MOST COMMON MISTAKES MADE AT VENUE VISITS

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

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

 

NOT TAKING PHOTOS/VIDEO

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

FORGETTING YOUR TAPE MEASURE

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

KEEPING NOTES IN YOUR HEAD

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

CONCLUDE WITHOUT DISCUSSING ACTION ITEMS

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

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

Announcing EOE’s New Assistant Events Coordinator

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

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

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

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

 

Five Fun Facts:

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

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

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

Get your motor running – done.

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

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

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

 

Los Angeles

Goin, goin, back back to Cali Cali

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

Event Space Highlight: Coworking spaces.

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

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

 

Nashville

It’s a crazy town full of Neon Dreams

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

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

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

 

Chicago

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

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

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

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

3 Tips for Black Tie Events

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

DRESS CODE

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

FORMAL PHOTOS

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

MENU CHOICES

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

 

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

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.  

A Guide for NonProfits: Communicating with Corporations

One of the biggest (and in our opinion, the BEST) way that non profits are able to fundraise is through events.  Communicating to prospective attendees or other non-profits is one thing – but speaking and pitching to corporations for their support in your event might as well be a whole new language.  It is an unspoken rule that when you walk into a corporate boardroom, you want be on your A game.

We’re sharing share some of our EOE insights and give you a guide for non-profit organizations and communicating with corporations to make your event better than ever.:

1.  Clearly communicate your mission.

It’s imperative your partnered corporation is on the same page with the objective of your event. The corporation must also be morally rooted in alignment with your organization, or have a direct branding link to your cause.  Show them the impact of what your like minded cause can do for them, and how their participation in your event is mutually beneficial.

2.  Who do you influence?

For corporations, they need to know your target market. If you’re not aiming for consumers of their aimed demographic, and they won’t be the attendees at your fundraiser, chances are slim the corporation will see the benefit.

3. Explain what can you offer an event sponsor.

Exposure? Reputation boost? Marketing at future fundraisers? Communicate what you can do for them to solidify they are making an investment for their success as well as yours.

4. Can you quantify impact?

Make sure to bring tangible examples of how your fundraising event will bring success and profit to the corporation you are communicating with. Arm yourself with relevant statistics and evidence on how your influence will benefit the company.

5. Explain your current state of funding.

Corporations may have the dollars, but they’re not a never-ending money pit. Ensure them that by investing in a sponsorship or supporting your fundraiser, they are making a sound investment with their philanthropic budget. Bring an easy to read chart about your financial state so that they feel safe about making an investment.

Most importantly, non-profits need to persuade with a mission and quantitative information. Since corporations work with and understand numbers, it’s important to speak their language. Think of yourself as a brand and present yourself as such. Go in with confidence and these communication tips and leave with success and a new sponsor for your event!

You’ve got the communication tips down, now what about ALL of the logistics? Don’t sweat it, contact us today and let’s get planning for the most successful fundraiser your non-profit has ever had. Also Check out our Innovative Ways to Keep the Fundraising Party Going.

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

Branding Done Right: Coachella 2016 Edition

One of the most popular music festivals of the year started this past week in the deserts of California. We’re talking about Coachella, where thousands of young people come together for 2 weeks to celebrate music, show off their boho-style fashion, and have an overall great time. It’s no surprise that since there are thousands of people at this event festival that there are hundreds of corporations right there with them marketing their brand. For brands that have a target demographic fitting the profile for Coachella attendees, marketing at this event is absolutely genius. Here are EOE’s favorite marketing activations at Coachella 2016:

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Instagram Madness:

Currently under the hashtag #coachella, there are 1.74 million images and counting. H&M has the right idea by incorporating a photo booth in their Coachella tent. Though they won’t directly upload to the photo app, who doesn’t love Instagraming their photo booth strips? H&M had the right idea creating this space for their fans to take a pic, take a dip, and relax in their comfy Coachella Line of clothing.

CALVIN KLEIN HOSTS : DESERT WAREHOUSE PARTY

Event Inception:

 That’s right, brands are hosting their own events at Coachella. New comer to Coachella, Calvin Klein, hosted a 3-day event opening weekend with a high profile pool party with successful DJ’s like Alesso on the ones and twos.

Heineken is hosted the ultimate house party featuring DJs, live music and surprise performances. The Heineken House, a dance party tent made with a sustainable dance floor that captures your energy from dancing, and turns it into energy to light up the entire room.

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Heavy Branding:

Coachella is known for the musical guests and performances, but our favorite part is the branding. Here at EOE we love us some creative event branding, and Coachella was just the place to get some inspo. Some ideas that we loved from the Popsugar Cabana Club Event was custom shoes at the DSW tent, and a candy bar at the Netflix tent themed to the show Unbreakable Life of Kimmy Schmidt. What we love the most about these ideas are the creative incorporation of product and services that really showcase what the brands are all about.

We absolutely love seeing creative branding at events and believe it’s one of the best ways to get the exposure for a brand. Coachella is more than a music concert, it’s a complete experience and these corporations delivered on contributing to that for the attendees. To see more branding at Coachella see our Pinterest board here.

Photo Credit: Biz Bash, New York Magazine, Coachella

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.

Cheers to Nashville!

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Have you ever watched that show Scandal?  If you have you know all about Olivia Pope and her Gladiators.  If you haven’t – basically (minus some more salacious content) let’s just say she fixes stuff. In a BIG way.  One of our favorite jobs as event planners – the one that makes most of the populations skin crawl – is finding solutions to insane requests.  At EOE we make a game out of it.  It’s almost more fun than it should be, and Nashville was no exception.

Event planning 101 will teach you that every well-organized event should include a run sheet that outlines what should be happening during each minute of the event. Whether a speech should run from 9:01-9:23pm, or food should be put out from 7:35-7:46pm, every second should be accounted for in order to remain organized.

In addition to the run sheets for an event, we keep tabs on our own “behind the scenes” run sheet as the craziest of moments go down. You may remember our version of this for our Nestle Waters event, and we’re back to let you in on the behind the scenes of our Nashville event!

 

Day 1: Travel Day

12:02pm: Repackage 72 vinyl records using paper towels.  Yes, we carried these onto the plane to get them to Nashville safely.  And yes, that bag was not the easiest to get up in the overhead bin.

8:47pm: Arrival in Nashville. Cindy tells rental car staff she ordered the Maserati. This lasted for an entertaining total of 5 seconds.

9:14pm: Cindy and Em decide to do a quick drive by of the venue since they had never actually seen it in person. SO MUCH TRAFFIC in Nashville due to a Blake Shelton concert (classic) that Cindy drops Emily off to secret spy on the location. Success. We’ve mastered the art of booking venue’s without ever seeing them. Now where is Cindy?  Fast forward 15 minutes where Emily walks all over Nashville looking for the rental car and Cindy Kapp.

9:45pm: Bedtime. Big Day of prepping tomorrow!

 

Day 2: Prep Day

8:00am: Up and at ‘em! Time to meet with our hotel representative to ensure room drops and all accommodations are ready to roll.

9:01am: Time to gather 61 packages that were shipped to the hotel. Perfumes, Lotions, Cosmetics, Popcorn bag carrying trays, signature trench coats, you name it, the client sent it.

9:02am: Trying not to faint in the presence of so many amazing products from Burberry, Hermes, Ferragamo, and more. (enter praise emoji here)

9:30am: Starbucks run. Shocker.

11:17am: Cindy and Em begin assembling our attendee’s welcome cosmetic boxes! Special touches are what we’re all about. Each attendee deserves a perfectly assembled surprise for their arrival.

12:45pm: Em continues tying black bows on each and every special lunch menu. Cindy continues on the cosmetic boxes because, despite being a former cheerleader, bows are not her strong suit.

2:55pm: Realize there is no way we are going to get all this stuff from the hotel to the venue a mile away.  Hello Mr. Mover Company?  Please help.

 

Day 3: Event Day #1

8:00am: Setup day.  Let’s get those movers and let’s get over to the venue.

The whole day consists of lots of moving, maneuvering, setting up, and stair climbing.  By 5pm it’s time to get back to the hotel and get these party people on a bus.

5:30pm: Attempt to corral 60 people onto two different busses.  

6:28pm: Emily works the crowd and chats with each team captain to find out what live karaoke song their group is performing (more on that later).  Emily learns people are bringing smoke machines and confetti – all strictly prohibited in our venue.  Emily then makes a joke out of it and asks the President of BPI North America if he has any live animals as part of this teams performance.  Emily realizes she made a poor life choice.  President starts to text her about getting live Elephants.  This goes on for the rest of the evening.  

10:07pm: Emily and Cindy pose in front of famous Nashville sign.  Cindy attempts to pose Emily.  Cindy fails.

 

Day 4: Event Day #2

7am: Event day is off with a bang – the party has begun.

12:07pm: Cindy runs to Toys ‘R’ Us to purchase an inflatable Alligator, Whole Foods to pick up medicine for a guest, and the fancy gift shop in the Omni Hotel for award prizes. All spur of the moment requests for our client are what we are hired to handle – and we must admit, we thrive off last minute challenges!

1:34pm: Time for caterers to pass out popcorn in the not-so-sturdy customized Burberry Bags, a few fall over in the kitchen, but no problem, we already made extra. Remember, Plan A is a luxury and a myth and we’re always ready for Plan B.

7:09pm: One karaoke team requests fake handcuffs and fake guns only 1 hour before karaoke is set to begin. Challenge accepted. Luckily, we were located in cowboy-boot-honky-tonk USA, but these items were harder to find than expected! After running down Broadway, Cindy eventually found them. Again with the last minute challenges.

8:10pm: Karaoke begins and the guests are having an absolute blast. High Fives all around.

And those are our highlights of behind the scenes craziness! Want an event where you can delegate the crazy? That’s what we do. Say Hi! RSVP@eastofellie.com

 

Ellie’s Guide to a Perfect Event Day Outfit

As an event planner, some of your longest days are going to be spent at a venue, hosting an amazing event.  One important aspect of a smooth event day is being comfortable. 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 it could start your day horribly, and the blisters by the end will be a nightmare.  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

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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

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Although we wish we could get away with wearing yoga pants, professionalism is key.  For a more casual event, black jeans is our go to pant. Whether it’s a stretchy jegging or a flare, black jeans are a great option.

If your event calls for a fancier dress code, we 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.

The New Sneaker

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We’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!

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

Fitbit

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This obviously isn’t a necessity for event day, but it’s something we love at EOE.  Because 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.  Competitors to the core, we even have a competition in the office for who walks the most steps on event day (Emily usually comes out on top).

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.

Jewelry

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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. A watch is necessary, and always have extra hair ties.

Photo: ShopStyle Pinterest

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

Branding the Social Hub of your Event

At East of Ellie, our bars serve more than just cocktails. At many events the bar is usually considered the social hub where guests love to socialize and relax. This area serves as the comfort zone for guests as they arrive.  They can walk in, grab a drink, and chat with other guests as they do the same is typical event culture. As the event continues, the bar is almost always a place visited a few times by guests.

Branding your event’s message where guests are likely to be is a no-brainer, but it must be executed in a subtle/playful way to tie into the informality of a bar. Especially if you are planning an internal holiday party, guests don’t want to be bombarded with the branding they see everyday. In this casual atmosphere, companies are given the opportunity to kick it up a notch with their creativity in deciding how they are going to incorporate their event’s message – like in a company logo, or a key message.

Check out how East of Ellie and other companies have effectively branded the social hub of each event:

Branding Specialty Drinks

Bulgari
When our client Bulgari asked us to honor their Vice President of Marketing and Sales in a big way we decided that naming a bar and the drinks after her was the best way to execute during an internal event. In relation to your event it’s a fun way to involve guests since, lets be honest, they must order the specialty drink by name! Going forward they can always reference their delicious drink or fun memory with that creative drink name.

 

Tying into the Functionality of the Bar

Image: Bloomberg News

The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) took the opportunity to show off their logo right in the middle of an ice luge. Instead of using the ice luge as a traditional shot transportation into someone’s mouth, the event kept it classy and instead, guests received their drink from the bartenders pour. Well done, CES!

 

Colorful Branded Decor

Nestle Waters Event

For the CEO of Nestle Waters Retirement Party, our event’s message was to display the brands he had built over his years of service. East of Ellie accentuated the private pool house with pops of color and Perrier inspired decor that mirrored their recent launch of their partnership with the Andy Warhol Foundation.

A Subtle 3D Logo

Liz Banfield Photography

Adding your logo to the front of the bar may seem like an obvious move, but by executing it in a way that blends with décor is a fun yet effective way to go about branding. This logo was incorporated without sacrificing an ultra luxe atmosphere that guests are sure to enjoy.

Looking to create your own branded social hub? Let us bring your target audience together for an experience they won’t forget. Contact us here.

Larger Than Life Branding At Events

Is less always more? These companies believe the opposite of the old saying when it comes to their 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. How could you possibly ignore a shoe box the size of a home, or a grocery cart that looks more like a monster truck? We sure couldn’t.

See our favorite ways brands went after exposure and engagement at events:

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

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

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

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

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And of course, we couldn’t forget about the event we’ve been working on all summer. At Consoles launch event the venue in Nob Hill, San Francisco provided the perfect opportunity to make a visual impact in a big way. These 9 ft panels took hours to assemble perfectly – but the impact was priceless.

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 

 

 

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