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New Year & Newly Engaged! What’s Next?!!

Happy New Year!! I hope that you all enjoyed the Holiday season and used some of our tips to host some of your best parties! It’s a new year and therefore, new reasons to celebrate!

This week’s entry is for the ladies who got engaged this holiday season! First, let me say CONGRATS! You’ve got a great man, he took the fabulous Beyoncé’s advice and put a ring on it!tumblr_mm8qdbDahE1s50bd6o1_500

What now?!! I know you are very excited, because this is one of the greatest moments anyone can experience in life. Excitement can sometimes have you all over the place. You just can’t figure out where or how to begin. Rest assure, I am here to help you with all of the details that come with your big event.

First, along with your fiance’, decide when you want to have your ceremony. This will help determine the length of your planning process. If you want a date  16 months or less from your engagement, start now.

Destination-Wedding-Photo-from-www.destinationnow.com_Decide where you want to get married. The actual details like, St. Corinthians church on 53rd street, are not as important today as they will be in a few more months into planning. Information like whether you want a wedding locally, in another city, or a destination wedding that would require passports and extensive travel arrangements require a decision  now. For example, a destination wedding will require booking as soon as possible, also you will need to inform your guests of the details as they need to plan for this exciting time as well.  A local wedding offers many of your necessary resources right at your fingertips. Out of town weddings are similar to destination weddings because they are typically in places where the majority of your guests do not live, including you and the groom.

calulatorDecide on a budget, you can do this before the previous step or concurrently. It is important to be realistic when creating this budget. You two know yourselves better than any wedding planner, friend or family member. You know what you can afford.  If you are paying for your own wedding,  take into account how much you already have saved and how much more you could possibly save  prior to your wedding.   Consider what you want from your wedding day. If you know you want three dress changes, a band, a DJ and a photo booth, I’ll tell you now, $15,000 is not enough for that wedding to take place in Chicago. Also, take into consideration your approximate guest size. Remember, you have to feed all the invited guests. Scale back on the number of guests or increase your budget accordingly. Still need help with appropriate budgeting? Contact my company and we can provide you with budget assistance.

Also considering ring insurance! These are the first symbols of your upcoming nuptials. Whether your wedding is this year or two years from now, anything can happen, you want to have your rings on the  wedding day! Buy insurance!

Here is the fun part! Begin the dress search! This is especially important for us women who have no idea what we want! It’s never too early to shop for your wedding dress! As long as you have the ring, you can get the dress! weddingdressshopping

Set up appointments at local or out of state bridal boutiques and go in and try on different dresses! If anyone has ever seen TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress, you want to bring a friend and some close family members.  In my professional opinion, bringing more than four people to a dress consult can hinder this very special moment.  Take people who’s opinion you value, take people who will not just yes you  and who will give an honest and genuine opinion based on what is best for you. Leave the hater friends at home!! You know who they are! You love them dearly, but they can hate sometimes, (you instantly thought of her, lol) Bring people who will help you stick to your budget and if needed might even pull out their own checkbooks! You can also do some research on the internet before going into an actual boutique. If you find a dress, get the name of the dress and designer. Print out a photo of the dress. Make sure the stores you plan to visit carry that designer’s dresses.

Last but not least, hire a wedding planner. A common misconception about hiring a wedding-planner-2wedding planner  is that when you hire one, everything you have always wanted goes out the window and the planner then does whatever they want. That couldn’t be furthest from the truth. You wouldn’t need to pay a planner to give you their dream wedding. You’re paying for help in bringing your dreams for your day to life. Wedding planners are wedding professionals. They are experienced when handling wedding business. Planners know the best vendors to fit your needs and budget. They know how to bring to life what you have been dreaming about for most of your life. Your initial meeting with your wedding planner should lay out as much of your desires for this special day as possible. It is also  time to identify if this planner is right for you and your day. After all, you will be spending a great deal of time with them over the next year. Based on your budget and your wishes, a planner will provide you with options and you should be able to choose which vendor you want to work with. Planners will and should make suggestions, but it’s ultimately up to you, because it’s your wedding . Planners can surprisingly be less expensive than you think. Some planners will set their price based on your budget and your needs. Then there are some, who have a set fee for what you are requesting from them. Remember, you can have a planner their for as little or as much help as you need. Talk to one today!

You can contact Plan the Day Event Services for a free consultation. They will be able to provide you with any help you need for your big day!

These are just a few of the things you can do as soon as you get engaged! It’s an exciting time for you. Start your planning early, to ensure you have the best of everything that you want for your big day!

To request an extensive wedding planning timeline, shoot us an email and we’ll send you one! Mention this blog posts in your request!

Happy Planning! 🙂

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Tips for Hosting your Best Thanksgiving Part 2: Dinner

ThanksgivingheaderThanksgiving is right around the corner. There is still extra time for a few hosting tips. We have covered the ambiance for the dinner and you’ve gotten all your guests in the Thanksgiving mood, now what about the dinner?  Here are a few tips to enhance the dinner for you and your guests.

Style of Dinner: How are you planning on serving your dinner? To think about this question, you first need to know how many guests you are serving. Here is a breakdown of your options and tips to have the best experience with them all.

thanksgivingbuffet  A buffet is a good fit for any size crowd, but it especially works best for a crowd of 30 or more people. There is a special technique for serving your dinner buffet style. Place the plates and napkins at the beginning of the line, use another table separate from the food if space allows. Set the forks by the actual place settings, this will free your guests’ hands while perusing the buffet line.

Also, when setting up your buffet, try to place your food at different levels if you are not using warmers. Doing it this way people won’t risk dropping sleeves in the next dish and it looks nice.   Place some dishes flat on the table. Then use some beautifully decorated boxes, books or pumpkins to place other dishes on.  If you need to keep your dishes warm because of longer serving times, then use warmers.

thanksgivingfamilystyle    Family style is a popular choice for a Thanksgiving dinner.  It’s typically better for medium to smaller guests size.  Serve the dishes in medium to small dishes. This arrangement offers more table space and enough for everyone to have seconds, even if you have to refill dishes or have more than one of a particular dish on the table.

plated dinner

A plated dinner isn’t the most popular for a Thanksgiving dinner, but it can be done. You, the host, will have picked a menu already for the dinner. You can offer your guests different meats with the same sides for everyone. You can set the table and have everything your guests will need on the table; salads, bread, utensils, condiments etc. Then plates can be served, already fixed with your guests’ choice of meat with the accompanying sides picked for this dinner. This usually works for small to medium guests sizes as well. Like a family style dinner, it also can work for the number of people your table fits comfortably.

Don’t forget to carve the meats into perfect slices. Also, make sure to provide the perfect serving utensils to help your guests properly transfer the food from the platter onto their plates.

Dinner: What are you serving? I’m sure you have your menu set already. but here are few extras or twist on the normal Thanksgiving food.

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Bacon Wrapped Sausage and Portobello Mushroom Stuffed Turkey Roulade

This is not your every Thanksgiving type of turkey.  This is a turkey tenderloin flavored by the sausage and portobello mushrooms that are stuffed inside. Don’t forget the bacon! I would add maple flavored bacon instead of hickory. (Click the picture for the full recipe.)

Italian Sausage, Mushroom & Chestnut Stuffing

This is a twist on your regular stuffing! I’m feeling the Italian sausage used here! (Click the photo for the full recipe.)

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Pumpkin Cheesecake with Salted Caramel Sauce

Pumpkin and Cheesecake! Both desserts are a holiday favorite for most! Here they are put together with a salted caramel sauce to remind you that Fall and Thanksgiving are really here! (Click the photo for the complete recipe.)

The Drinks: You must have a signature drink for your Thanksgiving dinner! I’ve found all kinds but here are a few that you will not resist including in your dinner menu next week. These drinks will surely add something special to your Thanksgiving even if they are served without alcohol.

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Pass the Turkey

The Pass the Turkey is one of the first drinks I’ve ever seen made with Wild Turkey! I would be eager to try this one just because of that fact. It’s also got cranberries in it too! (Click the picture for the recipe.)

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Apple Pumpkin Martini

The best of both worlds! This drink embodies the Fall and Thanksgiving together. A mix I would never imagine, but one I’m sure is tasty! (Click the photo for the recipe.)

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Apple Cider Sangria

Sangria is one of my favorite drinks but when you add apple cider to it, it turns it up 10 notches! Try this recipe! (Click the picture for the complete recipe.)

We hope that you have enjoyed this post as well as Part 1! Have a Happy Thanksgiving from your  friends at Plan the Day Event Services!

Tips for Hosting your Best Thanksgiving Part 1: The Ambiance

ThanksgivingheaderThanksgiving is usually focused on the scrumptious foods and drinks. As an event planner, I’m thinking, what about the ambiance? Is the room decorated? What does the table look like? I know you’re probably saying, “I will have worked all night and day in the kitchen, I’ll pass” Don’t! Creating the thanksgiving theme throughout your home in more than just the dinner will make your meal even more worth all the hours of tears and sweat you put into it. Not to mention, the pictures you show to brag on your holiday efforts will be lovely to look at it.

Here are few ideas for creating Thanksgiving ambiance:

Set the table: It’s a general Thanksgiving tradition that you eat with your family and friends at a large table on Thanksgiving. Why not set the table? Make it pretty and give your guest something to admire while you put the finishing touches on dinner. Check out some of these “tablescapes”.

I love the pattern on the tablecloth! The blue accessories bring out the blue in the tablecloth and it is a perfect combination with the color orange that is usually associated with Thanksgiving decor!
Isn’t it amazing how in July these same colors represent our patriotic celebration? However, here it is used as a beautiful display for a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner. The rich red runner resembles the red colored leaves in the Fall. Great combination!
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Love the angle of this photo! They used gold chargers underneath the white plates which brings out the orange in the napkins perfectly! The pattern in the runner is wonderful for lush ambiance of the candles and plants placed on it. This is beautiful eye candy for the table!

Decorate the room: Now, that you have set the table, don’t forget the rest of the room. Before your guests even reach the dinner table the room has to speak Thanksgiving!  Pumpkins here, an acorn or two there… Here are some decorating ideas:

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Here are two ways you can use candles to brighten your decor. Cranberries are a sign of fall and the holidays as well as acorns! Place them both as a mix around the candles or do as shown in the pictures! Place these around the room or even add them to your table! 
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Love the way they used the wine glasses as a candle holder. I’ve seen this done all over for different occasions by changing the candle size and color! Love it here!
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Grab your Fall favorites and throw them in a decorative bowl and you have a beautiful Fall piece!

Do something: Thanksgiving is a special time to reflect on things you are thankful for. Set aside a time during your festivities to share them in fun and creative ways! Here are a few:

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It’s called the Gratitude Jar! Simply print a label for your jar and fill it full of your family’s responses to a series of fun and unique gratitude prompts. Connect them in a chain-like manner to create a Gratitude chain! Click the picture for the free “printables”!
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Don’t forget the kids! Give them something to do while the adults are chatting during dinner! Click the photo for the free printable!
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You can use your place mats as a place where people can write out what they are grateful for. Then go around the room and have the person sitting to the left of each person share their neighbors blessings!

Hosts, I hope that you have gained lots of ideas for your Thanksgiving dinner! Decorations are for more than Christmas! Every event you throw should have some type of ambiance created by you, the fabulous host!

Stay Tuned for Next Week’s post on more ways to kick up your Thanksgiving!

Fun Halloween Ideas for the Kids!

I have been pondering over some ideas I could use as a treat for my family and friends for the Halloween season. Then I came across some fun activities, added my own twist and decided to share with my Plan the Day Friends as well.

I call them Halloween Prep party ideas! Since Halloween falls on a weeknight, most kids only have time for trick or treating and the time spent going through all their delectable treats, so here are some ideas to spread the momentum until the day comes.

You can spread these out during the week, completing a different activity every day until Halloween or just choose one day as your Halloween Prep Day!

Pumpkin Decorating: Forget the normal carving or just painting a scary or silly face on your pumpkin, Glam it up! Spray your pumpkin with adhesive,  and throw some glitter on  for a sparkle that won’t quit! You can also use thumbtacks on the pumpkins to create a cute design. Or try spray painting a pumpkin to create a metallic pumpkin, a one of a kind design! Whatever you select, make it GLAM!

Caramel Apples: Caramel apples are just as much a sign that Fall is upon as Halloween itself. It’s also a sweet treat that you can customize in so many ways! Purchase some red or green apples, caramel, chopsticks and anything you can think to stick to the apples. Children will love that they can have it their way at more than just Burger King. You can put chocolate, nuts, sprinkles, chocolate chips anything your child can think of! Not only will they taste scrumptious but they will look great too!

Personalized Trick or Treat Bags: Get the kids ready for trick or treating. Grab fabric markers, purchase some blank tote bags, and let the kids create the ultimate expression of Halloween in their own way! Encourage them to design the bags to match their costumes or to explain what Halloween means to them through art! You can find the materials for this idea at your local craft store or an online craft store.

Color Your Own Halloween Friend “Trick-Or-Treat” Tote Bags

Color Your Popcorn: Popcorn is such a fun treat and you can do so much with it. Add some color and awesome flavors to turn the popcorn up a notch! Go orange!! I found a great recipe so that you and the little ones can turn your popcorn into a Halloween themed treat! Goblin’s Orange Popcorn Recipe 

 Halloween Movie Night: You can end your prep day with Halloween themed movie or  end your trick or treating  with this Halloween favorite activity! Grab your orange popcorn and watch some kid friendly Halloween Movies! Don’t forget my personal favorites Hocus Pocus, Halloweentown and of course Harry Potter!

Have a Spooktacular Halloween from your friends at Plan the Day Event Services! 

7 Tips for Choosing Invitations

   Invitations set the tone for your event! The idea behind invitations is they should get people excited and anticipate your event. You want your invitations to provide all the details and logistics about your function and you want them to show your event personality.

 

Here are a few things to consider when choosing invitations for your next event:

1. It needs to define your event style: Consider the style and perhaps the theme of your event. If you are hosting a Cat and the Hat birthday party for your son, then you need invites that match that color theme or the character itself.

 2. Know your colors: If this is your wedding, think about the colors in your wedding. Invitations can be designed in all colors and in different color combinations. You can color the card stock an invitation comes on to the actual color of the font.

 

 3. Don’t crowd the invitation: List only the key points like date, time, location, dress code is optional, and RSVP information. You can always include a separate sheet for directions and registry information if necessary.

 4. Count the Households: Everyone does not need an invitation if they live in the same house. This cuts down on cost and the waste of invitations. Husband and wife, cohabiting couples, and families with children who are invited do not need separate invites. However, guests over 21 living at home, should receive their own invites.

 5. Order Extra: It’s expensive to go back to the printer to print more invitations, because the best prices are usually for bulk amounts. So just in case, order at least 25 extra. You may have to resend an invitation or you may want to have some for keepsakes.

 6. Don’t forget the rest of the suite: If this is a wedding or shower, you may need menu cards, thank you cards and RSVP cards. When ordering from stationary companies, the invite that you select may also have a matching set of suite mates (menu card, table numbers, RSVP cards and thank you cards). Check for those too, you will need them.

 7. Proofread: Check the invitations 3 times yourself and have two other people check the invitations. You don’t want to have 200 invitations printed with the start time of your wedding listed as 4:00 am instead of 4:00 pm. Having other eyes read it is an added plus because sometimes our eyes trick us to believe a word is there just because our brains know what we want to say. Proofread it before you print it!

 

For more invitation tips, Contact me! I’ll help you choose the best invitations!

 

 

5 Reasons Why You Need an Event Planner!

Planning an event by yourself may be a bit intimidating. Sometimes, its in your best interest to hire a professional to assist you in your planning. Think about it this way: You are a great cook, but you wouldn’t

dare take on the duty of cooking for your entire event of 200 guests. It’s too big of a task for you and you want to enjoy your event with your guests. So you hire a professional caterer. Well the same principle works here. Contracts, negotiations, and choosing the perfect vendors to provide all the details for your event is something that is time consuming and can be a tedious task if you are not familiar with the industry. Planners can provide you with their professional advice and help you meet your needs.

 Planners can do everything from complete coordination of your entire event, to just providing you with a list of vendors who fit your event and budget. Some offer event design and set up as a package and just day of management. Whatever you need help with when planning your event, an event planner is your best tool!

Still on the fence about hiring an event planner? Here are 5 reasons why you may need an event planner:

1. Planner’s know what’s in. Planners are your best resource for the latest trends for the event you are hosting. They can provide you with themes you hadn’t heard of. Their may be celebrity trends you’e never seen. Planners are very knowledgeable, because they have to constantly read and watch whats happening in society when it comes to events. Planners have this ability to introduce you with ideas and concepts that help you perfect all the details of your vision.

2. Planners know the best vendors that fit your budget, time and event personality. Planners have built professional relationships with vendors and have done tons of research for specific vendors in the past. So they know which vendors are a great fit for you and are able to provide what you need, within reason. Because they are familiar with the event planning industry, they can make sure that you are getting the best deals for your budget.

3. Planners know contractsUnderstanding contracts and knowing what to put into your contracts, may not come easy to you. We know that contracts and all their legal terms can be intimidating. However, a planner usually works with contracts all the time. They will even work up one for you, for their services and include everything you need and everything they will do to meet those needs. So they understand how contracts work and can provide you lots of assurance when it comes to those things!

 4. Planners know how to manage your event. Planners act as your liaison between you and your vendors. They already know what you want and expect from the vendors, but whats great about planners is that are great managers and know how to make sure you get what you ask for. They are also great at facilitating the day of. While you are enjoying your event, they are running things behind the scene.

5. Planners know how to plan the details. Planners are passionate and creative and experienced when it comes to planning events. You tell them your vision and they know how to make it happen.

 So while you a balancing all your duties at work and at home, let the pros do all the work for you!

For help with your next event, check out my company and shoot us an email, we would love to help you! 

Do’s & Don’t’s of Favors, Gift Bags & Swag Bags!

When throwing a celebration it’s always nice to send your guest home with a token of your appreciation for attending your event. Did you know that sometimes those gifts don’t get used and the compliments you were sending are lost? They go forgotten or mean absolutely nothing to your guest just because you thought they were cute

 

Here a few Do’s & Don’t’s to make sure the favors, gift bags and swag bags you are sending home with your guest are the most useful, thoughtful and fun “thank you s” you’ve ever given!

 Do give water: You’ve just thrown the best party around town! The liquor was flowing the DJ had the people up moving all night. The party is over, the bar is closed and people need a cold glass of water to recoup for the ride home. Throw a bottle of water, with your company’s logo, wedding monogram etc on it in the parting gift. This is a thoughtful gift, it will not go to waste and your logo or monogram is sure to be seen after the event is over.

 

Do give mints: Alcohol on the breath, garlic from the garlic mashed potatoes that were served at dinner is a sure turn off. Here is another thoughtful gift for your guest, it will surely be needed and get used. There are so many options for packaging from little packages to tins with logos or monograms on them, you can do so much with them. If you give tins, the guests are sure to use them way after the event. This means they won’t forget your event!

Don’t give away coupons: Don’t give away coupons with percentages off a product. Ask yourself how many you personally use, make sure you are not a “couponer”, then realize they never get used. It’s a waste of paper. If they have never used the product before coupons given at an event in a swag bag among other gifts will not increase that chance.

Don’t put them in awkward packaging: Yes, that origami gift box is cool! It even matches the color scheme of your event. However, when I get it, I have no idea how to open it. I’ll throw it away. Or, if I do get it open, I didn’t notice the paper thank you note you had to fold 74 times in order for it to fit. Simplicity is sometimes better.

 

Do think about your guest: This is your wedding, you are paying for it, it’s all about you and your love! Its your thing! But you invited 200 people who love you and are happy for you! Not only do we think about them when choosing locations, food, etc, the favors are really about them too. Make sure they will understand it, even if you have to include a cute sheet of paper explaining it. Make sure the swag bag includes things that offer value to the ones receiving it. You don’t want to give anti wrinkle cream at a 21st birthday celebration. Or a 50th birthday party either. You also don’t want to offend your guest!

Please be cognizant of the people you invite to your events and their needs while there and possibly long after and you will succeed with the favors, gifts bags and swag bags you give out in the future!

 

Take a look at these ideas:

 

 

 

Vendor Spotlight: iCannye Artistry

 For just about any special event in a woman’s life, she wants to look good. From a woman’s hair looking good, makeup flawlessly done and on to her nails, these are the things that compliment the special moments in her life. This week’s Vendor Spotlight, highlights a woman who has made a successful business right here in Chicago, out of making women look good for all occasions. To her clients she is known as iCannye!

 iCannye can do it all! She does awesome nails, spectacular hair, awesome weaves and will beat a face to the heavens!! She is remarkably talented. Not only has she made a name for herself among us beauty enthused “Chicagoians”, she even has celebrity clientele!

 Just recently, iCannye did the makeup for Beyonce’s lead backup dancer Ashley Everett. That makeup was featured in JET Magazine. Everett even took to Instagram to acknowledge her glam team for her day in Chicago and our girl iCannye was there, as the makeup artist!

 When talking to iCannye about her skill, she says that she is not the average stereotype when it comes to her artistry. She went on to say “I have and will continue to study the science of who I am and what I do!” She is a licensed professional ladies!

 iCannye showcases her work on Instagram and Facebook. Often she shows the before and after of her transformations and each time she wows her audience with her breathtaking work.

 Chicago singer, Tykelia Waddell used iCannye for her makeup for the cover of her single Lord, I Thank You! She gave her a  look that was so beautiful, even Tykelia’s closest friends and family were amazed by the singer’s enhanced look.

“I had a great experience working with iCannye! She was humble, creative, and professional. I was privileged to have my makeup done by her, I didn’t want to take it off!” — Tykelia Waddell

iCannye aims to give skilled transformations that are sure to enhance your outer as well as your inner beauty; the right way! iCannye does makeup, hair and nails for all occasions, so if you are in need of a makeover or just a new weave, check her out!

 Want to be”iCannyed”? Click here to book her.  Other ways to stay connected to her: follow her on Twitter @iCannyeArtistry, “Like”her business page on Facebook: iCannye Artistry and catch her on Instagram: iCannye Artistry.

Check out some of her transformations right here:

Tips for Picking the Venue

All of your life you have dreamed of having your wedding outdoors! Now you’re engaged so that dream is coming alive! You also want to have the wedding a few days before Christmas because that’s your anniversary! Great! Everything is set! All you need to do is find the best venue with a great outdoor option!

Perfect right?!

Wrong! The wedding ceremony will take place outdoors, in December, in Chicago?! When planning an event, you come across issues that are beyond your control and your checkbook!  In cases like this, you may need to make a few adjustments to your plans.

When choosing the perfect venue for your event, there are a few things to consider:

1. What look are you going for with this event: the look will help determine whether you want to rent a banquet hall or an art gallery

   

 2. What is the budget for the event: Can you afford to rent a location for the event? Looking closely at the budget will help you determine if you are renting a location and if you can go to a downtown hotel or suburban banquet hall.

      If you need help putting together a budget for your event, contact me, I’ll help you with that! 

3. What is the size of the event: How many guests do you expect to invite to your event? If you are hosting an event for 200 people and its a sit-down dinner, you may not want to rent that intimate restaurant space you love. You have to consider how many people you want to attend in relation to the size of the venues you are looking at. As well as the style of the event.

 

4. What is the style of the event: The style of the event helps in the consideration of venue location too. This also goes hand and hand with the size. When thinking about the style of your event, think about whether you want a cocktail reception, sit down dinner, or a dance party, etc. This will help you choose a venue that can cater to the amount  of space you’ll need to have a sit down dinner or dance party comfortably.

 5. What season are you throwing the event in: This will help you decide whether or not you can have an event indoors or outdoors. Yes, you have always dreamed of an outdoor wedding, but if you plan to get married in the month of January in Chicago, that may not be such a good idea. It is important to consider your guests, they will freeze. If these people are important enough to share a special day with you, then they should be important enough to also be considered in the planning.

6. Is it in a centralized location: Where the venue is located is important for many reasons. For instance, if this is a wedding you are planning and the ceremony is taking place in a separate location from the reception; you should choose a reception venue near or not too far away from the 1st location. For the sake of time, you don’t want your second location two hours away and risk guest getting lost and not coming to the reception.

 These are only a few tips for choosing the venue for the event you are planning. For more helpful tips or any questions you have about venues, contact me!

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Working with Contracts

If you are not a  legal guru, then reading contracts can sometimes be very tricky. However, when you are planning an event and working with different businesses to  provide services for you, then a contract is a must!

Contract

Here are a few tips to help you when it comes down to contracts!

1. Tell the vendors everything you need within your budget:  When reaching out to the vendors it is very important that you explain to the vendor your needs or expectations from their business and what you can afford to spend. This helps the vendor determine if they can help you and how they can help you. If you explain that you want a sit down dinner of Mexican cuisine, for 100 people, on a $7,000 dollar food budget, including linen and bar services then the vendor can work with you better to develop a proposal that fits your personal needs. You have to be clear and tell them all your needs so they can add this into your contract so the vendors know what you expect of them and what they are required to do if they are hired for your event.

2. Read EVERYTHING: Read every inch of a contract. At this point, you may have gone back and forth with a vendor on what you need from them and what they can offer you, so the service is properly tailored to your needs. This will be outlined in the contract. More importantly, the vendor’s policies will be outlined here. You need to read every section and understand every policy. You can even ask vendors questions for clarity. There may be room to even negotiate a policy. For example, a venue I worked with had a specific vendor list for their caterers that you were allowed to use. If you used a caterer outside of this list, you were to pay an additional $500. This fee was usually charged to the catering company, but the catering company would add this to your fee. All of this was spelled out in the contract, you just have to read it carefully. You want to avoid any surprise fees. Also, pay attention to every fee that is charged, because these are aligned with your  expectations. Some companies charge an additional delivery fee and some don’t. Pay close attention to pay structures (how much and when you pay), the cancellation fee and deadline, and the down payment fee.

3. Negotiating: Don’t be afraid to question some policies. For example, the same venue with the preferred caterer list did not include a company that we were interested in. However, the catering company included the venue on its preferred vendor list. The catering company even offered to pay 5% of your rental fee if you used this particular vendor. After seeing this information, I emailed the venue contact and asked him if we could get around the extra $500 fee because of this information. We were able to avoid the fee because of this. So speak up and read. Negotiate the information that works best for you.

I know contracts are tedious! But its important to have contracts for every business you work with on your event. Even your event planners! Contact me if you need further help with reading and negotiating contracts, I’ve got your back.