5 Things You Should Avoid at Your Wedding

Abigail Miller, APSU Junior, Public Relations

#1. Don’t have a long ceremony

Yay! Your getting married and it’s a big deal but if your ceremony exceeded more than 45min your guest will begin to get irritated and uncomfortable! Now don’t get me wrong, the ceremony is important but we only want to see three things: the dress, the vows, and the kiss. We definitely don’t want to hear your grandma sing while your little cousin plays the recorder and we don’t want to hear a full on sermon. So save the performances for the reception when everyone is slightly intoxicated and tell the pastor to keep it to one bible verse. Your guest will appreciate it!

#2. Stay clear of Animals

Maybe the dream is to have your beloved pet walk down the isle with the rings tied to his collar and then when you exit the church to have a dozen white doves released. Then you go to your family farm, which over looks beautiful fields with horses and cows. This sounds perfect but will it still seem perfect when your dog has to go number two right as he’s walking down the isle, or right when the doves fly over everyone they drop a little present if you know what I mean. Finally you don’t think the horses and cows will be a problem because they are behind a fence but you didn’t even think about that lovely smell of manure. So just leave the dog at home, forget the doves and put the animals in the barn. Your day will go a lot smoother and smell a heck of a lot better if you just avoid animals at all cost.

#3. Don’t get fancy with the food

It’s your wedding; everyone is dressed up, your at a nice venue, so what the heck lets get fancy and serve foods that we cant even pronounce. WRONG! For one it’s going to be really expensive and two no body wants to go to a wedding and eat snail, or escargots as the French call it. Your going to have picky eaters and you want something cheep and filling like chicken and pasta or steak and potatoes.

#4. Don’t play games at the reception!

This is a wedding, not Sunday night at grandmas. You may think it will be fun and cute to play games like Bride and groom trivia but not for everybody! There will be a lot of people at the reception, some you may not even know and honestly all they want to do is dance and mingle, not play, “How well do you know the couple.” These types of games belong at the wedding rehearsal when it’s just family and the wedding party. That way everyone participates since it’s a smaller group. Plus games are time consuming and there is already so much going on at a reception to begin with.

#5. Don’t worry about favors

Yes everyone is buying you gifts and you feel like you need to send home favors such as decorated mason jars filled with candy but you don’t. Your already giving them a free meal and maybe free booze if you have an open bar so why not just send a thank you letter for the gift and call it even. Your budget will be thankful and so will all the people that would be helping you put these gifts together. Plus half of your guest would probably forget to take home their gift anyways.

 

 

 

Ways to Raise Funds When You Have Virtually NO Financial Backing

Written by: Isabella Cook, APSU Senior, Public Relations

For an event planner, facilitating a fundraiser can be an incredibly fulfilling. Finding an organization or cause that aligns with your beliefs or supports a cause that you feel passionate about can be an excellent way to give back to those involved with the organization. While the fundamentals of event planning do not change, there are some added challenges that arise with planning for a fundraiser over coordinating a party or wedding: the primary one is budget. How in the world do you create a successful event with little to no financial backing?

  • Have a master plan complete with goals and objectives. It is important to know the exact purpose of the event. Is it just to raise awareness or is it to raise money? Creating specific goals will give you guidelines to follow throughout the entire process.
  • Create a budget. Even if you have no money whatsoever to begin funding this event, lay out every cost down to the penny. When you begin fundraising efforts, you will know exactly how much money is needed make the event successful.
  • Delegate tasks. Do not try to carry all of the responsibility on your own shoulders. Have a team set up with specific talents and skills to tackle different areas of the event. It is helpful to delegate out such tasks as advertising, social media marketing, ticket sales or promotion, and donation collection.
  • Communicate often with an organization representative. No matter how pure your intentions are, a Rep for the organization you’re supporting should filter every step of the process. There may be legal protocol and standards, and you should follow them to the absolute letter of the law. They also can give you fundraising tips, as well as suggest potential donors who may have supported the organization previously. Which leads us to our next tip…
  • Find donors. Donors will be the key to success for a fundraising event. When approaching an individual or business asking for a donation, it is crucial to be incredibly professional. Have a packet with all event details laid out; including what all of their donation would be going to, and how much you are asking them to donate. It is also incredibly important to send a thank you note for any time or money that is donated.

Remember, regardless of the ups and downs of planning a fundraiser, that none of your efforts are in vain. Every hour, dollar, and phone call is being used to make a difference toward a cause that you believe in. Everyone impacted by your efforts will be so grateful for all of your hard work.

Say YES to the DARTY!

Abby Kepley, APSU Junior, Event Planning

 

Dreaded by some and loved by others before you graduate college you have to go to at least one date party. What is it? A date party is essentially a party that is thrown by either a fraternity or a sorority, BUT the catch is you have to bring a date. Now I know what you are thinking… “Isn’t that the same thing as a formal?” No. A date party is much more relaxed and involves alcohol.
A date party when it comes to planning can be a little scary. You have to think of all the risks that could happen and how to prevent them. You can do this by going to risk management meetings on your campus or take a risk management class through event planning. For safety of others it is safe if you have security there, especially since alcohol will be present in the mix. You need to plan to have 2 sober monitors for every person drinking. “How can I plan that?” you may think, well at events like these you need to turn in a list of all people who will be in attendance you do this by having the members of your organization fill out a spreadsheet. For this occasion each member will only have one date. So they are pleased to bring whomever they would like to ask. They do have to fill out the spreadsheet with their name and birthday and their dates name and birthday as well. That way there will be no underage drinking occur. Other than that the rest of the planning isn’t much, usually date parties occur on campus, but for dry campus’ you need to plan them off at a local house or center that is low cost so you can save money for formal.
So now that you’re done planning, you are probably thinking “What do I wear?”

 

This example from Pinterest is a perfect example of what to wear to a darty. Now guys!, you can wear something as simple as a button up shirt with khakis. Now all of this works unless there is a theme for the event, these themes can range anywhere from casino to Mardi Gras. Picking a theme helps with decorations, food, and more. When this happens just spice up your outfit a little more according to what the theme is. For example if you are having a casino

themed party wear a little more jewelry and stick with colors such as black, red, and gold.
Date parties are not only fun, but they can teach you several different things about yourself. Confidence, being spontaneous, and how to take the best from a situation. Date parties can be stressful due to the fact you have to find a date within a short amount of time. Your friends might even put you on a blind date!, but know no matter how crazy it might seem you aren’t in college for long so you might as well go to at least one! It’s worth the chaos, I promise.

Travel Planning 101

travel-planningWritten by: Leah Grubb, APSU Junior, Corporate Communication

Flight bookings. Car rentals. Accommodations. Restaurant reservations. Attraction tickets.

These are just a few of the hundred, little details that go into planning the PERFECT trip. Sure, the Instagram pictures make it look easy. They show the gorgeous mountain range or exotic city but don’t depict all the work it took to get there! The best travel experiences require quite a bit of planning, aka a lot of work. Planning a trip can be overwhelming but it is actually similar to planning a typical event.

The first thing you need to do is set a budget. Ask yourself, ‘how much money am I willing to spend overall?’ It is important to set financial boundaries before looking booking anything. It is helpful to break down your budget even further and delegate how much you can spend on tickets, accommodations, activities, etc. This will differ from person to person because everyone has different preferences. For example, some people splurge on fancy hotels while others save money for activities by staying at campgrounds.

Now it is time to research, research, and research some more! I typically start by looking for the cheapest plane tickets. Farecompare.com is a great website for searching flights. It compares the cheapest flights from different airlines. Be sure to research and account for various fees some airlines may charge!

I’ve learned that fabulous accommodations can truly make a travel experience. Hotels are traditionally the go-to for vacations, but that precedent is starting to change with the rise of Airbnb. There are all types of other options including hostels, typical Bed and Breakfasts, cabins, campgrounds, etc.  Use your budget and preferences to decide which type of accommodations best fit you. You should also take location and centrality into consideration. Before making a decision, conclude your research with lots of public reviews! I use tripadvisor.com to find genuine reviews.

The next step is to begin researching attractions and things to do. Most cities have a tourism website with links to local activities. I typically start looking on those websites and then branch out. If you’re having trouble staying within budget, just google ‘free things to do in _____.’ I did this for NYC and had lots of fun doing free things like the Staten Island ferry. While doing your research, be sure to note which activities need reservations. Make a list of your top choices and a list of back-ups in case plans fall through!

These are just a few of the things that it takes to plan a great trip! Once you have these three bases covered, you can begin delving into other details. My personal favorite is researching restaurants and finding a city’s best local eats! (I could seriously and just might write an entire blog post on that topic….)

It is never too early to start planning your next trip. Don’t let the thought of planning a trip keep you going back to the same beach year after year. Step away from your comfort zone and start researching your dream vacation! On that note, I think I’ll hop on over to Pinterest for a little travel inspiration.

 

So You’re Officially an Event Planner…Now What? Tips to Ensure Initial Success

Written By: Isabella Cook, APSU Junior, Corporate Communication

For many novice event planners, when it comes to their first few events, they believe the sky is the limit. Their previous experience helping coordinate and facilitate events has set them up for nothing but success, and they just know without a shadow of a doubt that their function will be the event of the year (if not decade) and will be talked about for months to come. However, transitioning from an assistant or intern to being the event coordinator in charge presents a whole new set of challenges for which you may not have been well prepared. Perhaps the florist cancels. The wedding singer is sick. The client changes their floor plan the day of the event. The possibilities for success and failure are endless, but with careful planning and preparation, there is no situation you cannot handle. Here are a few tips to help ensure that you will be ready for any curve ball that may be thrown your way:

 

  • Understand that you are not guaranteed success. Do not just assume your event will fall into place. Relentless preparation should go into every event you plan. Every decision should be confirmed twice to ensure that all the plans and promises that have been made would be completed as promised.
  • Keep it simple. Don’t take on events that you are not sure you can complete. While you may have high hopes for your event, you are doing both your client and yourself a disservice if you cannot deliver fully on the task you have agreed to undertake. It is better to have a simple, well-done event, than a mediocre event that was so large that you lost control of it.
  • Give yourself plenty of time. Punctuality is key to successful event planning. While it may seem that you have weeks to a few months to complete planning for an event, it is pertinent to be ahead of schedule. You may encounter unforeseen setbacks that you will only be able to work through if you give yourself enough time to correct the problem at hand.
  • Set daily goals. When you have agreed to coordinate an event, be sure to layout every step of the plan, then set up daily goals that you can achieve that will push you continually closer to the completion of your event.
  • Utilize a planner. In conjunction with setting daily goals, you cannot count entirely on your own mind to remember what you need to do. Writing down your goals and daily tasks is an excellent way to ensure that you don’t forget any of your priority tasks for that day. It will also help you ensure that you do not overbook yourself. Cancelling plans or meetings because of overbooking is unprofessional and tacky, so by planning out your days meticulously in your planner, you can ensure that you never encounter that issue.
  • Do not be afraid to ask for help. There will always be an angle or idea that you do not see on your own. Don’t be afraid to ask a mentor or previous employer for their advice on a situation. Chances are that they have been where you are and can give you excellent ideas or show you an avenue that you had not previously considered.

 

There is no exact recipe for success. Each event planner must find his or her own niche and what their specialty or weakness might be. Only time and experience will reveal those things. As a brand new event planner, it is going to take some trial and error to figure out what works best for you. However, through much careful consideration, preparation and practice, an incredibly successful and fulfilling career is within your reach.

Don’t Let a New Date Throw You Off!

Jessica Morris- APSU Event Planning, Dept. of Communication

event-postponed-2http://stratfordgrangecongaa.ie/2014/04/#prettyPhoto[gallery1910]/0/ Sometimes, even the best laid plans can run awry. We do our best to keep things organized, running on a tight schedule, laid out JUST RIGHT so that nothing falls apart. We have to, right? We are the people who make the magic happen!   But what about when Murphy decides that there is a different plan?

Recently, I was helping to plan an event for a local non-profit.  I thought this would be a great learning opportunity for our event planning students, so I made it a part of their course work for the term.  It was going to be multi-faceted: decor, social media, photos, meal, music, speaker, fundraiser (both through ticket sales and silent auction); the works.  The students were excited, I was… enthusiastic, and the head of the non-profit was ready to go. Then… Murphy…  the other members on the board for the organization felt the timeline…

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Uninvited Guests

Written by: Anna Pope, APSU Junior, Public Relations

Let’s all speak our wedding fears: wedding crashers! When I think of some of the things I hope don’t happen at my wedding, people crashing it and coming uninvited is at the top of my list. Fortunately, there are many ways to deal with this and also to plan ahead so this risk can be partially prevented.

 

Whether the wedding crasher is an uninvited plus one, an uninvited child of a guest, or just your straight up worst enemy trying to ruin your life, you need to have a plan in place to deal with these guests. They could end up costing you money, comfort, and even your sanity. Here is how you can minimize the chances of unwanted guests and save yourself some stress on the big day.

 

  • Just include the names of the people invited on the invitations
    • Don’t say “The ### Family” unless it actually is the whole family. If you are only inviting the parents, only list their names.
    • An invitation to one person should only address the one person. If you give them a plus one, the invitation should say “and guest.”
      • Some guests do not know this or do not care, so if you think someone would ignore this make a point to tell him or her in person or over the phone that you’re just inviting them.
  • Have everyone RSVP
    • This will give you an idea of who can come to the wedding.
    • It will also allow for any misunderstandings to be cleared up. If someone thinks they can bring a plus one and tells you who they are, you can clarify to them what you actually meant.
  • Have your wedding indoors or at a private venue
    • It is much easier for someone to crash a wedding that is outdoors or at a public venue where anyone can walk through the door.
  • Have security
    • This is the most dramatic option but it will definitely make sure that everyone is an invited guest. If you are worried about specific people showing up, you can tell your security to look out for those people and make sure they don’t get in.

 

What to do if Someone Shows Up Unexpectedly:

  • Make sure unexpected invited guests get a seat at a table. An extra chair and place setting may be able to be set up.

 

Wedding Table Styles

Written by: Anna Pope, APSU Junior, Public Relations

Now that you’ve received your RSVPs and have an estimate of who will be at the wedding and how many people will be at the wedding, you need to choose table styles. Most people usually use the round tables but there are a few other options for you to choose from.

 

Round Tables:

  • Round tables are the most popular table style for weddings.
  • Each table usually sits around 8 to 10 people.
  • This style of tables is also usually free with the venue.
  • They are easy for facilitating conversations between lots of people.
  • They also usually only require one centerpiece each, which will save you money in the long run, especially if you have flower centerpieces.

 

Square Tables:

  • Square tables are the least popular table style for weddings.
  • Each table generally seats around 4 to 8 guests.
  • You will need more tables and space to accommodate your guests if you go with this style.
  • This style gives a more modern and sleek feel to the wedding.
  • They encourage socializing and create a unique room design.
  • These generally cost more because venues don’t typically have them in stock so you will have to order them, along with special linens to fit them.

 

Banquet Tables:

  • This style of table is long and rectangular.
  • It is usually used for family-style dining.
  • These tables usually give the event a more elegant feel.
  • Some venues have these tables in their inventory so you might not have to pay extra for them.
  • This style is very large so sometimes it does not fit the space with the guest size.
  • Centerpieces will be more expensive because you will need more than one for each table.

 

Mixed Tables:

  • If you love all the styles and just can’t decide, “congratulations!” you don’t have to.
  • You can mix and match different table styles any way you want.
  • This gives the event a more unique and eclectic feel.
  • When arranging this make sure that the flow in and out of the venue will be safe for all the guests and that no tables or chairs get in the way of entering and exiting.

 

 

 

 

Wedding Floor Plans

Written by: Anna Pope, APSU Junior, Public Relations

Let’s be real here, this is the one part of a wedding you reluctantly have to plan. Unfortunately, no one can do this for you because no one knows your guests like you do. This is the dreaded seating plan for your wedding reception. There are two main ways to go about seating your guests. These are traditional seating arrangements and open seating. Both come with their own pros and cons.

 

Traditional Seating Arrangements: Pros

  • People are generally comfortable. – Most people usually have family members or friends that are controversial and will clash with others so this helps minimize their interactions and prevent trouble
  • All seats will be used. – No guest will be left without a seat or someone that they know. You can manipulate who goes where for flow of the event as well.

 

Traditional Seating Arrangements: Cons

  • Time consuming – This process takes time because no one ever has the perfect number of people or the perfect group of people. Each friend or family member needs to be taken into consideration in order to make them comfortable.
  • Costs more money. – Having a traditional seating chart and plan means that you must purchase place cards for each guest. If you order these from a stationary company or a calligrapher, prices can get sky high very quickly.

 

Open Seating: Pros

  • Saves time! – You won’t have to waste tons of hours putting together a plan that everyone might not like.
  • Saves money. – You will not have to spend extra money on stationary or calligraphy buying place cards for your guests.

 

Open Seating: Cons

  • There will be unused seats or seats no one wants. – Certain groups have a certain number of people. Say one of your groups of friends has 7 people and they all sit at an 8-person table. No one will want to sit in that 8th seat because they don’t know anyone at the table.
  • People that don’t know anyone at the wedding will feel like they don’t have a place to sit and be uncomfortable.

 

So, know your guests, and know your wedding. Floor plans are a decision that must be made, but that can have a huge impact on the event!

 

http://somethingturquoise.com/2011/09/02/diy-easy-seating-chart/

Wedding Invites: Dos and Don’ts

By: Anna Pope, APSU Junior, Public Relations

Paper wedding invitations and all paper goods are a classic way to invite your guests to the wedding. It is also a very personal thing as opposed to a Facebook, Email, or Website invitation. Making your invites personal and doing them correctly will please your guests and make your life easier.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/291550351/printable-wedding-invitation-suite-leafy?ref=shop_home_active_4

The DOs:

Do include the date, time, address, and any other necessary information so guests are not confused and contacting you with tons of questions.

Do make sure all spelling, punctuation, and grammar is correct. This is a formal letter of invitation; it needs to sound like one.

Do make sure to send your invitations out 3 to 4 months before your wedding. Also, if you are sending them, make sure to send out save the dates 6 to 8 months before the wedding.

Do include either an RSVP card or a detail card that tells them how to RSVP. Depending on who you are inviting, the traditional paper RSVP card is best or an RSVP on the wedding website is best. You can also use both, this is just harder to keep track of. Always include an “RSVP by” date on the detail card.

Do count the cost of postage and weigh your invitations with everything included to make sure you send them correctly and they don’t get sent back to you.

Do put the names of the people invited to the wedding. Don’t put the whole family down if only the parents are invited. This is also an easy way to cut down on attendance if this is an issue for you.

And lastly, always order extra invitations and envelopes. You never know who you will forget to invite and it is so easy to mess up when addressing an invitation.

 

The DON’Ts:

Don’t send out etiquette invites in the hopes that people will decline to come. This is risky, especially if you have a set budget or a venue that is very small. People will surprise you and they may come to the wedding.

Don’t send save the dates to people you are not inviting to the wedding. Finalize your list before you send anything out.

Don’t include registry information on the invitation! This information can be put on a detail card with the invite, the save the date, or the wedding website.