Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wedding Wednesday

I am so very excited to share with all of you a wedding I had the pleasure of helping to put together. Just a couple of highlight photos and then head on over to for all the details.

Frances Kershaw and Nate Jones
Bridal Veil Lakes, Corbett, Oregon
September 1, 2012

It was a truly magical evening!
Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Jones!


All Pictures provided by the wonderfully talented: Aaron Courter Photography

Caterer: Crown Paella 

Bridal Party Flowers: Anna Mara Flowers

Ceremony and Reception Decor: Swan Island DahliasWest Coast Event Productions, Jodi Buell Event Productions

Band: Hot Tea Cold

Croquembouche provided by: Pix Patisserie

Bridal Party Hair and Makeup – Entrust Hair

Wedding Planner 2 – Kristi Hansen

Back in the Saddle - Let's Talk About Relationships

It has been some time since I have updated this blog, not for lack of content, but for lack of time and motivation to sit down at a excuse, but honestly that is what happened. I blame it on Mexico, but really it has been a summer that blew by so quickly I hardly knew it was here.

So today I hope to catch up on some sort of blog schedule and here is my attempt. I understand it is not Monday, but let's pretend...

Let's talk about Relationship Building. It is something that is essential to every one and, to a business or nonprofit, it is one of the most important steps to achieving success. You cannot get anywhere these days without the relationships you have established and the relationships you are working on developing. 

Relationships take work, maintenance, care, time, equality, and when you put all these qualities together you can work wonders and make millions whether it be cash OR perhaps more importantly, lasting support.

Were you in the business and/or nonprofit world when the market crashed, say 2008? Do you remember how business and donations dropped significantly? How did you react?

One of the most important points I learned going from a high economy to a devastated one, was that the relationships were the only thing left. Regardless of goals, income or growth, relationships were the only thing to measure. Which leads me to a complete self-discovery, I already knew that to get someone to donate and support they had to have some sort of connection, but before the crash "connection" was a loosely used term. Anyone, big or small could support monetarily with a woven "connection." However, after the crash, "connection" and "relationship" became the most goals. These could no longer be worked, these had to be real. And, though monetary support was the ultimate goal I knew that $10 from someone who had been involved for years and was going to continue to be involved even more so was worth more than $100,000 in the long run.

PS, taking time to build relationships with partners, business colleagues, clients, supporters and competiors, donors, etc should not be seen as a chore, but as a way to grow as a business, nonprofit, person.

You see, when people give their time, have a strong connection, and you have built that relationship with the person, not the money, eventually everything meets your goals.

Relationships are the key. These have to be true, engaged, personal, committed relationships. So that when you go to ask for support, any support, it is not something you have to "ask" for you already know it is there. 

How have your Relationships grown?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Wine Industry Highlight - Youngberg Hill

I had the pleasure of visiting Youngberg Hill last week. To see their venue, bed and breakfast, and taste their wines. Wow! I am not sure I have all the words to describe the space, bed and breakfast, wine, but mostly the owner - Nicolette. She and her husband have done what some of us dream. Visit an area, are really into something, find a perfect destination and space, and jump at a dream. That is entirely what they have done and man, do they do an exceptional job - with everything!

It is hard to be good at one thing, but to be amazing at all the balls you juggle is quite extraordinary and should be recognized and emulated.

Their space speaks for itself. Perfectly planned and designed. I mean, who builds in two bars and a catering truck backup?!? They do. Who has the tenting to make an outdoor venue work in the Pacific Northwest's ever impending rain? They do. Who has the onsite lodging for your VP and President, Board members, Corporate partners, family? They do. And, who makes the wine to back up their amazing additions? You guessed it...they do.

I don't have very many pictures I just want to drive you to their website. Check it out. It is the perfect location for a retreat, afternoon corporate excursion, board meeting, wine maker dinner, and of course a wedding.

Thank you Youngberg Hill, I had an fabulous time visiting! I cannot wait to go back.

Wedding Wednesday

When I was writing the decor Wednesday on my other blog, Arthur and Lancelot's Adventures, I stumbled upon this amazing wedding that Ink and Peat did the florals for.

Thank you to Ink and Peat for sharing the gorgeous wedding of Emily and John that Style Me Pretty first featured and the photos that Rebekah Johnson took. The event was held at the Garden Vineyards in Hillsboro.

What I love most is the simplicity and character. So perfect, so easy, so gorgeous.

Upon arrival guests were greeted! Always have something that
not only welcomes guests, but also gives them a feel for the event.

Ink & Peat did an amazing job.

I am pretty sure many may think a styled photobooth has been overdone,
however I completely disagree. Especially when it is done with mustaches
and right when your guests arrive. Gives them something to do while waiting.

The outdoor ceremony paired incredibly with the
bouquet and easy setting of the entire affair.

Incredible wedding!

PS, with an amazing venue your decorations can be very simple and easy. No need to spend a ton on decor with a fabulous setting. Keep that in mind when looking at venues.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Tuesdays - Timing

Since my background is nonprofit, corporate, fundraising events, when planning an event, the first thing I think about is my budget. This may not be the most fun part about planning an event, but let's face it, every event should have a budget and things should fall into place based on this detail.

Especially, if you are planning a nonprofit event or fundraiser, please keep in mind your budget and plan accordingly.

Every Tuesday we hope to feature some budget saving ideas when planning any event, whether it be corporate, nonprofit, wedding or even your next dinner party. These are still tough times, but that does not mean you have to sacrifice style to save a buck.

Let's talk about timing...when planning your next event remember a couple of timing ways to save some cash.

1. Weekday Event versus Weekend Event
Venues are always looking to maximize their space and if you are willing to plan your event on a weekday, you can definitely negotiate a lower rate. Not only will you be filling their space, but chances are the time you spend in their space will be less hours than a weekend event. This is a Win Win for both. So the next time you are looking for a space check out Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or even Thursdays for your venue rates.

2. October - November, January - February Events
Depending on your location and if you want an outdoor event these times of year may not work for you, but if you can swing it these months are usually less in-demand and less costly. Check around you may be surprised! Or call me, I have some ideas!

3. Breakfast, Lunch, Cocktail Hour
Why not plan a breakfast? This is a wonderful time to capture corporate or nonprofit partners and the cost of a meal is far less than a dinner. Also, lunch can be a great way to engage a clientele or get the family together pre-wedding. Cocktail hour is always a fabulous time, only a couple of hours needed, maximize your time with your guests- aka mingle-like-you-mean-it or network, network, network, and then send them on their way to complete their evening, etc. These times of events are always really helpful to people with children. Keep this in-mind when scheduling.

PS, Brunch is also a great time to entertain your friends and won't break into their day.

Remember, regardless the budget, every event can and should be fabulous. With a little careful planning you can always achieve your goals.

Questions? Comments? Help? Let's talk!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Mondays - Soliciting Donations

I am the first to admit, soliciting a company, people, your friends and family for donations whether it be straight cash or a fabulous auction item can be a little daunting, however, there are a couple of key points and steps to take that can make the process a little less difficult. And, perhaps even fun!

1. Who are you?
Are you a non-profit with a registered 501 (c)(3) or 501 (c)(4)? If so, always have your Tax ID number. This is one of the most important pieces when asking for a donation, whether it is cash or item donation.

Are you a volunteer or participant in a fundraising event or raising money for a cause? If so, have the companies Tax ID number ready. The organization should have a document ready for you to present to people when soliciting for donations, whether it be cash or item.

PS, Having this Tax ID number and professional paperwork explaining what you are asking for and where the money is going makes you legitimate.

2. Timing?
When soliciting for anything make sure you are asking at the right time. Not only do people need time to think about what they want to give, but when it is right for them. Additionally, if you are soliciting a company, do your research, companies usually have a giving process that needs to be reviewed and is not always reviewed on a regular basis but at very specific times of the year. Maybe quarterly or even once a year. Also, keep in mind the companies fiscal year, it may not be the calendar year.

3. What are you asking for?
Are you asking for a cash donation, sponsorship, auction item? Know exactly what you are asking for and want from the person you are asking. Be extremely specific. Do your research and know what the person and/or company can give. Research, ask questions and make a specific ask.

4. Who are you asking?
Research, research, research. Just like you knew how much your parents could give when doing the school jog-a-thon, research and find out what companies can give and like to give. For most large companies they post their giving parameters on their websites these days. They give to very specific areas, review asks at specific times, and like to be asked in specific ways whether it is an email, letter request, etc.

5. Who is making the ask?
Especially when soliciting for large auction items, sponsorships, large capital cash donations who makes the ask is key. Remember, you may not always be the best person to make the ask. This is not a time to be selfish and really evaluate who you are in the grand scheme of things. It may be you, but it may be a Vice President, Board member, powerful Alumni, etc.

Raising money for a cause can be a very rewarding experience. Whether it is for a school booster club, local nonprofit doing amazing things for your community, sick child in need, there are simple steps to take to help you reach your goal.

Message us if you ever need ideas, help, and/or have questions on creative ways to help raise funds. It is all about research, thinking outside the box, and making an impact!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Incredible Ranch Wedding

Over the weekend while catching up on some blog reading (no, not the newspaper, blogs people, besides twitter the only real sources of information) I stumbled on this gorgeous wedding captured in all its fabulousness by The Knotty Bride.

I really have no words when it comes to rustic wedding perfection. Its all in the pictures AND the amazing table numbers, succulents, place cards and seed packets.

PS, so many of these ideas are really affordable and easy to create yourself. Also, Etsy is always a great place to start when looking for any event decor.

Happy Wedding Wednesday!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

DIY Burlap Wreath

Though not really an event piece, more so a home decor piece, however this burlap wreath was so easy to create I hope it inspires you to DIY your own burlap event decor. Goodness knows I die over it!

Super simple and quite affordable. The one thing that kept me from completing this sooner was the fact that my darling fuzzy lover Lancelot seemed to LUUUUUVVVVEEEE the burlap wreath. And, with all my confessing, when using a hot glue gun you cannot actually burn yourself (!!!!!!!!), remember the glue can seep through the burlap and give you second degree burns - dang my serious accident-proneness.

First, get all your supplies together.

The padded wreath and burlap ribbon I purchased at Michael's.
The ribbon I found at Anthropologie.

PS, after Christmas you can score incredible deals at craft stores. Additionally, check your newspaper and more importantly online for weekly coupons! They can really save you money on more expensive craft store purchases.

Then I plugged in the ever scary glue gun and started wrapping the burlap around the wreath. (Before I started to glue I did a test wrap to make sure I would have enough fabric to cover the entire wreath twice.) I did not take off the plastic covering on the wreath because I felt like it stabilized the shape.

Covered Wreath!

I decided to leave the access burlap attached and create a flower out of it, enter-twining the gorgeous thick mustard yarn I had.

He loved it!

At first I was going to possibly wrap the ribbon around the wreath and maybe add the butterflies, but in the end I decided to leave it simple and gorgeous.

Perfect Spring Door Decor!

Have you made a Burlap Wreath?

Please, Share!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Dessert Bar

I love the idea of a dessert bar for an event. Whether it is a wedding, baby shower, corporate event, or even an intimate cocktail party, it always is a focal point and talked about for weeks after.

PS, It can be an extremely affordable way to create a great display. If you don't have the display pieces on-hand, plain colored and glass rentals are very affordable. Bulk candy and some cupcakes, one color of flowers in some vases and some candles would totally be amazing!

First, get yourself at least a 6 foot table. I like to keep all my serving wear the same color and use glass containers, like apothecary jars. This let's your dessert and candy really be the star of the table.

When designing your table also consider flowers, lighting, simple props and what is going to be above/behind the table. Also, where is this going to be located in your space? It should be a focal point and used to move people. It does not necessarily have to be located near the exit, but it should make sense in the flow of your party. If people can't move or get to where they are going they will leave and/or be super uncomfortable the entire time. Neither is a good thing.

Now the fun part, start with a great linen (always, start with a great base) and build from there. Think multi-level, but within reach of people. You don't want people to have to plunge themselves over a cake just to get to the jelly-bellies. Think color theme and gorgeous accents.

The neutral colors here really work.

Wouldn't this be a really fun child's party?
So simple, so affordable and the pendant banner you can DIY!

I love the pom-poms!

Wedding bliss!

Love the blues and whites!
You could make the white branches - Michael's has great branches that you can spray paint.

Black, white, and copper!

Great Mod table!

A little burlap has to sneak-in. Fab baby shower design. I love the mirror!
Have you done a dessert bar? What did you include?

Happy Thursday Lovelies!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Hello 2012!

This is going to be a wonderful and exciting year!

Good Things Coming Later This Month - Stay Tuned!