Showing posts from 2013

Registering for Gifts: What's Hot and What's Not

Since their introduction in 1924 by Chicago department store Marshall Field's, gift registries have become an accepted part of weddings and baby events. They have also become a major source of controversy and etiquette faux pas. When is a registry acceptable and when is it not? Will it be used? When do you register? For what should you register? How do you notify guests of a registry without coming across as greedy?

Creating a registry is acceptable when an event at which gifts are usually given will occur, such as a wedding, a bridal or baby shower or a birth. Today, with the internet and access to national retail registries, most anyone living anywhere can register for gifts. That doesn't mean, however, that the registry will be used. People living in small rural communities where retail outlets are scarce and internet access is not readily available may need to drive a great distance to reach a major retailer with a registry and they don't usually shop by internet. The…

Getting Married? Add the Dentist and Doctor to Your To-do List

Planning a wedding involves lists and more lists, checking them twice, three times and more. Flowers ordered - check. Menu chosen - check. Dress altered - check. Physical scheduled - what? Why? Many brides tend to forget about scheduling medical and dental appointments until the last minute, if at all. However, you shouldn't wait, particularly if you are planning to start birth control.

Today, a bride or groom can be covered by a parent's insurance until age 26 or you may have coverage through your work. At 26, you need to either purchase your own insurance, be added to a spouse's policy, or add your spouse to your policy, all of which may incur a waiting period before becoming effective. Therefore, take advantage of existing insurance while you can.

If you plan to start birth control, you need to visit a doctor for a physical and a prescription at least three months before the wedding. Doing so allows time for the medication to become fully effective. It also allows time …

Liven up Your Next Conference or Training Meeting for Greater Productivity

What happens when your business or association holds a conference or training meeting? Is it the same old, same old? Do you gather together, sit at tables and listen to speakers or view a satellite presentation for hours on end? Are people bored, jet lagged, or simply uninterested in the topic at hand and attending only because they must? If so, think creatively, liven up your meetings and give your attendees a reason to be there.

One way to gain momentum is to begin the day with a special activity such as a golf lesson or time at a driving range or another interactive activity. Follow the activity with lunch and a work session. Depending on the nature of your business, attendees might start the day by participating in a volunteer activity followed by lunch and the meeting. Such activities increase networking, build team spirit and creativity, making the following work session more productive.

Choosing Your Bridesmaids' Dresses

With literally thousands of color and style combinations to choose from, a bride-to-be can easily become overwhelmed when deciding what her bridesmaids should wear. One of the best ways to begin narrowing down the choices is to consider the wedding plans already made. The time of day of the wedding, the time of year, the location and the figures of the bridesmaids all play into the final decision, as does cost.

Time of day - If a formal evening ceremony is planned, the bridesmaids might wear either long dresses or shorter ones falling just below the knee to mid-calf (tea length). If the wedding will be held in the afternoon, then only shorter dresses are worn by both the bridesmaids and the mothers. (Mothers tend to make more mistakes than bridesmaids when choosing their dresses, often overdressing rather than considering the formality of the wedding.)

Time of year - Unless the wedding will occur in a semi-tropical location, the time of year is important when choosing appropriate att…

Consider Having Your Reunion or Retreat at an Idaho State Park

Are you planning to get the extended family together for a reunion? Want to plan a family camp or retreat for your church or organization? If so, one of Idaho's many state parks may be just the place. Several offer cabins, RV hook-ups and camp sites for multi-day events in summer. Others are available for day use only or offer overnight accommodations in summer and early fall.

Each state park provides opportunites for differing activities and accommodations. If you are planning a summer event and boating, water skiing, fishing or hiking are in the plans, you might choose Dworshak State Park near Orofino or Priest Lake State Park, both in north Idaho. If you prefer a winter outing with snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, or snowshoeing, several parks will fit your needs, including Harriman State Park in eastern Idaho near Yellowstone. Want to camp in yurts rather than tents? Several state parks offer that option.

Should you or a family member decide to have a country wedding, vow r…

My Facility Has an Event Coordinator. Why Should I Hire a Personal One?

You chose a hotel for your reception and they have an event coordinator on staff, so why do I need to pay to hire someone? We hear that question frequently. Many larger venues and churches have on-site event coordinators, sometimes called event sales managers. People planning a special event are frequently confused about the duties of the on-site coordinator and the difference between that person and a personal event or wedding coordinator or planner. The differences are many.

Planning to Buy an Engagement Ring? Do your Homework First

Are you thinking of making your significant other a permanent part of your life by getting on one knee and popping the question? If so, you will need a ring - or maybe not. And if you need one, what kind, style, and price is right for your lady and for your budget?

Not all women want an engagement ring (they do want the proposal, however). Some women feel an engagement ring is ostentatious or it may interfere with an active profession or lifestyle. (You won't see many firefighters or landscapers wearing a large diamond ring.) Your lady love may prefer only a simple wedding band or no ring at all. (Some women consider a wedding ring to be a sign of "ownership.") If she wants a ring, she might prefer a ruby, sapphire, emerald, or her birthstone rather than a diamond. And do you know her preference for the setting? Does she prefer yellow gold, platinum, silver or something else?

Once you have decided to purchase a ring and you know what type, it is off to the jewelry store…

Party Crashers: The Latest Scam

If you have seen the movie Wedding Crashers, you are familiar with young adults acting like spoiled, self-centered juveniles out to ruin your wedding or special event. The latest scam, however, doesn't require the crashers to attend your event to ruin it. Rather, they look for websites that are not password protected, such as those created on popular sites like or

Plan a Duck Dynasty Party

If you or someone you know is a fan of the A&E television program Duck Dynasty, you may want to plan a Duck Dynasty birthday party, family reunion, business team building activity or another special event. Duck Dynasty parties are particularly popular with boys and teens. With the proliferation of camouflage items available - everything from clothing to invitations to paper plates and napkins - planning the party is fairly easy.

Ask guests to wear camo clothing and either a bandana or a cap, or you can supply the bandanas. You can provide the fake facial hair for everyone from three to ninety-three who doesn't sport their own. You might also provide a few wigs or hair extensions found at thrift stores or from an on-line source. The nattier, the better.

Add Drama to Your Event by Including a Four Footed or Winged Participant

If you think children are unpredictable at an event, try adding animals. I have had dog ringbearers, horses, doves (really white pigeons) and even an errant cow or two wander through an event. However, a couple in England took things to a new level when they included a barn owl in their wedding. Yes, an owl.

Including Smartphones and Tablets at Your Next Event - the Good and the Bad

Today it seems everyone has a smartphone and/or a tablet. We use them for everything, from making and receiving phone calls to surfing the web to ordering flowers for your wedding or a gift for a conference speaker. Some of my clients have created personal apps to share wedding or reunion photos. Business clients create apps for their conferences through which attendees can track activities and speakers, connect with one another and more.

Last year I worked at a technology conference in Sun Valley. Attendees were instructed not to bring business cards, but to create a QR code with their contact information. They then scanned each other's smartphones to download contact information directly into their databases.

The technology applications are limitless. However, not all consumers have had good experiences. In May, Skava, a provider of e-commerce solutions for retailers, surveyed over 2,000 on-line shoppers, 744 of whom reported using their smartphone or tablet for shopping. Nearly…

New Trend: Crowdfunding for Events

Crowdfunding is a relatively new concept in which businesses raise small amounts of money from many contributors to fund the launch of a new product, musical score, movie, book, art project and more. Kickstarter is one such site. Contributors receive a special gift in exchange for their contribution.

Help! I Broke my Engagement - Now What?

Unfortunately, not every engagement ends with a marriage. I answer viewer questions on websites and one question we see several times each year concerns broken engagements and how to pick up the pieces. The first reaction of many brides, who are often caught up in the emotional distress of the moment, is a desire to distance herself from the whole situation - forget about the guy, the wedding, and anything associated with it. However, unless she has someone who is thinking clearly to help her through the process, she may inadvertently make the situation worse, lose money, and prolong the agony.

So what is a girl (and guy) to do? It depends on how close to the wedding day the event was cancelled. If the engagement is broken months before the wedding, it may be fairly easy for the wedding planner to contact merchants and cancel services. If the wedding day is right around the corner, the bride may have arranged special services, such as manicures for her bridesmaids, that she hasn't…

Plan Your Next Event at a Summer Camp

Looking for a unique location for your next sales or training meeting, company retreat or family reunion? Look no further than a nearby summer camp. Boy Scout, Girl Scout, 4-H and church camps are busy in summer, but are often available at a reasonable rate in the spring before school is out or after school resumes
in the late summer and early fall.

Holding your event at a camp invites greater interaction among attendees, something that may not happen at a hotel or conference center.  It also reduces the dependency on technology, getting people away from their phones and laptops and back to nature. Your employees can also engage in a variety of team building activities that wouldn't be possible at more urban locations.

Should your event last more than one day, camps have overnight accommodations, usually in cabins or dormitories, which again promotes interaction and develops relationships.  Many camps have cooks who will prepare  meals for you. If not, make meal preparation part…

Traditions: Bouquet and Garter - to Toss or Not

Traditionally,near the end of a wedding reception the bride tosses a bouquet and the groom tosses a garter which he first removes from the bride's leg.Today, however, many couples are choosing to forgo the tossing of one or both items for several reasons.Often, when the bouquet or garter toss is announced, young children rush to the front, crowding out the “eligible” ladies and men.The bride may want to keep her bouquet and she didn't order a separate toss bouquet, or she may be embarrassed by the manner in which the garter is removed (no teeth, gentlemen, please).  Not all couples have single friends to catch the bouquet or garter. And some venues are simply not built for tossing anything if the room is small or the ceiling too low.If you do choose to toss the bouquet or garter, the following tips can make the occasion more fun and less chaotic and embarrassing.

If a number of children will be present, have a “candy toss” of individually wrapped pieces of hard candy before the…

When the Best Man is a Woman.......

You are getting married and you and your intended are choosing the members of the wedding party.He can’t decide which of his good friends he should ask to be the best man. No matter whom he chooses, someone’s feelings will be hurt. So, he decides to ask his sister. Or perhaps the bride has a friend since childhood that she wants to be in her line, but he happens to be a guy, not a girl. Can she have a male bridesmaid?
Today, it is common to include a person of the opposite sex among your attendants. Older couples with adult children have been doing this for years. The criteria for choosing attendants remains the same as it has always been – choose people that are close to you and will continue to be a part of your life in the future.If that person is of the opposite sex, that is fine in most instances, unless your wedding will be held in a conservative church or synagogue. Then, you may need to obtain approval from the pastor/priest/rabbi.
When a person of the opposite sex fills the …

Four Ways to Keep Your Bridesmaids Happy

This is wedding season. Literally thousands of women around the world will share the big day with a sister, cousin or friend as a bridesmaid or maid/matron of honor. Some women will love the experience. Others will consider it to have been their worst nightmare. How a bride treats her attendants in the months and days leading up to the wedding makes all the difference.

Asking someone to be a bridesmaid should be an honor. It implies friendship and the desire to share the big moments in life with someone close to the bride. Unfortunately, too often friendships are strained or broken as stress and self-centeredness take center stage. But how do you keep your cool during what is one of the most stressful times in a woman's life?

First, a bride should carefully consider before asking someone to be part of her wedding in any capacity, whether bridesmaid, reader, soloist or helper. Think long term. Will the person be part of the bride's life in ten years or is she a new friend the …

Four Reasons Not to Become an Independent Meeting Planner

Today's article is by guest blogger Lori Gershaw. In August 2010 I blogged about the realities of becoming an event planner in general. Lori shares specifically about the realities of becoming a meeting planner.

Four Reasons not to Become an Independent Meeting Planner The new catalogue from your local adult education center came in the mail today. You open it up and find a course on how to become an Independent Meeting Planner. “Wow! That sounds glamorous! I think I’ll give that a try!” Before you jump in with both feet, here are some things to consider. Paperwork, yuck! Once you open the doors to your new business, there’ll be all sorts of paperwork to fill out… and it never ends! Local, state and federal governments want to know about you, there’s insurance to get, bank accounts to open, all sorts of boring, time consuming details. Consult with professionals about what you will need to do to start a new business because that’s what you’re doing… starting a…

Let Them Eat Cake - or Not

When you think of a birthday party, what comes to mind? Gifts? Fun? Friends? Cake and ice cream? Or how about a wedding or an anniversary party; people tend to think of cake as the dessert of choice. After all, what is a wedding without wedding cake? But what if you don't like cake with its surgary, calorie-laden icing? Then don't serve it.

Many alternatives are available to the traditional birthday or wedding cake. Perhaps the guest/guests of honor prefer pie or cheesecake. Maybe an ethnic specialty, such as German kuchen or a French croquembouche (a tower of cream puffs), are more to your liking. I have had clients who served cheesecake, pie, ice cream baked potatoes (an Idaho specialty), croquembouche, German obstkuchen, Norwegian kransekake and more.
Serve what you enjoy. Your guests will be delighted.

Use Pinterest to Plan your Next Event

This year is unusual in that about half my clients do not live here but are planning to hold an event in this area. They need to choose florists and bakers, decide on event decor and more. Enter Pinterest. My clients can create a board on Pinterest, then pin their favorite items and send me the link. I can then print pictures of their favorite dessert, decor, centerpieces and bouquets and share them with local merchants. We schedule a conference call with the client to go over the details and - presto - that portion of their planning is complete. Clients have been very happy with the results.

If a client is concerned about the ability or creativity of a recommended vendor, they can visit the vendor's Pinterest page to see examples of completed work, putting their mind at ease. (Vendors, you do have a board, right?)

Pinterest is also a great place for those who do not consider themselves to be creative to find ideas they can copy or modify. Looking for a fabulous cake for mom and d…

You Plan to Start on Time? Really? Really!

Have you ever attended an event where you sat around wondering when things would get started? Maybe you waited 20 or 30 minutes or more with no communication from the hosts. A few years ago I received an invitation to a relative's wedding with instructions to call a friend of the bride's mother to RSVP. When I called, I explained that I had a wedding rehearsal that evening so I would be attending only the reception. The person responded, "We won't be starting on time, so you shouldn't be late." What? Excuse me! This was several weeks before the wedding yet they intentionally planned to start late.

Beginning an event late, whether intentionally or because of an unforeseeable situation, is extremely rude and disrespectful of everyone's time. The guests didn't arrive at the stated time only to be held hostage, possibly in the heat and/or on uncomfortable chairs, while the hosts scurry around in the background finishing dressing or adding the last touches…

Say "No" to the Dress

On the television show, "Say 'Yes' to the Dress," brides travel to a fashionable salon in New York City to choose a gorgeous and flattering one-of-a-kind gown - one that makes the bride feel like a princess on her special day. But is there ever a time to say "no" to the dress? Oh, yes.

Not all designers desire to create beautiful and flattering gowns. Some choose instead to focus on the shock value of a bride walking down the aisle in a dress that reveals more than what may be considered tasteful. Consider, for example, the dress on the right with its see-thru midriff. It looks as if it more appropriately belongs in a lingerie shop, not a bridal salon. Not only is hubby getting a peek at what is to come, but so are all the men on the guest list.

Or consider this gown on the left; elegant, but not really appropriate for a wedding. Be very careful on the dance floor.

The gown, below on the right, is perhaps the ultimate in tacky. Makes you wonder what the "…

Invite a Food Truck to your Next Event

Food trucks are hot right now (pun intended). Need to grab a quick lunch? Want a snack? Local trucks can fill just about any craving, from tacos to cupcakes and ice cream. So why not delight your attendees or guests by inviting a food truck to visit your next event.

If you are planning a business meeting, break up the day by hosting lunch at a food truck or two rather than serving a typical restaurant or catered meal. Planning a birthday party for a child or a teen? Invite an ice cream truck and/or a cupcake truck to join you. Make it a surprise and really delight the guests.

If you are planning a festival or another community event, holding soccer or little league play offs or a school carnival, invite several trucks to share their fare. Local trucks offer a wide variety of foods, including Asian, Cajun and soul, Greek gyros, tacos, even British style fish and chips, as well as ice cream and cupcakes. Monthly food truck rallies are held in the Boise and Nampa areas at which a number…

Guest Book Alternatives

You are planning Mom and Dad's 50th anniversary party, a wedding or a special birthday party and you want to remember who attended but the typical guest book seems boring and outdated. When the party is over it will remain in the bottom of a drawer somewhere to be looked at perhaps once every 10 years. What to do? Today, with advances in technology and lifestyles, numerous alternatives to the old fashioned guest book are available. The following are just a few ideas.

Photo book - It is easy and relatively inexpensive to create a photo book either on-line or through a photo processing center, such as Costco. Planning an anniversary party? Create a book containing photos of the couple through the years beginning with their wedding photo. Planning a wedding? Create a book containing photos of the couple during their relationship. Leave enough white space around the photos for guests to sign.

Cook book - If the guest of honor enjoys cooking, choose a special cookbook, perhaps desserts,…

Personalize Your Special Event to Reflect Your Style

Too often when planning a special event, we think back to what friends or business associates have done and we repeat the same thing - same type of venue, same menu, same activities. We may be afraid to think creatively for fear that business associates, family or friends will raise an eyebrow, or worse yet, question our judgement. But why be predictable and boring? Why not do something different - it doesn't have to be a radical change. Don't be afraid to experiment and think creatively. You can express your personality and tastes at your special event in a variety of ways to create an event your family and friends will long remember. The following ideas will help your creative juices begin flowing.
Choose colors and decor that express your personality. Do you like orange and fuschia together? Go for it. Like a rustic outdoorsy feel? Wonderful. Like Scottish plaids? Use them everywhere.Don't add a theme that doesn't seem natural. Adding an ethnic touch or a garden them…

Reconstruct Fashion Show Returns to Nampa

Do you enjoy offbeat fashion, particularly wedding gowns? If so, you won't want to miss the 6th annual Reconstruct Fashion Show hosted by Flying M Coffee at their Nampa Coffee Garage. This year's theme is "Here Comes the Bride." Contestants will create wedding gowns from recycled, re-purposed and reconstructed items - the more unique the better - for cash prizes. Local clothing stores will also participate in the fashion show, sharing more down to earth apparel. (The photo is of an entry from a previous show.)

Are you an Unknowing Event Promoter?

Event promoter - when we hear that term, we tend to think of large events, such as trade shows and concerts. But did you know that if you invite your neighbor's children to sell cookies at your company's open house, you might be legally considered an event promoter and subject to tax laws? So just who is an event promoter? And how large must the event be?

According to the Idaho State Tax Commission any person or business who allows two or more people to offer products for sale or exchange or charges admission is considered an event promoter (see and for details). This includes church bazaars, swap meets, yard sales not held at a private home (including those held at churches and businesses), business open houses at which friends and family are allowed to sell products, wedding shows, trade shows, non-profit events that charge admission, and more, even if the profits will go to charity.

As an eve…

Tech Cocktail Returns to Boise

Tech Cocktail, the nationwide event that showcases start-up technology companies, returns to Boise April 17. The event enables new technology start-ups to present their businesses to a diverse group of local, regional and national technology company owners, investors and others who may be looking for the next great idea. Event organizers have planned networking activities with the goal of promoting partnerships and alliances to further the growth of Idaho's technology industry.

Start-up companies interested in having their company and products featured should apply at by March 22. Tickets are required to attend and can be purchased on the above website. The event, which is sponsored by the Idaho Technology Council, will be held at the Stueckle Sky Center at Boise State University.

Come on out and show your support for the many diverse technology companies, large and small, doing business in Idaho.

Celebrate Your Employees with a Company Picnic

Though it is only March, it isn't too early to begin planning a company picnic to honor your employees and their efforts on behalf of your business. Company picnics are as varied as businesses. If you have a large number of employees, you may need to hold the event at a park. If, however, you have only a few employees, you might choose to invite them to your home for a barbecue  What you do at the picnic depends on the ages of your employees and their family members and their educational backgrounds. What works for assembly line workers doesn't necessarily work for professionals. Food, of course, is a necessity. Other than that, your budget and the location are the only limiting factors.

If you want to personally limit your time and involvement in the planning, you might hold the picnic at a waterpark or amusement park where entertainment is "built in" and someone else will handle the details, including food. If you prefer your party to be more private, you might hir…

Boise's "Say Yes to the Dress" Wedding

Congratulations to Courtney and Jason, Boise's "Say Yes to the Dress" wedding couple. In September Courtney traveled to New York to choose her gown. Her shopping experience was televised in December on TLC's "Say Yes to the Dress" TV program. On Saturday the couple tied the knot at St. Mary's Catholic church followed by dinner and dancing at Hillcrest Country Club. A videographer from TLC joined us for the day to catch the highlights,which will air in about three months.

Courtney's ivory lace mermaid-style gown was strapless and backless, ending in a cloud of organza that rippled as she walked. It was truly a "Yes" dress.

Local Photographer on Today Show

Congratulations to Frances Corkill, owner of Two Photography, on her appearance on the Today show this morning. Frances is a local banker who runs her photography business on the side. In January she answered a request for applications on the Today show's website and was chosen to meet  with Donny Deutsch for a quick on-air coaching session on how to create success in pursuing a creative passion, in her case making the transition from banker to full time photographer.

Mother of the Bride: Avoiding Mom-zilla

We see the movies; we hear the stories. We think it’s funny when the mother of the bride acts like a mom-zilla. But is it? The bride is stressed and her wedding day may turn into a disaster. The mother is embarrassed and regretful – or maybe not, depending on personality. What is a mother to do? Or not do? The following tips will help mother and daughter both enjoy the wedding planning process while allowing the bride to have the wedding she wants without feeling as if every decision will be a battle. 

A Very Cold, Yet Lovely, January Wedding

Nicole and Jim chose a nippy 15 degree day in January for their wedding. Nicole works for the Interagency Fire Department, so a summer wedding was out of the question. After a traditional church ceremony, we moved on to the Clubhouse Event Center for dinner and dancing. The Clubhouse, decorated in red and white with snowflakes, twinkle lights and uplighting, was the perfect location for an evening of fun.
The cake, compliments of Family Ties Catering and Cakes, continued the winter theme, though the delicious strawberry filling added a touch of summer to the snowy day. Nicole decided she didn't want the traditional garter toss with people looking under her dress, so Jim placed the garter on his sleeve under his jacket. He then sat on a chair while Nicole removed the jacket to reveal the garter.  Many thanks to Rocky Mountain Roll for DJ service, lighting and the photo booth, to Goodwood for dinner and to Tamara Kenyon Photography for helping make this a special day the couple, …

Celebrate Your Engagement with an Engagement Party

Many engagements occurred during the holidays and more will occur on Valentine's day. Perhaps you received a ring and now your family wants to celebrate by hosting a party. Having an engagement party is a good way to introduce your fiancĂ© or fiancĂ©e to your family and friends. Today, in our mobile society, you or your fiance may not live near family or old friends. Therefore, making a quick trip home for an engagement party is one way to introduce a future spouse to a number of people at one time. The following tips will help you plan a successful party.
The parents of the either the bride or groom usually host the party, though grandparents, an aunt and uncle, a close family friend, or a godparent may host instead.If both sets of parents live in the same community and are acquainted, they might co-host a party.It is socially acceptable to have more than one engagement party, each hosted by one set of parents, if the parents live in different communities and have different friends…

New Trend: Workout Parties

If you made a new year's resolution to lose weight, you may be interested in hosting a workout party for your friends. Instead of meeting for dinner and a movie, people meet at a gym for a group workout session followed by healthy snacks and beverages (think vitamin water rather than martinis). This allows time for both exercise and social interaction without worrying about your make-up or hair.

On the East coast, where this trend originated, gyms are increasingly hosting private exercise parties complete with a DJ, disco balls and a trainer to lead specialized classes - everything from circuit training to spinning. The parties typically occur on Friday or Saturday night after the gym has closed for the evening. An entrance fee may be charged to cover the cost of the DJ and food.

If you want to host a workout party on a budget and you have a large home or access to a clubhouse, gather your exercise DVDs and your friends and create your own party. Ask your friends to bring their f…