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!