More businesses rely on events planners’ help

Do you really want your receptionist to plan the company party?

BreeAnn Gale, owner of Pink Blossom Events and regional director of Wedding Network USA, has noticed that more businesses are taking advantage of event planners to guide or completely orchestrate their corporate meetings, trade s

hows and parties rather than rely on the same location, the same menu and the same awards.

“It’s the fresh ideas,” Gale said. “The younger companies tend to be the ones that want to push it out there.”

Most of these companies are hoping to create an event to remember. Gale knows one company that actually did an Iron Chef competition for a team building event.

All of the ideas aren’t for everyone, but people will remember it, Gale said.

Gale is no stranger to corporate event planning. Last June, the five-year veteran planner organized the grand opening of the Washington Aerospace Training and Research Center at Paine Field. She has done auctions and fundraisers and was in charge of planning the Snohomish Wedding Tour.

Gale even organizes events for her own business. The Woodmark Hotel, Yacht Club and Spa in Kirkland is the location for Voila! on March 20. Its a wedding show that is being co-hosted by Pink Blossom Events.

Unlike a traditional wedding show with booths and exhibits, Gale and her co-hosts from Panache Events have created what they call a more civilized way to plan your wedding or event. Gale describes it as more of a cocktail party-like atmosphere.

At Voila!, guests wander through four rooms. Each room has a different seasonal theme. The rooms are fully decorated to display a mock reception complete with table settings in keeping with the theme.

In place of vendor booths, Gale will casually place vendors at small tables throughout the event. Guests will be able to sample snacks and desserts that they may want to select for their own special day. Signature cocktails are also on the menu.

“It’s really relaxed and ticket prices are very reasonable,” Gale said. “We have 50 to 55 hand-selected vendors. We really try to find the unique vendors in the area.”

Snohomish County is fortunate in having a number of top-notch vendors and wedding planners, Gale said. Many professionals who work mainly in downtown Seattle and the Eastside actually live in Snohomish County. The secret is knowing how to find them.

This is one reason that Gale suggests business professionals attend wedding shows like Voila! to make connections for corporate events. Most of the vendors and services cross over.

When you’re picking someone for planning an event, people tend to go for price, Gale said. Don’t necessarily pick the most expensive but meet with them and see how they click with you.

A check of a planners credentials is a must and people should always ask for referrals both from vendors as well as clients. Steer clear of anyone who doesn’t have a thumbs up from local vendors.

Event planning doesn’t have to be expensive, Gale said. Often companies don’t know how far they can go with their budget. They may simply need advice. Gale offers hourly consultation rates that can get an event off on the right foot.

I can meet with them and give them ideas and connections, she said.

According to Gale, wine tours are a popular company party. A van or bus can take the group from winery to winery, culminating in a private dinner.

Another thing that I can help companies with is to bring in entertainment, Gale said. This can include anything from musicians and DJs to character artists. She also has a wholesale license and is able to create welcome bags and hospitality packages for corporate events.

Pink Blossom Events of Snohomish was recipient of a 2010 Brides Choice Award from WeddingWire and was named Best Small Business of 2009 by 425 Magazine.

On the Web

Learn more about Pink Blossom Events at www.pinkblossom

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