Going Corporate. Part One.

The Universe is truly amazing. The moment you cast your wishes out into the deep abyss and put your trust in The Universe to deliver, she always does. In late 2017, in a Entrepreneurial coaching session (something I value tremendously), I stubbornly declared , "but I'm a wedding person. I just don't see corporate events being my 'thing.'" My coach immediately challenged me to change my tune and embrace new opportunities, to push past the comfort zone of weddings, and to change my mindset. Not one to run away from a challenge, I gladly accepted it and put it out to The Universe that I was ready.....and then she delivered. 

In early 2018, two incredible companies arrived on the NSE doorstep by way of our incredible referral network. The eight years we've spent developing our reputation for professionalism, reliability, and ability to take on events and crush them, had paid off. Without hesitation, the Team and I immediately embraced these new challenges and started planning. The experience was priceless. Not only did we deliver incredibly successful events that made our clients and their companies shine, but also we realized how well suited we are for the task of corporate and destination event management and planning. We are a match made in The Universe. 

In a two part blog series, I am excited to share with you photos and insights from these events. I hope The Universe is ready to deliver the next corporate clients so that we may continue to bring new life to company retreats, conventions, meetings and team building exercises! 

Corporate Event Planner - Convention Event

The Client: AMSOIL, Superior-Based, automotive industry.

The Event: Annual Dealer Convention, held every 5 years in Duluth-Superior at the DECC. Multi-day convention with a trade show, educational opportunities and 2 evenings of social events for ~800 guests.

The Challenge: Design a social event to engage a diverse guest list of Dealers and their families, from all over the USA and Canada. To show the guests a "North Woods" meets "State Fair" experience, while never leaving the comfort of the indoors. Challenge accepted.

With a clear vision and the talents of the Northland's best event professionals on board, we delivered a spectacular indoor "Festival" that will go down in history (or so we've heard) as "The best convention event EVER." Here are some photos and the team that made it happen:

Click on the photo or scroll right to see the gallery!

Photo Credit: Nick Vittorio

Event Planning, Design & Coordination: Yours Truly, Northland Special Events | Venue & Catering: Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC) - Pioneer Hall (Annette & Amy absolutely killed it with the food and venue services) | Sound, Stage, Backdrops & Infrastructure: Sound Central Services & AVR (We love Trent & Britta!) | Lighting (uplights, bistros, & gobos): Duluth Event LIghting (we love you too, Ken) | Band: The Fractals | Photo Booth: Photo Active Events (whoa, the GIF photo booth was incredible!) | Rentals: The Vault by NSE, London Road Party Express, Lefty's Tent & Party Rental, Broadway Tent & Party Rental and Duluth Barrel Works. Flowers: Fleurtation by NSE | Custom Lawn Games: Etsy - Various Shops.

So, we've gone corporate...corporate events, that is....We can't wait to continue to take on design challenges that bring joy to coworkers, companies and clients. The bigger, the better!

Now tell us this isn't the most incredible photo booth ever......

Transformation.

We are miracle workers. Ok, that might sound a bit arrogant, but stay with me and I hope you will agree...

On a weekly basis, we transform blank spaces into beautiful, personalized environments designed to invoke celebration, joy, and memory making. Sometimes those spaces start out stunning - like The Greysolon Ballroom, for example. Of course, we've seen the incredible ballroom in hundreds of different color palettes and configurations, but let's face it, without a stitch of anything extra that place is drop dead gorgeous. 

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Now, the Curl Mesabi Curling Club in Eveleth? That takes miracle workers. Earlier this summer, we accepted the challenge to transform the enormous, concrete and metal box into a fairytale wedding venue for a phenomenal couple, Kristina & Derek. I'm proud to say, I think we nailed it. 

Before:

 Photo Credit: Nick Vittorio

Photo Credit: Nick Vittorio

After:

 Photo Credit:  One:One Creative

Photo Credit: One:One Creative

So what did it take to make their dreams come true and transform the space? 

1,500 sq. feet of drapery
5 Crystal Chandeliers
300 Gold Damask Chair Covers
75 table linens
3 Scissor lifts
96 hours of NSE power
300 feet of steel cord
True grit and determination.

I never dreamed I'd find myself in a career that involved as much number crunching and geometry as is required on a daily basis at NSE! Our Event Specialists put intense focus into planning every detail of large-scale installations like these and the payoff is HUGE. Watching Kristina & Derek sharing their first dance under the crystal chandelier in their beautiful wedding venue (from the upper deck of the Curl Mesabi Curling Club - which is a beautiful facility, btw) gave us such a sense of pride and accomplishment and a few bragging rights :) Congratulations, Kristina & Derek. We hope the memories you and your loved ones made that night live on forever! 

Photo Credit: One:One Creative  

Coordination, Planning, Linens, Centerpiece Floral, & Decor: Northland Special Events | Bridal Party Flowers: Silver Lake Floral | Caterer: Dennis Purkat | Rentals: London Road Party Express | Ceremony: Holy Spirit Catholic Church | DJ: Pro Sound & Light

Are you looking to transform a location into your dream wedding venue? We've got you covered. Give us a shout!

Always,

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Better Together.

We spend a lot of time talking about vendors with our clients. Our initial meetings always include a review of all of the vendors already hired and the categories where referrals will be needed down the road. We are so lucky to be able to guide our clients towards the best vendors for their specific needs and to have such an amazing list of local professionals to choose from. All events require a team effort. Crafting the dream team benefits the client, but also benefits the entire industry. 

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I always refer to the process of hiring vendors as a Pie Chart. Each piece of the pie is necessary to create the whole, but the pieces can all be different sizes - and need to be different sizes. Events require the basic essentials - food, beverage, entertainment, shelter. Then you have enhancements like florals and decor (where we are happy to help!) and then finally the extras - photo booths and donut walls. We work with clients to see where all of these pieces of the pie fit in their budget and that they are hired in the most thoughtful and meaningful slices. 

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In all of those conversations, we talk about value and quality. We truly believe that hiring the best quality vendor you can possibly afford is always a good idea. Weddings today are major investments, not only financially, but emotionally. We always encourage our clients to invest in vendors that will deliver on their promises and be a sound investment for their future. We look for vendors with professionalism, but also heart and soul. A recent client chose a song lyric from Mumfor & Sons for a sign at the wedding. It think it fits the wedding planning process and vendor relationships too....

Over the years at NSE, we've worked with hundreds of vendors and formed friendships and relationships that truly make our work better than it ever could be on its own. We've leaned on these partners in times of need and been there for them just the same. We love sharing our knowledge with clients, guiding them towards sound investments that will pay dividends on their wedding day! 

Looking for vendors for your wedding day or special event? Interested in becoming a preferred NSE partner? Let's talk!

Always,

Wedding Day Coordination.... What exactly will we do?

At nearly every initial consultation, we answer the question, "So what exactly do you do on the Wedding Day?" This question makes us giggle a bit, as thousands of moments flash before our eyes of the countless things we do as "Day-Of" wedding coordinators. The role of event coordinator lies at the very foundation of our company. It is the critical glue that holds the many facets of the event together and the insurance policy over the best laid plans on the most important (and probably expensive) day of one's life. What we do typically follows a set of standard activities - oversee set-ups, communicate with vendors, manage the timeline - which are all important and necessary examples of "what we do," but it's the unexpected and impossible to predict things that we do that make all of the difference...

 Photo Credit:  ONE:ONE Creative

Photo Credit: ONE:ONE Creative

With over 8 years of weddings under our belts, we could tell stories for days about the many things we've done on a wedding day....here are a few classics....

1. Find a needle in a haystack. When the bottle of Kosher white wine needed for the Jewish wedding ceremony accidentally hit the floor and broke in the groom's suite at a North Shore resort, NSE scoured the city of Duluth to find the exact bottle, purchase, and deliver before the Bride could ever be the wiser. 

2. No vendor, no problem. We've worn so many hats out of necessity and fortunately our experience makes them all possible. Officiant doesn't show? No problem, Mariah will marry you. DJ ditches out? Pandora and a blue tooth speaker will do until we've tracked down a replacement. Catering short staffed? Grab a tray and start serving. There isn't a role we haven't played when the show must go on...

3. Windy city. The wind picks up just as you are heading down the aisle and threatens your beautiful backdrop. No worries, we'll crouch behind it and hold it steady during the entire 45 minute ceremony.

4. Rings gone missing. The Best Man realizes he doesn't have the rings mid-ceremony. With the slightest eye contact, we instantly know what happened, scour the church for the rings and sneak them up the side aisle and into the hands of the closest groomsman. They make their way down the row and into the hands of the Best Man, who breathes a sigh of relief and escapes humiliation.

5. Dress disasters. Broken bustles, split seams, alterations of all varieties. You name it, we've sewn it, zip tied it, pinned it and avoided wardrobe malfunctions of all shapes and sizes. Our emergency kit is full of tools for just these occasions.

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We'd be remiss not to mention a few more of our most often appreciated skills - Groomsmen wrangler, babysitter, designated driver, bartender, counselor, hair dresser, make-up artist, sparkler send-off coordinator, calligrapher, and let's not forget....plumber. 

We love every single one of our roles and we believe in the necessity of everything we do on an wedding day. We can't always predict our every task, but we can guarantee putting whatever might arise in our hands it will be the best investment you've ever made.

Find out more about our Wedding Coordination packages here.

 

Cheers,

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A Brand New Mother's Day....RECAP!

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We can't wait to share a long over due recap of a very special event we sponsored for Mother's Day 2018....A Brand New Mother's Day.

Flash back to February 2018 at the annual Galantine's Day event hosted by Duluth Loves Local. After hearing Miranda MacAleavey from Safe Haven Shelter and Resource Center speak about the organization and their needs, we knew we had to do something. Fortunately, our besties, Jes Hayes and Emily Modin from Mad Chicken Studio Photography, felt the same way. Together we developed a concept for an event to both collect donations (financial and physical) for the shelter, as well as pamper the women and their children, we just needed a date and a location...

Enter Clyde Iron Works and the generous hearts of Alex and Toni Giuliani, who graciously offered us their amazing space on the second Sunday in May - Mother's Day. What could be more perfect than the chance to honor these survivors on a day they typically dread. We immediately ran with this plan, invited CASDA, a shelter from Superior, WI to join in and the rest was pure magic. This is what we did....

  • Created an Amazon "Wish List" for critical items for the shelters and resource centers. Over $3,000 in donations were purchased and given directly to the organizations from this list. A special shout out to the amazing women from the Duluth Boudoir Photography Facebook Group for showing up huge with Amazon donations!
  • Raised over $3,000 in cash donation to go directly to Safe Haven and CASDA
  • Collected over 50 bags of donated, gently used clothing that was set up as a "boutique" for the women at the event
  • Received new donated items from Maurices, including shoes, bags and a large variety of clothing
  • Complied Swag Bags for each mother at the event with donated products from - Mary Kay, Wild Roots Body Care, Duluth Coffee Company, Duluth Mom's Blog and Northland Special Events.
  • Created a Children's Play area with donations from A Sweet Event, Doucette's, Engwalls, Legacy Toys, The Vineyard Church, The Duluth Balloon Company and Clyde Iron Works - Over 80 Children enjoyed the event 
  • Created a Women's Pampering Area with hair and make up services from WITC, Hustle & Heart Salon and Mary Kay - Over 60 mother's enjoyed this calming environment
  • Fed all of the mothers and children a lovely meal from Clyde Iron Works and The Duluth Moms Blog, decked out with linens, florals and decor donated by Northland Special Events and Fleurtation
  • Treated the children to ice cream from Mrs. Delicious
  • Provided transportation to the mothers and children from CASDA from
  • Organized over 40 volunteers to work various aspects of the event
  • Took priceless family portraits by Jes @ Mad Chicken Studio to document the first Mother's Day in a long time that these women and children would remember fondly

A special thanks goes out to Peter Cpin and family of A Sweet Event for immediately agreeing to take over the children's activities for this event and for delivering an amazing experience for the kids. He is one of a kind. We were also incredibly grateful for the generous donation of Mary Kay products by Independent Distributor, Barb Olson. 

This event touched our hearts and souls forever. These women and children truly deserved every moment of pampering, playing, and celebrating. We couldn't have done it without so much community support and we look forward to continuing the tradition for years to come

If you are interested in participating in the 2019 Brand New Mother's Day event, please contact info@northlandspecialevents.com or mail@madchickenstudio.com.

With Gratitude,

Our Secret Sauce...

 A happy (some of the ) family photo with our finished product!  Photo Credit:  Sternberg Studios Photograhy

A happy (some of the ) family photo with our finished product!

Photo Credit: Sternberg Studios Photograhy

Last week, Team NSE reached new heights with the execution of a corporate destination event management project. Planned over three months, we created a complex program of activities and events to show off Duluth's best for 150 guests over 4 days - many visiting for the first time. We worked with trusted local partners and talents to pull it off. We're very grateful that Mother Nature cooperated too! On every possible level, it was a home run.

On the final evening, the company owner toasted the group and said something that truly resonated with me...."Being a family is our secret sauce." I couldn't relate more. At NSE, being a family is also our "secret sauce." From our relationship as a team to the way we connect with our clients, we are family. Plain and simple, we care. We go above and beyond to make the special event moments into memories and we work as a team to make (seemingly impossible) things happen. 

I am proud of my Team, just as I am proud of my own children. On Friday night, a company executive sought me out to share how impressed he was with three of our Team that assisted him at Gooseberry Falls earlier that day. Brittany, Rebecca, and Morgan guided 80+ participants through a leadership exercise. The executive commented that their own leadership, problem-solving, and enthusiasm truly astounded him and impressed all who participated. What an incredible compliment. I am so proud of these women, and all of the NSE team for their individual feats each and every day. I hope they are proud of themselves! 

Share our values and want to be part of our family? Tell us about you via email - kaitlyn@northlandspecialevents.com

Looking for a company that will handle your event with the care and concern of family? Contact us at info@northlandspecialevents.com

 

With Gratitude,

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The Women In Our Lives...

The Women in our lives...where would we be without them? I've never been so grateful for the beautiful women that surround me...my mother, my sister, my daughters, my staff, my friends and family, I am blessed beyond measure. Winter 2018 brought challenges and life lessons I didn't see coming. From my grand-father's death in January, to my unfortunate accident on top of a mountain in British Columbia in February, I have been helpless, humbled, hurt, and inspite of it all, intensely happy. I owe this to the women in my life. ***Of course, no offense to my darling husband and his immense love and support, but with his travel schedule and demanding work, he couldn't be my only rock. 

When women face stressful situations they gravitate towards a "tend and befriend" response, a biological result of the need to strengthen relationships and hold down the fort. Women rush in with meals, play dates, coffee deliveries, and conversation. These were exactly the overatures I needed to make it through days stuck at home, one-armed and heavily medicated. The army of women in my life flooded in and surrounded me with the love and acts of service my love tank so desperately needed. They were the wind beneath my broken wing...

This experience really got me thinking (yes, I've had lots of time to sit around and think - for better or for worse) and it really made me realize just how much all of this relates to the work we do at Northland Special Events. In innately stressful sitatuions, we tend and befriend our clients. We swarm their special day with love, acts of service, words of affirmation, coffee deliveries and whatever the love tanks need to get through. We wrap our arms around the families and they know with us they will survive. I am so happy to be getting back to my role in this work and gearing up for a busy events season - bring it on!

On this International Women's Day, take a moment to think of the women in your life and tell them how much you appreciate them. This is my shout out to all the women in my life - THANK YOU - for being there every day. Remember how powerful you can be if you follow your instincts and be YOU. 

With love,

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Celebrating 2017!

To call 2017 eventful would be a major understatement, in fact, we successfully launched FOUR new divisions - all expanding our ability to create, do and give more to our community!

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To accommodate these new additions, we expanded our space with a beautiful new show room and threw a killer party to celebrate!

Video Credit: National Audio Visual

 

Nevertheless, we also did what we do best – Planned, Designed, & Executed over 200 Weddings & Special Events.

 Photo Credits: (Top left to right) Kirsten Barbara Photography, Al&Lyndsey Photography, Derek Montgomery Photography, Kirsten Barbara Photography, LaCoursiere & Co., Kellie Rae Studio (2), Three Irish Girls Photography, Al & Lyndsey Photography, Tandem Tree Photography, Three Irish Girls Photography, Geneoh Photography, Al&Lyndsey Photography, Kellie Rae Studio (2), Al&Lyndsey Photography.

Photo Credits: (Top left to right) Kirsten Barbara Photography, Al&Lyndsey Photography, Derek Montgomery Photography, Kirsten Barbara Photography, LaCoursiere & Co., Kellie Rae Studio (2), Three Irish Girls Photography, Al & Lyndsey Photography, Tandem Tree Photography, Three Irish Girls Photography, Geneoh Photography, Al&Lyndsey Photography, Kellie Rae Studio (2), Al&Lyndsey Photography.

Proudly, we continued to honor our commitment to giving with over $40,000 of event services donated to local non-profit organizations.

 Photo Credit: The Boys & Girls Club of the Northland

Photo Credit: The Boys & Girls Club of the Northland

Most importantly….

We created beautiful memories and we loved every minute!

 Photo Credit: The Wild Booth

Photo Credit: The Wild Booth

Here's to a new year....new challenges...new opportunities...and plenty of new memories to be made!

With Gratitude,

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The Gratitude Project

 
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My freshman year of college, my grandfather passed away. I was 2000 miles away from home at school and it was Thanksgiving. To say I was a grandpa’s girl, is an understatement. We were connected on another level. He was the most incredible man I had ever known – kind, soft-spoken, and selfless. He was an entrepreneur who gave his life to helping others. I’d never felt grief like that before, and I didn’t know how to cope. Enter Oprah. I distinctly recall catching an episode while home for the funeral where she featured author Sarah Ban Breathnach and her New York Times best-selling book Simple Abundance. This was my first introduction to the principal of an abundance mentality and a life lived in gratitude.  Rather than focus on my loss, I learned to focus on the abundance of love he had given me. That book weathered me through that difficult time and continues to influence me today.

I know my grandfather would be proud of the entrepreneur I have become and the role of gratitude in my business and in my family. One of the Northland Special Events core values is GIVE – humble, kind, generous. In our work we give with our whole hearts, bodies and minds in the planning and executing some of life’s most precious moments. We give and we gain. For that we are so grateful.

The month of November 2017 marks twenty years since my grandfather’s passing and beginning of a new chapter in my gratitude journey. I am elated to launch The Gratitude Project, a three-pronged initiative to incorporate gratitude in everything that we do – honoring our clients, partners, and team members in thoughtful ways and in significant moments. I look forward to unfurling this project one step at a time and sharing this abundance within our community.

I am grateful for clients that trust fully in me to plan their ‘Best Day Ever’ and give me the space and time I need to let the creative energy flow.

I am grateful for industry partners who steer clients in our direction and who show up ready to work together as a team.

I am grateful for employees who have become like family and who give me grace when I stumble as their leader. They are the wind beneath my wings. (Thank you, Diane for giving me that line)

Take a moment to reflect on the abundance in your life. Be grateful and be forever changed…

With Gratitude,

mariah

2018 Trend Report

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”
-F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

From the first time I read this quote in one of my all time favorite novels, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, it resonated profoundly. Growing up and living in a climate with four distinct seasons conditioned me to be ready for change every three months. In fall, the start of school, the chill in the air and the turning of the leaves symbolized a time of transition, reflection and preparation to start anew. I always find myself full of energy and ideas about ‘next year’ and ‘in 2018’ and I love the chance to make plans for the “Best Year Ever.” In a design driven business, I also love the fall for trend spotting and dreaming up new concepts for next year’s events. This is the time of year we start diving deep into wedding and event plans and spending a LOT of time on Pinterest!

And so, we bring you a highlight of some of our favorite 2018 Trends and what to watch for in next year’s weddings and special events. Let us know if any of these spark your attention! We’re always adding to our inventory and we love hearing from our clients about what they’d like to see!

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1.     Pantone Palette.

It’s bold and muted – all at the same time! We love the push and pull of colors that both amp up the volume and create rich undertones. We can see these shades really popping in bridal bouquets and bridesmaid dresses!

2.     Walls, walls, walls.

When you need more space…..go UP! Last year saw the trend of Donut walls and we love that next year takes the concept and makes it both sweet – and salty! How about a bagel wall or pretzel wall? BBQ sauce wall? Yes, please!

 
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3.     Vintage Floral Patterns.

Vintage pieces have been all the rage for some time, but 2018 will see an upsurge in floral prints in wedding fashion and décor. These prints have a special place in my heart – they make me nostalgic for my grandmother’s floral wall paper! A perfect addition to the ever popular, blush and gold palette, floral prints add another layer of femininity and beauty. We’re down for that!

 

4.     Greenery Backdrops.

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 This is one where we are right on trend and already planning to create some stunning greenery backdrops in 2018. With last year’s Pantone color of the year being “Greenery,” it’s no surprise that all things green are trending right now. Walls of boxwood, moss, or ferns bring the outside in and range from rustic to preppy. We can never seem to get enough green…

 

Be inspired. Life starts all over again and again and again each season and there’s always next year!

 

With Gratitude,

Mariah & Team NSE

The Vault by NSE

It all started out with a mini-van, a family wedding, and a creative passion unleashed….flash forward seven years and we are now about to open The Vault to our vast, eclectic, amazing inventory of event décor and linen for individual rental! To say that this is an exciting next step for the NSE family is an understatement. We love our treasures. We have collected them one at a time and nearly all of them come with a story of their provenance...found on the side of the road, rescued out of Grandma’s basement, lovingly gifted by a past client or strategically selected to create a dynamic and “Pinterest-worthy” inventory. Now we want to share it with YOU!

The Vault Event Décor Rental is an easy to navigate (we hope) website (www.eventdecorduluth.com) featuring select gems from our event décor and linen rental inventory available for individual booking over 3-day time frames. Clients may visit the site, select their items, and book their rental dates all in a matter of minutes on the website. We will continue to update the site with new items as we add them to our inventory and with seasonal changes. We’re even planning some exciting larger additions that we hope to unveil soon! This site is perfect for DIY weddings, baby and bridal showers, birthday parties, plays, and so much more. Of course, our Event Specialists and party planning experts are only a phone call or email away to help you with any rentals that are more complicated or require special assistance. We love assisting our clients to create an amazing atmosphere for their guests and our ultimate goal is to make the experience as stress-free, as possible! (218) 499-9449 or info@eventdecorduluth.com.

 
 
 

All items may be viewed in person at our showroom located at 324 W. Superior St. in Duluth. We are open daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and we promise to show you The Vault, if you’d like to see it. No really, The Vault is real and we’re very proud to call it our home!

Our Future is Bright

On May 3, 2017, we threw an EPIC party. We celebrated the beginning of a new chapter for NSE and we celebrated with everyone we loved – family, friends, colleagues and clients. We truly love the Northland and growing our footprint in Downtown Duluth just felt right. Let me take a moment to introduce our reasons for celebration:

  • A dedicated NSE “show room” with display space for our décor and linen collection and beautiful conference room for hosting larger client groups
  • The opening of The Duluth Balloon Company, a divison of NSE, offering helium balloons from an innovative e-commerce platform and boutique store front
  • The expansion of Fleurtation, our floral design brand, to include every day floral offerings. We were especially excited to debut the Fleurbox, a surprising new twist on giving flowers

We never work alone when producing spectacular events and our own party was no exception. Our vendor friends showered us with love and shared their talents to make our party next level. We are so thankful for their support!

  • Blackwoods Catering. Exceptional on every level. From meeting with us to develop a custom (pink-themed) menu to providing professional staff to butler pass hors d’oeuvres (a crowd favorite) this group never disappoints. We love every opportunity to partner with the Blackwoods Group!
  • How Sweet It Is Cakes – Utterly delicious pink macarons. The party wouldn’t have been the same without them.
  • Duluth Event Lighting – Ken illuminates all.
  • Fannie Rose Candy Shop – Pink Popcorn. Yes, custom pink popcorn just for us!
  • CashWise Liquor – Pink Champagne….do you see a theme here?
  • Snazzy Cakes – The prettiest darn cookies you’ve ever seen. Yes, they were mostly pink.
  • The Wild Booth – Duluth’s best photo booth. Hands down.
  • Sternberg Studios – Michelle worked tirelessly to bring our showroom to life with images of our clients. She’s definitely an honorary member of the NSE family.
  • Koehler & Dramm Wholesale Floral – Oodles of pink flowers and years of keeping our Fleurtations in bloom.

Last, but certainly not least…..

  • National Audio Visual. Watch the video and you’ll understand just how amazing and special this company is to us. We couldn’t love it more….

Thank you a thousand times to everyone that has been part of the NSE family. Our future is bright and we can’t wait to celebrate more…..

NSE Gives

Givers Gain. This is a phrase I have come to love and believe wholeheartedly. At NSE, giving drives everything that we do. In fact, we consider giving to be one of our core values. We give in so many ways….we give our time, our talents, our support, our materials, our love. We give with a smile on our face and a positive attitude, and we always gain.

Several years ago, we started a program to help Non-Profit organizations produce memorable, professional, well attended, and most importantly PROFITABLE fundraising events. We call this program “Inspire by NSE,” because through our event expertise, these events inspire donors to give and the events themselves inspire us to keep giving. It sounds like a win-win situation, and I can tell you, it is exactly that.

What makes a non-profit event successfully inspire guests to give generously (ideally year after year)? Two key elements drive our work with these events:

ATMOSPHERE

As with any event, the overall atmosphere indicates how an event plays out. By nature, people gather to have fun, laugh, experience emotion, and make memories. Creating the appropriate atmosphere that leaves guests feeling satisfied and wanting more is essential in a fundraising scenario. The guests give their time and their resources to attend the event, but what does the event give to them? We recommend that organizations give sufficient time and resources to this element, but we know that atmosphere doesn’t have to cost a fortune. It truly is a feeling that can be achieved in a variety of ways. Our guidance helps the organization find that perfect combination of investment and return. Most importantly, we ensure the organization doesn’t leave out a major component of atmosphere that might have negative repercussions. For example, the event setting might be simply stunning with linens and flowers and all the trimmings, but if there is no music, no sound system and a lot of dead air….the donations will reflect just that.

One of our premiere Non-Profit fundraising events is The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Northand's Annual Gala. You can see the atmosphere for yourself in this photo, and to top that visual off - the soundtrack was killer!

This event exceeded an ambitious fundraising goal and set the bar high for next year’s much anticipated Gala. NSE will be by the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Northland's side every step of the way.

CALL TO ACTION

An organization representing a cause decides to hold a fundraising event, but fails to adequately educate the guests about the cause and the reason behind the need for donations… unfortunately this is an all too frequent scenario. A fear of exploiting the cause or calling to light a depressing or difficult topic usually influences this retraction. We get it… but we can help. The guests need to know why they are at this event and what their donation will accomplish. They need to be confronted with the realities of the organization they are there to help, and they need to have their emotions played like a tiny violin. This doesn’t mean they need to be horrified, depressed or feel a sense of negativity around the event. Their presence there is the POSITIVE! This group has gathered to enact good; to fund a need; to answer a call to action. With the appropriate positive spin on the topic, the group will be motivated to give and will take the message of the organization far beyond the event. We have seen many groups do this well and benefit from the careful application of this principal to their event. We love working with organizations to find ways to deliver the appropriate messaging, ask for the right things, and share the fruits of the organization with their supportive audience. When combined with atmosphere, this mix of emotion is like rocket fuel.

Check out the amazing cut-outs conceptualized by NSE and created by Steward Taylor Printing for The Boys & Girls Club Of The Northland Gala. These custom props embodied the “Dream Up” theme and encouraged guests to think about how their contributions help youth realize their dreams. Boys & Girls Club kids enjoyed participating in a photo shoot to capture these images and the finished product really brought the kids and their cause to the Gala. 

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At NSE, we work with organizations to create atmosphere and call to action at fundraising events. We evaluate past successes and failures and we recommend simple, affordable ideas to improve the event. In addition to offering our expertise, we also match, dollar-for-dollar, any cash contribution that the organization can put towards our services. In the past 4 years, NSE donated over $40,000 in event services for non-profit organizations in the Northland. We look forward to continuing to give and hopefully inspire others to give more.

For more information about the Northland Special Events “Inspire” program, please contact the NSE Team at info@northlandspecialevents.com.

September 10th...

- A re-shared post from our previous website/blog, originally posted in September 2016 - 

  Photo Credit: Alicia & Jared by On3 Design.  www.on3weddingphotography.com . Lyndsey & Al - we love you!

Photo Credit: Alicia & Jared by On3 Design. www.on3weddingphotography.com. Lyndsey & Al - we love you!

The MOST anticipated, feared, discussed date of the 2016 "wedding season" and perhaps in all of NSE history... and it's over. Just. Like. That. We knew this date would be epic from very early on in our booking cycle. For some reason, this particular date began booking early and every time we turned around it seemed a new couple wanted to books us for this date. Because we are a little bit crazy, and get attached to couples as soon as we meet them, AND we have a really hard time turning couples away, we booked them ALL - Eleven events in total. To put this in perspective, we have?built NSE from a handful of weddings in a summer to over 150 in 2016, with an average weekend of 5-6 weddings. We've always paced our growth to ensure the quality of our delivery and the attention we can give to each and every client... September 10th proved to challenge that pace and push us to deliver at another level...

And we did it. And we did it well... in fact, I'd say we ROCKED it! I want to take a moment to recognize the contributors to this success. This is not an easy job and all of these people gave it their all.

  • Super-Human Event Specialists. These women lead each of their teams to success through a week of illness, late nights, curveballs, and lots of mud to create memories for their clients. Tami, Yana, Michaela, Kyla, Alicia, Ellen, Arianne and Bridget. You all make me so proud.
  • The Fleuristas. Sara, Kaitlyn, Sydney, Yana and our guest Fleuristas Diane and Stephanie cranked out epic numbers of bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, centerpieces, pew swags, ceremony arrangements, floral hair combs, floral head wreaths, pomanders, garlands, and more... that's A LOT of flowers. Unpacking the boxes alone took an entire day! I loved creating magic with you ladies and obsessing over each and every bouquet. Even in a high-volume situation we will gave each and every bloom our finishing touch!
  • The Signage Artist. We are so fortunate to have such talented artists on our team and we must recognize our signage artist extraordinaire, Stephanie, for her work not only for Sept. 10th, but over the past few years. Her talent is boundless and her perfectionism unmatched. Her hand created 100's of personalized chalkboards, mirrors, windows, canvases, and just about any other surface she could write on and these special touches brought our designs over the top every time!
  • The Assistants. You are the life-blood of our team! Assistants must be flexible and fearless. You never know what you might be doing when you show up to an event, but you always know you'll be working hard. Thank you for that hard work. I LOVED watching our assistants learn and grow throughout the entire busy season and I can't wait to see many of them move on to new roles within the company in the future!
  • NSE Friends & Family. With many of our staff headed back to school after Labor Day, we found ourselves in a pickle staffing eleven events, especially when the season would wind down significantly after the 10th. That's where our amazing Friends & Family stepped up to help us get the job done! A huge thank you to all of those that filled in our crews and took on so many tasks. We are grateful and hope you had fun! Maybe you'll even join our team in the future. We are also so thankful for all of the family support we receive from our husbands and children. We know giving up so much time with us over the summer isn't easy, but you stand by us through thick and thin. WE LOVE YOU.
  • Our Clients. You are why we do it. Celebrating your love and making memories for you makes it all worth it. Thank you to ALL of our clients for bearing with us during our busy weeks and understanding when we took a little longer to respond to emails and phone calls. Know that we give each event our all and yours will be no different!
  • Our Vendor Teams. Every wedding or event requires a team of professionals to pull it off. Working with all of these talented, amazing, supportive vendors makes the work all that more satisfying and enjoyable! Eleven weddings gave us a chance to collaborate with a huge number of vendors - old and new - and we loved it. We can't wait to see the photos, watch the videos and tell the stories of these events together. Thank you for being part of our team!

So what next? What date will be our next Sept. 10th? (early prediction:?July 29, 2017) How many events will that date have in store? Where will NSE head next and whose weddings and events will we have the privilege of planning and designing? The future is bright, that much I know...

Cheers,

Mariah

Finding the Voice of NSE

- A re-shared blog from our previous website/blog, originally shared in August 2016 - 

On August 20, 2016, Northland Special Events will celebrate SIX years in business.six years of bringing magical, personal, fairytale weddings to couples across the Northland. As I approach this anniversary, I find myself reflecting on this experience - growing an events business from scratch - and the "why" behind what motivates me and my team to invest every ounce of our beings into our clients and their events. From day one, I have had a vision of what I hoped this company would become and each day I pinch myself and remind myself that with every successful event, with every happy family, with every thank you, NSE fulfills that vision.I am literally living in my dreams. Recently, however, I realized that missing from this narrative of our experiences (The "What") - well documented in our Instagram photos, Facebook posts, the website - is my voice. And so, as we reboot our blog and revamp our social media, I hope to bring our audience a glimpse into the dreams behind the operation, the vision that's lived in my head and the vast experience I hold and hope to share with all our audience - past, present and future!

"Why?"

It's 3 A.M. on a Saturday night in July and I'm counting close to 20,000 steps walked for the day over 20 hours of work and somehow I am still smiling, laughing, and beaming with satisfaction while the Team and I haul heavy bins, awkward signs, mounds of dirty linen and leftover floral arrangements back to our headquarters at The Vault. Why?

It's Tuesday, 9 P.M. and I've finished my 10th?meeting of the day and I boot up my computer to answer emails and dive into another full day of work. Why?

It's October and I realize I haven't had a weekend off since May, haven't touched my toes to the sand on the beach, and haven't taken a moment to get a haircut and I'm still going strong. Why?

Why? Because the work I do, the work my team does, matters. A quote from one of my favorite television series says it well:

"The business of life is the acquisition of memories. In the end, that's all there is." - Mr. Carson, Downton Abbey

The work we do at NSE is the business of life, we create memories. We plan events with the sole focus of making memories, documenting these memories, and ensuring that these memories turn out positive, inspiring, and everlasting. That's no small feat. Making these memories requires an epic combination of skill sets - creativity, design, engineering, problem-solving, psychology, strength, stamina, grit, and so much more. Making these memories satisfies our deepest emotions and keeps us coming back for more.

For me and the dream I've created at NSE, making these memories is about even more than sending clients away with a successful event, it's about recognizing that as their trusted advisor we facilitated these memories in ways they never could have imagined. We relieved stress, we saved them unnecessary expense, we infused personal details in their decor, we hunted down their favorite flowers, we offered a shoulder to cry on, and we solved problems behind the scenes so that they could dance the night away. We did all of that.

At a recent wedding, I shared a very special memory with a client. I'd worked with the Mother-Of-The-Bride for over a year to plan an epic event for her daughter and future son-in-law who lived out of state. Together we created many memories pouring over paper samples and custom printed napkin designs, squealing about the perfect appetizers, and celebrating when the Bride made it home for planning sessions over holidays. The wedding day could not have been more perfect. Every. Single. Detail. came to life, straight out of the deepest depths of my creative brain, the vision I had for the couple became reality. That made me proud. But, what made me remember "why" happened on the dance floor. My favorite song, "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey echoed through the ballroom. I immediately turned and headed in search of the Mother-Of-The Bride, grabbed her hand and dragged her out on the dance floor. Bold move, I know, but it had to be done. We needed to celebrate and make another memory together. I never stop believing in myself or my Team's capacity to execute memorable events, and neither did she. The happiness, love, and gratitude that filled that ballroom as we danced is my "Why." I know we'll be friends for life and we'll plan many more events together, I hope that's how all of our clients feel at the end of the night. That's the business we're in.

This is a long, wordy, sappy post, but it's my voice, the heart and soul behind Northland Special Events. I plan to share more going forward and dive into many topics related to our work. If you have suggestions, questions, or comments, please do not hesitate to join the dialogue! This is a new forum to talk about the work we do and I feel so liberated opening up the conversation. Let's make more memories..

Cheers,

Mariah

Owner & Principal Event Specialist

  PHOTO CREDIT: The amazing Michelle Sternberg of  Sternberg Studios , who always makes me feel so calm and peaceful. Thank you for taking some very special photos for me!

PHOTO CREDIT: The amazing Michelle Sternberg of Sternberg Studios, who always makes me feel so calm and peaceful. Thank you for taking some very special photos for me!