A Venue Checklist for Everyone

Lakyn Jarman, APSU Senior, Public Relations 

Finding the perfect place to hold your event can be difficult. It can be easy to get caught up in the beauty of a venue. However, it is important to create your own checklist of things you are looking for in order to stay on the right track. You need to also keep in mind that you may have to book your venue far in advance. 
Here are some items to keep in mind: 
Scheduling and Accommodations: 

* Is the venue available for your proposed date? 

* Are there any other events happening that day? 

* Will it be able to accommodate your number of guests? 

* Will you be able to hold your ceremony and reception here? 

* How long will you have the venue space? Is there an overtime fee if you stay longer? 

* Is it handicap accessible? 

* What is the parking availability? (Will you be charged extra for this?) 

* Are there any other rental options available? (i.e. canopy, arch, cake table, or any other decorations)  

* What comes with the venue fee? (i.e. chairs, tables, changing rooms, linens, plates and utensils) 

* How much is the deposit? Will it go towards the final balance? 

* What is the cancelation policy? 
General Q’s: 

* Can you create a back up plan for inclement weather? 

* Will someone be responsible for setting up and tearing down? 

* Does the venue require insurance? 

* Will there be a provided coordinator? 

* When are the vendors allowed to setup? 

* What are the decoration limitations? (i.e. confetti, rice, or glitter) 

* Are open flames permitted? 

* Does the venue have sound equipment? Is this an extra fee? 
Food and Beverage: 

* Does the venue require in house catering or from a preferred vendor list? 

* Can you bring in a cake from an outside bakery? It there a cake cutting fee? 

* Is the venue licensed to provide alcohol services? Do you have purchase the alcohol through the venue? 
All venues will have pros and cons. Remember you may have to put in a lot of work to make some venue dreams a reality while others need no work at all. Having this list on hand will help you to be able to answer the hundreds of questions you will have when searching for the right venue.  

It’s Your Party and You Can Have Alcohol If You Want To

Lakyn Jarman, APSU Senior, Public Relations


Not all events have it, but most do. Alcohol can be a tricky party favor to include for your guests. Many hosts do not know what to order or how much to order. Should it be an open bar or a cash bar? Many questions such as these can arise so it is always important to keep a few notes on hand.

Here are some basics:

Serving sizes– First things first. It is important for any planner to know severing sizes. You never want to run out of alcohol, but you also do not want to have too much left over. A normal bottle of wine (750ml) will serve approximately four or five glasses. Baby bottles of wine (187ml) will serve one glass. One large keg (1,984oz) will serve 165 12oz cups. A smaller keg or pony keg (960oz) will serve 80 12oz cups. Spirits can be a little tougher to judge depending upon the drink being made. One 750ml bottle of liquor can make about 12 to 16 servings.

All hands on deck– It is always good to have an extra set at an event with alcohol. This includes a bartender and a security guard. Bartenders tend to keep track of how many drinks each person is served and check IDs. A security guard can be an extra set of eyes for outside drinks and to keep things under control. These are both good suggestions to keep in mind with a larger event.

Cab’s here– Providing alternate transportation for guests is highly important for any event. By keeping a local cab company’s number on hand, it will ensure everyone’s safety. If cabs are not your guests’ thing, companies such as Uber will occasionally give promo codes for your guests to use once they are ready to leave.

What to order– This is where you need to do some research. Any wine, beer, or spirit option can sound confusing if you are not use to drinking it. Wines can be sweet or dry, red or white. Beer can range from a pale ale to a dark lager. Liquor options can be endless. It wouldn’t hurt to ask your quests what they would like to drink. Another option is to ask the venue representative what some of their popular packages are.

Cost– One of the main reasons people do not want alcohol at their event is the cost. Many venues require you to purchase the alcohol through them for liability purposes. This is why it is important to have a solid headcount prior to your event. Although this does not mean it keeps cost down, it is one less thing you will have to worry about. However, having a cash bar may keep cost down.

Having alcohol at your event does not have to be a headache. It never hurts to ask questions and to stay educated on laws and procedures. Your guests will have fun regardless.

Picking a Playlist- 5 questions to ask when selecting music; Because sometimes “the Thong Song” just isn’t appropriate.

By: Paige Crawford, APSU Communication Alumn

You may have had it happen to you once or twice- you’re at an event and the music’s going, it’s a great time- and then all of a sudden a song comes on that just makes you feel weird inside. It could be some risqué r&b favorite, or a vulgar hip-hop hit, on the other hand it could be some slow-jam ballad from the 90’s that just totally kills the mood. In either case music has a purpose in any event- to set the mood. So avoiding this listening disaster at your next event should be high on your list of priorities. Here’s 5 questions to answer when selecting a playlist for any event.

  1.     What kind of event is it? Weddings are relatively easy- some romantic slow songs, some crowd favorites and dance mixes, and a lot of whatever kind of music the bride and groom like. However, playing the Cha Cha slide at the next Gala may not go over so well. If it’s a business event, music may be more of a background sound and should be softer in tone and volume, as there is likely to be a lot more serious conversation going on.
  2.     What is the pace? Music can help set where the event is going from beginning to end. To get people excited when they walk in, play some more upbeat contemporary music. If it’s a slow progression in to the night then playing some softer contemporary music at first will help to build the mood for later. Maybe the whole night is more serious so a climactic song won’t fit at all. As for ending the night, winding down the tempo for the last 20-30 minutes while the crowd dies down is a great way to let people wrap up their night. For weddings and parties my go-to end of the night song is definitely the classic, “Closing Time” by Semisonic. When people here it, it’s a good laugh and a great opportunity for a heart-felt sing along, but definitely gets the point across. “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here!”
  3.     What is the general age group? If you’re hosting an event at a senior citizens home, playing the top 40 hits of 2016 is not going to entice the audience much. The beautiful thing about music is that you can go back over 100 years of styles and types and find something that will appeal to any age group. Class of 1986 Reunion? Bust out the 80’s ballads and you’re sure to have a good time. If it’s a festival or school function for kids then it’s important to play music that is appropriate and kid friendly for them.
  4.      Is there a theme? If hosting a dinner party or wedding with a 1940’s flapper theme, then choosing music from that time period is best. Halloween bashes are a hit when you’ve got “Monster Mash” going. If you’ve got the décor and the food for a theme, then choosing music to go with it will only heighten that theme.
  5.     Is the event personal? If the event is something you are hosting in honor of something or someone, then choosing music that is loved by you and whoever the event is in honor of will add a nice personal touch. Music speaks emotion, therefore, dedicating songs to a specific someone creates a connection between you and that person and lets the audience in on that moment with you.

Between choosing centerpieces and dinner plates to setting color schemes, there are tons of pieces that go into creating a lovely event. Just because you can’t see the music doesn’t make it any less important than the rest of the pieces. Music is the train that takes your audience through the event- so make a playlist that will move your audience right along through the night!


It’s a Family Affair… Or is it?

By Abbey Neely, Senior Public Relations Major, Austin Peay State University

Everybody knows that a wedding is in the planning stages, the wedding becomes the concern of the entire family, not just the bride and groom: this can be a problem. Make sure when you’re planning your wedding and your relatives try to run it themselves, keep these things in mind: familyaffair

Photo: http://www.themotherish.com/worst-mother-in-law/

It’s YOUR Wedding.

Regardless of what your mother in law or Aunt Jenny wants, this is your wedding and therefore you get to make final decisions. You don’t want to get to the end of the planning process and regret giving people what they want if it’s not what you want. You are going to look back on this day for the rest of your life; you’re going to want it to look and run how you want.

It’s okay to ask for an outside opinion.

That’s what wedding planners are for: they can give you advice on planning your big day without any sort of bias or family ties. They do this sort of thing for a living, and usually have a certain level of expertise regarding weddings. Your in-laws can argue with the wedding planner all they want: as long as they’re getting paid, the wedding planner is going to keep doing exactly what they’re doing to give you the best wedding you can possibly have.

Your happiness is what’s important.

I understand that having relatives that are giving you grief can be difficult, especially when planning your wedding: you want them to be happy with you and your planning, but you also don’t want your wedding to become someone else’s. While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to see other people happy, your happiness as the one getting married is the only happiness that matters when everything is said and done. If they don’t get their way, they’ll get over it, but you recovering from a wedding day that you regret is something that’s harder to get over.

Family can be a blessing and a curse. While it is great to be surrounded by family and loved ones while you prepare to be wed, it can also be one of the most stressful aspects of wedding plan. So just keep these three things in mind, and stand your ground. Your mother-in-law will forgive you for going against her flower choices later.

TREND ALERT: Three Wedding Dress Trends that have been Hot in 2016

By Abbey Neely, Senior Public Relations Major, Austin Peay State University

Trends in fashion are always changing: this is true of every branch of the fashion world, to include bridal fashion. Wedding gowns that were popular in previous years are considered “out of date,” but there are also old trends that are becoming new again. I figured I would share three bridal styles that are hot right now just in case you’re looking for some inspiration, or if you just enjoy trends.

  • Wedding Separates

This trend was made huge in the prom world and has made its way over to the bridal world. It features two piece bridal styles in various fabrics and shapes. It appeals more to the younger bride, but looks great on almost everyone. The two-piece look gives the bride a slight sex appeal without anything too revealing and also helps to break up all of that white material.


Photo: http://www.stylemepretty.com/2015/09/27/trend-alert-two-piece-wedding-dresses/

  • Lace!

This is a trend that has stood strong for years. The element of lace in wedding dresses, whether it’s the entire dress of only sections, is a very popular choice for brides young and old. It brings a vintage feel to a wedding gown and makes for gorgeous photos. bridal2

Photo: http://bridalmusings.com/2014/01/30-lace-sleeve-wedding-dresses/

  • Chiffon Skirts

This is my personal favorite in terms of trends for 2016. It features a simple top with a voluminous skirt of chiffon or other tulle. I love that it is simple, yet makes a statement at the same time. I’ve seen these dresses all over Pinterest, and I feel like would look great on almost every body shape, and because there is not too much intricate beading or lace, they are usually more affordable.


Photo: https://www.pinterest.com/ashleykylie00/wedding-dress/

Hopefully these three trends will spark your inspiration in finding your dream dress, but always remember to be open to trying new things; you’ll never know what looks good until you try it on. Happy hunting ladies!

In Good Company: Four Ways to be a Great Wedding Guest

By Abbey Neely, Senior Public Relations Major, Austin Peay State University

There is nothing worse than having uncooperative, misbehaved guests at a wedding. You know the ones: the ones who give the drunken toasts, throw cake all over themselves, or make vulgar comments around great Aunt Margie. Trust me when I say, you don’t want to be one of those guests. So besides the obvious necessities (MANNERS), here are four ways to be a great wedding guest:

  • RSVP in a timely manner

I can’t tell you how annoying it is when people don’t confirm plans with me until last minute, and I would be so much more irritated if it regarded my wedding day. Wedding planning is already very stressful and the last thing the wedding party needs to worry about is people that don’t RSVP until a few weeks before. So RSVP in a timely manner, if you even want to show up at all.

  • Dress to Impress

This should be a given, but you’d be surprised what some people show up to weddings wearing. Remember that unless specified by the wedding party, a wedding is a formal affair, and you should dress accordingly. So don’t show up in dirty, wrinkly, or non-formal clothing. That being said, don’t make a conscious effort to show up the wedding party: avoid wearing white at all costs. You may be trying to look nice, but it can look like you’re trying to overshadow the bride, and we definitely don’t want that confusion.

  • Be Conscious of Your Alcohol Intake

Everybody has heard drunken wedding stories, but you should definitely avoid being the topic of those stories. Being a drunken mess is never attractive, especially during a special moment in the life of someone else. There’s nothing wrong with having a celebratory drink (or two) but make sure to keep in mind your own alcohol tolerance; no one wants to find your passed out in the venue bathroom.

  • Keep the Negative Comments to Yourself

Momma always said that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all; this also applies to weddings. You may see or hear things at a wedding or about people at the wedding that don’t sit well with you, but if it’s not your business, keep it to yourself. This isn’t a high school dance where girls stand in corners and gossip, and you should do everything in your power to keep it that way.

Always remember: you’re at a wedding to celebrate the bride and groom. Don’t make it a less than happy experience for them because you don’t know how to behave. Keep these rules in mind, remember your moral compass, and you’ll be a great wedding guest.

Beauty Tips for Every Bride

By Abbey Neely, Senior Public Relations major, Austin Peay State University

A girl’s wedding day is one she will never forget. There will be dozens of photos to capture the day, and her family will talk about it for years to come, so it’s important she look her best on the big day. Here are three tips to ensure a bride looks her best when it’s time to walk down the aisle:

1.) The secret to a long-lasting up-do

Nothing can be more frustrating on a girl’s wedding day then a hairstyle that just won’t stay in place. The solution? Make sure that you are on second or third day hair when the big day arrives. The natural oils in your hair will act like hair spray to keep your beautiful up-do in place. That combined with hair spray and a bunch of bobby pins and you’ll have a fabulous new do’ for the big day.

2.) Avoid face products with SPF

Normally, I always encourage women to wear SPF on their face, no matter what product it comes from. However, SPF can create a white glare across the face in flash photography (so not cute for wedding photos). So whether you’re doing your own makeup or having it professionally done, avoid face products that have SPF so people will see your pretty face in pictures.

3.) Waterproof eye products are a definite must

Let’s face it, weddings are very emotional occasions, and more than likely, tears will be shed. So skip the raccoon eyes and go for eye products that are waterproof. Almost all brands of makeup, both drugstore and high end have waterproof alternatives to their products, so there should be nothing stopping you from keeping your makeup in place all day long.

4.) Avoid the sodium!

Most people don’t think of this one, but sodium can cause your facial extremities to become slightly puffy, which is so not cute in photos. So in the weeks leading up to the big day, cut back on your sodium intake and you will definitely notice a difference on how your face looks.

5.) Keep up those pearly whites!

Whitening your teeth too much can cause serious damage, but there is nothing wrong with whitening your teeth for very special occasions, such as your wedding day. White strips are a great option, but you can also get your teeth professionally whitened 3-6 months prior to the weddings for a natural glow on the big day. Also, cut back on coffee and acid-based foods that stain your teeth for a natural fix.

We all want to feel beautiful on our wedding day, and hopefully these tips help you achieve that. Keep in mind, you should never do anything you’re not comfortable with because someone said it’ll make you feel “beautiful” on your wedding day; discomfort isn’t beautiful. Just be yourself and let your naturally radiant beauty shine through. After all, the only two people whose opinion matters are already saying yes to each other, everyone else is just there to see the magic unfold.

Let’s Hear It For The Boys! Four Ways to Make Sure the Man Enjoys the Wedding

By Abbey Neely, Junior Public Relations major, Austin Peay State University

Whether you work in weddings, have attended a wedding, or you have planned/are planning your own, everyone knows that, for the most part, weddings are a woman’s event. Most men could care less about the flowers, the dress, the place cards, etc. All he really cares about is marrying the girl of his dreams, which makes the planning process and even sometimes the day of festivities a less than enjoyable experience for him, so here are four ways to try and make the wedding process the best possible process for the man in the picture.groom

Photo: http://www.cheatsheet.com/money-career/broke-best-man-5-ways-to-lower-the-cost-of-being-a-groomsman.html/?a=viewall

  • Don’t force him to make a lot of decisions.

Like I said before, most men don’t care about all the little details that a bride cares about when planning the big day. They may be particular about one or two details, but frankly, as long as the day doesn’t drag on too long, and he gets his bride in the end, he is a happy man. So don’t leave a bunch of the responsibility on him. Chances are, he’ll agree with what his bride wants anyway; I believe the phrase is “happy wife, happy life?”

  • Leave the bachelor party up to him.

Although you don’t want to ask your hubby-to-be to decide whether tulips or lilies should be included in the centerpieces (because he probably doesn’t care,) you should definitely let him decide what he wants to do with the boys. This is his last night as an unmarried man, which usually means a lot in a circle of men, and so the bride’s input, while almost always considered, is usually not looked highly upon. Keep in mind that the bride always deserves to have an opinion if something will make her uncomfortable. If Sarah doesn’t want her fiancé John doing body shots off of a stripper on the eve of their wedding, she definitely has the right to tell him. But don’t turn his boy’s night into a beautified bachelorette party.nerf

Photo: https://www.reddit.com/r/photoshopbattles/comments/31fw5w/psbattle_this_groom_and_groomsmen_and_their_nerf/

  • Keep his comfort in mind when choosing what he wears.

In my wedding, I will definitely be asking my fiancé’s input in terms of what he would be most comfortable wearing. Granted, sweatpants will NEVER be an option, but I don’t want to put him in overly stiff itchy suit that he has not tried on and felt comfortable in. So here’s a tip: go with him when he tux shops. That way you’ll be able to make sure he picks out something that will look amazing on him when you stand at the altar, and he will know that he is going to be comfortable on the big day.

     4.) Say yes to an open bar.

If there’s one thing I know about men, it’s that they love their women, their sports, and their beer. And while you should NOT have your wedding at a tailgate, you should definitely give him a chance to drink a celebratory drink (or two) with his groomsmen to celebrate the occasion. You can still definitely have an open bar at your wedding and keep it a classy establishment, and he’ll be a happy boy too.

Just because a wedding is more of a women’s occasion, doesn’t mean we can’t make it a little easier on the men. This is just as much the groom’s day as it is the bride’s, and if he enjoys the wedding, it makes a great first step in a marriage and a great experience for everyone.


Going Green: Tips for the Eco-Friendly Event Planner

By Abbey Neely, Senior Public Relations Major, Austin Peay State University

Being environmentally conscious is becoming more and more important as the years go on. Even in event planning, people are becoming more insistent on going green for their events. Here are three ways that you can host an eco-conscious event.

  • Go Paperless

This especially applies to conferences and other events where a lot of print materials are normally distributed. Most of the people that attend these conferences will carry some sort of electronic device on them, be it a tablet, laptop, smartphone, etc. So instead of wasting paper printing all of these materials that they will more than likely throw away, begin your conference with a link to all print materials, PowerPoints, etc. to be viewed online. Attendees will be able to save them easily for future reference and you will save a lot of money on paper costs and save a lot of trees. tablet

Photo: http://docuwrx.com/going-paperless/

  • Encourage Eco-Friendly Transportation

A lot of the pollution in the world comes from emissions from cars, so encourage the attendees of your event to carpool, or use eco-friendly transportation options like public transit and services like Uber. There will be less worry about parking and your attendees will be making a conscious decision to avoid polluting the air.uber

Photo: http://bellinghamwins.bobpritchett.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2015/11/uber.jpg

  • Reusable Linens

Instead of trying to be cheap in getting disposable tablecloths, napkins and other linens, spend a little bit of extra money and purchase linens that can be washed and reused over and over again. Or better yet, rent linens through companies that specialize in providing linens to events and then pick them up and wash them for you. That way you are not only being eco-conscious, you are saving your own money on purchasing and washing linens.linensandstone

Photo: http://le-lunaalunera.tumblr.com/

Running a “green” business is more important than most people realize. You should be just as concerned with the world around you as you are about your own world. Hopefully these tips are only the beginning to your efforts to have a greener business.

Making Your Mark

By Abbey Neely, Senior Public Relations Major, Austin Peay State University

Although most of what we do in life and in events is digitally-orientated, there is still a need for some print materials, such as place cards, photographs, and even traditional invitations. Sometimes it can be hard to navigate all of the companies today who offer print services, but here are four websites that I feel offer the best deals and the highest quality work:

  • VistaPrint

This company is fairly well-known in the world of print materials, but I figured I would give it some love as it one of my favorite sites. VistaPrint offers high quality prints, invitations, photo books and more at really great prices. You can design any of your prints items yourself, or they have a bunch of pre-designed templates and features for assistance and inspiration. They have real people standing by for customer service seven days a week, and I can almost always find a promo code for my orders. Definitely one to check for almost any kind of print materials you need made.vistaprint

Photo: https://www.weddingwire.com/biz/vistaprint/cce3872d2f2391ea.html

  • Moo

Don’t let its simple name fool you: Moo.com is an amazing website for creating professional print materials. They offer dozens of templates to create flyers, business cards, invitations, etc. They ship anywhere in the country and it usually gets to you pretty fast, unlike some sites that take weeks to deliver your product unless you pay $30+ in shipping. I ordered some business cards from Moo.com and I was blown away by their quality. Now granted, the print materials from Moo are generally a little bit pricier than most sites (I paid about $26.00 for 50 cards including shipping,) but they all well worth the extra money.


Photo: https://www.moo.com/us/products/

  • Weddingpaperdivas.com

I found this website doing research for this blog and I absolutely LOVE it. It feels like every wedding invite I’ve ever seen on Pinterest was created right here, but this site is perfect for any print materials you might need for a wedding. They offer templates for bridal showers, reception cards, and any style of wedding invite you could possibly ask for. It’s a fairly pricey site, but from what I can tell the attention to detail and the quality of the products are superb, so definitely give it a look.weddingpaperdivas

Photo: http://www.engagedandinspired.com/blog/2012/07/16/stationery-etiquette-with-wedding-paper-divas


  • Minted

I also discovered this site in my research. Minted is yet another Pinterest-worthy print site but offers print materials for almost any occasion, such as graduations, birthdays, weddings, and showers. The website is very easy to navigate and they have a lot of great design options to choose from. Not only that, but that offer FREE guest addressing on orders, which can save you a huge amount of time leading up to whatever occasion you might be planning for. Minted is also pretty expensive (100 invites for $234, yikes!) but for those who might have a bigger budget, this site is great for you. minted

Photo: http://www.elizabethannedesigns.com/blog/2013/01/15/minted-giveaway-2/

The print materials you have at your event say a lot about the quality of your work as a whole, so it is important that you make the effort to find a place that will help you create beautiful invites, place cards of whatever you might need so you can wow your guests and have great pieces to have in your even portfolio for years to come. Hopefully one or more of these four sites will work for you, but there are plenty more sites to play with and discover. Happy hunting!