By Allison Sousa
The event industry has been one of the hardest hit by the Coronavirus pandemic. Like most organizations, the pandemic has likely changed the event industry for the foreseeable future. From venues and catering companies - to photographers, wedding cake experts, entertainers, cleaning crews, suppliers and other service providers & vendors - all are experiencing a seismic shift in the structure and execution of events.
The outlook continues to change daily and these changes don't just impact the providers; they will also require event and meeting planners to consider new trends, requirements, and technologies on the front-end. Amid the terrible confusion, here are some of the trends being consistently noted by industry professionals:
By Stephanie Nelson
Ok, ok... So there’s no fire, but I got your attention didn’t I? If I had titled this #eventstatus something like "Paper Clutter During a Quarantine," I bet you would have just scrolled on past.
As an event planner, one of the comments I get regularly is, “You must be so organized. You have to be in order to plan such elaborate events.”
Ummm...smile and wave boys, smile and wave. If you know me, please stop laughing at this thought. Seriously, I can hear you all snorting with laughter. I am here during this quarantine, to officially say: "Hi, my name is Stephanie and I have a paper organization problem."
Y’all this was my desk at home:
When we moved to our house nine years ago, I thought the desk being in the kitchen was going to be a great motivator for me to keep our paper in check. I was wrong. But somewhere around 2015, I stopped caring about what people think. Then, I got my dream job and that paper control issue transferred to my office (which drives my uber-neat and ultra-organized office mate Brittany, absolutely insane. Sorry, Britt!).
In an effort to better myself during this quarantine, I decided to take a paper clutter “Mini-Boot Camp”. This is what we are supposed to do, right? Use this time to better ourselves? Clean out our closets? Get rid of the things weighing us down? Yes! I can do this! (Right? Anyone? Friends?)
So, with large glass of wine in hand, I started collecting all of my paper from around the house. That’s right. All of it.
Those papers in the filing cabinet upstairs? Yep.The kids' old art projects and schoolwork? Yep. Twenty years' worth of neatly organized tax documents? Yep. The random piles of “I don’t know what to do with this but surely I’ll need it” papers? Yep, even those. Everything piled on any surface, even if I don’t know what that pile is? For SURE.
I used the dining room as my collection point. There were a couple of reasons for this:
Once I collected ALL of the papers, the sorting could begin. It was at this point I called my mother, who has been in banking for all of my 40+ years of life, to confirm which financial papers to save. Evidently, that whole "don’t save taxes older than seven years" is true! Same with bank statements. In fact, most banks don’t save statements longer than five years. That means it is so rare that anyone looks at bank statements from more than five years ago, that most banks don’t even keep them!
It quickly became apparent that I was going to need a paper shredder. So I went to an office supply store’s website and promptly ordered said shredder. Luckily it was on sale, I could pick it up that day, and it could be brought to my car.
I sorted all the documents/papers/junk into categories and, one by one, began tackling each pile. This part of the process took approximately three days to work through. The consultant I was using recommended setting a timer and working for 15 minute intervals, but I just dove in and worked until I was tired of sorting. I found I became more ruthless with “needing” to save something when I was deep in purge mode and wanting to power through to get done.
Making the piles was easier than I thought it would be. As I started sorting, the piles and their categories kind of took shape naturally. We had everything from insurance, to hospital and medical records, to kids schoolwork and old paper maps.
The process caused quite a mess in my dining room, hence furthering the need to finish. No one wants to track shredded paper all over their house. Trust me.
Efforts also seemed to produce a metric ton of shredded paper. At one point the shredder jammed and I swear it was smoking. But after letting it rest for about two hours, the poor thing started functioning again. I enlisted my husband to go through the piles I knew he would want to peruse himself. Together, we worked to whittle away at 23 years' worth of paper work!
It should be noted at this point that my father-in-law is notorious for saving papers and such (bless him). It is one habit that drives my hubs crazy. Once he saw so much old paperwork had accumulated (meaning he was well on his way to the same fate as his beloved father), there was no problem getting him on board with the purging and reorganizing process.
I have to say, it was kind of fun going through old paperwork. We still had stuff from when we sold our old home nine years ago, as well as banking statements from 15-20 years back. Also, I used to be so organized with reconciling statements…then came the wonders of online banking, So, I haven’t done that in ages.
The lesson here is that when you file stuff away in a filing cabinet, it probably goes there to die. We essentially whittled down to needing only one drawer of the cabinet, instead of the full filing cabinet plus the full desk filing space. We didn’t get rid of the cabinet, and decided that long term items will live there, while short term/current items will be filed in the desk drawer.
Here is a list of the things we kept:
Overall, the project worked out just like we had planned. I posted an Instagram story (because I’m THAT GIRL) and my college roommate texted me that I inspired her to do the same thing! On the advice of my consultant, I designated a tray on the edge of my desk for all incoming papers. Everything goes in this tray, trash is thrown away immediately, and “action items” are dealt with accordingly. My goal is to not have it overflow, so we have been doing a good job of tackling it as it comes in, or every few days. (Disclaimer: We are under a safe-at-home order, so I have much more time on my hands, and - as school has been called off for the year - there are no new school papers are coming in.)
And just for fun, above is an "after" of my kitchen desk and Easter table. I love the way my dining table turned out this year and it was made even sweeter by having cleaned up the paper mess!
So, this seems to have been a successful project overall. Now, let’s just see if I can use this same strategy for my office desk. (I promise I will work on it, Britt!)
(Special thanks to Grid and Glam for the tips and the mini-camp.)
By Allison Sousa, Director
I admit it. I usually get my best cleaning and organizing done when I'm mad. With my husband behaving himself lately (thus staying out of the proverbial doghouse) combined with the clutter we've accumulated during our 19 years in the same house, I have a LOT to do! Especially since we are empty-nesters now and we'd like to downsize while we have the energy to move.
So, enjoy these "after" pics. "What about the before pics" you ask? Well, I didn't realize I'd be sharing my at-home adventures with the general public until a couple of nights ago. Also, you probably need to get to know me and my warped sense of humor a little better so I don't frighten you with the state of our closets. Anything to keep our audience entertained!
Across from said junk desk is the "scary closet under the stairs." It got its name because until last week, it was so full we had difficulty closing the door.
Following five hours of sorting and matching sheets that had been cruelly and haphazardly shoved into a hutch (some of them from the kids' twin beds from 15+ years ago), this is how our storage cabinet looked when I finished...
freeing up the linen closet for blankets and pillows. (Yes, those are baby blankets on the bottom shelf, and you de-cluttering Kondo warriors CANNOT make me part with them!)
Leading to the pièce de résistance: The Bonus Room. Hijacked several years ago by two teen-aged boys for use as a man-cave (*gulp*), it's a room I'd previously avoided like...well...you know.
Stay tuned. Stephanie's hard at work on an online paperwork de-cluttering class (and subsequent inspired projects, I'm sure). She's anxious to share her #eventstatus!
By Allison Sousa, Director
Disclaimer: This is not a post about COVID-19...I promise! But referencing it is an important part of this blog's story. So bear with me and read on through.
During the process of opening and growing The Venue, our management team realized very quickly that "this is the stuff of which reality shows are born." From the people involved with the construction of the building and staff - to clients, guests, and vendors - we felt we had the characters, stories and plots that could fill a book after just our first three months in business.
We've also been planning to start a blog for a quite some time. We operate on a lean staff and, under normal circumstances, our business is very good and growing. So, we keep exceedingly busy and the blog just hadn't yet reached the top of the ever-expanding priority list.
But here we are as a community. Here we are, in the midst of an international pandemic, a national state of emergency, an almost surreal healthcare crisis. Our nation's citizens are not only worried about staying safe amidst COVID-19, but also about their families, jobs, finances, friends & neighbors, co-workers, those unable to care for themselves, etc.. Folks are sheltering in their homes, so they're not only worried; they're stressed, stir-crazy, bored, sad, etc..
And here we are as a venue. A business. Obviously, we are not keeping busy with events. Rather, we're catching up and cleaning up on the front-office side of the operation. Marketing plays a big role in our day-to-day operations, but it just doesn't feel right to aggressively market at this time. So, no pictures of events with which to entertain our followers, limited outright selling on social media, some time to fill, and the desire to help lift folks' spirits while keeping them engaged with us.
LET'S START OUR BLOG NOW!!! So, ladies and gentlemen, here is an actual accounting of its genesis. Enjoy!
Allison (director and certified night-owl) via a text message at 11:30pm Saturday night: Ok ladies...BEST. IDEA. EVER!!!
Since we don’t have any events to promote, and because I personally feel like it’s tacky to be aggressively marketing right now, I’m going to start a blog where we can each highlight our home improvements/clean-outs/projects, etc.! Then we’ll populate our social media feed with it. It’ll keep our audience engaged and entertained with a little light-heartedness and a pinch of self-deprecation 😊
I wish I’d been taking pics all along, because I’m getting a ton done 😆
Stephanie (assistant director, wedding specialist, and meme queen):
Jessica (former event captain and - most of the time - loving military wife, now living in the northwest US): I’m going to murder a husband 😒 it can be the episode called quarantine couples. 😂🔪
Allison: Oooooo...we can throw somma that salt in there, too 😂😂😂
Stephanie: The episode can be everyone interacting with their husbands.
Madison (former event captain who pursued a full-time opportunity elsewhere <boo-hiss> and mama-to-be): It’s like the reality tv show but a blog instead 😎
Allison: We can call it “Why we need to be working.”
Allison: Exactly Madison!
Allison: And we can include video, so Andy Cohen might find us after all :)
Stephanie: As long as she doesn’t give birth in quarantine 😬
Madison: If we’re still in quarantine when I have to give birth I am going to be beyond mad.
Allison: The season finale will be the quarantine lifting, things safer, Maddie gives birth to a beautiful baby girl, and her family living happily ever after ❤️
Jessica: you guys need to know I was sunbathing in the grass with the cat, on a leash while wearing jeans and a jacket.
Jessica: It’s 55 degrees here
Allison: You just made me snarf my drink
Allison: Because I can sooo hear your tone rn
Stephanie: I mean. THORNE WALKES THE CAT
(Thorne is Jessica's husband)
Allison: Shut your mouth at me!
Madison: I like that finale. Jessica you’re weird
Jessica: 😂 if madi gets her happy ending can I go somewhere warm?!?!
Stephanie: Can I use this photo I found today of my mom?
Jessica: Oh look Thorne saved the pic of me from today
Stephanie: Brittany's gonna wake up and be like:
WHAT IN THE ACTUAL HECK HAS HAPPENED
Brittany (Poor, sweet, sleeping Brittany, event captain and stir-crazy mama): HI...Yes I did wake up to 100 txt and I had to see what was going on!
Brittany: Mine will be about if I’m going to be able to survive this quarantine with a 4 year old! 😬
Brittany: So there’s my chime in to the txt...
And that, dear friends, is today's #eventstatus! Welcome to our slightly-cracking-up-stream-of-consciousness world. We hope it makes you smile. Stay posted, because if nothing else, we're a creative and entertaining bunch. :)