The distinct look of an outdoor wedding is desired by many, but often it is hard to find the perfect location. Many times, outdoor venues only provide the basic land and maybe one architectural focal point. Sometimes the dream of having a beautiful outdoor wedding is forgotten because the demands of planning something that you have to design from the ground up (literally) can be overwhelming. But what if you could have the best of both worlds with a courtyard wedding?
Why a Courtyard
A courtyard is an outdoor area that is enclosed by the walls of a surrounding building. This type of unconventional venue offers benefits that no other can imitate. Being enclosed means you will get protection from the wind and a sense of privacy without forfeiting fresh air, natural sunlight, and ambiance of an outdoor wedding.
Planning a Courtyard Wedding
When it comes to planning a large event there is a seemingly never-ending to-do list. Many courtyards have the bones to work off of in order to take much of the stress of planning go away. There will be a set location for your guests to park, a private restroom (we all hate port-o-potties!), and usually, they have experienced vendors that you can work with who know the venue well.
Where to Look
The Laguna Design Center is our favorite spot in the Orange County, California area to host courtyard events. It has multiple courtyards each with their own unique architectural style and theme. If you’re not in the Orange County area, however, no worries. We have a few tips that can help you find the best venue for your needs:
Do your research
Don’t look into venues until you have figured out the basics. In order to find a location that will suit your needs have a rough estimate on how many people are invited, the amount of space you will need if you are planning to have a dancefloor or other entertainment.
Talk to a Professional
Event Planners have a vast knowledge of available venues in your area. You could be missing out on some hidden gems. If you don’t already have a space in mind it is worth it to hire help. Having them to guide you and work towards finding your ideal space will save you a lot of time and energy.
Look Outside the Box
Many of the most beautiful venues have multiple functionalities. Check out your local country clubs, wineries, resorts or barns for inspiration and ask if they host events.
You are invited to attend a reserved ticketed event for your company’s annual meeting gala. As you enter the venue you are asked to take a photo instead of handing off a ticket to be scanned. You continue into the event when a professional photographer and videographer guide you to a beautiful wall that displays a colorful and interactive background where they take your Instagram worthy photo. The emcee comes on the mic and tells everyone in attendance to say hi as they live stream the event on Facebook. From the moment you walked through the door you have experienced an event in a fun new way, all thanks too new tech.
It may seem odd but facial recognition is making our once paper filled world so much easier and sustainable. Algorithms calculate your facial features, hairstyles, expressions, and body shape and language making it super easy and simple to enter an event.
Erin Barton, a Planning Manager & Event Producer for WOW! Events says, “A huge feature of all events is new tech. Anything from checking in without tickets through online ticketing and facial recognition.”
Updates are being applied daily to this new technology. Soon, facial recognition will be able to predict the moods of attendees by reading facial expressions and body language. It will make check-in’s more efficient, improve attendee feedback, and on-site security. Sorry wedding crashers… (we’re not really that sorry).
Artificial intelligence is slowly becoming a part of our everyday lives. It creates a highly personalized experience for everyone that attends your event. Bigger events, such as festivals and conferences that have over 30,000 attendees implement AI through services such as chatbots and personalized recommendations. It provides more effective and efficient customer service and thus making each individual experience special and unique. Apps like Grip give attendees recommendations on who they should meet, what conference sessions they would enjoy most, and even products they should try. This personalized touch makes AI technology a must have at your next trade show.
Social media apps such as Facebook and Instagram introduced the live features a couple of years ago. Influencers, media outlets, and event planners have used this feature to show off their event in real-time. It expands your audience beyond those that are attending allowing friends and family that may not have been able to attend to experience the event from the comforts of their home. “Live feed video to the event or live feed on social media to sort of, blast out what you might be missing if you’re not at the event is becoming widely used,” says Erin. People viewing can interact with live stream asking questions or providing feedback about the event. How cool is that!
Social Media Walls and Photobooths
No one can resist an Instagram worthy backdrop. Creating a social media wall is an amazing marketing tactic that generates real-time fun and encourages attendees to post about the event and use its hashtag. It is an easy and fun way to have attendees participate in spreading the word about the event. Erin explains that Gif & boomerang selfie stations aren’t new, but they are getting more high tech, smaller, easier to use and more creative, often utilizing large screens where the rest of the party can see what’s happening or a loop of photos other patrons have taken. Plus, it makes a great souvenir!
Personalized Event Apps
Creating an app specifically for your event is a time and life saver. It provides value by letting attendees track speakers and networking opportunities. Depending on the event, attendees can bookmark location or create a custom itinerary for their day. It creates greater customer service and feedback. Add tags to the apps to see how attendees use the app for the event. This will help you tweak the format and overall UX design for next year’s big event! There are so many apps to choose from or start by designing your own event specific app!
Promoting your grand opening is vital to the success of your turnout. Let people know about your event ahead of time and do not let them forget about it. Plaster the city with flyers and advertisements of your event. This is also when social media is your best friend. Promote your grand opening with sponsored posts on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. Since many people are consistently checking social media, it Is a great platform to promote your grand opening.
It may be difficult trying to capture an audience as a new company, so you may want some help. Partnering with a local company that has a strong impact will help promote your grand opening. Since most people may not be familiar with your company, they will be willing to attend your grand opening since they are familiar with the partner company. They can also provide your company with some of their audience to make your grand opening a hit.
Make sure to focus on the potential customers in your area. Targeting locals in your promotions for your grand opening will bring in curious residents.. People love when companies care about the local community so this a great way to get them buzzing about your event, and feel pride when buying your goods or services.
Now that we’ve spent some time talking about the promotion of your event, let talk about making sure your attendees have a great time! Music is sure to give your guests a great experience, and the options for event entertainment is limitless. Cover bands,rock bands or a live DJ is a sure fire way to draw some attention. Making sure your visitors have a great time at the event will leave a good impression on attendees and ensure that they will remember your name. Hey! They might even tell all of their friends that they need to stop by and check it out.
A lot of people may ask, what do I get if I go? Answer their question with fun games and the chance to win small prizes. Have raffles at your event for people to win gift cards and much more. The benefit to handing out samples or gift cards at your grand opening is to gain interest in your brand so they’ll want to come back for more.
The location of your event is a crucial piece to making your grand opening successful. It can be helpful to make a Facebook page for your event to get an approximate count of how many people will be attending your event. A good option is for the event space to be outdoors, or in another large, open area. Make sure to draw attention to your area by having banners and balloons to make your event pop!
Looking for other ways to entertain your guest besides the traditional band and photobooths? Here are a few ideas to give any occasion that WOW! factor and create EXTRAORDINARY memories.
Nothing is more jaw dropping than dancers performing 20 feet above your head. This entertainment is sure to fascinate your guests! Their elegant performances can adapt to fit along perfectly with any theme. Ariel dances provide a memorable WOW! factor to any upcoming event.
Guests will be left speechless with this fascinating entertainment option. Illusionists are a great fit for corporate events, life celebrations and high school events. They provide great excitement and laughs for all your guests. Watch your friends get hypnotized and sing like a Rockstar or watch impossible magic happen with your own eyes. These fun performances are sure to leave your guests mesmerized!
Shake it off and have a lively performance for your next event. Hula dancers go along well with a tropical or Hawaiian themed event. It is awesome for corporate dinners and family events. Learn some new moves or sit back and enjoy the performance. This is sure to add a lot of excitement to your party.
Watch an artist create a masterpiece in a matter of minutes. They can create jaw-dropping paintings right before your eyes. The thrill of speed makes art that much more exciting. This entertainment is perfect for any occasion as it goes beyond a show by interacting with the audience and sharing a talent so genuine.
Arcades games are a lot of fun, but what makes these games 100 times better? Being able to play on giant video screens. Throw it back with vintage arcade games like Ms. Pacman or Legends. This is especially great for any outdoor event and is fit for all ages.
Bring Vegas thrills to your special event! Hosting a casino themed event is a great way to encourage interaction amongst guests, while having fun and to testing their luck. Casino tables are especially great for any charity events, corporate get togethers or employee parties you have on your calendar. Its important to abide by California’s gambling laws. There are a lot of different ways to host a safe and successful casino night. One solution is to supply guests with play chips and award a prize to the first few people with the biggest winnings at the end of the night.
Love the sea and the beautiful species it has to offer? We can bring the ocean to you! Have live tidepool animals at your event and learn about the wonders of the ocean. Everyone will absolutely love being able to touch live marine animals. Give any celebration a unique twist that is fun for all ages.
NO ARTISTIC SKILL NEEDED! The graffiti art wall challenge will help your team members develop their creativity and tap into their imagination. Team members will go to different stations to learn various types of graffiti styles. Once everyone has learned the different types of styles, they will go head-to-head on the “masterpiece” wall.
We don’t mean a physical bar fight but a battle between teams involving drinking games, trivia, and the search for the perfect drink. Team members can compete in a series of drinking games such as Jeopardy, Cup pong, and cornhole. Turn everyone into a bartender that night by having a head-to-head and see who can make the best drink with certain ingredients. This staff outing will have everyone in great spirit.
Take the team out to the beach and have them learn how to make amazing sandcastles! Sandcastle building is a great way for employees to bond and work together to accomplish the same goal while enjoying a beautiful sunny day. Have your team learn from professional sandcastle builders themselves and battle it out to see which team makes the best sandcastles.
The Amazing Race
Similar to the Olympics, The Amazing Race combines various types of activities. From scavenger hunts, to puzzles and obstacles; it puts everyone’s skills to the test. This can be a great exercise for employees to interact and develop their communication with each other. It’s also a great way for team members to get out of their comfort zone and help other teammates to take down the opponent.
A sports tournament is a great way to break the ice between associates. There are many options, from basketball, to dodgeball and even bubble soccer. To add a little more friendly competition, try to find a similar company to yours, or a company that you do a lot of business with and invite them to play!. Nothing is better than earning bragging rights against a fellow competitor.
Not everyone will have a Grammy winning voice, so a karaoke night is the perfect opportunity for employees to break out of their shell. This can serve as the foundation for your employees to grow with their fellow team members. Consider having a creative drink menu to give your team members a little extra confidence boost to rock out to their favorite songs.
Go Kart Racing
Add some adrenaline to your team building event. Rent out a local go kart track and let your team members have a go at it! This is another great way for your employees to have some fun and bond with each other. Also, it’s not every you get to drive a mini race car at 30 mph.
If you don’t have time to plan a day out of the office or schedules are conflicting, have a “Themed Day” at the office. Themes can range from “sports day” to “Halloween outfits” and “dynamic duos”. Offer small prizes to the most creative outfits dressed to the theme.
Explore the beauty of mother nature by having a family day for your employees. Team members will have a chance to interact with each other on a personal level. This family-friendly environment is the perfect teambuilding activity to bring team members closer and allow for the kids to make some new friends.
Ugly Sweater Party
This popular event theme for the winter is a fast and easy way to gather your friends, family, or co-workers. Encourage a little competition with a contest for best sweater. Rent out a space, reserve a party room at your favorite restaurant or host it in your home or office.
Simple winter event ideas can come from your own seasonal traditions. Getting a group together at a local ice-skating rink is a fun and simple way to host an event. There’s nothing like a little ice, a cool breeze and cute mittens and scarves to make everyone feel like they’ve crossed into a winter wonderland.
Gingerbread House Contest
Chime into your childhood memories by assembling a gingerbread house. Set up stations with all the necessary items. Teams can compete to make the most creative house, while those who just came to watch, or vote can enjoy snacks and refreshments.
Nothing spreads holiday cheer like one of the classics. Find a venue with space for a projector and invite everyone to enjoy one of your favorite seasonal movies. Prepare popcorn, snacks and hot cocoa so everyone is ready to get cozy and enjoy.
There are plenty of winter snacks that anyone can bring to your winter celebration. Pie, chili, sugar cookies, and stuffing are delicious dishes that fill your bellies and make you feel cozy on a chilly winter day. Provide a main dish then ask everyone else to sign up to bring their own. This is a great way to share your traditional recipes with others while showing off your baking skills.
We live in a world of constant connectivity. People are constantly being updated with what’s going on around them in this social-media driven world. This can lead to FOMO. FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out, is the worry we get when there’s the possibility of an amazing experience happening that we might miss out on.
Have you ever come home tired from a long day of work and just planned to relax, but then you get that text from a friend who wants to check out this cool new bar, restaurant or event that just popped up nearby? Your mood and plans instantly change because of the opportunity to experience something great. If you are trying to market your event, FOMO is your friend and Wow! Events knows that. Every events goal should be to WOW! its attendees and gain more interest, especially if your event is recurring.
Instagram Live, Facebook Live, Twitter Live, and even Periscope are ways to livestream your event. Live streaming your event can gain attraction to your event from those who aren’t attending. If you can do a livestream of your event properly you may convince others to attend your next event. Every one of your attendees has their own network of people that you want to reach. Those who are at your event have people following what they do on social media. Use this to your advantage. If you can get your attendees talking about your event online or to even go live while attending it, FOMO is sure to ensue. Our trained staff knows exactly what it takes to make your stream a hit. We can target key influencers, create buzz around your event and will have people waiting in line for your next one.
Creating a high demand for an event is a terrific way to increase interest. People want to do what is trending. Doing something that everyone is already doing won’t create exclusivity, but a unique event will. A great way to increase the exclusivity of your event is to offer small “hints” as the event draws near about what to expect. Creating curiosity in your marketing campaign is the perfect way to draw people in. People will look at your upcoming event and say to themselves, “How can I get tickets to that?” This is where you can do giveaways for meet and greets, exclusive tours and even flash sales.
If you want to truly entice people try closing the event to the public. Specifically inviting people will make them feel special. Spend time to target a certain amount of people who you think would enjoy your event. Those people can get a personal invite and they can choose to bring their friends as well. This way even if they can’t attend they feel more invested and it will spark interest within.
Take advantage of technology and tap into people’s fear of missing out on your event. WOW! Events can help to create the perfect event, down to the last detail. With everything in place it will be a piece of cake to increase the attendance of your event and the buzz all around it.
Prom is a monumental social event where students get to dress up, eat a fancy dinner and have fun making memories with friends. This is their night to shine so it is important to pick a memorable theme. With a little creativity and some decorations your school or venue can transform into anything. If you haven’t started thinking about your 2018 prom theme, here is some inspiration. WOW! Events has been creating nights to remember for a long time, and we have over 120 theme ideas. Below are just some of our favorites:
A masquerade themed prom is the perfect way to add a little mystery into the night. Known for being rich and extravagant, masquerade parties date back as far as the 15th century. Whether on or off site, we know how to transform your gym or venue into a Victorian ballroom fit for royalty. Decorate with beautiful velvet fabrics, draped over tables or used as curtains and deep colored plastic gems sprinkled along tables. Fur and feathers are great to add texture to the room, and of course masks can be used as embellishments. Make the night feel even more authentic by requesting that guests wear masks. They’ve all seen masquerade balls in movies or pictures and will love that they get the opportunity to dress up and act the part.
Channel the 20’s with a theme based off of this iconic book. The color scheme should of course be anything black, white, gold and glittery! Feathers, pearls and fringe are your best decorating mediums at this party. Use large gold sequin curtains or strands of gold beads to create the perfect backdrop for photos. Our venues that have an elegant layout and beautiful chandeliers will make you feel like you are in Jay Gatsby’s mansion – After all Gatsby parties are notoriously lavish and raucous.
Each guest will feel like a star on the night of their prom. Turn the dance into a red carpet event and celebrate in style. All of the glitz and glam will be awaiting them from the moment they arrive. A Hollywood themed prom night may seem overdone, but we raise the bar high, with new and innovative ideas for each event. Decorate with starry black backdrops with twinkling lights, velvet curtains and up-lighting. To transform your venue into a movie premier, you will need a red carpet and backdrop for everyone to stop and get their pictures taken by the paparazzi. Everyone will already be dressed to impress in red carpet worthy gowns and tuxedos, really make each guest feel like a celebrity by hosting a Hollywood Glamour Prom.
Under the Sea
Create your own spin on this prom theme classic. Think nautical, decorating with bright turquoise and blue to feel like you are walking underwater. It’s not difficult for us to find the perfect sea props for an underwater prom. Starfish, fish, crabs and other marine life animals are perfect for decorating. If you want to go above and beyond we have access to venues with different sea like features. You can be right on the water, looking at a beautiful ocean view, or in an aquarium looking at exotic fish all around.
Create a night filled with fun and games for a carnival themed prom night. Start it off by making the prom invitations look like carnival tickets. At the dance use red and white vertical stripes to accent the venue’s interior, the guests will feel like they are at a real carnival. Snacks can also be utilized as decoration with popcorn machines and cotton candy spinners on the floor. The bonus to hosting a carnival prom is that entertainment is endless. Along with music and dancing, indoor or outdoor carnival games such as a ring toss, fun house mirrors, and funny photo cutouts to take pictures in will be a hit. Decorating with balloons and giant stuffed animals is a must. Cater in some carnival food to tie it all together.
As Southern California’s leading high school event planner we have a lot of ideas up our sleeves. We pay close attention to detail and can help in the planning and execution of your event. If you like some of these ideas and want to see our full list of prom themes contact us or fill out our form to request a free consultation.
A large part of planning an event revolves around the food you intend on having for your attendees. The process of figuring out how many people you have to prepare food for and deciding what foods to serve is difficult enough, but then having to prepare and serve the food can make things even more stressful. This is what makes caterers so important to events.
Often times, great food can help make an event even more memorable. Finding the right caterer is crucial to the success of any event, large or small.
Make Planning Simpler
Planning an event is time consuming. You’re going to have a million things to think about such as guest lists, invitations, venues, timelines, entertainment, décor and food. Food logistics are difficult to understand, especially if you have no experience doing it. Caterers will deal with this for you. Not having to cook or serve will alleviate some stress and allow you to focus on other things while they take care of this. A great caterer ensures that your event is fully stocked, and that your guests are well taken care of.
Leave it to the Professionals
Just like in anything else, experience is important. Preparing or planning food for an event should be left to the professionals. Catering is no easy task and shouldn’t be expected to be done by anyone who hasn’t done it before. Caterers with experience in the type of event you’re planning will help your event succeed. They know how to treat the food to ensure it is handled correctly and safely the entire day. Experienced caterers will cater to your theme and to your attendees. Not everyone has the same food needs or preferences which is why catering companies are great. They provide the versatility needed to adapt many plates to fit diverse wants and needs.
Presentation is Important
Your food must be stunning in a way that it not only tastes terrific but also looks terrific. Caterers can make the presentation of the meal correspond with the event theme. By having a catering company, you will be able to leave a lasting impression. With a million things going on before and during the event, it’s great to have a catering company pay attention to the small details of your food and beverage options that will make your event even more memorable.
Invest in Catering
Food can make or break any event. Save time, worry less, and make a good impression by investing in a catering company. The versatility that is offered will help your events succeed, regardless of the theme. Quality catering from an experienced company will show the attendees that you care and have amazing taste – no pun intended.
Unfortunately, the most effective tool in exchanging information, planning, and collaboration has been given a bad reputation in the corporate world over the years. Meetings have become too long, less productive and seem to happen all too often. In the workplace, it is important to share, get feedback, and make important decisions as a team. Meetings and conferences allow everyone to engage in a professional environment and when managed correctly they can convene meaningful results. These tips will help to make your meetings more structured and effective.
Have a Purpose
When you are holding a meeting, there should be an end goal, a purpose. By listing exactly what you want to get out of the gathering you can be sure to get everything you need from the attendees. If everyone knows the purpose of the meeting they will do a better job of coming to a conclusion as a team and everyone can walk away feeling as though the meeting accomplished what it needed to, as well as improving their retention of what the meeting was for and what they learned from it.
Keep on Topic
Having specific content that needs to be covered can help to keep on topic during a business meeting. The leader of the meeting should encourage engagement while keeping everyone on track during discussion. Other issues may come to light during a meeting and this is where a leader should take a note of it so it can be discussed at a later time and get back on track with the purpose and topics of this specific meeting.
By keeping a meeting positive and showing gratitude, the attendees will be more engaging. Keep mindful to reduce impatience and stress. When serious matters arise treat them as such, but dwelling on the past and what is wrong is not as effective as focusing on the future and what can be done right.
Following up after a meeting is vital habit to get into. When it comes to meetings, following up is a fantastic way to keep everyone on the same page. This is a wonderful time to address those off-topic issues that came up in the meeting that you didn’t take time to address. Having a write up will also allow people who weren’t directly involved stay informed about changes and decisions that are being made.
Change the Setting
Occasionally, change is the best way to keep the mind fresh and break from the same old song and dance. Holding a meeting in the overused conference room will yield the same mentality and expectations. Hosting at a less predictable location will yield less predictable thoughts and reactions during a meeting or conference. For lengthy presentations or discussions this is a great way to keep engagement and energy levels at maximum.