One of the most common questions I receive today:
"How did you get started in the events industry?"
Simple. I got involved at a very young age and have not stopped since. I joined organizations in the industry, constantly attended networking events, planned my own events while also contracting out with other event production companies, basically met anyone & everyone I could, Biggest tip? 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
Yup. It happened... in 2015 I got to attend the Academy of Country MusicAwards. 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 bands 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 y'all...
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
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 district 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. As 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 going for. You do not have to rent the whole venue for your event - 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 turn this into a bar - BOOM!
The space is full of fun, hand-built furniture as shown above, which stuck out to me the most. These little details make the venue so much more unique, and ALL is included.
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
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 or 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 extremely close 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
FINALLY! This beautiful couple is getting married! I had so much fun planning their engagement party at Ruby Hill Country Club in Livermore Valley. Shawn & Lacey are getting married in the Philippines over New Years of 2017. They wanted to celebrate their engagement with close friends & family who could not make it out to their wedding day. So why not have two wedding receptions?
Shawn & Lacey are both chiropractors, business coaches, and motivational speakers in the Tri-Valley area. Founders of The Specific Chiropractic Centerin Dublin with offices all over the country. Now do you understand why I call them my "power couple"? :)
I LOVE these gold foil balloons from Party Fiesta Balloon Decor. They're extremely popular right now at weddings, bridal showers, baby showers, birthday parties, etc. Our vendor partners at Party Fiesta Balloon Decor will customize anything for your event. If you are located in the Bay Area or planning an event out here, I would definitely recommend this team for any of your balloon needs.
This dessert bar tied in perfectly with the "classy" glitz & glam theme engagement party. The chocolate cupcakes were wrapped in sparkly gold with the vanilla & strawberry cupcakes wrapped in black & white polka dots. Doughnut holes and cookies were also served on classic white cake stands.
Gold Sequin Overlay: Napa Valley Linens
Floral: Bloomies on Main
What makes the perfect brunch? Hands down, a bottomless mimosa bar. These are always a hit! It's nice to have a variety of juices to choose from - we had orange, cranberry, and grapefruit. We also had a bowl of berries that guests could top their mimosas with.
We had a lot of fun playing with seating arrangements, linens, and florals. We had partial seating with long 6' tables, smaller 48" round tables, and high top tables. The 6' tables were covered in white linens with simple white roses in bud vases. The 48" rounds were covered in gold sequin linens with white floral in square glass vases. The hightop rounds were also covered in white linens with white roses in the bud vases. We also had black & white lounge furniture spread throughout the venue.
Gold Sequin Overlays: Napa Valley Linens
Floral: Bloomies on Main
Every party has to have a photo booth! It's always fun to create a hashtag and receive everyone's photos through social media.
We also set out the couple's engagement photo book. These photos were taken by Shriti Bhandari with In Pursuit of Pictures. She is extremely talented, and I would recommend her to anyone. Go check out her work!
The Event Planner
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, providing a perfect picnic lunch menu that everyone at the table enjoyed.
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
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 ways to present your food & beverages stations.
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
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