How to Elevate Your Event and Design with Intention

How to Elevate Your Event and Design with Intention

To design an event with intention means to break down the event into smaller elements: food and beverage, entertainment, venue and physical space, decor and ambiance, and use your creativity to view the event both from the perspective of a professional planner and an attendee. Ask questions like,

“How do I maximize this space so people can eat, dance, drink and socialize?”

“How do I make sure attendees know who is hosting this event without being overbearing?”

“How can I make everything flow naturally and look beautiful?”

Let’s begin with furniture elements – it’s easy to switch up the style and color from velvet to leather, sleek bar stools to wooden low and high tables, to add to the overall atmosphere and bring out the theme. With so many options, intention is key. The type of furniture you choose impacts how your room looks and feels to your attendees. One of our favorite secrets to making a room feel larger is bringing in clear chairs!

Mirrors can have a stunning impact on elevating your event space. It’s an amazing investment that reflects the lighting and enhances the theme especially coupled with conscious design elements like candles and warm lighting. 

Bring intentional design into your floor plan and showcase your exhibits and guide guests to take in the whole experience by placing the bar, photo moment, stage, or main attraction towards the back of the event. Are you worried your bar line will be too long? Consider passing wine, champagne or a signature cocktail at the entrance. Guests will feel extra special upon arrival and it’s a win-win to cut down on wait times!

Looking to warm up a space? Add area rugs, trees, greenery or plants to bring color into your space! Large, leafy plants can help absorb echoes and other ambient sound. Outdoors, live plants can help create a barrier to soften the sounds of traffic from outside or music from within.

Signature drinks are an automatic crowd pleaser! This blue cocktail was delicious and fit in perfectly with the blue, white and gold theme. Check out more seasonal cocktail ideas in our blog post HERE.

Are you looking to add an extra activity to your event? What about a cocktail tasting? Make it even more special with local distillers.

Having a DJ is lots of fun BUT a live band can really get the crowd going. Nothing quite beats the energy and production quality of live music!


And finally, bring your branding into everything – from straws in your company’s signature colors, to matching the flowers and balloons, or even your socks, the little details go a long way. Whenever you have an opportunity to customize something or add branding we highly recommend doing so! It may be a small detail, but in the overall experience it ties everything together.  

4 Essential Winter Cocktail Recipes for Your Holiday Get Together

4 Essential Winter Cocktail Recipes for Your Holiday Get Together

A signature drink (or drinks) takes your bar to the next level — whether you’re hosting just family, the whole neighborhood, or throwing a company party. Here are four crowd pleasing winter cocktails to serve at your next event!

Maple Bourbon Smash 

  • 2 oz bourbon of choice (we love Knob Creek)
  • .5 oz pure maple syrup
  • Small bunch of sage leaves
  • .5 oz lemon juice

Muddle the syrup, sage and lemon, then shake with ice and bourbon. Serve on the rocks with a lemon garnish.

Cranberry Margarita

  • 2 oz blanco tequila (we love Casamigos)
  • .5 oz triple sec
  • 2 oz cranberry juice
  • 1 oz lime juice

Shake everything over ice and garnish with fresh cranberries. Serve with a sugar rim!

Grapefruit and Sage Champagne

  • Pink grapefruit juice
  • Sage simple syrup (boil equal parts sugar, water + two sage bunches)
  • Angostura bitters
  • Ice cubes
  • Champagne or other sparkling white wine
  • Fresh sage leaves

Shake grapefruit juice, bitters and simple syrup with ice. Strain into a champagne flute and top with your favorite champagne or sparkling wine. Garnish with fresh sage!

Peppermint Espresso Martini

  • 2 oz vanilla vodka
  • 2 oz fresh espresso
  • .5 oz Irish cream liquor
  • .5 oz peppermint schnapps
  • Dash of cream

Shake everything over ice and strain into a martini glass – garnish with a candy cane!

When it Comes to Making Decisions About Your Next Event, Keep Calm and….Read On.

When it Comes to Making Decisions About Your Next Event, Keep Calm and….Read On.

Here we are a year into the Pandemic and have the same event-related questions – do you move forward with the in-person event that has been in the works for over a year, postpone, go virtual or land somewhere in between? The timeline on getting back to “normal” is still unclear so these decisions are still difficult ones. Don’t worry, we’re here to break down your options.

Keep Calm and Plan On

Depending on the size and date of your event, you may still be able to hold it in-person. You will, however, need to adjust your plans, along with your expectations. This event will be different than what you had originally planned. Your guests will need to wear masks and keep their distance from each other. There may be less dancing. Food service will likely be handled differently. HOWEVER, with a sense of humor and a good attitude, your event can still be fun, successful and impactful. Some of the most beautiful events we’ve seen have been the more intimate, thoughtful ones so don’t discount this option.

And if your event is scheduled for the fall of 2021, we say keep the date! We are so hopeful for the return of larger in-person events by the fall and have many clients who are proceeding with this. Think positive thoughts and ALWAYS have a plan.

Keep Calm and Go Virtual

If your attendees are not local or if you are hosting a larger event, it may make more sense to take your event to a virtual platform – for the first half of this year anyways. If you aren’t sure, read our COVID-19 and Your Event: Can It Be Held Virtually? blog post on how to determine if going virtual is a feasible option for you.

Since the beginning of the Pandemic, virtual event platforms have really come a long way and the possibilities are endless. You can now make your event as interactive and as customized as you’d like, ranging from tradeshow booths where your guests actually feel like they are roaming the floor to having attendees create their own avatars, virtual coffee breaks, meditations and happy hour, offering many unique sponsorship opportunities and more.

All platforms are not the same so we encourage you to do your research and shop around to find the right option for your event. This can be an overwhelming process (it’s similar to determining the venue with in-person events) so if you still need help, let us know!

Keep Calm and Go Hybrid

If you’re not quite sure which option is most suitable for your event and you have some attendees that are traveling and others who are local, it may make sense to do a combination of in-person and virtual, or Hybrid. This could mean many different things depending on what type of event you are planning. It may be a meeting or tradeshow where some attendees are in a room, safely spaced out, and others are watching it via livestream. Or perhaps it is an awards ceremony that is held virtually and then there are smaller in-person gatherings within teams to celebrate their achievements.

We are expecting to see this in the late summer, as in-person events are returning and attendees may still be a bit hesitant to travel or gather in large crowds.

There is no easy answer when it comes to planning events these days so if you still have questions, please contact us today! We are here to help. Happy Planning!

COVID-19 and Your Event: Can it be Rescheduled?

COVID-19 and Your Event: Can it be Rescheduled?

Rescheduling your event will take extra consideration during these uncertain times where our new “normal” is not yet clearly defined. At this point, you have hopefully considered all of your options; and have determined if your event can be held virtually.

If you’ve determined hosting a virtual event is not the direction you’ll be going in, you’re likely considering either canceling or rescheduling your event. Here are some things to consider if you are rescheduling your event.

  1. Review Your Contracts

As a diligent planner, you likely reviewed your venue and vendor contracts prior to signing. However, at the time, like the rest of us, you had no idea that we would be in the middle of a pandemic and needing to make very difficult decisions regarding the fate of our events. Reviewing the contracts again and pulling out any information regarding postponement and cancellation policies is a great first step. . Once you’ve done this, it’s also worth reaching out to your vendors and seeing if they are making any special concessions due to the unforeseen circumstances. You may be surprised by how understanding and flexible people can be during these challenging times.

  1. Assess Your Financial Losses

Once you’ve gone through your contracts and have determined what’s at risk, you can make a more informed decision and feel comfortable either moving forward with a new date or cancelling altogether. Sometimes the financial impact of rescheduling an event can be significant, due to rescheduling fees, poor attendance if guests have scheduling conflicts on the new date or still do not feel comfortable being in large groups and for many other reasons. In this case, you’ll need to weigh the benefits of rescheduling with the potentially great financial loss.

  1. Find a New Date

Perhaps one of the scariest things about this pandemic, is that we don’t know how long it will last, which also makes picking a new date particularly challenging. If you do decide to have your event on a future date, like with everything else, there are certain things you should consider when determining a new date.

First, if this is an annual event, how will rescheduling impact your scheduling for future years? Chances are, the rescheduled event will fall quite close to the following year’s event. Will you continue to hold the event around the same time as the new date? Will you skip the 2021 event? Or, will you choose to still hold the 2021 event even if it was just a few months after the 2020 event?

There are many things that go into making this decision, but it’s generally a good idea to keep your annual events within the same month or two since people typically plan around the event being the same time of year.

If it’s not an annual event, you have a bit more flexibility in the rescheduled date. It’s important to consider your industry’s calendar and other important events/activities that may be happening around the same time. Make sure your new event date does not conflict with other major conferences, tradeshows or holidays so your attendance is not negatively impacted. Finally, you’ll need to reach out to speakers and vendors to see if they’re available on the new date.

This is a very challenging and stressful time for many people, particularly those in the hospitality and events industry. Whichever direction you decide to go in with your 2020 event, clear, detailed communication with your attendees, sponsors, exhibitors and any other key stakeholders is one of the most important components to a successful event (in any format) and maintaining your company’s reputation.

Remember, we will get through this and celebrate together again. When that time comes, we hope you will reach out to Swank for your planning needs. In the meantime, we’re here as a resource to you and can also assist with planning virtual events. Please take care and stay safe.

COVID-19 and Your Event: Can It Be Held Virtually?

COVID-19 and Your Event: Can It Be Held Virtually?

The novel coronavirus has completely taken our world for a spin the past couple of months. Unfortunately, the events industry was one of the first to take a hard hit, leaving planners, companies, universities, and more scrambling to find a solution to the gatherings that have been planned for months. Until we get back to normal life, our industry will continue to be severely impacted; but we’re here to lighten the load.

The biggest question to ask: Can the event still go on?

The answer to that will depend on many factors.

When is the event?

Unfortunately, there’s no specific “date” of when things will start to return back to normal. If your event is between now and June, an in-person gathering is not an option, and you should start brainstorming your next steps. After that, especially an event happening before or through the fall, it’s still up in the air, but we have better chances of being able to do an in-person gathering by then.

Before you consider postponing your event, consider hosting a virtual event.

It can be an effective way to still execute your event, but of course there are a few things you’ll want to examine before you make that decision.

  • What is the purpose of your meeting? Would it still be possible to get your message across on a virtual platform?
  • Are your attendees equipped with the necessary technology & knowledge to join a virtual event?

If you’re still not convinced a virtual event would work for you, we’ve created this pros and cons infographic to help you weigh out your options. Stay tuned until next week for info on rescheduling an event.



Grand Tasting of North Shore

Grand Tasting of North Shore

North Shore Restaurants brought their A-game at North Shore Magazine’s Grand Tasting event early March. With striking views of the Atlantic Ocean, the Blue Ocean Event Center was the perfect venue for a night of great eats & drinks.










More than 30 restaurants congregated serving delicious bites of customer favorites & drink samplings. Live mixology performances & DJ Chris Roxx kept the crowd entertained all night long. Black Tie Limousine transported guests to and from their cars in a party bus, setting the tone for the evening ahead. Tito’s sponsored the VIP lounge that was designed with hedge walls from PEAK Event Services and marquee lighting from our friends at Your Love in Lights, creating an exclusive lounge. VIPs also walked away with luxurious gift bags, featuring products & free bites from some of the best restaurants in the area.




















The main floor was dressed up with gorgeous florals from Bella’s Floral Design, bringing in warm tones throughout the space. A custom gobo & uplighting created a lavish & upscale atmosphere. Guests loved the social interaction; overall, it was a night to remember.

Photos by Elise Sinagra














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