Help Me Hire an Event Planner

August 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

Let’s face it, not everyone is a Martha Stewart or David Tutera. When it comes to event planning, many will get the chills because event planning is simply not easy. It is meticulous, tedious and plenty of details to take care of! So should you hire an event planner? Yes. But I can’t really afford to hire one in this economy? True, but an event planner knows the industry and could save you money in the long run with his/her connections in the industry. Okay, I’d like to hire one but how do I know who will be a good fit? Well, here is our simple guideline when hiring an event planner

1) A Good Listener

An event planner should be a good listener. An event planner may be a super professional in event planning but a good event planner should be one who can listen to your vision and make that happen. They should be able to come up with creative suggestions  and solutions. However, if you begin to feel them completely overshadowing your event, voice up. And if they still pin you down, we say in our utmost Donald Trump’s voice ” You’re Fired!”

2) A Visionnaire

Find an event planner with a good vision.  Although you want to find an event planner who is a good listener, you don’t want to just hear her say “Uh-huh” throughout the process. He or she must be able to manifest your style in a way you desire. Flip through their portfolio and assess their style. Whilst having an event planner with amazing organization skills is vital, you also want a creative and proactive planner too.

3) A Network Opportunist

Sometimes an event planner have a list of vendors  in which they earned commission from or maybe, they are all just really good friends (the cards are open..). But you definitely want to hire one with a diverse list of vendors. That way, you will avoid being pigeoned hole into just one list of vendors that might not share your vision. Don’t be shy to voice out a vendor you are particularly fond  to your planner. A good planner will ultimatly follow your wishes.

4) A Friend

We don’t mean hiring  Aunt Sally’s 17 year old daughter who loves to plan weddings/events on the side. Ultimately, you want to be able to connect and be comfortable around your event planner. After all, she is the ONE to call in regards to your event. Be thoughtful though – don’t call her at 2 am because you can’t fit into your party or wedding dress. She is still your planner, NOT mom.

What do you think of our list? What do you ultimately look for when hiring an event planner?

 

Cheers,

Private Event Spaces!

 

Choosing a Space: 5 Most Common Overlooked Costs

August 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

 

So you love the space and even better – love the price. But before you jump the bandwagon and sign the papers, make sure to clarify all costs with your sales manager. Most often, brides think the initial package price is the end-of-it-all price. Renting a venue is not like buying a pair of shoes, check the price behind the sole and add the sales tax, and that is your total amount. Make sure your package includes the following cost –

 

1) Gratuity

If your venue supplies staffing for your event, it is highly likely that gratuity will be an additional cost. Gratuity may run from 18 – 21% of your total package or could even be a flat fee at some venue. For example, if you total package is $599, be prepared to pay an additional $107.22 at an 18% gratuity. So make sure you clarify with your sales manager if your package includes gratuity or not.

2) Sales tax

Most of the time as consumers, we tend to overlook sales tax. However, sales tax on a large amount of money may yield a significant cost. Depending on your local state and municipality, do make sure to ask the total sales tax on the package. Ask them to add ALL sales tax because even 1% may throw off your total budget. Think about it: 1% on a $10,000 venue is about a $100 extra you have to fork out.

3) Bar Requirements

Most venues make their money from their bar. Hence, it is extremely important for you to know the minimum bar guarantees for your package. Unless your package already includes bar prices, most venues impose a minimum that might make or break your desire for renting that particular space. Some space have cheap rentals but a $4000 bar minimum can certainly make a dent in your bank account. Question you want to answer, is a $4000 bar worth it to you?

4) Miscellaneous Fees

Some spaces charge a fee for miscellaneous items such as DJ tables, outside caterer fee, projector screen, and etc. Go over a list of miscellaneous items you need and also required by the space before totalling up your final amount.

5) Furniture Rental

Do check out with your venue if your package includes furniture rentals. Some may and some may not. Either way, it is extremely vital that you ensure these costs are covered within your budget and package.

We understand that event planning can be extremely tedious and meticulous. Always make sure you have a handy guide book with you and at Private Event Spaces, our best friend is called “The List”. Keep listing and listing and again, exhaust all listings! That way, you’ll never forget the little details!

We wish you all the best!!

Coordinating Your Vendors

August 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

Once you have decided on all of your vendors, ie: venue, caterer, DJ, flowers and etc, your next step is to coordinate all the vendors together. But before you become panic-stricken and hire a wedding coordinator(which in our mind, is a great idea if you aren’t a planner type of a person), read our do’s and don’ts to ease all your planning details! Although coordinating vendors may sound like a daunting task, it is not as hard as you think. Just read on and let us en light you with our planning skills.

Do

1) Keep a list of all your vendors details such as name(s), contacts, addresses – all in a single folder or book.  Also, we suggest that you key in their numbers in your cell phone. That way, you don’t have to whip our your file in case of emergency! Also, do make sure you are friendly to your vendors because they are your point of contact for your event.

2) Follow up monthly or anytime a transaction does take place. This is to ensure that everyone is on a same page whether it is about payment, venue, etc. This is to avoid all possibilities of any disputes or discrepancies. Bottom line, just make sure to reply to any emails/calls if a vendor does call and not leave it to the last minute! The last thing you need is to find out that your florist can’t supply hydrangeas the day before your event when she’s been trying to get hold of you.

3) Call up and confirm exact time and date via phone and email. Although you might have relay the responsibility to a certain person, ie: maid of honor, etc, we believe it doesn’t hurt to just give a ring to your vendors to confirm all time and date. After all, it IS your event and no one holds more responsibility than you.

 

Don’t

1) Ignore any of your vendor phone calls. Sometimes a vendor might have called you while you are at work, but do not forget to return their calls after work. There must be an important reason why your vendor is calling.

2) Simply trust that they know everything. You may be planning your only event, but do understand that your vendor has a list of other events on their book. Although it is their duty to ensure all of your event details are taken care of, it is still your duty to provide all details and stay in the same page. Bottom line is, do not assume that your vendor knows all the specifics of your events. Provide all the information you can and again, follow up.

3) Throw away receipts and contracts until all payments are finalized after the event. Most of the time, there are bound to be extra charges incurred for last minute additions. By keeping your receipts and contracts, you have exact proof from both sides shall any dispute arises.

 

What do you think of our do’s and don’ts of coordinating the right vendors? Are there anymore that we should add on our list?

 

Cheers!

Private Event Spaces

Have You Tried This Color Combination?

July 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

At Private Event Spaces, what tinkles our fancy when hosting a party is the color combination. Whether it is a birthday party, wedding or anything – you are bound to see a color theme to it. Nuff’ said, it gets us very excited because we believe the color you choose does set the ambiance of your party. If you are looking to do a romantic wedding, you obviously don’t want any dark colors and vice versa. So, if you are looking for color ideas – here are our two cents! 😉

1) Turqoise and Gold

Turqoise, part of the Green family provides a sense of calm and serenity with a dash of fun. Compliment the color with champagne gold to give a touch of simple elegance. This color is perfect for baby showers, birthdays, weddings and of course, for those who loves the color turquoise and gold.

 

2) Pink and Grey

While most would think to compliment pink with white, have you thought of pairing it with grey? A soft shade of grey (such an underrated color, in our opinion) gives a sense of edginess without being too harsh like black. If you love pink but don’t want to overdo the girliness, a soft shade of grey would be your best bet. Such a perfect color for those expecting a baby girl or really, if you want to get away with pink and not hear your friends say, “This is way too much pink!”

 

3) Purple and Yellow

Situated at opposite ends on the color wheel, these two bright colors scream fun, quirky and happiness! If your personality screams bubbly and vivacious, we can’t say enough about this color combo with designs such as polka dots or stripes. We are positive that you’ll love it!

 

4) Royal Blue and Silver

Since the Royal wedding, we were slammed with a slew of new royalty do’s. And that includes the color, Royal Blue. Prince William and Duchess Catherine certainly brought this enigmatic color into fashion. If you love  distinguish colors that conveys poise and elegance, silver and blue puts you in class without being too gaudy. Move over pink, Royal Blue means love.

We hope this post helps you in selecting a theme color for your wedding. So pick that color and plan your party!

Let us know what are you other favorite color combos!

Cheers!

Private Event Spaces

Serving Food at a Party: Do’s & Don’ts

July 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

When hosting a party, there’s no doubt that your guests are looking forward to one thing: The Food.  Yes, the Food. Why did we capitalize food and place “the”? Because really, good party means good food. Unless you are Brie from Desperate Housewives, one might feel overwhelmed when serving food. You might wonder, what do I serve? How do I serve? What would my guest like? How do I make it perfect? And the questions go on….and on….and on?

Ok, enough questions. Here is our Food Serving Guide List-

1) Know Your Guests

It is important to understand your guests. And by that, we mean the general demographic of your guests. If your guests are mostly vegans, you probably don’t want to serve meat at your party. Do find out who is allergic to certain food because allergies are often fatal. If you know someone in your guest list are allergic to nuts, you might want to forgo a menu with nuts – just to be safe. The last thing you want is an ambulance at your door.

2) Decide on Event Setup

Next, you have to decide on the setup of the event. If it is a cocktail party, you might want to look into serving finger food. Likewise for a formal birthday party, you might want to consider a seated dinner for your guests. All in all, you want to fit the food setup with your party theme. It would be a little awkward to serve seated dinner food at a football game party.

3) All about timing

Whether you are considering a seated dinner, buffet or cocktail party, it is important to time when your food is coming out. If you are making cold appetizers, you might want to start that first and refrigerate them before cooking your hot food. A good rule of thumb, make cold appetizers an hour before preparing any hot food.

4) Disaster-Proof your Food

We are really not suggesting you to buy food insurance (is that an option?). But to prevent any food mishaps, we recommend that you don’t serve barbeque chicken for a black-tie event. And serving fish with plenty of bones at a kid’s party is a no-no. This ties in back to our first point “Know your Guest”.

5) Decorate me Pretty

Unless you are having a barbeque party or straight-out no frills party, you may skip the decoration part. But we do strongly suggest good food presentation. Since you’ve put in so much work to prepare your food, why not go all the way and provide the ultimate touch. Something simple such as serving on a nice plate will make a difference.

 

What do you think of our list? What are other great ways to serve good food at a party?

 

Cheers from Private Event Spaces!

 

Decorating on a Budget

July 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

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We think one of the best part when having a party is the decoration aspect of it. Although stressful, nothing kicks in the excitement of having a party when you begin decorating your event space. Unless you have a specific theme for your party, decorating can be really overwhelming. Not to mention, it gets really expensive too. So how do you decorate and still keep a nice balance in your bank account? Here are our tips right from our creative brains (we like to think so :D) –

1) Flower Petals

We are big proponents for flower petals – simplicity at its best. Throw it on the table, floors or in a jar as centerpieces, and the room will be completely transformed.  But do make sure that you plan it strategically to avoid your party looking as if a “flower hurricane” just ripped through.

 

2) Tissue Lanterns

If love the modern, chic and lofty theme – we recommend tissue lanterns as part of your decor. Gather your friends for a DIY party to make this cheap and simple lantern ball that rubs off a mod feeling. All you need are tissue papers (not toilet paper kind though), scissors and strings. Here is how you do it:

– Stack eight 20-by-30-inch sheets of tissue. Make 1 1/2-inchwide accordion  folds, creasing with each fold.
– Fold an 18-inch piece of floral wire in half, and slip over center of folded tissue; twist. Trim ends of tissue into rounded or pointy shapes.
–  Separate layers, pulling away from center one at a time.
–  Tie a string to the floral wire for hanging.

 

3) Stencils

Love to have your own monogram but don’t like to spend thousand of dollars for a digital one? Why not make it yourself? We absolutely love this idea of stenciling because it provides a personal touch to your event. To create your own monogram, get a piece of cardboard and carve out the design that you’d like to be printed. You can find a ton of designs online, blow them up and print them. Trace them on a cardboard and cut them with a blade. Next, choose your favorite paper and place your stencil above; spray them with your favorite color. Put them in the middle of the table or hang them around whereever you think deserves attention!

 

4) Rose in a Glass

This is another simple idea that we simply adore. Go to your local florist or even grocery store and buy a dozen of roses. Cut the stems into shorter length and just place them in your favorite wine glass. If you like to take it a notch above, pour in some pebbles into the glass. Voila – a romantic and simple centerpiece!

 

5) Floating Candles

Last but not least, we absolutely love floating candle centerpieces. Take a simple glass bowl ( you can purchase cheap ones from Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Saveoncrafts.com) and fill it water. Place tea candles on it and let it float. To amp it up, sprinkle some roses or glitter, or both for the ultimate effect! Get ready to dim the lights and light your candles. One word: Love!

 

What do you think of our list? Do you have any other cheap decorating ideas? Let us know at the comment box below!

 

Cheers! 🙂

Choosing the Right Event Space

June 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

Whether you are choosing a space for a wedding, birthday, graduation, or simply for a private event, we all know how daunting this task can be. Plenty of details goes into choosing the right space – location, size, architecture, ambience, amenities, etc. Depending on individuals and the type of event, each event will have  different priorities. However, here is our guide to choosing the right event space for your lovely party!

1) Price

How crazy and rude of us to mention price first. But truth to be told, this is an extremely important factor. Do take a run-through of the space before delving any deeper, but we strongly believe that you should ask about price first. The last thing you need is to spend an hour talking about the space (and fall in love with it) to only find the price range completely out of your budget. Be honest up front about how much you are willing to spend. That way, the person showing you the space would know what you are looking for and perhaps, work with you to fit your budget!

2) Size

One key element when considering a space is the occupancy limit. Depending on the type of your event ( is it a cocktail or seated dinner?), you want to make sure that your event will not be over-crowded. Think about the layout and factor in the number of people into the space, could this plausible venue fit all your guests comfortably? We normally advise not to compensate price for size because ultimately, you want your guests to be comfortable and happy. Also, you really don’t want to break the law.

3) Location

We’ve all heard the saying to new business-owners,” It’s all about location, location, location!”. Apply that to hosting an event, as well. It is important to note what goes around the area of your event space. Is it in an unsafe neighborhood? That might deter your guest from attending. Are there any retails and restaurants near the event space? What about hotels? That would be great for out-of-town guests. Also, is there enough parking at the space location? Make sure to take mental notes ( or take a real notepad) and jot this question down when assessing a space.

4) Amenities

Another key factor when considering a space are the amenities. If you have a disabled guest, do check if the event space is handicapped accessible. Also, do make sure if there are enough power plugs, dimmed lights and most importantly, bathroom. The last thing you want is to have 50 guests lining outside the bathroom or have one of your guest arrested for public indecency. Generally if your event has less than 75 people, one bathroom should suffice. Of course, we’d vouch for more than one bathroom!

5) Ambience

Last but not least, how do you like the ambience of the space? Do you think it fits with your theme and vision? If you are thinking a futuristic-theme party, a space with historical decor will throw off your theme. If you are planning a 1920s party, a space with strong historical decor would be your best bet. Fusion theme party? Find a space with a loft decor. There are a bunch of unique spaces out there, but you just have to look for it.

Or you know… you can always hop over to Private Event Spaces, if you are in the St. Louis area!

Psstt… Did you know we are this close to having two more awesome spaces under our belt? Yeap, we are super stoked too!

Anyhoo, have a fabulour 4th of July weekend and we will see you guys next week!

Cheers!

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