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Magic of the Holiday Season

From the desk of Event Assistant, Ronnie Ayers…

It is officially 10 days until Christmas – which means I should probably start my shopping. Through the hustle and bustle of the Holiday Season, one of my favorite things to do is sprinkle in the Santa magic that we sometimes forget. My nieces and nephews are at the perfect “believing” stage, so my family and I are having so much fun getting creative with the young ones this year. Here are a few of my favorite ideas to go the extra mile this year to keep it magical!

“Facetiming” with Santa!

This is a fun, free app that gives you some “face time” (pun intended) with ‘Ole Saint Nick. It is pretty realistic and fun to see the young reactions when they see who’s calling!

Tip: before having Santa call, make sure the one answering knows what to request for Christmas!

Here is a screenshot of my cute niece, Dakota, using the app!

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Elf on the Shelf

I am sure everyone has heard or seen the Elves by now, and have found fun ways to display them. Some of my favorites: Elf driving Barbie’s car, roasting mini marshmallows over a candle, and making snow angels in powdered sugar! Definitely keeps the magic going on the days leading up to the big day.

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Christmas Eve:

Two ideas that I have fallen in love with for Christmas Eve can be carried out for years to come, and are so simple to do!

Santa’s Footprints

What you’ll need:
-Glitter
-Baking Soda
-Boots
-Spray Bottle
-Cookie Sheet

Mix the glitter and baking soda on the cookie sheet. Feel free to use as much or as little glitter as you would like.

“Prep” your boot by lightly spraying the soles.

Press the boot down in the baking soda mixture – making sure you get a good coat.

Then you make a trail of footprints leading from the chimney/door to the tree to show that Santa successfully visited that night!

This is such an easy (and light clean-up) project that can add a wonderful element to Christmas morning.

footprints

Santa’s Keys

This is a perfect idea for citydwellers who don’t have a fireplace for Santa to enter. Craft (or buy) Santa’s keys and hang them on the front door, so that Santa has a way to come in to visit!

santa-key

Experiencing the awe and excitement through the eyes of a child is one of my favorite parts of the Holiday Season.

We would love for you to share with the AE Team your own fun and creative traditions!


In the Spirit of the Holidays

From the desk of Senior Event Manager, Chrissy Kratz…

I won’t even try to lie to you – I am a serious holiday lover. The day after Halloween, I start listening to holiday music with my headphones set to super low so I won’t be judged by the people around me (yes, that includes my AE colleagues!), I am done shopping for friends and family before Thanksgiving, and my small apartment has more decorations than it has any right to fit inside of it (preview below). But what can I say? I love it all and don’t think a mere four weeks is enough time to celebrate! Of course, along with the spirit of the season comes just that – spirits. Here are a few of my current favorites to bring along to your next holiday party.

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Wine
This year, I attended a Fireside Chat at The Fireplace focused entirely on my favorite grape, Pinot Noir. Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir was hands down my favorite of the dinner and one I recommend to pair with a charcuterie platter or roasted poultry dinner.

climat

Thinking something white? Try Ashbourne – a unique Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay blend out of South Africa. Don’t be deceived by its light nose…the combination of the body from the Chardonnay and the acidity from the Sauv Blanc is a nice balance that allows you to drink this wine on its own (though pairing it with some oysters isn’t a bad idea either!).

ashbourne


Beer
Who says you can only enjoy a bottle of vino around the holidays – give a holiday brew a try! Perhaps Nodding Head Brewery’s Sled Wrecker made with molasses and rum-soaked fruit (yes that is a shameless Philadelphia-pride pitch).

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Looking for something lighter? After a recent trip to northern California, I’m head over heels for Almanac Beer Co.’s Saison Dolores. I wouldn’t call it a holiday beer, but it’s worth a try if you aren’t into rum and maple syrup in your pint.

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Spirits
Get creative with your cocktails! My must-try this year is to make a Rosemary-Infused Honey Sidecar. Boil some rosemary in water before freezing the liquid into ice cubes. Combine 2 cups Cognac, 1 cup lemon juice and 1 cup honey before adding in the rosemary-infused ice cubes. Strain, and serve in sugar-rimmed glasses. Voila – a holiday classic with a twist! Plus, you can spike the eggnog with the extra Cognac.

sidecar

Whatever your spirit style is – embrace it and don’t be afraid to try something new. Cheers to a festive, fun and safe holiday season!


How to be the Best

From the desk of Christine Altieri… 

How to be the Best was the theme of the 21st Marketing to the High End Bride breakfast at the Harvard Club on Commonwealth Ave.   Hosted by Arlene Cronk, owner of Invitations & Company, and in collaboration with Boston Magazine, the breakfast topic was about being the best at what you do in a highly competitive market. What traits do Boston’s best wedding professionals share? And how do you convince others you are the best?

It was my great pleasure to serve on the panel, along with Boston Weddings editor Brittany Jasnoff, Ben Elliott of Saltbox Farm and Saltbox Kitchen, Stacey Kuehn of Stacey Kuehn Hair, and Jenny Williamson of Jenny’s Wedding Cakes. We were charged with answering some of these challenging questions, and to find ways to inspire others to be the best.

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What is being the best? Everyone strives to achieve this, but I think this quote sums up my philosophy: “It’s not about being the best, but it’s about being better then you were yesterday.” As a company we are always striving to be better, to find better ideas and approaches, and to bring our clients the best that the market has to offer.

I thought I would share a few of the questions from the panel, and my answers.

 

Do you always look for the best people to help you? Or do other factors play a more important role in the success of an event?

We work with the people that are knowledgeable about their product, who are willing to think outside the box to help create a memory. We often refer to events as puzzles, and each piece is vital to creating the final product. For that reason we like to work with vendors that are clearly the expert we need and can be that important piece of the puzzle.

 

What do you think high-end wedding clients in general look for in a great event planner? Is it possible to generalize?

Brides are looking for a planner who has knowledge of the industry…venues, trends, etiquette…and who can help navigate the process and advise on how to best allocate the budget in order to achieve their dream wedding. For most couples, this is the first big event they are hosting, and it is a lot of pressure. Most couples have full time jobs and look to a planner to be their voice. They need to trust this planner to communicate their vision, on what clearly is one of the most important days in their lives. Our goal is to listen, understand what they are looking for, and then keep them on track, help them to stay focused, alleviate some of their wedding nightmares, and create a memory that they will share for years to come.

 

Creating the Breakfast for the High End Bride

As a company we were charged with gathering the best teammates to help design and execute the HEB breakfast. We are so fortunate to have such great friends in the industry, so it was easy to form a team of professionals who donated their time, equipment and services, to create a WOW moment for the attendees while giving each of them a chance to showcase their products and services. As a team we laid down a foundation, a starting point to build from.

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Weddings are no longer just spring or summer, but all seasons. That became our foundation, and we used that to think about how we could create a room that would take the guests through each season at a wedding of their dreams.

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The theme was expressed in subtle ways…we used color and texture to evoke the feeling of each season, and it was the little details that share the story simply. We shied away from the expected: snow, leaves, heavy colors, and furniture, and instead worked to create a room design that flowed together.

table

It was an honor to participate in Marketing to the High End Bride, and I look forward to attending future events, and continuing to grow our wedding business.

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This is Our Place

From the desks of Jana & Christine…

“Rosie’s Place will always be my family, no matter what.  If it wasn’t for them, I would not be the person I am today.” – Norma O., Rosie’s Place Guest

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Our partnership at AE Events began nearly 10 years ago, and one of our first shared clients was Rosie’s Place. Ever since then, we have both been continually inspired, motivated, moved and humbled by their work. Rosie’s Place is in the trenches changing the lives of poor and homeless women.  As two women businesses owners, who are mothers and sisters and daughters, who believe that every person matters…this work resonates with us.

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Our early experience with Rosie’s Place is a great example of how we took our mission statement and worked it into our daily practice in producing events. We are committed to doing meaningful work in a meaningful way…all focused on our clients.  Rosie’s Place is laser focused on their guests.  They meet them where they are in their journeys.  They see them as a sum of their assets, not their deficits.  They help them find their voices.

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This year’s theme for the annual FWSB luncheon was “This is Our Place…This is Rosie’s Place.” Guest stories like Norma’s were shared by media women and by the guests themselves in video clips. The audience of 1700 heard why Rosie’s Place is their place, giving women the community and acceptance they need.

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At the end of the luncheon every year, we shop at the Women’s Craft Cooperative jewelry booth to support the wonderful opportunity that this creative microenterprise offers Rosie’s Place guests as employment. As we approached the table, who should greet us but…Norma herself! Of course we recognized her from her video, and she went on to tell us about her job and her gratitude for her friends at Rosie’s Place.

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We would not be the company we are today without Rosie’s Place. It is our hope that we help our clients tell their own important stories in every event we produce.

This is our place. This is Rosie’s Place.


Can’t Resist the Twist!

With the cold fall weather fast approaching, it’s important to take advantage of the few warm days we’ll have left. DIY Twister is fun game to play outdoors that won’t blow away in the autumn wind!

 

STEP 1: GATHER YOUR TOOLS

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Decide what colors you’d like to use and choose your spray paint style. For this particular party, we used the brand of spray paint that is used in construction or maintenance work. This can sprays straight down instead of perpendicular to the canister, as most general spray paint does. Either kind works fine as long as you choose colors that pop!

The next tool you’ll need is the stencil. We used a square piece of cardboard and cut out a circle from the middle. By using a stencil with the middle cut out, instead of tracing around a circular object, we were able to keep things cleaner and keep our spacing more even.

*HELPFUL HINT*

Keep the inside circle you cut out of the cardboard. You can use it as a placeholder when trying to space the circles out.

You will also need string and 4-6 stakes.

 

STEP 2: SIZING OUT YOUR TWISTER BOARD

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The next step is measuring out your “board” using the stakes and string. Our board was 6’ by 8’ and we started by staking the 4 corners and wrapping the string around each to create an outline. We then also strung a line down the middle of the board vertically and horizontally. These middle lines helped to keep everything in line.

*HELPFUL HINT*

Before painting any spots, make sure you are standing UPWIND of the direction you are spraying. There’s nothing worse than getting a face full of paint and paint fumes!

 

STEP 3: MAPPING OUT THE CIRCLES

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The first circles you’ll want to create are the 4 corners. The next circles should be on either side of the middle horizontal line, then on either side of the middle vertical line. Then, fill in the 2 remaining circles on either side to complete the border. Next, fill in the middle 2 rows. These rows are the easiest to complete—just line up your spots with the spots on the border!

*HELPFUL HINT*

This spray paint does dry quickly but not quick enough! Be aware when kneeling down that you aren’t on wet paint. You’ll also want to leave adequate time for the paint to dry and for the fumes to evaporate before playing.

Once the paint is dry, set up a comfy bench nearby, break out your spinner and enjoy a fun afternoon outdoors with Twister!

twister-pics4


Meet Ronnie!

 

We are thrilled to introduce you to our newest team member – Event Assistant, Ronnie Ayers! 

What was your life like before AE?

I am originally from Seattle, WA (Go Seahawks!) and attended Boston College. After graduation I began working in Human Resources at a Financial Firm in Boston while occasionally flying to Seattle to help with weddings. Best way to compile frequent flyer miles!

seattleseahawks22012

What was it about AE Events that appealed to you most?

I appreciate the wide spectrum of events that AE covers. I have planned weddings and smaller non-profit fundraisers in Seattle, so I saw this as an amazing learning opportunity to expand my experience and soak up all the knowledge of the Boston event-planning world.

If you could plan any event in the world- what would it be and why?

A Royal wedding – it is the perfect balance of tradition, romance and extravagance. There are limited events in which the whole world is on the guest list! Plus – who wouldn’t want to be a part of a real life fairytale?

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 29: TRH Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge smile following their marriage at Westminster Abbey on April 29, 2011 in London, England. The marriage of the second in line to the British throne was led by the Archbishop of Canterbury and was attended by 1900 guests, including foreign Royal family members and heads of state. Thousands of well-wishers from around the world have also flocked to London to witness the spectacle and pageantry of the Royal Wedding. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

What are your hobbies outside of AE Events?

I enjoy finding difficult hikes with rewarding views at the top, cooking, taking a spin class, or relaxing with a nice Netflix binge.

What are three words to describe AE Events?

Innovative, reliable, passionate

What is your favorite thing to do in Boston?

Strolling through the Public Garden and down Newbury Street. There is always something new to see.

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What is the #1 thing you can’t go into work without?

Coffee. Coffee. Coffee. When in doubt, there is always a cup of coffee glued to my hand. I also must have a rockin’ playlist to start my day off right on my commute into work! One go-to song: Geronimo by Sheppard.

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As Crisp and Golden as an Apple

From the desk of Event Manager, Elizabeth Boates… 

“Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple.”
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

With another Labor Day weekend under our belts, it’s official – we say goodbye to the blissful long days of summer and hello to fall fashion, football and back to school! I personally have always loved fall and am consistently inspired to find new ways of incorporating autumn inspiration into our events. Some of my favorite events we’ve designed have been for schools. So we figured, what better way to kick off September than to highlight some of the fantastic events we’ve done that put a special spin on education…

Untitled826 BostonNight of 1,000 Stories
Artists for Humanity Epicenter

It seems so simple, but there is so much you can do with books as decor. For 826 Boston’s annual fundraiser, stories were literally cascading from the ceiling! With strands of book pages hanging from the rafters and a little mood lighting, we transformed the room.

We’ve also used books as table decor. For Excel Academy’s annual Celebration of Excellence, we brought the “tools of school” onto the dinner tables in a clever way, covering old books with a new cover to create the table number and wrapping beautiful sunflower centerpieces with a row of pencils for a unique, academic look. The books were then used in the classrooms and library, and the pencils were given to the students.

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Exchange Conference Center

The following year for Excel Academy, we added a fresh spin by creating table runners made to look like oversized rulers. Not only is this a great way to change up your typical table décor, but the runners also served as an excellent branding piece.

160602-0014-2Excel Academy – Celebration of Excellence
Exchange Conference Center

A clever centerpiece I loved were the collegiate pennants we used for the Boston Collegiate Charter School. The pennants each represented a college and were added to the floral designs at each table.

IMG_3931[1]Boston Collegiate Charter School – Collegiate Trivia Cup Challenge
Dorchester, MA

Whether you use them for a table number or to a create a sculpture like the example below, books represent a timeless piece that can immediately add beauty to the table.

Untitled2826 Boston – Night of 1,000 Stories
Moakley Courthouse

So welcome back to all of the students in the Boston area – we can’t wait to see what new and academic event design you inspire this year!


Our Olympians

From the desk of Event Manager Elaina Pires…

#1

Summer is the PERFECT time to tackle a personal goal you’ve been wanting to achieve. With the Pan Mass Challenge this past weekend, I wanted to reflect on my own personal goal from this summer – completing the Bike MS Cape Cod Getaway. At the end of June, my brother and I participated in a 150+ mile bike ride from Boston to Provincetown to benefit the National MS Society. We TOTALLY underestimated how much fun, challenging, and incredibly rewarding the ride would be.

#2

Each day of the two days we biked 75+ miles with over 2,000 other riders. Boston’s own pedicab drivers even made the trek, alternating who rode with the pedicab in tow and working as a team to push the cart up each hill. The teamwork and energy that they had was so undeniable, we stuck close to them throughout the course for inspiration. Plus, they all had bike radios blasting awesome tunes the whole way there. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of their bike crew?!

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Naturally, I was also curious how the ride would play out from an event planner’s perspective. With plenty of police detail and road assistance, the ride was seamless from start to finish. From having rest stops every 10 miles, to making sure we were well fed and well hydrated, to being greeted by an AWESOME welcome party at the halfway point, we were well supported throughout the entire ride. Despite some of the difficulties – a 3:30AM wakeup call, leg cramps galore, and dozens of never-ending hills – the experience was totally worth it. As an event, I give it an A+!

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Crossing both physical and mental hurdles this summer left me feeling inspired and motivated to continue that energy into the fall season. Just like events, it felt amazing to be a part of a cause and purpose so much bigger than myself, and have a great time while doing so. From this ride, I’m proud to say that my brother and I raised a combined $2,800+ for the National MS Society New England Chapter, and we look forward to our next challenge – whatever it may be!


Long Awaited Days of Summer!

From the desk of Senior Event Manager, Chrissy…

After living here for almost 5 years, I’ve become a true believer that after our long, cold winters no one appreciates the warm weather more than New Englanders. The moment the thermostat hits 75 degrees patios and decks open around the city and fill with eager Bostonians soaking up every ounce of Vitamin D they can before the leaves start to change a few short months later. That being said, we wanted to take this opportunity to share some fun ideas on how to celebrate the summer in style!

The summer is a time to embrace being outside, so don’t be afraid to incorporate all that the outdoors have to offer. Maybe a small petting zoo or pony rides are the perfect way to have your guest interacting with both each other and nature!

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Farm animals not your thing? Keep it simple and set up classic lawn games for your guests to play – corn hole, can jam, and croquet are all great options!

When thinking through food and beverage, try to keep things seasonal and fresh. Traditional BBQ fare set up as a buffet will always be a hit at a backyard bash, but maybe switch up a classic dish or cocktail to make things interesting. At an recent event, we served a watermelon, strawberry sangria using rose wine rather than the traditional red or white – to say the least it was a hit!

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Finally, don’t be afraid to embrace the one-of-a-kind look and feel that comes along with outdoor, summer events in your décor. Imagine picnic tables adorned with local wildflowers in mason jars, or food served on blue speckled dishes and tea towels being used as napkins.

Table decor

Table w umbrella

Cheers to an amazing summer filled good times, great food and lots of events in the sun!

Special thanks to our friends at Forklift Catering, Sperry Tents, and Be Our Guest Rental for partnering with us to execute some of our fun, summer ideas! 


Welcome Back, Catherine!

Introducing our newest official team member, Event and Office Assistant Catherine Doherty!

 

What was your life like before AE Events?

Life before AE consisted mainly of school. I attended Emmanuel College and graduated this past May. I spent my time after graduation relaxing with friends and family and trying not to stress about finding a job!
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What was it about AE Events that appealed to you the most?

I was introduced to AE Events when I was looking for an internship this past spring. What appealed to me most about AE was the range of events they produced. I was looking to learn more about the industry and knew a company that does everything from weddings to conferences would have the knowledge I was looking for. Through my internship with AE, I found that I really enjoyed this kind of work and discovered that this was a career I could see myself in. Timing was on my side and a month after I finished my internship and graduated, I joined AE full-time as the Event and Office Assistant.

If you could plan any event in the world, what would it be and why?

A Post-Oscar’s party—I think the Hollywood glitz and glamour mixed with everyone feeling free of the Pre-Oscar jitters would make for a fabulous night. Plus, who knows, I may get to meet Leonardo DiCaprio!
Leo Pic

What are your hobbies outside of AE Events?

When I’m not at work, I’m usually at dance. I have been Irish dancing for 18 years, so it takes up the majority of my time. But when I do have a spare moment free, I like to read a good book or go on a little Netflix binge. Some of my favorite shows are Parks and Recreation and Saturday Night Live—Big Amy Poehler fan!

 What are three words to describe AE Events?

Dynamic, Thriving, Genuine

What’s your favorite thing to do in Boston?

I love grabbing a coffee and just wandering around with friends. Walking around without a specific destination in mind is a great way to get to know the city and find unexpected, hidden gems.
Boston Pic
What’s the number one thing you can’t go into work without?

As a native of Massachusetts, the two things I can’t leave the house without are my iced coffee and my umbrella. You will almost never see me without a Dunkin Donuts iced coffee in my hand, hot cup included of course. And as for the umbrella—New England weather has a mind of its own so I try to be as prepared as possible!

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I’m very excited for my first summer post-grad. It’s going to be great mix of working at AE and getting to the beach!

 

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