Archive for September, 2013

Branding a Corporate Event

Recently, WCEP clients have been inquiring about ways to incorporate their organization’s brand into a corporate event for an anniversary, auction, employee celebration, and beyond. Ruby Receptionists’ 10th Anniversary event at Pure Space utilized a couple notable strategies to achieve brand emulation effectively, while not plastering logos everywhere, or including overly literal elements. These event branding strategies also helped to build anticipation and excitement leading up to the day of, and got guests involved and mentally invested. Whitney Martin, Ruby Receptionist’s Event Coordinator, said every element of their 10th Anniversary celebration at Pure Space was intentional. Here are a few we found notable, and beneficial for all organizations.

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Fit Right Fashion Show, a Success! Ready for Next Year?

WCEP Account Manager, DJ Smith, and Fit Right owner, Dave Sobolik

Over 200 guests at the Fit Right Fashion Show shopped, mingled, and put their hands on their heads and behinds Friday, September 20th at Pure Space to support Oregon Active. Guests raised 1,500 dollars for Oregon Active, by playing “Heads or Tails” prior to the runway show—getting up on the runway dancing, and choosing “heads or tails” when the music stopped by placing their hands accordingly. A coin was tossed by Oregon Active recipient of the nonprofit’s Adventure Therapy Programs,  Nathan Woods, to decide each round of winners that correctly choose heads or tails. Guests also donated by sipping Barefoot wine and Widmer Brothers brews!

Fifteen vendors, including Nike, Adidas, Lucy, The North Face, Brooks, and Icebreaker sold apparel at a discount—some of the items were made only available during the event. Local athletes, trainers, fitness instructors, and Olympians Kara and Adam Goucher were among those that strutted their stuff, and the featured apparel down the runway for the cause.

Fit Right Northwest owner and Oregon Active supporter, Dave Sobolik, organized the fashion show benefit for the second year to raise funds for the nonprofit that has truly “struck a chord” with Sobolik. The Adventure Programs funded by Oregon Active, strive to “inspire through positive emotion, challenges, community support and a connection with the natural world that refreshes the human spirit”, an aspiration in close alignment with Fit Right’s organizational values as well as Sobolik’s personal values—values of maintaining a healthy body and spirit, and acting as a positive contributing influence on the community.

Sobolik was pleased to have the ability to give back to an amazing organization, and worked with West Coast Event Productions to execute the fashion show benefit in the Pure Space Venue. Sobolik and his team worked closely with West Coast’s technicians and account managers to ensure lighting, audio visual, and the right atmosphere would create an optimal environment for showcasing the apparel in the vendor booths, on the runway, and Oregon Active through an inspirational video and speech delivered by Oregon Active’s CEO, Devin Kelly.

“I haven’t heard a single bit of negative feedback” said Sobolik of the event, “My inbox last week was full of positive comments, new fans of Oregon Active, and people proud of the charitable event we put on.” Sobolik hopes the successful trend will continue with next year’s event that will most likely be held in mid-October or early November.

Read more about Sobolik’s involvement with Oregon Active, and how the show came together.

Steve Belinge Photography

Katy and Ben Walked on Water at their Wedding!

“We were so sad to see it go!” said mother of the bride, Leslie Polanksy, of the clear-top tent and white dance floor that West Coast Event Productions constructed over her and her husband, John’s, swimming pool at their home in Salem for their daughter’s wedding. The challenging set up took three full days, and hours of planning to ensure bride Katy, groom Ben, and wedding guests did not find themselves literally doing “The Swim” on the dance floor over the pool! DJ Smith and the West Coast crew tested variance of flex in the warehouse weeks before, on the floor and truss that it rested on. DJ and the crew brought swim suits and wet suits in full anticipation of having to dive in to erect the tent however, strategic thinking and years of experience allowed the team to avoid getting in the water completely—craftily pinning the tent poles outside of the pool!  

“The guests and everyone absolutely loved the tent” said Leslie, “We even had friends over to enjoy the tent after the event. We brought out the boom box—it was great!” Leslie and John had attended another Wedding produced by West Coast Event Productions at Kings Estate Winery earlier this summer (See photos featuring the King Estate wedding) that utilized the unique clear top-tent, and knew it would be a fabulous addition to their daughter Katy’s outdoor wedding.  The couples’ Salem home sits on a three tiered property with a breath-taking view. The clear-top tent provided the coverage needed while not blocking the beautiful scenery. A rare rental, clear-top tents provide an outdoor space unlike a traditional tent.

Leslie, a florist, contributed her own wow-factor to the wedding along with help from friend Jim Roetman, also a florist, designing vibrant floral centerpieces placed around the property—where tents and seating areas were constructed on each of the three levels.

“I do so many white weddings, it makes me sad. I always tell brides to avoid the ‘white blob’ which occurs when the neutral bouquet simply blends in with the dress—you don’t know where the dress stops and the flowers begin!” Leslie said of her inspiration for the beautiful tropical infused arrangements.

The property turned out beautifully with the help of West Coast’s magic—constructing the tent and dance floor over the pool, and Leslie’s beautiful arrangements and landscaping! Congratulations Katy and Ben! May your lives together remain magical, and your love make you feel that together, you will always be able to walk on water!

Oh the Budget for our Holiday Party Looks Frightful…

…But this year is different, it shall be delightful! Since the recession, many business and corporations have made significant changes to their corporate holiday parties, unable to afford the once extravagant occasions that were tradition. There has also been a shift in purpose for corporate holiday parties, from mere celebrations, to events that include team building experiences, and emphasize the season’s spirit of giving in lieu of allotting funds to an open bar and the like. With the economy recovering however, over the top winter wonderlands are making a comeback! According to BizBash, a recent study showed that 91 percent of corporations surveyed hosted a holiday party last year—the highest number recorded since the recession. Here are a few holiday event inclusions with rental ideas for a holiday event that is very merry, though still incorporates the spirit of giving and good citizen principles adopted during the recession!  

Does your organization have a nonprofit or cause that it supports? Great! If not, choose one that coincides with your corporate values in some way by polling coworkers and employees. The collaboration in the decision making process is a great team building exercise—as is the process of contributing to a charity collectively, and attending a holiday party in general. Surveys have shown that guests report improved professional relationships and office morale from attending and planning holiday parties. After selecting the charity, ask yourself and your team, “What is the best donation to give this cause?”

Cash: Create a wine wall. Put the bottles in stockings that are hung on a festive fireplace prop. Personalize the scene, and put employees’ names on the stockings, or fun brand-related terms common in your organization. There are so many great causes in Portland worth contributing to—The Vital Life Foundation, Bicycle Transportation Alliance, Albertina Kerr, Oregon food Bank, Human Rights Campaign, American Cancer Society, the American Red Cross, New Avenues for Youth, and Self Enhancement to name a very limited few! Tell us what local nonprofit you’re actively involved in, or support on Facebook!

Products/Items: If your organization choose to support a local nonprofit that sponsors families during the holidays, or accepts toy donations like The Christmas Family Adoption, have employees bring an unwrapped gift to the corporate holiday party, and provide supplies to host a gift wrapping competition—winner takes home a prize! For a more up-scale party, where guests may look silly cutting and tapping in cocktail attire, have guests bring pre-wrapped gifts, and vote on the best wrapped package. These items also contribute as festive décor. Create a classic scene with a holiday tree and décor from West Coast to create a beautiful display area for the wrapped packages that double as décor.

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Classic and Timeless King Estate Winery Wedding

Looking back at your wedding years later, you want your wedding day decor to remain as beautiful as ever. Reminiscing over wedding photos should not inspire the same disdain and embarrassment as looking at old prom photos, or yourself years ago with that haircut that was just so “trendy” that it was in style for a short period of time… for good reason. Bride Whitney Shepard kept this in mind as she worked with West Coast to plan a “timeless, classic, and elegant” wedding at the beautiful King Estates Winery in Eugene, Oregon.

“I wanted to be able to look back ten years from now, and still think it was beautiful” said Shepard. Having worked in the event industry herself, Shepard turned to West Coast to help plan and produce her big day, knowing that West Coast, “Is the top of the tier when it comes to event companies. If there is anything you need or want, chances are West Coast has it. If not, they will make it! You can come with any idea, and know that you will get an A+ end product” said Shepard.

Working with WCEP’s Jessica Lleras, Shepard chose wonderfully unique, yet classic rental and decor elements–including the rather uncommon clear-top tent. Clear top tents are a fabulous choice for outdoor weddings, that allow the natural beauty of the environment to shine in every direction you look. Shepard also noted that clear-top tents is an excellent rental choice in terms of budget, as the skeleton of the tent is unseen; thus evading the cost of covering these components in traditional tents if one so chooses. Dark wood, and neutral colored florals debuted throughout the wedding as another favorite design element, along with the chiffon tent leg drape treatment that added a whimsical and delicate touch to the structure.

In addition to the rentals, decor, and design executed by West Coast, Shepard was also impressed with customer service, describing Jessica and the event production crew as “amazing!”

“Having had experience in the event industry, I know how the set-up and tear-down process of an event can go… and West Coast was so great, and efficient” the new bride continued.

What wedding planning advice does this experienced bride and event professional have to offer? Delegate! In an age of  countless Pinterest and other DIY ideas, your wedding day is not the day to be ambitious about assuming responsibilities. Shepard advises brides and grooms to plan every detail down to the minute–delegating tasks so that you may enjoy your wedding day and simply “let the chips fall where they may”.

Congratulations to Whitney and her new groom! May your love be as timeless as your wedding decor!

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