OK – one last post before I start packing (yes, you heard me right – I haven’t started yet). I just got home from the gala at The Metro Toronto Convention Center. We’re so proud to have won the Ontario Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year Award!
Tonight I’ll be at a gala to hopefully accept an award for Small Business of the Year from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. And, I leave tomorrow for a little village outside of Frankfurt and Prague. I hope to bring you some great design concepts and ideas! I’ll be back on November 5th. Until then, please take a gander at some of the archives on my site – do a search for a keyword (above left), click on one of the keywords or take a look through the blog archive.
Enjoy & see you soon!
I’ve come upon Raj Tents at virtually every trade show I’ve attended. I just love their tents – they feel luxurious, exotic and decadent. Looking at the pictures I can actually imagine smelling the incense, hearing the Sitar and touching the velvet and silk pillows.
If you’re planning an Indian-themed event, there are literally thousands of resources available to you…
Tribal Monsoon – a stunning resource for decor and design – from bed linens to pashmina shawls to handcrafted decor elements.
Marketplace – a company that empowers Indian women by featuring their hand-crafted designs for sale.
Saffron Marigold – a resource for luxury, handcrafted Indian linens.
And, take a look at these beautiful vintage sari umbrellas from Jayson Home & Garden
Indian has to be, by far, my favorite type of food. I don’t think I’ve tried anything I don’t like (except some of the desserts which are too sweet, even for me!). The following are popular Indian dishes. Not always authentic, but certainly popular and delicious.
Naan - a flatbread that is a wonderful accompaniment to many Indian dishes…especially those with sauces. There’s nothing better to sop up a delicious gravy than a piece of naan.
Butter Chicken – I’ve heard many different things about the history of Butter Chicken. Some say it was created by two English men, others say it was an adaptation of an Indian dish prompted by an English man and others say it is a favorite historical dish from India. Whatever the history, Butter Chicken is undeniably delicious.
Tandoori Chicken – This is another dish with an interesting past. Tandoori is a chicken dish that originated in India, but was created by Englishmen. It gets its intense red color from the spices used like chili powder.
Channa Masala – My all time favorite dish, Chana Masala is a rich and flavorful chickpea dish with a thick gravy base.
Rogan Josh – This is a lamb curry dish that just happens to be low in fat and very tasty.
Every Sunday, in Toronto, our television stations are filled with Bollywood films featuring wonderful music. From Hindi, Punjabi, Pakistani, Ghazals, Pop, Filmi, and Bhangra songs, the music is diverse as the culture. For relaxation, think of the music you hear when you visit the spa or your yoga studio. For something more upbeat sounds of Bollywood.
Or go Indian Fusion with artists like Thievery Corporation and Ganesh.
I’ve featured Props For Today a few times before – I love their unique and diverse inventory of product. Looking for whimsical? Refined? On-trend? Ethnic? They’ve got it all. Because of the depth of their products – whether working with a warehouse, a luxury hotel or a condo rooftop – you can truly transform any space…
This is possibly the most simple and compelling message I’ve heard to encourage each and every one of us to take action in combating climate change. Please take a few minutes to hear the message. And, please pass it on. I think it’s worth it.
Also, as a follow up to the Green Challenge, I’ve summarized some ideas that planners can incorporate into their daily business lives to make a difference. It was hard to select only one from each of the posts – there were just so many wonderful ideas. Thank you to all who participated in the challenge!
I use email as much as possible instead of sending out printed, paper letters.
- Planning Forever
I schedule appointments in similar areas on the same days. Tomorrow I’ll be in Arlington for three appointments then in Alexandria for two the next day. This reduces the distance I need to drive and as a bonus, saves me some cash on gasoline :)
- Soiree Special Events
I also love to visit Half Price Books. Not only can you purchase gently used books and magazines, but you are able to sell your reading material when you are done so someone else can enjoy it rather than having it take up landfill space!
Note: This should be applicable to reference books for your business and for your clients.
- Lucky Me!
It is definitely more eco-friendly to have your wedding and your reception in the same location (or walkable). Check with the Green Hotel Association to see if your favorite spot is green. If you have to travel from point A to point B, see if your city has eco-limos for your bridal party and set up carpooling for your guests. While planning your honeymoon, check out Eco Resorts…the greatest source for environmentally friendly (and still completely decadent) vacations.
- Style Me Pretty
I have converted every light bulb in my studio and home to a more energy efficient bulb. This doesn’t sound like a big deal, but I have a LOT of lights in my studio.
- Anna Bella Stationery
I try to multiply my efforts by blogging about green wedding ideas. Checkout my Green Wedding posts!
- Our Wedding Plus
We are opening a New (and this is the first public announcement) a new Green Division of MasterPiece Weddings, MasterPiece Weddings Green! We will be using Bamboo Linens for our clients, and offering Bamboo and Recycled other products, like paper products, flatware, and china! Be looking for it!
- Masterpiece Weddings
I make sure to turn off all electronics, computers, fans, lights, printers, speakers, air conditioning, heaters, t.v. etc…when I’m not in the room/not at home/outside, etc… I have to admit, I only do this about 90% of the time, but I can assure you when I leave the room and the fan is still on, a little nagging voice attacks my brain and I eventually go back and turn it off.
- Earth Friendly Weddings
As soon as my current cell phone provider takes the shackles off and releases me from my contract (2 more months and counting), I’m getting an iPhone. What will I do with my old one, RECYCLE it of course. If you have an old cell phone, I encourage you to support Earthworks and recycle your cell for free.
- Toast & Tables
The newest addition to my house is the ISOLE IDP-350 Powerstrip. It has the usual 8 surge-protected outlets… but six of these are motion censored. This is great because I can leave my computer on indefinitely… but the lamp, printer, radio, etc in my office only turn on when the motion is detected at my desk- now nifty is that?!?
- Oh Happy Blog!
I don’t leave my office to run a quick errand. I wait until I have at least 3 errands to run so that I don’t drive unnecessarily.
- Weddings by Socialites
I used to print out so many photos and put them in a journals and albums and scrapbooks. Each event has it’s own. Each category has it’s own. Now, I’m all organized on the computer. This blog has helped me categorize items. And, I’ll soon be communicating ideas and inspiration pictures to my clients over the web.
- Blush Events
My staff and I travel in no more than 3 cars on Wedding Day. Between my vehicle and those of my staff, we can accommodate travel of 18 people in 3 cars.
- Destination Soiree
I bought decorative accessories and favors that I liked and are less disposable than, say, a miniature porcelain basket. People snatched up most of the lanterns, fans (this was Florida, remember), and perfume vials, but I kept all the leftovers and now display them unobtrusively around my house. I didn’t feel bad about buying the charger plates because I’d wanted them anyway, which meant that they came home with me instead of ending up in the city dump.
- Manolo Brides
We occasionally buy bottled water but we use a water filter by PUR to purify our water. This saves money and saves on trash.
- Words from the Heart
We have a “use every paper twice” policy – I have a stack of halved 8 1/2 x 11 paper next to my desk that I use for notes, client consultation reminders, the occasional paper airplane (which gets notes on it too – so that’s actually 3 times!) and of course, to entertain my 3-year-olds when they are at the office (a frequent occurrence certain times of the year).
- The World According to Weddlady
Try to purchase products that do not contain a lot of packaging.
- Studio Julie
I recommend venues that are dedicated to sustainability (potential longevity of vital human ecological support systems, such as the planet’s climatic system, systems of agriculture, industry, forestry, and fisheries, and human communities in general and the various systems on which they depend).
- After Yes…
Buying locally. I’m trying to support local businesses as much as I can to reducing the amount of shipping/importing that an item has to go through. (Saves in fuel consumption and helps boost local artisans and other business peeps.)
- DIY Bride
I always use real dinnerware, glassware and table linens when entertaining. Once in a blue moon, I must confess that I used paper napkins to add decorative patterns to my tabletop. But since I never use disposable tableware beside that, I think I can get away with this infraction.
- At Home with Kim Vallee
Walk / bike to work.
- Lana Stewart
We offer invitations with the highest percentages possible of recycled and sustainably harvested fibers, processed without the use of chlorine or chlorine derivatives.
- The Blog Essentials
At the office, instead of throwing away all the paper wasted on big poster jobs, I bring it to Ruby’s school for murals, they love it.
- Daisy Chain
After seven years of working for a Toronto-based event management company, Leslee Bell founded Decor & More Inc. in 1990. Throughout the course of the past 17 years, D&M has successfully and progressively developed into the largest and most awarded decor and design company in Canada. Consequently, Leslee has become one of the industry’s most acclaimed and sought after guest speakers for events throughout Canada and the US.
In 2005, Leslee had the extreme honour of being awarded the first, “Spirit of the Industry” award by the Canadian Special Events Industry. She was inducted into their, “Hall of Fame for Lifetime Achievement” based on event creativity and design, standards of excellence, contributions to the industry, integrity and ethics.
Leslee currently remains a key hands-on participant in the day-to-day management of D&M’s major accounts. She works collectively with the company’s various in-house departments, continually striving to stay abreast of the latest, cutting-edge trends in events and design in their 600 plus events each year.
WHY IS EVENT DESIGN AN INTEGRAL COMPONENT OF THE OVERALL EVENT EXPERIENCE?
All elements of an event need to be in harmony for a successful event. Great decor, sumptuous food, fabulous entertainment, and dramatic lighting when crafted in balance, result in a perfect environment.
A good event designer looks to the client’s mandate, corporate branding or image, the venue, the logistics, the timing, the demographics of the audience, budget and then creates the best environment based on the parameters.
Many clients prefer line item pricing so that they are able to remove an item if they need to cut the budget. This can be dangerous because often, they want to cut something that is the anchor to the overall design. I will often say, “Where do you need the budget to come in at?” and “Let’s rework it so you don’t lose the integrity of the event.” Having a great working relationship with the client is paramount and having the trust factor ensures they consistently are getting the best ideas and value for their décor dollar.
When an event has all of the suppliers working in tandem…..the look and feel is harmonious, in fact it’s magical.
HOW HAS EVENT DESIGN EVOLVED AND IMPROVED OVER THE PAST 5-10 YEARS?
Design for events is more sophisticated, more branded, and, with some clients, less budget driven.
We still do many themed events, but we also do a lot of “looks” that are truly great designs based on colour or a word like “Verve” or “Swank” that evokes an anticipated look. The “Lounge” is here to stay with interpretations from very upscale, to rustic and raw. We certainly are seeing “layering on” of elements, with attention to detail at dining tables being the norm.
The biggest change is in the budgets, with the shift of the middle ground. Corporate clients see investing in clients or staff as essential for future success and have the “go big or go home” approach. Some clients are shifting to modest budgets, as the economy in their industry sector may not be as flush as others.
Regardless of your budget, with a good designer, we can make it work for you.
WHETHER DEALING WITH A BEER OR A CHAMPAGNE EVENT BUDGET, WHAT CAN’T YOU DO WITHOUT?
For any special event, you need to concentrate on a few areas rather than trying to spin out limited decor over a large area, thus resulting in a weak, lackluster look. Keep your elements focused for maximum impact.
Concentrate on an entrance piece, stage decor, or something flanking the stage, full length linens, a centerpiece, chair covers and napkins. Room lighting and music need to be part of the mix as well and if budget permits, layer on additional room and ceiling decor, napkin treatments and chargers for a more polished look. Any vignettes included, regardless of the budget, need to be on risers and well lit for maximum return on the dollar.
AS WITH ANY CREATIVE JOB, IT CAN SOMETIMES BE DIFFICULT TO KEEP YOUR IDEAS FRESH. HOW DO YOU KEEP THE CREATIVITY FLOWING?
I think that attending events like, “The Special Event,” “Event World,” “Event Solutions,” “Canadian Event Perspective” and “Biz Bash” all keep us from getting complacent. Fashion runways, movies, European design magazines, travel and window shopping, all aid in generating ideas. Even things like names of paint finishes, colour palettes in fashion can be the jump off point for a design.
Keep your team fresh by sending them to showrooms, to “lunch and learns” with suppliers and to Canadian and International gift shows. Additionally, in order to keep abreast of the “hot and new” trends, it is beneficial to connect with coworkers in other cities or with other avenues in the industry. It is always advantageous to look at products that you have been using and create new looks for them. For brainstorming purposes, challenge your entire team to bring new looks to the table, or new uses for a standard product.
WHAT EXCITES YOU RIGHT NOW ?
There are a lot more forward-thinking planners out there who are willing to cast their vision and then let you dream. Giving a creative person “creative license” to do what they do best, results in phenomenal events.
We are constantly coming up with new ideas that we love and then shelve, until the perfect client for that idea comes up. Not every idea or event is right for every client. There are great designer events happening in 2007, but 2008 is looking to have even more creative freedom, which is exhilarating to anyone who is passionate about design.
I love having the opportunity of doing something that brings joy to clients and allows us to stretch and grow as we constantly are searching out new and different mediums, formats, products, and interpretations of ideas to keep us on the cutting edge. To a passionate designer a challenge is always invigorating, and 2008 promises to offer even bigger and broader opportunities for those who want to be on the cutting edge.
Source: Bernadette Morra’s Article dated October 19th