July 7, 2015

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Meeting & Event Planning Guide

By Utah Business Editors

July 7, 2015

Meeting & Event Planning Guide
By Heather Stewart

Details, details, details! Planning a large event means juggling numerous details—both large and small. In the following pages, we offer tips and advice for handling the many details, from décor to photography to swag, that turn ho-hum corporate events into meaningful and memorable occasions.

But first, here is a quick checklist to help you plan your next important gathering.

4 – 6 Months in Advance

  • Establish your budget
  • Select a venue and schedule a date
  • Decide on keynote speakers or other presenters
  • Choose a caterer
  • Hire a photographer/videographer
  • Decide on the entertainment
  • Begin compiling a guest list—those you particularly hope or expect will attend

2 – 4 Months in Advance

  • Send invitations or begin marketing the event
  • Order supplies for décor or table settings
  • Order any giveaways or prizes
  • Choose and order any floral arrangements
  • Set the menu with the caterer

1 – 2 Months in Advance

  • Work with presenters to finalize their presentation topics
  • Finalize the event schedule
  • Create a hashtag for the event and begin using to promote the event

1 Week – 1 Month in Advance

  • Print event materials like programs, agendas or handouts
  • Finalize the guest headcount
  • Plan seating arrangements
  • Confirm with all vendors
  • Print name badges or name cards
  • Create a photography checklist

Days Before

  • Bring all supplies to venue
  • Assemble an event emergency supplies kit (duct tape, scissors, markers, etc.)
  • Gather vendor contact information into one place
  • Take a deep breath and have fun!

En Vogue: An Inside Look at the Latest Event Trends and Experiences
By Adva Biton

Event décor is like fashion—its physical trappings display a visual message. What is the event’s mood, what feelings should attendees feel as they enter and participate? Knowing these things can help a business know what to reach for when planning its event décor. But, like fashion, one day a décor trend is in and the next it’s out—and knowing the current trends will help keep your event looking en vogue.

We spoke to Michelle Leo Cousins, owner and lead designer at Michelle Leo Events, to get her take on the trends that are making an entrance right now.

As the economy has bounced back, the 2012-14 trend of DIY-style events, complete with mason jars and burlap accents, has gone by the wayside. “Now that we’ve started to emerge from the recession, we’re starting to see budgets for events (and events in general) get bigger and better,” says Cousins.

“Now clients are spending money on upgrades like beautiful silk linens, heavy tapestry-like fabrics, and more draping and lighting ambiance,” says Cousins. “We’re seeing people upgrade china, glassware and flatware selections to give a more posh look and feel to their plate settings and overall dining experience.”

Color Comeback

Neutrals have reigned in the décor arena for the past several years, but pops of deep, rich color are making their comeback. “In 2015, we’re seeing a shift in bolder color selections, vibrant florals and rich-toned accents within the décor, and colorful custom invitations and paper products [such as] invitations, table menus and programs,” says Cousins.

“I’m working more with purple and berry-hued color palettes than I have in the past two years,” says Cousins. She recommends “plum, raspberry, strawberry, marsala and ‘royal’ colors” as those enjoying the biggest comeback currently.

Cousins also says there is a heightened trend of careful menu selection with accommodations for dietary restrictions. Unique local items are often highlighted. “Less processed foods and more local, farm to table ‘alfresco’ dining displays are all the rage when providing a comfortable and heightened guest experience,” she says.

Guest Experience

Event planners are becoming more and more cognizant of providing their guests with a complete experience, along with giving away local and unique gifts and putting out interesting menu items for attendees to enjoy. “Welcome bags and baskets are becoming a big hit among weddings and corporate event retreats, especially for guests traveling to a destination event,” says Cousins.

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