WHAT DO EVENT PLANNERS ACTUALLY DO?

EOE’s Marketing & Events Manager, Cindy, here. I’ve come to a conclusion. This may seem a bit dramatic, but over the past couple years I’ve realized:

PEOPLE DON’T KNOW WHAT EVENT PLANNERS DO.

Of course, this is a generalization. Most people don’t know what event planners do. In the grand scheme of professions, we don’t necessarily know what a ton of others do on a day to day basis unless they are our spouses, parents, closest friends, etc. But, there has been an alarming difference in response from when I told people I worked as a marketing associate to now working as a corporate event planner.

When I told those I was a Marketing Associate, I was asked what industry, what I focus on, and that’s about it. All good.

Now as a corporate event planner, my job has an extreme amount of parallels with being a marketing associate, yet I am greeted with the same dreaded phrase every. single. time. “Ohh, how FUN! That must just be SO fun.”

In fact, one time someone actually said “Oh, I forgot you’re, like, a little event planner.” As if I giggled and frolicked all day in a land of magical flowers and linens. Yeah, right.

Now, don’t get me wrong, some days, my job is a blast. I crave creativity and making things look good, and event planning allows me to do that. But to be greeted by what comes off as lack of respect as the main summary of what others think of my career every time is just getting old. So today, I’m here to let you know what we at East of Ellie, and corporate event planners around the globe, do.

  1. We convince CEOs of Fortune 500 Companies to spend thousands on our ideas.
  2. We stand up in front of 15 board members and present to get them well, on board.
  3. Its our job to bring together the finance team, marketing team, sales team and more teams then you would think actually exist inside a Corporation, and with no scuffling.
  4. We wear all hats.  We are strategists, we are the visionaries, we are the excel spreadsheet and project planning gurus, we are the fortune tellers who can anticipate anything that could possibly go wrong and have a plan in place, we remember details about events that no normal human ever would.
  5. We are small business owners.
  6. We become financial advisors as we tackle excel spreadsheets containing budgets for situation a, b, c and so on.
  7. Hard labor? Yeah, you can find us on ladders while in heels. No seriously, we have videos to prove it.
  8. We are asked daily to fix things. There is always something broken, always a fire drill always a last minute presentation update, rendering to be completed before a big meeting.  We live our lives as Chicken Little. Any email in your inbox can be urgent.
  9. We’re always on it.  No such thing as no.  Ever had a deadline or a task at work that was actually impossible?  We do every.single.day – but we figure it out. It doesn’t matter if its Sunday, it doesn’t matter if it’s 10pm.  Not sure how, but every time we do.
  10. We leave our events with our legs numb, our eyes red and our stomachs empty.  We are always the first ones to arrive and the last ones to leave. We say no thank you and watch crab cakes just walk on by.  Our glass of wine will have to wait until we return home.  We run to grab that thing our client needs from the 4th floor even though our legs stopped moving the day before.

With all that being said,  there is no way I would EVER do anything else.  But if you are wondering where I am at 9:00am the day after an event – don’t – because I am in my bed fast asleep, dreaming about the next one.

BACKSTAGE PASS: BEHIND THE SCENES AT East of Ellie

You see our logo, you see our events, you see our silly antics on social media, but what’s the story behind it all?  East of Ellie was born from an entrepreneur with a dream, and has developed into a successful boutique event agency that has had it’s doors open for over seven years for some fantastic clients.  We sat down with founder, Emily Chalk Battaglia, (or ECB as we like to call her) to get the scoop on everything going on at EOE. Check out our interview below –

Why the name “East of Ellie”?

I actually get asked this question all the time.  When I first started dreaming up EOE back in mid 2009 I Untitled-4had this notebook where I had started to write down things that were important to me and have molded my life. I always say that if the reason why you do something doesn’t mean something to you, the outcome isn’t as important.  The EAST is for ‘East Coast.’  I grew up in New Hampshire (as I like to call “The Shire”) and whenever someone asks me where I am from, I never say Stamford, I always say New Hampshire.  Growing up there significantly shaped my life and along with great parenting made me the person I am today. ELLIE is actually my name (Emily) and my oldest niece (Ella) names combined.  5 years later I still get called Ellie, but I secretly love it.  I always thought East of Ellie sounded like this magnificent place that everyone would want to visit.  EOE just came around on its own, obviously standing for East of Ellie.

Is there a reason for the color yellow, besides a favorite color?

The yellow is actually for my grandmother, Idell, who passed away many years ago. She was and still continues to be one of my favorite people of all time. Her favorite flower was yellow roses, and they have become mine too.  Full confession? Yellow is more than a favorite color; it’s a way of life in my world.

What’s EOE’s mission and how do you fulfill it?

If you look at EOE’s strategic plan, the mission statement reads: “To throw Screen Shot 2017-06-08 at 2.27.05 PMridiculously awesome events that make our clients love us, and us love them. Oh and to be ridiculously happy everyday – and sh*t.”  We fulfill our mission everyday by doing exactly that.  If you spend a day in our office you will know that happiness and sarcasm reign supreme.  I have two boards dedicated in my office to the silly things we say everyday. You can often here me say “put it on the board.”  We’ve been fortunate enough to have some of the most amazing clients an agency could ask for.  And plan some pretty legendary events.  So we just keep on, keeping on.

Why Events?

It’s a special kind of crazy.  Being an event planner is one of the most stressful jobs in the country – and I live for it.  It’s probably the same thrill people get from skydiving.  I spent almost 7 years in marketing for a global hotel chain, and nothing compared to the happiness and joy I get from planning events.

Tell Us About an Event You Produced This Year?

eoephotoboothBack in March, we planned and executed a sales conference for a huge client that was on the grandest scale of any event we have ever produced.  In 2016 we planned this conference in Nashville for a smaller group of about 75 and we we’re tasked to blow that event out of the water in 2017. The event held in Los Angeles, CA ran for the majority of 4 days for 200 guests.  This event was much more than a sales conference, it was a hollywood inspired premiere party, a Tuscan inspired lunch, a French inspired reception a block-long marketplace, a glam studio, a major team building production (literally) and so much more all held at the iconic Paramount Studios lots and theaters. The new president of the company said this was the best sales conference he’s attended in his 30 years in the industry. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience for not only our team, but all of the attendees. 

 

 

What’s next for eoe?

Historically, summer has been a bit of our slow down season where we enjoy the downtime, but this year we have two events in mid September, so we are right back into the game! We are hard at work organizing logistical details, creating impressive custom motion graphics and video, and working side by side with the event speakers to ensure their power points are, well, on POINT. We are looking forward to the Fall event season!

Want more behind the scenes fun?  Follow us on social media where you’ll see all that occurs on a daily basis at EOE! Twitter & Instagram: @EastofEllie, and like our Facebook Page

SURVIVAL GUIDE: The 5th Most Stressful Job in America

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Our team at EOE will be the first ones to tell you that working for a small event planning agency is not your typical 9-5 job. Forbes has published that Event Planning is the 5th most stressful job in the country with a stress level of almost 50%. We are constantly on the move for our clients whether we’re rounding up samples, venue hunting, or in meetings. When it comes to the day of the event, event planners will most likely be on their feet for hours on end. Don’t get us wrong, we absolutely LOVE what we do. We would rather be hustling around the city than sitting down all day every day – but success in this career field comes with being prepared.

Here are our tips on to surviving the 5th most stressful job in the country:

Be a master Communicator

With your client, with your team, and with your vendors. This will reduce the chance of any unwanted meeting surprises that you were unprepared for. When setting up a contract with your client, ensure that you are both on the same page as to how much you need each other to plan your event in detail. Some clients may want a weekly meeting with you to ensure they are kept in the loop of all aspects of the event, while others need a simple email only when they are needed. Open communication is crucial for keeping your work hours manageable and efficient.

KEEP IT ALL ORGANIZED

Today’s technology gives you no excuse when it comes to organizing your schedule on your smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc. Set alerts for your meetings and write everything down in your calendars to ensure you don’t double book a meeting or completely forget about one. This includes important dates to your event such as payment dates for vendors, cutoff dates for hotel room blocks, or RSVP deadlines.

TAKE A MENTAL MOMENT

This is one of the most important ones on our list.  At EOE we understand the importance of taking a mental break – a couple minutes scrolling through instagram, a walk outside for a breath of fresh air, whatever works for you.  Problem is, planners suffer from what we like to call “shiny things” syndrome. Next thing you know your 10 minutes break turns into 30. Don’t let precious work time get eaten up by procrastination. During deadlines, every minute counts!

BEWARE OF OVERBOOKING

Event planners have a tendency to try to over-balance work and life. During busy times this can lead to burnout. As people pleasers it’s our first instinct to say yes, take on that extra task, grab a quick drink or try to hit those extra gym classes. Do what you need to do to keep your body and mind healthy, but don’t stress yourself out unnecessarily.

Coffee IV

Sometimes, you don’t have the option to stop working until the job is done. It’s not uncommon to find one of us at the office way before 9am or way after 5pm to ensure that our client is satisfied. We often find ourselves wishing an IV of coffee is a real thing.  Multiple trips to Starbucks per day are a must for us!

ASK TO HELP A SISTA OUT

Event planners have a ‘can do’ attitude which many times will be not only their biggest asset but their greatest downfall.  Delegate where you can. Ask someone to walk your dog during a busy day of meetings, or have your laundry dropped off instead of doing it yourself. The more you delegate in work and in life the more feasible things will feel.

Celebrate!!

Congratulations! You’ve worked your butt off for months to plan an event and have executed it perfectly. Now take some time to relax and reflect, get a massage, take a long bubble bath, whatever you need to do in order to feel refreshed. Event planners need to keep themselves sane somehow!

Need a team that has been there, done that and can handle the stress cool as a cucumber? You’ve found the right team. Give us a shout at rsvp@eastofellie.com.

Oh the Places You’ll Plan…

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If you’re like us, your clients don’t prefer staying put. Event time usually means travel time, and planning events outside of the NYC Metro area has somewhat become our specialty. We’ve already laid out our Survival Guide for Working on The Go, but how does your favorite event team handle the planning process before we even board the plane? Check out a few of our tips:

 

PREPARE FOR BOOKING A VENUE SITE UNSEEN

A high budget is an absolute luxury, and sometimes the budget just isn’t there to fly our team into far away city for some pre-planning. This can mean booking venues without seeing them in person first. A challenge? Yes. Impossible? Never. We make sure to communicate every concern with the venue’s staff, study layouts, and have see photos of every corner so we can truly imagine our vision of the event working in this space.

 

SHIP OR BUY?

Supplies on supplies is the name of the game on site. Depending on the amount of shipping you’re already coordinating on site from client products, etc., it may be cost and workload effective to buy a few items on site instead. Items like snacks and water, or even a cheap printer make way more sense to buy than fly.  Make a list of these items prior to packing and decide what makes the most sense for you and your team.

 

SCOPE OUT ANY EMERGENCY VENDOR LOCATIONS AND HOT SPOTS

Places like Walmart, Staples, and FedEx are your BFFs for last minute grabs or services, and it’s worth it to scout out their locations prior to arriving on site. If you can for see any last minute add ons, such as printing posters, or other specialty collateral, contact a local printer in advance to give them a heads up and get a feel for their current workload. When the client comes up with changes or something new to do, you’re ready to roll with those vendors. Prep is key, ALWAYS!

Thinking of hosting an event in a new city but didn’t think it was possible? We’ve got this. Contact us here.

City Spotlight: San Diego Venues

We’ve featured two of the most major event cities in the country, New York and Washington D.C.  but the truth is, cities all over the country, big and small are popping up with some amazingly unique venues that are redefining what it means to be “corporate appropriate”. Hotels are jazzing up boring ballrooms, and other unique venues are of appeal for the corporate crowd who is looking to modernize their meeting. San Diego, California is no exception to this wave of venue revolution.

See our favorite venues in America’s Finest City below:

Pendry Hotel

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Its no secret that the EOE team avoids hotel event spaces like the plague, but it’s new hotels like The Pendry in Downtown San Diego that could make us reconsider. This boutique hotel boasts 2 ball rooms, 4 meeting rooms, and 6 restaurants and bars! Let us say that again – 6 RESTAURANTS AND BARS! Carry out your day program in one of their well designed ballrooms and when it comes to lunch or reception time, you can create an experience that is perfectly on brand. We <3 options.

 

Liberty Station Venues

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Speaking of options, Liberty Station has 10 indoor and outdoor spaces perfect for the year-round comfortable climate in Southern California. This former Naval Training Center of San Diego has now been transformed into functional event spaces. The venue mixes modern amenities with the historic barrack buildings for the perfect setting.  Liberty station is located directly next to the airport and a bit outside of downtown, so no matter where your attendees are commuting in from, it’ll be a breeze.

 

The Skybox

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There’s always that one client who loves the WOW factor of a downtown top floor rooftop with view for days, and how can we blame them? The Sky Box located in East Village, San Diego offers breathtaking views of the San Diego Skyline, San Diego Bay and Coronado, as well as direct views into Petco Park. Perfect for corporate events, the venue has plenty of A/V built in, and black out & mesh drop down shades. Natural light is great, but always create a plan to dim the room for presentations!

Although we haven’t planned an event in San Diego just yet, we’re waiting for the perfect opportunity to utilize one of these great venues for our clients. Want to see more from our events held all over the country in Los Angeles, Nashville, NYC, Las Vegas Orlando and more? Check out our gallery here. Which city would you like to see featured next?

The White Space Challenge

You already know by now, our team thrives on events we are able to customize from floor to ceiling. We want to be able to come into a space and create a layout the venue has never even tried before, or bring in rentals that blow everyone’s mind. Of course, we always have certain parameters or restrictions on this that we have to abide by, and are able to work off the look and feel of the venue to create an event that fits its aesthetic. But what happens when we are literally give a BLANK SPACE?! A 10’ x 10’ and 20’ x 20’ square outlined with painters tape on a concrete floor. Our only restrictions? We can only build to certain height vertically, otherwise the options are endless.

Ever heard of The White Room Challenge on HGTV? “Top designers face the ultimate blank-canvas test when they’re asked to create a complete room design in a limited time starting with an empty white room and using only pre-defined materials.”

This is exactly how we felt when planning for the 2017 Ulta GM Conference held in Orlando, FL for our two clients, Shiseido and Beauty Prestige Group. Tasked with only the two blank spaces to make visually pleasing, on brand, interactive, and functional. After seeing the final outcome, we have to admit we loved our own version of The White Room Challenge!

Whether you are an event planner helping out a client or an exhibiting company wondering where to start, check out our tips so starting from nothing can be a bit more manageable.

Measure it out for yourself

We are visual learners at EOE, so we map it out when we can. While 10’ x 10’  may seem like a fair amount of space, depending on what you have in mind, that space can fill up extremely quickly. Find an open room in your office or home, use a tape measure and painters tape to create your own box to scale. Then, some things to think about; have you considered how many people will be in the booth? How large are your pieces of furniture? This will allow you to know exactly what you’re working with.

Attendee Experience is Everything

What’s the point of setting up a great booth if nobody visits? Product and people can only be so enticing, give the attendees a booth and experience they can’t say no to. For our clients, we themed the Dolce & Gabbana section of our space after Italy, so gelato and a live italian singer really brought the concept full circle (and we mean, who can say no to gelato?!) Japanese culture is extremely on brand for another client, Shiseido. We had a live artist painting attendee names on paper in Kanji symbols. Not only was there a live show, but the guests had a tangible item to bring back home. It was a huge hit, success!

Plan for Storage Solutions

This is one of those HUGE issues if not properly planned for. Discover what your options are and don’t be afraid to get creative! We’ve learned that when we are traveling for events, renting an extra large vehicle always pays off.

Create a flow

If your booth is large enough for attendees to walk in and through, make it a part of your plan to create a layout that functionally makes sense for flow. If this means “blocking off” a certain section of the booth to create an entrance and exit – by all means! A giant zig zagging mess will make it tough to communicate with attendees and enjoy any experiences you have coordinated.

Check out photos and video from our event below and check out the larger spaces we have transformed for our clients here!

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Event Planner Must Haves: Preferred Vendors

We’ve talked in the past about developing relationships with mentors, but something the EOE team has realized is so incredibly crucial to the success of events are: preferred vendors.

The relationship between an event planner and their go-to vendor are irreplaceable. You have been through the most stressful of times, and the most euphoric moments of pride together. They are always there for you and have saved your butt in a time of need. Best of all, they are one less thing on your giant list to worry about leading up to an event.

Event planners, check out our reasons to have your own #squad of vendors on speed dial:

 

TIME IS MONEY

Few events come to event planners with a ton of time in advance for planning; more often than not we are crunched for time to plan an amazing event without compromising quality! Go-to vendors can save you a ton of time simply on the basis of paperwork. You are already aware of how their contracts are set up, and if your client is in a position to afford the services that are offered by the vendor. It takes valuable time to source multiple vendors, request pricing from each, decide which is best for this client, and review contract. If you already have your go-to on your side, that time could be used more efficiently elsewhere.

 

QUALITY OVER QUANTITY

You also don’t have to spend time meticulously reviewing the quality of their past work making sure it’s up to par with what your clients are expecting. Your go-to vendors finish your sentences for you on exactly what you’re looking for and can hit the ground running after a quick briefing. With them on your side you’ll never have to worry about the service or product not meeting your standards. Best of all, you know they’ll show up on time come event day and knock it out of the park. #SquadGoals.

 

WE KEEP EACH OTHER SANE

Let’s just face the fact: the events world can be crazy. As close as you are with your family, spouse, friends, etc. you’ll still come home at the end of the day feeling like nobody understands the craziness you endure. When you can find an industry vendor and develop a great working relationship, it can help your mental health as an event planner immensely! They share the special kind of crazy that we all surrender to on this career path. And when your event is all said and done, take a moment to celebrate! Cheers!

Who are some of your go-to vendors? We’ve got the best lineup who are a huge part in helping us create our legendary events.  See some of our past work here, such as the caterer who provided custom branded sushi jackets to her chefs, or the lighting team who installed amazing halo style chandeliers. 

Larger Than Life Branding At Events

Is less always more? Sometimes we and fellow event agencies alike believe the opposite of the old saying when it comes to branding at events. With so many companies competing for engagement and exposure from attendees, their branding keeps getting creatively bigger and better, and it’s working.See our favorite ways brands went after exposure and engagement at events including latest EOE creation that attendees loved!

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Giant blow up beach balls are nothing new to festival or concert settings, but this giant version does so much more than expose HP’s logo. To meet its “make memories last” initiative, “the ball had an integrated HD camera and it was able to take photos and videos, bringing a whole new perspective to the event while retaining the digital aspect through broadcasting photos in real-time onto the stage and via live stream, as well as uploading them onto social media for fans to connect and engage.”*

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Tents are not revolutionary to the outdoor event space either, but molding a classic tent to match your brand and product is genius. Attendees won’t be able to resist finding out what’s in this giant shoebox, which is exactly what Adidas wants.

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When Xbox’s consumers use their product, they are transported to worlds beyond their imagination. So to live up to what Xbox offers its consumers, they have to give their best shot at creating a stage that challenges reality.

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The television hit, “Guy’s Grocery Games”, is an extreme version of grocery shopping, so taking their branding to the extreme as well was no surprise. This giant grocery cart resembled more of a monster truck with mini versions surrounding for engagement. Photo: Nadia Chaudhury/BizBash

 

 

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And of course, we couldn’t forget about one of our favorite activations to date we had custom built for our client’s internal sales meeting in Los Angeles. We were thinking BIG and thought, let’s put a spin on hollywood’s iconic “paparazzi and press” and create the perfect photo booth for attendees. Each brand contributed their headline for the “cover” of our parody on The Hollywood Reporter, making it all more special.

Inspired by these big name brands but still not sure how to execute so that it makes sense for you? Lets chat! Contact Us. If you’re looking for even more inspiration, check out our Pinterest Board here.

*Branding Magazine 

Survival Guide: Working on the Go

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Since 2017 officially began, the East of Ellie team has flown across the country a handful of times as well as countless trips to NYC. We love the excitement and travel, but keeping up with all of the workflow on the road ain’t always easy peasy. See our tips for how we stay on top of it all:

 

Save your iPhone’s juice with Low Battery Mode

When we’re running around with back to back meetings in different locations, we don’t have the luxury of sitting down to charge our devices. The best way to conserve your iPhone’s battery life is to venture into your Settings App and turn on “Low Battery Mode”. Unlike Airplane Mode which is another go-to to save battery power, Low Battery Mode still allows emails, calls and texts to come through and be sent out. Score!

 

Download Docs Before You Hit 30,000 Feet

What’s up with the wifi? In some flights, wifi can be spotty or not available at all. Don’t take any chances by missing out on hours of valuable work time; download whatever documents you need from online to your desktop. No matter what the wifi situation is on the plane, you’ll be fully equipped to tackle your tasks. Ready for takeoff!

 

Carry the Perfect Bag

Fast Company created a list of the perfect work-life balance bags for women. All of these bags are designed to be long lasting, and tech forward. Both very important to the East of Ellie team and fellow hustlers like you. Added bonus – by purchasing any one of these, you’ll be supporting a small biz/startup!

 

Opt for Public Transportation

Driving may seem like the fastest, and most financially sensible option in terms of traveling from appointment to appointment. You go directly from point A to point B when and how you want to. However, unforeseen factors like traffic and getting lost can have you frustrated, tired and worst of all, LATE. Our #1 reason to opt for public transportation when we’re on the go? You can get 100% more work done riding the train, bus, subway or camelback.

 
Need a travel-savvy team that has executed legendary events in numerous cities all over the country? Reach out and say hi! rsvp@eastofellie.com Keep up with our travels on Instagram: eastofellie.

One Step at a Time: Venue Site Visits with Clients

Arguably the most exciting part of an event is what we like to call the “brainstorming” portion of the planning process. You’ve selected a venue, and now you are dreaming of ways to take your event concept full circle with decor, layout and agenda all contributing to the goals of your clients event. All you need is their giant stamp of approval. Easy right? Well, not always. Check out our tips below for the very first time you bring your client to their event space:

I’LL BELIEVE IT WHEN I SEE IT

Bringing your client along for your first site visit is a huuuge no no. For one, there may be unforeseen issues that make the venue a complete deal breaker. Factors such as, bad location, the building falling apart, or super unprofessional staff. Hoping that those all pass the test, walking through the site visit with the venue manager is extremely helpful to hash out all of your event planner questions that aren’t important to the client in this stage of the process.

LADIES, LEAVE YOUR VENDORS AT HOME (Destiny’s Child voice)

Venue site visits can be overwhelming, and vendors joining this site visit may actually make this a  counterproductive meeting. Although the vendors are a huge part of your event, they don’t belong at your client’s first walkthrough of the space. Take them with you during your first site visit by yourself and talk out initial plans. If it is important to have a vendor meet with the client, this can be done further down the road when so much information isn’t all being processed at once.

PAINT THEM A PICTURE

It’s safe to say that a large majority of our clients are visual learners. As event planners, of course we can picture how a wooden 66” round will blend seamlessly with a gold rimmed charger and a cream peony centerpiece, but say that to a client? They’ll be saying “huh” before you’ve even made it through the lobby. Inspiration boards of past events are great, but we always step it up a notch by digitally mocking up exactly what we have in mind for the client’s event. Whether it’s their logo projected on a wall, or their signature product displayed on custom tabletops, this will change your client’s perspective from picturing any event to visualizing THEIR event.

DON’T TOUCH WHAT YOU CAN’T AFFORD

Ever watch Say Yes to the Dress? Although East of Ellie never dabbles in the wedding side of events, we’ve seen an episode or five. The store’s number one rule is to NEVER show a bride a dress that is out of their price range. 90% of the time they will absolutely fall in love, and then they can’t have it. Assuming you’ve passed level one of this rule being that the venue is in budget, we’re really talking about potentially expensive ideas to enhance the events experience. Don’t mention aerial performers later to find out all in it’s going to cost you 10k because of unforeseen insurance and ceiling support. Your client will be pretty disappointed when they tell you they was so obsessed with our idea, they enrolled into a year membership at an aerial yoga studio. Ouch.

 
That feeling you get when you’re client gives you the green light and you’re ready to roll with your vendors is one of the best an event planner can get, expedite the process with these tips! What are the craziest event ideas you’ve convinced your client to go for? Check out our clients custom branded sushi chef jackets, 30+ft tall window cling, floating halo light chandeliers and more in our gallery. We can’t wait to show you what’s next! Stay tuned…

MOST COMMON MISTAKES MADE AT VENUE VISITS

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It’s no doubt – venue site visits are exciting. “Field trips” as I call them are a nice break from a full day in the office. If you are extremely visual, a venue visit is the first time the event becomes reality, and you can get a full understanding of the layout and what type of experience your guests will endure. But venue visits can be rare, especially if you plan events that aren’t local – so it’s important to get the most out of them when you can.

SEE THE MOST COMMON MISTAKES THAT ARE MADE AT VENUE VISITS THAT WILL CREATE MORE WORK FOR YOU IN THE FUTURE:

 

NOT TAKING PHOTOS/VIDEO

Sure, you already have the photos the venue has provided – but be sure to snap a few of your own. Get different angles, note where things will be, how much space there is, etc. Depending on how large of a venue you’re dealing with, taking video in the perspective of a guest experience can be extremely helpful to send along to your client or team.

FORGETTING YOUR TAPE MEASURE

Yes, event planners and tape measures are like two peas in a pod. Wait, we’re not contractors… True, but when it comes to designing signage or working with tight spaces, knowing EXACTLY how much space you have in a certain part of the room can be extremely helpful when you are back in the office chatting with your vendors. The venue usually has specs for each of the rooms, but you may need more specific measurements based on the scope of event design elements.

KEEPING NOTES IN YOUR HEAD

This rule goes for bringing questions into the venue and leaving the venue visit with notes. We are only human, we WILL forget questions and notes eventually. Especially at site visits when you are taking in so much information and planning at the same time, thoughts can get jumbled. To ensure you are touching on every question, bring a notebook, type them in your phone, whatever it takes to have them concrete and easily accessible at your visit and when you get back to the office.

CONCLUDE WITHOUT DISCUSSING ACTION ITEMS

The best way to conclude a site visit is to review every ones “to-dos” from the visit to ensure everyone is on the same page. A quick recap discussing who is doing what and when it should be expected to be completed will alleviate later confusion such as, “Oh wait, I thought you were doing that, not me.” If necessary, also take this time to set up a follow up meeting to avoid going back in forth in the future.

Trust us, we’ve learned these tips the hard way and now fully embrace them at every site visit to ensure maximum success for our events. What tips do you have for site visits? We’d love to see them in the comments below.

Announcing EOE’s New Assistant Events Coordinator

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The East of Ellie team is a growin’! We are well underway planning multiple events throughout 2017 and are thrilled to have another event planner to assist in coordinating all the many moving parts.  Get the inside scoop on our latest team member, Karen Marin.

Karen is a recent graduate from the University of Connecticut, 2016. Karen’s outgoing and personable character contributes to her passion and drive for Event Marketing. Her background allows for her to understand the importance of our innovative, industry leading events, as we help brands creatively amaze their audiences.

Karen keeps balanced by finding time for her evening cycle classes as well as volunteering as a member of Connecticut’s Quest For Peace. 

If Karen looks familiar, this isn’t the first time you’ve seen her on the blog. She joined the East of Ellie team as an Events Intern in the summer of 2015. During her internship she quickly established her love for the events world, as well as EOE. She is delighted to be back full-time as our Assistant Event Coordinator, and we are equally excited to have her!

 

Five Fun Facts:

  1. Softie for sunsets
  2. Celebrity girl crush: Chrissy Teigen
  3. Favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor is Half Baked
  4. Spanish was her first language!
  5. Middle name is unfortunately not Sharon

Looking for Adventure or Whatever Comes Our Way – A Look Back at 2016

Stamford CT has been home to EOE, but as we love to joke, we could be located anywhere in this great country because we travel, travel, and travel some more.  

Get your motor running – done.

Head out on the highway (in our case airplane and an event runway) – double check.

Looking for adventure or whatever comes our way – yes please.

As we reflect on 2016, it took the East of Ellie team many places, (even across the pond to London and Ireland!) After every city we visit, we always come back with new knowledge on event spaces of course which we will share below, but it wouldn’t be the Ellie team if we didn’t sneak some fun & shenanigans into our travels. Next time you’re on business in one of these selected cities or just there for fun, check out Ellie’s favorite spots:

 

Los Angeles

Goin, goin, back back to Cali Cali

We kicked off 2016 with a quick trip to sunny Los Angeles, California. A break from the cold had us like, YAS. Founder, Emily Chalk, was invited to talk about her success with East of Ellie at Business Rockstars, check out the video here.

Event Space Highlight: Coworking spaces.

If you search coworking spaces in Los Angeles, (no you’re computer does not have chicken pox) you’ll see the city is full of them. These funky, well designed spaces are the perfect hubs for smaller corporate or social events.

Ellie’s Favorite Spot(s): SideCar Donuts, Santa Monica. Talk about LIFE CHANGING. No further explanation needed, just go check it out. Also be sure to check out one of the most spectacular shows that in Los Angeles absolutely FREE. Between 4pm – 9pm depending on the time of year, head as west as far as the road takes you and watch a big ball of fire drop into the pacific ocean as the infinite sky illuminates with colors across the spectrum. Alternatively defined as a “west coast sunset”.

 

Nashville

It’s a crazy town full of Neon Dreams

Chances are if you follow EOE on social media, you may have seen us highlight our March 2016 event in Nashville, TN. Well can you blame us? We can’t help our obsession with this fine city!

Event Space Highlight: Avenue and Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery. In search of some warm, home-y feels and southern hospitality, we found it in these two gems for our client, Beauté Prestige International. It was the perfect setting to bring the sales team together from all over the country, and you bet your bottom dollar we utilized the Avenue stage for some live band karaoke!

Ellie’s Favorite Spot(s): It’s hard to pick ANYTHING besides the bars and restaurants of Broadway. The music radiating through the streets, the energy of the people celebrating life, the place where future country music celebrities are discovered, truly nothing compares.

 

Chicago

Come on. Baby don’t you want to go. Back to that same old place. Sweet home Chicago.

Event Space Highlight: Willis Tower 99th Floor Talk about VIEWS. We couldn’t believe our eyes as we stepped off the elevator that had just climbed 99 stories. Our eyes took in views of lake michigan, all of downtown, and the suburbs as far as the eye can see. Wrigley Rooftops is also a great option for a sports loving audience with an appreciation for a great piece of American history. And hey, those Cubs finally won the series this year!

Ellie’s Favorite Spot(s): The Girl and The Goat. It’s no secret the East of Ellie team appreciates more than anyone a great experience. After all, that is the center of what we do all day every day. Believe us when we tell you eating at The Girl and The Goat is nothing short of a memorable experience. The reservation waiting list is booked up for months. Yep, months. If that doesn’t hint at how awesome this place is, we don’t know what will. Oh and don’t let the menu freak you out, you’ll see what we mean.

Looking for more venue inspiration across cities? We’ve covered our favorites in New York, and D.C. with more to come on the blog for 2017. What are the cities you want to see featured?

3 Tips for Black Tie Events

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Some people love ‘em and some people hate ‘em, but it’s important that your guests love every detail of your formal event. Between the holidays and New Year’s Eve, black tie events are notably popular during the holiday season.  Leave
it to the pros, we’ve laid out 3 key tips to keep in mind that will make your black tie event a success:

DRESS CODE

The design of invitations is the first glimpse guests receive into what type of event they are being invited to.  By having your invitations reflect formality and classic style, guests will have a better idea of what they are attending.  Invitations should never say “black tie optional” for a formal event. Instead of having guests feel over or underdressed, make sure you are clear on invitations about the dress code in addition to overall mood. No one likes the feeling of not knowing what to wear!

FORMAL PHOTOS

Although everyone loves a good selfie, when guests are dressed to the nines, give them a chance to capture the moment through a professional photo opp. Having a professional photographer present shows guests that you’re going the extra length to make their evening special. Also, allow for your guests to pick photos after the event, so they won’t have to worry about carrying a delicate photo all night.

MENU CHOICES

When choosing your menu for a black tie event, dishes need to look as attractive as the crowd. Plated three-course meals are the best options for formal events. The presentation of the meals is key because the plate appearance is part of the experience for guests. They should also be easy to eat with no chance of a mess on those designer dresses. Bon appetit!

 

Black ties events can be difficult to plan because the details make a real difference. Following these tips will help you win over even the most critical guests! Looking for more guidance for your event? Shoot EOE a quick email, we’d be happy to help.

Event Planner Gift Guide

GIFT GUIDE

We’ve already specified that event planners are special types of humans. Our brain just works differently, we thrive on organization and pretty things. So when shopping for the event planner of your life, whether they are an established business owner or throw the best damn DIY parties you’ve ever been to, be sure to hit the gifts that are most likely on their lists.

AUDIBLE SUBSCRIPTION 
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Like most event planners, the EOE team is always traveling to and from events. Audible is a digital audiobook subscription that will help the busiest event planners pass time and become the ultimate digital bookworms!

TRAVEL STEAMER

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A compact steamer is ideal for us traveling event planners not just to ensure that we are looking polished, but that our event linens are looking sharp as well.

GO PRO

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We love to keep behind the scenes footage of our events.  It’s a great way to inexpensively document your team’s willingness to go above and beyond where all the magic happens. Go Pro’s durability is one less thing you need to worry about while executing an event. Dropped it in some water? No problem, it’s probably a cool angle anyway.

LILLY PULITZER AGENDA
We are suckers for a great agenda to plan ahead.  Plus, there are so many styles to choose from! The iconic Lilly Pulitzer prints will brighten up even the rainiest of days. We guarantee that the event planner in your life will need their 2017 agenda ASAP.

ACTION PADSTo do lists? no problem.  Action pads are awesome for highlighting the actual to dos from a long list of things to do. For us, having our to-do list written down neatly is a gift in itself. AND it comes in different colors? Done.

PORTABLE ELECTRONICS CHARGER

chargerEvent planners spend long hours away from their offices while being on-site at events, meetings, or on the road. However, we cannot afford for our phones and laptops to die on us! Our clients or vendors cannot get in touch with us? Event nightmare. Portable chargers are the perfect gifts for every planner’s emergency kit.

FANCY COFFEE CUP

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Most event planners are like us with their shenanigans and antics.  It’s a fun gift and very practical for the endless coffee we consume on the daily.

BUSINESS CARD HOLDER

Event planners run into new potential clients and vendors in parking lots, grocery stores, or even at the gym.  Having a fancy holder for your business cards lets you always feel prepared and organized, cause digging through a messy purse to find a card is not a good look.   

MULTIFUNCTIONAL PEN

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Go ahead and laugh, but when you are making notes for 5 different clients in a span of an hour, having the option to color code can really save you some time and headache.

PHONESOAP

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Our cell phones are quickly becoming the dirtiest item we own. We are constantly touching it and putting it up to our cheek, but cannot afford to get sick from our everyday addiction. But a gift that only did one job would be a waste of our time, it charges your phone while sanitizing. Win.

 

Need a few more gift ideas? Your event planner may be running low on supplies in their Emergency Supply Kit or need a new outfit for Event Day. Click the links to see more!

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We want to hear from you!