Ellie’s Head to Toe Fashion Guide for Event Planners

As an event planner, one of the most important aspects to a smooth event day is to be dressed comfortably.  This may seem silly because your outfit may not directly impact the success of the event, but in our experience it does; a proper outfit is a big contributor to your overall attitude and level of service.

If you are uncomfortable or unhappy with your choice of shoes, for example, you will just have one more thing to worry about while executing an event.  We want to limit your worries at all costs, and after almost a decade in the industry, we have finally learned what works on event day, and what doesn’t.

 

Human Shield

Black is our go to color on event day- are you surprised? Probably not. It’s practical, sweat-proof, spill-proof and blends easily.  Let’s face it, on the day of your event, you could be doing anything from heavy lifting to acting as a catering waitress; our list of ad hoc duties are endless!  Wearing a black shirt will ensure that you look professional, no matter what.

 

Fake it til’ You Make It

Although we wish we could get away with wearing yoga pants, professionalism is key.  We’ve found a way to cheat the system and live by these New York and Company pants.  They look like business pants, but slip on and feel like yoga pants, so it’s the best of both worlds.  You’ll thank us when you’re going on hour 6 of running around!

 

The New Sneaker

23312_BBKWe’ve tried everything when it comes to shoes and frankly, we wish we could get away with wearing a simple Nike running shoe, but that doesn’t usually fly with the dress code.  To dress up the sneaker look but still have a certain level of comfort, Keds or Toms are a great option, and our office is split half and half on which shoe is better. Recently, Event Manager Cindy has struck gold by finding these Memory Foam Sketchers that look like flats but feel like heaven.

If you’re not sure about any of your shoe options or must wear heels, bring a few options to the site.  If one pair of feels like a cloud by your toes, but scrapes up the back of your heel, switch midway through the event to the other pair that isn’t the best on the ball of your foot, but is blister free! It’s all about picking (and switching) your battles.

 

Accessories

downloadBecause we do so much while executing an event, we like to keep track of our steps and calories burned to keep track of all the work we did on FitBits.  Competitors to the core, we even have a competition in the office for who walks the most steps on event day. At our 3 day event in March we each won a different day!

 

If you’re not about the look of having a Fitbit on your wrist, there are solutions. Many companies like Tory Burch, make Fitbit covers, so you can still monitor your activity, but appears as a regular bracelet.

Keeping jewelry to a minimum is key to being comfortable and looking professional as an event planner.  Avoid anything dangly, especially earrings and necklaces. Stick to simple studs, like pearls. An Apple watch is a great addition to keep everything you need on your wrist, and ALWAYS have extra hair ties!

 

What are the clothes or shoes that you can’t live without when executing your events? We’d love to see your comments below!

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.

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

 

 

eoephotobooth

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 

MOST COMMON MISTAKES MADE AT VENUE VISITS

most-common-mistakes

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

EOE (2)

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.

5 Ways to Combat Holiday Stress

Holiday Stress

 

Oh boy, here come the holidays!  Though it is a joyous season of love, warmth, giving, and traditions, it can also bring extreme stress and anxiety. Even for some of the most organized people in this universe, the holidays can get overwhelming.  Luckily, we have dealt with these situations a time or two, we’re currently recovering from a very busy event planning season! It’s time for us to refocus our energy off of work and ensure that the holiday season is not as stressful as event planning can sometimes be. We are so thankful for our founder and Senior Managing Partner, Emily Chalk, who has laid out her top holiday tips. Here’s to having a stress-free holiday!

Plan Ahead

Take advantage of that half day of work the day before the feast and get a plan in place. Try to take the full day off before a big holiday or a personal event to give yourself time to focus.  One of the biggest causes of stress is when you feel you are getting pulled in multiple directions.  For your sanity, sit down and organize.

Write EVERYTHING Down

A classic EOE best practice is to make lists with checkboxes when we have a lot on our plate.   It keeps us focused and leaves us with a sense of accomplishment when we complete a task. Can we all agree that nothing is better than crossing things off of your to-do list?  You can also use post it notes – but if you are one of us, your whole house will be covered in them, which is a little counter-productive.

The Devil is in the Details

As the old saying goes – but my, my, is it true.  Organize all the details you can in advance – fold napkins, place your centerpiece on the table or vacuum the spare room two days before guests arrive.  It’s all this last minute stuff that will get you every time.  It’s never too early to start setting up!

Take a Minute and Think

Be thoughtful in your decisions to avoid extra work on your holiday.  Simple check points like not using your expensive China on the kids table will keep you from a big headache when you are in the middle of your day-of holiday tasks.

Give Yourself Some Credit

At the end of the day, your family and friends will appreciate the wonderful effort you put into creating a great thanksgiving.  Life is not a perfect reflection of Pinterest, and do you really think Martha Stewart pulls off what she does by herself? Do the best you can, and if your day is filled with love and warm food, you did your job, host!

From all of us at EOE we wish you a very happy holiday and a wonderful Thanksgiving. Need a Thanksgiving day planner?  Give us a call – JUST KIDDING (we have to draw the line somewhere).

For more tips and inspiration to keep your holiday season organized (any stylish) check out our Pinterest board.

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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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.  

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