3 Ways to Stay on Budget in Your Event

I recently had the pleasure of being a presenter for the FemCity Las Vegas Chapter's "Ask the Expert" event. It was fun and a character building experience as I haven't had many opportunities to speak thus far. Due to the fact we are moving towards the holiday season, I thought it would be great to give some of my fellow professionals some valuable information to use towards their future events. At the end of the post I included a little cheat sheet for planning your event budget, but first here are the 3 ways to stay on budget in your future event endeavors!

Utilize technology

It is 2017, use the technology to your advantage! One of the most useless expenses I see at an event is paper being printed. Everything from paper brochures to surveys to exhibitor manuals to meter board signage. The shipping alone can cost you thousands of dollars not to mention the labor hours spent placing the orders and printing. Its very common for longstanding programs and longstanding companies to do what was always done. But we do have the technology to make your planning easier and bring your costs down. Use email marketing vs mailers, electronic exhibitors manuals, conference apps rather than brochures and surveys, automate your processes as much as possible and utilize digital signage wherever you can!

Be selective with your venue

Another important factor in your event budget is your venue! It is very on trend right now to hold your event in a “cool” and “unique” space but it becomes expensive when you have to furnish and decorate an empty space in order to achieve your event goals. An empty space will still need tables, chairs, AV, decor, food and beverage which may require an outside caterer, lighting. I know sometimes when you look at the price tag of traditional spaces like hotels or convention centers it can seem pricy but truly add up the costs before you attempt to DIY your entire event. Choose a venue that speaks to your event goals, a venue that has useable furniture and is in need of minimal decor. Your best bet is to utilize a Food and Beverage minimum verses a rental cost which is honestly just a win-win! The venue gets the money they need and you get the food and beverage for your guests!

Hire a planner

And finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t include a planner in the list of ways to keep on budget. It is the job of the planner to know every detail your event including your budget. A good planner will negotiate contracts with vendors and have the relationships to ensure the best pricing and that you stay on budget every step of the way. A planner will also eliminate a lot of the research which reduces your time and potential labor hours. Permits, pricing, decor, and AV needs these are all things your planner can answer and arrange.  

Keep these budget saving tips in mind when moving forward into the holiday season!! Here is a cheat sheet when planning the budget for your next event.

Re-Launch of Green Drinks Las Vegas

Relaunch of Green Drinks LV

In addition to the 3 weddings in May, my InConcert collaboration partner (Trina) and myself decided to re-launch the networking group Green Drinks. It is such a great business and personal decision to get out in the community, whether you are getting involved, volunteering, helping out or networking. This decision, for Trina and myself to become the new chapter leaders of Green Drinks Las Vegas will be the perfect opportunity to stay present within the Las Vegas community while promoting something we both believe in.

I know what you're thinking, and no we don't drink green smoothies! Green Drinks is a free networking group that brings together individuals, no matter their "green" interests, for informal conversations and great drinks.

Businesses, individuals, and non-profit organizations are all encouraged to connect to a community that strives towards greener world in a goat to build new relationships... over drinks!! Green Drinks promotes events that require no reservations or fees. A no-host bar, and food are always available for purchase. The Las Vegas chapter meets the 3rd Tuesday of the month! If you are in Vegas and interested in having drinks with some fellow green peeps, join the community page on Facebook. If you are not in Vegas, you can find your local group on greendrinks.org.

Here are a few pics from the "Welcome Back Green Drinks" event held at Double Helix Wine and Whiskey Bar.

Take some time to reflect this week and see how you can stay involved in your community. Leave a comment below with any recommendations or how you will stay present.

Robi & Leo Wedding Day Coordination

My first event in May held a special place in my heart. Robiannce and I were both in the Hotel College at UNLV (University of Nevada Las Vegas) and served on the board of NSMH (National Society of Minorities in Hospitality) together. I have so many fond memories of us traveling together, attending conferences, complaining about our respective internships and so many days of us talking about the futures we wanted. This day was the perfect addition to our long list of memories.

Robi asked me to perform her wedding day coordination and touch base routinely to ensure her planning was on track. She chose Spring Mountain Ranch as the venue and planned the details of the wedding. Leading up to the wedding we met together over several brunches and long coffee dates to review details and logistics of the big day. 

Spring Mountain Ranch has a breath taking backdrop of the mountains. The ceremony took place on the lawn in a spiral seating, coffee hour took place in the gazebo and the reception took place on the lawn as well. Robi arranged for the equipment and decor to be delivered in trucks. With the assistance of an amazing team we set the coffee hour, ceremony and staged the reception then during coffee hour we set the reception. My responsibilities for the day included setup and teardown of the event, ensuring the wedding was on schedule and expediting the food from the food truck that provided catering. 

It is always an honor when a couple asks for me to be apart of their special day but it was so amazing to see Robi and Leo happily begin this new chapter in their life. I am so happy that I could help bring Robi's vision to Fruition. 

Here are a few pics from the beautiful day!

Venue: Spring Mountain Ranch

Furniture Rental: RSVP

Catering:

Photographer: Kenni Smith

May: The Month of Madness

Month of Madness

Dare I say, May has been the most insane month of this entrepreneurship journey thus far.... and it was completely self inflicted!! In my scramble to gain clients, build a portfolio, and make a living I signed contracts for 2 wedding day coordination, full planning services for a meet and greet and a wedding, and re-lauched a local chapter of a national networking group all while picking up as many shifts that I could get at the Tmobile Arena for income.

Even though this month was pure madness, the main takeaway is that I made it through. It was rough, exhausting, stressful and mentally challenging but I made it through! Now looking back I am so grateful for the lessons learned throughout this month of madness. 

Lesson #1: time management

My time management skills are still a work in progress but working so many events and being at the arena every day I could get forced me to get serious about my work time. If I had 2 hours to work, I couldn't afford to waste 30 min of it on Facebook and reading blogs. I had my task lists for each week and reviewed them and updated nightly. And with time being so tight this month I made sure my designated work time was just that, no procrastination. I put my phone on DND and made sure to remain focused on the task at hand.  

Lesson #2: financial planning

Taking on so many contracted events in May meant I received payment in the months prior and had to budget to make sure I was able to make it through the month. So my actual income for May was extremely low. Also, with most of my contracts taking place on the weekends I missed out on some major income days. I make sure to look at my projected income 3 months out to ensure I am going to meet my financial goals. So far its giving me enough time to plan to make any adjustments for compacted contracts.

Lesson #3: sales and marketing

An obvious realization I had was during the planning phases of an event the last thing I have time for is sales and marketing. Procedures need to be put in place and I need to remain strict about continuing with my sales and marketing even with an event in the works. I need to get to the point where I am working from one event to the next.

Lesson #4: outsourcing

Speaking of sales and marketing, I decided to make it a goal in the near future to hire someone, at least for a couple hours a week, to do some sales and marketing tasks. If I had someone that took care of sending out proposals, replying to emails and scheduling social media it would relieve a huge task load. 

Lesson #5: overextension

I also learned to be more careful in accepting contracts, to place a limit on the amount of events per month and work toward spreading them out throughout the year. Overextension is a real thing and I definitely exceeded my limit this past month. In the future I will be tactful about the events I accept. 

Overall, May was crazy, hectic, exhausting, stressful, a little out of control and a great learning experience that I needed to go through as an entrepreneur. 

So next time you have a rough time ask yourself "But did you die??". Laughing but serious!

 

 

The Real Reason You Should Have a Destination Wedding

Destination wedding

In honor of planning my second Wedding in Jamaica (and loving it!) I am going to let you know the REAL reason you should have a destination wedding; IT'S A BUDGET SAVER!!

I know what your thinking, "How can a trip to Jamaica save me money?". I'll tell u! 

  1. Less mouths to feed (and buy drinks for) - In planning a destination wedding you will average about 30% of the guests you invite. Sorry to the family and friends that can't make it but the less guests in attendance, the smaller the cost of the reception. Holding a wedding in your hometown can easily add up to 150 guests. 150 ppl x 40 per plate = $6,000 and that's just food!
  2. Less decor to purchase - With a destination wedding your decor and theme is the backdrop of your venue. There is no need to decorate the beach, mother nature has it covered!! A ballroom could take a lot of decor to make it unique to your wedding.... sometimes even presentable. 
  3. Combine the honeymoon - A destination wedding already takes place in the dream location of your choice. For the honeymoon take advantage of the location and stay a few extra days. Most resorts provide accommodations or concessions to the bride and groom that will make your stay even more luxurious.

 

So despite what you may think, a destination wedding could be a cost effective (and awesome) way to get married. Traveling to a beautiful location with the ones you love most is just the perfect start to your marriage! 

If you've attended or thrown a destination wedding, share your tips and experience below!!