Corporate Event Planning Tips

So you have somehow been assigned to plan your company’s next conference.  While this can be great way for you to shine in front of the big wigs, I’m sure you are stressed beyond belief.  Especially if you have never done any event planning in the past.  Have no fear.  You’re not the first one to be in this situation.  Many have thrived, and yet many have failed when given a hefty assignment such as this.  But if you stay organized, plan ahead, don’t freak out there is a little snag, you’ll be on your way to planning a great function.  Here are some guidelines to help you plan the perfect corporate event.

  1. Understanding the particulars- I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself, “I need to find a venue for this conference!”  But before you do that, you need to know the particulars of your event.  So before you book a location, and hire the keynote speaker, figure out the details.  Such as…
    • When is the conference taking place?  Hopefully you’ll be allowed to choose from a few different dates.  That way you’ll be able to compare costs, and what venues are available.


  • Conference Hours It really does matter what time the conference starts, and when it’s over.  That way you’ll need to know if you have to provide breakfast or dinner.  
  • Attendance Usually for these types of events people will just ballpark the number of people attending.  But for you, because you want to put on the best conference ever, you’ll want to get specific.  The better you are a pinning down who is actually coming, the better you can make this event.
  • What type of Venue?  Now that you have figured out some particulars, you can pin down a venue for the conference.  Most of the time people look for hotels, because they have various ballrooms that can be rented out. There are many great companies out there that can do that and get you there.  But what many first time event planners don’t know, is there are many other options to consider.  First of all banquet halls.  Some of the best banquet halls in Long Island, make the perfect location for a conference.  And you might get a great deal, because most people don’t consider banquet halls in Long Island for their conferences.  The same thing goes for Long Island wedding venues.  I mean, who would think a wedding venue would be a good location for a conference.  Well, take Windows on the Lake for example.  They have all that is needed for the perfect work conference.
  •  They have multiple rooms if you want to have any type of breakout sessions.  There are gardens, and lake views to give the perfect outdoor lecture.  There is on site catering, which one less thing to worry about on your checklist.  Exploring outside of the hotel ballroom idea, might impress all those in your company when you book a venue with views, and gardens, and you’re the only ones using a great new york seo company.  Another thing about wedding venues to consider is, most weddings are on weekends.  Chances are, your conference will be midweek.  So you will be sure to have freedom to book the place you want.
  • Budget No one likes to work with a tight budget, but chances are that’s what you’ll be given.  So it’s time to get creative.  You’ve looked to the best banquet halls in Long Island, and Long Island wedding venues, so you know that there are places to have the perfect conference, at a reasonable price.  You’ll be able to look like you spent over the budget by thousands of dollars, and yet, you may just walk away with some extra money to use elsewhere.
  • Lodging If you have a conference where people are coming from out of state/town, you’ll need to figure out lodging.  Clearly, you can work out a deal with a hotel when you are using one of their ballrooms for your conference.  But again, if you have been put on a budget, and are looking for an alternative to the generic hotel room ballroom conference, you may see that many Long Island wedding venues have lodging nearby.  And many of these hotels will have shuttles that will take you from the lobby to the venue you have chosen.


Planning a major event like this can be difficult.  But if you take the time to follow these guidelines, you’ll have a conference that no one will forget.  It will give your bosses a reason to think of you when the next promotion comes around!  Another thing to consider when looking at banquet halls and wedding venues, is they know event planning.  They plan huge weddings and other celebrations all the time.  If you book there, I imagine many of their employees will know how to help you when it comes to putting on a conference like this.  They know all the best vendors around, and can really help you stay on budget.  So when you plan your big conference, make sure to seek out the best banquet halls on Long Island, or even some of the Long Island wedding venues.  Or just come here to Windows on the Lake.  We’ll take great care of you!


Indoor or outdoor wedding venue?

Some brides to be have always imagined having an outdoor wedding, and some have known since they were young ladies that they would have their weddings in an exquisite ballroom, different spouses are attempting to settle on their ideal style and area for their wedding.


In case you’re one of those ladies weighing both indoor wedding and outside wedding choices, here are a some reasons to consider either type of wedding venue:


Outside Weddings:


Outside wedding venues already have their own natural decor, with lavish trees and beautiful, bloom filled gardens… giving an effectively blossomed venue that you don’t need to use a huge percentage of your budget on decorations.  Expert gardeners have made a mystical wedding venue emphasizing wonderful flowers, as the setting of an outside wedding.


Open air wedding venues on Long Island are accessible for the majority of the year, from prevalent springtime weddings to top season late spring weddings to fall foliage excellent autumn weddings, with distinctive “looks” for each season. Also, compact cooling and warming units can make an exceptionally agreeable environment for the greater part of your visitors in any season.


The best open air wedding venues give a few diverse spaces to your wedding’s stages, from a space for your ceremony, as well as a space for your cocktail hour, and of course an area for your reception.


Open air wedding venues also give the opportunity for amazing wedding photographs.


Open air spaces are unlimited and open, giving a vaporous air to your service and gathering.


Open air weddings give a remarkable style for visitors to appreciate, making your wedding unique compared to the indoor weddings that visitors have attended that season.

Indoor Weddings


Ballrooms offer the astounding look and feel of their rich architecture, which could be accented by florals and embellishment lighting to make an awesome scene for your wedding.


Indoor banquet halls offer full safety from any weather conditions, from a cool and blustery day to rain to snow to muggy summer humidity. The environment is impeccably situated to your and your visitors’ pleasure.


Indoor event venues give the likelihood to endless menu options, without stress over high temperature’s impact on specific sorts of dishes.


The best wedding venues offer distinctive spaces for the diverse phases of your wedding, from a space for your cocktail hour to a bigger assembly hall for your reception, and different rooms all through the wedding venue for your guests to explore.
There are obviously perks to both types of wedding venues, and consequently many of our Long Island wedding couples choose not to choose. They choose the best Long Island wedding venues that incorporate indoor and outdoor event space.  They frequently want to have their wedding outdoors, and the same goes for their cocktail hour, and then having their reception in the ballroom.  It’s nice to have both options just in case the weather should turn poor.  Having both indoor and outdoor aspects to your venue, you’ll have the best of both worlds.  Here at  Windows on the Lake, we have the best of both worlds.  With our beautiful banquet hall, and out amazing outdoor garden locations overlooking Lake Ronkonkoma you’ll find all you need for the perfect wedding.

Tips for hiring the right wedding planner

The Wedding planning industry has really blown up over the past decade or so.  Planners will have different strengths between them. Some might be better with destination weddings, while some might be experts with many of the best Long Island wedding venues.  Some may be better suited for outdoor weddings, and some might have an expertise working with indoor venues.  Here are some tips for finding the right wedding planner.


What is your Budget?

Like most aspects in planning a wedding, how much money do you have or want to spend in this particular area. Some might say that they paid too much and didn’t really end up needing the planner after all, but as far as the wedding day is concerned, most feel having a planner was invaluable, and that they wouldn’t have survived the wedding without them.  But above all, deciding the budget will decide what kind of planner you can have.



Some wedding planners charge by hour and others have a fixed or a flat fee service rate.  Work out which will be the most cost effective for your wedding day.


Get Recommendations

The best way to find a great wedding planner is to get recommendations from family and friends. If they had a good experience with a particular planner, chances are you’re safe using them as well.  Also, if you are of a like mind, and they didn’t like a particular planner, you’ll know to stay away.  Ask your friends and family a lot of questions so can avoid wasting time looking at too many planners. If they liked them, there’s a good chance you’ll find one you like as well.

Start by experience:

The best way to start is looking at what type of experience the planner has.  You can see what type of families they’ve had to deal with, what types of weddings they have worked on, how big, how small, etc.  Now keep in mind, the more experience they have, and the more highly recommended they come, the more they’ll probably cost. If you have the budget, great!  But if you are trying to keep costs down, you should be able to find plenty of planners that have worked at several Long Island wedding venues, that have enough experience, yet will fit your budget.


Packaged Deal:

Owners of a few wedding venues cover the fee of wedding consultant and charge a flat rate for every wedding that happens in their premises.

Signing the contract:

Once you have selected the wedding planner and have negotiated the terms, never forget to take it in writing by signing the final contract. This will safeguard your interest and hold the consultant responsible if something does not go according to the plan.


Consult your partner:

Hiring a wedding planner is as big as wedding itself, so ensure that your partner is involved completely in the process of selection and budgeting.


Discuss Openly:

Once you have found the perfect Wedding planner for your, it’s time to sit down and discuss all the particulars.  Make sure they know all of your expectations for your wedding day.  If they understand the picture in your mind ahead of time, they’ll be able to do what is necessary to paint that picture for you.  So don’t hold back. They’re going to do everything they can for you.  Give them your theme as soon as you have it, so they can get started on all the homework they have to do to make your day perfect!


Family introductions:

Finally, make sure you introduce the planner to your family.  She will be working with them a lot!  Especially on the big day! So get them acquainted so your planner will know who they can rely on, who will be a burden.  Make certain you point out the friends and family that you want kept out of your hair while you are getting ready for the day.  Weddings can be very stressful and nerve wracking. Especially leading up to the ceremony.  You’ll want to be sure to keep those who will add to that stress, will be taken care of and kept out of your surroundings.  If a wedding planner knows who they are, they’ll do an amazing job of keeping them away.
Not everyone uses a wedding planner for their Long Island Wedding.  But if you decide that is the path you’d like to take, just use these tips and you can’t go wrong!

Choosing the right wedding theme

One moment you fall in love with the colour of the Post-It notes on your desk, and you’re now committed to a pastel yellow theme. Later that day, you stop in for lunch at your favourite Moroccan bistro and convince yourself an Arabian Nights ball is the way to go. The next day, you walk by a stunning display of plumes in the window of a department store on your way home and it’s final – you’re going with a peacock motif.

If the theme of your wedding is changing by the hour and you can’t make up your mind, here are some clues to pick the perfect theme for your personality. We promise the only going back you’ll be doing is to that Moroccan place for some more couscous.


The atmosphere you want to establish at your wedding is one of the most important elements of choosing a theme and should be confirmed before the planning process even begins. Do you want guests to feel like they’ve fallen down the rabbit hole into a whimsical abyss? Like they’re James Bonds and the Bond girls? The mood should reflect the couple’s personalities and inspire the date, location, décor and colours for your big day.


The venue should accentuate your theme instead of holding it captive, so before booking a reception hall you must have an idea of what your motif is. If not, your guests might feel a little lost in a surfboard decorated, gothic cathedral. When scoping out venues envision the space all decorated, if you have to cover every square inch of the country club’s floor with sand to recreate a beach, it’s time for a new setting. Over-compensating with too many decorations will take away from your theme, not to mention your budget.


Weddings aren’t supposed to be cookie cutter events, but rather parties that reflect all your favourite things, quirks and obsessions. If you’re both baseball buffs, host a wedding that features the colours of your favourite teams (we hear that Red Sox and White Sox complement each other quite nicely). Maybe you met while sailing across the seven seas, in which we would suggest a nautical theme. Are you one of those couples that can actually agree on a radio station? Have your wedding dedicated to your fave music genre! We could go on, but a theme should be unique to the bride and groom, and not copy and pasted out of a wedding magazine.

The atmosphere you want to establish at your wedding is one of the most important elements of choosing a theme.


The time of year you plan on tying the knot can be a huge influence on your wedding theme. Holiday events are always a hit, including a colourful fiesta wedding for Cinco De Mayo; a sequenced everything New Years ball; a Halloween inspired masquerade ball or maybe a poinsettia packed Christmas celebration. If you’re not one for festive occasions, you can play up the elements of a particular season. Planning to wed in July? Bring the Oceanside to your reception hall with monogrammed beach balls and seashell filled fishbowl centrepieces. With January nuptials, create a winter wonderland for your guests, or, if you love autumn, winter, spring and summer all the same – go all out with a four seasons wedding. At the Four Seasons, of course.


The pairing of deep gold and pale lemon may be more of a colour scheme than a theme, but if you can’t part from those shades (and if your fiancé isn’t offended by yellow), it may be a good place to start. A wedding theme is supposed to tie in to an overall idea, so look for other components that you can incorporate which will compliment your love for all things hued in sunshine. Maybe the bride and groom’s favourite vaycay spot is Hawaii, so they’ll have a yellow luau ceremony and reception. Or, perhaps your wedding is going to revolve around sunflowers and gerber daisies. If you’d rather ditch this whole “theme” thing, and just stick with your favourite shades – that’s fine too! Can’t settle on two or three colours? Have a rainbow themed wedding. Hello 1983.


Invitation Etiquette

Invitation Etiquette

  1. Although you think someone might not make it, either because they are in poor health or due to distance, they might appreciate an invitation and the fact that you cared enough to invite them. A word of caution. As invitations usually carry an obligation to send a gift, it might look like you’re inviting them, despite knowing they can’t travel, only to receive a gift. In such a case, it might be a good idea to restrict invitations to those who are very close friends/relatives and will be hurt if they were not invited. And to let the rest in this category not feel totally excluded through a wedding announcement that carries no obligation of a gift.
  2. Anyone you invite to the bridal shower, should be invited to your wedding.
  3. It is nice to send invitations to your wedding party and the celebrant performing your church/religious ceremony.
  4. It is advisable to invite partners of guests in long standing relationships, especially if you are close to them. If a guest has just formed a new relationship though, you are not obliged to invite their partner, unless the guest is a very close friend and you would feel uncomfortable not to invite his/her newly acquired partner. The decision is yours.
  5. Whether or not to invite children will be determined by your venue and your budget. Also, if you are close to many of your friend’s kids and have a large number of nieces and nephews or your cousins have kids who you are familiar with, you might like to include children.

If you are inviting children, a few tips…

  1. At the ceremony, you could instruct ushers to seat guests with children towards the back, so that there is minimum disruption to the ceremony and so the guest can quickly exit along with the child if he/she gets too rowdy, without causing too much distraction or disturbance to the proceedings.
  2. If you’re looking to save on the catering, you could request kiddie’s meals and negotiate a special rate for it.
  3. You might like to hire a children’s entertainer to keep them occupied.
  4. Alternatively you may hire a child minder to keep an eye on the children.
  5. You could provide activity packs to keep the children creatively occupied.

Why you might choose not to invite children /how to go about conveying the same

  1. Venues do not ordinarily differentiate between children and adults in terms of numbers and catering could prove a costly affair if your caterer refuses to compromise.
  2. If you invite certain children but not others, it would cause hurt feelings. Applying a blanket rule and not inviting any kids at all might be the best approach. Once you decide this, it is best to make no exception to this rule.
  3. Adults may have a better time on their own without the kids running riot.

How to specify that children aren’t included

Clearly mention, by way of your addressing, both the invitation as well as the envelopes, that kids are excluded, for instance, Mr. & Mrs. Steve Jones. In case you get the feeling guests may not get the message, or at least certain guests may not, you could convey your ‘adults only’ rule to close relatives and friends and have them spread the word around. Remember however, that it is inappropriate to write ‘No children’ on your invitations. If specifically asked, it is best to have a standard response ready, along the lines of number constraints or limited capacity of the venue, etc.

Sending out the invitations

Traditionally, it is the bride’s parents who host the wedding and ordinarily they are responsible for sending out the invitations, receiving replies, etc. If the bride and groom are footing the bill for the entire wedding, they might take on the responsibility of sending out the invitations. Once everybody’s individual list is ready, it is time to compile all the lists and have a master list handy. An organized guest list can be extremely helpful for the following…

  • To keep track of the head count
  • To address invitations
  • To keep track of details such as out of town guests, those needing directions etc.

You might like to divide your final guest list into several columns that include…

  1. Contact Information – The guest’s full name, address, telephone number and possibly e-mail address too, if available, to update them on any sudden or last minute plans.
  2. RSVPs – Next to the guest’s name, for entries regarding replies received and the number of guests expected to attend from the family is invaluable for a definite idea of the head count.
  3. Gift – To keep track of gifts received prior to, or during, the wedding.
  4. Thank-you To record when and if a thank-you has been sent.
  5. Out-of-town guests – To mark reminders regarding accommodation to be taken care of and whether or not the guest has been intimated about the same.

When to send invitations

It is a good idea to send invitations about two months prior to your wedding date in ordinary circumstances, but if your wedding falls during the holiday season, as early as possible, about 3-4 months in advance might be a good idea, as your guests might want to plan their holidays accordingly. If you delay, they might have already made alternate arrangements or bookings for a holiday and will have to decline your invitation, which would result in disappointment on both sides.

Along with your invitations, you might like to request/ give guests additional information along the following lines…

  1. RSVPs regarding their attendance/availability.
  2. Directions/ maps to the ceremony site/ venue of the reception.
  3. Whether it is going to be an outdoor ceremony/reception, so they can plan their outfits accordingly.
  4. Accommodation information or a list of hotels in different budgets, for out of town guests.

Accommodation for out of towners

While the couple is not obliged to make accommodation arrangements for out of town guests, it is considered courteous to do so, or at least to make some suggestions for the same, especially as they are unfamiliar with the place.

If you are expecting a large number of out of town guests, you may be able to negotiate a good rate at a certain hotel or reserve a block of rooms.

If many of your relatives are willing to put up guests at their homes, it might be a good idea to arrive at the best match possible. For instance, an elderly couple might prefer putting up a senior guest/guests, while younger couples or those with younger/teenage children might be a better option for hosting those in the younger age group or a couple who are bringing their kids along.

In the event an out of town guest is being hosted by a relative/friend, provide them with the name, address, phone number and directions of their host, as well as request your guest to convey complete information to the host, on probable arrival and departure dates and closely coordinate with the host once the same is confirmed.

It might be a good idea to convey your gratitude to the host/hostess for thoughtfully hosting your out of town guest, with a thank-you note and a small token of your appreciation.

Guest etiquette

Guests also have to display certain common courtesies towards the bridal couple…

  1. Reply as soon as you know whether or not you will be able to attend the wedding, and more so if you are going to decline. This helps the bridal couple have a clearer picture of their numbers to plan the catering, etc. and also to invite another guest if they so choose.
  2. Respect the ceremony and refrain from talking or distracting others during the service.
  3. Whether or not you’re able to attend a wedding, being invited to one, means that you should send a gift. Wedding announcements, on the other hand, carry no gift obligation.
  4. The gift registry is a good place to look when thinking of what is appropriate to gift, though most couples are happy to accept cash.
  5. If it is possible, it may be a good idea to send the couple your gift directly, even if you are attending the wedding, especially if the gift is cumbersome. This has two advantages – it eliminates the possibility of theft/loss at the wedding and in the latter case, it minimizes the burden on the couple/family members when they have to transport the gift.
  6. Do remember that the invitation is extended specifically to the one(s) whose name(s) are on it. Don’t invite your own guests or assume your children are invited, if their names are not specifically mentioned on the invitation. Do not resort to underhand tactics like including your children’s names on the RSVPs, thus creating an awkward situation for the couple, whereby they have to call you or clarify that your children aren’t included. It is embarrassing for all concerned.

Inviting guests to your wedding



So you’re in the process of choosing your Long Island wedding venue. It’s the biggest job you have, yet there are still many decisions to make. The people you invite is one of the most important things to consider. The amount of people you invite will be determined by your budget, your venue, and really, who you actually want there vs. who you’re obligated to invite. The guest list is usually one of the most stressful aspects to planning your wedding. There can be a lot of friction and difficulty caused by deciding the guest list, so do your best to handle this with as much sensitivity and thought as possible.  Here are a few points to mull over when deciding the guest list.

Size of your wedding

This is the first thing to consider. When you picture your wedding, do you envision a huge event with all the pomp and circumstance of a royal wedding? Or do you picture a more intimate setting with just you and a small guest list of just the special people in your life. Chances are, if this is the first wedding for both of your families, you have a pretty good idea already that this is going to be a larger scale wedding whether you like that or not. Make sure to set your budget and then figure out your guest list. If you do it in the opposite order, you are almost assured to go to over budget.

Remember, It’s your wedding!

Make the most of this opportunity. You are going to want to have the people who matter the most be there for your special day. Be prepared, your parents will want their friends to attend, maybe their boss, and other various people you don’t know at all. Make sure to remember that it is your wedding, so you have the right to share your reservations to your dad inviting his accountant or your mom inviting the organist from church. Keep in mind, your parents will have some “must have” guests. But there are some areas where you can take a stand. And if you are flexible with them, they’ll understand why you’re inviting someone who seems random to them. Check the budget, handle your parents with sensitivity, but always remember it’s your wedding.

Who is paying for your Long Island wedding?

This is a huge factor when determining the guest list. If your parents are paying for most or all of this, then chances are they will feel entitled to invite who they want. If you and your future spouse are paying, then you have complete say in who’s coming or not. If your parents are paying, then let them invite anyone they want. Unless you are having an intimate wedding. However, if they are paying for an intimate wedding, they should have good sense on who to invite and who to leave off the list.

Creating the guest list

As stated before, the Long Island wedding venue you choose, as well as your budget determines the size of your guestlist. You always want to plan for a few more, but don’t go overboard because all of a sudden you’ll outgrow your budget and your venue!  Here are some additional tips to follow when choosing your guest list.

  1. Generally the total number of guests you can have will be halved and the bride’s side accorded half the number and the groom’s the other half.
  2. If you and your spouse have a common circle of friends , you may want to give your parents a little more leeway with their invitees.
  3. Keep in mind none of this is set in stone. If the groom doesn’t have as many people to invite, it’s not necessary for him to start thinking up people to bring so that the parties are even. it makes more sense to let the bride invite more if she has more she’d like to be there. Or vice versa.
  4. The bride and groom should come up with their own lists separately, then meet up and go through the sifting process together.

You are probably going to go through several versions of your guest list until coming to the final list. More than anything it will help to determine the ball park number of guests you’ll be looking at. This will help you determine which Long Island wedding venue you will choose. Once you choose the best wedding venue on Long Island, you can focus in on the maximum number of guests.

Tips for drawing up a guest list

Make two columns, one for the name of the family, the other for the number expected. Thus you will have a row comprising entries such as –  Mr. & Mrs. Parker (and family) and the corresponding entry – 2 (or 4 as is the case). And so on. After due modifications and fine tuning, this list helps you arrive at two things simultaneously – the first column total will indicate the number of invitations you will require and the total of the second column will indicate your total number of guests.

  1. Start with the people closest to you i.e. your immediate family – parents, the couple’s own children (if any), siblings, nieces and nephews, grandparents.
  2. Next is the extended family i.e. aunts, uncles, cousins, their children (if necessary)
  3. Then come the close family friends and the couple’s friends, both individual and common
  4. Finally come the couple’s colleagues/ co-workers, employers and the parent’s colleagues

If your’s is a very intimate wedding or you have a very large family (immediate and extended), you may want to stick exclusively to the first two categories. If you’re planning a larger wedding, feel ‘the more the merrier’ and you have the budget to accommodate it, then you will be able to go the whole hog.

It is also possible, especially if your wedding is on a weekday, that not all whom you invite will be able to attend, either due to work or other commitments. If they reply sufficiently in advance, letting you know, you could have a reserve invitation list handy. As long as you don’t leave it too late to mail, thereby drawing attention to the fact that they are a second choice, the recipients will be happy to oblige.

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