Event Design: Desert Bar

What better way to woo your guests than a fantastic display of sweets! Who can resist? Every guest will leave your event on a delectable high (and not just from all that sugar).

Beautifully arranged Desserts are always great to compliment the delicious meal that your guest have been served. Desserts Displays come all different flavors, textures, cultures and designs – the can be as standard as slices of cut cake, or a personalized as you wish.

Desserts (not just the wedding cake) are also considered an aspect of your look/decor – and if presented with care and creativity – a beautiful desert display is the one item that always make guests realize the true amount of effort (and level of detail) you have put into your event. It doesn’t have to be extravagant – just thoughtful. Your event planner is there to flood you with tasteful (literally) suggestions, so be sure to start talking about your favorite desserts with her early.

Desserts could also be served family style so that guests don’t have to wait in a line, and in this case they can get a sampler of the various kinds of desserts for the evening.

You can also compliment the sampler with additional large dessert and fruit displays for guests to have seconds (or try something new). Often guests with sugar issues appreciate the fruit – and it is always the first to go.

Some other unique and fun ideas for the dessert hour are setting up corner ‘candy stations’ that always get both adults and kids excited. here you can include your favorites from when you are were a kid – be it skittles or mini-kit-kat cars.

A chocolate fountain with unique dippings, mini-pastries and cupcakes – are just a few of the many starting points to creating unique and custom ideas with your event planner and Pastry Chef. Lastly, sweets are a perfect way to close/end your event, especially since they can also be one of the party favors for the event.

Blue Lotus Insights can create something special for your dessert bar at your next event, and we have many preferred vendors that can execute fabulous personalized displays.

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Event Consultation: The Importance of Communication

Communication is the key to any successful relationship, be it personal or professional. The key to keeping everything in order for your big event is to be sure to always communicate your needs, desires and any changes to these to your coordinator and family as soon as they happen. Often even a small change may have a ripple effect, and everyone needs to be on the same page. This will ensure few surprises on a event day where executing seamlessly and flawlessly is the goal. For example, you may discover that the hotel venue promised you would have the ballroom starting at Noon, but come to learn they won’t be done clearing out their set-up until 3pm (with your reception starting at 6pm). This will affect all of your vendors top to bottom, and may require you to bring in additional help – even though it seems like a small change. Something like this would need to be communicated to your event planner immediately so that everyone can make arrangements and make it work.

Your Event Planner should be first in line always to know any potential changes or issues that might arise, they can help you rearrange/problem solve. It is always nice for you as the client to have a good planner that will assimilate the changes, find the best options, then communicate these to the respective vendors and venue.

Also to it’s imperative to have your planner be the point of contact for your vendors and venue so that there is very little chance of crossing the lines. It’s what you hired your planner for, so let them pick up the phone and do the arranging for you!

If it is essential information that could affect the conditions of your contract or potentially change the price of your vendor, you should always request and provide the change in a written form either through email, amendment to the initial contract, or additional letter. This is the ensure your needs have been communicated in a clear fashion. Sometimes the management may change at a hotel venue between your booking date and your event date. Documents like this come in handy to ensure the new management understands all the deals/discounts you and your event planner have secured together.

For any event, it’s the details make the event – and we as event planners want to ensure that no detail is overlooked — by placing Communication as a priority for all our Clients. At Blue Lotus Insights, we take communication to a whole new level, with several security style walkie talkies for all our staff. This way our entire team is in literally constant communication. If there is an issue anywhere, one of our staff can address it with the whole team in communication on solving it.

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Event Planning and Coordination: Galas

Galas are a great way to entertain your guests through a formal or informal event that is sure to impress. Galas come in all shapes and sizes. Formal charity galas can encompass a seated three course meal, a silent or live auction and of course entertainment that is designed to wow.

Galas can also be little less formal by having an evening event that follows the main event, such as a film or a museum opening. An evening Gala that follows a performance is always a great way to celebrate your main event as guests enjoy delicious food, entertainment, and music.

When hosting a gala here are a three things to make the planning process easier.

1 – Venue – it’s essential to have a great venue that either can be made to look great or is already stunning. Provide transportation if the Gala is an event after the main event and the venue for the Gala is not within walking distance.

2 – Flow of Traffic – be sure to map out in your venue the movement of people throughout so that you can ensure no bottle necking occurs.

3 – RSVP’s – an organized RSVP list will prove to be a great assist when your guests arrive.

When hosting a Gala the logistics make the event flow smoothly but the experience of the event ensures your guests will return for future events — so guest satisfaction is paramount in Galas. It’s always great to have your guests in a great mood to help raise more funds.

Blue Lotus Insights provides you with three essential things you need to consider for a great Gala event:

1 – Food & Drinks – Regale your guests with incredible food and delicious drinks. Consider various food services depending on the type of Gala you will be having. (Please reference our Dining Options Article)

2 – Entertainment – Create and evening of entertainment based on your Gala’s specific needs – and be sure to always consider how you can engage your guests throughout the evening. A good Event Planner can help guide your program from the beginning. Great music is always fun, but there often needs to be more that that in terms of ‘entertainment’ for the evening.

3 – Swag Bags – Creating a swag bag is an excellent way for your guests to end your evening with tangible gifts that they will remember your gala event by. Blue Lotus Insights has several concepts for Gifts in Swag Bags, and offers this as an add-on service for our corporate event packages.

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Design: Lounge Seating

Texture through fabrics and stylish furniture will add character to your event. Utilizing your space to create separate and unique seating areas makes a for a great way to add a tremendous amount of ambiance to your space. Guests will appreciate the different themed areas that can carry their own lighting set-up and theme.

When deciding on furniture remember to consider you theme and color. If your space might be large one then use the various areas to create smaller seatings and other areas to have larger seatings so that couples or large groups can enjoy their time and find their comfort zones.

It’s also great to have beautifully textured furniture to use as your ‘statement pieces’ to really wow your guests. Your guests will always appreciate comfortable seating near food and bar areas too – so that they can have some place to enjoy their drinks and food right after they get it.

Blue Lotus Insights would like to give you a few ideas to inspire unique seating area, as this is one of our favorite tools.

All white seating areas are always a great since white picks-up any light. This means through-out the evening you can create different moods through your lighting and its reflection off your furniture.

A vintage hollywood theme with mirrored coffee tables and side tables with seating and couches of rich velvety fabrics can also become a ‘cinema lounge’ at your Film Wrap party or a Film Festival.

A low, intricately craved wood seating with rich silk cushions can create a royal South Asian theme that could be combined with benches and beautiful tables to create an Indian themed lounge seating arrangement. Your event planner should have several ideas on how to make Lounge seating work for your next event, regardless of culture, style or ethnicity.

KIDS CORNER:

Another seating area to consider are for those little guests that might be attending your event. It’s always a great idea to create a small area with comfortable blankets, rocking chairs and little kids furniture complimented by non color games like books, blocks and stuffed animals. Your “kid’s corner” will be the hit for the parents and kids, and it shows that you care.

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Event Planning: Bar Serving Options

A top shelf open bar and delicious food — are the life of any event. Many venues will offer you various options on how to serve alcohol to your guests. Let’s begin with the non-alcoholic beverages; it’s important to consider having these included with your venue package so that those little guests as well as those who don’t drink are well taken care of. Now let’s talk drinks!

When considering the type of bar you would like to have at your event consider the type of event and the type of drinkers you will be having. Venues will offer a flat per person rate that covers the bar level you choose, which will outline the types of alcohol, mixers and soft drinks as well as the cost per those drinks, wine, shots and cocktails.

A flat per guest rate is a great option if your event will have guests that will consume large amounts of alcohol usually over a four to five hour period of time.

Another option is place a bar tab where a decided amount is placed on the bar and once that bar tab is reached, a decision can be made by the host to increase the limit or go to cash bar. A good Event Planner will help facilitate this on the day.

It’s always important to weigh the financial costs of alcohol with your coordinator so that you are making the best decision for your event. Also if you are having a corporate, or non-profit event, it could also be a great idea to provide drink vouchers to your guests upon registering — so that they are able to drink through the evening at their leisure.

Specialty drinks and wine service are also other forms of bars that you could opt for. Specialty drinks are a great touch at private engagements and weddings, especially when the bride and groom create their own drinks that could be served through a Martini Ice Luge or a custom bar.

At dinner, it’s a great idea to have wine service so that guests can enjoy dinner and wine without having to go to back to the bar. Blue Lotus Insights can most definitely cater to you and your event’s specific bar needs and wishes, if this is a priority for you and your guests.

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Event Planning: Make up and Hair

Attention to Hair and Make-up, always creates a flawless magazine look that brides and their brides-maids are looking for on the wedding day. There are many artists in this industry so it’s important to be sure you find the one that fits your needs.

Make-up and hair artists are excellent at creating customized looks according to your style, type of wedding, facial structure, skin tones and how glam or simple you would like to be. It’s essential to communicate these details to your make-up artist so that they know the type of look you have envisioned for them to try on you.

A make-up and hair trial are also crucial to have if you are experimenting or unsure — so that you can practice wearing the hair and make-up all day and see how you feel in it prior to your big day.

Make-up artist are excellent also emulating looks from photos and magazines that you might like to have, so it’s always a great idea to have a few pictures, especially for hair, to show your artist in advance of the day. Your event planner can help facilitate all of this.

Another essential element to consider is whether the artist will travel; most often it’s important to have the artist come to you so that you don’t have to worry about the additional time needed to get to and from the artist. Ultimately it’s your day and you want to be sure that you are relaxed and enjoying it with your friends and family.

Also if you wedding is an ethnic one then be sure to ask the artist about their capability to provide traditional services as you need (for examples for South Asian Weddings brides will have tikkos to place on their foreheads, an odhni (an Indian version of the veil) to place on their hair, and other details.

Lastly, try to have your trial organized on the day you might be having your engagement photo shoot — so that you can also see how the photos of your hair and make-up turn out. Make-up and hair artists are incredible at what they do and the best ones love their jobs — so be sure to book one with a compatible personality and who is excited to makes you look and feel amazing on your big day!

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Event Planners and Designers: Why?

Ok, so why do I need to hire an Event Planner, Designer and/or coordinator? There are so many reasons why there is value in having this member of your team execute your vision, that it is hard to sum up in one idea – aside from ‘the happiness factor’. They exist to make your planning process and event day a wonderful experience, with as little pain as possible while keeping in mind your budget. Many events come along once a lifetime, some are celebrations of milestones, and others are annual gatherings to further a cause – but for all these types of events a planner and designer not only assists in creating a well-envisioned event but also come through in execution on the event deay itself.

As you decide on a planner you might want to consider some important things. We will add to this list from time to time as there are countless reasons to hire a event planner – but here are some thoughts to begin the dialogue:

1. Be sure to pick a planner that is willing and wanting to provide their time to you and the needs of your event. Decorators are not wedding planners, it is difficult to do both without a dedicated team. Something will suffer on the day. Most Decorators get consumed with their job (especially as decor is not a small task) — and then on the event day the broad picture suffers and the event does not go as smoothly as it can. It’s good to separate the roles of Event Planner and Decorator.

2. Unless you are using our consulting service, it’s always nice to have a planner on your side that is local and have a restricted number of meetings, calls and emails. Its great to know that you always have someone supporting you through the process as you need the help and also know that many things are being handled for you without you having to work on them.

3. It’s important to hire a planner who has a design sense so that you always refer to them for design ideas and questions based on their experience as well as their ability. Your planner will be with you the whole time so it’s important to know that they are able to understand your style.

4. A good Event Design and Event Planner will more than make up for their rate through saving you money on your vendors. Not only will the negotiate better deals for you, but they can get you discounts on many aspects of designing your event. A good Event Planner is well-connected and can give you several preferred vendors for any area you are considering.

5. Last not least, you want to hire an events company that has reliable friendly staff that you will enjoy working with you on your event. You want references, you want to read testimonials, you want to see what kind of press your event company is getting.

6. When an event has over 150 guests or attendees, it is essential to have to a whole team of planners on event day so that it is guaranteed to be a successful, timely and well organized. Event days have multiple layers so it’s always great to know that every detail is covered by a whole events team and not just one person. Find and events company like Blue Lotus Insights, that comes with a professional staff that will help you realize your vision.

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Event Planning: DJ & Music

Dancing the night away is always fun for everyone! A DJ is essential to the planning process and you most definitely want to choose wisely because not only will he be playing the music that you like and makes everyone get on that dance floor — but he/she will also being your MC and announcer to move the evening along seamlessly.

When looking for the right DJ, you want to, first and foremost, look for a great sense of personality since he will be on the mic to get people seated, move your program along, as well as get them excited about each new speech, presentation, or portion of your event. Personality is key.

The second most important thing is to be sure they know and can access ALL types of music, and are able to have music accessible and prevalent throughout your event. Often there may be more than just one space you would like music playing, and discuss before-hand with your event planner where you would like music so that she can arrange it properly with your DJ.

You want to have the opportunity for your guests to request music that they would enjoy dancing too, of course with a set parameters. The DJ will look to you first and foremost for a playlist of songs you definitely want to hear during your event.

As music sets the mood for various parts of your evening, be sure to discuss with your DJ the type of music you want during the numerous parts of your events. This doesn’t always mean playing songs to their end, you can also play portions/parts of songs that you really like. A good DJ will be adept at mixing the music on the fly – bringing it down for speeches and the like – and filling in dead spaces with tunes so that silence doesn’t make everyone uncomfortable if they are waiting on something. A Good DJ will constantly be engaging the audience. If they are not, your event planner should be making sure he/she accomplishes their job to your satisfaction. Most DJ’s get it – a few can be more difficult to work with, but always follow your gut when it comes to DJ’s. Like your Event Planner, you have to love your DJ – it’s always a personality thing.

A good DJ’s is a great way to enjoy the evening with a variety of music from all around the world.

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Event Planning: Photographers

Memories from your day, be it an Industry event, Corporate Meeting or a wedding will live on for future marketing or sentimental reasons through photos and videos. Choosing a photographer to capture your event is a key element to ensuring the moments from your events are captured in the most appropriate and efficient manner possible.

When choosing a photographer you want to be sure, above all else, that they fit your personality and sensibilities. Many photographers have various styles and mannerisms and you want to be sure that the one you choose is agreeable to the type of photographer you would like to have at your event. They will be with you the entire day.

Also it’s imperative to see the type of work the photographer has done in the past and what his or her style is – candids, staged, moving shots, etc – so that you are aware of the types of photos you would be receiving.

Another element to consider is the post production process with color correcting photos. Does the photographer correct/style the photos she/he has taken? For many photos, this is where the true skill and artistry of the photographer comes to play.

You also want to be sure that you are able to receive all photos taken (not just selects or proofs). You can request this as high resolution files for your records, and it should be provided to you at no cost. Digital files are easy to copy, they shouldn’t charge beyond the time it takes to copy all the media.

Lastly, know that photographers vary in prices and experience, so it’s important to speak to references and also have a set budget in mind. But as is the case with cinematographers, you often get what you pay for in terms of photography professionals. Blue Lotus Insights can recommend several top of the line photographers we’ve worked with over the years that are proven.

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Event Coordination: Managing RSVP’s

Managing RSVP’s and table arrangements can prove to be the most stressful part of the planning process for the host of any event. The stress of making sure that all your invited guests have rsvp’d and then later to place them on tables so that they prove to be the best arrangement — can easily cause undue tension and stress (and many arguments).

Below are a few tips to make the process a more smooth one, but ideally your event planner guides you through this process to ensure you have help you when you get to this stage of your event. If your event planner isn’t asking you about your RSVP’s, chances are, you will run out of time and have problems on the day – unless you are prepared:

First, always have your rsvp date about 6 weeks (or closer depending on the type of event) from your event so that it gives you some time to still invite others if many have declined the invitation.

Second, as soon as RSVP’s begin to come in it’s best to be organized by placing names on a excel sheet so that you can easily access who has said yes, what their meal preference would be as well as begin your prelim seating arrangements.

Next, once your RSVP date has come then it’s essential to begin locking down table arrangements so that 3 weeks out of your event you have completed the seating arrangements and now only have to worry about any last minute changes (which will happen so just be prepared!).

A last note: print your seating cards or seating arrangements about 2 weeks out and add or subtract your changes. Make sure everything corresponds with your seating diagrams, and that everyone that is coming has a seat at the right table.

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