Monday, December 17, 2012

Tis the Season: Top Winter Treats for Your Event

Let's just take a second to be honest here.

While the Holidays are first and foremost about family and tradition and being thankful for all that you have, no Holiday soiree is complete without some adorably-tasty Holiday treats.

While some families or events have their traditional meals/treats/etc.etc. that they make every single year, others are on the hunt for new, fun, and delicious ideas. Well, do not fret. We have you covered.

We took it upon ourselves to scour the Internet for the most precious and delectable Holiday treats we could find. We tried to limit the treasures we located to things that looked like they were actually make-able and not something that you would have to custom order from your local bakery. It was a tough and tedious job to find all of these goodies, but someone had to sacrifice...and we were that someone.

1. Strawberry Santas (recipe)
Photo: Coupon Cousins.
2.  Reindeer Noses
Photo: Pinterest Most Wanted

3. Snowman Cookies (recipe)
Photo: My Pretty Purse
4. Strawberry Tree (recipe)
Photo: Taste

One last note: this will be our last blog post of 2012. We look forward to continuing the blog with Event tips, our personal event recaps, local vendors, randomisity, and introducing a fabulous new intern in 2013. Thank you for reading and have a wonderful holiday season!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Questions to Ask Before Signing a Venue Contract

We love managing the venue rentals for our clients -- We also realize how important it is to thoroughly check off some important questions when looking to book a venue for your wedding or event. As the rental managers, we are asked a lot of questions, so we would like to provide you with a list of what we consider to be some of the most important questions to ask before booking your venue.

1. What do I have to work with decor-wise?
Take note of what is already hanging on the walls, what the carpets look like, wall color, etc. Observe your surroundings as you do your venue walk-through. Ask the venue rental manager what can be removed Vs. what has to stay. Make sure that your wedding colors won't contrast with anything that cannot be removed!

2. What is near-by my venue?
This can either work in your favor or against you. Make sure to check out community calendars before booking your event so you can be sure that there will not be anything that conflicts with parking or that there will not be disruptive noise. Also, check to see where the nearest hotel is in proximity to your venue. If your wedding or event is at a fantastic venue, but the nearest hotel is 45 minutes away, you may want to reconsider.

3. What is included in the rental fee? Tables and chairs? Linens?
Make sure you know exactly what you're getting for the fee you're paying. Some venues may include tables and chairs, while others tack on extra rental costs for them. Likewise with linens- if your venue does not offer linens with the rental fee, make sure you know the exact type and how many you'll need so that you can order them yourself.

4. Does my venue come with a coordinator?
Some venues provide a day-of event coordinator for you. Others do not. Make sure you check to see if your venue provides this added bonus...and also see exactly what duties the day-of coordinator takes care of while on site!

5. What hours do I have access to the venue?
Some venues may not allow you to start setting up until a few hours before your event...and also require you to tear down in the few hours after your event. Making sure to find out when you are able to get into your venue as well as when your event needs to end/you need to clean up is a key factor in securing the right venue!

6. Does your venue allow you to bring your own food and beverages or do you have to work with what is available on-site?
Some venues require you to use their own caterer and bar service, which can add up in the long run. Before you book your venue, ask what their policy is on food and alcohol. Some venues let you work with the caterer of your choice/ bring in your own alcohol.

7. Having your event during "off-season" or on a week night?
Ask the Venue Rental manager if there is a reduced rate if you are holding your event in the off season or on a week night. Most venues will want to book as many events as possible, so their rates may be flexible in times when they are not as busy.

8. Check the reviews.
Do your homework and check outside sites for venue reviews. Venues are likely to only post their most stunning reviews on their personal website, so make sure to check outside sources for reviews so you can be sure to get the full scoop.

There are plenty of other questions that you can ask your potential venue, but these will definitely help you to get a great start. Happy venue-hunting!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Just When You Thought You Knew All About Facebook

If you're like me, you've attended countless Social Media presentations that teach you the ins and outs of Facebook and utilizing it to promote your company and event.

While I'm sure at this point you could probably give a "Facebook-How-To" presentation in your sleep, we recently stumbled upon a few articles that provide some interesting insight into when you should be utilizing Facebook to do said promotions and so-called "Facebook Blasts."

Just when you thought you knew everything there is to are a few tips we wanted to "share" that you may "like" (Facebook jokes...they never get old).

1. In general, Wednesday is the worst day to post: interactions on Wednesdays are 7.4% lower than average.

2. Off-hours are the best time to post. Posts between 8pm and 7am received a 14% higher interaction than those published between 8am and 7pm.

3. Less is more when it comes to posts. Posting one to two times a day instead of going with the overkill route of five to...fifteen shows a 19% higher interaction rate.

4. A self-imposed 80 character wall for Facebook posts receives a 23% higher interaction than longer posts (but 75% of posts are beyond that limit currently!)

5. Use recognizable URLs (IE instead of have no idea what that link means either. Nor do I think it actually leads you anywhere, so don't waste your time attempting to click it.)

6. Have your fans caption a picture or to "fill in the blank" -- both of those give you 4x more interaction.

7. You can schedule your posts! To schedule a post, switch to your page's admin view and look for a clock under the status window. Click that clock, and add the year, month, date and time you want your post to publish. Once you do this, a window will pop up to confirm that you have scheduled the post. Who knew!?

8. Highlight important posts -- highlighting fan posts is a great way to show that you care about your client's and site visitor's opinions. You can do this by clicking the "X" on the right corner of a post and selecting "highlighted on page."

9. Keep track of your "likes" so that you can return the favor. By making sure to "like" another company's page when they "like" yours, you show that you appreciate their acknowledgement of your Facebook page.


We hope that these tips and tricks are helpful and that you haven't already heard them multiple times. I found them interesting and fresh, so I hope you do as well! Good luck Facebooking!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Local Vendor Spotlight: 2Bays DJs

Behind every jam-packed dance floor is a great DJ. We are fortunate to have a variety of fabulous DJs in the Northern Michigan region (and many that are willing to travel to Northern Michigan from other parts of Michigan...especially because they look forward to the opportunity to take a Traverse City vacation).

However, there is one DJ company that immediately comes to mind when referring vendors to our clients and brides. That company is the always phenomenal 2Bays DJs

Photo via Photography by Scarlett
We contacted 2Bays DJs owner, Scott Perry, and threw some questions his way so that we could provide you with a (drum roll please...) Local Vendor Spotlight! Scott provided us with what we consider to be the best possible answers we could have received, so please enjoy this blog post and see exactly why we love to work with 2Bays DJs.

Events North: What is your favorite part of a wedding and/or reception?
Scott Perry: It'd be easy to say the dancing portion of the evening.  That's everyone's favorite part, right?  Truth be told, one of my favorite parts of your "big day" is the very start of the reception.  Friends and family are starting to trickle in, and they all have a giant grin on their face.  As a DJ, we make friends instantly as they roll in, everyone is excited to be there and excited to have 2Bays DJs there.  The best feeling at a wedding is the understanding that every guest is there to have a great time, and we're there to facilitate that.

EN: What makes 2Bays DJs unique?
SP: What makes us unique?  One of our DJs is a cyborg,  one of our DJs has a T-Rex arm, one of our DJs dresses up as Madonna on Wednesdays, one of our DJs sounds just like Arnold Schwarzenegger, one of our DJs can solve a rubiks cube from across the room, and only one of the previous statements is blatantly false.

(side note: we in the Events North office have come to the conclusion that the blantently false statement is that one of their DJs can solve a rubiks cube from across the room. That's just ridiculous.)

EN: What is one of the funniest moments you've experienced during a wedding?
SP: DJing around 100 weddings a year, it's terribly difficult to nail one down. But the choreographed groomsmen line dance to "Man, I feel Like a Woman" from this summer is right at the top.

EN: What led you to start a DJ company in Traverse City?
SP: I started DJing weddings at the tender age of 20 (for another company).  I was pursuing a degree at Michigan State and answered an ad in the student newspaper.  By the time I was 22, partying with strangers was my favorite thing to do in the world, and a lot of college grads were struggling to find suitable jobs.  My friends fell into two categories: those who found a job and hated it, and those who were stuck in a cycle of interviews.  In the fall of 2008, I promised myself I would never depend on anyone else for work.  Here we are 4 years later, and I can't imagine it any other way.

EN: What is the best way to get in touch with you?
SP: If you're planning an event, visit us online at  From there, you can check our availability online, get a customized quote for your event, and we'll have our cyborg DJ contact you to get your event locked into our calendar.

As you can see, 2Bays DJs are a blast to work with and we are lucky to have the opportunity to do so at so many events. Make sure you reach out to Scott Perry to book 2Bays at your next event!

Monday, November 19, 2012

What We're Thankful For

While we are thankful everyday for how lucky we are to have the things we have, live in such a gorgeous city and be healthy and happy, with Thanksgiving right around the corner (or a few days did that happen?!), we thought a blog post about a few things we are thankful for would be an excellent idea.

Things I am thankful for, by Allison Beers:

1. My healthy, lovely children. (side note by Meaghan: Seriously, these children are adorable. I'm not even a huge fan of children and I love these nuggets. Plus, Anna calls me "Meggie"... I cannot even handle how precious she is.)

Thank you to Photography by Scarlett for taking this photo of Anna and Jake aka the most precious gems in the world.
2. My wonderful husband, who doubles as the Events North CFO.
3. The fact that I'm lucky enough to be blessed with a normal, sane and great immediate family.
4. That I love what I do and enjoy going to work every single day. 
5. That I get the opportunity to work with such amazing clients and make a difference in my community through the work I do with my non-profit clients.

What I'm thankful for, by Meaghan Jameson:
1. My amazing parents who, even across the country, support me and believe in me every single day.
My amazing family
2. The friends and relationships that I've made this past year that have helped to allow me to call Traverse City my home. Also, all of my friends back in Florida who stay in touch with me -- even if they only get to see me once of twice a year.
3. That 13 miniature tootsie roll pops only have 130 calories.
4. That I live somewhere that has seasons, allows me to look outside my office window and see the bay, where I can safely walk to work and where I have a variety of amazing restaurant options. 
5. That I get to work in a job where I am excited to go to the office every day and that allows me to constantly learn new things and work with different clients. Every day is different and it is fantastic.

And as a special bonus, Allison's daughter let us know what she is thankful for as well.

What I'm thankful for, by Anna Beers, age 4:
Anna's most recent school picture. Yes, she really is only four years old.
1. I am thankful for my great family!
2. I am thankful for my city

(although those are the two things Anna said she was thankful for, we're pretty sure that she is also thankful for Taylor Swift, Hello Kitty and her pink sparkly TOMS shoes.)

So, those are just a few of the things that we are thankful for. I hope that this Thanksgiving brings you nothing but excellent memories and full stomachs!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Online Tools and Widgets that Make Your Company's Life Easier

Like it or not, technology is taking over. We at the Events North office have decided to hop on the ever-changing technology train...and we couldn't be happier about it. We've found so many resources and new gadgets that help make us more efficient and effective business and social media-wise, so we thought we would share some of our current favorites.

Whether you're a privately owned small business, a large non-profit, or even a thriving large corporation, these tools can not only help to improve your virtual image, but also make sure that you are up to date on all that online tools have to offer.

1. Prezi: Let's face it; powerpoint, as useful as it can be, is starting to become outdated. That is what makes Prezi so great. It's an updated powerpoint that presents your ideas, information, or product in an engaging and exciting way. According to the website, Prezi is a virtual whiteboard that transforms presentations from monologues into conversations: enabling people to see, understand, and remember ideas. Prezi is not only user friendly, but engages your audience the entire presentation. 

2. Twoppy: Question 1: Do you have a smartphone? Question 2: Would you like to have access to all of the details of the event you're attending on your smartphone instead of throughout multiple documents? Answers to both are most likely yes, which is why Twoppy is something you need to check out. Twoppy allows you to create a mobile app for your event page, making navigation and detailed information simple for you and your attendees to access. As found on the Twoppy webpage, You can use Twoppy for festivals, exhibitions, conferences, amusement parks, zoos and sporting events. Even as a city guide, travel guide or theater guide it will be great for your visitors. The cherry on top? Twoppy's event packages start at a price of free and allow you to upgrade as needed.

3. Hootsuite: Hootsuite is social media management at its finest. You can sign up for a free account and upgrade when you decide that you need a more detailed look into the analytics of the sites you're managing. Hootsuite is an excellent tool for managing all of your pages at once (because let's just be honest, having Facebook, your blog and Twitter in one place is a huge timesaver), as well as providing you with the ability to schedule posts and check on the latest social media trends. Unlike the latest version of whatever iPhone game is popular, Hootsuite is an app you will not regret purchasing.

4. Fast Company Magazine: If you are searching for a source where you can find the latest and greatest technology, search no further. Fast Company Magazine is an excellent source for all things "up and coming." The website features everything from stories of creative people (sometimes being able to see what other people are thinking is the jump start you need to brainstorm your own ideas) to the technological gems that have recently been released. We swear by the information this magazine provides and think you should give it a look as well.

5. MyNorth Tickets: We try to "keep it local" as much as we possibly can, which is why MyNorth Tickets is so exciting! Formally known as TREAT Tickets, MyNorth Tickets has made the online ticketing process even more user friendly than before. MyNorth Tickets is the perfect tool to use for your event, whether it be a VIP dinner or a full-scale festival. They even offer paper tickets for you to provide to those guests who don't feel comfortable or who may not have the resources to print their tickets at home. We definitely plan on using MyNorth Ticketing for some of our future events.

6. BizBash: We've said it before and we will say it again: BizBash is one of our absolute favorite sites for Event Planning news, ideas and resources. BizBash is always on their A-game when it comes to reporting on the newest Event Planning Trends. Plus, they give updates on venues from all over the nation, allowing a look into what different regions of the country are doing. We may get a little too excited when we receive a BizBash magazine in the mail, but when you're looking for a top source in up to date Event Planning information, it's one of the best sources out there.

So, click on the links above and do a little exploring of the websites for yourself. Hopefully you find some of the information useful and interesting. While there will probably be new widgets and gadgets in a few month's time, the sources and tools listed above are a great start to improving your and your company's technological skills.

Monday, November 5, 2012

It's the little things: the importance of Thank You Notes

"Thank you."

Saying thank you seems simple enough, right? Two words. Eight letters. Not too difficult, really.

However, you'd be surprised how often writing a thank you note is overlooked...which is a shame, because it is so important. 

A hand-written thank you note goes a long way. Think about it- how great does it make you feel when you invite someone to a lunch date or give them a ride to work and then receive a heartfelt thank you afterwards? It feels fantastic- and you're much more likely to remember them as a thoughtful and respectful individual. 

That's why we cannot emphasize enough how important it is to have a stack of blank note cards on hand so that you can whip up a thank you note when necessary. Customized thank you notes are even better (and reasonably priced if you purchase them in bulk!); they really help to keep your company's name fresh in the mind of the recipient.

When should you write up a thank you note? Some perfect opportunities include:

- After an initial meeting. Thanking someone for taking the time out of their day to meet with you is a necessity.
- After inviting you as a plus one to an event. 
- Following up after a networking event and thanking them for chatting with you. While networking is a foot in the door, the follow-up thank you note is an invite back for after dinner drinks. 
- If they have volunteered for your event. Whether they worked the registration table or acted as a speaker, they still need to be thanked accordingly for willingly offering you a chunk of their free time.
- If they take the time to read your resume or have just interviewed you. Want the job? Hope you wrote a thank you note.
- If they recently delivered cupcakes or a delicious Gobbler from Mary's Kitchen Port to your office (Hey, a girl can dream!).

One more thing to note is the extreme importance of hand writing your thank you note. Make it personal! Mention why you're thanking them and why it meant enough to you for you to write a note. Let them know you're looking forward to seeing them again. Nothing says "I'm just doing this because I feel like I need to" like a typed note or one that reads: 

To whom it may concern,

Thank you for interviewing me. Have a nice week.

(Insert your name here)

Essentially, make sure to thank people. You know how it makes you feel when you receive a thank you (and if you're like me, you even save all of your thank you notes in a box), so why not make someone else's day...and make sure that you stay fresh in their mind.

It really is the little things that matter most.

Thank you,

Monday, October 29, 2012

Because We Can't Resist: Halloween Treats that are so Cute, it's Scary!

What's not to love about Halloween? It's the perfect time of year. The leaves have all turned, the temperatures are dropping to sweater-weather (or in Traverse City's case....have dropped to the low 50s/high 40s. The scarves are out, my friends.)

Many people may love Halloween for the fact that they get to wear costumes and collect candy. Or because they are able to dress their precious children up in adorable outfits (For instance, Allison is dressing her children up as Harry Potter and Hermione this year).

We at Events North enjoy Halloween for all of those reasons, but we also love it because it allows us to whip up some adorably spooky sweets! We took on the really tough task of researching some great looking Halloween treats that you can easily prepare for a spooky soiree or even just for a fun family dessert!

1. Scary Spider Snack Cakes
Scary Spiders Recipe
Adorable Spiders via myrecipe

2. Bittersweet Chocolate Cookies

Bittersweet Chocolate Cookies Recipe
Spooky Skeletons via myrecipe

3. Candy Corn Cakes

Candy Corn Cake Wedges
Cute Cakes via all you

4. Pumpkin Cheesecake Ghost Bars

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
This Ghosty Goodness is via all you

5. Little Monster Cupcakes

Little Monster Cupcakes Recipe
Cupcake Creations via myrecipes

6. Skeleton Cupcakes

Skeleton Cupcakes Recipe
Skeleton Sweets via myrecipes

We hope that you find one of these recipes useful! We can't wait to bake up some of these adorable goods...and if you do, feel free to stop over to the Events North office! We always like treats much better than tricks!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Let's Get Down to the Details

Event Planning is all about the details. You can plan a gorgeous event with flawless decor...but if you paint the table numbers the incorrect shade of red, your superb lighting designs and stunning floral arrangements may be overlooked. Details are extremely important- from the correct type of flowers to making sure that certain seasonings are kept off of meals.

Events North has had a lot of detail-oriented work lately (which can be credited mainly to our fantastic wedding season). We also made sure to have a photographer on site to capture all of our detailed work to share! So, without further ado, here are some highlights from a few of our past weddings...because  who doesn't love to "Oooo" and "Ahhhh"over some delightful wedding details?!

The gorgeous centerpiece was created by The Floral Underground. Events North put together the guest gift bags- each had a small bag of dried cherries inside- a Northern Michigan staple!
Place cards sometimes double as meal markers- the colored leaves were used to indicate meal choices.

Easel was rented from Porterhouse Productions. Meaghan hand wrote the fantastic (and descriptive) menu provided by the always-fantastic Epicure Catering to match the organic feel of this wedding.

The place cards/menu cards at this next wedding were caramel apples, which went well with the Fall theme and colors that were used for decor.

We painted fake pumpkins gold and modge-podged the bride and groom's initials onto them to create a fun and theme-friendly centerpiece for the place card table- it was so easy and was the perfect addition to the decor!

We used fonts from the bride and groom's wedding invitations to create this sign to go next to the cider station.  Cider was a hit and kept guests warm and content!

The candy table at this wedding was one of my favorite DIY projects I've tackled to date! We found all of the vintage candy from online wholesale websites, collected a variety of candy jars in different shapes and sizes and then found a template online to create the labels- guests loved being able to relive their childhood with the vintage candy!

Candy Labels- they were so simple to create and were definitely the cherry on top of the candy table!

We spray painted wooden table numbers gold and stuck them into The Floral Underground's stunning centerpieces. Guests were able to easily find their seats and the numbers went great with the floral designs.

Since this wedding was located at a local vineyard, it was only appropriate to create place cards out of wine corks. By shaving off the bottom of the cork and glue-dotting (we swear by "ZOTS") the corks to the table, they held up well against the wind! 

The Floral Underground (You may notice by now that we tend to play favorites...but c'mon, they're amazing) created these centerpieces, which were the perfect mix of fun and romantic.

These wooden chairs completed the look of the reception area...not to mention the weather was absolutely perfect. 

A special thank you to Dan Stewart Photography and Rebecca Kinnee Photography for capturing these details.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Need for Networking (& some tips and tricks!)

We cannot stress the importance of networking enough. Networking is what plugs you into your community. It is what creates links and relationships with other professionals in your area and gives you a chance to put faces to names. You never know when you're going to make a connection with another professional that may be exactly what you and your company was looking for.

We are lucky to have an abundance of excellent networking opportunities in the Traverse City area. There are a few that we must mention not only because they have proved to be great events with impressive turn-outs, but because we hope that someone (maybe even you!) who is reading this article may say "Hey- those sound wonderful! I've really been missing out!" and attend the next networking event. 

So, on that note, here are a few Traverse City networking events that we are huge fans of:

1. Business After Hours- This event is definitely a Traverse City favorite. Business After Hours occurs once a month- at a different location each month. There are usually 150-200 business professionals at each event, allowing you to get to know individuals from virtually every profession imaginable. Business After Hours truly is a relaxed and social setting, which makes networking much less intimidating and allows conversations and introductions to flow naturally. There is also always a raffle at the end of the event and the prizes are completely worth attending. We have a free-ski day voucher sitting pretty here at the Events North office from a part Business After Hours event. You can bet we'll be putting that to good use.

The next Business After Hours event is this Wednesday, October 17th at Grand Traverse Ophthalmology Clinic from 5-7pm. Attendees are encouraged to wear their favorite football teams apparel (how fun, right?) and to bring a non-perishable food item to donate to Father Fred Foundation.

2. Traverse City Young Professionals Conference- If you follow Events North, Allison Beers or Meaghan Jameson on Facebook, you may have noticed that we are slightly (read: EXTREMELY) excited for this event. The Young Professionals Conference features a phenomenal keynote speaker, Organized Audrey, who may finally help you learn how to empty your inbox and correctly file away your documents- we even noticed a mention of her explaining how to live your life...without post-it notes. There are also far too many wonderful round table and breakout speakers to mention (although if you ask us about them we would be more than happy to gush to you about each and every one). Our personal favorite part of the upcoming conference is that there will be a panel full of Traverse City's Leaders talking about "things they wished they had known at 22." 

As far as the networking aspect of the event, there are breaks between every speaker that give attendees a chance to catch up and learn about each other's professions. There is also time before the conference for Young Professionals to network over breakfast, as well as an hour and a half networking reception in Aerie Lounge after the last breakout speaker session. If you're a Young Professional, you should make this conference a priority.

The conference is coming up next Tuesday, October 23rd at the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa. You can sign up to register right here. We really hope to see you there!

3. Grand Traverse Women Networking Nites- First of all, sorry gentleman- this event is strictly for the lovely ladies of the Traverse City area.. 120+ of them, to be specific. Grand Traverse Women Networking Nites are not only a chance to connect with other female professionals in the area, they're fun and offer a feeling of camaraderie that isn't always easy to come by. Spending an evening every other month with like-minded women is such a positive and fulfilling time. The Grand Traverse Women Networking Nites also always have themes and featured speakers, neither of which ever disappoint. 

The next Grand Traverse Women Networking Nite is coming up on Wednesday, November 7th at Paperworks Studio. Tickets are $25 and the event is worth every penny (and the food provided is always wonderful)! The theme is "card night," so look forward to some adorably crafty creations!

4. Recess- Recess, much like Business After Hours, attracts some of the most impressive members of the Traverse City Community- and it attracts a lot of them. Recess is another simple and accessible way to network and mingle with other area-professionals while enjoying delicious food and beverages. The location of this event changes every time, allowing you to experience a fresh atmosphere each time!

The next Recess is taking place on Wednesday, November 7th at the Traverse City State Theatre from 5pm-8pm. Tickets are $5.00 and there will be a private film showing, hors d'oeuvres and drinks (and also some great prizes). 

With so many opportunities to networking in the area, there really isn't an excuse not to attend at least one. Most events occur right after work on Tuesday or Wednesday nights, so chances are you're available to attend!

A few things to remember when attending a networking event:

- Don't be shy. Go ahead and make the first move by extending a handshake. You have to be a go-getter at networking events!

- Make sure you have quite a few business cards on hand. These events range from 50-200 attendees, you don't want to strike up a conversation and realize that you have no business card to pass along.

- Follow up with the individuals you meet. Making connections is not a one-night deal. You have to follow through.

- Go in with an open mind. What are your goals for that evening? To promote your business? To find new industry partners? Get to know as many people as you can- you never know who you may end up meeting!

We hope to see you at all of the above mentioned events! Stop by and chat with us- we promise to have business cards on hand. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

What a Wonderful Wedding Season!

You may have noticed a lack of blogging from the Events North office the past two weeks. We apologize profusely, but we were knee-deep in wedding season (in Meaghan's case, literally- her side of the office was almost consumed by boxes full of decor, crafting, gifts...the Fedex employees now know her by name).

We adore all of the clients we work with and these two couples were no exception. Jackie & Drew and Ashley & David were simply a blast to work with. From the moment we met them to the final hug goodbye- there was never a dull moment. Plus, they are some lovely looking couples- we cannot wait to share their wedding photos as soon as we receive them!

Not only have our brides and grooms been great the past two weekends- all of the vendors we worked with have been nothing short of fantastic. Because of that, we would like to use this week's blog post to give a shout out to all of the exceptional individuals and companies we had the chance to work with at these two weddings. We'll start out with Jackie & Drew's wedding, since that was the first of the two so that just makes the most sense.

Jackie and Drew held their rehearsal dinner at the fabulous Forty-Five North Vineyard & Winery. Channing and her staff not only turned over the room in record time, they were the perfect example of what a hospitable staff should be. Grandview Catering provided the rehearsal dinner spread, which was (as usual) mouth-wateringly delicious. I'm still dreaming about their pulled pork and vegetable skewers.

The wedding took place at Snow Moon Ranch. If you haven't visited, I highly recommend it. Not only is Juliet, the owner, completely wonderful- the view from the ceremony site is outstanding, the rustic barn setting is perfection...and it's a llama farm. Way too fun, we know.
This was the backdrop at the Snow Moon Ranch. Northern Michigan at its finest!
Jackie and Drew could not have chosen a better assortment of vendors. We had such a wonderful time working with all of them both pre-event and on-site. Catering was provided by Epicure Catering. Cammie and her entire staff simply blew us away. Not only were the meals exceptional, their presentation was great and their professionalism on-site was extremely impressive. They even provided late-night sweet potato fries and black bean burger sliders- what's not to love!?

The cake for the evening was created by Aunt B's Cakes. It was truly a work of art (and the guests mentioned more than a few times that it was absolutely delicious). Aunt B's even created pine cones out of chocolate- incredible. We know.  While we're on the subject of works of art, we cannot forget to mention Derek and his crew at the Floral Underground for their unbelievable centerpieces and floral designs. The Floral Underground always surpasses any expectations we have, but these centerpieces were outstanding. No centerpiece was the same- we really do not know how Derek's creative brain works, but he nails his floral designs every time.

The reception entertainment for the evening was provided by Dan at 2Bays DJs, who had the wedding guests out on the dance floor from the first song all the way until the very last one. 2Bays DJs is one of our favorite Northern Michigan DJ companies- we know that when they're on site, the dancing portion of the night is bound to be successful.

Now, on to Ashley and David's wedding.

The rehearsal dinner took place at Red Ginger, which absolutely never disappoints. Red Ginger's staff is just as excellent as the pot stickers they serve...which are the best I have ever had, so that's saying something.

Ashley and David's ceremony and reception took place at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa. We get almost overly excited to plan events at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa- especially when we get the chance to work with the lovely Rachelle. Rachelle always goes above and beyond to make sure that no details go unnoticed and that the bride and groom are beyond satisfied. Plus, she's just a joy to work with- which can really be said for the entire resort staff. They made sure that the wedding was absolutely perfect and we cannot wait to work with them again!
An overview of Ashley and David's romantic reception at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa. Aren't those candles just gorgeous!?

The Floral Underground provided the floral design for this wedding as well. The combination of hundreds of candles (there had to be at least 100 on the head table alone) and fabulous fall-colored centerpieces completed the decor. Photography was provided by the wonderful Harrison Studio from Grand Rapids. This was our first time working with Laura and Ben and we really hope that we get the chance to do so again soon!

Bayshore Strings did a lovely job with the ceremony music- even in the 40 degree weather! The DJ for the evening was Urban Kris, who we really cannot say enough great things about. Kris kept the party going all night long and made sure that everyone had a fantastic time. He was professional, personable and just did an overall great job!

A few other vendors that we simply cannot forget to mention:

- Sperry Tents provided a stunning sail-cloth tent for Jackie and Drew's reception. The tent was so well-taken care of and Dan and his staff were so helpful and great to work with!
- Distinctive Rentals provided gorgeous chivari chairs for both weddings, making the reception picture-perfect.
-Special Events Rentals set-up all of the lighting for Ashley and David's reception (including a few remote-controlled LED globes, which were a huge hit during the dancing-portion of the evening). Their expertise and quality rentals helped set the "candle-light romantic" tone the couple was striving for.
-American Rentals provided all of the tables and ceremony chairs for Jackie and Drew's wedding. As usual, they were able to accommodate all of our needs and handled rental deliver and pick-up with ease.
- The Homestead Resort hosted a gorgeous brunch for Jackie and Drew- their entire staff was extremely attentive and the breakfast spread was enjoyed by everyone in attendance!
- Our linens for both events were provided by the always wonderful Cloth Connection.
- Blockhouse Design exceeded our expectations again with all of the graphic design for printed materials for both weddings. We really just do not have the adjectives to describe what a sensational job Erin at Blockhouse does every.single.time. She just... gets it. We love it.
- Rebecca Kinnee Photography was on-site during Jackie and Drew's wedding to capture some photos of guests with Llamas, as well as to snap a few detail shots for us to share with you! She always does an excellent job and is great to work with!
- Kara Purtell did the photography for Jackie and Drew's wedding and was lovely to work with!
- Pavlova European Spa & Salon was on site for both weddings to provide their hair and make-up services. Pavlova always does an outstanding job- we highly recommend their services!
- Wendy Hutchingson with Weddings Your Way officiated Ashley and David's wedding and did a superb job adding in the couple's personal touches and making sure the ceremony fit their requests exactly.
- Paul from Mackinaw Trolley Company made sure Ashley & David's bridal party had a blast on their trolley ride. Despite the rain, Paul made sure that no one left the trolley feeling they'd had anything less than a great time!
- Celtic Transportation made sure that guests were able to get from the Homestead to Snow Moon Ranch and back again for Jackie and Drew's wedding and also provided transportation from Grand Traverse Resort and Spa to Red Ginger for Ashley and David's Rehearsal Dinner. Noreen is so easy to work with and all of their drivers were very personable!

Clearly, we have an extreme appreciation for people who are passionate and who excel at what they do. Make sure to check out the vendors listed above in this post- you won't be sorry!

Thank you to everyone mentioned for making us love what we do!

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Few of our Favorite Places to Find Inspiration

When planning an event, it is safe to say that you find inspiration everywhere. Whether it be the color of a leaf on a tree you see on your morning walk to work, a pattern on a scarf you notice while shopping on the weekend or simply while browsing one of our favorite places to search for wedding details and favors, Etsy.

We obviously find inspiration in places that were created specifically for that purpose like Pinterest, but we have to give a shout out to some of our favorite industry related magazines for being wonderful and keeping us on our toes with new trends and relevant articles.

- Michigan Meetings + Events. Not only is this magazine regionally based, allowing us to really target the trends and upcoming events happening in Michigan, it also has an extremely active Facebook page. It's like getting two for the price of one- we get to explore the pages of the magazine and also enjoy extra tidbits shared on the Facebook page, which range from articles they find from outside sources to additional information that they found post-publication for that month. We're huge fans and you should be too!

- BizBash BizBash is wonderful for a variety of reasons. One of those is that they showcase events from Miami, Florida to Toronto- it is so interesting to be able to see what so many different places are up to! Another is that they always keep their information fresh and entertaining. Every time I pick up the latest BizBash, I find myself reading about an idea I had never seen before- and I always love them. Finally, they are extremely active on their Twitter page, which makes them so fun to follow.

- Special Events Magazine. From informing their reader on simple ways to go Green at their events (which we love- seriously, you should see the recycling center in the Events North office. We don't mess around when it comes to saving the environment), to forecasting the top 50 upcoming trends in the event industry, Special Events Magazine always has something interesting and informative to share. They also offer a plethora of their articles on their website, making it easy for you to check them out when you misplace your paper copy of the magazine.

We also find inspiration from some of our daily blog reads and vendor guides (aka guilty pleasures that are actually considered "gathering information for work"!). I should note that you should probably open these links when you have an hour...or three to spare. They are fabulously addicting. Some of our favorites include:

Simply Blue (Northern Michigan wedding guide and a fantastic blog- we cannot stress how much we adore this site!)
Hostess with the Mostess (Her themed posts will inspire you to throw the best parties ever.)
The Knot (Inspiring ideas and an impressive list of vendors from all over the country. A must for Brides-to-be.)
Style Me Pretty (Warning: You will stay on this site for hours- yes. plural.)
The Awesometastic Blog (Not only is reading her blog like listening to your best friend chat with you, she keeps it simple by posting one or two ideas a day- a quick and effective read that still makes you smile.)
Green Wedding Shoes (They feature a ton of articles on how to keep costs down while letting your creativity shine can you go wrong with that? Seriously.)
Emmaline Bride (Their DIY section is one of my favorite things. Ever.)

The list really just goes on and on. Learning from other's successes and ideas is wonderful and having the tools to do so via websites, magazines and blogs is simply wonderful.

Where do you find inspiration? Share some of your favorite sources- we love adding new pages to our bookmarks tab!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Bridal Blog: Fall Inspiration Board

Whether we're ready or not, Fall is upon us. Once September rolled around, my cravings for Pumpkin Spice lattes and Warm-colored scarves returned- there is no use denying them.

Fall in Northern Michigan is such a gorgeous time to hold a wedding. The weather is perfect- the sunsets are still breathtaking and the fall colors are just's basically like having a built in color palate- how convenient!

Since our Fall-fever is in full swing at the Events North office (seriously...we're ordering our caffeinated beverages hot instead of on ice. We even stopped listening to the "Summer Hits of the 90's" Pandora station. Big moves over here.), we decided that this week our blog post should be a fun inspiration board for upcoming and future Fall Brides and Grooms! Meaghan had a blast creating this inspiration board, so I hope you enjoy (and maybe use a few of these ideas for your own wedding or event!)

Sources from top left to bottom right: Boutonniere | Caramel Apples | Pumpkin Cake | Pumpkin Initials | Orange Shoes & Socks | Apple Bride and Groom | Fall Flowers | Rustic Favors

We hope that you are falling for Fall as much as we are right now (so corny, I know...but I really couldn't resist)!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Vendor Spotlight: ECCO

To put it simply, Traverse City is just a sensational place to hold a wedding or event. Venue options are plentiful and there are just so many diverse options to choose from.

With that said, this week we are highlighting one of our favorite newer venues, ECCO.
Source: Allen-Kent Photo

While we may be somewhat partial to the ECCO event space because we handle their Venue Rentals, we honestly would be obsessed with it regardless.

While one of the first things to note about what makes ECCO great is that it's located smack dab in the middle of downtown Traverse City (literally, right on Front cannot get any closer than that!), the fact that you have the freedom to bring in your own alcohol (which can save you a couple hundred...sometimes even thousands) and to use the caterer of your choice is a huge detail to keep in mind.

Source: Allen-Kent Photography

In addition to that, when you rent the ECCO space for your event, you have full access the entire weekend. While some venues only allow a 3-5 hour set up window the morning of your event, you can feel comfortable knowing that you have an entire 3 day span to both set up and tear down your event. As event planners, we cannot emphasis what an immense sigh of relief we exhale when we know that the set-up won't have to be rushed. Maximum set up time ensures maximum ability to give attention to every single detail!

Another thing that makes ECCO so wonderful and unique is that, with it's exposed brick wall and neutral colors, it is the perfect blank canvas for you to create your dream event. ECCO has hosted everything from Corporate VIP Dinners to Roller Derby Parties to Wedding Receptions to Fashion Shows..the possibilities truly are endless!

Some statistics and quick facts about ECCO:

- The main event room is approximately 4,800 square feet
- ECCO can hold up to 318 people, but 260 is the recommended number for comfortable seating with a dance floor. However, if your guest list is smaller, we can adjust the layout to ensure that your event has an intimate and cozier feel.
- ECCO provides all tables and chairs for your event. Additionally, the ECCO staff will set up your tables and chairs in an arrangement of your choosing. They will work with you to make sure that your room layout meets your expectations and needs exactly.
- Freedom to provide your own liquor and work with the caterer of your choice
- Two movable bars and 5 cocktail tables are provided for you on site.
- ECCO provides an iPod ready sound system and a wireless microphone for you to utilize.
- A Venue Manager will be on site for the entirety of your event to make sure that all of your needs venue-wise are taken care of.

...and all of that is included in your $3750 venue rental fee.

Make sure that your next Traverse City visit includes a tour of ECCO- you won't want to pass up a chance to see one of the most unique venues in town. Contact Meaghan at 231.944.9179 or to schedule a tour...or even just to inquire about more information- she's happy to help with whatever you need!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Using Social Media to Promote Your Event

We are definitely in the age of technology. As much as I hate to admit it, I have a mini panic attack every time I don't have my iPhone within an arm's reach. I feel like I've been a let down when I don't tweet someone back or answer a Facebook message as promptly as I do voicemail or emails.

Some people and companies may be reluctant to embrace the era of social media that is upon us and to that I say: use social media to your advantage. It is your friend, not your enemy- I promise.

So this week we dedicate our blog post to social media and some of the ways that you and your company can use it to your advantage while promoting your next event. These next few tips are simple, effective, and best of all: FREE (who doesn't love that? If it's free it's for me!)

1. Create a Pre-event Buzz
Utilize your Facebook page or send out an email blast to encourage your fans and potential attendees to sign up and share the event with their friends. You can even offer prizes for the individual who refers the most people or a discount when a certain number of their friends buy a ticket. 

If you're feeling really fancy, you can utilize sites such as Meteor Solutions helps you to incentivize your event by offering rewards for sharing your content.

2. Encourage your guests to use a pre-agreed upon Hashtag when discussing your event on their own personal social media sites. Make sure you inform them of the exact hashtag to use (For example: #EventsNorth or #TinasWedding2012) so that there are not two or three different types floating around. Hashtags allow you to promote your event and include it in conversation threads. If you have enough people discussing your event, it may even start trending within your area- the ultimate social media accomplishment!

3. Keep up the buzz by keeping some things a surprise. If you keep mentioning snippits of what is to come at the event via social media outlets, but don't let your guests know the whole picture until the day-of...they're more likely to stay hooked. Even snapping mystery pictures and showing them bit by bit to your social media audience works. Your attendees will remain engaged by guessing what is to come and keep checking back...once the get a hint of what's to come they'll keep coming back for more!

4. Use QR codes on your ads or Facebook page to allow people to easily access your website. A large majority of people are smartphone owners, so they can snap a picture of the QR code and be led to your site immediately. This will allow you to give them an abundance of extra information that you couldn't fit onto your ad.

5. Encourage your attendees to check in at the event using Facebook Check-ins or Foursquare. This will allow them to promote your event on their Facebook or Twitter. Their friends can then simply click on the link and be directed to your page and find out easily exactly where your event is...and see what they're missing out on!

6. Have a lot of things going on at once? Utilize live videostreaming of your event via Facebook or Youtube to allow attendees (and virtual guests following along at home) to catch a glimpse of the speeches or concerts they're missing.

7. Create a Twitter Wall at your event. Mashable Business explains this concept best: "The most successful social media campaigns merge what’s happening online with what’s happening offline. Setting up Twitter walls throughout the event space is an effective way to entice attendees to get involved in the online discussions stemming from the event.
If you’re running a smaller gathering, consider creating a virtual welcome wall near the registration area so that you can say hello to attendees on Twitter as they check-in. When attendees see their username displayed on the screen, next to your hashtag, they’ll be encouraged to get involved.
There are a number of vendors that provide Twitter wall functionality, including Socialping, Visible Tweets and TweetWally. Each offer varied levels of customizability and analytics. Just be sure to think through filtering options and map out a plan for the worst-case scenario, like a hashtag hijack."
8. Make sure to follow up post-event. Thank your guests for coming via Facebook or Twitter. Send out a follow-up email to let everyone know the event specs and how much you appreciated them coming out. Already know the dates for the following year's event? Post them on your Facebook or Twitter and let your guests know so they can plan ahead.

Social Media is such a useful tool and in today's day and age...if you're not using it, you're behind the times. Make sure your event promotions are up to date and watch your event attendance (and number of twitter followers) soar!

Sources for a few of these tips include:
Social Media Examiner
Mashable Business

Monday, August 20, 2012

Bridal Blog: A Creative Way to Register for What You Need

Sometimes you just do not need another blender or another set of towels as wedding gifts. Perhaps you're simply just too busy to go to Macy's (or even to go to and register for all of the things you'd like to receive from your wedding guests. You might already own an impressive amount of home goods...

Or maybe you really would just prefer cash.

Well, we recently stumbled upon a new online-registry that allows you to ask for cash while still allowing your guests to gift you that cash in a more personal way.

Wedding Republic is basically an online wish list that couples can create and send to all of their guests, but instead of listing the specific products that they would like, it lists different items or expenses that the monetary donations are going towards. For example, "Our first dog" or "Our honeymoon" or even "The mortgage on our first home."

The site operates by having the couple select the price points for certain items (for instance, you may have your sights set on a brand new TV. If the TV costs $750, then you can split that gift into six parts of $125 each, three parts of $250 each, or even leave it as one whole piece of $750. It's completely up to you!). The items are then displayed as a puzzle with the pieces representing the amount needed to purchase the entire item. Once an item is completely paid for, it becomes locked. It's that easy!

It seemed too good to be true...and there are not a whole lot of reviews out there on Wedding Republic because it is so new, so I, Meaghan, decided to test out the site myself to see how simple it was and to figure out "what the catch" was. After creating a fictional account for my fake fiancé, Tom, and myself, I was happy to find that signing up for this site was a piece of cake (the really delicious vanilla-butter cream kind. You know what I'm talking about) and sending out the information to tell guests how to use the site to donate was even easier.

How It Works For Couples

Create Your Wishlist

Set up your free registry in minutes! You can choose from our list of gift ideas or customize your registry by adding your own!


Share It With Guests

Share your registry with friends and family through email, Facebook or by adding a custom link to your wedding website.


Share It With Guests

Share your registry with friends and family through email, Facebook or by adding a custom link to your wedding website.

Watch As Guests Contribute

Login to see who has contributed to your registry. Forgot something? No worries, you can edit your list anytime!

Collect Your Funds

Congratulations, you're married! When you're ready to close your registry, simply login and collect your funds.

Watch As Guests Contribute

Login to see who has contributed to your registry. Forgot something? No worries, you can edit your list anytime!


Collect Your Funds

Congratulations, you're married! When you're ready to close your registry, simply login and collect your funds.

The only "catch" was that when guests choose which piece of your registry they'd like to purchase for you, the site does
add a 4.5% processing fee to their purchase...which if you think about it, is even cheaper that Michigan's sales tax.

All in all, this website seems like a wonderful way to allow a bride and groom to ask for cash only, but still allow guests to feel like they're giving more of a "gift." It also allows the couple to still thank their guests for specific items. Instead of "Thank you for your generous donation" they can write out a card saying "Thank you for helping us to purchase our future dog, Rover! I'll be sure to send pictures as soon as we adopt him so you can see how adorable he is!"

Asking your guests for "cash only" gifts has never been easier!

(Source for Pictures)