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Paris Inspired cocktails

With the weather so warm, you may be hosting outdoor soirees.  We thought this would be a fine time to share the Paris Inspired cocktail recipes courtesy of Left Bank Restaurants: LINK.  


One of my favorite photos, taken by event guru Andrea Joe.  



Free Fathers Day Cards, Next two hours

Between now and 11:00am Pacific Time (2:00 pm ET) you can get a FREE Father’s Day card from Treat

Just in time too, as today is the LAST day to guarantee shipment before Father’s Day.

Just use the code WEEKENDTREAT and enjoy a free, customized, card. This offer applies to all new and returning customers.

Here is how it works:

·  Select your card from their hundreds of Father’s Day designs.

·  Personalize it with photos, or simply your inside jokes.  This is your chance to make it YOUR card. 

· Use the code WEEKENDTREAT to get this special deal.

Don't forget the Grand-peres.


Note: You can choose the “Send it to me first” shipping option to receive the card free. If you choose “Mail it directly to the recipient,” you will be charged $0.44 for postage. Limit one per household. You will also be asked for your credit card to verify your identity and prohibit fraud, but you will not be charged for a free card if you mail to yourself.


Name Tags Made Simple

Name tags are one of those event essentials that event planners love to hate.  Beyond selecting the background image, name tags are not a lot of fun, and we like fun.  Below are best practices around name tags and hopefully these tips will save you time on your next event.

* Select an easy to read font, no cute curls on the font.  Arial font is great.

* 24-36 point font is ideal, any smaller and guests must stare to read a name.  Make it easy on them.

* Standard name badges for a conference are 4x3 inches.  Standard for a cocktail party is 2x3 inches. 

* White font against a dark color background is ideal.  Otherwise, black font on white is default.

* When you can, brand the lanyard or badge holder and leave the actual tag available for the client's information only. 

* Print two copies of every name tag and insert back to back in the badge so if (when) the tag flips backwards the client's name will still appear.

* A good rule of thumb: Make the first name larger (36 pt.), followed by last name on the next line in a slightly smaller font size (24 pt).  The name of the company can follow below the last name, ideally two lines below in the same font size as last name (24 pt).

* Titles get tricky.  If you're printing titles, be sure they are correct, this becomes a large issue when wrong.  You also want consistency in title formats.  For example, if you list title followed by details "Director, Cheetos Brand" or "Vice President, Audi Western Region" you do not want another client listed as "BMW VP of West Sales" even if that's how they submitted their title.  Allot time for this task.

* OUTSOURCE.  If this is a corporate event or any with a budget you will probably want to outsource the printing.  When you find a great printer, keep them.  Below is the contact information for a Silicon Valley print shop that jumped hurdles to get our name tags to us on time over and over again. They fed ex anywhere and understand event pressures.

                Legacy Print Shop                                                                                                                


                 (408) 970-9334

                 Owner: Bill Baxley, Bill@legacyprint.com

                  (And he didn't ask us to write this, they're just that good).

Happy Planning. 


How to Out source Name Tag Printing

As a follow up to the post on Name Tag best practices (hard to believe there could be such an entry), below is quick summary of what outsourcing the name tag duty for a large event would look like.  So many planners do this in house and spend many frustrating hours dealing with printer jams and errors. For a large scale event it's not worth it.

How to out source event name tags: 

Select a reliable printer and negotiate a rate based on the number of badges needed, full color or b/w.  Avoid Kinkos at all costs (seriously). 

Send your printer the graphics/color background and size requirements up front so they can run tests. 

Closer to the event (5 days prior) send an excel version of the attendee list exactly as you want them printed.

If possible, pay for the printer to stuff the tags into your badges (saves many finger nails).

Provide your fed ex # and have these shipped to your office or remote site prior to the event.

Send the printer any late additions to the event two days prior to your event so they can print/fed ex them to you overnight along with a stack of blank tags. 

Have printer ready for any walk ups.  You can print clear labels and place these on the blank extra tags.  Their tag won't be exact but at least they will have one.

Here's to letting the experts shine.

Very reliable event printer:  

                  Legacy Print Shop                                                                                                                


                 (408) 970-9334

                 Owner: Bill Baxley, Bill@legacyprint.com

                 Ships anywhere, can use your fed ex # to save $.




“Organized Diva on the Go” Kit

If you find yourself producing several events a month, you may find it very helpful to create an “event kit” for your event. I found keeping a few pre-packed plastic portable file boxes ready to go made me much more efficient. These are lightweight and easy to keep track of in a hectic environment.

In the hanging folders consider placing permanent typed labels and simply change out the content inside each folder before you go. These are documents you need multiple copies of for your staff and vendors on event day.
Permanent File Labels for your Event Kit:

Attendee List by Company
Attendee List by Last Name
Rooming Lists
Load in schedule
Agenda Copies
Logistics Schedule
Maps (venue, to/from hotel and event venue)
Speaker Contact List
Parking Passes
Fed Ex (pre-printed slips)
Place cards (blanks as well)

Essentials to keep in the top section of the magical case: sharpies, a highlighter, a pen, Scotch tape, masking tape, pre-paid phone card, Advil, business cards, gum, oh, and lip gloss.


PerfectTablePlan, Now Even Better

A few months ago we did a review on a great software for organizing your seating plans called Perfect Table Plan.  We all know this is the most dreaded task of brides and gala hosts, but this software really makes it easier to drop and drag your guests' names to the "latest" seat as your rsvps change.  And, it just got better.

Perfect Table Plan just released V.4 with over thirty improvements and a few of these are highlighted below.  At $35 this tool is a lifesaver for anyone planning a Bar Mitzvah, dinner gala or wedding.


New features of the drop and drag seating plan software:

  • Import attendee list directly from Excel .xls and .xlsx files
  • Oval tables & Semi-circular tables (in addition to rectangle, square and circle)
  • Rows of seats (without tables) - perfect for fashion shows
  • Optional realistic chairs and place settings
  • Angled text for banquet seating
  • Print or export all tables from the Table plan pane in a single operation
  • Export stationery to PDF
  • Export to custom size PDFs
  • Paste the Table Chart and Guest Chart panes directly into MS Word

To view the original post and review click here.  Merci Perfect Table Plan.

Click to read more ...


Clever Mint Julep Recipes

The first Saturday in May is always a favorite "holiday" for me, the Kentucky Derby. 

If you're lucky enough to watch the best horse race at Churchill Downs itself, cheers to you.  If you're having your own celebration below are a few very creative versions of the classic Mint Julep Derby Drink, courtesy of "Southern Living" -  does anyone know the South better? You can view the full recipe and other cocktails at this Bonjour Events page: Aperitifs.

Place mint leaves and syrup in a chilled julep cup, and muddle. Pack cup tightly with crushed ice; add bourbon and mint sprig.    

1. Mint Syrup: Boil 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1 1/2 cups water, stirring often, 2 to 3 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat; add 15 fresh mint sprigs, and cool completely. Cover and chill 24 hours. Strain syrup; discard solids.

2. Grapefruit-Honey Syrup: Prepare Mint Syrup as directed, reducing sugar to 1/2 cup and stirring 3/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice, 1/2 cup honey, 3 (2- x 4-inch) grapefruit rind strips, and rind from 1 lime, cut into strips, into sugar mixture with mint. For julep, muddle with 1 small grapefruit rind strip.

3. Peach-Basil Syrup: Prepare Mint Syrup as directed, substituting basil for mint and stirring 2 (5.5-oz.) cans peach nectar and 1 split vanilla bean into sugar mixture with basil. For julep, muddle with 1 peach slice.

4. Blackberry Syrup: Prepare Mint Syrup as directed, adding 6 oz. fresh blackberries, halved, with mint. For julep, muddle with 2 fresh blackberries.

5. Pineapple-Lemongrass Syrup: Prepare Mint Syrup as directed, reducing granulated sugar to 1 cup, adding 1/2 cup light brown sugar to granulated sugar and water, and stirring 1 cup pineapple juice, 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice, and 3 (3-inch) pieces fresh lemongrass into sugar mixture with mint after removing from heat. For julep, muddle with 1 small fresh pineapple chunk.


Selecting Your Next Venue

A guest post submitted from our friends in the UK:

One of the biggest headaches in organizing corporate events is finding a suitable venue. But it needn’t be complicated; there are plenty of venues out there, but before you start searching it’s worth narrowing down what you’re looking for by thinking what you really need for a particular event.

Depending on your budget, you can take a lot of the legwork out of the task by using a venue finding service. However, it’s easy to find venues for yourself online or through your own networks.

Here are some useful things to consider:


Think about how big the event will be and plan ahead. For conferences that involve a large group of people you often need to secure a venue months in advance.


Your choice of venue will depend on how long the event will run. If you’re organising corporate entertainment, it may be an evening event that requires overnight accommodation. For this kind of event you might be better choosing a venue that has on-site accommodation – like a hotel.  However, your event might be better suited to a breakfast or lunch meeting, in which cases your options are a lot wider.


In order to get maximum attendance, it’s important that you choose a venue that is easy to get to and has good access to public transport or handy parking facilities for attendees. The easier it is for your delegates to get there, the more likely they are to turn up! You’ll also need to make sure that the venue you choose has wheelchair access.


Depending on the nature of your event or conference you need to consider the shape of the room you will be using. It may suit you to have delegates seated in rows, in a lecture theatre or cinema style. However, if you will be doing work in smaller groups, it may be better to have tables and chairs instead. If you need visual displays, this will alter your room requirements again. If your event is taking place over a breakfast, lunch or dinner, you’ll need to make sure there are catering facilities available. Some venues will provide catering services for you, others will allow you to bring in your own caterers and use their kitchens.

Type of event

The venue for an AGM or launch event may be very different for the kind of place you’d choose for team away days or a Christmas party. The choice of venue can reflect the mood you’re aiming for – are you seeking elegance and sophistication or do you want something a little more funky and off the wall?

Of course, depending on the particular nature of your event, you’ll have other requirements to consider. But if you start off running through this checklist, it should help you select the kind of venue that will be most suitable for your upcoming event.


And from Bonjour Events you can access and download your Venue Check list here and view a complimentary article for dinner venue selections here.


Brides: Wedding Website Source

We've always been fans of Tiny Prints and their wonderful wedding line, Wedding Paper Divas. To complete their offerings to brides, Wedding Paper Divas has just launched a wedding website tool with so many bells and whistles while keeping the sophisticated designs their paper invitations are known for.  Your guests can RSVP online and it is free for one year. 

  • Gorgeous Diva Designs - Fashionable templates that match your stationery. Choose from dozens of the best-selling paper designs.  How nice to match your site with the paper invitation.
  • Drag-n-Drop Editing - WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get!) Easy Customization.
  • Custom Domains - Personalize your wedding website even further with a custom domain name like 'www.EmmasWedding.com'.
  • Unlimited Photos - Upload as many as you want - no limits! Before the wedding or after the wedding, share all the fun and special moments.
  • Guest Comments - Let your guests leave comments on your photos, blog, or stories. They can even upload a photo to the guest book.
  • Music/Video - Upload an MP3 to play for visitors. Add videos from YouTube, maps from Google, a slideshow or any custom HTML.
  • Online RSVP - The website pays for itself in stamps! Use the RSVP feature to tally guest responses to any event.

Looks like a great tool to help you organize all those details in a fashionable manner.  Cheers to you!

Link to the free Wedding Website tool:  Wedding Paper Divas





Linked In Group: 60,000 members!

Congratulations to the Event Planning & Mgt. Linked In Group which hit 60,000 members today, on it's 4th birthday.  And a big shout out to Julius Solaris for starting this group just 4 years ago.  If you are not a member yet, this group is well moderated so there are no spam postings, which is a feat in itself.  

Below is infographic created by Chris Shipton for the most popular thread, "You know you're an event planner when..." - great laughs, and the thread is still going if you want to add more....


Click image to enlarge, or this link (click HEREand laugh...



Tips for Getting Event Sponsors to say YES.

Guest Blog from Brink Events, Thanks Aiden...

Event planning often brings tight budgets. The ability to stretch these budgets and make the most of financial resources is important. For this reason, sponsors are often sought to alleviate some of the burden and provide additional support. Successful communication and negotiations will ensure long term success with your events.

Start slow – Don’t ask for the moon right off the bat. You’re building a long term relationship, so you need to prove yourself first. Getting a sponsor on board is an initial leap of faith on their behalf. Once you’ve established yourself and you’ve proven a good fit, you’ll have more bargaining power and you’ll be able to ask for more.

Money isn’t everything – Don’t be surprised if a sponsor isn’t willing to provide funds right away… or ever. Money isn’t the only worthwhile thing a sponsor can provide. Look deeper into the equation and search for other ways to work together. At the end of the day, there are two ways to increase profit – increase revenues or decrease expenses. If the sponsor isn’t willing to provide financial support (increase revenues), then they may be able to provide products, supplies, or materials, ultimately decreasing your expenses and/or improving the guest experience. So, be open to possibilities. If you’re just looking for money, you may be out of luck with many sponsors.

Proper fit – Ensure that the sponsors you pursue provide a good fit with the clientele and guests at your event. If there a lack in alignment between the products and the services offered by sponsors and the target group, then resources have been wasted. Your demographic and the sponsor’s demographic should be as similar as possible to maximize results for both sides.

Value creation – This applies to both the sponsor, as well as yourself. Ensure that there is true value in the relationship for both sides. Don’t try to close a sponsor simply to say you have another one on board. Look at the relationship as a whole, and make certain that you are both gaining benefits from the collaboration. An unequal balance will cause unwanted friction. It’s also very important to come to a basic agreement as to what both sides will provide and what both sides should expect. This can either be done verbally or in writing depending on the circumstances and level of trust.

The key to convincing sponsors to sign on with your events is to prove an ROI (return on investment). If they can clearly see that they will get more out of the event than they put in, it’s likely they’ll sign up. Being able to outline this equation and show the benefit will strengthen your case when bargaining with potential sponsors. In the end, you want to make it easy for them to say yes… and hard for them to say no. Your terms should be attractive given their situation. If you can prove that the time, money, and effort put forth by company will more than pay for itself, you should have no problem attracting new sponsors and securing old ones.


This guest article was written by Aidan Henry at Brink Events, an event design agency in Victoria, BC.


Webinar: Hotel Negotiations

What planner doesn't want more negotiation tips up their sleeve?  This Thursday you can join a free webinar with executive leaders from Marriott and MGM sharing tips for negotiating cost savings and discussing how RFPs are scored.  Thursday, March 1 @ 1:30pm EST.

Webinar Link and Call in #:  http://campaigns.cvent.com/event/cmslive?refID=bonjour


Mad Hatter Baby Shower, Loved This!

Sometimes you attend an event and just can't believe all the creativity, effort and energy that went into creating a special day for a friend or client.  I recently attended a baby shower for a dear friend and absolutely couldn't wait to share photos of this creative event hosted by Jessica Gowdy. 

Hope you enjoy images from this Mad Hatter theme baby shower.  




          "Alice" cookies of course, delicious for any occasion

          Card stock tags and playing cards purchased on Etsy








 Glowing Mother to be Erin & Hostess with the Mostess Jessica Gowdy.



Fresh Catering Ideas

Looking for something to spice up your next event?  With the food truck trends and our economy as it is, we've seen catering move towards playful and "do it your self" stations rather than the traditional, formal event food presentations. Below are images of "fun" catering ideas from Biz Bash and a list we came up with to get your creative juices flowing.  Bon Apetit.

 Cork Catering (chicago) came up with a custom s’mores station, yumm....

 Mary Giuliani Catering & Events (New York) created a devil-your-own-egg bar

 Elegant Affairs Caterers created “salad-tinis” made by “chef-tenders"

Thomas Preti Caterers came up with individual fondue cups

 Tip of the Tongue (NY) served refreshing drinks from garden carts - adorable


  Custom iced teas, as delicious as they are pretty

 Great Performances (NY) stocked bars with infusions like pineapple vodka.


Other ideas to consider:

Similar to the ice cream stations we've all enjoyed, below are some other foods guests can have fun making:

* A smoothie station for an outdoor party, have guests scoop all their favorite ingredients then hand over to a beach attire attendant for the blending.

* Shaved Ice stations in your corporate or event colors

* Individual hummus cups, making the usually stationary appetizer something mobile

* A Taco buffet with gourmet toppings (or common toppings presented in a beautiful serving dishes)

* A slider bar of course - how many ways can one make a slider - a LOT

* Make your own pizza and hand over to a chef managing the brick oven

* Decorate your own cookies or cupcakes, great for children's parties

* Rice krispies on a kabob with various dipping chocolate options (similar to fondue stations)

* Iced Tea stations - yes even iced tea can be presented in many different combinations

Anytime you can take a favorite food and allow guests to customize it themselves, they're sure to have fun creating with others.  What are your favorite "fun" foods for parties?


more event pics:



Class Reunions: Entertainment Ideas

As my class reunion approaches, I enjoyed receiving this guest post from Gig Masters.  To all those planning the reunions, this might make your life easier (and check out their reunion resource link below). Enjoy!

Class reunions are one of those events that seem like they were invented to make people feel awkward. Sure, it’s great to reconnect with those you lost touch with over the years but it is can also be quite uncomfortable attempting to make small talk with people that you haven’t seen in 5, 10 or 20 years. So, how do you cut the tension and make everyone feel more at ease?  You hire the right entertainment!

Booking the perfect entertainment for a class reunion can really help make guests feel more comfortable as they ease into the party. Variety entertainers such as Impersonators, Magicians and Fortune Tellers can act as a great ice breaker or conversation starter for people that can’t quite find the right way to bond with once-friends turned strangers. Variety performers are perfect for stifling tension and getting guests to interact with each other.

We all know that any successful party has to have good music! Selecting the right live band or DJ for a reunion is extremely important because they will set the tone of the night and the energy in the room. You want your fellow classmates to hit the dance floor, not stand on the sidelines like back in 6th grade. The perfect DJ or live band will make sure that the dance floor is packed and there are no wallflowers.

GigMasters clients planning reunions most frequently request DJ’s and Cover Bands to rock these school get-togethers. If you are planning a decade specific event, you may consider booking a Tribute Band to play music reminiscent of a popular group from that era. Your classmates will enjoy the blast from the past and fond school day memories will come floating back to them. And for a little extra “wow” factor, talk to your musical entertainment about learning and performing the school song, it would add a nice nostalgic touch to the evening.

Last but certainly not least, hiring a photographer for the event is always a good idea. With an event photographer present you don’t have to worry about someone not being in the picture! And remember, professional photographers know how to make things look picture perfect, so you can worry a little less about any awful pictures being mobile uploaded to Facebook!

For more class reunion party planning tips and resources you can visit our Reunion Event Planning page.

What do you think makes a fun class reunion? Share your thoughts or funny reunion story in the comments below.



Where to find freelance event jobs

Thought this posting in the Linked In group "Who's Who in Events" was a discussion others may find really helpful.  The question was Where can a freelance event planner find jobs?

Top recommendation was i-meet.com, also mentioned:

"You might try www.sologig.com or join IFEA (International Festivals and Events Association) to get access to the member database. www.ifea.com About $350 annual dues."

Here's a link to the Linked In Group if you care to join:   http://www.linkedin.com/groups?home=&gid=160845&trk=anet_ug_hm


Ecofriendly wedding dress: Do it in a green way

A Reader Submission from Ms. Harper, enjoy.

The most significant wedding choice for a bride to be, apart from the groom and the wedding ring, of course, is her wedding gown.  It’s meant to be worn just once and made from synthetic materials, your wedding gown can be a sheer waste of resources and non sustainable, contributing to air or water pollution. Not if you decide to opt for a green wedding dress, though. Now, contrary to popular belief, procuring a green, Eco friendly wedding gown will not burn a hole in your pocket or make you look unattractive. Neither is it an onerous, time consuming task to find one.

Many designers offer stunning, eye popping Eco friendly wedding gowns at affordable prices. Check out some cool green wedding gown ideas below:

1. Vintage wear

Turning your mother’s much treasured vintage wedding dress into a totally new ravishing one, is a great idea. This transformed heirloom wedding gown has priceless emotional value attached, and saves on money big time. Besides, you extend its life cycle. There are many shops that sell wedding gowns which have been worn just once. You can get these redesigned by a local designer and you are done.

2. Natural fibers

If wearing a hand me down wedding gown is against your standards, go in for dresses made from natural fibers.

a. Silk is one such material. Made from renewable resources (silkworms), silk is seldom treated with harmful chemicals and is totally bio degradable. Silk has a natural shine and smooth finish. It can make a very elegant and flowing wedding gown.

b. Wedding gowns made from organic cotton are skin friendly and great for summer weddings. Organic cotton uses less water compared to regular cotton and is free of chemicals and pesticides. Hence, it is a good Eco friendly option for a wedding dress.

c. Bamboo grass pulp is one more natural fiber which can be used to manufacture soft, silky fabric with anti bacterial and anti fungal properties. Bamboo being a quick growing grass is a renewable resource and makes up for a great green wedding gown.

d. Fabrics made of natural fibers are hand dyed and often embellished with beautiful applique work, to make elegant wedding gowns. Some designers also integrate vintage remnant fabrics along with bamboo, organic cotton, and peace silk to make ravishing wedding gowns.

You need not worry if local stores do not stock dresses made of natural fibers. Many designers have online stores that sell Eco friendly wedding dresses. Conscious Clothing is an online store selling exclusive hemp silk wedding attire. Better still, you can order Eco friendly fabric made of natural fiber, online at NearSea Naturals and get your designer to craft a beautiful wedding gown out of this. Once used wedding dresses in good condition can be purchased from eBay. Sentimental pieces like vintage jewelery and precious stones can be sewn into Eco couture wedding gowns on request, adding a rich and royal feel to it. You can even think ahead by getting a wedding dress that can be remade into a fun, flirty cocktail dress post wedding.

Eco chic wedding gowns can be stylish and affordable. Go for recyclable and bio degradable environment friendly wedding gowns and reduce your carbon footprint.


About the author: Samantha Harper is a blogger by profession. She loves writing on technology and luxury. Beside this she is fond of books. 


Amazing Cakes: Erica Obrien

If you are looking to make a statement, provide a truly unique and delicious cake to your guests, Erica Obrien Cakes is your place.  Trained in New York's Institute for Culinary Education, Erica Obrien naturally creates fresh organic ingredients with incredible visual appeal.  

Starting with her relaxed, complementary tasting and moving into a design process, every stage is custom to each client.  During the design process, Erica gathers inspiration and direction from her clients to create a truly unique cake for each event.

Starting at $7/slice, the pricing is in the ballpark of what a restaurant would charge for a dessert. 






A sample sketch from design process

For those who are so inclined, Erica offers classes out of their Hamden, CT location. More images, a beautiful blog and an overview of cake flavors can be seen at:  www.ericaobrien.com


Looking for a New Years Eve Party?

Not that I'll be ringing in the New Year on Times Square tonight....but if you're one of the millions that are hitting the town, here's a site listing all the parties open to the public.  It's quite a robust list of clubs and restaurants in New York, San Francisco, Miami, Los Angeles, Toronto etc.  Love the Internet.

New Year's Eve.com




Happy New Year. Welcome 2012

As we welcome 2012 Bonjour Events wishes you a Happy New Year and great business experiences in 2012.   We look to adding new features to this site in the second quarter and appreciate your continued feedback, ideas and contributions to the content we publish.



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