Archive for February, 2013


2013 Cocktail Trends – Part 1

As the 2013 wedding season is hitting us in full force, the bar and beverages are becoming an integral part of the planning process. With cocktail scene moving at a rapid pace we are already out with old and in with the new for 2013 – and here is what we think will be big!  We’ll be doing a series of 3 blog posts to share these ideas with you!

daiquriCan anyone say Daiquiri’s? What makes Daiquri’s so great is that they are so simple. With just 3 key ingredients: White Rum, Lime Juice and simple Syrup, you’re on your way to a rocking cocktail!  Also RUM is making a huge comeback and so we’ll be seeing a lot of these fruity cocktails at weddings this summer.

Chef’s Inspiration: The distance between the bar and the kitchen is getting shorter at a rapid rate.  Chefs are starting to create ingredients to be used in cocktails.  Using creative foods such as smoked pepper infused Bourbon, or pickled bitters are just some example of how far you can take it! chef

Lower Alcohol Content: This is something that we’ve seen slowly becoming really popular.  Taking drinks that may originally have a higher alcohol content but switching them to lower content alternatives. For instance substituting Whiskey with a Campari, dramatically drops the alcohol content by 50%.  As the North American palate changes toward more of the dryer, bitter and reasonable tastes this trend will continue to grow!

Spirit of the Year Goes to Brandy! The next big spirit we will see this year is brandy. Drinks like Cognacs and Armagnacs will be seen everywhere as the world of booze is starting to take similar form as the world of wine. Barreled Brandy’s and aged Cognac’s will be all the rage!


Next Big Ingredient – Minerals: So in 2012 we’ve already done vegetables and so 2013 goes back to the elements and using minerals. Things like slate-cured Vodkas and serving mineral salts alongside your drinks so that people can add this to suit their taste buds will be seen in upscale bars as well as at luxury wedding events.

Stay tuned for more inspiration for your bars in Part 2!

Happy Planning!


Event Review: eventConnect

This week I attended eventConnect – a networking session that brings together the industry and provides an opportunity for aspiring meeting planners to produce an event.  It was my first time attending and I definitely had a great time meeting new people but also catching up with industry friends. Here’s more on the event!

Brassai 1 Location, Location, Location! Held at the trendy Brassaii in King West, the resto-lounge was perfect for the chic crowd that it attracted.  Having a private space to host the event gave it intimacy and exclusivity.  The venue is perfect for intimate weddings, wedding rehearsal or even perhaps a trendy bridal shower.

#OmNomNom ~ For event planners food should and must be a priority, especially with “foodie trend” that has had global impact.  The event served up 5 bite sized treats include a Cocktail Shrimp, two varieties of sliders (Roasted Chicken & Beef), a cheese infused treat for the veggies and a mini cupcake.  The taste and frequency of service was great, however I do wish they served up another or had an equal amount of vegetarian delights for all!


Meeting the Experts ~ As a planner I know I am always developing each event that I execute.  In the events industry you never stop learning and if you think have learnt it all – you are definitely wrong!  eventConnect not only provided an outlet to network with my peers but it also included an interactive panel of experts speaking on “How You Found Success in the Industry”.  This session was not only insightful but inspiring.  The panel included Paras Mehta, Sandy Biback & Trevor Lui – all inspirational leaders with a wealth of knowledge to share.  Coming from diverse backgrounds in design, corporate meeting planning and venue operations, the panel was dynamic and I went away with some key pieces of information that will only help me help my clients!


Take Away ~ It’s so important to be involved in your industry.  The more people you meet and the more you learn will only make you better at what you do.  In the end offering the highest level of expertise to our clients is what they are paying us for and events like this only elevate us.  I encourage everyone to collaborate and share – it will only raise the bar and make our industry and our services invaluable!Networking1


Not Everyone Hates Parking!

As more and more of our clients opt out of the traditional banquet hall as their venue of choice and move to unique and trendy spaces that our lovely city has to offer, I sometimes come across that the issue of parking or valet is avoided.  Maybe it’s because we all hate trying to find a parking spot, maybe it’s because it’s an additional expense we don’t want to think about, or maybe we think it’s a small detail in comparison to all the other moving parts of the event. BUT, parking is often your guest’s first impression or contact with your event and also their last!  Here are some ideas wether you are considering valet parking or not to add some glitz and glamour to the asphalt!

1. Fill the Bellies! Yes we know you’ve already fed your guests to their hearts content but a little end of the night treat will always go noticed. Think ice cream or food trucks or even a fun cart or stand by your valet stand or parking attendant.  The treats should be packaged to go, so that your wedding experience takes them all the way home!

2. Offer a bevvie! Depending on the weather or season your guests may appreciate either a warm or cold drink as they wait for their cars. Warm hot chocolate or cider work well for Winter & Fall weddings while Lemonade or Iced Tea are great for the summer heat.  If you want to go simple why not offer personalized water bottles – there’s something that everyone can do!

3. Dress your valet/parking attendant for the event! Now this must be done with class and discretion.  If your event has a particular theme and since parking is your guests first interaction with your event why not have these members play the part?  Your guests will notice that for you no detail is too small!

4. Logistics! Logistics! Logistics! There’s nothing worse than offering a service that is poorly managed – especially when it comes to parking!  Lots of communication with your guests is key.  Be sure to send out a confirmation note or email that includes parking information as well as a reminder of their parking voucher, or parking pass that they can print out.  Ensure that your parking attendants or valet have a guest list at the entrance in case someone does forget to bring them – it will happen! If your valet entrance or venue is difficult to find be sure to include readable maps and driving directions.

5. A small token of appreciation! It doesn’t have to be a diamond ring but a small gift or favor inside your guests cars puts the “AHMAZING” in event for a positive guest experience.  This will stay with them as a token of how wonderful your event was.  You can even take ideas 1 and 2 and take your sweet treats and bevvies and have the valet place them inside the vehicle while they are in their care.

6. Provide Heaters & Umbrellas! I know we are stating the obvious but if it’s cold or chilly at night provide enough heaters for guests to stay warm as they wait for their cars. Ensure that the valet also has umbrella’s on stand by in case it rains – nothing is worse than waiting for your car in the cold or while you’re wet!

Happy Planning from AWE!