Bridal Show Season

Posted by on Jan 15, 2015 in Blog |

Getting the MOST from a Bridal Expo Bridal shows can be a fantastic resource for couples shopping around for ideas and deals. Be sure you’re prepared to get the most out of expo opportunities. Pre-register Pre-registering for these events saves you time at check-in, and often a few bucks as well. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes—you’re going to be doing a lot of walking. Arm yourself with labels Many of the vendors will have giveaways at their booths, so instead of filling in each entry form every time, print labels or bring a hand stamp. Identify vendors of interest Write a star on the business cards of vendors that really interest you. In addition, take any of their brochures or business cards and store them in an area of your binder, purse or pocket that keeps them separate from all the other business contact handouts and information. Snap pictures This will allow you to quickly remember some of the great things you saw at the show. Did you see a gorgeous dress during a bridal fashion show? Maybe there is an amazing cake, floral centerpiece or invitation style that you want to remember. Ask questions Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions. With a room full of vendors showcasing their niche in the wedding industry, you have a unique opportunity to learn and receive helpful tips from professionals focused on planning, photography, videography, invitations, catering, favors, wedding-day attire and everything in between. Don’t be shy. Don’t limit yourself Even if you think the first florist, planner, caterer, etc., you talk with is perfect for your wedding needs, take advantage of the fact that you can easily visit multiple florists, planners, caterers who are all showcasing their services at the expo. By comparing multiple vendors and the services they offer, you can feel confident that you have chosen a vendor that best fits your needs—and you may be able to better negotiate prices/services. Prepare for special offers and discounts Many wedding vendors will offer a special day-of-the-bridal-show-only discount if you schedule appointments to learn more about their services. Bring your calendar along to help you save even more money and learn more about their services in a one-on-one follow-up appointment after the show. Other vendors may offer products for sale such as jewelry, favors and bridal accessories at a special discount at the expo as well. If you’re interested in possibly purchasing products, don’t forget your cash, credit card and checkbook. Have Fun Bring a supportive person with you that doesn’t mind chatting with vendors and who will enjoy the overall process of helping you get the most out of what you’re looking to find. Make a pact to have...

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Entertainment…and All That Jazz!

Posted by on Dec 16, 2014 in Blog |

Festive Event Planning  – Entertainment…and All That Jazz! A key element of any event is planning appropriate entertainment that works with the demographic, the venue and the design concept.  Entertaining guests could mean making them laugh, enchanting them with music, or discovering a new artistic experience. There are, of course, many styles music to choose from; jazz quartet to rock violinist to dueling pianos.  Musicians can be found through online websites, via your local symphony, or simply from word of mouth.  The holiday season is perfect for traditional carols, perhaps performed by an a cappella group or a local opera singer. Some events may require entertainment that is a little more unique, such as improv theatre, aerial acrobats or flair bartending.  Adding drama can be as simple as hiring dancers, actors, or even on-location artists. Choosing the right entertainment is crucial, as it enhances the atmosphere and overall feeling of the occasion.  With Edmonton’s vast arts community, there are always entertainment choices to  fit with any event.  Just remember to keep an open mind when researching different options, and explore the many talents within the event’s region. Here are just a few resources within the Edmonton area: – Lewis Lavoie – live event artist – Internationally recognized Hip Hop/Contemporary Dance Studio – Firefly Theatre (aerial acrobatics) – Japanese drummers – Atomic Improv – Belly Dance Entertainment – Dueling Pianos – Flair Bartending – Tango Dancers – Barbershop Style A Cappella Group – Specialty Show Band Bella Rouge So why don’t you paint the town, shake it up with entertainment. Create the unexpected, interactive, high energy experience, and all that...

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Giving Tuesday Dec 2

Posted by on Dec 2, 2014 in Blog |

I strongly believe in community and giving back.  Whether it’s through volunteering in various capacities, donating, fundraising or  providing training and development for volunteer leaders, and board development training for incoming or existing board members.    Devoting time and energy to these causes, actually improves my health and well being!   It feel’s great, such satisfaction. It also offers opportunity to connect to many people, provides a social outlet, and the best part…I get to share my skills, knowledge and abilities with others and learn from them too!  What a WIN-WIN!!! Throughout the year I  also support many charities and non profits, such as Edmonton Food Bank:, Coats for Kids and Families: and Homeless Connect,  just to name a few.   Did you know?  There are over 4,000 charities and non profits in the City of Edmonton, and approximately 8,000 in the Edmonton region. Each of them doing great work to make Edmonton a better place. December 2nd is Giving Tuesday, a movement for everyone who wants to give something back.  Whether it’s making a donation, volunteering time, helping a neighbour or spreading the word.  You can get involved in GivingTuesday in many ways, such as a charity, a company, an individual or family and community group or school.  To learn more about Giving Tuesday, a global day of giving,  visit Through your contributions, you are helping our Edmonton communities  Evolve, Engage and Elevate.                ...

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Festive Event Planning

Posted by on Dec 1, 2014 in Blog |

How to take the stress out of planning holiday events Whether you’re planning a family gathering or coordinating a large holiday event, the proper planning process is essential for success.  Here are some tips to get you pointed in the right direction this festive season: Goals are the backbone of any event.  When setting your goals ask yourself the following questions: What is the purpose of this event? What do you want to achieve? Who will be attending? Where would you like to host it? When in what time frame? How many people will attend? How will it make your guests feel? One of the most effective tools I use is the SMART model, here is an example: Specific: Host a holiday networking social for 20 of our closes friends on December 22. Measurable:    Contact the 20 invited guests by November 22 letting them know you are planning this event and to ask them to “save the date”. Attainable: Connect with invited guest by telephone, social media and in person also, as the other invited guest to share the information about the event with their network. Relevant – Invited guest have a long-standing relationships Time bound: Connect with proposed invite list by November 22, send out the save the date November 25 request RSVP by December 15 confirm final numbers by December 20 host event on December 22. Having concrete goals and objective clearly stated will help you stay focused, on the things to do and lessen the stress.  Keep checking back daily or weekly to ensure that you are on track or may need to adjust.   Brainstorming – This is the creative part!  What is your theme, colors, feel and design concept? Be as outrageous as you want, think big, and then scale back as needed. Don’t limit yourself to anything, the word “NO” is not an option.  You want to extract the most of your creative when you are going through this process. Budget – Achieving event goals with exciting creative ideas while staying under budget can be less stressful when you are prepared. Know what your budget is, stick to it, and always have a contingency plan.  It’s easy to break the bank, especially with those last minute impulsive choices. What will keep you accountable are your  GOALS.  Keep referring back to the goals and objectives you set out and ask yourself, will this decision help us achieve our goals.  Is this a “nice to have” or is this a “need to have”. Planning – Time to get organized and do the work!  You have a goal, a concept and a budget so now you need to get planning!  Deadlines, invitations, bookings…they all need to be...

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Red Tip: Your Power to Influence

Posted by on May 12, 2014 in Blog |

Do you ever wonder why certain people have the ability to influence the world? Ghandi, Gandalf the Grey, Steve Jobs, Oprah and Enstein? We still feel their presence and their energy in the world even long after they’re gone. I am fascinated with people and more importantly the greatness that lies untapped in so many extraordinary individuals. Inside each one of us lives this innate and intrinsic ability to contribute and shape our universe. We all have it inside of us, this. This ability to become more intentional with how we want to push the human race forward. When we start to know that we have this ability and tap into it on a daily basis we are essentially contributing to change in this world by giving others permission to see and experience our inner light. Is this not what we are all born to be? To create to strive to reach to stretch to evolve into the best possible version of ourselves? What if greatness is no longer an option but rather a daily ritual like exercise, or meditating. Your ability to influence starts with a commitment now in this moment not when the bills are paid or the kids have left home or when the mortgage is paid off. Imagine if we all strive to share that incredible extraordinary greatness that lives in each one of us on a daily basis. This is a world worth creating worth contributing to.  As I continue stepping into my greatness by inspiring others to do the same, I know that I am elevating everyone around me. The power to influence connects us all in that the reader shapes the author and the author is shaped by the reader. Influence becomes a force and an energy that inspires the world. Recognize your ability to influence others in a positive way. Focus on your intention and the outcome that you want to see in others. Your influence shapes others and contributes to their growth when it is fueled by your passion and your purpose to serve and benefit...

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Hall of Fame Nomination

Posted by on May 9, 2014 in Blog |

We are thrilled to announce that Milena Santoro has been nominated in the Industry Mentor category for Meeting + Incentive Travel’s 2014 Hall of Fame. Industry Mentors The Industry Mentor category honors an individual planner or supplier who through his or her expertise, professional influence or academic position has provided others with the opportunity, inspiration or ability to pursue excellence. Awards Presentation 2014 Tuesday August 19 10:30 am, immediately precedes the Keynote Presentations John Bassett Theatre, Metro Toronto Convention Centre   Launched in 2009, Meetings + Incentive Travel inducts 6 individuals each year into the Hall of Fame.  These individuals have made tremendous contributions to our industry. The mandate of the Hall of Fame is to recognize and celebrate individuals who have distinguished themselves in the Canadian meetings and incentive travel industry. It is the only independent awards program for event professionals and suppliers in the country....

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