Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Biggest Wedding Planning Mistakes

  • No personality. You don't necessarily need a theme wedding, but you don't have to do what everyone else does or allow your planner to do all the work. This is one of the most important days of your life, so it needs to reflect you and your fiance's lives.
  • Blowing money. While there is a ton of good wedding planning advice out there, you'll also see advice from individuals who will profit from it. With that said, make sure you're not spending where you don't need to, whether it's being talked into having more flowers or a more expensive dress. Know your budget, and know what's important to you and what's not.
  • Being inconsiderate. Yes, it's your wedding and your big day. However, you should also take other people into consideration as well. Really consider what you are asking people to do; for example, is what you're asking the wedding party to do fair? Will your guests be comfortable in the weather? Do they know what to expect?
  • Losing perspective. Stay focused on what's truly important to you. Don't allow yourself to get overwhelmed with all the small details that you don't spend appropriate time on what's important. And if something goes wrong, take some deep breaths and envision the big picture. Most of all -- maintain your sense of humor! 

For six more mistakes to avoid, check out Top 10 Biggest Wedding Planning Mistakes

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Best Time to Evaluate Your Event

By Heidi Richards

When should you evaluate your events?

As soon as the event is over...if not sooner. In my experience, the best time to evaluate your event is immediately! It is important to do your evaluation/assessment of the event while the details are fresh in your mind. Include anyone in the evaluation process that had a stake in the event. Stakeholders would include vendors, hired staff, volunteers and employers. You could host a debriefing session or a wrap up meeting to accomplish this task. Make this a pleasant experience. Include refreshements and lots of kudos (thank yous for a job well done). Prior to, or when the meeting begins, enlist a "scribe" to record the comments and answers from the group.

Ask yourself -- and them -- the following questions:

  • Did the event fulfill the goals and objectives set forth?
  • What worked? What didn't? What would you do differently? The same?
  • Did the event run smoothly and on schedule?
  • Which vendors/stakeholders should be hired/recruited again?
  • Were any items missing from the checklist that should be included in future events?
  • Did you generate favorable publicity for the event?
  • How was attendance? Were the attendance goals achieved?
  • Did you receive positive feedback from those who attended? Did you use formal (written, documented forms or one-on-one surveys) or informal (chatting in the restrooms, lines, seminars, etc.) methods of evaluation?
  • What could you do differently, better to reach your goals? To involve more people? To spread the word about the event?
  • Was the event worth doing? What were some of the benefits? Would you do it again?

Encourage alternative forms of feedback from those unable to attend, such as via email, website and fax back forms. Once you have received feedback from the group, have the notes transcribed for distribution to all the stakeholders (clients). Be sure to incldue this in the event portfolio for future reference. Proper evaluating of the event will lead to even greater success in the future. In fact, it is important to evaluate all aspects of business from time to time. Otherwise, how and when would you know what needs to be improved? One final thought: Make sure you get feedback from attendees.

And here's a key question to ask, especially if it is an event that is open to the public: How did you hear about this event?

Heidi Richards Mooney is a Professional Speaker, Business Coach and the Author of 7 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 bywww.speakingwithspirit.com to get a FREE copy of YOUR Marketing Calendar today! 

[Photo Credit

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Mix and Match Bridesmaids Dresses

By Laura Firenze

The chorus line of perfectly matched bridesmaids is so old-fashioned. For a contemporary wedding, it looks much fresher when the bridesmaids coordinate without wearing the exact same dress. Learn how to mix and match bridesmaid dresses in a way that will look modern and cohesive at the same time.

The key to successfully mixing and matching bridesmaid dresses and accessories is to choose a few main elements that will be the same throughout. That will ensure that the bridal party looks like a group, even as each woman is able to express her individual taste. Without any sort of unifying elements, the bridesmaids will not look like a group at all, more like wedding guests. Good choices for an element to carry throughout the entire bridal party include color, shape of dress, style of dress (cocktail, preppy, beachy, etc.) or fabric. The same idea works well for the accessories -- choose unique bridesmaid jewelry with something in common, such as the type of gems.

One very popular trend these days is to mix and match convertible bridesmaid dresses. These are also called twist wrap dresses because the tops are designed so that they can be styled into a wide variety of necklines. Simply choose one color and skirt length, and let your bridesmaids make their own decision about how to wrap the dress into their favorite design. It is a very easy way to create a unified look for the entire bridal party while allowing each woman to wear a style in which she feels comfortable. This is also a great solution when the bridesmaids have very different figures; the bridesmaid with the supermodel figure can twist her dress into a halter with an open back, while the ladies who prefer more coverage can arrange their dresses to have wider straps and higher backs.

Patterned bridesmaid dresses have become more popular in recent years. Allowing each bridesmaid to mix it up and choose her own dress is great because a large group of women wearing the same pattern can be overwhelming. There will naturally be an eclectic vibe to an assorted collection of patterned dresses, so this option is best for less formal weddings. Consider it for garden weddings, those with a homespun flair, shabby chic weddings and so on. Select a general guideline, such as prints which are predominantly green or a design idea such as Liberty prints to give the group some sort of unity. Unique bridesmaid jewelry will be the perfect finishing touch.

Another variation on the mix and match bridesmaid dress theme is to choose one color family from which each woman may choose. Colors such as pink and blue tend to work very well for this because all shades of pink look good together, and the same is generally true of blue. Request that your bridesmaids select dresses with a general skirt length, such as knee length or floor length so that they all have a similar degree of formality. This concept can be used for formal weddings as well as more casual celebrations. Create bouquets for your attendants which incorporate several shades of your color family as a lovely way to further unify the group. The effect will be absolutely lovely.

Mix and match bridesmaids dresses is a trend that definitely has staying power. Bridesmaids are less and less willing to dress up like a row of Rockettes, and ultimately, they will look their best when allowed to choose a dress that suits their own taste and figure. Perhaps best of all, the mix and match approach frees brides from the age-old dilemma of trying to find a single bridesmaid dress that will look beautiful on a diverse group of women.

Laura is interested in wedding planning and wedding trends including jewelry, receptions and gifts. Unique bridesmaid jewelry is the perfect way to thank your attendants for being a part of your wedding. Order your bridesmaid gifts from silverlandjewelry.com, and receive free shipping on your jewelry order over $129.

[SourcePhoto Credit]

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

How to Choose a Speaker for Your Next Chapter Meeting

One of the most important aspects of chapter meetings is the speaker-- the person you choose can make or break your event. With that said, you need to select someone appropriate for the audience and your location, someone who is informed on a topic but engaging as a speaker -- all within your budget. Check out a few tips on making this process simpler:

Keep an organized database of previous speakers. Be sure to include contact information, a brief rundown of their speech and subjective comments on the speakers' performance and reception from attendees. It's fine to draw on past successes every now and then: If a certain speaker begins to gain popularity as an engaging and entertaining presenter, the event attendance can only get better.

Plan ahead. Know what your meeting topics and goals will be for the next six to eight months, and choose speakers accordingly.

Tell your speaker what you expect, and be specific. Although the speaker has the task of creating the content, you need to tell them what the meeting's goals are. They might have the expertise on their subject matter, but you are the expert when it comes to your meeting, your members and your association. If you can, show examples of previous successful presentations, give clear time limits; tell them exactly what equipment will be available; and get a copy of the speech ahead of time. If the speaker isn't prepared, you'll look unprepared.

Check references. Speak with other local associations to learn about their experiences with a certain speaker. Find out what worked well and what could be improved on.

Ask members for referrals. Is there a person at his/her job that knows their stuff on a certain topic? Did they see a great presentation at a meeting? Referrals and word of mouth can be a great way to find speakers.

Connect with the National Speakers Association or a local speakers bureau. This is a chapter-based organization with members who are professional speakers and presenters. Use their expertise and suggest a potential joint venture with a local chapter.