We care about your privacy. We and our partners store or access information on your device (e.g., unique IDs in cookies for the processing of personal data). You can accept or manage the available options, such as the right to object to the use of legitimate interests, by clicking below, or at any other time on the privacy policy page. While our partners will be informed of the choices made, this will not affect the navigation data.
Accept Decline

Andrew Grant said very lucidly “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Well, invitations are all about first impressions as it is also a sneak peek of your event.

When planning an event on your own, whether it is a wedding or a corporate outing, there are always some questions about how we will share all the information with the guests.

Nowadays, digital invitations linked to a website are more common and practical, but even when technology is an ally there are some rules to take into consideration. 

If you are planning your event without professional assistance, take a look at this article. This may help you to get your organization off to a good start.

STEP 1: Design

Before we dive into the protocol and the not-so-funny work to do, let’s be creative!  

In spite of the lack of a specific theme for the event, I love to see a common thread all the way through. Whether you use paper or digital invitations (or a combination of both), the overall design should be harmonious. 

For instance, try to use the same font, color, and type of images when sending the information (save the date, invitation, program, etc.). You can easily create a logo and use it in all the communication.

By maintaining consistency and uniformity, guests will be able to identify the source of the information even without seeing your name. Also, it is beautiful. 

Today we have access to tools like Canva which is free, easy to use and proposes plenty of templates you can use and personalize. 

STEP 2: Content

Some guidelines may change from a corporate event to a social one, like a wedding. Nevertheless, one golden rule will always be clear communication. 

Invitations should include the event name (or full name of the wedding couple), host, place, date, time of the first event (ceremony, cocktail reception, etc.), RSVP, and, sometimes, dress code (not for a wedding). That’s it, nothing more. 

Names 

Once you have chosen the style of your invitations, there is some work to do. You will need to collect all the information related to your guests beforehand. 

This exercise could be easier if we are talking about a corporate event, where normally everything is already digitalized and the information is already collected. However, for social events, this is a meticulous job. 

When organizing events on your own, I would highly recommend creating a master list where you could input all the data: title, name, last name, telephone, etc. 

Before sending any invitation, double-check the name spelling, if the postal address or email is still valid, and, please request a telephone number, as it may be needed as well

Also, you would need to verify if there is any title: besides “Mrs & Mr.” or “Family”, there may be “Doctor” “Honorable”, and others.

Here are some other etiquette rules:  

Place, Date & Timing

Naturally, you should mention where and when the event will take place. If the location is “secret”, you need to inform the meeting point and the timing of departure.

For events that last more than 1 day, I would suggest creating a program indicating all the activities with place and timing.  

Regarding social events, where there may be a cocktail reception followed by a dinner/party, you should just indicate the time the cocktail starts.

Attire 

Dress codes are appreciated by guests when they are specified in the invitation. This will also save you some time answering questions about it before D-Day.

There are many options for a dress code. In case you’re having a 2- or 3-day event, you should list the attire for each day – “Black Tie”, “Formal”, “Cocktail” or “Casual”.

Sometimes, it helps to add some pictures or photos of what you wish as an outfit, especially now that we see so many sub-categories and free interpretations. 

RSVP

How and by when guests must RSVP should be stated. It could be sent as a separate card and envelope within the invitation or it could be done by email, telephone, through the website, and so on. 

If you go full paper, I would recommend doing it separately, with a card including the +1 and eventually some food requirements. 

The RSVP could also be a link to a website where each guest will be asked to fill out the same information. 

Once the deadline passes, and if you have missing answers, you could always follow up directly with guests.

Website

Creating a website greatly facilitates the delivery of information, including modification all along and last-minute changes (do not forget that we just came out of a pandemic). Everything I just mentioned could also be found on a website: RSVP, program, dress code, location, etc.

In case you make one, mention it in the invitation or put a link to it if it is a digital one. However, be aware that not every guest will read it, therefore you may need to repeat where to find the information multiple times during the organization process.

STEP 3: Distribution

I find personally handing out invitations to be very romantic and elegant. Although I understand that sometimes it may not be possible to do and it requires a lot of time and effort.

When should an invitation be sent?

Tradition says that you should send your invitations between 6 and 8 weeks before the event. This timeline gives the guests enough time to organize.

Nonetheless, if we are talking about a destination event (for instance: a wedding) I would suggest sending them 5 months in advance.

Save the Date

The term “Save the Date” actually means to officially reserve a date for an upcoming event. Even when you do not have all the information yet, you can send them out so your guests know that something is going to happen and when. 

I would highly advise sending out a Save the Date. Depending on the type of event, you could send it 5 to 6 months prior. If it is a destination wedding I would say, 12 to 10 months in advance. 

Remember that it is never too early to let your guests know about your party, and some of them will even appreciate it. 

The Save the Date should include the event name or nature, the date, the city, and the venue if you already have it. You could also mention that a formal invitation will follow.

When should the RSVP deadline be?

Once again, this will depend on the nature of your event, and the level of personalization you will be offering. Therefore, you may want to have the confirmed list in advance. There is no fixed rule, but I would say between 6 and 3 weeks before the event.

Tip: when preparing stationery to send, it is best to close the envelope with specially designed stamps or stickers related to the event.

By Gabriela Buser

No matter the industry you find yourself in, you have most likely experienced a shift in your daily habits over the past two years.

The cancellation of the celebrations was one of the most disappointing parts of COVID. We essentially worked without any reward besides our paycheck: no restaurant, no trips, and no parties.

The fact that some people were forced to work from home, has also created a feeling of isolation. A great opportunity for gathering and getting to know each other is team-building.

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success ” 

~ Henry Ford

Why does a company need to organize team-building?

A company can benefit greatly from team-building activities. It’s been proven that group tasks increase communication between co-workers but also productivity, motivation, and collaboration. And, who knows? You may discover some secret skills in your staff. 

There exists a long list of some interesting exercises to do during a team-working outing. Depending on your goal for the day, the event planner or company you hire will adapt the program around it.

It is important to understand what the day is for before you get started on it. These are a few points you might like to improve or work on during team-building: 

Socializing

We have reduced the number of social interactions over the past two years. This is a great time to bring all of your old habits back or even create brand-new ones.

Once we understand our coworkers better, daily collaboration becomes easier. We often tend to judge people too fast without really taking the time for a meaningful conversation.

Any type of organization must get to know its employees. Know what their life looks like outside the working environment, their families, hobbies, etc.

Communication and TeamWork

This is one of the main goals of any team-building day. Every company wishes its employees to get along well and strengthen their communication

By playing games in which everyone has to mingle with other departments, more fluid communication will occur between the various departments, and therefore, will benefit the organization. 

Furthermore, because the employees are away from the office, they can talk more easily with each other. This in turn enables them to deal with their daily frustrations and resolve conflicts. 

Increase Performance

After completing a series of team-building days, you will certainly learn more about each employee’s strengths, weaknesses, and interests. As a result, you will be better equipped to decide how to consolidate each project’s team and how they will collaborate on future company progress.

Positive work cultures begin when everyone gives their utmost effort. No two teams are the same, and no two individuals have the same skills. You will be able to achieve your team’s collective potential once you can recognize and encourage everyone in their individual potential.

Leadership

There may be hidden gems in your company and, as mentioned previously, some exercises will help you to better understand the personality and skills of your employees. 

Leaders sometimes rise in different environments, not always in an office. Being away from a corporate location inspires people to express themselves authentically. 

When groups are created, there is always an Alfa soul that will take the lead. You may be surprised to meet your next manager during team-building.

Community Engagement

Giving back to your community is a noble way to improve your company image towards your staff, but also towards your clients and society. 

There are plenty of actions you can organize throughout the year to increase the commitment and solidify the company culture. 

Your company’s image may be boosted by arranging a team-building activity focused on social engagement. 

Celebrate & Appreciate 

What have you accomplished this year? Say thank you to your employees! Appreciation and gratitude are crucial to creating loyalty to your organization.

After all, you are where you are now thanks to each individual that works for and with you. 

How often a company should organize team building?

I personally think team-building is very important for any organization and it should be scheduled (and budgeted) regularly. 

The frequency of each team building will depend mostly on the dynamics of your company and also the size.  

For instance, for companies with 50 or more employees, I would suggest organizing 2 “Celebrate & Appreciate” gatherings per year. It could be the traditional Summer Party or BBQ or the End-of-the-Year party.

Community Engagement events could be organized once a year, choosing the date depending on the activity. It could not necessarily be a mandatory activity.

For the rest, it will depend on how the team is currently working. 

When organizing team buildings to reinforce socializing, communication, or productivity, you may want to break them into different groups. 

Some departments may need them more than others, therefore, sometimes it will not involve the whole organization.

Spread them during the year, trying to find the right balance and avoid scheduling them all together (we tend to do that when we want to enjoy spring and summer weather). Otherwise, your team will not look forward to it as you may wish to.

Check the main annual leave for the team and always, inform about it in advance so everyone can make sure they will be there.

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and

intelligence win championships ” 

~ Michael Jordan 

Where should I hold team-building activities? 

Outside the office.  

As much as you can, try to organize activities in the open air. It has been proven that contact with nature facilitates inter-relationships.

This is not always easy, and of course, you need to have a backup plan in case of bad weather.

There are also amazing indoor places in each city where you can organize exercises or even parties. I would always recommend thinking out of the box and maybe theming each team-building.

If you can, hire an event company to handle the planning and organizing. You may think you gain by doing it yourself, but the time you spend on it is actually costing you.

However, if you feel like this can be handled internally, I wouldn’t entrust the responsibility to just one department (typically HR). You should assemble a team that includes senior executives and department heads. In order to bring some creativity and innovation to the table, you need people from different backgrounds.

Feedback and results

As in every project, it is important to take the time to analyze the outcome of each team-building at the end of the journey.

If you are organizing them internally, make sure the team is getting feedback from the participants, your impressions may vary from the members’ ones.

The results may come later in the year and grow gradually, you should just keep observing and adjusting. And remember, you can always do better next time.

Have fun!

Would like know more about Team-Building planning and organization ? Contact us! 

Budgeting is not an easy task, it is also not fun, but it is important to do it properly when planning a wedding without any professional assistance. I have compiled a few ideas that may help you get your wedding planning started and even enjoy it.

CREDITS @EMILIEGARCINPHOTOGRAPHE

While organizing weddings, I have noticed that most of the couples I have collaborated with in the past years had a hard time sharing their budget information with me during our first meeting. Whether they had not thought about it yet or they were intimidated by the question, it was almost always a tough moment in the conversation. In reality, the budget is one of the most critical aspects of the wedding planning process. It is essential to make it realistic so you can determine how much you can spend on different aspects of your day.

Where to start when you have never done it before? 

I like to see the budget as a dynamic tool, so I would say it’s wise to start with an estimate and then adjust it as needed. That way, you’ll have a better idea of what you can afford and what you might have to leave aside or review.

If you have chosen a professional planner to assist you with your wedding organization, they can help you manage it. They can keep it accurate and organize all the vendors involved in making that day happen. They will also make sure that you don’t get carried away with expensive extras and that you stick to your original plans. 

What should you include in your budget?

Absolutely everything.

When organizing your wedding on your own, you will need to include all the details on your budget chart. For this, you can simply use an Excel sheet to do it.

This is a brainstorming exercise to do with your significant other. However, you could also ask for tips from your married friends to make sure you cover all the potential expenses you may have.

As I said before, this is a dynamic tool, so you will be able to adjust it every time you confirm a service.

How to stick to the budget?

This is a tricky question and this is why it is so crucial to establish the maximum amount of money you will invest in your wedding beforehand.

The wedding day is an emotional and sensitive event, it is special and when emotions are involved, we humans tend to make decisions we regret after.To stick to your plan while being true to yourself, I would suggest you make a shortlist as a couple of non-negotiable points. For instance, if you would like to have a venue with a sea view or a famous DJ or band. Knowing your deal-breakers will help you to make decisions easily.

…but how will you know what your deal-breakers are?

For some couples, the deal-breaker will be entertainment. They will prefer to have a 3-course menu instead of a 6-course meal, focusing on the band or DJ, keeping their guests entertained all night long.

Others, like me, will prioritize the catering. Due to our professional background, we said from the beginning we would like to have one of the top catering services and it worked!. Even today, many years later, people still talk to me about the canapes. 

Deciding about what is meaningful to you at the beginning of the planning phase will help you throughout the entire organization process. It is not an easy exercise when you are not used to planning events, but you can remember past weddings or other social events you were invited to together and write down what you like and what did you not. Sometimes it is easier to know what you do not want, and then, you take it from there.

Let’s Break it Down!

Like every couple, all weddings are different. Nevertheless, if you feel a bit lost and do not know where to start, the breakdown below may help.

Before we dive into each category, please keep in mind the fact that this is just an example and of course, you can play with it.

Venue 10%

Depending on where you choose to celebrate your marriage, this cost will go up or down.

In Switzerland, venues overlooking the lake with outdoor spaces are more expensive than others. The same applies to destinations such as French Riviera or Amalfi Coast.  Nevertheless, there are always other ways to get your dream venue. 

If you show some flexibility with the dates, I am sure you will be able to negotiate the rental cost. Avoiding high season or asking for another weekday besides Saturday is a smart way to start.

Catering 30%

Personally, this is one of the most relevant breakdown items. You have to feel comfortable with your supplier and ask for transparency: what is included in the menu? Double-check all the points with them: is the open bar included? Is the cake too? What about service and overtime?

Some venues request you to use their own supplier and this may come in handy, as they know the place already and will save you some extra costs.

Decoration 15%

The decoration can alter the entire look of your wedding. Depending on the venue and the decoration you choose, this could also be a major cost.

Some venues, like hotels, will provide wedding packages including some floral decoration. 

Art de la Table 10%

You may not have to rent tableware, glasses, etc., depending on the caterer you choose. Still, from my experience these past years, I have learned that catering companies only include (when they do) the basic white sets.

The Devil is in detail, and details make the difference for a memorable day.

Stationery 5%

Save the date, invitations, programs, menus, and so forth. Whether you would like everything printed or use digital invitations, save a percentage of your budget to use a professional graphic designer. 

Entertainment 20%

DJ or a band? I would also include under entertainment the photographer and videographer, and the officiant in case you need one. 

Others 10%

This last point will include all the services that will be related to the points above and your decisions: transportation, guests’ gifts, insurance, security, etc.

One common mistake is to forget the “unknown”. It is normal, as organizing a wedding by yourself is not an easy task. Anticipating the unexpected is challenging when you are not a professional planner. Keep in mind that surprises may come up last minute and you will need this extra money. 

Creativity is not limited by budget 

I do love this phrase and I say it frequently to my clients. Nowadays, the Internet has a lot to offer in terms of ideas, and if you are a DIYer, the sky is the limit.

Yes, you will spend a lot of time on Pinterest, searching for options and negotiating. Nonetheless, this could be a fun experience to share with your partner in crime.

Lastly, the most practical advice I could give to couples who are organizing their weddings by themselves is to create a “helping team”. In the days leading up to the wedding day, you’ll need your closest friends and family to assist you with running everything smoothly.

By Gabriela Buser

Enjoy the journey!

Would like know more about wedding planning and organization ? Contact us!