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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?!

#3

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+!

#4

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!


#12 – It’s the Little Things…

It’s #WeddingWednesday and you know what that means…time for our monthly check in with bride-to-be Elizabeth!

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Well here we are, just 4 months to go!  As we get closer to the big day, I notice all the little things that can easily slip through the cracks or be missed by taking on this job by myself!  It’s hard enough to remember all the main elements that go into hosting a great event, much less all those little details!  And in a world of DIY, I know these little details will crop up and rear their ugly head right about a month (or-gasp-less!) before the wedding when I’m already drowning in to-do’s.  Here are some of the things I noticed I was forgetting and how I remedied the situation…

*Postage for our invite— Our invitation will most likely need more than the standard 49-cent or 70-cent stamp so I will need to order a custom stamp.  This takes time, and is easy to forget when you are so focused on all the work that goes into choosing and creating your invitation.

Solution: As soon as we make a decision on the invite (hopefully soon!) we will bring a sample of it to the post office for weighing. Once we know how much the postage is, we’ll most likely use one of the many websites out there that offer custom postage (stamps.com, tinyprints.com, and zazzle.com to name a few).

*Small decor details– I’m talking about all of those little odds and ends that add an extra element of style to your event but can easily get buried in your to-do list.  Having an outdoor wedding? Maybe you’d like to add some parasols to the ends of your ceremony aisles, or signs directing people to the reception or restrooms?  Personalized cocktail napkins are also an affordable way to add a little flair.

Solution: ASK FOR HELP!  As someone who typically feels the need to do everything herself (“If you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself” -am I right?!) err, this is the biggest lesson I have learned from this process. There are completely capable people who WANT to help.  Let them!  I tapped my Sister/MOH and my Mom to help with a lot of these items, and the tasks were completed more thoroughly and quicker than I could have done them myself with everything else I am working on.  Plus, they don’t have what I like to call “wedding brain” – allowing them to think of things I may be forgetting or offering a suggestion I’d never think of.

 Key items for the Reception– Since Tom and I are including the traditional reception rituals (cake cutting, toasts, etc), we will need a cake cutting set, and toasting flutes.  We also want to have a guestbook for guests to sign.  Luckily, these items are commonly given as gifts. The downside?  If no one purchases them, this will be added to my already long list of to-dos, the week before the wedding!

Solution: I added these items to the portion of our timeline that occurs just after my bridal shower.  That way I can forget about having to get them immediately and revisit the task once my shower has passed, at which point I will know if anyone has purchased those items for us.

 Rehearsal dinner outfit– Can you imagine? I’m down to the wire, thinking I’m in the home stretch and then I realize I need an amazing outfit for the rehearsal dinner.  Cue me running around from store to store, a week before the wedding, trying to find the perfect ensemble… sounds like a recipe for a total meltdown, if you ask me!

Solution: I’ve moved this item on my to do list, to the same time I have my dress fitting.  At that point, I should be close enough to my goal weight to commit to an outfit, and it gives me extra time to try all the stores I want and even shop online.

 Odd’s and ends with no category– From creating a “day of emergency kit”, to putting together welcome bags and creating an information sheet for our out of town guests, to the amenities baskets for the restrooms… These details seem so simple, but because of that, they are at risk of being put off – “Oh, I can do that later, that’s not urgent…”  but before you know it, you’re down to the wire and those simple things become a real annoyance as you race to finish everything on time. Sounds like another meltdown for me…

Solution: I’m getting these things out of the way early! These are all items that I have moved back in our timeline to a period when we have less on our plate (or less than we will in May and June!). I had plenty of wedding timelines to chose from when I started, but the key thing for me was spending some quality time adjusting those to-do items that could be adjusted to a different area of our list, making it more manageable. 

 

I know this won’t be everything and inevitably there will be SOMETHING that is forgotten but that’s life.  And of course if you don’t want to worry about ANY of these things, you could always hire a professional! No bias here of course (wink, wink)…

 


2015: Be Engaged

Happy New Year and Congratulations to the newly engaged!  The holidays are a season of giving and receiving.  We’ve found that a lot of those gifts include giving an engagement ring and receiving love to last a lifetime!

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Image courtesy of Zev Fisher Photography – to see the full photo and more – go here!

In celebration of all that lies ahead for you and yours, here are a few websites that we like to check out when looking for new or unique wedding ideas (or just fall in love with Love!).

Dorfman Jewelers – If you don’t have the ring (but know there’s a promise), be sure to have one of their specialists help you with the Art of Engagement. Discover the newly renovated Dorfman’s when shopping for your wedding rings as well! (and fiances of the world – have your sig-other keep a running list of things they like here – it will make future gift giving easy!)

How He Asked – a website dedicated to marriage proposals, with thoughtful words, photos and even video.  If you’re in the mood to cry out of joy and all things good in the world – go here.  If you’re in the mood to share your story of love – go here.

BHLDN – vintage, delicate, ethereal are all words that describe the dresses, accessories and other beautiful things you can find on this wedding website from Anthropologie.  Sometimes all you need to complete the look is that one perfect thing…

Vows – searching for your wedding dress can be fun, exciting and overwhelming.  The staff at Vows in Watertown, MA will help you find that perfect look. This bridal outlet offers high-end designer wedding gown samples and overstocks from famous designers.  You are one of a kind, maybe the dress should be too!

Style Me Pretty – See what other real couples have done for their weddings – great for inspiration and current trends. We love to see what wedding trends are happening around the country.

Squarespace – thinking of designing a personal website for the Big Day? Check this out – they have wedding templates and make it easy to customize to suit you and your fiance’s style.

Recycle Your Wedding – figured out your wedding style and feeling a little DIY?  We do our best to help our brides find ways to save some dollars here and there.  Sometimes this means buying accents (votive holders, lanterns, and other little tidbits) which can be hard to store.  From the Ruffled Blog – here are some classifieds to buy and sell your wedding goods!

Congratulations again on your recent engagment!  AE Events is here to help you create a beautiful and magical day for you and your family – give us a call or email us to inquire about our services and how we can help you go from Ms. to Mrs.!

 


A Good Read

With the fall event season over and a few holiday parties still to celebrate – we at AE events have finally had a chance to slow down and take some time for ourselves!  In doing so, we’ve started to read, are reading or have recently read, these books that we thought we would share.  Now cozy up to the fire, get some hot cocoa (marshmallows too) and take some time for yourself!

“Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn
Recommended by Danielle  – Now a major motion picture, this is the story of a couple who seemed the perfect match, but as time passes, their relationship starts to decay, leaving the husband blaming his wife for most of their unhappiness.  On their 5 year wedding anniversary, the wife disappears and all signs point to the husband – a media frenzy ensues and the story builds from there.  The mystery and intrigue kept me on the edge of my seat with every page I turned.

 

“The Passage” – by Justin Cronin
Recommended by Aubry – In an attempt to cure the world of disease, a doctor possessed by the recent death of his ill wife brings a unique virus onto US soil for testing. He creates a task force called Operation Noah enlisting a team of talented but emotionally broken and detached officers to collect equally disturbed test subjects for his trials–all incarcerated miscreants the world is sure not to miss.

Testing produces the same curious outcome on his first 12 subjects, turning each into crazed, blood thirsty savages with superhuman strength. However, the doctor is convinced that his 13th test subject–en route to his facility with special operative Brad Walgast–will produce a successful outcome. However, when Walgast learns that subject 13, Amy, is an innocent six-year-old orphan he cannot allow himself to complete his mission.

They attempt escape, but are captured and returned to the facility where Amy is injected with the virus. As she is recovering–seemingly still human–the other subjects tear the facility apart creating a ripple effect of infected humans crawling across the state. Brad and Amy are able to escape, but the world is slowly falling to the infected that haunt the earth like vampires. Brad must keep Amy alive, as she is the key to ending the nightmare.

This is a super badass read! It’s thrilling and has an interesting sci-fi plot that the author, Justin Cronin, weaves throughout multiple character stories and time periods throughout the crisis, aside from Brad and Amy’s. There are two sequels that will keep you hooked as well. It’s like The Walking Dead with vampires…look out for a film or TV series in the future. I’m sure it’s coming…

 

“Wild” by Cheryl Strayed – This year at the Rosie’s Place luncheon – “Funny Women, Serious Business…” our keynote speaker was Cheryl Strayed.  Her book has recently been made into a movie featuring Reese Witherspoon, due for release this month.  It’s the story of Cheryl’s personal journey at the age of 26 to hike the 1100 mile Pacific Crest Trail as she leaves behind drugs, a divorce, the loss of loved ones and seeks self-discovery. With no prior backpacking experience to rely on, Cheryl describes her life before and after this life-changing trek.

 

“The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt
Recommended by Mindy –  This was a truly engaging story narrated by the main character, Theo Decker.  It follows him from a life-changing experience at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with his mother and then pulls the reader along an unexpected path through a life filled with art, drugs, mystery, survival, love and loss.  It was one of those truly great and gripping stories where you had NO idea where the author would take you next and has you reconsidering the idea of fate.

 

“What the Dickens” by Gregory Maguire – We were so fortunate to have Gregory Maguire speak at our recent 826 Boston “Books for Breakfast” event.  The story has the tagline “The Story of a Rogue Tooth Fairy” and given the slant of his other books, which take traditional fairy tales, but told from another character’s point of view, (“Wicked” being the most popular) we can’t wait to see how this story unfolds!

Happy Reading!


Autumnal Air

New England fall weather is unpredictable. We’ve had a string of hot days, cold days, rainy days… but the one predictable thing is that the leaves in the area are going to change. I’ve noticed quite a few trees that have stood out as though they were on fire.  I could go into a long post about The Hunger Games and the “Girl on Fire”  – there’s a new trailer out for Mockingjay – but I should probably chat about something more event-related.  Look at this tree!  It’s aglow with orange and yellow loveliness! And against that beautiful blue sky?!

tree

How can you bring some fun Autumnal elements to your event?

We recently did an event for our friends at Arclight Capital Partners, LLC.  They wanted guests to feel as though they were walking down a long driveway lined with old oaks – and after creating some big trees for a fabulous entrance, we added in some lighting that looked like a cobblestone path.  Later on we also scattered some leaves on the floor for that final touch.

arclight trees

In lieu of tree structures (they were quite large and quite heavy… not for everyone) you could also consider putting some stems of real leaves into your floral arrangements and perhaps add a dash of some wheat or other fall grasses (millet, fountain grass, turkey foot).  Sadly, like the season, these things are fleeting, but your florist should be able to find something lovely to accent your table.  Some well placed pumpkins, artichokes, pomegranates, apples, different berries, can bring you a pop of color, while also adding some texture to the table.

fall

Side note: We often encourage our clients to add “texture” to their tables. This can be achieved in many ways – by using textured tablecloths like the tweeds above, by adding in something that has some plaid (maybe a napkin?), so that you’re table isn’t just a flat color.  Sometimes texture is achieved by having containers of different heights for your centerpieces, adding a well designed menu card, or as referenced earlier, adding some unexpected elements like artichokes to the tabletop or trees to the entryway!

And of course there are all the colors! The fall brings to mind all shades of reds, oranges, and deep yellows.  Sometimes I am jealous of the person who picks the names for paint colors and fabrics, as fantastic titles like “Flame,”  “Pumpkin Spice,” “Tuscan Yellow” and “Rioja Red” make their way onto our tables.  Don’t overlook your brown tones – a lovely textured wheat-toned tweed or a soft plaid with brown accents can really add some needed interest to what could be another boring table.

plums

Don’t forget the plum tones too!  Ornamental kale, small eggplants, mums… all of these can also bring a bit of autumn air to your event. They are the precursor to the lush and deep reds of winter.  Ooh bright red berries and amaryllis with some frosted green touches… I’m getting ahead of myself. Fall is with us for such a short time, that I’m going to take as much of it in as possible!

Thanks as always to our friends at Winston Flowers for their great trees, High Output for their fabulous lighting, as well as Table Toppers and Peterson Party Center for some inspiring fall linens.


After the party… let’s party?

Recently, AE Partner, Christine Altieri, and one of our brides, Liz, (Hi Liz!) were quoted in the Boston Globe style section commenting on wedding after parties.  Which leads us to continue the conversation – Are After Parties worth it?

After Parties are the new excuse for brides and grooms to continue the celebration into the wee hours of the night (ahem… morning).  For some, I’d say it’s truly worth it.  When else will you have this kind of love and attention from close family and friends?  When else will you have a chance to party like this?  Graduation? (nah, that’s expected) Baby? (Duh, you have a baby! Stay home!)  Major birthday milestone? Okay, maybe that last one, but it’s unlikely all of your nearest and dearest will make it to the festivities.  Yes, a wedding is an important part of your life and those closest to you make an effort to be there – and an After Party, well, that’s just icing on the cake.

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Wedding dress still on, bowtie askew… It’s totally worth it if you have a smaller group of close friends and family and you head somewhere for some post wedding drinks, snacks and chatter.  I’d recommend the Hawthorne for this! Actually, I did go there after my wedding and there were two other brides wandering around in their dresses as well.  We all hugged.  Dressed down to comfy clothes… It’s totally worth it to go sit around a bonfire and make s’mores and mellow out with your peeps. Within Boston itself, I’m not sure you’ll find a bonfire, but I do know the Chatham Bars Inn offers one.  Hair a mess, weren’t you wearing a tie?…  It’s totally worth it to head back to a friend’s suite with your BFFs to drink the last of the champagne and muse upon the times ‘before you were married’.

After Parties aren’t just for weddings anymore.   Now fundraisers and galas are hosting APs as well.  Sometimes it’s to keep the fun, lively atmosphere going and sometimes it’s to introduce a new set of future donors. It’s an easy way to get them in, excited about the cause, introduced to some key people and they get to have fun.  We’ve found the most successful fundraising/non-profit/gala APs have an existing young professional group that they can invite.  Typically this group is invited to arrive as the program and seated dinner that the bigger patrons have paid for is winding down.  Their ticket price is lower and includes dessert, drinks (up to the organization if it’s 2, unlimited drinks, or perhaps you switch to a wine and beer bar) – and of course dancing with the band or DJ alongside the other guests.  It’s a great way to bring some new energy to the room, to the group, to the cause!

To read the Globe article about Wedding APs – follow this link!
Many thanks to Liz Linder Photography for the bonfire AP photo taken in Truro last September.


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.

Chrissy_Dad1

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!).

Chrissy_Dad2

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.

DFS C speaking

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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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.


DIY or Don’t!

diy frames

To craft or not to craft. That is the question. Here is the answer…

 

As event planners we are often asked for ways to save money on an event and in the same sentence the idea of a DIY project often follows.  DIY ideas always sound great – “Yeah, we’ll get all the bridesmaids together and we’ll make the truffles for the guest favors!” or “No problem, we’ll get the committee together and we’ll construct these ‘out of the box’ style centerpieces for our 45 gala tables.”  or “We have like a billion volunteers, so we’ll just round them up and they can learn this specialty sailor knot to make custom napkin rings.”

DIY (Do-it-yourself) is a great idea if you have a few things at your disposal:

  • Time to do it
  • Access to Supplies
  • Room and Storage
  • Some Creativity
  • Ability to Problem Solve (AKA Crisis Management)

 

Some of these items may seem obvious, but let me explain.

Time to do it – Things take time, this is certainly not news, but if you are not crafty on a regular basis, it will take you longer to figure out the pieces needed to put it together, plus how to put it together, plus purchasing the supplies, plus organizing your “team” to help you, plus the time to actually create “it.”  And if it’s something like decoupage or painted furniture, then you also have to add in some drying time!

Access to Supplies – The internet is chock full of places to get supplies, but some things end up costing you more than the item just for shipping and then you’ll have to start asking around for who might have access to it at a better price, which bring us back to #1 – time.  Sometimes making your own centerpieces sounds like a good idea, but as a non-vendor person, you probably don’t have access to the wholesale flower market and it’s pricing to flower vendors.  So instead, you have to purchase your supplies from a florist, a supermarket or some other random place – where you might not get exactly what you want.

Room and Storage – Depending on how ambitious your project is, you need to consider space.  If you’re stuffing small favor bags with jordan almonds – first, please don’t! – this is a bit out-dated for favors, but second – you won’t need a lot of space.  If you’re making centerpieces, then you need tables to create them on and somewhere to put them until the event.  And if they’re flowers, then you need somewhere cool for them to sit (plus lots of buckets with water). If you’re creating the centerpieces on site, then I’m not going to lie – as the event planner, I will probably give you the evil eye unless you have a really simple design that is not going to take a big chunk of time or floor space that I need in order to make the rest of your event a success.

Some Creativity – I’m not saying you’re not creative (I don’t even know you!).  What I’m saying is that at least one person on this DIY adventure needs to have some creative sensibilities to see when something looks good (or more importantly, when it looks bad!).  Should the box have a bow or a knot tied on it?  Should the flowers be 5 different colors?  Should the placecards hanging from ribbon off the trees be held with safety pins, little clips or something else?  Someone with a discerning eye should be able to lead you in the right direction on this.  That Crafty Captain of yours should also be able to troubleshoot when the project doesn’t go exactly as planned.

Which leads us to our final item – Ability to Problem Solve (AKA Crisis Management).  Even the most experienced builder/creator/sculptor/DIY-adventurer runs into some problems – the item you ordered online from China is stuck in customs, the kitchen is too hot and the chocolates are melting, the dog decided to take the pew markers you just made for a little jog around the backyard… First – stay calm. Second – figure out Plan B.  There is always another solution to the problem, don’t automatically throw in the towel!  Do not get discouraged. Third – call us, your event planner,  for some additional ideas!

So, dear reader, before considering a DIY project, consider everything above, including our advice as to whether it is a good idea for your particular event.  Sometimes using a respected vendor will save you time, money and heartache.  If you are a bride and considering some DIY projects, be very cautious.  As the bride, you will likely be pulled away for other projects and won’t have time on the morning of your wedding to build that driftwood archway for the ceremony…

 


Reflections…what a story they could tell

Today’s blog post comes from the desk of Christine Altieri, Partner at AE Events –

As we start the season full of events, I was thinking about how many organizations and companies are celebrating 30, 50, 75 and 150 years… and I realized I have my own big anniversary, 30 years in the world of event planning, oh the stories I could tell.  Don’t worry they are all good stories (as far as you know!)

I started reflecting on my first big event, it was a dinner for Nancy Reagan at the opening of the Annenberg Library at Pine Manor College…months of work with the secret service, both of us standing in the kitchen as the food was prepared for her special dietary menu – and then she never ate a bite! It gave me the first taste of what was in store for my life as an event planner – always be ready for anything!

30 Years is a long time! … so many events… meeting so many people…  I think the best part of meeting those faces, is that so many of those faces are now my good friends.  In fact,  my BFF in life was made early in my career.  My friend Cathy, at the World Trade Center – she and I had more laughs, never worked harder, and used this time as our launching pad as we continued to grow.  She went on to be one of the executive producers for the Olympics, and I went on and had two amazing children (who by the way put linen on tables better then most staff)!   I have worked all facets of this industry, including catering, where I met my dear friend Charlie.  He and I did the Boston to NY AIDS ride together in 1998.  He passed away several years ago, and there is not a day that goes by when I don’t think of Charlie and his smile. The list goes on and on… I feel so lucky to have these friends in my life.

I also reflect on how many people I have met through the years, everyday and from all walks of life!  It’s so interesting how many different lives they lead.  A chief of surgery, so bright, but looked to me for insight on how to plan his daughter’s wedding – he told me he was “such a dummy!”  I laughed.  I find this to be one of the greatest assets of this job, the ability to meet and see so many people, learn about so many great organizations and companies, and have a chance to be a part of them and even make a difference.  No two days are ever the same, you are always on your toes, and always ready for the next hurdle, or challenge which may come your way.

My reflections could go on and on.  I joke about a book I have been writing for years filled with all of these wonderful stories and people… maybe someday.  I plan to make more memories over the next… however many years I can continue to do this job!  I will continue to practice my mindfulness and yoga, which keeps me balanced.  The stress that comes from events can run high, and taking some deep breaths and remembering what is important is what I reflect on every day.

Meditation

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