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By Bill Lennen 15 Aug, 2017
We’re all familiar with a traditional western wedding, but not every wedding reception you host will be so culturally standard. For instance, are you familiar with Indian wedding traditions?

You’re aware of what goes on at the standard “American” wedding.
White poofy dress, tossing bouquets, throwing rice, tin cans on car bumpers -- the whole nine yards.
As an event planner, though, you have to be aware that not every event you help put together will be what you’re culturally used to.

It’s important to be familiar with other cultures and their traditions in order to be a well-rounded individual. When you’re an event planner, it’s part of your job.
That’s why it’s essentially you need to be familiar with these Indian wedding traditions that will most likely be a part of any traditional Indian wedding receptions you help to host.

A Wedding in Three Parts

The standard American wedding will have two parts held on the same day: the wedding and the reception. In Indian culture, there are actually three parts: the pre-wedding party, the wedding itself, and a post-wedding festivity.

The pre-wedding party is the part of the tradition that will matter most to you as an event planner. It’s important to understand this party is before the wedding instead of after, like most receptions.
On this day, the families of the bride and groom get together in order to meet each other, dance and make merry.

The day of the wedding is decided by a Pandit, a person who selects the wedding date based on both the bride and the groom’s horoscopes.  This signifies a blessed day for both of them, which explains the fervor before the wedding.

It’s traditional to not eat before the wedding if you’re the family of the bride. For some, this starts as soon as midnight hits on the day of the wedding. For others, this begins during the pre-wedding party. Set up a system for identifying members of the bride’s family and instruct any servers to not offer them food if they start fasting during the pre-party.

The final day , what most would think of as a true reception, is much more loose in nature.
Much of the traditional Indian wedding rituals were performed on the day of the wedding, which is typically a much more intimate affair. Indian weddings, and some pre- and post- wedding rituals, are held at home.

This party is perhaps more in line with what one typically thinks when they talk about a wedding reception.
There are drinks, music, dancing -- some are more in line with tradition, like the common Punjab folk dance “bhangra,” while other aspects are more modern.

Finally, the most important aspect of a traditional Indian wedding is knowing the families involved, what they want and where they’re from.
Some want a blend of Western and Indian ideals, while others want strictly traditional ceremonies.
Depending on whether they’re from the Northern or Southern part of India, their food wishes may differ.

It’s always essential to know the person -- or people -- you’re hosting an event for.
The more information you get from them, the better the event will be.
By Bill Lennen 11 Aug, 2017
The loss of a loved one is a very serious thing.
As an event planner, you need to consider these 3 things in order to make a memorial service as respectful as possible.

No one ever wants to deal with the loss of a loved one, but it’s something that will always be inevitable.

When those we love are the ones who pass on, it’s natural to want to memorialize them -- to reflect on and celebrate the person they were.
It’s not uncommon for the family of the deceased person in question to want to host this memorial in an event hall, especially if they had a large family or were a community member.

In this situation, the event planner (or planners) behind the event have to tread very lightly.
Events need to go off without a hitch and the need for finesse is all the more present when dealing with death and memorial services.

In order to make a memorial service as respectful as possible, consider these three things before and during the planning stage.

1. Appropriate Wardrobes
Event planners are typically hiring catering companies and the staff serving and hosting the memorial service.

Nothing is seen as more insensitive than dressing inappropriately to a funeral or memorial service. Staff members should be told to wear formal attire or dress wear that is muted.
Many catering staff members and servers will wear the standard “black pants, white dress shirt” ensemble, but make sure this is spelled out plainly to avoid wardrobe snafus.

2. Be Understanding of Families
It’s understandable that you, as an event planner, have a job to do when it comes to planning a memorial. You need to keep in mind that grieving family members may not be as level-headed and organized as your normal business client.

Grieving family members may sometimes be unreasonable or spacey due to the stress and strong feelings of loss.
Try to be as calm and rational with them as possible. If they grow frustrated (a common emotion felt when grieving), give them time and explain things slowly.
Know when to draw the line, however -- grief doesn’t give a person an excuse to mistreat you.

3. Pre-Checks and Run Throughs
An audio snag or scheduling conflict can quickly tank your brand as an event planner in normal scenarios.
When it comes to planning a memorial? Everything needs to go perfectly.
The slightest mistake can be seen as a slight to the deceased honoree, and the family will walk away upset that their memorial was ruined.

In order to make the memorial respectful and professional, double and triple check that everything is in order.
Run through any presentations that will be put on, and make sure that everyone involved knows the exact time they are to be there.

At the end of the day, consider this: how would you want the memorial of your own loved one to be handled?
Even if you can’t yet empathize with this idea, consider the gravity of the situation.

Your commitment to making this a respectful, pleasant event should be ten fold.
By Bill Lennen 01 Aug, 2017
After a wedding usually comes a reception -- this is when the partying really starts, which also means this part of the entire affair has to go off without a hitch.
The bride, groom and wedding guests are free to have fun, dance, give speeches, eat and drink until the cows come home…

...But just because the party is fun and fancy free doesn’t mean that planning it doesn’t require a lot of hard work.

The problem is that finding a wedding reception venue is harder than you might think. We have incredible venues for your own wedding reception needs, but remember to consider these five very important needs.

1. Space

How big is your wedding party?

Are you only inviting a few friends or are both of your huge families going to be in attendance?
It doesn’t make sense to rent a huge venue if your wedding party is small, and it’s similarly nonsensical to book a small reception hall when you have a huge wedding party to take care of.

It’s also important to consider space issues concerning the layout of the reception, dance areas, any band setup locations and parking capabilities.

2. Privacy

Some couples prefer to have a spacious, outdoor setting for their reception.
They choose a rented pavilion that they can have to themselves, but there are still strangers and park-goers milling around on the outskirts.

Others want a more private affair -- something more intimate and exclusive.
A reception venue should be able to fulfill a couple’s desire for privacy or their need for a lot of space.

3. The Feel

There’s always a question of what you want your venue to look like...a closed in room with lots of spotlights?
 An open area event hall with a lot of coming and going?
A huge building with lots of windows, overlooking a spectacular piece of scenery?

The romantic and festive atmosphere are important when it comes to a wedding reception, but different couples have different definitions of those words.
Some prefer a lounge-type setting, while others want a grandiose ballroom.

What do you want your reception venue to say about you?

4. Music

Do you want a live band or DJ at your reception?
How many outlets and power sources will they require?
What about the acoustics of a particular venue?

Sound quality can make or break the atmosphere of a venue -- everything can go well and a band can sound great, or thick carpeting or a smaller room can really put a damper on the musical mood.

5. Overall Venue Quality

The encompassing quality of a venue is perhaps the most important consideration of all.
A great venue is one that has a staff that will work with you.
They’ll be considerate of your needs, and open and honest about what they can do to make your special day that much better.
When looking for a venue, always give the staff a call and schedule a meeting to discuss the venue’s potential.
That’s when you’ll really find out if they’re worth sticking with.

Looking for a great wedding reception venue for your own special day? Take our advice and contact us -- we may be exactly what you’re looking for.
By Bill Lennen 27 Jul, 2017
Coming of age ceremonies aren’t just a big deal because they’re an important birthday.
These milestones have an important cultural significance that should be respected within the party that you plan.

Every culture has their own way of celebrating a person growing older and stepping into woman or manhood.
Here are three examples of coming of age ceremonies you may have to one day plan an event for.

Bar and Bat Mitzvah

The Jewish coming of age traditions of Bar and Bat Mitzvahs take place when a girl is 12 and a boy is 13; Bar Mitzvahs being for males and Bat Mitzvahs being for females. Under Jewish Law, girls and boys must be able to formally observe all Jewish commandments once they reach this age, signifying adulthood.

Adulthood is a very big theme within a Bar or Bat Mitzvah. At their respective celebratory ages, boys and girls of the Jewish faith can officially participate in religious ceremonies, converse with adults and count in the minyan. It’s acknowledged that the children aren’t physically or legally adults, but that they do have more responsibilities and religious burdens.

These parties are often large and involve many extended family members, usually there to see the birthday boy or girl ceremoniously read from the Torah or Haftorah as a sign of their transition from child to religious adult.

Sweet 16

A Sweet 16 party isn’t race or religion-specific. Instead, a Sweet 16 is simply an American and Canadian tradition that most teenagers of the middle and upper classes take place in.

While turning 16 doesn’t signify adulthood, it does revolve around the age where teens can legally drive -- this comes with a sense of freedom and responsibility. Because of this age specification, a typical Sweet 16 gift is a car.

These celebrations are often very extravagant and raucous. Typically associated with American girls, the decorations are often lavish and pink. Boys can also be thrown Sweet 16 parties, though the trend is most commonly associated with teenage girls.

Quinceañera

Finally, the quinceañera is a time-honored tradition in Hispanic culture.
This signifies a young Latina woman turning 15, as hinted at by the shortened slang term “quince.”
This coming of age ceremony is steeped in religion (Catholicism usually) and family tradition.

Traditional quinceañeras begin at a special Mass held in the birthday girl’s honor.
Here she renews her baptismal vows, solidifying her commitment to faith, her family and to herself.
This is the more traditional part of the celebration; Hispanic girls often train extensively for this moment.
After the mass is when the real fun begins!

A staple of the typical quinceañera is the father-daughter dance.
A father is the first person to dance with his daughter before giving her to someone else, signifying her becoming a woman and his acceptance of her.

Above all, a coming of age party is supposed to be a very special time for a family.
The honoree is being culturally recognized for their maturity and growing responsibility, while their family and friends are there to see them blossom into a mature young man or woman.
It is the job of a party planner to make this day more special than it already is.
By Bill Lennen 27 Jul, 2017
A teenager’s sixteenth birthday is so iconic a milestone that there’s a whole TV show about the subject.
Thus, it should go without saying that parents that come to you wanting to put on a Sweet 16 bash are most likely looking to go big or go home.

Even those who don’t have the budget to buy new Ferrari’s and ice sculptures still want to do something special -- something personal, but extravagant while still being within their means.
It’s the job of an event planner to meet within this middle, no matter what someone’s budget may be.

That’s why it’s extremely important for event planners to know of these four tips for throwing the perfect Sweet 16 bash. How many are helpful for you?

1. Know the Birthday Boy or Girl

This isn’t to say you have to interview the teen directly (though you’re free to if the parents allow it), but it’s important that you know who you’re throwing the party for.
What do they like? What are they passionate about? What is their favorite color? What foods do they hate?

Some of these questions are standard questions for any event, but make sure you know the ins and outs of the teen.
Not knowing their taste will result in a bad party.

2. Get the Right Decorations

Nothing says a downer party like decorations fit for an office get together. Teens are very in tune with what they like and/or what’s en vogue at the moment.
Tacky or out-dated decorations aren’t going to work for their big day.

The best way to prevent this is to get decorations approved as individually as possible, or ask for pictures of decorations or themes they pre-approved.
Suggest sites like Pinterest for inspiration.

3. Push for a Surprise

Again, not every parent has the cash to buy their teen a brand new vehicle or something extravagant, but push for a surprise. It doesn’t have to be big or expensive -- just something the birthday boy or girl won’t be expecting.

The surprise is a big part of a Sweet 16 party.
Everyone waits for a big reveal at the end of the night, and it’s integral to the party’s climax.

4. Separate but Close

Finally, understand that teenagers turning or around 16 will want to be able to party on their own.
Simultaneously, parents will want to keep an eye on these teens in case of flirtation or mischief.
They’re also looking to have some alone time away from the ruckus -- so what’s the solution?

No matter how you pull it off based on your venue layout, find a way to keep both teenage guests and their parents close but separate.
This allows parents to keep a watchful eye on their children while still giving them some of their new-found independence.

Above all, make sure that you’re throwing a party that both the teenager in question and their parents will approve of. Find a balance between what they both want and you’ll have a great party on your hands!
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