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Events by Divine Creations

Myth Buster!

by Valerie DiVecchio 10. July 2014 08:43
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As a professional event planner, I hear people talk about their preceptions around events, especially the cost of items.  I get it... planning events can be costly.  But if you're going in with something that you believe is true when in fact it's it the opposite, it can be a costly mistake.  So I decided that one of the things I can do to help you is bust the myths!

One of the biggest myths I hear people say all the time is that a buffet is less expensive than a plated dinner.  In fact, unless you're serving filet mignon and lobster for the plated meal and chicken wings and mac and cheese on the buffet, the opposite is true.  While it does help cut costs on your service personnel (and by only maybe one or two servers), what people do not count into the equation is that more food needs to be prepared for a buffet than a plated meal.  Why?  Because in a buffet you have people who will go up for seconds and maybe even thirds!  More food = more money.

So if you're set on serving a chicken entree and a seafood entree, you would be better to go with a duo plated dinner than a buffet cost-wise.  And when planning a fabulous event, we all know it comes does to dollars and sense... so here's hoping this makes sense and helps to bust the myth!

Pinterest... Friend or Foe?

by Valerie DiVecchio 1. July 2014 10:05
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Pinterest is all the craze these days - especially when it comes to wedding or party planning.  The concept behind Pinterest is brillant.  There are thousands and thousands of pictures to shift through giving you unique and different ideas and for that it's a friend.  However, like every social media site there can be some cons.

It used to only be magazines that event planners had to educate clients on another brillant invention called PhotoShop.  In today's world of digital photography, it could be a gray, rainy day, but in the pictures it's all rainbows and sunshine.  As I say, you can slap a horn on a horse and call it a unicorn, but it's still just a horse with a horn!  Well, PhotoShop has made it's way onto the internet (I mean, hey, if you can get a headshot at the age of 40 and have it look like you have no wrinkles, why not!  Just sayin'...).  And some of those pictures on Pinterest have been touched up or refreshed.  So it's back to educating we go... yes, that's doable, however, that absolute perfect shade of pink you see in the picture may vary somewhat in your flowers because Mother Nature doesn't work with PhotoShop!

Another other downside depends on an individual's personality style.  Let's say you have this vision in your head of what your perfect wedding day looks like and then go on Pinterest and your vision starts to change.... and so does your budget, and it's generally not in your pocketbook's favor.  Or you meet with your florist and design out the entire layout of your arrangements then you see something on Pinterest that completely changes your mind and you start from scratch again.  Here's my word of advice if you tend to be a little indecisive at times... go on Pinterest before you meet with your vendors, print pics for inspiration (which are fantastic for any designer!), be clear about the look you're going for (yet be flexible in case you pick something that's way out of your budget so you can select an alternative) and then don't go back to Pinterest until after your event is over!

So don't get me wrong, there is definite value in Pinterest and any other social media site, but like everything, use it in moderation and don't believe immediately everything you see.  And when you see that floral arrangement that's black in color, and you think to yourself... that's kind of cool, could that be real?  Hear my voice whisper.... no.....

A New June Resolution?

by Valerie DiVecchio 1. June 2014 20:46
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Honestly I don't even remember if I made a New Year's Resolution this year.  And if I did, since I don't remember, I probably broke it by now.  Seeing that the last time I blogged was last November, I decided that I can do a mid-year resolution... if I am determined to keep it - which I am!  So my new resolution is that starting June 1st, I am going to get back to blogging at least once a week.  Whew, considering today is June 1st, I have made it at least a week! 

So here's my promise to you... I'm going to blog once a week in order to bring you new trends, old trends that are coming back, creative and unique ideas, important information and share current client happenings!  And if more than a week goes by, you can absolutely bombard me with e-mails until I post again.  Trust me, that's motivation right there!

So welcome to June!  Time to get some sun, have some fun and BLOG, BLOG, BLOG!

 

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How to Create SUCCESS for your Business with Expos

by Valerie DiVecchio 4. July 2013 15:26
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A colleague and friend of mine, Tiffanie Kellog, the owner of Thread Art, a promotional products company, and I sat down to write this article because we see time and time again companies make critical mistakes when exhibiting at a trade show or expo.  Companies invest time and money trying to put their best foot forward, and sometimes they just fall flat.  With our combined experience, we wanted to write this article to help companies succeed in making a lasting impression and making more money!

Trade shows and Expos are abundant throughout the community, and can be a powerful way for companies to market their business... when done correctly. Unfortunately, many companies that have a booth to promote their business make one or many mistakes, which keep them from reaching their full potential for success with the event. There are several considerations when deciding whether or not to participate in the trade show, and how best to work the event.

The first step is to decide whether or not you participate in the event. A question you will want answered is: “Are the people attending prospective clients of mine?” If the answer is no, then this is not the most effective use of your marketing dollars. If the answer is yes, you will want to determine your break even point, i.e., how many clients would you need from the event to cover the investment of participating?  Taking that number, ask yourself if it is realistic to gain that many clients from this type of event. You may need to ask the event coordinator a few additional determining questions, such as:

  • How many people are expected to attend? (and is this a number based on previous year’s attendees, ticket sales or a guess)
  • What is the size of the booth and what is provided? (if you need electricity or wi-fi, is it available? And is there an additional cost?)
  • Do you get to pick your booth location?
  • Is there a ticket price for entrance or is it free to the public?
  • What other activities will be happening during the event? (such as seminars, demonstrations, shows)

Once you have all the details, you are better informed to answer the question: “What is the best way to stand out amongst the crowd?” The first thing to consider is the layout of your booth; this can be crucial in attracting people to you, thus giving you a higher success rate of interaction with your prospective clients. Some points to consider:

  • Include samples of your product or photos of your services to view
  • Display your company’s name & logo predominately
  • Adequately staff the booth with people in proper attire with fresh breath
  • Have the supplies to properly assemble your space (ie, extension cords, scissor, tape, fishing wire, etc) to look great
  • Create an inviting space to communicate with prospects. Do not have the staff hidden behind the table, sitting in chair or have people eating, smacking gum, or playing on cell phones
  • Don’t overwhelm people with too much clutter
  • Develop a plan to engage the audience

Now that you know you want to participate in the trade show or exp, then what?  Well, you'll have to wait until next week and check out the next steps at www.tiffaniekellog.com because Tiffanie will share part 2 on her blog!

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Radio Show Interview

by Valerie DiVecchio 13. February 2013 09:36
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I had the honor of being interviewed by Terri Bork of Extreme Marketing Concepts yesterday on her radio show "Go Mind Your Business".  Despite both of us being under the weather (hence the deep, low voice... for those of you who do not know me personally, I usually don't sound like that!), it was a totally fun and great experience.  Didn't think it would be easy to talk about myself for 40 minutes... but it wasn't as hard as I thought! :)  If you want to hear the interview, click on this link: http://wp.me/p2UsKQ-cu.

A special thank you to Terri for asking me to be a guest on her show.  If you need help in the marketing department, I would totally recommend Extreme Marketing Concepts.  Terri really knows her stuff!

2012: A Year in Review

by Valerie DiVecchio 6. February 2013 13:44
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Last week I blogged about 2012 being a busy but amazing year for Events by Divine Creations - in fact it was the best one yet!  I could spend tons of time telling you all about it, but hey, they say a picture's worth a thousand words, right?!  So without further ado, here are pictures from some of the great events we produced in 2012.  I wanted to put a lot more, but uploading them took so long I figured if I pushed my luck another year would go by without another post!

Picture #1: Marlin's Bat Mitzvah at the Tampa International Jet Center; Picture #2: Allison and Eric's Wedding at the Renaissance International Plaza; Picture #3: Stacey and Brendon's Wedding at Tampa Yacht and Country Club; Pictures #4-6: RNC Reception for WellCare Health Plans at a private residence on Bayshore Boulevard; Pictures #7 and 8: Focus on Females HealthCare Symposium at the Tampa Convention Center; Picture #9: Joyoti and Eugene's Wedding at the Dali Museum; Picture #10: Tamar and Paul's Wedding at the Marriott Waterside. 

             

             

      

              

       

Where Did the Time Go?

by Valerie DiVecchio 30. January 2013 14:14
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I simply cannot believe that I haven't blogged since before the RNC!  The second half of the year was a complete whirlwind... large event for the City of Tampa, then the RNC came to town on top of more weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs and corporate retreats and holiday parties.  2012 was the best year yet for Events by Divine Creations - well, in very way except for keeping up with social media... oops!  I'm currently going through all of my pictures in order to post "A Review of 2012" so be looking for me to post that up any day now - well, let's be honest... by early next week!

25 Day Countdown!

by Valerie DiVecchio 1. August 2012 16:03
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I know I've been a little slack on blogging lately, but I, like all of the other businesses in the hospitality industry, will blame it on the RNC!  Don't get me wrong - I'm so not complaining.  I'm extremely grateful that I get to play a part in planning one of the events happening that week, but the pressure is on!  25 days until it starts - eek!  If you haven't seen the logo that the Tampa Bay Business Journal created, it looks really cool.  Nothing against the official logo, but the elephant waving a pirate flag is #1 in my book!

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Green Partying

by Valerie DiVecchio 5. July 2012 10:35
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No, I'm not talking about St. Patrick's Day green beer or the color of your face if you drink too much of it... I'm talking about throwing an eco-friendly party!  Being eco-friendly and going green are very in vogue these days.  We all care about the earth and its future so why not include some elements to reduce the environmental impact while you celebrate?!

Every December my husband and I have a party for the holidays where the same group of friends come together because with busy lives sometimes it's the only time we have to catch up once a year.  Years ago I started putting out the recycling bins next to the trash cans and posting signs saying "Santa Says Recycle".  It's an easy thing to do that makes a big difference... although when we put out the recycling bins on trash day, we're sure we get some comments as the neighbors drive by!

Another easy thing to do is send an electronic e-mail invitation using sites such as www.evite.com.  They have cute graphics for pretty much any occasion and all you have to do is input your wording, import e-mail addresses and hit send!  Not only is it super easy, but it also saves you money and time but cutting out buying paper invitations, addressing all the envelopes and paying for postage.

This next tip takes a little extra time, but if we're taking being eco-friendly, it's a biggie.  Use regular plates and glasses instead of disposable ones.  If you have the storage, you could purchase "themed" dinner sets to be used year after year.  Or if your guest list outnumbers the plates in your cabinets, there are plenty of party rental companies that you can rent everything from plates to flatware to every kind of glass you can imagine. 

And my last tip that works for pretty much any party - use paper lanterns (light up or not) instead of balloons which are not often biodegradable.  They have a cool effect and come in a wide variety of colors.  They work for birthday parties, holiday parties - even weddings!  And they look fantastic strung over a patio or courtyard setting.

So now you have some tips as you look forward to Labor Day BBQs, Halloween parties and the upcoming holidays which are always full of festivities.  So party with an impact!

Corporate Events That Motivate Employees

by Valerie DiVecchio 7. June 2012 16:19
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Are you the one who hates to hear those 5 dreaded words come out of your boss's mouth... "Wanna plan the holiday party?"?  Well, here comes Divine Creations to the rescue!  From holiday parties to company retreats to customer appreciation days, we have some tips to help you shine and maybe even get that promotion you've been eyeing!

Money talks!  Before doing anything, find out what the budget is and an estimated headcount.  Are spouses or significant others going to be invited?  How about children?  The more people, the higher the costs because that's more food, more drinks, more tables which equal more linens, centerpieces... well, you get the picture.  You may plan the perfect party, but the boss won't be happy if you go over budget!

Location, location, location.  That's right... it's not just for real estate anymore.  Selecting the right location can make or break your party.  Before you pick a venue there are a couple of things to consider: what type of atmosphere are you wanting to create - elegant or festive?  Do you what to have a theme?  Is it more suited for a hotel ballroom or an outdoor attraction?  Does the senior management want to be able to address the guests or is it more of a mix and mingle?  All of these answers are going to help drive you to booking the right location.

Hire the right vendors.  Believe it or not, not everything you read on-line is true (except for this blog - it's all true!).  Anyone can pay to put up a good looking website, but are they qualified to cater your event or provide the type of entertainment you desire?  You definitely want to thoroughly research your vendor options.  How much experience do they have?  Do they have the proper licenses and insurance?  Ask for references - particularly corporate references.  It might not be as relevant if you speak to a bride.

Hire a professional to help you.  It's a common misperception that hiring an event planner is expensive.  In fact, 9 times out of 10 I save my clients' more money than what it costs to hire me.  By hiring a professional, you can convey your objectives and your vision and let the professional find all of the right pieces to put together to make that vision come to life.  I always chuckle when I think about a client (a large international Fortune 500 company with hundreds of employees and numerous offices) who hired me to plan their company holiday party because they had a profitable year and could "afford to spend a little more" by hiring me.  When all was said and done, I was actually able to save them $50,000 from what they spent the previous year and create a winter wonderland that kept their employees talking year round!

So when you hear those 5 dreaded words this year, you can smile instead of cringing because you have a secret weapon to help plan it all, within budget and make everyone happy, including the boss... that secret weapon is Events by Divine Creations!  Let us help you be a guest at your own event!

Tips on Tipping

by Valerie DiVecchio 29. October 2010 10:48
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I've had several clients tell me lately that they read articles about not tipping if the person providing the service is the owner of that business.  I'm actually quite surprised at that thought.  The person who cuts my hair is the owner of the salon yet I still tip her.  The massage therapist - on the rare occasion I get to go - owns his own business, but I still tip him.  Why is it different in the event industry?

What people don't realize is that the owners of the business are the ones who have the higher overhead - they pay the rent, insurance, salaries of other employees, utilities, etc.  It's always your discretion and usually only for service providers, not for those who give you something tangible (although that's not always the case).  My personal rule of thumb is that if you feel that the person has done an amazing job, gone above and beyond and played a part in making your event incredible, and you are in a position to do so, gratuity is a nice way to express your thanks - whether they own the company or not. 

Cooler Florida Weather = Outdoor Dinner Parties!

by Valerie DiVecchio 22. September 2010 21:06
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So I blog a good deal about weddings, but why should they have all the fun?  We live in paradise and Mother Nature has blessed us with a beautiful, natural backdrop for great parties.  Whether it's a dinner party with friends, holiday party for your neighbors or even a brunch with the extended family, your backyard offers a fabulous setting.

Often times people think that outdoor events equals eating off of paper plates and inhaling the scent of citronella.  Don't be afraid of using real linens and your good dishes, glasses and silverware.  String up some paper lanterns to create a soft, beautiful ambience, and add to the elegance with some candlelight.  Reception style food helps to create a mix-and-mingle atmosphere.  Use smaller plates and bite sized hors d'oeuvres so your guests are free to roam.

Concerned about the mosquitos?  Hire a pest control company to treat your yard.  Some companies have the ability to create a barrier that help to keep those blood suckers out.

The Fall 2010 edition of Get Married Magazine has an article called "Host Your Own Fresh Garden Party" that offers some great tidbits on how to add some finesse to your outdoor party:

  • Personalized napkins add a special touch by including your theme and color;
  • Hang tiny favor boxes from tree-shaped stands;
  • Home baked goodies are a great parting gift for guests.  Wrap them in cellophane bags to keep them safe from bugs;
  • Personalize your vase with a monogrammed initial;
  • Personalize beautiful glass champagne flutes with a ribbon and tag to prevent drink mix-ups;
  • One favor box color totally dressed up with different ribbons and tags add dimension to any table; and
  • Add a homegrown touch with mini buckets filled with fruit from your citrus trees or a local farmer's market.

It's your own yard - there is nothing more personal than that.  It's a great place to let your creativity shine and make it your own!

Calling All Bargain Shoppers!

by Valerie DiVecchio 9. July 2010 07:14
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This Saturday (July 10th) from 8 am - 4 pm, there will be a huge liqidation sale at the former flower and gift store located 3 doors down from my studio.  The address is 3315 S. Westshore.  They are selling fixtures (some really cool collapsible bookshelves in addition to other stuff), computer equipment, holiday decor, loads of Gasparilla inspired items and LOTS of gifts ready for the giving.  I got a sneak peek yesterday and there are some really great bargains to be found.  I've eye-balled a couple of things for myself!

It is one day only, and it is cash only, so if you're in the mood to find a great deal,  I guess I'll see you there!!

BRR... A Chilly Reception

by Valerie DiVecchio 7. July 2010 11:25
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It might have been a nice, sunny day outside the Intercontinental Hotel on January 23rd, but inside was a different story!  It was Ben's bar mitzvah complete with his very own winter wonderland.  The theme was BRR which had a double meaning - first the obvious, cold, winter... you get the picture; second meaning was a personal one - those are his initials!  Root Brr-tini

Little touches of winter were everywhere: large lit up ice cubes on the dance floor, acrylic bars made to look like ice; a 200 pound ice carving with his initials and the ice luge for BRR-tinis.Root Bar.. for the adults of course!  The colors were blue and silver (new rule at Divine Creations after this event - clients need to pay to have chair covers installed professionally... my back can't take that anymore!) and the table names all incorporated the theme from the traditional like "Old Man Winter" to the not-so-traditional like "Yellow Snow" (funny, but ewww...). 

Ben also had the ultimate "cool" entrance for his introduction... the doorway filled with fog and through the fog came Ben in a trench coat with a beautiful girl wearing a glittery, snowy mask on each arm.  As he made his way onto the dance floor, off came the trench coat to reveal the white tuxedo underneath!Root Centerpiece

The intention for the evening might have been to incorporate the cold, but the evening was everything but.  The love that was shared among family and friends helped to heat up the night and the party!  Mazel Tov Ben! 

 

There's An App For That!

by Valerie DiVecchio 26. May 2010 10:36
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It seems like almost every uncertainty can be answered by a smart phone application these days, and the wedding industry is no exception.  Are you tired of hearing the phrase “there’s an app for that”?  Well, just wait until you see this new lifesaver for your Maid/ Matron of Honor and Best Man! 

 

Waterford Crystal has recently introduced the new “Clink-Clink” app for the  iPhone.  The Clink Clink app is tons of fun and contains over 100 hysterical and heartwarming toasts for a number of different occasions!  Users can “clink” their glasses (you have a choice between 5 beautiful Waterford Crystal Glasses to appear on your screen for the toasts) to exchange toasts with friends or to share contact info with each other.  The app even has a Facebook Connect Application option, so that any toasts you share with existing friends can be also shared on your Facebook walls.

  

The best part about the Clink-Clink app... it’s FREE!  Download the application from clinkclinkapp.com to your iPhone today.  Happy toasting!

 

A Platinum Production!

by Valerie DiVecchio 21. May 2010 11:56
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On the night of January 16th, I saw more than a year's worth of planning come to life in the most amazing way.  It was Zoe's bat mitzvah and it was spectacular.  I reflected back on the day when Zoe's mom Mary Ann walked into my office and pulled a pair of pajamas out of her purse.  That's how it all began. 

You see Zoe loves polka dots and animals - especially dogs.  The pajamas Mary Ann showed me were polka dotted in many of Zoe's favorite colors.  So that's how we got her theme - polka dots and puppies.  I was a little nervous at first thinking how I was going to pull those two elements together, but not for long.  The fun, creative side took over!  We paired up with some amazing vendors and that night turned A La Carte Event Pavilion into Zoe's Dog Park complete with floor to ceiling draped walls, amazing lighting effects and the most adorable centerpieces - all to be donated to the children's hospital afterwards.  The night featured an incredible dinner for the approximately 100 kids and 250 adults, as well as a DJ and 16-piece band that kept everyone up and dancing.

Of course it wouldn't be a party without a few glitches.  Thankfully the glitches were during the day and none of the guests knew anything about them.  You see, the Shriners had their annual meeting at A La Carte the same day, and Zoe's party was to begin at 6:00... the Shriners' meeting ended at 3!  Luckily they were gracious enough to allow us to drape the room in fabric the day before otherwise that would have never happened.  So that morning our team of talent arrived to start setting up.  We had the Great Hall and Terrace Room empty but only the smallest, back section of the ballroom.  Imagine about 25 tables crammed in this little space as we try to cover them with spandex.  It was a sight!  It was also a little painful when one of the large round tables collapsed as I was stretching spandex over the top... and I caught it with my thighs!  Thankfully the adrenaline was pumping and I didn't feel it - until the next day! 

So once the Shriners' meeting broke, it was mayhem!  The band had to load in, the special dance floor had to be placed and then covered in polka dots, the AV wall and plasmas had to be installed, all of the tables and chairs had to be dropped in place and then set... you get the picture.  I don't think we stopped moving for a second.  And then the magic happened.  As the first guests began arriving, the room was finished.  You could actually hear a collective sigh of relief from all of the vendors who worked so hard in helping to pull all of the pieces together.  And you know what made it all worth every second... when Zoe threw her arms around me and gave me the biggest hug and said two little words - thank you!  The smile on her and her family's face was all the thanks I needed!

Pictures Below: 1) View of corner of room with custom made bar and tables, 2) Close up of centerpiece, 3) One of the dog park settings in the Great Hall, 4) Entrance to building, 5) Gift table, 6) Place card table

           

           

Free HealthCare Symposium for Women Returns to Tampa

by Valerie DiVecchio 10. March 2010 09:05
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Have you heard the buzz about Focus on Females?  It's a women's healthcare symposium in its fifth year that is free and open to the public.  That's right, on Saturday, March 27th at the Tampa Convention Center, there will be 22 different seminars about a wide range of women's health topics all presented by local, area physicians who speak in plain English, provide practical, relevant and ready-to-use health information and even give you a chance to ask your questions.  There are also health screenings, fitness class demonstrations and chair massages - all FREE! This event has proven to have immediate impact, save lives and protect families.  You can register on-line at www.focusonfemales.com.

Oh, and I heard the event planner is AWESOME!  Guess who?  Come by and say hi!

Sweet 16

by Valerie DiVecchio 8. March 2010 16:06
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So I'll ask for forgiveness upfront on the corny blog post today, but I couldn't let this milestone occasion go by without some acknowledgement!  I have posted on my four-legged sweeties before and yesterday Kenya turned 16!  Here she is posing for her driver's license picture... watch out Tampa, here comes Kenya!

An Affordable Option to Dress Up Your Tables

by Valerie DiVecchio 3. March 2010 17:57
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One of the biggest impressions that you can make at an event is the way you set up your guest tables.  I mean after all this is where your guests spend a good portion of their time whether it be eating, drinking, taking a break from all of that dancing or talking with other guests.  They look at the linen, the centerpiece, the little votive candles - all of those special touches, but sometimes, especially when it is a buffet or action stations for dinner, the table can look incomplete without a full place setting.

There is a great alternative that dresses up a table wonderfully - charger plates.  Generally seen in gold or silver (but you can also find them in other colors), charger plates do wonders to make your table appear more elegant and complete.  And they are totally affordable to rent!

Divine Creations is pleased to announce that we now rent charger plates in gold and silver.  The cost is only $1.50 each (plus local sales tax) and if you mention that you learned about it by reading this blog, we'll give you a 10% discount! 

2010... Off to a Flying Start!

by Valerie DiVecchio 17. February 2010 17:37
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I know I seem absent as of late, but 2010 has been hopping (and I'm NOT complaining!).  With 4 events in January, the month totally flew by!  And February and March are just as jammed packed!  I want to thank all of my past and current clients for helping me to have the best start of a year ever, and I promise that I will be posting pictures of recent events very soon so check back often!

New Year... Same Old Resolution

by Valerie DiVecchio 4. January 2010 18:35
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Happy New Year!  I'm excited for 2010 and all it has to offer.  I think it's going to be a fantastic year! 

About this time of year you hear the word "resolutions" a lot.  I used to attempt to make resolutions... actually I could make them just fine, it was keeping them I wasn't so good at!  I hadn't done it in a few years and then last year I decided that I'd give it a go again.  Realizing as we all do as we grow older, I wanted to try to live a healthier lifestyle so one of the resolutions I made was to eat more fruits and vegetables.  Well... does it still count if they are smothered in chocolate or french onion dip?  So, let's just say I didn't do too good with that one.  Another one was to do yoga or go walking 3 times a week.  Okay... maybe I should have been more realistic and said 3 times a month!  I did okay with that one (the 3 times a month that is... I must have been feeling super ambitious that day to say 3 times a week!) up until going to Ireland this summer.  Somehow when I returned that whole exercise thing was like a foreign concept! 

So, hence the reason that this year I am going back to not making new year resolutions again - with one exception.  It is my year round resolution to provide excellent service to each one of my clients.  That is one resolution that will never change!

Best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2010!

Weddings Photos, Warhol Style

by Valerie DiVecchio 16. December 2009 16:25
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Does your inner artist long for something unique to display your favorite wedding photo?  Well, check out www.photopopart.com where you can get a customized canvas for under $200.  It's incredibly simple: select a style (many to choose from), select a layout (anywhere from one to six panels per canvas), pick your preferred size (anywhere from 16x20 for $199 all the way up to 40x40 for $455), add a floating frame if you want, upload a photo and pay - all on-line and all very user friendly!  And it's super fast... within 3 days your creation will be on its way!  Sorry to those of you who just thought this would be a great gift for December 25th... they are no longer taking orders that will be delivered before then!

    

Toy Drive Networking Happy Hour - December 2nd

by Valerie DiVecchio 1. December 2009 11:49
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Just a reminder that the toy drive, "Polar Express", to benefit Sulpher Springs Elementary School is tomorrow night at The Rack from 6-8 p.m.  Bring a new, unwrapped toy for a boy or girl in grades K-5 and enjoy some networking, a cocktail and maybe even a game of pool!  Looking forward to seeing lots of people there!

The Polar Express Comes to Tampa!

by Valerie DiVecchio 24. November 2009 14:41
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'Tis the season, right?!  Well, this is a special Polar Express... one that is designed to help children who have never experienced the joys that holidays can bring because their parents simply cannot afford to buy them presents because they are struggling just to put food on the table or keep the lights on at home.  Eighteen89 is a group of young (yes, I'm hanging on to the term young for as long as I can...) professionals who support programs of the YMCA that most people do not know or hear about.  At our last meeting we heard about this program that helps families in one of the most poverty stricken area of our very own community - Sulpher Springs.

At Sulpher Springs Elementary, the YMCA created a Community Learning Center.  In seven months since its inception, the enrollment has exploded to over 200 children.  The average annual household income for a family of four is $14,000.  Most of the children have never seen, none the less decorate, a Christmas tree or gotten a visit from Santa.  So the Polar Express program was created to change all of that. 

We are currently collecting new, unwrapped toys for children in grades K-5.  There are 550 kids at Sulpher Springs Elementary and the goal is to give each child one toy to unwrap and enjoy this holiday season.  As you shop for your families and friends this Black Friday, please throw in a toy that can make a child's holiday much brighter.  Suggestions of items for girls include: barbie dolls, jewelry making kits, hair accessories, board games, makeup kits, coloring books, tea sets, purses, movies, music CDs.  For boys: Transformers, Matchbox cars, books, puzzles, super heroes, sports equipment, playing cards, legos, trucks and Bakugan.

On December 2nd, Eighteen89 is hosting a networking happy hour at The Rack in South Tampa from 6 - 8 p.m.  This is an excellent opportunity to stop by, meet some people and drop off any toys you would like to donate.  If you cannot make it to the event, just call me to set up a time to swing them by my office between now and December 9th.  Volunteers will wrap and tag all of the gifts for distribution by Santa on December 16th!  Thanks in advance for your support in helping to make a child's holiday brighter!

Spring Semester Internship Available!

by Valerie DiVecchio 10. November 2009 15:50
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I am pleased to announce that Divine Creations Event Planning Specialists will be sponsoring an unpaid internship for one college student this spring (January - April/ May 2010).  We are affiliated with Florida State University and St. Leo's University and have had students as interns in the past from those universities.  We are also open to working with other colleges and will follow their required guidelines if provided.  To qualify you must be a student enrolled at an accredited college, majoring in recreation and leisure (concentration in special events), marketing or public relations.  You must also be covered under the school's insurance plan (usually the case if you are obtaining school credit).  This internship can qualify for school credit.  The internship will begin on January 4th and you must be able to work weekends and evenings for events.  Day hours are flexible around class schedules.

If interested, please e-mail a resume and cover letter through the website or to info@tampaeventplanner.com

Super Sale on Personalized Holiday Cards!

by Valerie DiVecchio 4. November 2009 13:42
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Divine Creations is having a super sale on personalized cards just in time for the holidays!  Perfect for showing off your annual family picture, your wedding or engagement photo or for companies who want to stay in touch with their clients and express their thanks for helping them through an economically challenging year.  Now through November 30th all personalized holiday cards are 25% off the retail value!  Simply call 813-839-5824 to set up your private appointment or stop by our studio at 3309 South Westshore Boulevard in South Tampa.

Holiday Card 09       Holiday Card 09 - 2      Holiday Crad 09 - 4

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Pardon the Long Pause

by Valerie DiVecchio 21. October 2009 15:59
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So obviously I have been absent from my blogging... sorry about that!  The day after my last blog I left for a wonderful vacation in Ireland with my husband Joe.  Some long overdue R&R mixed with fun adventures.  We started our journey in Dublin - what a great city.  Of course since it was our first timeJameson Joe and Val in Ireland we did all of the touristy stuff: Trinity College (Book of Kells), Guinness Brewery (fun), Jameson Distillery (lots o'fun), Dublin Castle   (all of the English speaking tours where sold out so we hopped into a Spanish one... and no, we don't speak Spanish!  Luckily there was a couple from Corpus Christi who knew enough to give us the highlights!) and kilmainham gaol (famous jail where leaders of the uprising where publicly executed).  Very quickly we learned that the map we received at the hotel was not to scale.  On the map it looked like a stone's throw from Guinness to the jail.  After about 2 miles I finally stopped a lady on the street to ask for directions.  If you have never been to Ireland before the best thing (in my opinion) is the people.  They are SUPER friendly!  Always willing to talk, lend a hand and always smiling.  Big difference than most US major cities.  Anyway, instead of pointing us in the right direction, this lady actually turned back around, put her groceries back in her car, invited us in and drove us right to the front door!  My aching feet thank her still!Castle

Next we headed for Kilkenny and the real adventure began... we picked up the rental car!  I heard the stories about the roads and dangers of driving in Ireland - ha!  Those stories were nothing compared to real life!!  Did I say we went on vacation for some R&R?  Talk about some white knuckle driving... well actually riding... I refused to do the driving!  Kilkenny was a quiet little town.  We did stop at some really cool castles along the way and in the town itself.  It's amazing how much  history is just sitting on the side of a road.  There are ruins everywhere you look - in the middle of a cow pasture, next to the coast - everywhere!  We climbed to the top of this little round tower.  The stairs were straight up (great workout for the legs) and the turns were very tight.  One gentleman actually got stuck and had to work his way back down!  At the top there was a great view of the town, but it was so windy that the entire tower felt like it was swaying.  I think we made it down to the bottom in half the amount of time it took to climb to the top!  With the building being a few hundred years old, we weren't too sure about its maintenance  scheduling! Sheep

Then on the Kinsale and Kenmare.  Kinsale is a sleepy little town and wasn't our favorite.  Might have had something to do with the never ending rain!  Even though we had a car we decided to walk to Charles Fort because the B&B owners said it was only about 1/4 mile.  I don't think they walk much... it was at least 2 miles if not more and lots of hills to top it off.  We were drenched and I was getting cranky when I heard the voice of an angel, "Want a lift?".  I could not have jumped in this stranger's car any faster!  Once again, love those Irish!!  Kenmare was a little more happening.  We stayed above a restaurant in this B&B right on the main street.  There was this great pub where Mikey O'Connell played the "squeeze box".  He was fantastic!!  The place was packed and people were up on tables dancing and having a great time.  Joe had developed quite a fondness for Guinness by this time so most nights were could be found in the pubs, enjoying music, Irish food and of course a few pints.

We drove the Ring of Kerry which originates in Kenmare... I think I saw most of it but when a huge tour bus is coming towards you on a road that fits only one car, I felt like my hands were over my eyes for half the drive.  If it wasn't a tour bus, it was sheep or cows crossing the road.  All cars in Ireland have Cliffs 2massive scratches and dents all along the passenger side (and remember, the steering wheel is on the other side of the car and you drive on the wrong side of the road!).  That's because the passenger always ends up in the shrubs or ditch!  After the Ring of Kerry came the Dingle Peninsula drive which is right along the coast.  It really is breathtaking... when there are no oncoming cars or sheep or cows in the road!  We arrived in Dingle and our B&B was awesome.  We had a large room with a terrace that overlooked the harbor.  And the house dog, Rio, was too cute!  We adored her and would spend hours on the lawn playing fetch with her.  It was truly the town for that much needed R&R.  We did take a boat ride out into the harbor looking for "Funji", the wild Irish dolphin.  Yes, I know, we live in Florida and can see dolphins on a daily basis.  What can I say?!

Then we were off to Doolin - the place where musicians are made.  Well, Doolin consists of 3 pubs, a church and a souvenir shop.  The entire town is like a block and a half  long!  But the pubs were the place to be and the music was good.  We took rides out to Connemara and the Buren during the days and kicked back with a few pints and some fish and chips at night.  After all of the small Kylemoretowns we were ready for a bigger city so off to Galway we went.  Small city, but a city none the less.  We were in a pub (go figure) one night and they plopped a wooden board down on the middle of the floor... out came some River Dancers!  Too cool.  We also went out to the Aran Islands.  Unfortunately the weather was Irish that day, but the trip is one that will remain in our memory for a long time.  I love boats and have been around them all my life.  My husband on the other hand doesn't much care of them and can get a little green around the gills on boat rides.  Well, on the way back from the Aran Islands we took a boat for about an hour through the Atlantic Ocean.  The ocean was not happy that afternoon.  The swells were HUGE.  I have never seen a boat roll fromTorc Waterfall one side to the other like this.  I freaked out when I saw the crew freaking out.  Never a good sign.  Joe couldn't even look up - he had the right idea.  If we had been cats, that was probably worth about 2-3 of our nine lives right there.  Happy to be on land that day was a big understatement!

We wrapped up our time in Bunratty with the huge castle and village.  That castle was a little different than the others in that it was still largely furnished and you could actually get up close and personal.  They even let you have access to the dungeon.  Would have hated to tick off the King in those days!  Of course, last chance for the true Irish pubs and we made good use of the time.  Then the next day we headed back to the airport, returned the car and hoped they did not care about the additional scratches that we undoubtedly added to the car!

It was a great two and a half weeks, but we were ready to come home.  Unfortunately the fondness of Guinness caught up with Joe.  Apparently they do not pasteurize their beer or milk in Ireland like we do in the States.  Well, let's just say Joe met a bad batch of Guinness on our last night there and spent the next two weeks sicker than a dog.  So between playing nursemaid and trying to play catch up at the office, blogging fell to the back burner.  But now I'm ready to get back to it!  Look out for pictures from recent events and some more tips on planning the perfect event!  Cheers!

Powerful Paper Pointers

by Valerie DiVecchio 1. July 2009 11:05
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Recently I was flipping through the most recent edition of InStyle Weddings magazine and they did a story on the newest stationary trends.  Whether you are getting married, having a bar/ bat mitzvah or just a good ol' fashioned fun party, everyone needs invitations and there were several great tips that I wanted to share.  And of course, I have to throw in my own two cents as well!

1) Go Bold and Graphic - Strong patterns, bright colors and a clean font are the up and coming trends for invitations.  Blues and greens are topping the color palette for 2009 as the hottest trends.

2) Get Nature-Inspired - Instead of the traditional flowers that are often seen on wedding invitations, if you are having a more contemporary event, you may want to consider branches, leaves or coral (not the color, but what you find in the ocean).  Recently I had a couple select an invitation with a bamboo motif which was very cool and modern.

3) Personalize Your Stamp - the envelope is the first thing your guest sees; why not make the stamp memorable?  The theme logo if it's a bar or bat mitzvah or a picture of the couple if it's a wedding makes a lasting impression.

4) And last but not least, they suggest creating a calling card so that guests can reach you after the wedding.  These days texting or connecting via social networking like Facebook or Twitter can keep you connected better than ever.  About the size of a business card that can be inserted into your thank you notes you can communicate your new address, phone number and e-mail addresses.

Just in Time for the Holidays

by Valerie DiVecchio 26. June 2009 14:00
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No, I don't mean the 4th of July, I'm talking about Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah!  Those who prepare well in advance save the most money!  Divine Creations is offering personalized holidays cards between now and September 30th for a 25% discount off the retail price plus free return address imprinting.  Many different selections to choose from and perfect for home or business!

Call today to set up a time to stop by, browse... and save!      

Here Comes the Rain!

by Valerie DiVecchio 5. June 2009 13:28
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As we all know, hurricane season started this week.  As for me, I'm very thankful we've been having some rain (my lawn was starting to look like straw with the City's sprinkler ban!)... as long as Mother Nature keeps it dry on the weekends.  But as much as I do my rain dances to keep the rain away when I have events, for some reason they don't always work!  That's when insurance comes into play.

If you're looking for a great deal in Florida, you look at our summer months to hold your special events.  Obviously there is some risk associated with that.. the two "H's" - heat and hurricanes.  With the heat, you can't do much about it - except turn up the air conditioning and stay inside.  With the hurricanes, well, you can't do much about those either except pray that they go somewhere else and get some peace of mind by purchasing event insurance.  These insurance policies, depending on the level you select, will usually compensate you for money lost if your venue closes due to an evacuation and the event has to be cancelled or postponed.  In addition, you can also purchase liability insurance which offers protection regarding alcohol-related accidents, property damage, bodily injury, as well as insurance for those venues that require you to have it just to hold your event there.

I highly recommend event insurance to my clients, particularly if they are having their event during the summer months, but it's not a bad idea to have anytime.  Often you will receive the best quote through your homeowner's insurance, but if they do not offer it you can try: www.wedsafe.com or Traveler's Insurance.  It's just like health insurance... it's a good idea to have it, you just hope you don't have to use it!

The Joys of Live Television

by Valerie DiVecchio 2. June 2009 20:55
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As I blogged a few days ago, I was on Fox 13 Good Day Tampa Bay yesterday morning.  Knowing that it was being televised live, the "normal" thoughts go though your head before heading out on the set... what if I trip and fall or open my mouth and nothing comes out; you know, the stereotypical live television things that you see on, well television, and kind of chuckle at while sitting comfortably on the couch in the privacy of your own home.  Of course, then there are those unexpected things that can happen that just don't even cross your mind... like the anchor's microphone suddenly stops working.

Good news is that I didn't fall and the words came out of my mouth just fine.  Bad news is that the anchor's microphone suddenly stopped working.  So the segment started right after a commercial break and there was the music to the "Wedding March" and then Ann Dwyer started to speak.  Of course it sounded fine to me, but then again, I was sitting right next to her.  Unbeknownst to either of us, those of you watching at home saw her lips moving, but heard nothing.  Fortunately it only lasted a couple of sentences.  So Ann introduced me and dived into her first question about ways you can save when looking for a wedding dress.  As I started to answer, the camera person walked over and told Ann that she needed to change out the battery on her microphone.  So needless to say, there were some distractions.  Fortunately I was able to stay fairly focused and answer the question (I can't really remember what I even said!), but unfortunately it was taking a while to change the battery.  So Ann, being the professional that she is, explained that they were having some technical difficulties and asked me to hang on a minute.  It was probably about 10-15 seconds of silence (which felt like 10-15 minutes!) and then Ann continued on with the interview and let the camera person continue to mess around with the microphone. 

Fortunately the rest of the interview went very well and Ann was absolutely wonderful when it was all over.  She apologized about the microphone mishap and commented on how well I did.  As a matter of fact, the producer called me and read me a message she sent him after the show.  It read "the wedding planner was goood (he stressed there were three o's!), very informative and calm even during the microphone disaster".  I appreciate her kind words, and actually what she said was very meaningful to me.  No matter what's going on around you, during an event or on live television, a professional planner has to take everything in stride and run with it.  It may have been a rocky start - which by the way has NEVER happened before during a segment... lucky me! - but the ultimate outcome was fantastic.  I'm glad I did my profession proud!

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In the News...

by Valerie DiVecchio 29. May 2009 15:18
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Monday morning on Fox 13 Good Day Tampa Bay, I will be interviewed live on television!  The segment will be about 3.5 minutes long and we will be discussing different ways to save money during the recession when planning your wedding.  I've got some great tips to share! 

So tune in Monday morning about 7:45 and watch! 

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Yummy Centerpieces

by Valerie DiVecchio 19. May 2009 16:40
Share on FacebookWhat to do with all of those leftover centerpiece flowers after the party is over?  Sure, your house will smell great for a couple of days, but you'll also be picking up fallen petals and changing out some icky water in the vases.  Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge flower lover and advocate, but what about edible centerpiece as an alternative?  There are several companies that make arrangements out of fruit, vegetables and even chocolate (yum!) which are not only attractive as a centerpiece, but they can also double as dessert or a great snack when the evening kicks into high gear and the desire for munchies also kick in.  In today's economy, we're all looking for ways to save, and for a small party, this is a great solution!

Dealing with Stress

by Valerie DiVecchio 13. May 2009 10:31
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Let's face it... planning a special event, particularly a wedding or bar/bat mitzvah, can be very stressful.  Lots of decisions to make, appointments to go on, and as each day passes sometimes it seems like the things to do list can get longer as the time gets closer.  So how do you deal with the stress so not to lose your mind?  Well, everyone has to find their own solution.  For some it may be putting their event planner on speed dial (me!) as one client told me yesterday, for others it may be going to the gym and taking it out on the treadmill or weights, and for me it's yoga.

I discovered yoga about eight months ago.  My sister has been an advocate for yoga for a very long time, and she finally convinced me to give it a try.  It's not easy and sometimes I wonder what I must look like to an observer, but the great thing about yoga is that you learn to listen to your own body and you leave self-judgment at the door.  I know, I know... easier said than done!  But if you stick with it, it really does get easier.  It's one hour a week, or if you're lucky twice a week, that you get to concentrate on you and attempt to leave all of the worries, stresses and distractions behind.  I say "attempt" because for me that's the hardest part of doing yoga.  Although I found that it does get easier to do that because if you are standing on one foot, with the other in the air and nothing to hang onto... you will topple over if you lose your focus.   Been there, done that!

I strongly recommend to anyone embarking on a life changing adventure that he/she find a way to help alleviate the stress - whatever it may be.  And if yoga might be your thing, I have a great instructor located in South Tampa who offers a complimentary first-time class to see if it may or may not be a fit for you.  Send me an e-mail and I'm more than happy to provide you with her contact information!

Patterns That Pop!

by Valerie DiVecchio 11. May 2009 10:48
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That's right... bright, colorful patterns are making a come back in a big way!  Checkered, polka-dotted, damask, even themed prints are becoming very popular.  Using them as an overlay on your guest tables can instantly perk up a room.  According to The Knot, one of the best parts about this trend is that it lets you throw around a lot of different colors, but still keep a cohesive look and feel.  From your invitations to your table linens, picking a pattern that pops will surely leave a lasting impression!

 

Events By Divine Creations is Now on Facebook!

by Valerie DiVecchio 17. April 2009 15:10
Share on FacebookYes, I'm jumping into the 21st century... slowly!  Events by Divine Creations now has a Facebook page and I'd love to see all of the blog readers become a "fan"!  I will be posting pictures of recent events, seminar information and some great event news.  Simply click on the link on the home page (right side) and join the fun! 

Cool Ideas for the Florida Heat

by Valerie DiVecchio 14. April 2009 15:39
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Let's face it, Florida is considered paradise, but it can be a rather hot paradise!  Often times that's when you get your best deals though... during the summer months.  It's a great way to save some money because it is off-season for events in Florida.  As we approach the summer months, there is no need to shy away simply because it's too hot.  Between good old fashioned air conditioning and these cool ideas, you'll beat the summer heat and impress your guests all at the same time! 

Consider using ice globes as centerpieces instead of the traditional floral arrangements.  The great things about these globes is that you can put almost anything inside them... pictures, themed objects, even flowers.  I had a bat mitzvah client who used these ice globes as centerpieces and because it was a sports theme, they placed inside plastic mini basketballs, soccer and footballs too.  It tied the theme into the centerpieces and really made a statement.

Ice bars are all the rage these days.  I had a wedding client who recently did one for their reception which had their monogram etched into the bar itself.  It was lit up with red accent lighting and placed inside a draped area (red of course!) and it was the talk of the evening.  Adding an ice luge for vodka martinis is a bonus that will impress most guests!

And lastly, don't forget about traditional ice sculptures.  They don't have to be swans or doves anymore.  Recently we did one for a client that was a vase and on top was the most impressive arrangement of fresh florals.  We placed this sculpture in the center of a seafood raw bar and it could not be missed.  Even grown adults couldn't resist touching it to see if it was real!

                                           

HealthCare Symposium a Big Success!!

by Valerie DiVecchio 30. March 2009 13:04
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I am pleased to report that the Symposium was a huge success!  I'm so delighted with how the entire day went that my aching feet are well worth it!!  Over 1500 people attended and everyone from the attendees to the volunteers to the exhibitors were highly complimentary.  And most importantly, my client was happy and that's what matters most to me!

There were several highlights to the day, but I have to say that the keynote address was very impactful.  I have been planning this event for four years now and the one thing that I love about it is that I always learn something new.  This year during the general session, several people spoke about their own health care scares.  Heather Van Nest, co-anchor of the 10 Connects News, spoke on "putting yourself at the top of your to-do list".  I am one of those people with a lengthy to-do list and this week I skimmed down it and low and behold, I'm not listed anywhere!  So as I soaked in a long, hot bubble bath after the conclusion of the event, I decided that I'm going to add at least one line on that list that makes me a priority.  Of course now that I've added finding a dermotologist for a full body scan to the list, I'm not exactly crazy about it.  So I'll just stay positive and hope that those days when I was a teenager and thought baby oil was sunscreen, don't come back and bite me! 

Women's Healthcare Symposium Tomorrow!

by Valerie DiVecchio 20. March 2009 16:36
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Earlier this week wrote about a great community event happening on Saturday, March 21st at the Tampa Convention Center.  It's called the Focus on Females Women's Healthcare Symposium.  In its 4th year, we have pre-registered over 1,300 people to attend as of this afternoon!  It's a great opportunity to attend seminars on 21 different topics... everything from fertility to menopause, diabetes to allergies and nutrition to sleep disorders - just to name a few!

Pre-registration is now closed, but you can still attend as a walk-up registrant by coming to the Convention Center (333 S. Franklin Street, downtown Tampa) tomorrow.  Doors open to the public at 7:30 a.m., but you can come anytime - great things will be happening throughout the entire day.  Look for me in the hot pink Focus on Females shirt because I want to talk to you!

Thank You Etiquette

by Valerie DiVecchio 17. March 2009 18:03
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As money gets a little tighter, more people are opting to invite friends over for dinner rather than going out to a restaurant.  It's actually more intimate, easier to talk and quite frankly can be even more fun!  If you have been invited to someone else's home for dinner, there are a few things you can do to be a great guest.

First, and it may seem simple, but RSVP!  Sometimes people get an invitation and they mean to call or send a reply, but times goes by and one can forget.  Best to reply as soon as you receive the invitation so that doesn't happen.  Second, it's always nice to bring a small gift... bottle of wine in a cute bag, set of coasters, wine stopper, some stationary - just a small thank you for the host or hostess.  It doesn't have to cost a lot, but it shows your gratitude.  They have put some time and money into preparing for the evening so arriving with a gift shows your appreciation.  And lastly, after the evening has come and gone, send a thank you note (handwritten via the mail is more personal than e-mail).  Best to send the note within a couple of days of the dinner.

At Divine Creations we understand the importance of showing one's appreciation all the while looking out for your wallet.  We have some great items that are very appropriate as thank you gifts and can be mixed and matched to suit your host/ hostess's style.  A wide variety of these gifts are under $5 each!  And mention that you read about these gifts in our blog and we'll give you a 5% discount.  Just my little way of saying thank you for reading!

Health Care Event Happening This Weekend

by Valerie DiVecchio 15. March 2009 15:03
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Have you heard the buzz about Focus on Females?  It's a women's healthcare symposium in its fourth year that is free and open to the public.  That's right, on Saturday, March 21st at the Tampa Convention Center, there will be 21 different seminars about a wide range of women's health topics all presented by local, area physicians who speak in plain English, provide practical, relevant and ready-to-use health information and even give you a chance to ask your questions.  There are also health screenings, fitness class demonstrations and chair massages - all FREE! This event has proven to have immediate impact, save lives and protect families.  You can register on-line at www.focusonfemales.com.

Oh, and I heard the event planner is AWESOME!  Guess who?  Come by and say hi!

Elton or Billy?

by Valerie DiVecchio 9. March 2009 17:29
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Last week my husband and I went to the Face to Face Tour where Elton John and Billy Joel performed.  We have seen them before and it truly is a great concert.  It is interesting looking at the concert through an event planner's eyes though. 

They came out together for the first set and then Billy Joel left and Elton John took the stage first.  He's got a great voice, but the one thing that I noticed was that the music was extremely loud.  I felt like I wandered into a Metallica concert by mistake!  There were crazy lights shining right into the audience too; you could visibly see people squinting and shielding their eyes.  In any type of event, you want to ensure that your guests are comfortable and engaged.  Elton's music is a little more low-key and the volume and lighting didn't seem to mesh with his style.  He sat at his piano the entire concert and didn't interact with the audience that much.

Now, on the other hand, Billy Joel came out with high energy, but the volume was in check and so was the lighting.  His piano rotated so that all sides of the audience could see him and he was making jokes all over the place.  He was up and out of his seat more than half the time and when you looked around so was the audience.  People were dancing and singing along and the energy went up ten fold in the place.

Moral of the story is that as the host of an event, your guests will feed off of your energy.  If you want your event to be high energy, you need to be high energy.  Maybe not as high energy as Billy Joel who started spanking himself excessively at one point, but you get the picture.  And if you want it to be more of a low-key evening, make sure the ambiance that you are creating matches.

It's Been A While...

by Valerie DiVecchio 5. March 2009 14:18
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Why does that title feel like deja vu?  I can't believe how time just flies by... between the holidays, then the Super Bowl and then Gasparilla, I'm just now coming up for air!!  It has been a couple of crazy past few months, but now things are calming down.  The tourists and Hollywood celebrities have left Tampa (you have to admit it was kind of exciting!) and all of us locals are getting back to normal.  And for me that means blogging! 

I don't normally make New Year resolutions because they are usually broken by January 2nd.  I believe that if you're going to try to commit to doing something why wait until the beginning of a new year?  Your new year can begin whenever you want!  So my new year (albeit in March!) resolution is going to be getting back to blogging and try to do it more often.  I really do enjoy it so it shouldn't be that much of a challenge.  Here's hoping that this "new year's" resolution will stick!  I guess only time will tell...

Super Bowl Page Is Live!

by Valerie DiVecchio 12. October 2008 14:48
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As I sit here watching the Bucs pound on Carolina, I'm thinking wouldn't it be cool if the Buccaneers made it to the Super Bowl in February right here at our very own RayJay Stadium.  It's possible... look at what the Rays are doing by going from last to first - and a strong contender for the World Series - in a year!  But whether or not that happens, Tampa will be jumping come the last week of January and I can't wait to be part of the excitement.  Be sure to check out the newest page on my website!!

Party... With A Purpose

by Valerie DiVecchio 9. October 2008 22:15
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Last year, I joined the board of directors for Eighteen89, a social, mission-driven organization that benefits the YMCA.  I was always raised to give back to your community, and it is something that I strive to do regularly whether by volunteering my time, donating funds or in this case, donating my expertise.  Eighteen89 was in need of a philanthropic/ social chair and when a friend called me to ask for my help and after learning more about the organization and those who they serve, I excitedly joined the team.  In 2008, I was elected President of the Board.

So, one thing to know about me is that I like reality shows... the ones like Survivor and the Amazing Race.  I find them amusing and my husband and I always say we're going to apply to go on the Amazing Race.  Great way to see the world on someone else's dime, right?!  Yes, this is relevant, I didn't just go off on a tangent.  So last year I developed a "scavenger hunt" along Howard Avenue for Eighteen89.  It's based on the Amazing Race concept where we split people into teams and have them race from one place to another by figuring out clues that will lead them to their next "pit stop".

This past Saturday,over 50 people came out to MacDintons in South Tampa to race up and down Howard Avenue figuring out their clues and trying to get to the finish line first.  We named all of the teams after YMCA programs like Camp Cristina, which is a 66-acre facility in Riverview, that Eighteen89 supports during the holidays by passing out gifts and food to migrant families and foster families who wouldn't otherwise have much to celebrate during the holidays.  I guess you can say the scavenger hunt was a little bit of education and a whole lot of fun!

To find out more about Eighteen89 and its upcoming events, check out our group page on Facebook! http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=23629324266

Team 3 Team Pic Team Pic 2 Team Pic 6 Team Pic 4 Team Pic 5

It's Official... We're Official!!

by Valerie DiVecchio 18. September 2008 16:46
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We are proud to announce that Divine Creations Event Planning Specialists has become an official vendor for the Super Bowl!  It was a fairly lengthy process between obtaining our MBE (women and minority owned business) certification through the State of Florida and also being approved by the Super Bowl Host Committee.  But it was well worth it! 

Check back to our website soon, as we will be adding a new page specifically for the Super Bowl!

Jenny, Dan and the Back-Up Plan

by Valerie DiVecchio 7. September 2008 17:21
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As I drove over the Gandy Bridge the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, I looked out to the white caps in the Gulf and thought "uh oh".  Today is the day that Jenny and Dan have been planning for so long and who would have known that Gustav, although thankfully not threatening Florida directly, was still giving us wind gusts that made me drive with two hands on the wheel at all times.  All I could think about was what if one of those gusts comes along and knocks down their chuppah in the middle of their outside ceremony.IMG_1613

As I pulled up to the Vinoy for set-up my cell phone rang.  It was Jenny.  As I prepared to give her my recommendation of pulling the ceremony inside, she said "my parents and I think we should change the ceremony to our back-up location".  Whew.  I never want to be the bearer of bad news, but I also don't want a downpour to occur while 200 guests are watching the bride make her entrance or witness her mom's wedding veil tear off the top of the chuppah in the wind.  That is why I always, always have a Plan B.

I understand the attraction of wanting an outdoor wedding, especially in Florida.  But as we know, Mother Nature can have a mind of her own.  Make sure that if planning any portion of your event outside, the venue is holding back-up space during that exact same time inside AND that it is written in your contract.  Fortunately Jenny and Dan understood that moving their wedding inside, while not what they pictured, was far better than wind blown hair, wet guests and a soggy mood for their reception!  

Oh No... Here Comes A Hurricane

by Valerie DiVecchio 31. August 2008 10:52
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Let's face it, we live in paradise here in Florida, but along with the reward comes some risk.  We Floridians know that as hurricane season.  TS Fay decided to visit us recently... three times.  And now Gustav is heading up the Gulf and Hanna is hanging out in the Caribbean waiting to make her move.  So does that mean you shouldn't have a special event planned anytime from June to November?  Not necessarily, but event insurance is something you should definitely consider.

Event insurance comes in many different levels of coverage.  There is event cancellation or postponement that covers deposits and payments made if the event cannot take place or if you must postpone and the vendors you selected are booked on the date you rescheduled it for already.  There is also general liability insurance which some venues require you to have if you hold your event in their facility.  Art museums are a good example that require insurance.

Some individuals are able to get event insurance through their homeowners insurance company so that's a great first place to start.  There are also other companies who specialize in this type of coverage like www.firemansfund.com; www.onedayevent.com; www.eventinsure.com; www.privateeventinsurance.com; and www.wedsafe.com.

It's Been A While...

by Valerie DiVecchio 17. August 2008 18:36
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So I bet some of you thought my blogging was short lived... not the case!  My husband, Joe, and I took some much deserved R & R and slipped away on a 3 week vacation.  Summer is typically a slower time of year for tIMG_0635he event industry, but each year is different so you better make plans in advance or you won't be able to get away... which was my mistake last year!  But I have to say we made up for it in 2008.

We ventured up to Seattle for a few days and then on to Vancouver for a few more.  And then we boarded a seven day Holland America cruise from Vancouver to Alaska.  And then the fun really began... another whole week in the Alaskan wilderness.  Okay, truth be told, we didn't rough it like in the movie "Into the Wild", but those of you who saw the movie and knows what happened in the end, well we opted for B & Bs and hotels instead!  On the cruise we stopped in Ketchikan, Juneau (my favorite port by far) and Skagway, as well as cruised the Glacier Bay.  The scenery is amazing and the wildlife is incredible.  We took a float plane ride of death... I say that because it was raining and windy and I did a lot of serious praying...  We hiked Mendenhall Glacier which was breathtaking.  We also took a jet boat tour in Haines where our driver got us stuck in a sandbar, but the two bald eagles right above us (and probably laughing at us) IMG_1210and the black bear sighting made it well worth it.

Once we got off the ship in Seward the true adventure began.  We stayed in Seward for a couple of days where we got to feed the puffins at the Alaska SeaLife Center.  That was so cool (and really smelly).  We walked alongIMG_1013 the water's edge to watch the sea otters playing and eating.  But probably the best part of the trip in my opinion was the catamaran ride to Kenai Fjords.  Talk about jaw dropping memories.  We saw killer whales playing with porpoises, a breaching humpback whale, seals, sea lions, mountain goats, lavender and orange starfish, and our boat got about 150 feet from a caving glacier.  Some moments I would just stand there with my jaw hanging open and totally forgot that I should be taking pictures!  It was wildlife at its fineness. 

Then we rented a car and took off for Denali National Park and Preserve.  The tour in the old, rickety school bus through Denali rivaled the boat to Kenai Fjords.  We were nearing the end of our vacation and I had yet to see a grizzly bear.  Every time we heard about a sighting we were off and running towards it.  I know, most pIMG_1635eople would do the opposite, but it was number one on my list of things to see.  We always seemed to be just a little too late.  Well, this time, SCORE!  Not one, not two, but six grizzlies... including two cubs!  And we saw a grizzly chasing a wolf pup (I know, I was cringing too!), then all of a sudden the grizzly stopped dead in its tracks and started running the other way... Mama wolf came to save the day!!  She was hot on that grizzly's tail!  It was truly a National Geographic moment.  We also saw moose (and baby calves), dall sheep, caribou, and lots of other critters that I can't remember their official names.  Totally worth sitting in a school bus for 8 hours!

So now, back to reality and real life.  It's always fun to get away, but it's also nice to come back home.  Now I am totally energized and rested and ready to tackle the work at hand... planning perfect events!! 

New Studio Location!

by Valerie DiVecchio 17. June 2008 20:33
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I am proud to announce that Divine Creations Event Planning Specialists has moved into a new storefront location in the heart of South Tampa.  Conveniently located to I-275, the Veterans Expressway and the Crosstown Expressway, we opened our doors officially on May 1st atIMG_0350 3309 S. Westshore Boulevard.  The "Champagne and Chocolate" open house was a huge success with over 70 people coming to tour the new studio.

The studio has a warm and inviting reception area complete with great items available for sale including cute tote bags, picture frames, guest books and those fun items that make great gifts for any bride.  There is also a conference room in which you can view pictures of our work and kick back on a comfortable sofa to look through invitation albums.

Many planners, particularly wedding planners, work out of their homes, and I'm not criticizing that by any means.  I myself, started in 2002, working out of my own home then moved into an office building before settling into our current location.  However, it does make it difficult for the client to see their wedding planner's personal surroundings, and feel like they really know the person they are about  to spend a lot of time with planning such a personal milestone.  Having an office outside of the home also provides the peace of mind that when the planner is working nothing else will distract them from the goal - planning the perfect event for you.

Event Planning is My Passion

by Valerie DiVecchio 1. June 2008 19:09
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I've been told for some time that I needed to start blogging so I figured launching it along with my new website was as good a time as any.  My goal is to help you, as readers, to learn a little more about me, Divine Creations and tips on creating memorable, successful events.

Event planning is truly my passion.  I have been in the industry for 13 years now.  I actually started in the non-profit field as a development director... a fancy title for planning and coordinating fundraising events.  It's a challenging job; every charity is trying to fight for the same dollars and continuously attempting to outdo everyone else.  But now as I look back, I realize it was great training - having to "beg" for everything, get creative by thinking out of the box and have it turn out to be a grand success with the guests and media raving about it and raise lots of money for a great cause.  I figured if I can do that, imagine how amazing it could be if I actually had a budget!  Hence Divine Creations Event Planning Specialists was incorporated in 2002.

At Divine Creations, we strive to help save our clients time, stress and money while providing peace of mind that no detail will be overlooked.  In my opinion, the difference between a good event and a great one is in the details.  Whether it is a wedding, bar/ bat mitzvah or even a corporate event, the event itself needs to incorporate the style and personality of the host(s).  As an event planner it is our job to assist clients with implementing their vision.  And the planning process should be FUN!  No one wants to look back and remember stress and chaos.  Having a professional by your side to offer guidance, support and recommendations will help you breathe easier and sleep better.

Well, I think I missed the mark on the first rule of thumb for blogging... keep it short!  I'm excited to share my thoughts and ideas with you and I hope that you will enjoy coming back to read more!

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Valerie DiVecchio Valerie DiVecchio

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Divine Creations

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