Monday, September 30, 2019

Why is Guest Experience Important?

When planning a wedding, it’s common for some couples to want to take over and do everything themselves. But when you have a wedding planner, you have to trust that they will take your vision and turn it into a reality. The top priority for us as your wedding planner, aside from creating the most magical day for our couple, is creating a satisfying guest experience. How are the guests thought about during the planning process? Are the guests needs being met?

The reason the guest experience is so important is because

1. Allow us to learn all about your past and current hobbies, how you met, your first date, your aspirations for future travels and fun...along with learning about family traditions and fun things you might have done in college or throughout your dating time period.... we'll take those little stories and create an overall love story for your guests to experience the entire evening....

2. You want the guests to leave satisfied just as much as the couple. Consider time of day, is ceremony in full sun or shade, did you offer enough food and drinks, how were seating arrangements handled...and parking/transportation is a HUGE one we always hear about... oh and how clean was the facility (mainly bathrooms).

3. Make your guest never want to leave your party...because they have NO CLUE what's to come around the corner next... keep that element of surprise on the schedule board.... (YES communication is KEY)

4. You also want to have an event flow. If you stick to the schedule that you created for the wedding, and have a steady flow of how things are supposed to run, that can also benefit you, your staff, vendors, and the guest experience...but things happen, and by having us along your side we are pretty reactive to the amazing "proactive" schedule we've created.
5. Think of lounge seating during cocktail hour and/or around the dance floor. Create areas that are so comfortable people just want to hangout all night long!
6. Entertainment is HUGE!  Hire professionals (enough said)
7. We love a good wedding crasher... aka your college or pro mascot (we know a few people)
8. Remember that element of surprise we were chatting about... what about having champagne flowing "from the ceiling"
9. Or bring in Circus performs to entertain your guests during cocktail hour
10. Food is one of our biggest areas we love telling your story... what's your favorite meal?  Allow us to showcase that item...that night... YUM right?!?!? That way every time you eat it from now on, you'll  think about your wedding day...
Another tip about creating the best experience is hiring enough staff members to give your guests that full, enjoyable experience. If you hire enough staff, you have enough hands to help out and maintain a steady flow of the event.

Allow us to set everything up for you, greet your guests, manage the event and of course handle the break down at end when every one of your guests are tired from dancing the night away....

So cheers to a great party!

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Backyard Monsoon

    Not all outdoor weddings are filled with sunshine (literally). This one particular wedding was an outdoor event, and that weekend was scheduled for 100% chance of rain, and a lot of it. However, the KYAE team and I did not let that stop us from creating a magical evening for the newlyweds.

Wade and Sadie wedding took place at Wade’s father’s private home on a large piece of
land with a phenomenal view of the lake locally in Burlington NC. The lake was the background of the ceremony and it was absolutely beautiful. IT was the main reason Sadie didn’t originally want a “big” tent.  She didn’t want to block that view but with little to no shade, they finally trusted KYAE in putting up several tents both small & large enough to house buffet

lines, bars, and at least half the guest count.  This would allow the elderly couples places to seek shelter from the sun.  However, as the week grew closer we watched as the drought we had for the past few weeks came to an end and we were calling for 4-8 inches of rain in just a few short days…with possibilities of over 10 inches.

After much debate, the reception took place under a large tent that fit just under 300 people. The tent was filled with many round tables, two bar areas, two large buffet lines, a dance floor, lounge areas, and various other fun items and décor. The best part of the wedding was that the rain held up and didn’t hit until the wedding was almost halfway over. At that point, everyone was already under the tent dancing the night away.

    Jenn and I arrived at 11:45 to start unloading her car and begin set up for the long day ahead. The rest of the team arrived between 12 pm and 4 pm. The first wedding I worked I was underprepared. I didn’t bring backup clothes, or backup shoes, or any drinks for myself throughout the day, but since this was an outdoor wedding and there was a high chance of rain, I over packed and even brought rain boots. (go me!!).  Jenn had always warned to always be prepared.

          With nearly 300 guests, we had a team of 12 KYAE members assisting with everything from checking restrooms, helping with parking and greeting, driving Sidexside ATVs to bring guests from the parking areas, along with making sure guests were not going back to their vehicles to get their own beverages.  You have to make sure guest safety is your number one priority on top of making the wedding a memorable experience for the bride, the groom and all the other guests. 

    We weren’t hit with the rain until right after cake cutting.  However, it poured cats and dogs nonstop as if a monsoon had stopped right over top of us.  We nearly received 4-6 inches in a mere few hours.  With Jenn’s quick thinking we grabbed any linens and umbrellas from outside trying to save any and all décor as quick as possible.  Then once the rain started flooding the tent we quickly began picking up linens to try and save them from being stained with mud.  We had already tied up all of the corners of the 8’ banquets into cute rosettes to keep those linens off of the ground.   

As we began breaking down chairs and pulling décor the mud became almost like quicksand even in the tent because with the ground leading to a lake all of the runoff from the house came through the tent.  At that point we were trekking through mud under the tent trying to sort through all of the supplies and load them into Jenn’s car. Luckily I had my rain boots and rain jacket, or else I would have had a rough time with take down.

The coolest part about the rain and the mud was that the bride and the groom were
the most easygoing and happy go lucky couple. They were running in the rain, jumping into the lake and dancing in the mud, and they didn’t have a care in the world. They lived in the moment and that was the most beautiful thing to witness.

    After hours of tear down and loading up the car, we finally left the site around midnight and I was so exhausted. This wedding was the longest wedding I had ever worked and required a lot of labor, but it was worth it to see how happy the bride and groom were. That is always the most rewarding thing, when the bride and groom are smiling ear to ear because you and the team you are working with helped create a night they are never going to forget. That is my why.

Can’t wait to see what I learn at our next event…


Kayla, 2019 summer intern



Looking for a Honeymoon?

What is a Sandals honeymoon like, and what cool things can you do? Well, first off, you have to narrow it down to what interests you the most. There are 6 total Islands you can choose from through Sandals. There is Jamaica, The Bahamas, Saint Lucia, Antigua, Grenada, and Barbados. Each Island has many resorts to choose from, with Jamaica having the most resorts of the 6 Islands. Technically you can also do Turks & Caicos but beware that is a Beaches Resort property which means there will be families and children.  But we’ve sent honeymooners there too!

    If you plan your honeymoon in Jamaica you have the option to choose between 6
resorts. There is Montego Bay, Royal Caribbean, Negril, South Coast, Ochi, and Royal Plantation. The best part about Jamaica is you can stay at one location and enjoy the amenities at all the other Sandals locations. It gives you a chance to see all the beauty Jamaica has to offer.  Just note some are several hours away from one another while some are right down the street.

    The next Island is the Bahamas. The Bahamas includes two resorts; Royal Bahamian, and Emerald Bay. You have the option to swim with the pigs in the Exumas, swim with the dolphins and sea lions over in Nassau, go scuba diving, and many other off land adventures. If you’re looking for a smaller quaint island, then the Bahamas is for you.

    Then comes Saint Lucia with three resorts to choose from. There is Regency La Toc, Grande St. Lucia, and Halcyon Beach. This Island gives you the same option as Jamaica where you can stay at one resort and visit the other two during your stay. This Island offers tours of St. Lucia's volcanic origins, scuba diving, golf courses, beautiful turquoise waters, rainforests, dolphin and whale watching, and many more amazing experiences.  If you’ve had your eye on Hawaii but didn’t want the long day of traveling, most compare this

island to Hawaii with its beautiful hikes and waterfalls.  Make sure to start your adventure with an excursion the minute your plane lands by jumping into a helicopter and shorting your commute to the resort from the airport from nearly 2 hours to just over 15 minutes.  Worth the extra funds for this fun adventure.  You can also book a private transfer with snacks and beverages for the long ride if helicopters aren’t your thing.

    Antigua and Grenada each have one resort on their Island. Antigua’s resort is,
Grand Antigua, and Grenada’s resort is, Grenada. Antigua is voted to be the world's most romantic resort.  It is home to the country's best and most famous beach, Dickenson Bay. They have exotic Rondoval Suites, Mediterranean Butler Villas, the lovers rock sunset cruise, and many other romantic activities for you and your spouse. Grenada is known as the spice island, as well as the most innovative all-inclusive resort. This island comes with breathe taking skypool suites, your own personal tour of Grenada with motorboat rentals, scuba diving experiences, and various other activities.

The last Island I will be talking about is Barbados. Barbados has two resort options; Barbados and Royal Barbados. When in Barbados, you can go snorkeling, take a trip to their very first rooftop pool, visit their new craft beer garden, take an adventure inside their breathtaking caves, and many more. This island is known for their sea turtles and their Friday Fish Fry with the locals.  It’s the two must do excursions.

    The best part about booking through Sandals is that no matter where you decide to
go, all the resorts are all-inclusive, with unlimited gourmet dining as well as alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, breathtaking beaches, indoor activities, outdoor activities, entertainment, snorkel and scuba dive for free (if already scuba certified) and distinct experiences at every location. You just have to find which island and resort suites you the best. 


Contact us today for a consultation to go over the properties and which one best suites your needs whether you’re a chill in a hammock kind of person or looking to find an adventure…we’ve got something for everyone down in the Caribbean. 

Sandals is currently offering 7 rooms every Wednesday at 7 random resorts for an additional 7% when booking 7 days (changes every week and we never know which ones are selected). Also note we offer a 10% discount for any active and veteran military (including their destination weddings too).  Sandals & Beaches Resorts has an amazing Select Guest Rewards program for those that continue to travel the brand…not to mention most rooms/resorts offer a FREE night stay with Anniversary stays of 7 days or more.  Talk us about more information and details.  We can’t wait to see where you decide.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Welcome Summer 2019 Intern

Greetings, Knot Your Average Events followers! My name is Kayla Wetherell and I am Jennifer Ball’s new intern this summer. From now until August I will be writing blog posts about my experiences this summer, as well as keeping up with all social media platforms, so I hope you all get to learn a lot from me as I learn from Jenn.

Some fun facts about me that make me who I am; I am bubbly, outgoing, extremely talkative (maybe too much), detail oriented, passionate about anything I set my mind to, creative, and very hardworking. I enjoy leadership roles, taking charge, being put in stressful situations, because that is where I excel the most, and I also love making those around me happy.

For those who have no idea who I am, let me share with you a bit about myself. I am a 21 year old recent college graduate. Go Spartans! I graduated May 10th, 2019 from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. While attending UNCG, I started out as a Kinesiology major with a minor in Sports Coaching. My goal going into college was to become a Division 1 Cross Country and Track coach, because I used to be on the cross country and track team at UNCG, but my career aspirations changed somewhere along the way. My sophomore year, I changed my major to Community and Therapeutic Recreation and my minor to Sociology. I changed my major and minor once I realized my passion for event planning, so here I am.

After my internship with Jenn, I plan on becoming a destination wedding planner. I want to one day have my own wedding planning company and travel the world, while doing what I do best, making memorable experiences for those around me.


~Kayla (2019 summer intern)

Sunday, May 12, 2019

To the Moon and Back

Happy Mother’s Day to the sweetest woman I know!

My Mom, my best friend, my go to when life gets hard or even when life is going well. I am blessed to call you mom! You have made life so much easier to go through knowing I have you to call on. From being there when I found out I was pregnant at 17 to being there now as I had my 4th baby at 26. You were there to help guide me in the right direction and to always help me remember what really matters in life.
 You never let me go too far astray; you are always there to remind me of my goals in life when I’m not sure what I want anymore. Thanks for always supporting my goals and doing whatever possible to make them come true. When it came to marrying the love of my life…you were right by my side. 

You quickly encouraged me to hire your professor and mentor for our wedding so that we could be together and just enjoy the day.  You attended several planning meetings and even stayed up late helping me make final decisions…and on wedding day with the KYAE team working behind the scenes you were able to be right by my side all day long. 

You are my biggest fan! I could go on and on about all the accomplishments you’ve had as a mom through my 26 years of life. But honestly your biggest accomplishment is loving me to no end and letting me know just how much Christ loves me too.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom love you to the moon & back!

Your Daughter Heather Lee (2017 KYAE bride)
*wedding day photo credit:  Photos by Christina Forbes

Without Worry

Jenn and her team was beyond amazing, I cannot image a more perfect day and her team that made it happen! Our entire family was able to enjoy our wedding day without a single worry because Jenn and her team took care of every detail, so effortlessly!  My mother was able to enjoy our wedding day to the fullest.

I don’t know where I’ll be without my mother.  All that I am is attributable to her.  Her strength, grit and intelligence is something I am profoundly grateful for. 

Happy Mother’s Day to the woman who raised me into the strong, independent woman I am today!

~Anya (2018 bride)

My Bodyguard

From the moment I got engaged I knew that my son Spencer would be the one to walk me down the aisle. I asked him if he would take on the most important task of the wedding and that was to give me away. He took on the role like a champ and became Mom’s “bodyguard.” He has and will always be the #1 man in my life.

The night before the wedding, Spencer and I spent the night together, just the two of us before all the craziness started the next day. We talked about future plans and things he wanted to do. Time he and I’ll cherish forever.

He spent all day with me the day of the wedding relaxing with the girls and just taking in the whole process. When I asked him what his favorite thing about the wedding was he said “Seeing you so happy!” 

He was a part of the process from beginning to end and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Plus, he was able to keep the biggest secret of all from his new step dad! I think he was more excited about surprising Johnathan than I was with both the Duke & Carolina mascots.  The day was a little overwhelming for Spencer, but Jennifer and her team made him feel comfortable and special every second.  He even got to hang out with the mascots right before they come out for the big reveal.  This totally made Spencer's night.  We danced the night and ended with a family dance, just the three of us.

Not only did Jennifer assist us in planning our wedding she even took care of our honeymoon in Sandals.  We made sure to stay home to celebrate Easter prior to flying off to our honeymoon.  Since Spencer couldn’t come along for our honeymoon we decided to let his pup enjoy her first adventure and shares our travels with Daisy.  Between our butlers at Sandals and Jennifer back home… it all just happened like magic.

~Courtney (April 20, 2019 bride)