Category Archives: Events

Slow Down and Enjoy Life

While watching a candy commercial where the actress enjoyed her chocolate candy slowly and intently, it caused me to ponder life.

Why are we always rushing through everything? Why have we become such a community of people who reward fast, faster and fastest? Will we learn to enjoy life beyond vacation?

I will take my cue from the actress on the commercial… I will slow down and smell the roses, eat my ice-cream slowly and treasure every moment that I am alive.

Keep it Sexy



Palette, Paper, Linen and MORE…

It’s hard to believe that the Special Event Planning course that I instruct at Wake Tech will soon be coming to an end!

I have had the pleasure of meeting and conversing with many fabulous people over the past two months, some of which will go on to have amazing careers in the events industry.

I am fortunate to have great relationships in this industry and two of my favs have honored me with their presence in this semester’s class.  The wonderful Bridget DuPre of Connie Duglin Linen and Stacey Motley of The Paper Cafe.

Bridget wowed the class with her knowledge of linens and

the vast selection available to add that needed effect to any special occasion.

She did an awesome job!

Stacey is so passionate about what she does, who knew there was so much to be said about paper! Many people are not aware that there are more options available than what they see everyday.  The value of a professional is unmatched!  If you’re not sure if that professional touch is in your budget, ASK STACEY!


Thank you ladies for giving us a glimpse into your world!


Not All Tires are Created Equal!

I recently experienced the joy of buying new tires for my car.  The choices were laid before me and as a novice “tire purchaser” I had no clue what the real difference was aside from price.  So with an uneducated guess, I chose the least expensive tire.

My rationale being, “they are tires, shouldn’t they all work the same”?

Well, it didn’t take long to find out why the “other” tires were more expensive.

This experience led me to understand the position that some clients may find themselves in.

NOT ALL PLANNERS ARE CREATED EQUAL!  The initial ride may be smooth and efficient but the true test comes when you hit the first bump or have to navigate through the construction and detours on the road of event planning.

Unless clients are educated, they too will make the mistake of thinking that all things being equal… price is the only differentiation.

Things are not equal and planners do not offer the same skill, education, expertise or connections. 

Clients need to do their research and stop ruling planners out based on fee alone… yes, you certainly get what you pay for but with the wrong person, you may get some things that you didn’t pay for and never expected.

Just as higher priced tires can = better quality, a smoother ride and the appearance of less bumps along the way,

Higher priced planners can = better connections, customer focused service and the appearance of less bumps along the way!

Does more $ always = better service? 

No, but compare tires before getting on the highway!

EventWorld 2011

What an exciting month in the world of education and events!

It has been a while since the last post but not due to lack of topics… try too many topics!

Yes, we have been so busy here this month and have decided to grab a few minutes to give you an update.

I am all about education and because my company is Always OTop, EventWorld 2011 was at the top of the list this month.

Beautiful Details from the Marriott Union Station Lobby

I received a scholarship from the Search Foundation to attend EventWorld 2011.  If you are not familiar with the Search Foundation, you should certainly take a moment to check it out.  It’s an amazing organization that provides support for event professionals that are confronted with a catastrophic occurrence.  How amazing is that?  People helping people is what it’s all about.

The conference was held in St. Louis and hosted by the Marriott Union Station Hotel.  This hotel is a remodeled train station and it was absolutely amazing!

The night I arrived, we had dinner at an Asian Fusion Tapas restaurant.  I highly recommend the Mosaic restaurant in St. Louis!

Yummy Mushroom Tart

EventWorld was full of fun, educational programs designed to encourage, motivate and inspire!  I had loads of fun meeting people from across the US, Canada and the UK! 

The affair to remember was the glitzy and glamorous Esprit Awards.  The decor was beautiful and elegant.  I have included a few iPhone pics for your enjoyment!


If you ever have an opportunity to attend EventWorld, DO IT!

Keep It Sexy!

Why Discounts are Bad for the Wedding Planning Business

This is a re-post from the highly respected Preston Bailey:

A very common mistake among artists is to undercut our value. I understand the instinct, and I think it’s largely driven by fear. We’re afraid clients will balk at high prices. But if you don’t charge what you are worth, you are disrespecting yourself and your work.

Our clients should also understand where their money is going and why. It’s not unreasonable for clients to ask for a written estimate of our designs and services. I understand this impulse: when I go to the doctor, for example, my first question is almost aways, “How much?”

A potential client once showed me another vendor’s proposal. This client said to me, “If you can give me exactly what this vendor is offering but for 10% less, the job is yours.” I was shocked and replied, “With all due respect, I simply can’t do that.” And truly, I couldn’t do it, because the other vendor’s prices were already amazingly low compared to market value.

This practice is wrong on so many levels. That client was asking me to sell my creativity, a passion that’s very dear to my heart, for next to nothing. But what really upsets me is that there are vendors who are encouraging this kind of behavior!

My advice to everyone, but especially to beginners who are just starting out in the wedding and event planning industry, is to never sell your work and your services at a discount. Even if you’re having a hard time securing clients, resist the urge to lower your prices. Please understand that if you price your work at bargain basement prices, you’re never going to get out of the basement.

The bottom line is that we need to respect what we do. We also need to trust and believe that the universe is a very generous place. As long as we keep honoring ourselves and our creativity by charging exactly what we’re worth, the universe will respond in kind.

Keep it Sexy!

Cloud Nine

As the title states, I am still on cloud nine from last night’s event!

I am overjoyed with the outcome of the Special Event Planning Course Panel Discussion held at 1705Prime yesterday.

This once in a lifetime event entitled, “The Event Industry: Beyond the ClassroomBehind the Scenes with NC Industry Leaders“, offered my students the opportunity to get up close and personal with a great group of industry professionals.

Our panel included: Tracy Adams of Adams and Events; Kevin DeHimer of Rocky Top Hospitality; Donna Ford of Sweet Memories; Lyn Graves of Fresh Affairs and Paula Hunter of Party Reflections.

The class left with industry insight and REAL TALK from REAL PEOPLE who love what they do and want to preserve industry standards and a strong code of ethics.   It was AMAZING!!  See the pictures below however I cannot say too much…it was a special night for my class only.

Paula put together 3 tabletops to show the students the variance of the rental costs.

Lyn provided these beautiful floral centerpieces

The students are getting to know the panelists

Rocky Top Hospitality provided a fabulous menu


What a wonderful night had by all!!

and of course a sweet treat = Sweet Memories

Keep it Sexy!

Excited and Motivated

It has been quite a few days since my last post.  I’ve been a little busy and quite frankly I haven’t felt like I had anything great to say.

You know the old adage, “if you don’t have anything to say…”

I am however very pleased with the turnout of the summer session for the Special Event Planning course that I have the pleasure of instructing.  The students that have honored me with their presence are excited and motivated to get more involved in not only the event industry but in taking control of their business lives and stepping out on their own.

I am happy to be involved in their development. 

As I have stated in the past, competition doesn’t scare me; it’s just the opposite.  I am motivated to do more and go further in this industry and build a stronger foundation. 

I tell my students, when they get that $1,000,000 client, CALL ME.  I’ll work for them… no problem.

Have a very happy holiday. 

Get some rest and remember those who served and died for our country; not just 30 years ago but 30 days ago!

Keep it Sexy!