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November 15, 2016
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
October 18, 2016
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
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.
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
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.
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
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!
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!
September 27, 2016
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!
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?
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.
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.
January 07, 2016
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…
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
September 30, 2015
A final post from our in house Bride…
A little over 3 months ago all of the planning and hard work culminated into literally the wedding of my dreams. And since a picture is worth a thousand words, I figured I’d share some of my favorite shots from the day…
Just one more thing before I shift into bride mode…
Our vision was a romantic and classy estate wedding. If you read any of my prior posts, you’ll remember that we settled on The Bradley Estate in Canton, MA, a red brick Gregorian-style mansion with an amazing brick edged parterre garden, romantically set behind the house and a large side lawn for a tented reception.
For our ceremony we kept it mostly traditional, though we added in our own vows and a special sand blending ceremony with sand from both coasts to highlight our commitment to combine our two lives. To top it all off, we had one of our closest friends, Kate Baker, officiate the ceremony.
We wanted cocktail hour to be classy yet fun, so guests sipped cocktails while they roamed the property and played games like corn hole and washers personally built and monogrammed by Tom.
The reception of course went by all too fast but what I remember most is being so in awe at all of the people who came to one place for us. Our perfect day was made possible by our family, friends and of course our vendors who worked tirelessly to make everything perfect for us. Gourmet Caterers did an outstanding job with the food, presentation and service. And our DJ, Adam Conrad did an amazing job of keeping the night (and our guests) moving.
Sperry Tents provided a wistful and light sailcloth tent with bamboo poles and candelabras. I loved how it made the reception on grass still feel both upscale and intimate.
We wanted our wedding to be romantic and classic with a little bit of sparkle. We worked with Peterson’s Party Center to accomplish this look with traditional fruitwood chivari chairs for both the ceremony and reception and alternated champagne and blush linens on our guest tables. One of my pet peeves is when guest tables are too crammed, so we simplified the tables to include only rose petals, votives and centerpieces of gorgeous pink, cream and ivory roses from LauraJean Floral Design.
The table numbers were kept simple too, though each was placed in its own beautiful frame, which I had begun collecting from the moment we became engaged! I loved how this gave the tables a unique yet cohesive look.
And for the sparkle, I scattered a few rose gold sequin linens (from Rentals Unlimited) throughout cocktails and of course on our sweetheart table.
Our menu cards, along with the ceremony program and other various signage was beautifully designed by Mr. Tom Boates himself!
In the end, everything turned out just exactly as we had envisioned it. Perfect weather, the love of family and friends from across the country and Tom waiting for me at the end of the aisle. We couldn’t have asked for a better day!
– Mrs. Boates signing off!
Venue: The Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estate
Tent: Sperry Tents
Caterer: Gourmet Caterers
Cake: Konditor Meister
Floral: LauraJean Floral & Event Design
Rentals: Petersons Party Center
Rose Gold Sequined Linens: Rentals Unlimited
Photography: George Street Photography
DJ: Adam Conrad
Officiant: Kate Baker
The Dress: Mori Lee by Madeline Gardiner
Hair: Janet Rodriguez
Makeup: Danielle Austin
August 07, 2015
Love is in the air! AE had the chance to plan a very special 40th Wedding Anniversary for a favorite client (yes, you are our other favorite!) and this took the AE team over to Nantucket for a long weekend in July. We cannot begin to express our love for the island – the sun, the sand, and the fabulous vendors we befriended.
After disembarking from the ferry – we headed to our first stop – The Club Car where the client hosted a lovely private dinner. We had a fun time transforming the dining room from its usual look –with the help of linens from Table Toppers. We were also fortunate to make friends with some island vendors. Rentals came from Placesetters (Thanks Jen!) and the floral and table accents were from Soiree Floral Design (Thanks Dawn and Julie!). The room had a completely different feel and passersby were full of compliments at the change!
Since this party celebrated 40 years of the couple, we put on our thinking caps and went back to 1975… a daisy and sunshine theme emerged, which we were able to introduce through the subtle use of daisy accents on the menu cards and textured paper was used as a placemat. This is a great way to bring added texture to your table with less cost. Be sure to invest in something nicer than a plain cardstock or your look will fall flat! Ours was pearl iridescent paper with embossed circle details.
Drinks, merriment – an Irish tenor and a sing-a-long around the Club Car’s piano finished out the evening.
The following day we prepped for a cocktail party at the client’s home. Nantucket tents came to the rescue with some gorgeous sailcloth tents. To keep the evening feeling fresh and Nantucket (and still with the daisy and sunshine theme) we limited the palette to all white linens and chairs, but accented with warm yellows. The result was clean, crisp and just what a cocktail party should be! The views from the client’s home didn’t hurt either.
Guests dined on delicious bites from Susan Warner Catering. To add height and visual interest to the food stations – rather than glass block risers, we opted for glass cylinders with water and hydrangea. This way, as guests arrived and before the meal was set, the table looked stunning as though it was one large centerpiece collection.
Overall, AE [hearts] Nantucket and we look forward to celebrating many more events on the island! Thanks again to our new island friends: Club Car, Placesetters, Soiree Floral, Susan Warner Catering, Nantucket Tents, Last Minute Productions, Ron Lynch Photography and DJ Skooby who’s from the mainland – and provided us with a soundtrack for the weekend!
July 16, 2015
Marriage…what a great year to win Boston magazine’s Best of Boston ® 2015 -Best Wedding Coordinator. With the news of equality and marriage for all, this makes the honor of “Best of” even better!
I thought back on when I first began planning weddings…it was the 80’s! Weddings were so different then, in fact most of the planning was with the mother. However, it was in the 80’s that the wedding couple started to have a bigger part in the actual planning, since often they were paying for part of the wedding and wanted to break with some of the old traditions. During this time, I had the opportunity to work at The Great Hall in Faneuil Hall Marketplace. As I was spending so much time in this beautiful old building, I thought “what a great space for a wedding.” My sales team thought I was crazy, but within two years, we were hosting over 30 weddings a year. This was the start of designing weddings that were just a little different, and not always in a hotel.
I started to think about the trends then, and with the help of Google, decided to share the “wedding styles of the 1980’s.” When I googled 1980 Wedding Style, the word “vintage” came up, and I nearly choked! Really, I started doing weddings in a period that is now considered vintage! I toyed with the idea of tossing my own wedding photo from 1988 in this blog (Laura Ashley dress, large draping floral bouquet and all), but after I dusted off the wedding album and stopped laughing, I determined it might be best to put that picture back in the album where it belonged! I was a trendsetter in my day…my bridesmaids got their dresses off the racks at Neiman’s and each one was different. But just so you can create your own visual, these are some of the dresses I had to choose from.
Of course I was also attending many friends’ weddings at that time, and being a part of their wedding parties. I did have the opportunity to wear lots of chiffon and satin…more then anyone should ever have to wear. My favorite trend was the Rainbow Wedding Party (not to be confused with the first Same Sex wedding), in which each the bridesmaids wore a dress a different color of the rainbow. Somehow I always ended up in orange.
(This is a Google photo, not the actual wedding shot!)
Oh, and of course…we all wanted to be just like Diana!
There are so many great memories that I have from weddings from the 80’s through today. Styles change, trends change…but the purpose behind each wedding does not. It is about two people wanting to share their lives together, to build a foundation that they will recreate, grow and change for hopefully years to come. I look forward to planning many more memories for many more couples, and feel privileged to have this honor.
July 02, 2015
Our team at AE Events found out yesterday that we were awarded “Best Wedding Coordinator of 2015” in Boston Magazine’s #BestofBoston. Needless to say, we are thrilled and honored. We may have even jumped up & down in the office just a little bit…I mean, these are the things to celebrate in life, right? How cool is that?
Ah yes, celebrations. The spirit of our company is built around crafting experiences that really and truly reflect and celebrate the people that each event is about. We hope that what comes through to our clients is that we love being a part of creating their moments and their memories.
So we raise a glass to our clients, with a few tributes here….
Being a part of designing someone’s wedding day? How cool is that!
February 18, 2015
It’s #WeddingWednesday and you know what that means…time for our monthly check in with bride-to-be Elizabeth!
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)…
January 27, 2015
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!
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!’