Friday, January 30, 2009

Day 1 - The Special Event 2009 {cont'd}

Okay, okay, I know what you're going to say. 'You said you were going to post every day while you were at The Special Event 2009.' So, I'm asking for your forgiveness. My brain is on sensory over-load, my feet hurt because the San Diego Convention Center is so darn big, and my body still thinks it's on Eastern Standard Time. The combination has been deadly and has resulted in the lack of blogging. But, I'm going to make up for it. I promise. So, let's jump right in!

Wedding Industry Professionals Association (WIPA) Panel Discussion

Oohh, this was a good one. And there were some hotly contested best-practices discussed. Here's the background information. WIPA is a new association that has been established to promote excellence and standards in the wedding industry. It will soon offer an accredited certification course for the wedding professional. The certification will be as prestigious as the CMP (Certified Meeting Planner) and the CSEP (Certified Special Event Planner). And it will be as difficult to earn enough credits to sit for.

In order to be a member of WIPA, you must meet certain criteria. The purpose is to weed out the wedding 'hobbyist.' {And there are lots of them out there...but don't get me started on that one!}. The criteria to meet is as follows:

  • Legal Business Status {you must show proof of this}
  • Three years in the industry
  • Liability and E/O insurance {again, you must show proof of this}

This brings me to a discussion on insurance. If you're a planner and you don't have it, get it! Seriously, you need to have it. I have carried insurance since forming my company. And I am shocked at how many planners don't carry it. SHOCKED! We live in a litigious society and this is something you simply must have. Again, it distinguishes the 'hobbyist' from the real-deal.

I loved this lively two-hour panel discussion. I loved the consensus that we need to get rid of the term 'Day Of Coordination' {there is NO such thing, lovely blog readers}. I loved the frustration voiced in the room why the 'hobbyist' drags us all down. I loved the distinguished panel members. I loved it all!


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Day 1 - The Special Event 2009

Can anyone say, JET LAG? Holy cow, my body can't seem to adjust to this three-hour time change. Jenn and I were ready to hit-the-hay at 6:00pm California time last night! Serious loser, I know!

Yesterday was a good day. No, a great day! One of the things I took away yesterday was affirmation that, as a business owner, I am on the right track. I have in place all the things the speakers say are necessary for the health and success of an event planning firm. This was wonderful to hear and soak in.

I attended a number of great, great classes yesterday and so as to not bore you, will briefly tell you what I took away from each. Here goes:

Color Couture - Sasha Souza

  • In economic down times, people tend to gravitate toward dark colors. However, this is the time when we should help clients select mood lifting and inspirational colors.
  • Lighting should always be a dimension in your color room is complete without the introduction of lighting.
  • Red = demands attention, courageous, successful, passionate, dynamic.
  • Pink= affectionate, caring, strong, individual
  • Orange= cheerful, exciting, playful
  • Yellow= enlightened, virtuous, warmth, joyous, vitality
  • Green= tranquility, fresh, security, restful, calm
  • Violet= sensuality, passion, luxury, depth
  • Blue = tranquility, soothing, comfort, cooling, orderly, serenity
  • Some color trends for 2009 are mauve, shades of blue becoming the new green, 'greyed out' browns as the new neutrals and mixed metals, especially copper.

Wedding Reality TV: To Do or Not To Do - Barbara Wallace

I decided to attend this class because my publicist has asked me to consider appearing on an upcoming television show. I have mixed feelings about this and wanted to learn more about the process as well as the pros and cons.

The thing I loved most about this class were the people in it! I recognized so many of them from Platinum Weddings and Who's Wedding is it Anyways?. Each one described their experiences on the different shows and how it impacted their lives and their businesses.

For me, this class gave great insight into how the process works and everything that's involved. It was a great lesson in what not to do and how one slip-up could be broadcast over, and over and over again!

Oops! Five Mistakes Businesses Make and Fail - Tracee Wright

Here they are:
  1. No comprehensive plan. No ultimate goal or vision
  2. No capital
  3. No marketing plan
  4. No program manual
  5. No support in assistance for the business

The one nugget that stuck in my mind for this speaker was to treat your business like a franchise. When you go to McDonald's, you know what you're going to get and you know what you can expect. One must run an event planning business the same way. This, of course, will look different for each planning firm, but consistency is the KING!

The Difference between a Planner and a GOOD Planner - Elisa MacKenzie

  • Good planners create teams
  • Good planners don't tell people what to do but aren't afraid to take charge when needed
  • Good planners are always willing to back up their decisions and able to 'take it in the nose' if need be
  • Good planners don't need to be in the limelight because it's not about you, it's about the team
  • Good planners don't bite off more than they can chew; they know when to walk away
  • Good planners network because it can never go far enough

The one topic that was discussed in this class was getting rid of the term, 'Day Of Coordination'. In Any Event does not offer this service for a reason. And my reasoning was supported and justified in this lively debate. I know there are many, many planners who base their business on DOC work and truly love it. But this class challenged everyone to reconsider naming this service, 'Month-of Coordination,' to better describe the tasks it truly involves.

I'm attending another class this afternoon on this very topic and I can't wait to share more of what I've learned. It's sure to be a lively discussion and one that I don't want to miss!


Monday, January 26, 2009

I'm Here!

After a full day of airplanes {and not a single delay!}, I've made it to sunny California. I am staying at the lovely Omni Hotel which is just across the street from the San Diego Convention Center where event planners from across the globe will gather at 9:00am tomorrow morning!

First up, a design class taught by none other than Sasha Souza of Sasha Souza Events and the author of the very popular blog, Sparkliatti. The title of her class is Color Couture: Fashioning Today's Colors into the Perfect Party Palette. I mean really, the thought of attending this class tomorrow makes me feel weak at the knees! I just hope I can fall asleep tonight!

I'm sure there will be lots to share with you tomorrow! Talk to you then!


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Meet Leila!

I'd like to introduce you to my new publicist! This is Leila and she owns Be Inspired Public Relations. She's going to do for me all the things I can't; handle media inquiries, represent my firm on a national level, place our events in all those magazines we love to read, and much, much more!

Leila lives and works in LA. She's considered the top wedding and event publicist in the country. Her knowledge of the industry is unmatched and I feel so fortunate that she'll be representing In Any Event! I'm having lunch with Leila this week while I'm in San Diego. And I can't wait!

Be sure to stay tuned this week when I post from sunny California. I can't wait to share all the latest trends in the wedding and event industry!

Until then! ~Jodi

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Before and After

With restored energy and a few extra z's under my belt, I'm so excited to share this past weekend's event with you! I thought I would begin with a 'before and after' look at the ballroom to give you a proper perspective of what we were able to do in a mere 36 hour time frame.

Here's what greeted us upon arrival at midnight on Thursday:

And here's what the room looked like on Saturday at 7:00pm! We split the room in half to represent Japan and a NYC night club; two of the birthday girl's favorite places.

Now, let's back up a bit. As you may recall, this was a surprise 50th birthday party. The concept for the event was the honoree's 'Favorite Things.' The first favorite thing was a private, intimate dinner for 30 people. The inspiration for this room came from her favorite jewelry store in NYC, Leviev.

Check out this gorgeous silver bowl full of pink peonies! Have you ever seen anything more glorious in the dead middle of a Michigan winter? Thanks to the fabulous staff at Modern Day Floral, this event was full of inspired floral design!

The beautiful silk dupioni linen and grey pintuck napkins came from a new favorite source for all things wonderful in the world of table linens; Wildflower Linens.

The letter pressed menu card was mounted on a silk padded board from Suburban Silk. This is the same wonderful company that provided the silk boxes and jewelry for the invitations. The gorgeous place settings were rented from our friends at Special Events Rental.

While the guest of honor was enjoying her dinner with family and close friends, 230+ guests were greeted by over 1,000 yards of gold and saffron fabric draped in the hallway outside the ballroom.

The inspiration for this room came from the colors found on a bottle of Veuve Cliquot champagne; the honoree's favorite bubbly. We went for a Parisian feel in this room in the form of chunky gold mirrors, black French Provincial furniture, pomander balls in cut crystal vases, mirrored side tables and bars, and gorgeous braided linens.

After the honoree's husband toasted his wife in the 'Veuve' room, he told the guests about the time the family spent in Japan and how important this place was to them. He then welcomed guests to enter into 'Japan' for authentic sushi and Asian-inspired decor.

Do take special note of the 'cherry blossom' tree. It's an actual cherry tree with over 3,000 pink orchids wired and glued on. It took five designers from Modern Day Floral over 8 hours to adorn this beauty. And what a beauty it was! I don't think any picture could do it justice. It was just spectacular!

All of the shoji walls were back lit by the amazing talents from Odyssey Lighting. The room was perfectly aglow in soft white light. It was warm, modern and inviting; all rolled into one!

After about an hour in 'Japan,' we revealed the NYC inspired nightclub. The room was full of white leather furniture, acrylic ghost chairs and blue lighting. In addition, models wearing gowns designed by the honoree {she's a NYC fashion designer} were placed inside 8 foot cubes and positioned behind the bars. The girls were just stunning and added that dramatic flair of the unexpected. I love the unexpected!

As you might already know, the surprise entertainment was Harry Connick, Jr. The honoree was as shocked as the guests when her husband welcomed him to the stage. The moment was priceless and was worth every effort it took to keep his presence a surprise.

The party favor rocked! Each guest was given a bottle of pink Veuve Cliquot champagne and a signed Harry Connick, Jr. CD. Guests couldn't believe they were getting such a wonderful gift after such a wonderful night. Again, I love the unexpected!

There are so many amazing and wonderful vendors that helped make this party a success. I want to recognize each one of them because without them as my partners, I wouldn't be able to do what I do!

First and foremost, a special thank you to Special Events Rental for taking our drawings and making them come alive. These guys worked tirelessly to make this event happen and I am completely indebted to them. What should have been a four-day installation, could only be a day and a half one. For that reason alone, they're hero's in my book!

I also want to thank the other rock stars; Jen Kroll Photography, Modern Day Floral, Odyssey Lighting, Corporate Sound, Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, Lorimerworks {a new FAVORITE!}, Unique Models and Talent, Julie Strating, and the fantastic staff at In Any Event!

I'm off to Southern California for The Special Event 2009. Be sure to stay tuned for the play-by-play of each inspired day. I can't wait!


Monday, January 19, 2009


Exhausted doesn't come close to how I'm feeling today. But I know there are many of you anxious to see photos of our work from the weekend. Jen Kroll posted this preview with a lovely description of the evening's activities. Until I'm able to channel some new energy, please visit her blog for the play-by-play; complete with stunning images!


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Ode to...Sabon

*photo courtesy of Sabon

My very-chic sister-in-law had my name for Christmas this year. This made me infinitely happy because the girl has great taste. I mean, seriously, she's been having her eyebrows threaded longer than I've been having mine waxed. That's just how chic she is!

So, when it came time to open her gift, I unwrapped a little bit of heaven on earth in the form of Vanilla Chamomile Creamy Body Scrub and Vanilla Body Lotion by a lovely company called Sabon. I'm not kidding when I say, they're the most luxurious body products I've ever used.

I struggle with dry skin and it's especially bad during the winter months. Since I've started using these products, my skin has never been softer or smoother. {Dang, I sound like Jessica Simpson peddling ProActiv!}.

You'll have to check the company out. I can't wait to visit their flagship store in NYC this spring when I take the kids to visit my brother and sister-in-law. Don't tell my dear husband about the upcoming visit to Sabon, though!


Sample Sale

Bella Figura, makers of artisan letterpress invitations, is having a sample sale from now until January 23. For just $10, you can purchase a packet of beautiful new invitation designs selected by yours truly. All proceeds from my sample pack go to American Forests. Click here to see what I've selected this season. You're sure to love them.


Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Art of Greeting Your Guests

In looking back over the weddings of 2008, we did not do a single traditional receiving line. Not one. And I'm pleased by that because I've never been a fan of them. I find them to be uncomfortable and unpleasant for both the individuals in the receiving line and the guests going through. I mean really, what is Jane Co-Worker going to say to the groom's step-dad who flew in from the other side of the country other than 'Congratulations?'. Or even worse, how about Jane Co-Woker's date?

Personally, I can recount a receiving line horror story from my cousin's wedding. My husband and I had never met the bride before so after the ceremony when they both walked in to dismiss the pews, I looked at my husband and said, 'Well this is going to be uncomfortable. We're going to have to introduce ourselves and congratulate her in front of the entire church!' Not a pleasant experience.

There are so many ways to greet your guests without putting anyone on the spot. I've heard a number of unique and creative ideas recently that I want to share with you. The first is my favorite. And one that I'm proposing to my July bride from Australia. That is, writing a personal note to every guest in attendance on wonderful stationery, sealing it in a envelope and placing it at each guest's place setting to serve as the place card. A task of this magnitude would take months of preparation, but can you think of anything more spectacular than being able to read a personal, hand-handwritten note from the bride and/or groom?

Another idea is to have a wedding cake at each guest table serve as the centerpiece. You and your new spouse could cut and serve cake to all of your guests while at the same time greeting them. This is something I've seen done quite often but still think is a unique and festive way around the receiving line.

Another fun idea would be to set-up a photo area with a great back drop and furniture inside your venue. Your wedding planner {or master/mistress of ceremony if you don't have a planner} could dismiss a table at a time to the photo area where you could greet the guests and have a group photo taken. Not only are you able to thank your guests for coming, but you'll also have a great photo memento of that moment.

So as you can see, there are a number of ways to greet your guests without a traditional line. When you get creative and think outside-the-box, wonderful memories of your special day can be made!


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Happy New Year!

A very Happy New Year to you all. It's hard to believe another year has gone by. And that a brand new year of possibilities awaits!

As I reflect on the past year, all I can do is smile. What we as a team created over the course of the year is simply magnificent. To be given the opportunity to plan such remarkable celebrations for such remarkable clients is such a blessing. And it's something that I do not take for granted!

We've got some spectacular events on the books for 2009. And one of them is just a week away! I think you'll be blown away when I share the details in coming weeks. The event is like none we've ever created!

In addition, I will soon reveal our new corporate identity suite. I'm very excited about it and can't wait to share it with you. You'll see a new logo, new marketing materials, new header for the blog and new photos on the website. It's good stuff courtesy of Gretchen DeVault at DeVault Quigley Design, LLC.

In a few short weeks, I travel to San Diego for The Special Event 2009, which I am so excited for! I'm really looking forward to the classes, the new products, the exhibition hall, the sharing of ideas, the amazing talents that will be there and on and on and on.....! And I'm really excited that Jenn Ederer, owner of Modern Day Floral, will be going to the conference, too. I'm planning to take my camera along and blog about each day's activities so you can learn right along with me. It will be as if you were at the conference, too!

So before I sign off, I want to wish you each a wonderful and prosperous 2009!