and a visit to their sunlit showroom will have you drooling over lots of pretty and shiny things.

Some people think “Peterson’s” and think “tents”

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Gorgeous clearspan for Liz & Michael’s wedding in North Truro. Photo courtesy of Liz Linder Photography

This is also correct!  They have sailcloth pole tents (casual elegance), glass walled tents with french doors (ooh la la!), classic century tents (CLASSIC!)… and they’ll find you one that fits perfectly into your environment – “staking” the claim that your event will be top notch.  (Yes! tent puns!)

Some people think of “Peterson’s” and think “dirty laundry”washingmachines

OK, maybe not, but I couldn’t resist showing you these crazy big washing machines.  You could throw a party in one of those!

Peterson’s is always there for us – and for your event – with whatever we may need.  Thanks Peterson’s!  I’ll be back soon to play in your showroom!  Check out more for Peterson’s here.


Running from Ramen (noodles)

Today’s blog celebrates our Event Manager, Chrissy Kratz, and her major achievement of running a half marathon with her Dad! (Yes, as event planners, we do have a life outside the office) Chrissy shares her thoughts…

Two and a half years ago I signed up for my first road race, the Susan G. Komen Run for the Cure 5k. While I hadn’t spent much time exercising since my scarce visits to the gym or sporadic ultimate Frisbee games in college, I thought to myself “How hard could running three miles be?” Well, I am here to tell you that it was very hard. I couldn’t successfully run one full mile in that race. I was embarrassed, angry and suddenly extremely determined.

Chrissy_SusanGKomen

 

I did a complete overhaul of my life that following year. I threw away all semblance of junk food in my apartment (my guilty pleasures of Ramen and Oreos were a thing of the past), I started running (semi) regularly, and even sprung the $10 a month to join a gym (which on my budget was a bold move). As I began to sign up for races, my then 50-year-old Father jumped on the running bandwagon with me. Before we knew it we were running a 10k on Thanksgiving morning before eating our weight in turkey and pie, and two months later decided it was time to sign up for a half marathon together. The Philadelphia ODDyssey Half Marathon was exactly 138 days away the day we signed on the dotted line.

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As I began to organize myself in preparation for the race, I realized something: Training for a race wasn’t all that different than planning an event! I began with a timeline that detailed all of the goals and benchmarks that I wanted to achieve, much like the one we create for our clients with print deadlines, committee meetings and site visits. Next, I pulled in all of the other players: running partners I could count on to get me out of bed on cold mornings, classes at the gym to keep me from getting bored, and even transportation for myself to get home to Philadelphia for the weekend of the race. We do this with our vendors for events: perhaps Be Our Guest for beautiful rentals, Gourmet Caterers for delicious food, or Event Illuminations to make an event truly glow. As the big day got closer, things became more stressful. Organizing the last minute details and reaching those final deadlines seemed nearly impossible. But if there was one thing I have mastered as both an event planner and runner, it’s endurance.

 

The definition of endurance is the ability or strength to continue to last, especially despite fatigue, stress or other adverse conditions. It’s pushing yourself physically and mentally past what you thought possible, whether it’s across a finish line or to the conclusion of an event. It takes the same passion and drive to get out of bed on a cold February morning to get in that run as it does to stay at the office as long as it takes to ensure every detail of your event has been thought out (sometimes these coincided in the same day!). And I have to be honest…I love every second of it. That being said, on Sunday, June 8th my Dad and I crossed the finish line of the half marathon together (hitting our goal of under two and a half hours!).

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The relief I felt that morning was extraordinarily similar to that of the feeling I have when I see a bride and groom leave their reception at the end of the night grinning ear to ear or when I witness a non-profit organization exceed their fundraising goals. A very wise person (*cough*Christine Altieri*cough*) once told me that the day you stop having those feelings of genuinely wanting the world for your clients is the day to retire, and don’t tell her this, but she is undoubtedly right. I want every client to feel the same euphoria I feel crossing a finish line as they do at the conclusion of their event. And the day I stop experiencing either of those feelings is the day both my running shoes and I will retire. But believe me…that’s not happening anytime soon! After all, you have to work hard to play hard! Cheers to the next season of road races and events!

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#6 – Adventures in Catering and Cake

Our latest installment of Elizabeth and Thomas’ wedding planning focuses on their search for the perfect caterer.  Let’s face it, these people aren’t going to feed themselves!

Well here we are, less than 1 year away from the big day… and I must admit that Thomas and I are starting to feel the pressure of our awesome (yet sometimes annoying) Wedding Timeline. (Ok fine, he’s not, but I am!) And what better way to relieve some of that stress than to cross some items off my list, right?! Catering and Cake, here we go…

When we began our planning we discussed right away what each of us felt were some of the most important aspects of our special day. This is something that I think is really important to do before you are off and running because surprisingly enough, a lot of grooms do actually care about their wedding day! Luckily we both agreed that amazing food was an absolute requirement and one of our top 3 priorities (along with photography and venue).  Soon after we found our venue, I put my feelers out there to caterers for menus and quotes and together, Thomas and I reviewed everything.  We asked a lot of questions: Did we want to offer a choice of entrée or a duet? Did we want to offer chicken and steak or chicken and fish?  What kind of appetizers would compliment our meal? Were we duplicating anything? I noticed that our choices were a lot of the same thing…Beef Satay and Beef Sliders for appetizers and then Beef again  for the entrée…  Everything looks so great on the menu, that you sometimes forget that it’s your job to plan an eclectic meal for your guests!

Then came the fun part – the tasting!  A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to have my Mom and Sister visit for a weekend full of dress shopping (more on that later) food and cake tasting!

desserts

Chocolate and Strawberry and Buttercream, Oh My!

And while I can’t reveal just yet who my vendors are or what we settled on for the menu, I must say we could not be more happy with our choices!

Also, for those of you perhaps planning your own wedding, I found this list from The Knot to be really helpful to me as well (in addition to all the helpful advice from my colleague – thanks Mindy!):

– The Knot: 17 Questions to Ask Your Caterer: http://wedding.theknot.com/wedding-planning/wedding-reception-planning/articles/17-questions-to-ask-your-wedding-caterer.aspx

 No caterer named?! No cake flavors hinted at?!  No!!!!  Stay tuned for more wedding updates in August!

 


Dressing (and Planning) for Success

On June 23, Christine was invited to speak to a select group of Executive Directors and Event Managers who work for Dress for Success, a world-wide organization that helps prepare disadvantaged women for the workplace through career counseling, providing professional attire and support as they work to become economically independent (and a more confident, amazing woman!).

At their Going Global, Growing Strong – Dress for Success 2014 Annual Affiliate Leadership Conference, Christine presented to roughly 50 DFS leaders from different parts of the world about ways to “Think Outside the Box” on their next fundraising event.  Since each DFS region is different from the next, Christine’s biggest challenge was connecting with such a diverse group of women who have achieved many different levels of fundraising.

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Ready to field some questions!

 

With a little brainstorming, she landed on the metaphor that you can dress an event – much like you can dress a person for success.  Attendees were encouraged to think about what pieces of clothing might represent what piece of an event.  For example, “shoes” could represent the “venue”, as they could stand for foundation, building from the ground up… the “body” could represent the “mission”, since everyone carries the Dress for Success mission close to their heart and it’s what motivates them… there were no wrong answers, and the women (and one gentleman!) were encouraged to really think about what pieces of an event were most important.  She then talked through each item, fielding questions from the audience as she went.

shoes

DFS room

Waiting as attendees worked on their interactive assignments

 

Along the way she also shared some “thinking outside of the box” ideas, such as alternatives to floral centerpieces, ways to get messaging in the room and tailoring an event to each individual audience. Overall, the program was a huge success with a lot of positive feedback.  Way to go Christine!

She posed this question at the end: What was the most important or interesting thing you came away with today? Here are some responses.

  • That there are just as many ways events can be shaped/tailored as there are people!
  • Shake the events up!
  • That a successful event needs to be changed up so donors do not lose interest in attending.  So simple, but true!

 

We thought it was fitting to share this with you now, the week of July 4th, in celebration of women empowering themselves and others to get that much closer to their American dreams!  Thank you for all you do, Dress for Success!  Additional thanks to the Colonnade Hotel for hosting the Dress for Success conference.