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!

Season of Opportunity

Happy Summer Everyone!

With the new season comes new opportunity.  A new chance to be a better person, a better employee, a better spouse, etc.

Take stock in yourself and celebrate the things you do right, change the things you do wrong and do the things that you’ve been dreaming of!

Perform acts of random kindness, RANDOMLY.  Don’t hesitate and attempt to measure how you will benefit from it.  This thing called life is bigger than you and when we begin to PAY IT FORWARD, others will too.  Even if they don’t, it doesn’t matter… you did it and have helped to change the world.

Find a reason to laugh everyday and when you’re done reading, give someone a compliment… you’ll feel so good inside as their face brightens with a smile!

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!

Sweet Treats and Southern Charm

I had the sweetest treat this week: I visited Sweet Memories Bakery, owned by none other than the talented, Donna Ford.

I was greeted with a pleasant smile when I walked through the door (that’s very important to a customer service guru).  The teasing aroma of cake and icing and sugar and spice was enough to tempt Jenny Craig herself!

Although Donna was busy with orders and such, she took a moment to come out and talk.  She was pleasant and charming and above that, she gave me CAKE!  She practically forced me to take it (and if you believe that, have I got a bridge for you)!

I was treated to a Strawberry Shortcake cupcake that could have easily been perfectly picked, fresh from the strawberry patch; and the Southern Aristocrat was a true leader in the world of cupcakes.  (Both are pictured below, pre-demolition).

The next time you’re in Apex, stop by for a treat and tell Donna, “Makia says hello”.

Sidebar: I was very nice and took them home for my family to taste.  That will certainly get me some points in heaven! 😀

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!

The bride needs support…

It has recently come to my attention that although a bride may know that she needs help to plan her wedding and she may desire professional guidance planning her wedding… often times there is someone in her ear telling her that she can do it alone!

“Why do you need a wedding planner”? “It’s stupid to hire someone, can’t you do it”?

What regular person could listen to that and not succumb? 

Now take a bride (because they are no longer regular people), with all the stress and hormonal issues inundating her mental capacity every day since saying “I Do”, and add in the pressure of a fiancé, parent or best friend – telling her that she’s crazy for wanting outside help.

I feel sorry for the bride that is placed in this position because normally the people who instruct the bride not to get help, have no clue what effect it will have physically, mentally and emotionally when she attempts to go it alone.

Nor will they be involved the way that she needs them to be (because they won’t know how to be).

Men support your bride… encourage her to seek assistance.  She deserves a friend that has all the expert knowledge needed to guide her through this once in a lifetime journey. 

Not to mention we know all the GREAT vendors and you won’t have to look at every linen and china pattern available!  That’s my job!

Keep It Sexy!