If you are planning an event in San Francisco and still searching for a venue, The Box SF might be the perfect option for you. Located in the SOMA area with multiple rooms overlooking the city. The venue can accommodate up to 100 guests for weddings, corporate meetings, parties, product launches, fashion shows... you name it!
There are multiple rooms throughout the venue that you can choose to rent. Like I previously mentioned, the venue can accommodate up to 100 guests. Keep in mind that it's a smaller, more intimate space if that's what you are looking for. You do not have to rent the whole venue - if you are having a private meeting for less than 30 people, you are able to rent a room that fits your needs.
Take off the plant, and this turns into a bar - Whaaat?!
The venue is full of fun, hand-built furniture like this, which stuck out to me. These little details make the venue so much more unique.
When I walked in for the first time, the large open windows were the first thing to catch my eye. These windows wrap around the whole third floor and overlook the city of San Francisco. String lighting is hung all throughout the venue ceilings with natural light coming in through the windows. Lighting is definitely not an issue here. Cocktail rounds are also provided for social gatherings, receptions, or whatever you may need them for. The Event Coordinators are extremely caring, fun, easy to work with, and not to mention great at what they do.
Feel free to check out their website at http://www.theboxsf.com.
The Event Planner
One of the most common questions I receive through the blog & social media is, "How did you get to where you are today in the events industry?"
Simple. I got involved at a very young age and have never stopped since then. When I say get involved, I mean, join organizations in the industry, attend networking events, plan your own events, contract out with other event production companies, meet anyone & everyone you can...
basically, GET YOUR NAME OUT THERE.
START CONNECTING NOW.
I started my career in Austin, Texas as a Sophomore in college. I was working for free at an event production company to gain as much experience as I could, knowing it would be beneficial in the future. To pay the bills I had to take on other jobs as well. I figured I might as well contract out with other vendors in the industry to gain even more experience. When I didn't have events to work, I was assisting florists or shadowing wedding photographers, By doing this, I was able to understand other aspects involved in the event planning process. Years later when it was time to graduate and become a full time Event Planner, I had a tremendous amount of experience that most 20 year olds would never get and formed relationships with our vendor partners before I was officially hired. Hard work pays off, that's for damn sure.
I quickly joined organizations in the events industry. I already had my go-to vendor partners, but I wanted to know everyone, and I wanted everyone to know me! Joining these organizations wasn't necessarily to attract clients, but more to connect with the industry in our area. Plus, they are FUN! Most of the organizations put on happy hours to network or educational events to attend. I have heard some of the most well-known event planners speak and motivate, which has also brought me to where I am today.
A national organization that I would highly recommend would be the International Live Events Association (ILEA). I joined the Austin chapter when I first started and transferred to the San Francisco chapter after I moved to the Bay Area. This is the largest event organization in the country to be a member of. The organization provides countless numbers of educational events, happy hours, networking events, national conferences, and even an annual gala for each chapter. It's not only important to join these organizations, but to become involved in them. Start out joining a committee, then become the chair of a committee, then become a board member, and just continue to grow in the industry.
If you haven't read my blog post on the ILEA NCC Gala 2016, go check it out. You can get a sneak peek of the organization and the fun that we have!
You know what's better than planning a client's event? Planning your own event! I decided to start partnering up with people in the industry & planning smaller events in the area that are open to the public. I put together bridal shows, bridal happy hours, yoga & wine nights, women empowerment nights, etc. This is when social media comes in handy. Create a Facebook page or event page and promote it in the local area. By doing this, I was constantly meeting new people who were interested in what I was offering. This got my name out there, and that's when referrals start to definitely kick in!
My biggest piece of advice would be, BE SOCIAL & GET INVOLVED! If you have any questions or want to share what's helped you gain success in the industry, feel free to comment below.
The Event Planner
If you work in the events industry then you are probably familiar with an organization called ILEA. If not, ILEA stands for the International Live Events Association. I joined the organization when I worked in Austin for a while and then transferred over to the chapter in San Francisco after I moved to the Bay Area.
I've enjoyed every second of being involved in this organization. There are so many educational events, happy hours, and networking events to attend. I've met so many amazing people in the industry who are now my closest friends and work partners. I've always been a fan of not only joining organizations, but becoming hands-on involved in the organizations.
This year for the ILEA NCC Gala 2016, I took on the Graphics & Marketing Chair position. I've never lead a position like this before, but I thought, what the hell? I could not have done it without my Graphics & Marketing team. It was my first time meeting this group of people, and I had no idea what their background & experience was. We would meet every month to discuss ideas and execute with each of our individual strengths. Probably by the second meeting, we became best friends! I loved this group and still meet with them just for fun. The event turned out incredible and we, of course, had a blast!
Like I said, I always recommend joining organizations and becoming involved. Whether you have experience in the committee or not, you will have a team to support you along the way. I've shared a couple images below from the Gala this past year, but feel free to check out the whole album on ILEA NCC's Facebook page.
The Event Planner
Our partner at Amazon is offering great deals just for you. Go shop our looks from the ILEA Gala.
If you're located in the Bay Area, I'm sure you are familiar with FAZ Restaurant. Well, did you know they have multiple locations all over the Bay?
FAZ Restaurants are located in Danville, Oakland, Pleasanton, Sunnyvale, and San Jose. I'll be honest, I've been to every single restaurant and every one is completely different than the other. Danville has a gorgeous backyard patio with a waterfall, Oakland is located in an all glass high-rise right in the heart of downtown, Pleasanton is the perfect location for an outdoor wedding, Sunnyvale has the "happy hour" bar for all the corporate companies located next door, and San Jose has a front row seat to watch the cooks prepare food for the guests. The best part? They all have the same food, which is DELICIOUS!
Most people don't know that FAZ restaurants also caters events. We have worked with their team on multiple weddings & corporate events in the Bay Area. It's easy for me to sell their catering to my clients because the food is definitely fresh & wonderful, but the presentation is always beautiful. FAZ is known for his Persian style food, but he can customize a menu to any style you want - Italian, Mexican, BBQ, etc.
If you aren't in need of catering right now, go check out one of their 6 restaurant locations all over the Bay. You can taste their food and meet FAZ himself. (He typically hangs out at the Pleasanton location... sh!) Enjoy!
--- Follow FAZ Restaurants & Catering on social media ---
The Event Planner
Yup. It happened... in 2015 I got to attend the Academy of Country Music Awards. This was the 50th Anniversary of the ACM Awards, which was held at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. How the hell did I get a ticket to this, you ask?
When I was working with Encore Live during that time, we had the opportunity to produce the Academy of Country Music's Lifting Lives Gala. Typically the awards show is held in Las Vegas, but since this year was their 50th Anniversary, they decided to host the event in Dallas. This was one of the most challenging, yet exciting, events I have ever produced. We got to work with Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, The Band Perry, and Hunter Hayes. As a huge country fan, this is not a big deal at all....
... a little sneak on to the red carpet before the show begins! I gotta take advantage of the job sometimes, right?
Surprise! There's Nancy O'Dell, who was one of our hosts for the show. We also got Garth Brooks, Keith Urban, Trisha Yearwood, and Lady Antebellum all joining in on the picture.
Working with the media is probably my least favorite part of producing these events. All I got to say to that is NEEDYYYYY. The media might even be worse than the celebrities.
The Band Perry was by far one of the coolest band I have ever worked with. They are just as friendly in person as you see on tv. And they actually followed their schedule and were on time to everything!!! That does not happen...
Little Big Town joining The Band Perry! I enjoyed working with both of these groups. They were all so open to taking pictures with each other and with our VIP guests. Meet & Greets are also another tough piece to the event day. You need to make sure you have all the logistics ready to go smoothly. It's a LOT of people with NOT a lot of time. Make sure to have more than enough staff located in their correct positions. It's hard to not "fangirl" out but that's definitely a NO NO in this industry.
We got every single artist to sign these guitars. We gave out the guitars to certain organizations as well as auctioned off a couple at the Gala. My only regret of the night was not stealing one for myself...
Awesome performances by all! It was a great show & a great night. I am so blessed to have been a part of the 50th Anniversary to the ACM's. Hopefully in the future I'll be helping out in Vegas!
Along with producing the Lifting Lives Gala, we got tickets to the Academy of Country Music Awards! That means, let's get dolled up and HAVE FUN! People in the events industry get really excited when they can actually attend an event without having to work it - that doesn't happen very often.
Dresses & Boots = Red Carpet Ready!
We also got tickets to the ACM After Party outside the Dallas Cowboy Stadium. So many more artists performed and we got to hang out with the Dallas Cowboys. Not a bad night, eh?! I'm ready for round two!
The Event Planner
Our partner at Amazon is offering great deals just for you. Go shop our look from the ACM Awards.
We had a blast hosting our monthly Bridal Happy Hour at Wish Walnut Creek, one of our favorite boutiques in the East Bay area! Are you a wedding planner and interested in hosting a Bridal Happy Hour yourself? Here's how to get started...
We decided to have a happy hour for our current brides as well as newly engaged couples who have not booked their vendors yet. We do this for a couple reasons:
1. It's a great time to meet with all your brides at one time instead of setting multiple appointments for that month. They are also able to meet each other and bounce off wedding ideas & inspirations.
2. It's a great time to potentially gain new brides & grooms. If they haven't booked their wedding planner yet, well, here's your chance! We open the event to the public for all engaged couples. Meeting in person will take you way further than introducing yourself over the phone.
3. IT'S FUN! What an opportunity to socialize with your favorite vendor partners at your favorite venue. Choose the best venue that works for your clientele and invite your favorite vendor partners to meet the couples themselves. It's not an awkward bridal fair with an overwhelming number of vendors. It's only a couple of your favorites, which makes for a way more casual & comfortable environment.
Photo booths make every event more fun! Customize the printed photos with your company logo, and brides will always be reminded of your event. Amos Productions is one of our favorite local vendor partners to work with, so of course we partnered up with them on this one. Don't forget the props!
Make sure to choose the best venue that fits your clientele. Wish Walnut Creek has the most adorable backyard patio behind their boutique, and I thought it would be the perfect setting for the bridal happy hour. The boutique is full of bridal/bachelorette goodies & knick knacks. Brides were able to walk through the boutique & shop before they entered the back patio for the festivities.
Champagne is a must! We of course had a champagne toast before everyone left the party. How cute is this table by the way? It's always fun coming up with creative ideas to present your food & beverages. Don't forget to provide the water!
Yes, we had signature cocktails provided on the back patio for a little wedding inspiration. We had a pink "Lucky in Love" cocktail or a yellow "Marry Me Margarita" cocktail. Have some fun, and come up with cute names to go with the theme of your event.
Lucky in Love: Strawberry Lemonade & Vodka
Marry Me Margarita: Margarita Mix & Tequila
Also in the picture you will see a little frame that says "Sign your name & win a prize". We had each bride put their name in a bowl and we would draw a couple winners at the end of the night. Some of our vendors were giving out discounts to their services for whoever's name was drawn. This is a great idea to potentially gain a new client!
Always make sure to have some appetizers and a sweet treat provided. It's never good to have too much alcohol and too little food. Mini sandwiches, cheese & crackers, or chips & dip are always a nice and cheap go-to. We partnered up with Shabby Sugar on providing a beautiful assortment of sweet treats to everyone. If you haven't read our blog post on Shabby Sugar, feel free to check it out. We have more than enough great things to say about working with this team!
Make sure to have a favor that the brides can take home with them. For our event, Wish provided the favors, which came from their boutique. Their boutique is full of little bridal goodies shown in the picture. We can't wait for our next event at Wish Walnut Creek. Don't forget to stop by & shop!
I hope your next bridal happy hour goes perfectly! If you have any questions or comments that have helped make your event a success, I would love to hear about it.
The Event Planner
Our partner at Amazon is offering great deals just for you. Go shop our look & bridal goodies from the happy hour.
Opera in the Vineyards is an annual fundraiser benefitting the Livermore Valley Opera. This year it was held at Retzlaff Vineyards in Livermore, California where guests could enjoy a nice glass of wine while listening to some beautiful opera singing. We had the honor of partnering with Retzlaff Vineyards on this event.
The red & white checkered table linens with an assortment of white lawn chairs gave a relaxed picnic feel to this event. Guests were also able to bring in their own lawn chairs if they wanted. We of course love the string lighting in any setting.
Each table is responsible for bringing in their own "picnic". Guests can bring in sandwiches, sushi, pasta, chips, basically whatever they want. Wine from Retzlaff Vineyards is also available for purchase. However, the table shown above is the only table that isn't responsible for bringing in a picnic. This table is auctioned off every year as the "head table". Those who win this table for the following year are treated to a beautiful table setting, a catered meal, and wine. Now that's where I want to be!
The caterer for this event was FAZ Restaurants & Catering. What a beautiful job they did. They provided a perfect picnic lunch menu that everyone at the table enjoyed. If you haven't read our blog post on FAZ Restaurants & Catering, go check out it!
If you love opera & wine and couldn't make this year's event, don't worry, we will be back next year!
The Event Planner
Our partner at Amazon is offering great deals just for you. Go shop our look & favorite event items from Opera in the Vineyards.
The Oakland Zoo is by far one of my favorites. It's located in the Oakland hills with gorgeous views and animals. This year we got to participate in their annual Walk in the Wild event.
Walk in the Wild is Oakland Zoo's largest Annual Fundraiser with proceeds going directly to the highest quality animal care & exhibits. We had the privilege of partnering up with Faz Restaurants & Catering at the event while also enjoying some live music, great food, and interacting with the beautiful zoo animals. What an incredible event to be a part of!
Throughout the whole zoo are stations of the Bay Area's top chefs and restaurants, microbreweries and wineries. Guests are able to stroll the zoo and sample some of the best cuisine in the area. They end the night with live music, dancing, and desserts.
The Event Planner
Our partner at Amazon is offering great deals just for you. Go shop our look & favorite accessories from Walk in the Wild.
by Jim Vetter Photography
Having photographed events since the 1990's, I've seen it all - from high budget corporate events that photograph terribly, to low budget weddings that look amazing - and everything in between.
Event Planners and Designers need great photos of their work to show prospective clients, so why not plan in a way that will enable your event photographer to produce the best possible images for you?
Let's assume that you already have a great event photographer. If you don't, we'd be happy to talk! In any event, your photographer may not be advising you about how to make your events more photogenic. Here is what the photographer needs from you:
Something Worth Shooting
As an event planner, you make your living by creating spaces that support the event goals of your client. Whether you are attempting to foster interactivity or inspire awe, keep in mind the eye of the audience who will see the photos after the event.
Give the photographer something to work with - decor, signage, props, architecture, a view. The better the raw subject matter, the better the photos can be.
Focus on making your visuals and props contextual to your event topic or theme. Place your signage and props centrally so they will be featured within the context of the event and not hidden against a wall. Contextual subject matter in the photos will more effectively communicate to the viewer what the event was about and the happy client will have more useful photos of your great work.
Good light is the most important thing you can provide to make your event more photogenic. If your photos are important to you, put some budget toward professional lighting. This will ensure that photos of the space have dimension and texture.
If the space is too dark, people lit by flash in the photos may appear to be floating in outer space! There will be no dimension or texture, and no context either. If the room is too bright with even light everywhere, there is not mood. So how do you create dimension, texture and mood?
Use uplighting on the walls of the space to define the perimeter and provide dimension. But please do not use oversaturated colors for the lighting. Oversaturated lighting forces a good photographer to use so much flash that the mood of the space is lost in the photos - and it forces a poor photographer to deliver terrible images.
Use floodlights, spotlights, or pin spots to highlight important subject matter. Focus these lights on key people, displays, art, table centerpieces, signage, etc. Spot lighting is a great way to tell the viewers of the photos - as well as your guests - what you really want them to see. It also gives the photographer the perfect ambient light in which to photograph the important features. NOTE: Spot Lighting should never be colored/tinted because it is meant to show the subject matter with accurate color. They should also not be too bright compared to the surrounding ambient light.
For dance floors, (stay with me) you may consider using LCD light panels similar to those we first saw in Saturday Night Fever from the Disco era of the 1970's. I've shot events with this lighting and the images of guests on the dance floor are incredibly well lit compared to a dark floor. And of course, they are just fun!
Today's best cameras are getting amazingly good at capturing great images in dim light. (My newest Nikon can shoot at ISO speeds up to 400,000!) While this may sound like magic that makes flash obsolete, good photographers will continue to use flash for a plethora of creative reasons.
Adequate Time and Space to Shoot the Event Well
Make sure the event space is completely set at least 60 minutes before guests arrive. This requires that you set firm deadlines for all setup vendors. Set these expectations when you hire the vendors. Most events have staff running around the space until the last minute which makes it very difficult to get clean room shots and detail shots. These are the shots that you, as the event planner, will most likely want to use for your own promotion. The venue will also greatly appreciate getting beautiful clean room shots from you so they can show off their space to future clients. So please give your photographer enough time to shoot them well. The larger the space and the more details you have, the more time is needed to get great photos.
Nearly all events have some formalities on their agenda. These may be speeches, presentations, performances, demonstrations, dances, etc. Ensure that these special moments are photogenic by making them clearly visible to your guests and to your photographer. Use spotlights, stages, or risers. Put them in good light.
You can further help your photographer by planning the event's special moments such that there is plenty of time to move from one area to another as the moments unfold. Of course, be sure to share a detailed event timeline with the photographer in advance of the event day.
A good photographer will offer advice regarding the timeline, lighting, and layout of the space. Don't plan your event without consulting your photographer about what they need to do their best work for you.
Follow these simple tips and you are certain to create more photogenic events that represent your work in the best possible light!
Photogenic Events by Jim Vetter is a special event photographer serving northern California and destinations worldwide. Professionalism, speed, and attention to detail is what sets us apart. Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.
Jim Vetter Photography is a high-end wedding photography studio serving northern California and destinations worldwide. Follow our wedding business on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.
Graduation parties are a blast to plan! It's so important to produce an event that fits the graduate's personality, style, and interests. Like a birthday party, a graduation party is ALL ABOUT THE GRADUATE.
My sister graduated from Parker Chiropractic School in Dallas, and of course I was given the responsibility to produce the perfect party. I have a couple basic steps to follow when coordinating your next graduation party...
FIND THE PERFECT VENUE.
Now what does this mean? Well, does it hold the number of guests you are expecting comfortably? Does it fit the overall feel of the party that you are looking for? Does it have a stage for a band, a dance floor area, power, etc? Are you looking for an indoor or outdoor space?
Make sure to have these questions answered BEFORE deciding on your perfect venue.
Mopac Event Center : Fort Worth, Texas
My favorite customized party decor would have to be the banner for a graduation party. It's literally the first thing they see as they walk in the room - a large banner congratulating them on their success!
Make sure to hang the banner up in a spot where everyone can see.
ADD FLORAL & CANDLES
I am a freak of floral arrangements, and for me, it's always a must. If you don't want to hire a florist to prepare the floral arrangements, then feel free to do it yourself. You can pick out the floral from Whole Foods and order some cheap vases off Amazon. Easy! Although if you are like me, you can hire a florist to do all the work for you :)
Also a big candles fan - you can never have too many candles. Order some votive candles off Amazon or pick some up from Michaels or a craft store. Set a couple on each table, and you will be shocked on what that brings to the overall look & feel of the table setting.
Make sure to have photos of the graduate from when she was a baby all the way up to when she graduated. BONUS if you have graduation pictures of all ages. Be creative with the way you set out the pictures in the venue. You can place a couple on the tables, the bar, or hang them up in certain areas. You can place in picture frames or even blow them up really large (those should definitely be the embarrassing photos LOL).
Come up with a signature cocktail (or three). This was so much fun creating cocktail names for a chiropractic graduation party. Make sure the names of the cocktails fit the graduate or the theme of the party. Also it's nice to have a variety of cocktails since some people only drink certain types of alcohol.
Cocktails we provided:
The All Naturalita - tequila
The Spine of a Mule - vodka
Moccasin Subluxation - Whiskey
Also make sure to provide cute cocktail straws that go with the color scheme. These striped straws are extremely popular right now and come in all colors! We ordered ours off Etsy.
You should 100% make sure to have a graduation cake at the party. If not a cake, then a dessert of some sort - cupcakes, donuts, cookies, etc. It's always nice to have a sweet treat at the end of the night. Once again, customize the dessert to the theme of the party! You can decorate with the icing or fondant, cupcake toppers, sprinkles, writing, or even pictures printed onto the cake. It's important to have every little detail all tie in together.
HIRE A BARTENDER!
If you are providing alcohol at this event, then absolutely hire a bartender... maybe even two depending on your guest count. I actually wish we had hired one more since our family & friends love to drink. It's the worst having a long line backed up behind the bar with guests waiting to have a drink in hand.
HIRE A PHOTOGRAPHER/VIDEOGRAPHER
If you want to capture the night, make sure to hire a photographer or videographer or maybe even both. It's such an important night with so much work that was put into the party, you aren't going to want to forget it. Also having to worry about taking the photos yourself is just too tough. This is the night for family & friends to just relax & enjoy!
HIRE A CATERER
My biggest piece of advice would be to work with a caterer and make sure you have more than enough food for the guests. My worst nightmare in this industry is running out of food at an event. Also, be creative with the food selections - catering can bring the party to a whole other level! Work with the catering company on providing cute appetizers that fit the theme of your party. Since our graduation party was later in the night, we provided all finger foods for late night munchies.
If you follow these steps, I promise you will have a very happy graduate! What other creative ideas do you have for graduation parties? I'd love for you to share in the comments below!
The Event Planner
Our partner at Amazon is offering great deals just for you. Go shop our look & favorite accessories from the graduation party.
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