The Experience Generation: What it Means for Corporate Events

The Experience Generation- is society catching on to the obsession that we’ve always had at East of Ellie? The answer is- yes. Millennials are valuing experiences over possessions more than ever.

In a study conducted by Eventbrite, they proved experiences help shape identity & create life-long memories. “Nearly 8 in 10 (77%) millennials say some of their best memories are from an event or live experience they attended or participated in. 69% believe attending live events and experiences make them more connected to other people, the community, and the world.”

So, what does this mean for the future of corporate events? Millennials are on their way to taking the front seat in the corporate world, as the eldest millennials turn 35 this year.  Trends point in the direction that millennials care less about their salaries and more about the perks and work-life balance that their company can provide.

How can companies keep up with the desires of top-talent millennials? We believe the answer is simple:

Keep them engaged in company related experiences and heighten the sense of community through events.

Begin this shift by improving events that your company has been hosting the same way for years, or add more to the mix. A few of our favorites ways for companies to do this:

CREATIVE SALES CONFERENCES

Don’t let your employees feel like you’re shipping them to paradise, just to lock them in a hotel for four days. Integrate on-brand experiences, team building and entertainment to fuse education with engagement at your sales conference. We took over Paramount Studios at our last sales conference for a modern hollywood style experience for guests. See more here.

GOLF OUTINGS

Get employees out of their cubicles and have them take a breath of fresh air out on the course. Invite partners, prospective customers, whatever makes sense for your business to have fun AND network. As they say, deals are done on the golf course. We broke out the drone at one of our last golf events, check the amazing footage here.

LITERAL VACATIONS

These 10 companies take their employees on vacation every year! Investing in the “reset” of your employees will increase their productivity and loyalty to your company. This also improves relationships of employees and educates them on places all over the world! If creativity and inspiration is a key part of your company, this option may be best for you.

“TOWN HALL” MEETINGS

Feel like your company just seems a little.. disconnected? Bring them out of the office for an interactive day of presentations by leaders in the company. This rare face time between the “do-ers” and the C-level exec’s will have a greater impact on employees retaining key information to improve their work. See how we’ve spiced up these meetings here.

Need a team who has a proven track record of wowing guests, and providing unique atmospheres for client’s to get down to business? Shoot us an email and Let’s Get Planning! rsvp@eastofellie.com

Facts found by Eventbrite, https://www.eventbrite.com/blog/academy/millennials-fueling-experience-economy/

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.

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…

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!

Setting the Stage for Internal Meetings

Setting the Stage for Internal Meetings
As event planners, we love our clients and our clients love us.  One of the things we love the most is when our clients want something new, fresh, different, and best of all – unexpected.

Fast forward 7 years after EOE opened its doors to about a month ago when we were in the thick of planning a grand internal meeting for one of our clients.  We know as event planners that when our clients are planning a presentation for their peers and colleagues, there’s a certain level of pressure that comes with making sure attendees are engaged. As the Event Planners, it’s our mission to make sure everything that we can do to capture the audience has been deeply thought about and brilliantly executed.  Being on stage doing the talking?  Well, we leave that up to presenter.  But how can we help that presenter really showcase their style?  How can we “set the stage” for their performance in front of their peers and colleagues?  The question we ask ourselves is how do we prevent everything the dreaded unexpected event dilemmas to attendee disengagement?  The standard, “Oh sorry I was playing Solitaire on my phone because I couldn’t see the presentation.  “Oh I was talking to Brenda because I could barely hear the presenter”, or our favorite go to excuse “Oh sorry, but these chairs are just so uncomfortable, I was not really able to focus.”

For us, we take a lot of extra steps in the planning process to prevent this from happening.  We plan the most effective room layouts based on the objective and these factors in advance. Not to mention, and by now probably goes without saying, we don’t love the norm.  Want eyes on what we’ve done in the past? We’re dishing our 3 favorites:

  1. Runwayrunway

   No, this is not the type of a runway for a fashion show, although Event Manager, Cindy, definitely made it a point to “test it out” during the load in stage of our past event. This layout is ideal for attendee engagement. As an “in their face” type of setup, this is one of East of Ellie’s go-tos for internal meetings when the client is looking to ditch the same old, same old. Not only do attendees have a clear view of the presenter at all times, but the setup also gives the presenters the opportunity to move around and make a connection with the audience, rather than just standing on a singular stage. Just make sure your stage doesn’t squeak.  Pass the WD-40 please.

 

  1.  Fly me to the moon and let me make myself the startables

If the purpose of your meeting to truly connect with your audience with an interactive conversation in a casual setting, this option may be best. One client even took the engagement a step further and literally sat on the stage to truly have a back and forth conversation with her audience. This was a great way to boost engagement amongst attendees because they felt like they were out to lunch rather than at a lecture.

 

  1. U-shaped

This layout requires setting up a series u-shapeof conference tables in the shape of a U with chairs on the outside. It can be used on large or a small scale, but it works most effectively for a small audience. This setup allows the presenter to move about the open space in the middle and engage with participants. The U-shape layout also gives attendees the opportunity to engage with each other and have a discussion. And who doesn’t love a table in front of them for ample note-taking?

 

Wondering what clients have utilized these floor plans? See them here: eastofellie.com/clients. Looking for event planners that have the experience setting the stage? Contact us today and let’s get planning! rsvp@eastofellie.com.

DIY OR BUY?

The “Do it Yourself” (DIY) trend may seem like the best idea when planning an event, but is it always the right decision? Event planners have the option to choose the DIY path for an event when it not only ensures that it will embody the vision, but it will also help avoid extra costs of purchasing something from a vendor.

We’ve all been there, scrolling through Pinterest in order to find aesthetic inspirations. But that perfectly done centerpiece and creative swag bags might be more labor intensive and costly than they appear on the perfect Pinterest world.

Don’t get us wrong, the East of Ellie team LOVES getting inspired on Pinterest and we also love a good DIY project. However, it’s important to stay realistic and figure out what should be a DIY or a buy? Ask yourself these questions:

 

Is it REALLY saving you money?

In the event planner world, nothing is truer than TIME = MONEY. When it is crunch time and you are down to the wire finishing tasks and granting the last minute wishes of your client, you would sell your soul to have that vendor take those awards off your hands.

 

Is it a REALISTIC project?

It’s crucial to not overextend yourself and also to not overestimate your crafting abilities. Choosing to take on one DIY project for a large event and two or three for a smaller event might be the best decision. It’s a great way to add a personal touch, ensure your vision is being met, but without burying yourself in a pile of arts and crafts. May we remind you, this is not yo’ job.

 

Is there SOMEONE ELSE that can achieve your vision?

You may not be able to find a vendor that can easily do what you’re looking for which immediately makes you want to give up and DIY. However, sometimes you might get lucky and find someone who can create exactly what you need at a price you can pay. For our Nashville Inspired Internal Meeting for Beaute Prestige International, we found an Etsy seller who was able to print on real vinyl records. She had access to cheap records and already had templates setup for printing perfection. Now, THAT was worth the vendor take over. We got exactly what we wanted and didn’t have to DIY.

As event planners, we have to be able to devote our time to all of our clients needs which means making the decision of taking on the “fun” DIY projects or passing along to another lucky soul who gets to hand create that custom confetti for us.

Need the pros who have lived through a Pinterest Fail or two and knows what’s worth it to DIY or buy? Let us know what you have in mind at RSVP@eastofellie.com.

How Planning a Successful Event is like Winning an Olympic Gold Medal

Here I am, on my couch watching prime time olympics waiting for my favorite event to come on – Women’s Gymnastics. This is arguably one of the most entertaining events of the olympics, and it brings me back to my days when I was 12 years old flipping around in a leotard myself. You saw our post on PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT: HOW EVENT PLANNING IS OUR PERFORMANCE SPORT and relating executing an event flawlessly to winning the olympics is really quite simple:

Preparation

Most olympic athletes prep their entire lives for the olympics and the intense training happens in the four years between each summer olympic games. Just like them, our entire lives we have been gaining skills that have turned us into true event planners, but really prep for our event four (okay, months not years) prior to the event. Olympians and planners alike – this part of the process in winning the gold is the MOST crucial. Without a solid game plan and mental preparation for the pressure, anyone can crack during the big day.

 

Qualify

Time to assemble the team. A few weeks out from the big event, we make event teams from the best of the best! Registration, Sponsorship Lead, Stage Director, and more! These might as well be their own events within the games. Find those who can shine at each position, but can also pull their own to win the team gold, not just individual!

 

Execute

The stage is set, the heat of the lights, the roar of the crowd (or cocktail drinkers) are upon us! Time to execute everything you have planned and practiced.

 

Victory Song

For the U.S. olympians, the National Anthem is played as the nation’s flag is proudly raised from the floor after scoring gold. For event planners, take a moment to appreciate your victory moment! Whether you bust out a move walking by the dance floor at the end of the night or jam out in your car on the way home, take a moment to reflect on all the hard work. The next event (or olympics) will be here before we know it!

 

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Tenting 101

Although we are indeed corporate event planners, we tend to plan most events in not-so conventional spaces. Delivering legendary events means thinking out of the box and thinking custom. Therefore, we absolutely love a good tent! Hopefully you read our previous blog post Pros and Cons of Hosting Events In or Around the Home and were inspired to host your own soiree, or you found an awesome venue to utilize the outdoor space instead of staying inside. Whichever space fits for your type of event – tents can handle it all. But, where to start?

1. Choose your type of tent

Wait, there’s more than one kind of giant tent? Indeed there is! Aren’t options great to have?

Sailcloth Tents
Sailcloth tents offer a crisp, clean look with a lightweight fabric perfect for events where style is priority. As members of the coastal Northeast – we’re definitely a fan of this style.

Century Style
Century Tents offer high peaks, and sweeping ceilings. This style tent does need to be staked to the ground, so you’ll need to consider a little extra real estate to include around the perimeter of your tent footprint.

Framed Tent
Want to ditch the center poles that come down from the ceiling and obstruct floor space? Framed Tents are for you. These tents come with options for clear or classic colored ceilings.

2. Choose your “extras”

When you see a gorgeous photo of an event-ready tent, you’re probably looking at a wood floor installation, custom lighting, maybe even fabric draping, etc. The sad truth is that these do not magically come with the tent. Extra’s can add up and be EXPENSIVE. So, depending on your budget, you may not be able to afford to install floor throughout the entire space or cover up those aluminum poles with gorgeous fabric. Either way, manage your client’s expectation to work them into the budget sooner than later. We do however ALWAYS recommend having removable “walls” to protect the interior from rain, bugs and whatever else mother nature wants to throw at you. Sure, a light drizzle won’t ruin anyone’s dinner without them, but in heavy rain and 30mph+ winds, we were really happy about having them at a past event.

3. Pull Permits

Event planning is all about avoiding disaster on the big day, and making sure you are all covered on your permits & inspections is crucial. This is something overlooked by many but can completely ruin your event by the officials shutting it down. Please, please, don’t let this happen to you or your client. From electrical, to fire retardant materials, rules on candles and more, each of these is regulated by local government in each city/town. Talk with your tent rental company, local permit department, or any vendors ahead of time about everything you plan on executing so there are no day of issues.

4. Party On!

Congrats! You’ve passed Tent 101. Creating an event in essentially a blank canvas layout customized to your liking can be a ton of work but the end result will be so satisfying to both you and your client.

Looking for event planners that have mastered the art of planning an event in a tent? You’ve found the right team. Contact us today and let’s get planning! rsvp@eastofellie.com

PROS AND CONS OF HOSTING EVENTS IN YOUR HOME

Fabulously executed events don’t always have to happen at expensive venues that involve lots of travel and accommodations. Depending on how the size and layout of your property, events can be held in or outside the home. This location option boasts advantages and disadvantages that range across the spectrum of event planning. To simplify your decision, we’ve laid out why this could be beneficial, but also recognizing some of its drawbacks so there are no unwanted surprises.

Pros

Convenience of Travel

One of the most obvious reasons you should have your event at home is so that you don’t have to go anywhere! All site reviews, design meetings, and of course the actual event all come to you and your home. In some cases, your guests are people that live relatively close to you which makes the venue location easy for them to locate. Guests that live out of town also now have the option to stay in your home which will avoid costly hotel fees. Keeping your guests happy is extremely important to the success of your event.

Familiarity with Setting

You see your home every single day, so unlike a venue that you have visited once or twice, you couldn’t be more familiar with your own venue space! Though measurements eventually need to be taken, you have a general idea of whats going to work and where.

Easier Access to Amenities

Usage of storage in a basement, extra bedrooms, a kitchen, your personal wine cellar, or a even pool are just a few of the amenities that are not common in other venue spaces. At your home, these conveniences are only a few steps away and could be a great element that adds to the flow of your event.

Warmer Atmosphere

Using a home or an outdoor space can supply your event with a warmer, more intimate feeling. If this type of setting makes sense for your event, you may want to consider your home as a venue choice. Simple characteristics such as a fireplace or comfortable couches that already exist in your home can make guests feel more comfortable and relaxed.

Can be Planned Quickly with Any Date of your Choice

Popular venues can be booked out for months, so if your events calls for shorter notice, using your home as a venue may be the way to go.

Weather Proof

Hot and humid summer day with a 5pm thunderstorm? Sounds like typical unpredictable weather. Even if your event is planned outside of your home, you can always temporarily host your guests inside of your home until the weather clears up.

Cons

Potential Damage/Clean up:

Accidents can easily happen at events whether caused from guests or vendors. Be sure that the proper precautions are taking to protect valuable or sentimental items in your home.

Liability to Guests & Vendors looking into some extra insurance may ease some of your stress of having an event in your home.

Neighbors

Most neighbors should be okay with you hosting an event as long as it is kept appropriate. However, it is a good idea to give them a heads up about what is going on so they feel as comfortable as possible during the celebration.

Limited Parking

Although every home is different, chances are you don’t have parking spaces for all guests in front of your home. Unless you want your front yard to turn into a parking lot, hire valet to handle this aspect of the event.

The grey zone, these each hold pros and cons.

Vendors

PRO: Choose whichever vendor you want. This option gives you unlimited options for all the elements of your event.

CON: If you are not an events expert, finding the best vendors could be timely and expensive.

Budget

PRO: Hosting your own event can be inexpensive, a venue is one of the priciest elements of an event.

CON: Warning! It can however turn into a larger expense than you expected. After renting chairs, tables, sound equipment, etc. (that are already included in venue pricing) it can add up quickly.

Blank Slate

PRO: Since you are starting with a blank slate, every single aspect of your event design is up to you. Imagine the possibilities!

CON: Most homes are not set up to be event locations. It could be a lot of effort to transform a home or backyard into a functional event space.

We love events because they are so versatile when it comes to designing them based on their purpose. If you feel like hosting the event in or around your home would be beneficial to your guests and objective, we say go for it! We’ve planned successful events in our clients homes, and yours can be next. Call us today and Let’s Get Planning (
203) 548 9054.

You Know it’s Event Day When…

You know its Event day when
As event planners, let’s face it, we LIVE for event day.  There is this euphoric feeling of satisfaction (or horror) depending at what point of the event you are in. Event day is when you have the last opportunity to make your event everything it was meant to be – no pressure, right?

As a sequel to our previous post You Know You’re an Event Planner When… we’re breaking down those precious moments when you realize, it must be EVENT DAY. Hours upon hours of work are put into the planning process of this day – event planners, this is what we’ve been training for.

You know it’s Event Day when…

  1. You barely slept the night before
  2. You start the day feeling 60% excitement and 40% anxiety
  3. Outfit of the day: black on black on black
  4. A hearty breakfast is a must, no cereal is going to fuel the day you’re about to have. (Bacon Egg and Cheese is an EOE tradition) BUT forget being able to eat the rest of the day – so enjoy that sandwich.
  5. You get to the event early to have a little “alone” time, but that never ends up working out.
  6. You thank your lucky stars that you paid the little extra for a cell phone internet hot spot
  7. Your phone has never seen more calls from numbers that are not stored as contacts, (good morning vendors!)
  8. You will pick up and carry more than one thing you “weren’t supposed to”
  9. Your clipboard becomes your favorite accessory
  10. You will be told about something you’ve never heard about from your client.  You will smile, and put it on your to-do list.
  11. Every moment your pen creates a check mark on your checklist is pure satisfaction
  12. You hear your name called from every corner, cranny, hallway and doorway, all day long.  
  13. You will misplace everything you need: clipboard, cell phone, pens and sharpies are just a few that come to mind.
  14. The supplies box contains binder clips, glue sticks, t-pins, duct tape and some weird squiggly things, and you’ve used every one of them.
  15. You will tweak, fluff, move, clean and modify anything and everything until your vision is perfect.
  16. Your meeting planner office, which at one point was organized with event supplies and snacks, will look like a hurricane hit it.
  17. You know every security code, light switch, bathroom, temperature control and exit in the event space.
  18. Your FitBit steps are off the charts!
  19. Your legs will ache, your feet will feel numb, but somehow you just keep going.
  20. You take a quick moment to embrace the sadness that it’s all over.  Then you rally, and get ready for the next one.

 

Want to see some of the glory photos from our events?  Check out www.eastofellie.com/gallery.  

Cheer Up Buttercup: April Showers Bring May Flowers Event

May has arrived and it feels like spring is finally on its way! Even though the sunny days to come are going to be wonderful, we can’t forget about the countless rainy days the spring weather brings to New England. As you take out your rain boots, umbrellas, and rain jackets, we want you to celebrate and embrace this rainy weather in our favorite way – through an event! We’ve gathered our favorite tips on how to transform your event space into a unique April showers bring May flowers event!

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The bigger the idea the better! We plan events for luxury brands, so obviously we looked to Jimmy Choo to show us how a flower wall in store can inspire a bright and colorful spring line launch event. With colors of the brand, or colors from the latest collection, you can create something spectacular.

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Even if your brand is like Kate Spade– fun, bright, and classy, you can add a flower wall to your event like Kate did to her store front. It’s fitting, and inviting (with great picture opportunities for social media buzz!)

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Cocktails are always a great way to get the good vibes rolling at a rainy day party, but how cool would it be to keep the May flowers theme going? Adding a little element of your theme to every aspect of the event can wow guests, and continue the bright color pop.

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Have a high ceiling in your event space? Don’t let all the open space go to waste! These lighting fixtures captured us from the moment we laid eyes on them. With this type of decor you can keep a simple table (more space for food), or you can really go all out and add more flowers and really surprise your guests. With flowers above, think of other options for the centerpieces like teapots, or rainboots!

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One of our favorite flowers are tulips. They give a traditional spring look, and add a classic feel. Sometimes simple is better than elaborate, so take your sweet spring time event, and add an element that is classic and unforgettable.

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Celebrate the beauty of spring and all of its craziness using our tips for throwing the perfect April showers bring May flowers event! Want to take your elements of your brand and create a spring themed event but don’t know where to start? Contact us today and let’s get planning.

WASHINGTON D.C. Event Venues

 

You Vote: Our Candidates for the Best D.C. Venues

 

In light of the recent Connecticut Primaries and one of our favorite cities to explore for venues, we are highlighting venues in you guessed it, Washington D.C. Although we loved working with VP Joe Biden in the past, we’re not talking politics, we’re talking venues. When we rate our favorites, we don’t mean a space that can accommodate the most people or has the best audio visual package. We look for the details that will wow our guests and the spaces that will allow for molding of a brand-led experience. Here are some of our favorites that we’ve debated over:

 

The Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center

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First question for The Ronald Reagan Building, why do you believe you’re fit to be the best candidate winning most votes from the EOE team?  With such a treasured President comes a beautiful space in memorial. The Ronald Reagan Building is designed to fit 3,000 people reception style for a gala, to a small 20-person corporate board meeting. It’s one of our favorite spaces because of the variations of design, the look and feel of the spaces, and the accommodating staff and salespeople that work for them. With so many different directions to go in, this is perfect for brand with BIG personality.

 

Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium

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Next question for the Andrew Mellon Auditorium, what makes your various spaces unique?  The Andrew Mellon Auditorium is not only breathtaking, but it has so many different spaces that can be catered to your brand. From the Great Hall pictured above to the marble lobby, and the green rooms, the opportunities are endlessThe details are in the fabric with this space; gold leaf ceilings and marble columns are all we needed to see to determine that it’s definitely one of our favorites.

 

The National Press Club

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Last Question is for the place of debate and media reporting, The National Press Club; why do you believe you’re capable of hosting a corporate meeting and event space for some of our most treasured clients?  We believe that The National Press Club isn’t only a space to hold some of the world’s most famous press conferences, but we think it can make a beautiful event space for businesses large and small. It obviously has the space to fill a large crowd, but it also has a very classic ambiance that makes any event feel as important as a Presidential debate.

Washington DC is home to some of the most historically sound buildings in the country, and our clients want us to find something that is not only unique to the city, but something unique to fit their brand. Leave the scoping to us and let us find your best fit in D.C. or any given city. Did you miss our New York City Spotlight? Check it out here: New York City Venues

To check out more of our favorite venues around the country visit our blog! Looking for someone to help you find the perfect venue?  Contact us today to learn how East of Ellie uses venues like these to bring your experiences to life. 

 

Photo Credit: The Ronald Reagan Building, The Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, The National Press Club

Practice Makes Perfect: How Event Planning is our Performance Sport

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Event Manager, Cindy, here. Over the past few years, I’ve learned a ton about event planning, because well – before that I knew nothing.  As we all go through life, we make connections to things in our past that can relate, and I can’t help but to constantly relate event planning to something from my personal past – cheerleading. In any performance type sport, you practice for months and months all to perform once. No redo’s, no timeouts, only one time and one impression on your audience.  

As hard as we practice, the truth is we can never fully prepare for our performance – outside factors always come into play to rain on your parade. Like the time Melissa’s nose broke in warm ups minutes before our performance, or the time Ana’s ACL tore DURING our performance, there was absolutely no way to plan for that ahead of time during our hours and hours of practice. Just like event planners, we are trained to remain calm and do the best with what we have. Speaking of being trained like event planners, it’s no coincidence that founder, Emily was infact a past cheerleader too. The traits that are learned as performance athletes are undoubtedly translated into our everyday work as event professionals. (thanks for signing us up, Moms!)

As event planners, although we don’t necessarily get to “practice” our event, we do spend hours and hours (and hours) preparing.  Any seasoned vet will be the first to tell you,

it is absolutely impossible to avoid every bump in the road when it comes to event planning.

What we can do, is minimize the giant potholes in the road, and plan to deal with minor cracks instead.

Here are 3 ways we practice to make it perfect:

1. Detailed On Site Agenda

Once we have all the event details determined, comes the birth of the on-site agenda. The on-site agenda lays out every detail of the event and its owner. For example, a sign is purchased for the event. What time will it be set up? Where is it getting set up? Who is setting it up? What time is it breaking down? Does someone need to take a photo of this before guests arrive? One sign sparks all of these questions that can be easily planned for ahead of time for efficient planning and smooth sailing on event day. With our on-site agenda, every team member knows exactly what they should be setting up or checking every minute of pre, during, and post event all at the glance of this document.  It’s the event planner version of watch game tape.

2. Contact List of Important People

This includes event staff, vendors, speakers, anyone who holds a role in the event where if they are not doing their job, the show will flop. Ensure this is their cell phone number, office phones won’t be of help for emergency situations! For vendors, ensure it is the on-site contact, not just the sales rep you’ve been communicating with, because when the truck driver carrying florals is lost and needs directions, they won’t be much help.

3. Double, no, TRIPLE check it all!

We can’t stress this point enough. Check everything, in every phase of its “creation”. For example, when creating name cards – check the art file against the original guest list, and after it is sent to print, check the physical cards again to the original guest list. You would be amazed as to how one name tag can mysteriously go missing somewhere throughout this process, and TRUST me, you’d rather figure this out the night before than 1 hour before the corporate lunch. Is this solvable without any suspicion from our client? Yes, of course. But saving the stress and sprint to the local printer for a rush job (thanks again Nashville FedEx) is worth the double check.

People ask us everyday what our actual job is on event day.  The simple answer – to make sure the things that get messed up – like my boss forgetting to forward roll in her high school cheerleading championship performance – get brushed under the rug and our clients (and the event attendees) are none the wiser.  

Want to see how we stick our landing?  Check out www.eastofellie.com or contact us today to get a preview of how we perform on event day.

NEW YORK CITY EVENT VENUES

In the city that never sleeps, we’ve searched high and low for great venues that give our clients the sense of New York City without submerging them in the hustle and bustle. One of our clients in particular that hosts an intimate learning and networking conference and wanted a cool, calm and collected atmosphere designed to inspire guests.  After our hunt, we couldn’t keep these gorgeous venues all to our self! Check out some our favorites below:

Brooklyn Winery

Ruffled - photo by http://www.ashley-caroline.com/ - http://ruffledblog.com/garden-inspired-wedding-at-brooklyn-wineryLeave it to BK to hold one of our favorite venues in the city. Inside the rustic reclaimed wood environment, runs a fully functioning commercial winery and event space. “Fireside Chats” are becoming all the rage in corporate events to put a warm, welcoming twist on learning sessions, and although the venue does not have an actual fireplace-the warm and cozy atmosphere is undoubtably present. 

Located right over the Williamsburg bridge, this event space is just moments from the hustle of Manhattan, but is sure to leave the stress of the rat race at the door, for a cozy atmosphere  that is sure to relax any of your guests. www.bkwinery.com

 

Bouley Botanical

Bouley-Botanical_2014_Wedding_Events_SpaceA venue designed for all of the 5 senses, The Bouley Botanical is meant to keep guests engaged in the space, while staying engaged with each other. Nature is few and far between in NYC, but there are over 400+ species of edible plants that hang from the floor to ceiling windows in this space. Hosting a nonprofit event that focuses on going green? This event space is sure to inspire and get attendees in the right mindset before the program even starts.

Smack in the middle of Tribeca and Soho, Bouley Botanical is conveniently located in Manhattan, but plenty south of Midtown. The quieter part of the island is the perfect spot for this nature themed venue. www.davidbouley.com/bouley-botanical/

The Green Building

LevKuperman_TheGreenBuildingPlease hold while we swoon over the size of those windows. “Natural light” is an absolute luxury in NYC – and The Green Building offers plenty. The 4,000 square foot space has endless possibility for your corporate or nonprofit event.  For example, host a presentation at the front of the room, and feature products behind to bring the experience of the event full circle.

The style of this venue perfectly ties in a rustic feel with the exposed, worn brick; modern vibes with the black slate floor and pipes in the ceiling, and of course pure elegance with the giant windows, curtains, and chandeliers. www.thegreenbuildingnyc.com

 

The Farm SoHo

Co-workin1g by day, Party by night! With three event spaces meant for presentations, dinners, or casual lounging, this little piece of farm heaven in Soho is worth every penny. The atmosphere is cozy and rustic with a sense of the country right in the middle of the Big City. And with a past client list of Reebok, Zara, L’Oreal and the United Nations, it’s a one size fits all for corporate and nonprofits.

Located on Broadway between SoHo and Little Italy, the venue is super convenient from many subway stations. www.thefarmsoho.com

 

 

Keep an eye out for our next CITY SPOTLIGHT feature, which city are you craving for? Contact us with an inquiry about even more fabulous event spaces that will keep your guests happy, and relaxed in the Big Apple!

These Decorations Take the Cake: Ways to Incorporate Food into Your Event

Without a doubt, two of the biggest components to planning an event include food and decor.  These elements often go hand in hand because having consistent branding or a theme keeps guests interested and excited to see what else the event has in store for them. With a creative touch, food can even act as the event decor itself. Edible centerpieces or even a wall of food can catch the eye, and make the guests hungry for more.

Using food as decorations is visually appealing, budget friendly, and unique that is sure to blow your attendees away:

CENTERPIECES

Centerpieces are attention-grabbers; they are the focus of the table, so if you’re looking to bring a wow factor with your event decor, try making your centerpieces out of food.

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Photo: Ashley Batz

Give your guests with a sweet tooth a favor, and use chocolate coated marshmallows with different food colorings and designs.  The colored chocolate allows you to own your brand, and give your guests a whimsical feeling.

Another, all-in, option is making the centerpieces a place for hors d’oeuvres. These wooden cutting boards, and elaborate spread of cheeses, meats, and citrus fruits will keep your guests entertained, and increases their appetite.

EDIBLE DECORATIONS: These take the Cake

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Photos: Cherish Cakes by Katherine Edwards, and Michele Bradley

We can’t forget about cake- one of the biggest edible decorations of all if your event calls for one.  We love cakes because of the creative edge a client can put into it. From a company anniversary, to a congratulations and promotion party, they cover all boundaries. At our event for Nestle Waters North America, our mission was to WOW our client and guests with all things Perrier.  Our caterer crafted edible sugar Perrier bottles that were placed on the cake and it was the most attention grabbing decoration of the event (until it was devoured).

A Wall of Food? Why not!

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Photos: Pinterest, Fresh Ideas

Having a wall full of delicious food could keep guests entertained liked a bar would. Placing salads on one wall, and dessert on another could give the room a pop of color, and a sweet scent. What’s better than food with a view?

There are lots of ways to creatively incorporate food into your event decor, whether you have a theme or not.  This popular trend is making headlines in the industry, and event attendees will definitely be seeing a lot more of decorations crafted out of food in the future.

Loving this trend and want more inspiration on how to incorporate food into your event decor? Check out our Pinterest Board!

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