FOMO is going to help you market, if you don’t miss out that is


Most companies find occasions to celebrate throughout the years – holidays, a new office open house, product launches, retirement celebrations, summer picnics, fun companies even make their offsides fit in to this category. We’re certain you’ve created your own traditions and you have special inside jokes you share at these events, that make plus ones and spouses super uncomfy (in a good way – a team building way) but how much time is somebody on your staff spending planning these events? Is it the best use of their time or your money?

Large companies have long since learned the value of an event planner, some have full time event planners on staff as part of their marketing teams, because for many companies events have become key marketing tools in their lead gen strategy. Smaller companies, especially in local markets, haven’t quite yet realized the potential customers sitting out there waiting for them to find each other through events and related lead gen gold.

Millenials have made news lately for killing off a lot of relics of the past, like tired restaurant chains, stores that exist only in malls but not online, and Confederate statues. They’re also killing the old traditional forms of advertising.

Creative industries, entertainment, restaurants, bars and hotels need to evolve their marketing strategies or they will continue to lose customers to online apps, pop ups and online only competitors outside of their local market.

How does all of this come together? Small businesses in local markets need to be better at marketing together, and local events are key.

Don’t wait for the once a year trade shows or hope you can get enough people to write good reviews about you online so that one day you’ll reach the top of Yelp or TripAdvisor. Forget about that happening anyway if you aren’t buying ads through many of these social connectors.

This is Portland, where the event and entertainment industry is dominated by creative giants in small businesses. As one who’s been active for political and community groups as a community organizer, I’ve learned a thing or two million about using the internet to fund raise, grow support, capture information and mobilize communities in to action.

What you are missing as a small business when you organize your events in house, is developing a relationship with an event planner who can help you see the connection between your holiday party, summer picnic, team offsite, and your next product launch.

Every political campaign since Howard Dean, has recognized the need to gather and capture information from their supporters. So why haven’t small businesses figured out how well this model can work for them? Connecting with your community, capturing info from those who engage and attend your events or seminars, that is how you will grow your business and tap in to your share of the market.

Your events are as much a part of your brand as your logo. Connecting those events in a meaningful way, in essence, branding your events, will help you see the connection between how you celebrate and how you connect to your local market.

FOMO is the most powerful marketing tool to capture Millenials and Gen Z. The question is, how will you tap into it? What events can you put together to market your brand? And how will you connect your events to who you are? How will you bring your event to social media, and collect data from your event to help move you forward? And how will you include other local companies in your event in mutually beneficial ways? We can help. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Oregon for the Solar Eclipse

August 21, 2017 Oregon will be right in the path of the total solar eclipse at about 10:19am. While the best viewing spot will be in Salem, it’s OK if you want to stay in Portland for the big moment. Most known campsites were completely sold out a while back. The State Fair Grounds will be hosting a Solar Fest; all 5,500 spaces were sold out long ago. Many farms, vineyards of the Willamette Valley, and even our State Capitol Mall are in on hosting activities for the big day. Some family farms may still have rustic camping options available, but if you are going to go this route, make sure you come prepared with water, food, and the ability to survive should Oregonians cause a little havoc with our unique ability to massively shut down activity for such an awesome rare occurrence. FYI to say traffic will be horrid, is an understatement – think zombie apocalypse, or two inches of snow in December.

We will likely have at least a million tourists descend upon us. We’re excited. We love cool people who enjoy science, so this is going to be fun for us! If you are looking for events (the celebration is starting on the 18th and running through the 21st, here is where to look first. 

If you want to stay here in Portland, then stay right here. We should enjoy a 99.4% eclipse. Where should you go if your front yard or back yard isn’t your first choice? Anywhere on the waterfront. Seriously go walk outside there will be thousands of downtown offices taking a break, employees walking out on to the bridges and out to Tom McCall Waterfront Park and enjoying. Bosses, please do yourself a favor, pre-order NASA approved glasses at look for American Paper Optics, Rainbow Symphony, Thousand Oaks Optical, or Beader Planetarium manufactured glasses with the “ISO” label. They must also reference #12312-2, not be pre-used, warped, or damaged. A box of 25 will likely cost you about $25-35, if you buy today.

If you want to go to Pittock Mansion, or other optimum viewing sites, plan to go very early. Remember the park grounds open just before sunrise if you aren’t hiking in, you may not get a parking spot if you go later than that.

Cheers to the sun and the moon and everyone coming together right here in Oregon!


2017 Rustic Chic Farm and Vineyard Weddings

This summer in Portland is all about rustic wine country farms. Rustic open fields and barns are hot and chandelier-adorned ballrooms are not. The most important thing you need to know about a rustic wedding is that they are not necessarily more affordable than a classic black-tie worthy ballroom wedding.

We know you paid close attention to your basic econ classes in high school and college, so rule #1 of economics–supply and demand determines market price–applies here. In Portland, we have a large supply of rustic farm style venues (good for the consumer bride) but the demand is so high nationwide that we see now people coming to Portland for our venues, food and perfect summer weather weddings as a hot destination spot from California, Seattle, and even New York. What that means is you have to trust an expert to help you find the venues everyone hasn’t searched for online from far away, if you want to find a good price for an in-season rustic farm style venue (assuming they aren’t already booked through 2018).

Things to keep in mind: Some rustic venues include basic tables and standard sturdy wedding chairs, white or black basic linens and lots of natural beauty – but very little else. Your typical rustic venue is going to cost between $3,000 and $7,000 for a peak Saturday. That does not include catering, decor, rustic chic wooden rental tables, upgraded chair rentals, flowers, lighting (beyond what is standard at the venue)–did we mention flowers? I’m going to say it again because flowers are an often overlooked necessary expense you should splurge on if you’re going for a rustic venue.

It’s important to note that farm venues are working farms, sometimes open to the public vineyards, and people’s homes and property. Therefore many require you to work with only a select group of vendors, their specific wedding planner, and if they allow you to choose your own vendors, they will at least require you to work with a very inclusive caterer or a “Day of” wedding planner.

The term “Day of” wedding planner confuses a lot of couples planning a wedding on their own. Most wedding planners are booking up for 2018 already, many don’t have any availability left in the summer of 2017. So if you thought you could wait until close to your wedding to hire a “Day of” planner, you are going to be out of luck. In Oregon, event planners book up for our very short very peak summer season. If you find a team or planner you like you have to book them early. And if they are a smaller planning company, or a diverse company that also does non-profit and corporate events, they only have so much bandwidth to take on “Day of” weddings.

The problem with “Day of” weddings, the wedding planner’s event planning bread and butter is the referral and the guest who enjoyed their experience so much they want to know who the planner was. It’s impossible for a professional to accept a true “Day of” job in an industry where your reputation and style are everything. It’s hard enough for a professional to put their name on an event they didn’t play a part in planning. If it is not their decor, floral and table setting designs, and vendor suggestions, they don’t want anyone faulting them if the quality is out of their hands. You will find for this reason most professionals will not accept “Day of” events. Instead, we offer “Month of” services.

With a month of service, professional planners will typically find the gaps in your design, and plans long before your wedding day. They’ll be able to tell you months before it is too late how you could save money, stress, or disasters by making a few small tweaks. They’ll make your last several months before your wedding FUN, less stressful, and worry-free. They’ll help you dot every “i,” cross every “t,” confirm every single detail with every single vendor and handle a ton of those last minute calls, emails and details you really don’t need to do – since you’re required to pay for their services anyway. Some of us can and will offer you floral designs, set up and assistance for your seating charts, place cards, favors, place settings, specialty linens and rentals, sweets table design, signage, and we’ll be there for your rehearsal and every minute of your ceremony and reception, to make sure everything happens exactly according to schedule.

The more personalized elements you add, the more you need a professional wedding planner. So why do we not just show up on the day of your event? Because our services are priceless, and we book up for peak season with all the couples who need full service or month of services. Professionals aren’t available for “Day of” for the same reason venues are more expensive during the summer – supply and demand.

My best advice to any couple who’s just gotten engaged, hire a full service planner FIRST. A good professional will offer you a free consultation. From that consultation most will offer a basic inexpensive guide to planning your wedding, including venue and vendor recommendations, they’ll help you set a very realistic budget and give you a complete guide to doing it all yourself. These packages at Vareus Events start at $50 for very basic starting points, if we met through a referral from a preferred venue or vendor, or if we met at a show or pop-up wedding planning workshop. It’s only $200 for complete getting started plans. If you are just engaged, call us first and you’ll probably save up to ten times that amount in your time and wedding costs. If you later book us for complete or Month Of services, we will deduct that up front amount from your total services package price.


Money saving tips cheat sheet for rustic chic farm style weddings:

Step 1: Call a professional planner for assistance getting started

Step 2: If you already selected a venue, and you know you will need a wedding planner hire your planner ASAP. Their “Month of” Services don’t mean they won’t get involved in your planning process before the month of your wedding. The sooner you book them, the more help you will get and it is usually already included in your package.

Step 3: If you are coming up on your wedding date and realize you need a “Day of” planner, look to a novice or mom n pop style planners who may not be booked up far in advance. Don’t hesitate to call a preferred planner first, you never know if there may be a date they just never completely booked, and they may be available to help you at their “Month of” rate. If you are still finding it hard to find a “Day of” planner, call your caterer. They often have connections within the industry and may be able to help you.


Finishing touches

Incorporating fresh herbs into your event catering menu has pretty much always been a thing, Well we’ve evolved past the 70’s dill in a macaroni salad at the reception to added herbal touches to perfect tabletop decor.

When adding greenery to your place settings, think about the significance behind your herb of choice – beyond the beautiful pop of color.

Herbs in the mint family are significant as an herbal boost of the immune system, to brighten your mood, and to soothe a sour tummy. From Mint, or Rosemary, to Lavendar, brighten your table top and your guests’ mood, all at once.



Personally, We Think The Ceremony Is The Most Important Part

There are many reasons couples turn to a friend or loved one to officiate their wedding: They don’t belong to a specific church or feel attached to a specific clergy member; our kids’ fourth birthdays are a big spectacle why wouldn’t our wedding ceremony be something to remember and completely unique; it only takes a few minutes to become ordained online; and couples enjoy having their ceremonies in very non-traditional personally meaningful ways.

While we are certain your best friend is going to be just great at this, we’re also betting they may not have done this before. Even if you don’t want or need a professional officiant, we highly recommend you turn to a professional to help you write and plan your ceremony.

Personalized ceremonies are our favorite, but they can also be the absolute WORST! There is nothing more embarrassing than a wedding where the bride and groom clearly worked on their own or with a planner to create an amazing and unique reception experience for them and their guests, but they failed to pay the same attention to detail in planning their ceremony.

Sure, the couple knew where they wanted to stand, the decor, even the chairs are comfortably fantastic, and the processional and recessional music Had guests dancing in their seats or crying tears of joy, but what about the ceremony? What’s in a ceremony? Do you have to pledge obedience or other creepy antiquated ideals of a sexist past you’d like to not participate in? Of course not!

Writing and poetry are not every person’s strong suit. Even if you as a couple are determined to write every word of your vows yourself, what about the other parts of the ceremony? Your friend may be brilliant, an excellent public speaker, or even a writer, but are they going to write your perfect ceremony from start to finish? What readings or traditions will you include? What would you like to keep out completely?

This is why hiring a wedding planner can help you in ways you may not have even considered. You thought they were just going to arrange who stood where, but no, your modern planner is also an ordained minister (remember it only takes a few minutes online and come on when we say we are ready to solve any problem that may arise, that includes being ready to officiate because it was the plan all along or because your officiant got caught in traffic between weddings). We are experts, we won’t let you forget a single detail. And most importantly, at Vareus Events and other modern planning firms, you can turn to an expert just to help you craft the perfect custom ceremony plug in the parts from your friend – the officiant, and your personalized vows. It’s stress free, and more importantly it will be the part you most look forward to.

Our Vareus Events Custom ceremonies start at $200. For $500 you get a custom ceremony, an officiant, and a rehearsal. As part of an existing package, writing and planning services may already be included. Our full service planning packages always include a planner as an emergency back up officiant – where local laws allow (void in some states or counties).


To Elope, or Not To Elope…That Is The Question

Many Modern couples are opting to get married in a courthouse with just a handful of people, or elope somewhere non-traditional and special to them, in lieu of a large church ceremony.  Millennials do not have the same attachment to a Church their parents or GenXers may have had, so a religious ceremony is not a necessity.

There are a lot of pluses to feeling free to marry exactly how and where you want to. For starters, we are big believers that the Wedding Ceremony, itself, is the most important thing about your upcoming nuptials. Why? Because your promises made to each other are truly what this is all about.

What better way to start your life together, than by bringing your absolute true selves out to seal the deal. For some that means a religious ceremony in a house of worship, for others, even if they are deeply faithful, it may mean they have to share this moment in a very different and special way for them. You’re in luck. It is 2017 and you do not have to look at your upcoming marriage as something you have to do in any set way in order to please the world.

The question you should ask yourself is how do you stay true to who you are as people in this commitment to each other to become one – and should you sacrifice having the giant party to celebrate even if you don’t want the traditional ceremony? Of course not! You can have it all.

Let’s look at some of the options you have available to you for your perfect Wedding:

  • Get married in the religious house you love and are an active member of – If you go to Services most weeks, are active in your community and can’t imagine getting married without your religious leader giving the Consecration, then do it! You don’t have to have a traditional reception just because you opt for a traditional ceremony. Think about some venues not too far from where your ceremony will be and plan a day that fits you and your personality. If you worry the formal wedding gown you will wear for your ceremony will not work for the venue you want for your reception, change your close before the Grand Entrance. Brides today are opting to wear traditional or family heirlooms to the ceremony and a different look that is more modern and fun for the reception.
  • Just make it legal – getting married in a courthouse with no big crowds is the perfect way to have a simple ceremony that checks off all the boxes, secures the legality, and makes it all official. If you are a no-nonsense kind of person who really doesn’t want a large ceremony, or to customize your own vows, and add a lot of detail to your ceremony, a Justice of the Peace may be exactly what you need. Many Justices of the Peace will work with you to allow for minor personalizations but they are not typically where you go if you want a unique, completely you ceremony. This may also be a great option for you or your families are very religious, you are not, or your religions do not fit in to your ideas for your marriage. Having an intimate ceremony does not mean you cannot have a huge or traditional reception. Also, some courthouses will even allow for large massive ceremonies so you don’t necessarily have to make this small or intimate. Another great plus, the flexibility. You can get married on a Friday morning and host a massive celebration Friday or even Saturday evening. You can marry on a Tuesday in the town you live in and then fly to your parents’ town for a huge celebration.
  • Get married somewhere that is deeply special to you with only your select few key people around. It can be a destination ceremony. A ceremony at the top of a mountain. You can marry in a park, on a trail, at the Coast, or in your own backyard. It’s really and truly OK to marry wherever you feel it’s right to commit to forever together. Maybe your first trip was to Joshua Tree or Yellowstone and you want to have a small ceremony in the park. Do it! Make sure you abide by Park rules, get the proper permits, and bring along a legally ordained Minister. Also be sure you’re legally marrying by abiding by local laws for getting legally married. Do you need a license (definitely) Do you need witnesses? Is there a waiting period? Do you need a blood test? Plan your special ceremony months to a year in advance and still plan the reception of your dreams. It doesn’t have to take place the same day or in the same town so truly make this completely your dream. We highly recommend you use a professional planner for this type of event. Serious planners and planners who work with non-traditional couples are often ordained Ministers, too – so we can make sure your unique ceremony is legal and done right.
  • Host a large traditional ceremony, even if you don’t belong to a church. You may want everyone you know and love at your ceremony, you may even want religious aspects, or a blending of traditional and non-traditional elements, but you don’t attend weekly services or even feel there is a Church you belong to or would feel welcome or comfortable marrying at. There are many Open Churches. Seriously, this is Portland in 2017! There is no pressure to become a member of many of our area churches, and they will still happily welcome you in to their doors to get married. Even better, some will let you use your own officiant or will just meet with you in a welcoming way, before the wedding, and then happily marry you in a way that makes you feel welcome and comfortable. Some Christian Churches are very excited to have you get married in their Church, and they won’t judge you for blending religious values or doing it your own way. The pluses are they often ask for a reasonable venue rental fee you don’t need a lot of decoration or any chair rentals and they even have a lot of additions like a large organ, lighting and included standard decor or runners. You can spend more on the flowers and less on large decor rentals.
  • Have a large, medium or intimate ceremony at a Vineyard, elegant hotel, on a farm, at a local venue, or rent out an estate for a full day, where you also host your reception.
  • A final idea – a destination wedding. Make sure you use a planner! Professionals like us have contacts everywhere. We can help you secure all the details you want, book rooms for your friends and family, and save you stress, time and money.

The key is to have the exact wedding you want. These are just some basic ideas, and truly your options are endless. Think about the exact perfect Wedding for you and then go for it!