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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.


Our Olympians

From the desk of Event Manager Elaina Pires…

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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.

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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!


A Final Toast to 2015

As we close the book on 2015 and open the first few pages for 2016, there’s so much to reflect on here at AE Events. We are so grateful for our clients and industry partners, who keep us on our toes and make the work that we do rewarding and fun. What a year it was! Here is just a taste of what 2015 brought for us…

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If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that 2015 featured as much snow as we have seen in quite some time!  Covered up to our ears (and growing!), the promise of spring seemed nowhere in sight.

Even in the depths of winter, we were able to bring warmth and elegance to the Boston Ballet’s Camellia Ball. This is the gala not to miss, and a little snow was not going to get in the way of this special night.

Chandeliers decked the halls and a tables design of whites and grays brought a renewed sense of vibrancy to this snowy winter night. The evening was designed with candlelight and beautiful florals from our friends at Winston Flowers, the entertainment was by the dynamic “subway quartet” which dazzled guests with their modern interpretation of songs old and new. And of course, the Boston Ballet dancers performance was the show stopper of the evening, leaving guests in awe of their beauty and whimsy.

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SPRING 2015

After thawing out from the winter cold, we gladly jumped into planning a premier Boston asset management firm’s June client conference. Held at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel and the Institute of Contemporary Art, this two-day conference set the standard for success with their “Art of Innovation” theme.

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For the Opening Dinner which kicked off the conference, we created a energy that would become apparent throughout the conference that this event was all about innovation! We used vibrant aqua, white, and coral to create an entirely new look and feel and as we took the room from an elegant evening back to a conference space the next day.

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After the conference sessions came to a close, guests were happy to retreat to the Institute of Contemporary Art for their last evening together – a celebration by the sea. Thanks to our friends at Be Our Guest for supplying the gorgeous décor for their final sendoff!

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SUMMER 2015

While most Bostonians abandon the city in the summertime, we were hard at work preparing for one of our favorite celebrations – weddings! This summer we were lucky to be a part of that very special day for some incredible couples.

In late June we celebrated the coming together of two families at the Institute of Contemporary Art. The Boston Harbor created a gorgeous, natural backdrop for the ceremony.

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Guests were invited into the museum lobby and on the outside patio where which we transformed the space into a celebration that was reflective of this couple. The “Dodson-Cornell Bunch” danced the night away alongside their family and closest friends.

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In the lazy summer days of late August, we celebrated a couple whose  wedding was structured around the moon. This rustic, outdoor wedding was set at a private residence in Concord, MA. From details like a “Just Married” canoe, to choreographing the start of the ceremony to the exact moment when the moon began to rise – this wedding went down in AE history as one to remember for years to come.

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FALL 2015

With the coming of fall came a burst of celebrations of all kinds. Just before Thanksgiving we planned a tribute dinner for the outgoing CEO of South Shore Hospital.

Guests arrived at the fabulous Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate for a 360 experience around the museum. Passing through all four surrounds, guests enjoyed views of the replica Senate chamber and Ted Kennedy’s office, with sounds of a Jimmy Buffet tribute singer welcoming guests into the cocktail reception.

Décor for the evening married the guest of honor’s two loves: football and golf.  Collaborating again with our friends at Winston Flowers, we incorporated Patriots football helmets, golf balls, and miniature flags into the evening’s floral designs.

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During dinner, guests were serenaded by the world-renowned Three Waiters. If you aren’t already familiar, the Three Waiters are professional singers who disguise themselves as wait staff and delight guests with surprise performances throughout the evening. Everyone had a ball, and by the end of the night were yelling for more and throwing their napkins in the air.

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In October, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of The Spofford Group at Davios. To tie in the anniversary year, guests enjoyed signature cocktails named “Spofford Group’s 20 Year Old Fashioned” and “The Spofford 20.” The celebratory anniversary logo marked even the tiniest touches: from cocktail napkins to guest favors. On top of fabulous food, drink, and company, we had roaming magicians, a live jazz trio, and even a scotch expert. What better way to celebrate 20 years?

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With so much success in 2015, we raise a glass and toast each and every one of our clients and fabulous partners with whom we could not do this work without.

Now onto 2016 – we can’t wait to see what this next year has in store!


We heart BCHL!

Valentine’s Day is upon us and we are enveloped in red and pink… to honor it we were trying to think of something fun to write or show you.  What better than to share one of our past events?  Who says red and pink are only for Valentine’s Day?  They can be used as a beautiful accent for your decor, without being over the top or seemingly girly and childish.

But, as usual, we are getting ahead of ourselves… let’s go back to November, 2014 – the Boston Children’s Hospital League Gala. This one was hosted at the Fairmont Copley and the theme was “Under the Big Top.”

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Yes, this event is to support kids and programs for them while they are at the hospital, but it’s also a night for adults!  So to walk that fine-circus-tightrope-line between childish and chic, we designed the cocktail hour to be a fun and festive filled room with oversized balloons, bright pink and orange accents – complete with an elephant over the bar!

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As guests finished cocktails, they moved across the hall to the Grand Ballroom, where they entered a space that was a bit more grownup – portraying a vintage circus vibe – with golds, blacks and pops of a whimsical red (see – I knew we’d circle back to red and Valentine’s Day). Winston Flowers helped us to create these fun centerpieces – the co-chairs couldn’t believe that red carnations could look so good.  (Sorry, carns, you guys have a bad rap, but things are looking up!)

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This client even had fun adjusting their logo to fit the theme.  Overall, it was a great event that you should consider looking in to for this year!  Planning is just in the works, but it’s sure to be a fun-filled event for everyone!

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Many thanks to all of the vendors who helped to make this event possible (plus Allegro Photography for these great shots).  Added thanks to the Big Apple Circus Clowns and stiltwalker Big League Brian, who are part of the BCHL programming and were added entertainment for our guests!

 


Blizzards! (or when things get messy)

On this blustery and cold blizzardy day we thought we’d take some time to reflect on some past events. Part of hiring an event planner is to give yourself peace of mind.  At AE Events, we pride ourselves on our ability to think the event through – forwards and backwards – so there are no surprises, but let’s be honest… there’s always something that can sneak up on you.  Our goal is to keep everything running smoothly, so that you as the client can continue to enjoy your event.  Some things, however are beyond our control…

Wedding in New Hampshire:
The bride and groom are enjoying cocktail hour, meanwhile AE is out back throwing extension cords over a stone wall and climbing into a basement that doesn’t have full ceilings (in a dress and heels, mind you!)- so that the band could connect to power – the original power plan ran into it’s own set of issues and there was always a chance that we would blow every fuse in the place, but we didn’t. But there was a brief moment where we thought the band might be acoustic for the night!

Conference in Local Boston hotel:
There are some things that we all know to be true, but try not to believe.  One example of this: mice in hotels.  We can say (with certainty) that mice do exist in hotels – even the nicest and fanciest of them – and one decided to join our educational conference (talk about things that can sneak up on you).  Luckily, the conference goers didn’t see it, but with some quick work on our end, a hotel “mousehunter” was immediately on the scene and the situation was handled quietly and humanely.

Wedding in Cape Cod:
At the end of the night, we’re packing things up and who appears drunk?  The videographer.  Long story short, the local police gave him the option of sleeping it off in a cell or in the parking lot.  He chose parking lot and they came back with his keys at 6am.  I still don’t know if the couple received their wedding videos.
*Please note – this particular vendor wasn’t hired or vetted by AE, the couple hired many of the vendors on their own. We do our best to guide clients, but certainly don’t force them to hire all of our recommended vendors.  Needless to say, this particular vendor will never be on our list! 

Fundraising Gala:
A headlining singer was the entertainment for the night, but unfortunately was wheel-chair bound due to an unforeseen injury.  With no wheelchair access to the event’s stage in sight – we had to send someone to a venue nearby to beg for their wheelchair ramps – and then get the cab driver to wait while we loaded them in! Luckily, guests got to see the show and not the madness backstage.

There are so many more stories we could share on this snowy day, but we leave you with this – like a snowflake, every event is unique and we at AE Events treat them that way.  We love our clients and do everything we can to ‘shovel them out of the blizzard!’

 


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.

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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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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.

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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.


Vendor Spotlight – Allegro Photography

I should probably start with a disclaimer: We love all of the vendors that we work with, but can only blog so much!

You have probably seen samples of their work on our website and through events that we have produced – today’s vendor spotlight shout-out goes to Allegro Photography!

Husband and wife team, Jo and Dave, moved to Boston a few years ago from California and settled in Wellesley. Their work has a distinct West Coast vibe that is reflected in the fantastic images they take and the beautiful spirit that they capture.  One outstanding quality is their ability to capture the right mood at any given moment.  You may think at a wedding or a fundraiser this would be easy, but the task is much harder than it seems when trying to capture an emotion on top of the action taking place.

Their upbeat attitudes and willingness to stick around to “get the shot” are one reason we love to have them on site with us at events.  From weddings, to portraiture, to a wide variety of events both social and non-social, they are reliable and fun to work with.  Plus, they always manage to find such flattering light for everyone!

Thanks Allegro Photography for being so great!

Ok, now I’ll let the images speak for themselves (kind of).

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Catching that adorable moment during a wedding?! check.

 

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Capturing the AE staff at the Celebrity Series 75th Anniversary Gala? check.
L to R: Chrissy, Christine, Danielle, Aubry and our [former] intern Emma (we miss you!)

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Making our tabletops look cooler than we remembered
(this one from Rosie’s Place Safe and Sound Gala)? check.

 

 

Thanks Allegro Photography!  We love working with you!

XO,

AE Events


All of the lights

We hope you are enjoying this lovely holiday season filled with all kinds of beautiful lighting – from the candles of the Hanukkah menorah, to the glittering Christmas tree, to the candles on your dining table as you spend time with family and friends, (and don’t forget the crystal New Year’s ball dropped in NYC!) – AE would like to remind you how important lighting can be for an event.

We try to use lighting in a variety of ways to add impact, emotion and excitement to any event of any size. This year included lit LED centerpieces for table decor, an LED curtain as a backdrop, and simple washes of color on the ceiling for added dramatic effect. Here are a few highlights from this past year:

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With deep blue tones washing the ceiling to set the evening sky, bulb lights strung overhead, and a patterned effect like leaves from a tree, we brought guests “outdoors” at the Boston Center for the Arts Cyclorama this year to create an authentic German “biergarten” (complete with a hops-styled chandelier to set the stage).  Prost! (Cheers!)

Venue: BCA Cyclorama¦ Photographer: Remi Thornton¦ Lighting: High Output

 

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Sometimes just anticipating the light can give you amazing effect.  For Liz and Michael’s wedding this September in North Truro, the use of a clearspan tent allowed the sunset to become the backdrop of their ceremony.  Perfection!

Venue: Kalmar Village ¦ Photographer: AE Events ¦ Lighting: High Output

Joslin HH2013 backdrop

Finally, we used LED curtains for this year’s Joslin Diabetes High Hopes Gala – which changed words and designs as the evening continued. Nice!

Venue: Westin Copley Place ¦ Photographer: AE Events ¦ Lighting: Port Lighting


You make me feel like dancing…

…but I’ll never be able to dance as well as the professionals at the Boston Ballet.

It’s been a crazy whirlwind of a year filled with many amazing events.  In and among all of that, we were more than honored to be considered for Biz Bash Magazine‘s Top 100 Events in Boston and Balanchine Ball – The 2013 Boston Ballet Gala – was selected as the #1 Benefit!  We know, we know – this is a very late posting, but we’ve been so busy helping other clients with their special events.  Many thanks to the Boston Ballet for partnering with us this year and additional thanks to Michael Blanchard for these great images.

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