Saturday, April 23, 2011

Client Review: Congratulations Kristi & Brad

When a couple hires me to assist them with their wedding; whether it be full planning or as simple as event day management, it never fails to make me feel truly honored to be entrusted with something so precious. Without sounding too overly romantic or dramatic, a couple's wedding day is a memory they will cherish, re-tell, reminisce over and dream about for many years to come during anniversaries, with grandchildren and even in their old age when one has passes. Ensuring that a couple's wedding day is perfect for them is truly a fulfilling career. Yes, as you may have quickly learned, I am a romantic at heart!

One of my most favorite couple's; Kristi & Brad, recently left us a review on WeddingWire which brought me to tears. The words were so moving knowing that I made such an impact on their wedding and for many years to come. Congratulations Kristi & Brad!!!

Here's what they had to say: "There will never be enough words to express how awesome Samantha Darr and her team of Soireebliss are. From the moment I met Samantha, I felt extremely comfortable talking to her - like she was a great friend I had known for many years. Of course this was our first meeting but her warmth and enthusiasm for planning events came across and put me at ease right away. The first question she asked my (now) husband and I was - "would you mind telling me how you got engaged?" I instantly thought, wow...she really wants to get to know us and know the background on how we fell in love. It was an instant feeling of "bliss" from that point forward. As much as I wanted to hire Samantha for the entire event, I didn't think Brad and I would be able to afford it BUT Samantha worked effortlessly with our budget which we are still extremely thankful for. There is no way we could have had our dream wedding without her experience, suggestions, and expertise. Throughout the planning processing, I had unlimited access by phone and email to Samantha. I'm sure at times I went overboard (I have a type A personality) but she never made me feel like I was a bother. She always took time to call, email, or make appointments to make sure my ideas for the BIG day were being put into place how we envisioned. The wedding day was one of the easiest days of my life. I know some of you may think I am overexaggerating but if you ask anyone in my wedding party what my mood was like that day, they will all tell you I was extremely relaxed (without alcohol) and more than ecstatic. I'll even go as far as to show pictures of our getting ready process so you can see how much fun and laughter we had that day! :) You can't go wrong hiring Samantha for your wedding day (or any event). She is meticulous with every aspect of the planning and executing process. I sincerely and whole-hearted recommend Soireebliss to anyone wanting an unforgettable experience. Samantha, Brad and I will forever be grateful to you for creating such a warm, inviting, fun, and loving atmosphere for us and our guests. We can never thank you enough!!

xoxoxox - Mr. & Mrs. Brad Martin"

Event Ingredients:
Venue: North Gate Country Club
Ceremony & Reception Music: Space City DJ
Deserts: Cakes by Gina
Photography: Jesus Gonzalez Photography
Flowers by Scott
Linens & Ceiling Draping: Elegant Beginnings
Custom Stationary: Soireebliss! Events

Samantha Darr
Lead Event Director

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Client Review: Congratulations Rian & Gavin!

At every event, I always have guests approach me at a wedding or event which I am managing to thank me for doing such a wonderful job. Often times they say it has been the best one they have attended or the smoothest or most successful. At that one moment, my heart sours and I forget that maybe I am running on pure RedBull as I had no time for lunch or dinner or that my feet have been aching for the past 2 hours. For them, they danced the night away, met their fundraising goal or are the parents of the bride who enjoyed the day stress-free.

Don't get me wrong, compliments such as this is wonderful. I love the feedbacl. But, in the end, what truly matters most to me is that the client is happy. They are why I love what I do and why I work so hard. Please let me share with you a review from one of our most recent clients:

"Samantha Darr, owner of Soireebliss! Events was amazing! I truly mean it when I say that I could not have pulled the wedding off so flawlessly without her. The timeline she put together for me was perfect, and it made the wedding flow effortlessly. I can not even begin to tell you how many comments I received from guests that said it was one of the best weddings they had ever been to, and I completely attribute this to how perfectly Samantha kept the pace and the momentum of the wedding going. And more importantly, she took care of all the details before the ceremony and setting up for the reception, and executed them exactly how I wanted so I didn't have to worry about a thing except getting dressed. I would recommend her to any bride who wants to have an amazing wedding!"

Do I Need Event Day Coordination?

My answer to this questions is always, 100% of the time Absolutely, YES! Doesn't matter if you are hosting a fundraising gala, corporate event or wedding, you need to have one person who can be behind the scenes solely dedicated to running the logistics, set-up, trouble-shooting problems, directing vendors and volunteers and answering last minute questions. Have you heard the phrase "too many cooks in the kitchen"? Without an Event Day Coordinator, you will be assured problems, conflict and stress if you leave to many people in charge to handle the execution whether it be friends, family and volunteers.

"Day Of Wedding" or "Month Of Wedding" coordinators can be hired for your wedding day at any time during the planning process and will generally begin working with you as early as 90 days to the week of your wedding or event. At this point the coordinator (or Event Director as I like to call myself) will assist you in pulling together a customized itinerary, confirm vendor commitments, discuss set-up details, and cross check outstanding balances, last minute decisions, and services that you have already contracted for. The coordinator will be working with the information you give her by providing copies of the vendor contracts, banquet event order, and any information collected during the planning process to formulate a master plan for the entire wedding day, so that you can rest assured that the details are in place and the event is being managed by a professional. Because these services are not as extensive as a planning package that covers all the planning from beginning to end, "Month Of" and "Day Of" is very helpful way to get peace of mind on your wedding day. Brides hire "Month Of" and "Day Of" coordinators for many reasons; 1. They enjoy planning and wanted to do it on their own, but knew she couldn't execute on the day of wedding, 2. Their budget wouldn't allow for a more extensive planning package, 3. They are having their ceremony & reception in the same location and their venue required them to hire one, 4. Solely for the peace of mind to know that the time and money investment would not go wrong in any way.

Secondly, you may be wondering what is the difference between the catering manager at the hotel and a personal wedding coordinator? Wedding coordinators offer a different range of services than those whose sole interest is on the venue. Specifically a coordinator is working for you, not the hotel or location, and he/she is there to see that your wishes and requests are carried out as well as to assist in planning that is not related to the hotel or location.

Catering hall manager / assistant works only during the time of the reception and does NOT coordinate with all your vendors or make sure that your ceremony and reception itinerary is acted out the right way. Catering hall manager's tasks task is to make sure the halls duties are performed but for the rest of your wedding days itinerary - they do not have any obligations.

Ask the staff at your wedding location what they will and won't do to determine your additional needs. "Month Of" and "Day Of" coordinators will work interface with all vendors at your wedding/event to ease the planning process and provide you peace of mind. It's truly their responsibility to run quality control checks to ensure that the exact flowers are delivered and set-up exactly as you've requested, oversee that the bridal party names are being pronounced correctly during introductions, move the ceremony decor to the reception and most importantly run the behind the scenes logistics throughout the event to ensure the evening is flawless without missing a beat. By hiring a professional, they will handle all the emergencies as they arise leaving you to kick back and enjoy the day with your friends, family and guests.

For me, this is one of my favorite aspects of events; event day execution and logistics. I thrive on the energy and thrill of seeing the details come together.

Samantha Darr
Lead Event Director

Photo Credits:


Serendipity Photography

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

How Best to Host Guest Speakers

We spend so much time and energy securing wonderful event speakers, but our job's just beginning once the event speakers are booked. If you have the bandwidth, I recommend assigning someone on your team to be a fully dedicated speaker host. If you don’t have this person, consider hiring someone very responsible to serve this role.

The speaker host will be the one waiting for the sedans to arrive, taking the call from the limo company when the client has been picked up from the airport, greeting the speakers upon arrival with a gracious smile, showing guests to the greenroom or their hotel room, providing agendas and basically assisting your special guest with any requests.

What to give your fabulous speaker host:

- A list of all speakers and their speaking times/rehearsal times on one sheet
- Arrival/departure times with flight numbers and confirmation codes
- Speaker cell phone numbers and assistant's numbers
- Your cell phone numbers
- Copies of the agenda and maps of the hotel
- An introduction to the hotel management

The speaker host can check your guests into the hotel rooms ahead of time and therefore hand a key to the speaker upon arrival and avoid sending the speaker to the hotel desk (who wouldn't like skipping this step?). Your speaker host can also check the hotel rooms before your VIPs arrive - you wouldn’t believe the things we’ve found in the suites reserved for our keynotes.

Your speaker host will ensure the transportation company is enroute to pick up your guest at the end of the event, confirm their flight is ontime and show them to the car with a bottle of water. Your speakers will remember your hospitality, and feel very taken care of. That will certainly ensure they will be more than excited to participate in your next event if called upon.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Event Planners Are A Vital Tool for Corporate Events

As an event planner, I am approached to plan and/or manage many different events at any stage of the planning. For me, I love executing the details to see all the individual components come together. Of course, being involved in the entire planning process saves my clients time, stress and many times money as I guide them in selecting the best vendors or most cost effective choices.

For corporate events, often times, the business owner doesn't quite know whether they need to hire a planner or not. But like most executives, CEOs or business owners, it's important to hire someone who specializes in such a field to ensure success. It's important and vital to the success of their event and objective for the event to hire someone who knows and specializes in events. Just the same with weddings, Brides need someone who can be there on event day to execute and oversee the details.

The selection of an event coordinator is a smart move. Even through you remain involved in the event planning process loop, you will be free to tend to business as usual.

To be successful, you should assign one individual responsibility for directing the coordination of your events. While the client can be free to focus on establishing value-added content, an event planner (the meeting logistics expert) will focus on the details! In many instances, I act in a synergistic-team manner with the client dividing the work among the client's staff/volunteers, assigning tasks with target due-dates; however, and as the event planner, I am the one in charge, running the show and keeping an eye on the entire operation.

As the event planner, my attention to the details will be a direct link to the success of the event. When planning an event, I suggest the following strategic steps:

1. Determine the best date and time to meet (verify potential dates, times, and schedules; and then communicate with vendors, presenters, attendees and special guests)

2. Select and schedule the best location to meet (consider your budget plus options for on-site, off-site, conference center, private dining room, etc.)

3. Contact and confirm all contracts (including venue, speakers, presenters, entertainment, sponsors, etc.; and communicate frequently with all regarding their role in the upcoming event)

Plan and map out the program schedule (including general sessions, meeting rooms, break times, break-out sessions, refreshments, meals, the press room, and other special needs)

Coordinate and oversee the selection of a theme, the design, production and distribution printed items (i.e., invitations, agendas, brochures, special materials, and related mailings)

6. Arrange to have essential meeting supplies available on site (i.e., handouts, evaluation forms, flip charts, markers, sticky notes, etc.) 7. Identify each presenter's equipment needs and establish: Who? Needs What? Where? Then, verify technical infrastructure, accommodations, and arrange for on-site support

8. Verify room lay-out requirements; arrange for support to complete set-up & tear-down

9. Anticipate needs! Arrange for adequate host support available throughout the event.

10. Communicate! Communicate! Communicate! (with vendors, presenters, attendees and guests).
Samantha Darr
Lead Event Director

SB! gets published on StyleMePretty!!

If you're reading my blog, you are probably also familiar with the StyleMePretty blog. It's truly one of the most hottest, MOST stylish and trend setting wedding blogs there is. I have been a long time reader and admirer of StyleMePretty.

So, if you can imagine you excitement when I found that they chose "Xochy & Todd's Vibrant Houston Wedding" for one of their featured weddings this past Friday. Xochy and Todd were such a dynamic and fun couple to work with. Their wedding was a true reflection of themselves and their love for each other.

With an intimate destination ceremony, 3 destination photo shoots and a large extravagant celebration at the Houstonian Hotel, this couple pulled out all the stops for their big day. With multiple forms of entertainment for their guests; a DJ who spun on live turn tables, 10 piece band and a casino room, everyone who attended was speechless and amazed. The bride wore a breath-taking gown that converted to a fun party dress with a whole set of new accessories. Everyone danced the night away on a gorgeous, personalized white dance floor customized with the couple's monogram. It truly was a wedding unlike any other.

Having such wonderful companies to work with ensured that the execution of the event went perfectly. Thank you to all the professionals who helped make the wedding amazing!

Event Composition:
Joe Cogliandro
31 Films
LG Entertainers
- (Jason Garcia)
DoppleGanger Band
DarrylCo - (Tom/Designer)
Cakes by Gina
Blush & Glow Hair & Makeup
S.W. Casino Productions

Link to the full article: Congratulations Xochy & Todd

Warmest Regards,

Samantha Darr
Lead Event Director
Soireebliss! Events