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Creating a sustainable event is so much more than stocking up on recycled seed paper for serviettes and serving tray after tray of organic hummus. Sustainability is essentially about being responsible, in every aspect of event planning. The earlier you make sustainability a part of your agenda, the quicker you can join a conscious movement that Mother Earth would approve of.

It may seem a daunting task to host an unforgettable event that is also sustainable. But as the collective consciousness of the industry changes, so do your options when it comes to what can be done to not only reduce negative environmental impact but also to up your ante on leaving a large positive footprint in your wake.

Here are some ideas for you to ponder as you bring your next great green event to life.

1. Let’s make it a “ZeeWee”!

Never heard of a ZeeWee? Well, we are about to enlighten you. A ZeeWee is a nickname for a Zero-waste event. Super cute, but also super important! Now, we understand that hosting a full-on ZeeWee is an incredible accomplishment, but remember, being sustainable is all about baby steps. Focus on the idea of Zero-waste right from the outset. Ditch the paper invites and go digital, choose a venue that recycles their waste, use volunteers that will benefit from the collection of waste after the event, consider bio-degradable (or reusable) cups and utensils… The idea is to make it as simple as possible for guests to become a part of the recycling process whilst still having a blast. Any step towards the responsible management of a ZeeWee is one in the right direction!

2. Food Glorious Food!

Events are notorious for the amount of food served, and for the amount that gets binned as leftovers. When it comes to the gastronomic duty of menu planning, clever thinking can truly make all the difference. Choose food that is bursting with freshness from local vendors who offer in-season varieties that don’t take a 3-day trek from the coast to get there. Avoid bottled or pre-packaged options as these can create mountains of unnecessary waste. Involve your guests in the process by offering them trendy containers that can be re-filled as the event takes place – these could even serve as cool little giveaways for them to take home.

3. Start a movement – A transport movement

Unless you’re throwing a neighbourhood shindig, most of the guests will need to travel to your event venue. Although we don’t have an extensive public transport system, there are sure ways to get around a deluge of single person cars pulling up in the parking. Organise common pick up points from which group transport can be arranged, this can even form part of the fun of the event. Or contact a local taxi or ride-share company and see if they will offer you a discount code for your event guests. If you can effectively reduce the number of vehicles bringing guests to your event, you are going a long way to reducing negative environmental impact. To get people onboard (excuse the pun) you can even offer spot prizes or a free drink to guests who take part in the fun.

4. Lastly… Remember that it’s all about fun – sustainable fun!

Of course, you want your guests to have the best time at your event, but just because it’s fun, it doesn’t mean it should be wasteful. Use local acts who share the same sustainable ethos as you.

Planning a sustainable event can certainly have unmeasurable positive ripple effects, but the important thing to remember is that being overly problem focused or negative can stall any sense of progress before it starts. Sustainability is all about solution-orientated thought and action and can truly be an opportunity to let your creative juices flow. Now is your chance to add mindfulness to the mediocre! Embrace this green playground for innovation and inspiration – you may very well be surprised by the results.

High fashion magazine Harpers Bazaar recently published their guide to the top wedding dress trends for 2019. We picked 5 of our favourites to inspire you as you start planning for your big day! Remember, if you need help with your planning or event design, our team of experienced planners are just a phone call away. Visit us at xlevents.co.za

  1. Fabulous Floral

How WOW! are these dresses? Perfect for wedding that has a very simple style and colour palette. You want a dress like this to be the absolute center of attention throughout the day. Don’t let anything over shadow it.

Wedding Dress Trends 2019

2. Take a Bow

Whether you choose big and bold or soft and sweet, bows are definitely a hit for the wedding season ahead. If you choose to make a bow your statement piece, you could certainly create some wonderful wedding accents to match like bows to tie your napkins, bows around floral arrangements or bows in your guest favours.

Take a Bow

3. Capes

This is a great option if you are marrying at one of those transition times of year where the weather could be a bit iffy. Why be chilly and uncomfortable on your wedding day? A light cape is also a great option for a little summer style – especially as the sun sets and the evening gets a little cooler.

Wedding Capes

4. On the Beach

How IN LOVE with these beach “gowns” are we? Who would expect this? If you’re brave enough to show off your figure then this would be a total showstopper of a choice.

Beach Wedding Gowns

5. Gracious Geometric

Probably our favourite so far. The addition of a few (and we really mean few) geometric decor elements could create a spectacularly modern wedding look.

Geometric Wedding Dress

 

No event is complete without “The Talent”. Speakers, musicians, your emcee – all important and valuable aspects to a successful and engaging event. Here are 9 tips to help you foster great relationships with your performers, entertainers and speakers.

1. Communication

Let your talent know exactly what is expected of them, and find out exactly what it is that they require from you. From starting times, to meals, to AV requirements to payment. Put it all in writing and make sure everyone is happy and in agreement long before the event takes place.

Talent will also often have very specific requirements, from their preferred microphone to meal requirements and how they like to be paid. These details might seem insignificant to some, but it shows whether or not the organiser is paying attention. If requests aren’t possible, let them know timeously and honestly.

9 Tips for How to Treat Talent at Events

2. Welcoming

If your talent is well taken care of, it will make your event so much more successful. Often speakers and musicians are in the middle of tours or travel extensively to make their bookings. Taking care to make them comfortable and showing a bit of extra effort can make a huge difference to how they perform.

Find out about their allergies and food requirements. Maybe even find out what sort of flowers, scents and other items they would appreciate.

9 Tips for How to Treat Talent at Events

3. Safety

Make sure that your performers are always safe. For example if a performance involves trapeze or rigging, make 100% sure that everything is up to standard and has been properly inspected for safety.

Musicians and emcees using AV equipment – Make sure that all wires are taped down properly, speakers are secured, and any obstacles that could lead to injury are identified and corrected.

9 Tips for How to Treat Talent at Events

4. Privacy

It’s important to respect an artist’s privacy, especially if that person is a celebrity. Make sure they have a safe area to retreat to when they’re not performing – perhaps a green room if your venue has one, or simply an additional room where they can don’t need to bothered unnecessarily.

Make sure their belongings are always safe, kept in a lockers or a locked room. Assure them that their belongings, requests and other info will be kept safe and confidential.  

9 Tips for How to Treat Talent at Events

5. Event details

Knowing key details about the event, including the client’s industry, demographics of the audience, dress code, and type of event helps artists give the best show possible.An artist might use a different approach for a room full of doctors as opposed to a group of startup entrepreneurs, for example. “The more information you give performers, the better they will be,” adds Fox. “At the end of the day, they want you and your client to be happy.”

9 Tips for How to Treat Talent at Events

6. Look after the team

A performance almost always involves more than just the people appearing on stage. From sound engineers to managers to bus drivers, it takes a team to create a large-scale performance. And just like the talent needs to be fed and cared for, so does the crew. “If anyone on the team is unhappy, it affects the end result of the performance,” says Marchetti. “I know that if the first truck driver comes in at 4 a.m. and can get fresh, hot coffee or something delicious to eat, it sets the right tone for everything else that will happen that day.”

9 Tips for How to Treat Talent at Events

7. Point of contact

Talent should have a single point of contact from your team on the day of the event. In addition to greeting the entertainers and keeping everyone on schedule, this contact will be the performers’ go-to person for any issues that arise.

The point person should be aware of all of the contract riders and requirements, then review them on site to make sure they are met.

Sometimes when you’ve been communicating over email, the performer doesn’t realize that they don’t have a contact phone number until the day of the event,” she explains. “It seems like basic logic, but sometimes people forget about it.

9 Tips for How to Treat Talent at Events

8. Payment

Pay artists as promptly as possible and be open about the payment schedule. If it takes a corporate client 30 to 45 days to write a check, make sure you communicate that to the talent. Such issues should be hashed out beforehand, ideally before the contract is signed. “You don’t want an artist to be upset or have an attitude. You want them to be happy and get everyone excited.

9 Tips for How to Treat Talent at Events

9. Appreciation

The collaboration doesn’t end with the event. To build a long-term relationship, communicate with the artist and his/her team after the event, especially if you’d like to work together again. After the performance, if it was well received, we send a thank-you note for a job well done. And if the performance wasn’t successful, the performer should know that as well. Sharing what went right or wrong can help entertainers improve for their next gig—whether it’s with you or another client.

9 Tips for How to Treat Talent at Events

Event planning is an awesome industry because it’s always evolving. Style trends in colours, decor and fashion are ever changing, now add to that the cool advances in technology, and you’ve got a lot to work with when it comes to event planning.

Here are 5 Event Planning Trends you should be aware of:

1. Time is valuable

The old age saying that time is money is not going away any time soon, and in the our current culture of instant gratification, you need to ensure that your guests are getting as much value from the time they are committing to be at your event, as possible.

  • If you are hosting annual events, think about investing in an app. This can make it really easy for your guests to find every bit of information they need, from maps, to parking, to your list of speakers.
  • Setup QR codes at your event to avoid printing numerous program schedules and doing other unnecessary printing. If it’s on the app, guests can easily check what’s coming up and finding out about changes as they happen!

2. Diversity

Guests want to be stimulated an engaged. No one wants to sit through an entire event hearing all the things they’ve heard before.

So when considering your keynote speakers, look for speakers who aren’t necessarily part of your industry. Speakers who think and speak outside of the box to encourage creative thinking among your guests. Outside opinions often encourage incredible debates, and will make your event memorable!

3. ‘Brain Breaks’

Events and conferences can be quite taxing, especially when they are jam packed with speakers, have numerous topics taking place in different rooms of one venue or last multiple days.

Ideas to encourage this include:

  • Privacy pods where guests can give themselves a time out.
  • Break rooms or cubicles to make phone calls or just take a few minutes to breathe.
  • Incorporate wellness activities like 5 minute yoga
  • Incorporate spaces where healthy meals and smoothies can be enjoyed in silence, or if that’s not possible, in an outdoor area where guests can get some fresh air.

4. Personalization

This is another opportunity to capitalize on using an app to connect with your guests. Allow guests to vote or offer their input certain topics, load discounts and vouchers from sponsors or reminders about sessions they are interested in sitting in on.

5. Eco Events or Sustainability

This is a generation that is extremely mindful of the environment, and going green really is the right thing to do.

When planning your event, be mindful of the following, and encourage your guests to do the same:

  • Single use plastic
  • Straws
  • Bottled water
  • Recyclable paper or other materials (even name tags and programs can be recyclable and guests will notice!)
  • Food storage or serving containers
  • Sustainable and fair trade food options
  • Donations or support of community organisations.

10 Unique Wedding Favour Ideas to wow your guests in 2019!

Weddings. If you’ve planned one, you’ll know there is never a dull moment during that exciting, but often stressful time. Couples want to show their love and appreciation to their guests for sharing their special day with them, but deciding what to give as wedding favours isn’t always as easy as you’d think! To make your life a bit easier if you’re planning a wedding for 2019, we’ve listed 10 unique wedding favour ideas that your guests will actually LOVE!

1. Hangover kits

I know, so clever! You’re throwing the bash of the year, so make sure your guests are well taken care of and ready for breakfast the next morning with these little hangover kits. A few things you can add to the kit:

  • Headache tablets
  • A bottle of water
  • Mouthwash
  • Bioplus fizzies
  • Plastic sunglasses
  • Mints or Tic-Tacs
  • Granola bars
  • Eye drops

10 Unique Wedding Favour Ideas to wow your guests in 2019!

2. Mini Succulents

Super simple, and will definitely add to your table decor! Mini succulent plants are easy to care for and will be a cute addition to your guests desk at work or on their windowsill at home.

10 Unique Wedding Favour Ideas to wow your guests in 2019!

3. Midnight snacks

Most venues close at 12pm, so when your guests need to head back to their rooms after dancing the night away, chances are it’s been quite a few hours since dinner! Send them to bed with a little midnight snack! Ideas to include:

  • Chocolate milk or a small can of coke
  • Popcorn
  • Cookies
  • Muffins

10 Unique Wedding Favour Ideas to wow your guests in 2019!

 

4. Candy Bar take home bags

This is a fabulous budget friendly option, that also looks really beautiful if you set it up to match your decor! Set out a selection of sweet treats, as well as some small gift boxes or packets, so your guests can fill theirs with the sweet treats of their choosing.

10 Unique Wedding Favour Ideas to wow your guests in 2019!

5. Mugs

Everyone uses mugs, so this is one that will definitely be appreciated! Keep the wedding branding small enough that the guest can continue using it for years to come, but prominent enough that they’ll always remember spending your special day with you!

10 Unique Wedding Favour Ideas to wow your guests in 2019!

     

6. Instant hot chocolate

Having a winter wedding? Why not get some delicious instant hot chocolate and send it home with your guests in cute bottles or vials. If you’re feeling crafty, mix up your very own hot chocolate mocha mix and name it after your wedding date or surname? The April 3rd mix or the Smith mix for example)

10 Unique Wedding Favour Ideas to wow your guests in 2019!

 

7. Coffee pods

If you’re a couple that loves your coffee, try sharing your favourite pods with your guests with a selection they can choose from to drink at home.

10 Unique Wedding Favour Ideas to wow your guests in 2019!

8. Summer wedding sunnies

Hosting an outdoor wedding? Get some cheap plastic sunglasses, branded with your initials or wedding date (or even a cheeky phrase) and hand them to your guests on arrival! Everyone needs to see the bride and groom without squinting in the sun!

10 Unique Wedding Favour Ideas to wow your guests in 2019!

 

9. Luggage Tags or toiletry bags

If you’re having a destination wedding, send your guests some branded luggage tags or toiletry bags to start the festivities on the right note.
10 Unique Wedding Favour Ideas to wow your guests in 2019!10 Unique Wedding Favour Ideas to wow your guests in 2019!

10. Seed packets

Simple and lovely, send seed packets home with your guests as reminder of your big day that will last!
10 Unique Wedding Favour Ideas to wow your guests in 2019!