From Weddings to Sororities

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I've been interning with Sarah-Daye at Night and Daye Events since September, an experience that has equipped me with countless memories and lessons to take into my professional life. While working at Night and Daye I thought I would be developing skills for the distant future, not necessarily thinking about how they would apply today. However all of that changed with my biggest project this semester--planning the annual spring formal for my sorority.

While sometimes planning formal felt like planning a miniature wedding, there were some huge differences too. I'd love to share with you a little bit about how I was able to implement the skills I've learned through wedding planning with Sarah-Daye, and show you some of the differences when planning different types of events. 

The Clients

Unlike planning a wedding where your main clients are the bride and groom, planning a sorority formal means pleasing 200 clients all with different interests and opinions. What I learned from Sarah-Daye is the importance of identifying the couple's vision and theme, and then building on that to give them the perfect wedding. Pulling from that advice, I found the best way to please 200 guests was to find a simple and elegant theme, and build up the event from there, always making sure the smaller details were cohesive with the overall vibe.

 
Hand-made centerpieces can go a long way to stretch your budget ||  Will Restrepo Photography

Hand-made centerpieces can go a long way to stretch your budget || Will Restrepo Photography

 

The Budget

When your event is self-funded by the members of your organization, it's important to be mindful of the budget you have to work with. Since we are all college students, we haven't been saving for years to have a dream formal like many do for their weddings. With a limited budget, it's important to make sure to pay close attention to detail for the little things. One thing I've learned from my time at Night and Daye Events is the importance of details that really pull together a themed wedding. Avoiding an over-the-top look Sarah-Daye showed me how a theme prominent, but always classy. The overall theme I picked for formal was an elegant spring night. To keep within that theme while working on a budget, I kept all our decorations in a blush pink and white color scheme, and hand-made them all. Utilizing sales craft stores have right before the beginning of Spring at the end of February was a life saver. I was able to buy fake flowers (that our chapter will be able to reuse) and Mason jars for half the usual price, and touched them up with some rustic accents.  

 
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The Goal

Both weddings and formals are huge celebrations, but not for the same reasons. With a wedding the reception is all about celebrating love and family and turning over a new page in the couple's life. Wedding receptions are often emotion and filled with speeches, ceremonies, and traditional customs, with some tasty food and good music thrown in the mix. When planning formal, it was somewhat easier because I didn't have to plan to fit all of that programming in a short time slot, but I also had to make sure our guests were entertained for several hours without that. Taking tips from some weddings we've done, I utilized a more traditional wedding reception structure of having a cocktail hour before the event begins. I purposefully booked a venue with a beautiful back porch and hired a photographer so our guests could get some beautiful shots and would be occupied before the dancing began and food was served. After that hour, guests were welcome to enter the main ballroom for dancing, more pictures and a much-beloved mashed potato bar! 

 
One of our chapter's traditions is to have superlatives, where members can vote on different awards for sisters.

One of our chapter's traditions is to have superlatives, where members can vote on different awards for sisters.

 

The Experience 

Even with all of the differences between planning a wedding and a sorority formal, overall the event is intended to be a fun and memorable night of bonding and traditions. While no one is tying the knot, we are celebrating our bonds of friendship and sisterhood. 

I am so glad that I have had this experience to intern both with Sarah-Daye at Night & Daye Events and to use my experience to benefit my sorority and sisters.