Thursday, June 28, 2012

5 Wedding Planning Tips for a Meaningful and Loving Celebration!

Are you interested in a meaningful wedding celebration? You have been to beautiful weddings, expensive celebrations and wild wedding receptions. But, what makes a wedding memorable; the perfect wedding planning checklist, unique wedding invitations, an outrageous theme wedding?

Family Involvement
If you and your beloved have family members who are ecstatic about your engagement and insistent on being involved in the wedding planning process, then you should allow them to be. This is the perfect opportunity to be very communicative and hand out very specific tasks, such as locating sites to purchase wedding invitations, help set up a personal wedding website as well as general help with wedding ideas. Involving your loved ones in this way will set a loving tone.

Meeting Everyone's Needs
Think through who is on your guest list and make thoughtful preparations for them. If you have elderly people attending your wedding, then make sure you have comfortable seating, shade if they will be outdoors and hydration if it is warm. A great tip, found on many wedding websites, is that if you have children attending, you will want to prepare for them as well. Some wedding venues will help with a low table, crayons, snacks and cups with lids to help make the little ones at home. Your guests are sure to feel cared for.

A Meaningful Wedding Service
One of the greatest wedding tips you will receive is that you must picture yourself walking through your wedding day. Think through your service and decide on the mood you want to create. For example, consider filling the church with hundreds of white candles and twinkly lights to set a mood of romance. If you desire a memorable service, then you may want to write your own vows, exchange heirloom rings and have someone you love sing a beautiful ballad as you light your unity candle.

A Loving Reception
During the busyness of wedding planning, you don't want to lose sight of all those you love and those who have contributed to your life. You may want to prepare a slide show of all the family and friends along the way who have helped make the two of you who you are. Dedicate the show to your loved ones and show it at the reception. It is sure to bring tears of joy to all

Delicious And Simple
As you use your wedding planning tools to create a reception, remember to keep it simple. Choose heavy appetizers, fresh seasonal salads and great breads, paired with the perfect wines. A rich wedding cake and thoughtful wedding favors with a personal message from the two of you will top off a loving wedding celebration everyone will remember!

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

How to Get Bloggers to Attend and Cover Your Event

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Thinking about inviting bloggers to your next event? Here are five things you must keep in mind:

1. Do not send a press release or media alert without sending an invitation to the event. It's rude to ask bloggers to write about an event that they aren't invited to. It may be appropriate, however, to send a press release with no invitation if the blogger isn't in the same city and is unable to travel. However, because most bloggers know their peers will likely receive the same information, they might be even less inclined to write about events they are not invited to -- bloggers are always looking for fresh and original content, and they can't create that by rewording your press release.

Also, many bloggers (like journalists) would rather receive a customized pitch instead of a press release. But, if the release or media alert is well-written and has answers to potential questions, send it. Just be sure to include a personalized note that explains why your brand or event is relevant to that particular blogger's audience.

2. What's in it for me? Blogging is business. And although "pay for play" is frowned upon (and could even be illegal), most bloggers want to know how attending your event and blogging about your company will benefit them or their readers. For example,
Will you have gift bags at your event? (if they're good, the contents could be featured in another blog post in addition to the event recap).
Will you be giving them product so they can host a giveaway or contest for readers?
Are you paying an appearance fee? (Yes, some bloggers have agents now).
Are you going to advertise on their site?
There may not be any obvious benefit for a blogger to attend your event, but it's important that you make everything clear up front.

Continue reading the other three tips here...

Do you have thoughts to share on this subject? Please share below by leaving a comment! 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Moving in Together: 4 Tips for Newlyweds

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Many couples make the decision to move in together after they're married. And while moving in together, for any couple, is a serious step, there's something very significant about newlyweds beginning a life together. Yes, it's exciting but can also be a little scary. Here are some tips to help:

  1. Talk about money in advance. Discussing and determining who's paying for what before signing a lease or contributing to a down payment will save you several potential headaches in the future.
  2. Be ready for adjustments. After you're living together, certain aspects of your relationship will naturally change. Now, whether they are good or bad changes depends on your attitude toward them; with that said, stay positive. 
  3. Determine both of your expectations when it comes to cleanliness. Are they different? If so, figure out a compromise the two of you can live with.
  4. More than likely, you and your new spouse don't have the same style when it comes to household decor. So, instead of arguing over every single piece of furniture, just determine a completely new style that works for you both.

For four more tips, check out our source, 8 Tips For Newlyweds Moving In Together.

Do you have tips for newlyweds moving in together? If so, please share by leaving a comment!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tips for Planning Your Second Wedding

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Planning a second wedding? Here are some tips to help:

  1. Use a theme. These are great if you want to show off your fun personalities. So, if you're of the baby boomer era, you could have a flower child/Woodstock theme, and use table settings, floral designs, etc. from that generation.
  2. Write your own vows. If you had a traditional church wedding the first time around, consider writing your own special vows for this wedding. Also, if you have children, you can include them as well, giving them speaking roles or other tasks depending on their age and how involved they want to be.
  3. Head outdoors. Think about holding your ceremony and reception outside.
  4. Include significant symbols in your big day. If there are particular flower and/or herb scents you love, you can make unique memories for both you and your guests. Create an outdoor altar, have relatives or close friends come forward with a flower/herb, and explain the significance it has to you and your spouse-to-be. You could also take it a step further by planning a wedding garden for you two to enjoy for years to come.

What do you think? Please leave a comment below!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Capitalize On a Successful Event with a Flood of Referrals

By Heidi Richards Mooney

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If the first, most important outcome to hosting an event is that it is a SUCCESS, what is the second most important outcome? Like any endeavor, one success becomes the model for future successes. To get to that end result (which, in my mind, is really the beginning), there is another crucial component to staging a world-class event. And that is the front and back-end promotion. By that I mean cultivating referrals from your clients/vendors/attendees. Promoting your services for other events to this base of referral business requires careful, strategic, ongoing planning. You could turn one event into many with the right marketing mix. It's the personal attention, the details and the relationships you build that will create this flood of referrals.

Gather Information
Create information cards that will be your resource for referrals. The cards should be completed for both clients and vendors. Vendors can be a great source for referrals and should be treated with the same care and personal attention as the clients. Information on the cards should include:

  • Names and birth dates of family members
  • Wedding anniversary and other special dates such as the # of years in business or with the same company
  • Interests of each family member to include hobbies, talents and accomplishments
  • Place of employment of client and spouse
  • Special designations, offices or memberships of client
  • Corporate client cards to include information of your contact within the corporation and the CEO
  • Birth dates of key personnel within the company
  • Any annual celebrations the company hosts

If you are a meeting planner or planning a meeting for your company, ask your client/colleagues for an evaluation immediately following the event. If you are hosting an event for a nonprofit or other type of organization, ask all stakeholders (volunteers, staff, interns) for the same.

Handle any complaints professionally and proficiently. Do not allow time to lapse before addressing. Make it brief and concise. Send the evaluation with a thank you note. Be sure to include a self-addressed stamped envelope.

Ask one or two open-ended questions to elicit candor. Ask the client to be open and honest about all aspects of the event you were involved in. Handling and correcting complaints quickly will solidify the relationship and increase your chances of working with the client in the future. Remember the statistics, which imply that when a complaint is handled quickly and favorably, 87 percent of those who complain will do business with the "offending" party again. You've worked so hard to get that client; in most cases, it's much easier to keep a client than find a new one.

When appropriate, it is also a good idea to send an evaluation form to your vendors, eliciting their opinions of the event, and be sure to include a "ways to improve" comment section.

Send thank you notes to your vendors, catering and sales professionals, volunteers, staff and any and all of those that may have had a hand in ensuring the success of the project. Thank you notes go a long way, especially when you find yourself in a jam at one time or another. If you have been doing this for any length of time, you probably have needed to find a last minute replacement for the entertainment, photographer or speaker. You know the importance of appreciation.

Once the event is over, while it is still fresh in the minds of your client, ask for a testimonial or letter of referral. Happy clients are happy to oblige. However, they may be very busy and when too much time passes, they may forget. If you do not receive the letter within a week or two after the event, follow up. Graciously ask them if they would not mind you writing the letter for them, and fax or email it to them. Tell them you use these letters in your promotional kits and their testimonial would be greatly appreciated. Busy people are happy to accommodate your requests when you make it easier to do business with you.

When you implement these strategies, you will receive the accolades, rewards and referrals that will lead to future successes!

Read two other articles on this topic: How to Increase Attendance at Your Events and The Best Time to Evaluate Your Event.

Heidi Richards Mooney is a Professional Motivational Speaker, Business Coach and the Author of seven books including "Rose Marketing on a Daisy Budget ~ How to Grow Your Business Without Spending a Fortune." She is also the Publisher of WE Magazine for Women. Stop by to get a FREE copy of Chapter 1 and 2 of "Quirky Marketing: 365 Ways to Promote Your Business Using Zany and Non-traditional Holidays" today! 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

3 Wedding Photography Basics to Consider

Decide on your style. Check out as many wedding photos as you can -- look online, in magazines, blogs, or check out your friend's album. You want to familiarize yourself with the many photo styles available: candid photojournalism, formal portraits, black-and-white, color and sepia prints. Try to determine which styles intrigue you and which you want to see in your own wedding album. You want your photographer to shine in the style you love most.

Video. While many brides choose not to hire a videographer, you should really think about if you'll want one. It may be a true treasure for you to have such important moments with such important people on permanent record.

Create a budget. Ask yourself this vital question: In 'the grand scheme of things' how important is it for you to have fantastic wedding photos? Many fantasy weddings have photo budgets of $15,000+, while most "regular folks" spend between $1,500 to $4,000 in photos. Yes, that's a significant portion of any wedding budget, but the trade-off is a beautiful visual record that will last forever and increase in sentimental value as time goes by.

[Source; Photo Credit]

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Social Media Tools & Platforms to Promote Your Event or Business Blog

I'm sure you've heard the saying, "If you build it, they will come." Well, that's not exactly the case when it comes to your event or business blog. People won't come unless you let them know about it and they like you.

You could have the most fantastic website and write amazing, compelling blog posts daily, but you still need to promote them if you want traffic. However, if you promote them in the wrong way (spamming, broadcasting, being disrespectful), people will intentionally stay away from your site.

Before you begin to promote your blog, take time to find your target audience on social media. Follow them, and work at becoming a valued member of those communities by participating in dialogue, sharing valuable information (that's not self-promotional) and/or promote others. This method is knows as the #EIR (Engage-Inform-Retweet) social media strategy, and it will build trust within the community and form relationships with others who'll help you promote when you share your posts and information. Once you've become a valued member of the community, you can use some tips and tools for promoting blog posts on the most popular platforms:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Online Communities
  • Email
  • Triberr
  • Pinterest
To see how to use these tools for promoting your blog, visit our source, 7 Social Media Platforms & Tools for Promoting Your Event or Business Blog.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

6 Beautiful Quotes on Love

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"Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

"Love is, above all, the gift of oneself." - Jean Anouilh

"If grass can grow through cement, love can find you at every time in your life." - Cher

"You know you're in love when you don't want to fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams." Dr. Seuss

"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage." - Lao Tzu

"We're all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness -- and call it love -- true love." - Robert Fulghum

Friday, June 1, 2012

5 Financial Considerations for Newlyweds

  1. From the start, save 15-20 percent of your income. Because you are combining households, you should cut your expenses a lot, which should allow you to save. You should save so you can build your cash reserves in your 401k plans and in a mutual fund.
  2. Change all beneficiaries on life insurance plans, retirement, other plans at work and IRAs to your new spouse.
  3. Figure out how debts accrued by each individual before the marriage (i.e. student loans) will be handled.
  4. Talk about your approaches to handling money: Is one of you a spender and the other a saver? Create a few ground rules on dealing with any differences.
  5. Create a list of future purchases and prioritize them. You should decide -- together-- how to spend your money. 

For five more tips, check out Top 10 Financial Considerations for Newlyweds.