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 eventsbyemma@hotmail.com, 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 eventsbyemma@hotmail.com, 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

Au Courant – White Wash Highstyle

The thick Winnipeg fog that greeted us today during our drive into the office reminded us of our “Au Courant” Highstyle shoot back from 2011.

“Au Courant” shot by Moore Photography & blfStudios was inspired by a clean white palette. Throw in some subtle black accents to add some contrast for the eye, and our outcome was an elegant, modern but classic, tablescape — fit for any wedding or event!

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If you liked what you see, and want to see more of this glamorous shoot, check out EBE TV for our behind-the-scene footage of “Au Courant.” Video shot by Paperback Films.

Moore Photography: Curtis Moore
BLF Studios:  Bond Freyer
The Fairmont Winnipeg: Greg Hazlewood
Events by Emma: Emma Singh & The EBE Crew
Floral Elements: Deb Woloshyn and Gloria Sawatzky
Planned Perfectly: Kylee Houlahan & The PP Team
Chair-ish Your Moments: Sandy and Amanda Sumanadasa
Chocolate Zen Bakery: Douglas Krahn
Cakes by Shelley: Shelley Nikkel
Paperback Films: Mark Hiebert, Chris Radke, Cody Goetz
Emma Fine Letterpress Stationary: Marcelle Lussier
Hair by Karen:  Karen
Makeup Expressions by Rimpal: Rimpal Kaler
Fingers & Toes Day Spa: Aimee Dueck
Chantal’s Bridal & Formal: Savitri Ramraj
Aldo Formal Wear: Rey Lozano
Epsilon Creations: Patrick Beal
Hasina Mehndi & Body Art: Kim Brennan
Bel-Ayre Rentals: Beverly Bilinski
Models: Ines Miller, Kylie Friesen and Adam Neustaedter

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Spirit Awards 2014

DSC_7978In Winnipeg, we are so fortunate to be among so many diverse and talented entrepreneurs that drive the success of our business industry. At Events by Emma through our event industry, we work with these entrepreneurs on a day-to-day basis, whether they’re one of our vendors or service providers, or if they’re one of our valued event clients.

As the decor sponsor of the annual Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce Spirit of Winnipeg Awards, we are able to witness the Winnipeg business community come together to celebrate Winnipeg businesses who have showed initiative and really pushed the envelope in their industry.

Congratulations on this year’s winners and finalists!
Start-Up Business – Advolve Media
Small Business – IMT (Infomagnetics Technologies Corporation)
Medium Business – Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods
Large Business – Shindico
Charity – Graffiti Art Programming Inc.
Not-for-Profit – The Manitoba Museum

Photos by Robert Lowdon Photography:

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Thank you to all our amazing partners and vendors:
Design: Events by Emma
Decor Rentals: Events by Emma
Venue: The Fairmont Winnipeg
Lighting: Elite Lighting
Linens: Planned Perfectly
Aisle Runner: Original Aisle Runner
Napkins: WeddingStar Inc.

VENDOR SPOTLIGHT: Delta Winnipeg

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Photo Credit: delta.com

The Delta Hotel Winnipeg welcomed 2014 with a contemporary and exciting face-lift, introducing their guests to a more fresh and modern Delta.  The downtown hotel, best known for their exceptional customer service, connects to both the RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg and MTS Centre through glass sky-walks, allowing for a friendly commute for both business and leisure guests.

During renovations, all of their guestrooms underwent massive re-modelling, allowing for an even better experience for their over-night guests. Their new and improved lobby and guest services is now opened up, thanks to the addition of the new atrium featuring a stunning staircase. For guests looking at hosting weddings, conferences or galas, the Delta Winnipeg can now offer their newly renovated second floor event centre which features both intimate and larger conference rooms. The highlight of their event centre, their beautiful 25 ft. high Grand Ballroom, was renovated with a crisp and contemporary look in mind, allowing for a modern and flexible design space for their guests.

The Delta Hotel franchise, which proudly names their employees as their greatest assets, is celebrating 14 consecutive years ranked as one of the Best Employers in Canada (2014).

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Children’s Wish Shiver Ball (2014) taken in the Delta Winnipeg Grand Ballroom on Friday, February 28. Decor and Rentals by Events by Emma, Linens by Planned Perfectly and Lighting by Elite Lighting.

Next time you’re in downtown Winnipeg, be sure to visit the Delta Winnipeg and take advantage of their many secret gems, such as their outdoor and indoor pools, their club floor lounge, and their on-site restaurants: Elephant & Castle and Blaze Bistro & Lounge.

For more information about your next event or stay at the Delta Winnipeg, visit www.deltahotels.com.

Our Favourite Event Trends for 2014

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Photo Credit: Joel Ross Photography

Believe it or not: wedding season is near. And our brides are pouring in and out of our office, as we start to finalize their wedding details.

This year, weddings will aim to please. Guests will be treated to a unique and memorable event, as more focus will be made to enhancing the experience for all. Bigger and more extravagant décor, interactive and exclusive entertainment, and personal touches from the bride and groom, are just a FEW things to watch out for.

So brides, take note! Here are our favourite wedding trends for 2014:

1. Luxurious Bride
This year we’ll see a shift from the vintage/DIY bride to the more luxurious and glamorous bride. The luxurious trend originated from Kate Middleton’s royal wedding back in 2011, and will introduce lace sleeves, pearl accessories, detailed beading and even higher necklines.

2. Taller and Longer Centre Pieces
Rectangular reception tables were introduced a few years back as a more modern and space-efficient alternative to the traditional round tables of 10. This year the new trends for tablescapes are again favoured for rectangular tables, creating taller and elongated centrepieces. The alternating use of tall extravagant vases or candelabras with a cluster of smaller vases and candles throughout the same table can help create a full and lavish look.

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Photo Credit: blfStudios

3. Slow-Motion Video Booth
One of our favourite new wedding trends for 2014 is the slow-motion video booth, which is a fun and unique twist to the traditional photo booth.  Silly string, bubbles, confetti and hilarious hats and props can easily be purchased to dress up your booth’s appeal. The booth will leave your guests entertained all night, and when the video goes through final edits you’ll have a unique keepsake to remind you of your day. Check out Jhamily and Monis’ slow-motion video done by Paperback Films.

4. Metallic Accents
When it comes to wedding decor, metallic accents are key to achieve the luxurious look. Find ways to incorporate the metallic in stationary, table decor, or by creating a photo wall with beautiful metallic frames. A new and upcoming trend is the ‘metallic cake,’ which is the perfect addition to an elegant and glamorous affair.

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Photo Credit: blfStudios

5. Personalized Theme
It’s your big day, why not make it your own? Personalized themes, colour palettes, stationary and even decaled dance floors with your monogram will help create a unique event tailored to you and your groom. Your wedding should represent the two of you as a couple, and the love you both share. Customized photo walls, guest books and even a signature drink can all be incorporated to tell your love story.

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Photo Credit: Joel Ross Photography

To find out more about 2014 wedding trends, or to discuss an upcoming event you are planning, connect with Events by Emma at eventsbyemma.com, or call 204-779-8812.

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Six Steps to Plan a Successful Gala

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Planning a fundraising gala is far from a walk in the park. Gala planning requires commitment, resourcefulness, and a lot of man-hours. However, for not-for-profits and charities, their annual galas are essential for their cash flow, donor stewardship, and for raising public awareness of their cause.

Each year more and more galas get thrown in the mix, each with a worthwhile and meaningful cause. With so many competing galas fighting for the spotlight, it’s crucial for organizations to take the right measures to avoid being left in the dark.

To ensure the success of your fundraising event, follow these six steps:

1. Save the Date
First rule of business, choose your date as early as possible. These dates are often finalized as far as a year in advance. Yes, this means our clients sometimes finalize next year’s date, even before this year’s date takes place. Be sure to check that your date doesn’t conflict with any religious holidays, large city events (e.g. hockey games), or even any competing galas that may have your sponsors or ticket-buyers torn. If all is a go, run your date off with the venue of your choice and book!

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Photo Credit: Manuel F. Sousa Photography

2. Set Goals
What is our fundraising goal? How many seats are we hoping to fill? What are our revenue streams during the event? Are we collecting live and silent auction prizes? These are all important questions that should be answered at the beginning of the planning process. Your goals will help shape what your event will look like, and what steps you’ll need to take to make it reality.

3. Have Deadlines
It’s so important to schedule a strict timeline and critical path of deadlines and stick to them. Plan as much as you can in advance. Send out those sponsorship packages earlier than you did last year. Schedule your meetings with the venue and vendors at the beginning of the planning process to ensure they’re available. Most importantly, be sure to follow-up with everyone you said you’d follow-up with.

4. Find a Catch
It’s important to distinguish to potential sponsors and ticket-purchasers why your gala will be different (and more valuable) than others. The key is to know your target market, and to understand what compels them. At times, it means bringing in an all-star sports athlete to speak at the event. Other times, it means wowing them with the décor and entertainment, or maybe even giving away a once in a lifetime auction prize.

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Photo Credit: Ian Mccausland

5. Hire a Planner and/or Designer
Companies often underestimate the time and resources it requires to pull off a fundraising gala. Chances are the internal employee who is planning your gala is already trying to balance a full-time workload. In order to yield the best results, invest in a professional team of planners and designers and take the stress off of your staff. When the day finally comes, your planner will have décor and production covered, while your staff can enjoy the night and schmooze with donors.

6. Do Something Different
Donating money to an important cause looks great on any company, but let’s face it, after countless galas, they all start to blend together. Be sure to bring in key-note speakers who have unique and compelling stories and testimonials. Go beyond the typical chicken and potato banquet main course and try fun cultural food stations. In addition, keep the party going all night with an energetic live band that performs covers tailored to your crowd’s taste. By throwing in interactive and entertaining elements, it will keep your guests engaged and raving about your gala (and your cause) for days and months long after.

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Photo Credit: Jeremy Hiebert Photography

To find out more about how to plan a successful gala, or to discuss an upcoming event you are planning, connect with Events by Emma at eventsbyemma.com, or call 204-779-8812.

EBE

LOVE COLOUR: DAY 5 & 6

FCR_SPR2014_Home_Banner_ImgFebruary is flying by, and we’re beginning to see more of our brides and grooms as our wedding client meetings become more and more frequent. With wedding season approaching, we’re starting our mock-up season, where we work with our couples to finalize the little details of their wedding.

Before putting together any mock-up, our first consideration and thought goes into: COLOUR.

Here are two colour inspirations for your big day: Day 5 “Paloma” and Day 6 “Radiant Orchid.”

DAY5day-6Photo Credit: Moore Photography

Thank you to our wonderful vendors who contributed to this table design:
Planning & Table Design: Events by Emma
Linens & Draping – Planned Perfectly
Florals, Draping & Rentals – Floral Elements
Decor Rentals & Chivari Chairs – Events by Emma
Custom Stationary – Terlie
Cake – Chocolate Zen Bakery
Lighting – Elite Lighting
Custom Signs – Urbanink and Sign Source
Venue – Winnipeg Convention Centre

Table was originally designed for the 2012 Wonderful Wedding Show – Wedding Inspiration Gallery.
EBE