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Holiday Feels

From the desk of: Phoebe Allen

Holiday seasons is by far my favorite time of year.  I also happen to love winter, I know I am crazy, but it makes this time of year that much better!  Lights glowing along streets, people bundled up, fuzzy blankets, red wine… so much to love.

Decorating for this time of year is also truly wonderful.  I love walking around the stores and seeing their window displays.  I also love a good holiday party… and of course decorating for a holiday party.  Weather you are decorating your home for your own enjoyment, or having friends and family over, you will find some great inspo below!

Table Decorations:  I am really into making your home feel cozy and warm and I love the deep darker tones to bring this table to life.

Love the pinecones in the floral…


Food and Beverage:

Make your own marshmallow decor!

Mulled wine is always a crowd favorite.  Check out this recipe.

White chocolate and dark chocolate chips, mixed with chopped up peppermint sticks makes for a great table snack.

 


Unique Venues in Boston

From the Desk of Perry Ardelle Burnham:

It’s finally November and we’ve finished our busiest month of the year! This gives us time to reflect upon past events as we plan for next year. In preparing for 2018, we have done various site visits, and “venue hunts” to find places that fit our clients’ needs while also being unique.

The traditional ballroom is beginning to fade into the past and people are considering unusual, creative venue spaces for their events. We have seen this time and time again from clients literally building their venue from the ground up to those who take a classic space and customize it with inventive details to fit their vision. Take the Divco groundbreaking event for example, where we designed a space in their construction site from the ground up.

Or take the Boston Ballet’s 50th Anniversary ball where AE transformed the Castle at Park Plaza into an elegant party setting with custom-designed chandeliers and a full runway anchored by two stages.

Whether we are finding you the perfect uncommon venue or turning a traditional space into something out of the ordinary–we give our all! There are plenty of venues in and around Boston that stand out and we love getting the chance to work at places that allow us to be creative.

Here are a few of our favorites:

The Alden Castle in Brookline

The Boston Public Library is the perfect place for any event from weddings to galas–we love the beautiful marble steps exiting the courtyard.

Here is the Orangerie Greenhouse in the Tower Hill Botanic Garden–a perfect place to gather for a company outing or an intimate event. This beautiful space is full of natural light and is sure to wow any guests under a beautiful New England sunset.  We have never done an event here but we love the venue and are hoping to soon!

Though we have many more we have come to love, the Artists for Humanity Epi-Center holds a special place in our hearts as it is eco-friendly and employs local artists.


Meet Jo!

Hello! I’m Joanna Chan A.K.A. Jo, the newest team member to join AE Events. Originally from Southern California, I moved to Beantown to attend Boston University and graduated with a degree in Hospitality Administration. I ended up just loving the cold and snow so much I never left, even finding myself to be a loyal Red Sox & Patriots fan! Before joining AE, I worked at the Lenox Hotel & Hotel Commonwealth in Catering & Conference Services. After working in the hotel world, I decided it was time to shake things up and develop my career as an event planner in the city I love.

When I’m not at work you can probably find me hanging around the pool coaching or playing water polo. A sport not widely known on the East Coast, I’ve made it my passion & goal to grow the sport wherever and whenever I can. In addition to playing in high school, I played for the BU Women’s Team in college and now as an alum, I am currently the head coach of the team. You can also find me going on new beer & food adventures with friends or crocheting up a storm, especially in the winter. My most current project is a hexagon crochet blanket in different shades of blue! Other artistic interests include hand lettering, calligraphy & on occasion, if you’re lucky, you might get to hear me play the violin.

I’m looking forward to everything yet to come with AE Events. There is so much to be learned, so many people to meet and so many great experiences to be had! Can’t wait for my next blog to tell you all about it!


Fall has come!

From the desk of: Carrie Dirats

Every year it happens.  Some time during the first three weeks in October comes the evening of the first frost.  I know it’s coming and every year I procrastinate, dreading the final nail in summer’s coffin.  As though, if I don’t prepare the garden, it just won’t happen THIS year.  So October 16th, 6pm, as dusk falls, finds me doing my annual panic dance…”quick, grab a piece of garden fleece off of the asparagus!…I need a shovel and large pots!  How many?!  ALL of them!”  I holler through the gloaming to a rather harassed looking hubby.  That last early October blast of summer caused the pepper plants to flourish, re-blossom, and finally (finally!) start producing large, lovely fruits.  Suddenly, instead of the original plan of picking them out and saying goodbye, I couldn’t stand the thought of letting the encroaching winter get them and began a frantic rescue effort…as in, “how many of these suckers can we fit on the kitchen windowsill without the neighbors thinking we’re up to no good?”

I just couldn’t let those peppers-to-be in the center freeze!

And then of course there is Charlotte Bronte asking “so where have all the free cucumber treats gone?” and digging up the asparagus bed with apparent frustration…no help whatsoever.

Charlotte Bronte inquiring about why there are no more veggie treats.

That said, there is quite a lot of gardening to be done even after colder weather sets in.  Cabbage, swiss chard, spinach, and beets can handle moderate frosts.  Even lettuce and parsley can survive light ones.  Brussels sprouts thrive in cold weather.

Hardy chard, lettuce, and scallions in the fall garden.

One good thing about fall:  It’s garlic planting time!

Calendula flowers add bright spots of color until the first hard freeze

A sheltered location, a layer of garden fleece, and eventually a layer of heavy greenhouse plastic can keep a New England garden productive into December and, so I’m told, beyond.  Fresh local produce is so much more flavorful and nutrient-packed than those anemic, sad creatures one finds on the grocery store shelf.

 

Lunch….home grown lettuce, bell pepper, bok choi, and herbs with fresh lemon dijon vinaigrette.

If you’ve never gardened before and would like to give it a go, you don’t need a lot of space.  You can start small with a nice looking ceramic dish filled with some salad greens and herbs.  It’s an excellent use for that lovely spare soup tureen or casserole you never use…..and it makes a great kitchen table centerpiece.

Autumn Crocuses aren’t just pretty…the orange stigmas and style in the center are SAFFRON 🙂

So now, having survived the first round of the great annual fall garden panic, I’m focused on growing lovely fresh veggies through the winter and keeping a little bit of summer alive in my heart…wish me luck!  #gardengoals #irejectpumpkinspiceseason.

The author….in de hammock and in denial


Crazy busy… and how to stay focused

From the desk of Phoebe Allen

Here at AE we are currently in the midst of our busy season.  I personally would much rather be busy than bored!  Here you will find some tips and tricks as to how I stay on top of my game when we are moving 100 miles per hour.

Stay hydrated – I make sure to always have a full tumbler of water at my desk and a large bottle of water in my car for on the go.  Definitely helps me stay focused.

Get one with a straw! Tervis

Make sure you sleep! – I know there are many people who can survive off of 5 or 6 hours of sleep… I am not one of those people.  I need at least 8 hours to function and preferably 9 hours to feel really on top of my game.

Having said that – getting that much sleep does not always happen… When I am coming up on a busy week, I try and get as much sleep as possible the weekend before so I feel great that Monday, and don’t start my week tired.

Don’t stray too far from your normal schedule – I try and work out every day, with Sundays being a day of rest! Waking up at 6am every morning gets a little tiring, but if I am busy that night I know I have to get my work out in that morning.  And if I don’t, I won’t feel like myself.  So that is really what pushes be out of bed before the sunrise.

Music – Music is something that really drives me.  If I am sleepy driving to work, I always put a song on that I can sign to.  If my eyes are closing at my desk, I just turn my music a little louder and it seriously helps.  Depending on your playlist, music can really help you get in a good working mind set.

Check out a ‘brain food’ Spotify playlist here:

Don’t forget to eat! I always have a protein bar in my back pack… at all times!

These are my favorite:

Quest Bar’s

Ask for help.  Never be afraid to ask for a helping hand.  Two minds are better than one.

Take a little break – if you are feeling overwhelmed, take a step back and just try and clear your mind.  You would rather put out good work, than forget to do something important because you were rushing.  Take a walk, have a snack break, or even go sit outside for 5 minutes and breathe in the fresh air.

Lastly keep your head up, you will have a rest day soon and you will feel so accomplished.

If I figure out any more tips I will let you know!


RE-THINKING THE “MUST HAVES”

From the desk of Mindy Home:

Clients hire us because we help them think beyond the scope of their imagination, as well as work within their budget. What is our secret to creating innovative looks, yet staying in budget? We use what is necessary in the room to make their event unique. Here are a few examples of ways that you can use the “must haves” to your advantage.

Chairs – all events need them – why not upgrade to something that helps to elevate your overall design scheme? Case in point – we have a tropical-themed event coming up in October, so we opted for transparent blue chairs from AFR – instant island vibe!

Forget the classic ballroom – we recently used these slatted chairs from Be Our Guest for a rustic field wedding.  Want something modern? Check out the avocado Jetson chair from PEAK…add some color to the room quickly and easily… and your design is halfway there!

Staging – if your event has a speaking program, most likely you’ll need a stage. Questions to ask yourself: What’s happening on that stage? Maybe you can wrap your standard black stage in crisp white vinyl to make it more modern. Is it a panel discussion? Maybe rather than stiff chairs, mix it up and put a couch, soft seating, and interesting end tables. What will guests see when they look at the stage? We’ve done everything from big screens to LED panels to cool textured fabric behind the stage, but also consider adding a little bit to your flower budget and creating a backdrop. A shot of your guest speakers with green leaves behind them is a refreshing point of view.

Table Numbers – why do they have to be plain or borrowed from the caterer? We’ve created printed numbers to match the invitations and the linens, but some clients want something they can re-use. In that case, we’ve created vinyl numbers on small mirrors and votive holders. We’ve painted pieces of wood for a more rustic feel. We’ve even done three-dimensional numbers that sit upright on the table. A print vendor (or even some paint!), a pretty font and a fun container – voila, visual interest!

Floor Plan – why use just round tables, mix it up! Create your logo with rectangular tables:

Bring the outdoors indoors by setting large trees between tables, or build the stage in the center. Create floor plans that mix up the tables, for an environment that is unique and catches your eye!

Thinking of these smaller details in advance can help push your design beyond what your guests (or even you!) may expect, and first impressions mean a lot! Take a look around, you’ll be surprised at what you notice when you really look.


Check this off my bucket list

From the desk of Christine Altieri:

SOUTH AFRICA: Go on Safari, see the Big 5, Visit Cape Town, Drink South African Wine CHECK!

South Africa…I have been dreaming about going for years, and finally I took the time to make it happen. It is important to take these opportunities and check them off your bucket list.

My love of traveling is based on the adventure of being in different surroundings with different cultures, languages and idealisms.  It is all about learning for me….learning the culture, learning the geography, the topography, the language, and the list goes on.

The first stop on our trip; Kruger National Park- Safari and the Big 5. What is the Big 5 – Lion, Leopards, Rhinos, Cape Buffalo and Elephant. Kruger is the largest game reserve in South Africa. Kruger National Park is basically a synonym for the word “safari.

Six days on Safari, which was 10 – 13 hour days…we were off to Hermanus –a small town on the southern coast of the Western Cape province of South Africa. It is famous for southern right whale watching however It was winter, so the beaches were cold and empty, but with a warm blanket and a glass of wine, the peacefulness was perfect after our safaris.

Now that we are well rested, picked up and off  to Stellenbosh – Wine Country!

Stellenbosch is a town in South Africa’s Western Cape province. It’s surrounded by the vineyards of the Cape Winelands and the mountainous nature reserves of Jonkershoek and Simonsberg. The town’s oak-shaded streets are lined with cafes, boutiques and art galleries. Cape Dutch architecture gives a sense of South Africa’s Dutch colonial history, as do the Village Museum’s period houses and gardens.  True small town charm, with lovely reds, whites and rose!

Last stop Cape Town –  Cape Town is a city on South Africa’s southwest coast, on a peninsula beneath the imposing Table Mountain. Slowly rotating cable cars climb to the mountain’s flat top, from which there are sweeping views of the city, the busy harbor and boats heading for Robben Island, the notorious prison that once held Nelson Mandela, which is now a living museum. So much history and beauty.

What is next on my bucket list…..I am looking it over…torn between New Zealand – Australia or perhaps something closer to home, the Grand Canyon, I have never been.  Will shall see!


PSL (pumpkin spiced latte of course)

We all know that fall means one thing… Pumpkin Spiced Latte! PSL for short. We have created a lovely page for you outlining everything glorious about the not so basic Pumpkin Spiced Latte.  You can incorporate it into your table settings, you can eat it in so many different ways, and you can mostly find it everywhere you look…

Lets start with your table.  Everyone loves a good pumpkin, but there are so many ways to make a pumpkin that much better!

Paint them!

Decorate your own

Now, yes pumpkin pie is great but it gets old.  What about pumpkin bread?! Or pumpkin spiced cupcakes!  YUM

Homemade pumpkin spiced chai

Pumpkin spiced cupcakes

CAKE

Pumpkin spiced syrup

Check out our Pinterest page here: PSL


From the Intern: Incorporating Wellness into Events

By: Natalie Zajeski

The health trend..the health craze – however you name it, it is here to stay! Millenials, myself included, are a new type of consumer. Health is no longer a fad…it has developed into an overall conciousness of well-being, and all ages have become awakened.

But, what is wellness? According to The World Health Organization, wellness is, ...a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being.” Overall wellness is complex, and is accomplished through practice of physical, environmental, emotional, and social wellness.

Sooooooo what does wellness have to do with events? A lot actually.

When planning an event, every detail has an impact far larger than itself. The event touches the people who attend it. So whether it’s an intimate wedding for 50 people, corporate dinner for a few hundred guests, or a conference for thousands, how those people felt before, during, and after the event is important.

Events can be designed to thoughtfully incorporate the wellness of its attendees. Here are some ideas:

Physical. Be conscious of the balance between time sitting and time standing. Cater healthy, yet delicious food options for guests.

Environmental. Give the option to recycle for guests.  Everyone feels good knowing they did something to help the earth – one bottle at a time.

Emotional. Venue has a huge impact: opt for outdoor locations to boost Vitamin D and ease stress. An open-floor plan, or breathtaking views are helpful as well.

Social. Events are social by nature. YAY! Our job is to provide opportunities for people to connect even more. Have stations to lock up phones at smaller gatherings so guests have time to communicate with one and other, or for larger events present a hashtag idea so attendees feel connected.

 

Wellness translates to everything we create as event planners. It is our job to design thoughtful experience for every client!


Melanie: Intern to Assistant

Hello world, my name is Melanie and I am the newest event assistant here at AE Events. I graduated from the University of New Hampshire in May with a degree in Recreation Management and Policy: Program and Event Management. I was previously an intern during the summer, but was lucky enough to be offered a full time position starting in the fall. Being at AE Events so far has been nothing short of a fantastic learning experience.

I didn’t originally want to be in the event planning industry. I went to UNH as a business major with the thought “I can do anything with this degree.” You can do anything with a business degree, but I wasn’t happy in my classes. I found the Program and Event Management option (unfortunately not until my junior year) and I was hooked from my first class. I ended up with a minor in business administration so it all worked out in the end.

What college doesn’t prepare you for is commuting, balancing a full time job and family and friends, and what an actual real life job in your chosen field will entail.

I’ll be honest, commuting is tough. Getting up extra early to sit in traffic, to get to a crowded train, only to then take a bus to my office has not been ideal. What makes it worth it is coming to a job that I thoroughly enjoy. Everyone here at AE Events has been so welcoming and open to teaching me what they know. I’ve learned so much in these past few months and I look forward to learning even more as I continue at this agency. I’ve learned in the office as well as on site at events. I love being on site at events because I can see how everything comes together. We set up everything for the event, supervise the event and then clean up when it’s done. We craft, organize and design for each client’s specific needs. That’s stuff you can’t learn in a classroom.

A few things this new job has taught me:

  • Always get enough sleep!
  • Dress for success every day. You’ll have a better day if you are confident in yourself.
  • Bring a lunch you’ll be excited about. I’m a big food person so I love lunch and I look forward to what I bring every day. For me, bad lunch = bad day.
  • Stay organized. I have an agenda that I would be lost without. It has everything in it that I need for work, as well as appointments for my life outside work. I depend on it with my life to keep me from double booking myself.
  • Make time for yourself. You’ll go crazy if you just work, work, work and don’t spend time doing something you love or spending time with the people you love.

My favorite quote is “You’ve got one life to love what you do.” So go out there, find something you love and don’t let anything hold you back.

 

 

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