March 25, 2011

Quality Vendors~

CAUTION Buyer Beware!!! It is so important to choose quality vendors when planning your event. As I always like to say there are no "do-overs" in event planning! Sure there are a lot of bad vendors in every type of business, but if your painter doesn't show up to paint your house or paints it the wrong color, you can fix that. If a vendor does not show up for your event you can't fix that so easily. I see and hear a lot of stories in my job where people or clients have chosen the wrong vendor or is having a "friend" help them.

Well last week I saw it again and it was a doozy. My client had only hired us to do the decor, set up and event layout for the event. She had hired a "taco guy" for the catering. My client was hosting 60 guests at her home for lunch after a 1:30 p.m. baptism and all the guests were going straight to the house after the service. On her way to her house my client receives a telephone call that the caterer is not there. They were a complete NO-SHOW, NO PHONE CALL, NO EXPLANATION and NO APOLOGY!!!! Did she have a Contract, NO, had she made a deposit NO.

Any reputable vendor is going to require a deposit, a Contract or some type of signed agreement stating what they are going to provide, the hours of service, etc... This one DID NOT and probably for good reason, that way they could take a bigger job if one came along or not do the job if something else came up. My client was devastated, food had to be brought in quickly and she had no level of recourse with the vendor. When she called the following day she was told by this company's answering service that they had done the same thing the previous weekend to someone else.

I understand that in this economy people are looking for ways to stretch their event budgets, but you really have to be careful on how you do that and what type of company you hire. Ask a lot of questions, take a look at their website, are they licensed and insured, do they have employees, what types of clients do they work with, go with your gut when you speak to them.  If the vendor isn't asking you a lot of questions that is another red flag to their experience and capability to handle your event.

I have seen my share of event disappointments because of all types of vendors and all because of a few dollars. As an event professional I do my best to steer my client towards vendors that I KNOW will do the job right the first time, but unfortunately there are times when my client has already signed contracts or has made their mind up.  For my Clients who have hired me for on-site coordination services I am usually able to control or fix a bad vendor situation and usually ahead of time, but for those who have no extra help or quick alternatives on the day of the event they are left with a bad taste in their mouth and a lot of disappointment.

Don't let this happen to you, if it seems to good to be true; it just might be.

March 24, 2011

New Blog Buttons by Paper & Pigtails~

Big HUGE overdue thank you to Kori of Paper & Pigtails for creating some new buttons for me. Kori dressed up my logo for my blog header and I just love the custom back ground design, that I now know is hand illustrated.

She created similar Facebook, Twitter & website link buttons.

And probably my favorite is the smaller logo button for facebook and other sites, so that I no longer look like
ive Prod
in the image button!

Thank you so much Kori and again so sorry for the delay in posting this, by no means it wasn't because I wasn't happy! Kori is also designing new business cards for me on fabulous shimmery cardstock and I can't wait to give those out. Maybe I will be better at handing out cards that are sooooo pretty!

March 22, 2011

Purple Palooza Part III~ final post

Purple Palooza Part III the final edition. It was my intention to get this done much sooner, but things just got so busy around here and there were so many darn photos it was all very hard to decide. So please excuse this very lenghthy post, but I feel like if I don't get it done now in a final swoop with the highlights I'll never get it done.  There was so much going on at this party, I have chosen some of the highlights to share with you.
There were a total of 5 tents in the yard and each tent was decorated with swagged purple fabric in different shades with hanging chandeliers for lighting.  This is the main tent, and there were tents for the food and drink, photo booth, entertainment (face painting, caricature artist and balloon twister) areas and of course the tiger tent.
We used simple but beautiful purple glass vases with a cluster of extra large beaded picks coming out of them.  They added a little bling to the table without cluttering up the table and complimented the chandeliers in the tents.  Since there was going to be so much going on at the party, I knew these tables were going to fill up fast with all the goodies. 

We were visited by two VIP guests a brother and sister team of white tiger cubs.  For more about the cubs please visit here to see the post all about them.  All of my staff wore purple neck ties, I love to match the staff to the party theme.

Guests were greeted at the front entrance of the house by 100 ft. of purple carpet to guide them through the house and out into the upper level of the yard.  .
At the front entrance guests were greeted by party prop tables.  These tables were filled with an assortment of purple dress up props for them to wear during the party and take home with them.  Props included purple neckties, purple derby hats, purple feather boas, purple necklaces, purple rings and purple bracelets.

One of the entertainment options at the party was a photo booth.  Guests dressed up in an assortment of party props and entered the booth to have their photos taken.  They then received a photo to keep for themselves and a photo to put into the scrapbook for the birthday girl.

Lots of favor bags ready to be handed out by the birthday girl.  For large parties it is hard to make sure the birthday child acknowledges each guest, but by having them pass out the favor bags adds an intimate thank you to the guests. Favor bags held plush stuffed white tiger cubs for each guest to take home as a special momento of their meet n'greet with the white tiger cubs.  The wonderful signs and tags were created by Kori of Paper & Pigtails, for more about them visit here.

The party started late afternoon and went into the evening.  We covered all outdoor lighting with purple gel so that when the lights came on the yard had a purple glow to it.  There were 300 lights that had to be covered, it looked amazing in the evening and was worth all the crawling around in bushes.
Yes, that is a purple decorated golf cart. We ran two golf carts throughout the entire party.  They were used to transport guests from the lower parking area up to the house and back as well to shuttle guests from the party in the lower level to the upper level of the house to the restrooms.

The candy bar consisted of a lot of purple candy.  We kept the candy bar simple and tight since there were going to be so many guests at this event.  Having the candy streamlined in a row works great when there are going to be a lot of guests passing through in line formation.

Purple sheer bags were supplied for the guests to fill with candy to take home with them.

The birthday cake was a three tier pillow style cake large enough to feed 150 people and was absolutely delicious.

PARTY DEETS; 75 Children, 80 Adults, 2 weeks to plan party, 2 days of set up, 11 CHS Staff on site, 15+ Catering Staff, Face Painting, DJ, Photo Booth, Balloon Decor, Ruth & Chris Catering, Balloon twisting, White Tiger meet n' greet, Caricature Artist, Stilt Walker, Juggler on a Ball, Golf Cart Shuttle Service, 300+ lbs. of candy, 400+ dress up items, 75 Favor Bags, 600+ yards of fabric........... 1 very happy birthday girl!!!

March 21, 2011

Back from SXSW Festival~

Home from the SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas and what a great time we had! We custom made a 20 ft. long 12" vinyl record back drop wall for the event for Erika Records Inc. to display the awesome vinyl products that they manufacture. {Side note that is me on the right and if the lady in the middle looks like me, thats because it is my client/cousin Liz, Owner of Erika Records Inc.. Owning businesses runs in the family, we are all self-employed.}

The record wall was created to display the amazing custom products that Erika Records Inc. makes and to showcase the range of what can be done with vinyl.  It was a huge hit and we received a lot of compliments on the display. So many people stopped to just take photos of the back wall which is always such a great feeling; client/guest appreciation is why I do what I do.

Pallets arrived safe and all together, such a relief!  This is always the part that has me worried will it all arrive on time and un-broken and it did! {happy dance}

 The booth before.......... boring.

 The booth after.........colorful and so out of the box compared to other displays at the SXSW Festival. 

Here I am trying to get some work done before the show started.

I spent the week at the SXSW Festival coordinating all the giveaways and promos that were being offered. Every day we had hourly drawings, deluxe giveaways, hosted bar and appetizers, spin the wheels and a Deluxe Grand Prize drawing. At night we entertained clients and did a little bar hopping to check out all the bands playing. It was a lot of fun meeting and greeting record industry execs, the public and even a wandering penguin.  But my feet, my poor feet did not think it was such a great time. They are still rebelling and not happy at all with all the things I did and places I went.  

March 10, 2011

Red, Black & Silver Holiday Decorations~

Still catching up on some Holiday Decorating photos. This was a fun combination of colors, red, black and silver a little different from all the traditional colors that were requested for 2010.

Extra Large swags for the elevator lobby.

One of my favorite ornaments this season was this black damask looking and bejeweled ornament. In the right setting this ornament would look good as decor for a party..........hmmmm it would look great with all the damask fabric I just got. I'll have to file that away in my memory.

Somehow managed to get a photo without the awesome packages under the tree, these things happen I guess. Still not happy about that one.

March 9, 2011

Doll Cake Craft~

At a party a few weeks back, the Mom had planned a fabulous craft for the girls to do. When I walked in the house I knew something yummy was happening, because all you could smell was cake. She had spent several days before the party baking cakes in a special form from Wilton, Wonder Mold Kit You only need to purchase one kit for the mold and then extra dolls.

It is important to bake the cakes a few days before the party so that they can cool before being frosted. She had doll cakes baked and ready with a base frosting for the girls to decorate.

She provided them with Wilton Color mist spray and sprinkles to decorate their cake doll with. This was a young group of girls so the spray colors was a great idea. If you were having older girls you could have colored frosting bags for them to use to decorate the cake doll with.
The finished product. The cakes were already placed on cake trays and ready for the girls to take home with them when they left. The children really enjoyed themselves, it was an outstanding craft/favor. The supplies can be purchased at Michaels or any party supply/cake supply shop.

FYI: I would only recommend doing this for a small group, anything more than 10 and you will be turning your kitchen into a full time bakery.

March 3, 2011

Women You Are Amazing~Repost

I am sitting here fixing a oops I made while editing my blog and came across a post I made a year and a half ago and I thought it was worthy of sharing again.  Since the original post I have learned how to thank people for their posts and I have made a lot of new friends/contacts and those who inspire me, I made it through holiday decorating but my dog I had to put down :(.  This post is as true today of my feelings as it was then, but maybe even more so. Since I have become better at social networking and have "met" and followed more people I have seen even more glimpses into their lives for better or worse and Ladies WOW I am inspired, you are amazing!!

Originally Posted September 17, 2009~Thank You for sharing
For me this blogging thing is not always easy, I don't have a lot of time to create wonderful photo collages (my skills are lacking there), not always sure what to say, sometimes I feel like my posting about what I do is bragging (not that I think at all that I am better than anyone) it just goes back to my upbringing of keeping things professional and not sharing every little detail with everyone, I haven't learned yet how to thank someone for posting and I could go on and on. But the one thing blogging has brought me is new friends and the chance to see that I am not alone with my trials and tribulations of being a female business owner, a women with high expectations, a wife and a mother.

I am sitting here looking at a very busy schedule, a full calender, an upcoming week full of employee interviews, looking at paint samples taped and painted on walls, homework, bills to be paid, out my front window a garden that needs some tlc and a manicure that went south after one day of getting it done, a stack of custom job folders that I need to work on, a faithful pet who is on her last leg and so much more...........

Then I look around at my favorite blogs and see women exhausted, giving of themselves for a charity or a friend in need, taking care of their life, working on their business, struggling with financial issues and so much more. And yet they have time to help a friend, create a wonderful blog post, plan an amazing party, take care of their families and their business and so much more.

I think women are truly AMAZING and they are stepping up and getting it done and knocking themselves out to do a great job! I think that the current economy has created the opportunity for women to be aggressive and go after their dreams in order to get it done! It just blows my mind to see so many women who maybe were once stay at home moms now stepping up and creating their passion and I am proud to be part of such a group. I see husbands who are supportive of their wives efforts who might not have been so supportive a few years ago.

How we are doing it is different for everyone, but we are doing it and all you have to do is look around the internet to see great products, services and businesses that are women owned. I feel like I am sometimes sacrificing little bits of myself as my business grows and I see it and struggle with how to keep the balance, how to let my children know I love them, give my time to my husband and my friends, make the client happy, talk to my parents each day and just try to get everything checked off my to do list, but then that is just one more thing to worry about. But thanks to blogs I realize I am not alone and that helps, it helps me know that I am not just going crazy. So thank you for sharing and while I might not always have the time to post a comment or commiserate for me it means something. So please keep on sharing.

March 1, 2011

Behind The Scenes Holiday Decorating~ Part 2

Behind the Scenes Part 2. (part 1 here) Behind the scenes is always interesting, we work wherever there is room.

Pop Up tents are especially nice when working outdoors!

Just some of my awesome team!!!

Flying trees................

Me supervising, just can't take anyones word that its installed ok, I have to have a look myself.

Now they are re-fixing it, because things like trees on buildings just make me nervous.
All done and ready to come down.

Ready to go up.

Some locations are always just more difficult than others, one to hold, one to watch and one to tighten.

One down and two more to go.

Yeah its up, that sucker wreath is heavy!

Setting up camp again.

Thats right camping chairs LOL.

Lovely shade from the pop up, our dear friend on installations.