Winnipeg Wine Festival Gala Dinner & Auction 2013

downloadWine, delicious food, beautiful decor and a great cause! What more can we ask for?

This year’s Winnipeg Wine Festival hosted by Manitoba Liquor Mart is one of the most respected wine festivals in the country, and is the largest single fundraiser for Special Olympics Manitoba.

It’s always our pleasure to work with the wonderful and hardworking team at Special Olympics Manitoba, and we can’t wait for this year’s Gala Dinner & Auction!

This year’s Festival runs from Sunday, April 27 to Sunday, May 3, 2014, and will be highlighting Austria as their wine theme country. For more information about the Festival or to purchase tickets, click here.

Enjoy some photos from last year’s Gala & Dinner at the RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg.

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Stepping Up Your Gala Game

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So your sponsors are rolling in and your seats are getting filled. Your decor, menu and venue are finalized and you’re working hard to get the little details in check. All that’s really left is the program and speaking notes, and your team is ready to rock n’ roll.

When putting together your gala program, it’s important to find ways to engage with your sponsors and guests to enhance their experience at your event. Your fundraiser is a golden opportunity to sell your non-profit organization and the importance of their support and your hard work. Your fundraiser is also a reflection of your organization and your cause, and if they have a valuable and positive experience at your event, the more likely they’ll associate valuable and positive thoughts to your non-profit.

Here are five ways to step up your gala game, and impress your sponsors and guests:

1. First Impression
With any event you should aim to impress your guests by surpassing their expectations right when they arrive. If your venue is in a hotel with several ballrooms, have a few of your volunteers in the lobby welcoming your guests and directing them to the correct ballroom. In addition, a cocktail hour is a great opportunity to set the vibe for your entire evening. Promote a signature drink and don’t forget to dress up your cocktail tables and bar. Go the extra mile and hire an hour of entertainment that goes hand-in-hand with your event theme.

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2. Use Social Media
Social media is a great tool to get people talking, not only about your event, but also about your cause. Be sure to preplan an event #hashtag on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, and share it with your guests on the program. Have your Master of Ceremonies encourage your guests to take photos of the event and to share their photos and experience online. Not only will they be able to contribute to the conversation, but it will also have them spreading the word about your event and your cause to their family and friends!

3. Get your Sponsors Involved
Without your sponsors your fundraising gala wouldn’t be possible. When there’s an opportunity to get the crowd involved, take it! Go beyond the free seats, logo placement and verbal shout out during the program, and find a unique way to have them be a part of the event. Invite them on-stage and have them present an award or have them announce the auction winners. If you want to engage them further, have a representative from each sponsor table participate in a fun game during dinner, which will also double as program entertainment.

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Photo credit: Robert Lowdon Photography

4. Call for Action Auction
Not everyone in the crowd is a live auction or even silent auction person, but it doesn’t mean they’re not interested to give to your charity. Call for Action Auction is a fundraising technique you can use at your gala that will allow for your guests not interested in the live or silent auctions to make a donation they’re comfortable with. This can be done by exchanging a fixed donation (e.g. $25, $50 or $100) with a token of support. For example, our client, Special Olympics Manitoba, sold bronze, silver and gold medals to their gala guests for less than $100. All proceeds from the sales were considered donation to help support Special Olympics.

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5. Say Thank You
When your event is said and done, don’t forget to take the time and personally thank all of your sponsors, volunteers and guests. Ensuring all of your supporters feel valued and appreciated is important to maintaining and building those key relationships. When next year comes along, you’ll feel more equipped and confident when approaching them again.

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To find out more about how to impress your sponsors at your gala, or to discuss an upcoming event you are planning, connect with Events by Emma at , or call 204-779-8812.

It’s all in the Details

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Photo credit: blfStudios

You’re planning your big day and you’re determined to “wow” your guests with a one-of-a-kind wedding that is unique to both you and your fiancé. Well, if that’s the case, any good planner would tell you: “it’s all in the details.”

Carefully thought out details is the key to turning a cookie-cutter wedding into a couture and memorable personal affair. At Events by Emma, we know first-hand the dramatic impact of precisely planned and executed details, which is why we don’t take any details lightly. From the colour of your wall lighting to the font in your program, it should all work together and compliment one another.

Think past the colour of your dress, your location, your table linen, and even the extravagant centrepieces that drapes your tables.

Here are seven significant wedding details that should never go unnoticed.

1. Guestbook Table
The first thing your guests will see at your reception is your guestbook table. Be sure to take time and give thought to your guestbook table and what it will include. Be sure not to forget to order extra banquet linens to dress your guestbook table and try to incorporate elements from your centrepiece and floral. Other elements that you may want to add is an enlarged photo of you and your fiancé from your engagement shoot, a unique outlet your guests can sign their names and pass on marriage life advise, and a designated area to drop off presentations. Don’t forget some close friends and family to welcome your guests and monitor the guestbook and presentations, and you’re set!

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Photo credit: blfStudios

2. Table Numbers
When your guests enter your reception, their eyes will automatically gravitate to finding their table number (after they’re finished admiring your fabulous décor, of course!). With that in mind, it’s important to dress up your table numbers to compliment your table design. There are so many unique and beautiful ways to incorporate your colour and theme into your table design.

3. Printed Programs
Your ceremony and reception programs should be more than a piece of paper. Your programs should compliment your decor, while filling your guests in with what they can expect that day. Take a peek online and get inspired by beautiful and unique wedding day programs that play off unique designs and typography. For your ceremony program why not include a brief summary of your love story or how he/she proposed. If you’re having a religious ceremony, also include explanations of religious traditions they’ll witness that day. For your reception program, go surpass the menu and speaker order, and use the space to say thank you to your wedding party, family and guests.

4. Cake Table
Just like your dress, you paid good money to get the cake of your dreams. Chances are you and your fiancé took time to do your research on how you wanted it to look and even sat in on several tastings to find the perfect cake flavour. Once you’ve found your cake, be sure to dedicate a special space on or by your stage to show it off. Your planner and cake artist should work together to ensure the cake becomes a focal point of the room design. Be creative and try the “hanging cake” or design a separate backdrop for your cake table to  create a dramatic appeal.

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Photo credit: Moore Photography

5. Party Favours
Your wedding favour is your last chance to “wow” your guests. Follow our important EBE rule: “a party favour should either be edible or practical,” and you’ll be good to go. Some examples for an edible favour is the always appreciated late-night dessert or try customizing your own tea blend and give them away in your own customized packaging. As for practical, give out flip-flips on the dance floor to encourage your guests to keep dancing, despite their aching feet. Another wedding favour trend we love seeing is when the newlyweds donate to a charity close to their hearts on behalf of their guests, in substitute to favours. Your guests will feel touched and appreciate the donation made with their name.

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Photo credit: blfStudios

6. Pretty Hanger
You’ve invested a mini fortune on your dress, and rightfully so. Your dress is what your groom and even your guests are waiting to see. When the day comes along and your wedding photographer is hanging around you and your girls during hair and make-up, he/she will be working hard to capture all the special moments pre-wedding. A must-shoot for every photographer is a detailed photo of your hanging wedding dress. So do your photographer (and yourself) a favour and have the dress hanging on a pretty hanger that will only compliment the photo, rather than ruining the shot.

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Photo credit: Jeremy Hiebert Photography

7. Wedding Party Gifts
Let’s be honest, we know you couldn’t have done it without the support of your wedding party and your family. So give special thought of what special gift you’d like to present them during your big day. Do them (and yourself) a favour and don’t opt for the overdone engraved flask. For bridesmaids, you can try a designer clutch or wallet, personalized charm bracelet or necklace, or a gift certificate to the spa. For the groomsmen, try a money clip or leather travel kit, a bottle of the finest scotch, or group tickets to the city’s next biggest concert.

To find out more about how to plan the perfect wedding details, or to discuss an upcoming event you are planning, connect with Events by Emma at , or call 204-779-8812.

VENDOR SPOTLIGHT: Elite Lighting

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Photo credit: Jerry Vergel Photography

After graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Manitoba, Sohan Jammu combined his interests for event lighting with his entrepreneurship drive and established Elite Lighting. Since 2010, Elite Lighting has provided unique and innovative lighting options for their clients, while also looking after various a/v components such as projectors, screens, sound setups and live video feeds. During 2013 Elite Lighting provided lighting for 120 weddings, corporate events and non-profit events.

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Photo by: Joel Ross Photography

Every year Elite Lighting is seeing a growth in clients and the types of events they do, and just recently expanded their services to Calgary, AB. “Calgary is a larger city, and we felt that lighting has not yet taken off in the wedding industry, shares Jammu.“We thought this would be a perfect time to enter the industry and showcase what lighting had to offer.”

Despite all the corporate conferences and non-profit fundraisers Elite Lighting partners with, Jammu shares his favourite event will always be weddings. “There is more of a creative and artistic element that goes into the planning and design of each wedding. This in turn lets us come up with creative ways of transforming ordinary venues into something spectacular,” Jammu says.

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Photo credit: Jeremy Hiebert Photography

WHY IS LIGHTING IMPORTANT?
Regardless of the size of your budget, lighting should be one of the most important décor investments you make during the planning process. Strategic LED up-lightingand spotlights can single-handedly change the atmosphere for your guests, and will also enhance your event stage and centrepieces. For example, spotlighting can create focal points for a wedding’s head table, cake table and dance floor. In addition LED up-lighting is a great opportunity to incorporate your event’s colours, tying everything in with your décor theme and template. Throw in your customized monograms and textured lighting and you’ll transform your room, and create a lasting ‘wow’ factor.

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Photo by: William Au Photography

If you want to learn more about Elite Lighting, email sohan@elitelighting.ca or visit elitelighting.ca

FOUR FUN EVENT BARS

A dessert bar or a candy buffet are traditional and fun additions to any event. After a night of dancing and socializing, your guests will appreciate the late night snacks and take-homes.

If you’re interested in doing something unique and non-traditional, try one of our four fun event bars that we introduced to our guests over the years.

1. CRUNCH BAR

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Throw in your favourite chips, cookies, crackers and flavoured popcorn and you have the perfect late-night snack!

2. COTTON-CANDY BAR

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Cotton Candy will always be a sweet hit with both kiddies and adults!

3. SMORE BAR

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Come on, who doesn’t love smores!

4. VEGGIE BAR

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Photo credit: Moore Photography – Veggies can be fun too! 

Enjoy, and happy planning!!

EBE