I love incorporating the latest technology and innovation in my client’s events – right now, video mapping.

Michelle Stewart

Owner/Event Planner

Location: Bedford, NH

DYV (Dream Your Vision) Events is a non-profit, corporate, conference, wedding and event planner operating in the New Hampshire, New England, Boston, and Arkansas areas. We provide event planning, design and consulting services for clients.

When it comes to events, we only have one time to get it right. Owner Michelle Stewart, a mechanical engineer turned event planner, is able to do the heavy lifting for clients when it comes to their events, ensuring they are able to enjoy their event experience versus worrying about all the decisions that go into executing a flawless event.

For corporate event planning clients, allowing them to spend more time with their clients and less time worrying about the actual event and overall planning process is our number one goal. We also know that recognition for hard-working employees is a must for any successful business. We know how to plan a great event that will show your employees how valuable they are to your business and continued success.

Non-profits do fundraising well, we do events well. We want our non-profit and fundraising clients to focus on getting new donors and sponsors for their event while we focus on the actual planning from the initial starting board all the way up until the event day. A well-run event raises more money and allows the event to grow year after year. We can consult with you on a yearly basis to ensure that your non-profit event will be the one that attendees will come back to year after year.

For conference event planning clients, we understand all the moving parts that go into creating a conference–from online registrations and invitations to on-boarding sponsors and other donors. We take care of all the on-boarding, ensuring all the details are taken care of before, during and after attendees arrive to ensure a successful conference.

Weddings are one of the most emotionally charged events that one could plan. That is why we offer couples a variety of partial to full wedding planning, design and coordination packages to ensure their vision comes to life on their wedding day.

And for those DIY couples and others alike who would rather plan their wedding on their own, DYV Events has created and begun hosting wedding planning workshops. “A Simplified Guide to Successful Wedding Planning” Workshop is the first in the event planning series, taking attendees through 10 simple steps of wedding planning, from initial vision through budgets and vendor selection all the way up to the wedding day with timelines and checklists.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced while planning an event and how did you overcome it?

For one of our largest non-profit events that included a private concert by Martina McBride, we had a shipment of over 800 gold and clear Chiavari chairs that got delivered but a whole crew of volunteers weren’t able to perform the set-up due to the shipment being late. By staying calm and using the tools that were in front of me, within an hour I had a make-shift crew of hotel workers, friends and other staff that chipped in to get the chairs set in time for the event.

I like to say that having a plan to start with is good but being able to plan on the fly, too, is key. Keeping your head under pressure is the only way to go to be able to be a successful planner.

What are 2 trends in the event planning industry that you’re excited about?

I love incorporating the latest technology and innovation in my client’s events – right now video mapping. I think it comes from my engineering background but melding their vision with new ways, especially for my client’s galas, has been a great way of spicing up their events.

I also like doing the unexpected and I think one thing I see is the use of metallics along with traditional color palettes. I don’t think that will ever get old but incorporating a texture element in an event design can be that one thing that brings a design together.

What are some tips for creating an elegant and memorable event on a tight budget?

Making sure you understand the top three things that the client really wants to get out of their event is key. Once you have that, throw a majority of your budget at those items. Keeping the vision of what the client really wants is a great way to say the good ‘no’ to things that won’t add to their top three most important things.

And then if you have money left over, you can look at spending money on those ‘cake’ things that would be great to have but you don’t necessarily need.

If you had unlimited resources, what would your dream client and event look like?

I would really love to team up with Disney or Hallmark to create a special event as I admire their companies and how they run their businesses. I would love to do a fan or employee appreciation event or an anniversary celebration to really showcase and celebrate their brands.

I thrive when I am able to take a theme and really weave it throughout all the senses–taste, touch, and sight. And working with great vendors who fully embrace the themes also is a great way to really make the vision of the client come to life.

How important are your relationships with vendors and what are some ways that you successfully cultivate and ensure good rapport?

Having honest and open relationships with my vendors is key to any great event. Creating a ‘team’ environment on event days is key to ensuring we give our clients the vision in their heads.

We do this by being organized and doing a lot of pre-communication with them beforehand so once we get to the day, there is no misunderstanding about roles or scope of work. We all can just get the job done and make the client’s vision come to life!

What advice would you give someone who needs to plan a fundraiser but isn’t sure where to start?

Having a clear vision for what you really want to get out of a fundraiser is key. Asking yourself questions like, ‘what are the top three things that I really want to get out of this event?’ or ‘what is the ultimate goal of hosting this event and what are the next steps to making this a reality?’

Once you have your top three things, then talk through basic logistics (location, # of guests, budget) and work your way to decor and then matching up the right vendors to make it all happen. Throughout the whole process, make sure you keep the vision of the event at the forefront because when those three things are incorporated, you will get the event you imagined!

What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?

Currently, I am working on a couple of self-help books along with creating a platform for my speaking. I love event planning but I also love writing and empowering people to be the best they can be. I am excited about sharing what I have learned, both in this great industry along with my journey along the way, with a larger audience.

What inspired you to launch your own company in the event industry? How long did it take from initially having the idea to setting up and starting to attract a client base?

I like to say my journey started with CAKE! I was the ‘birthday girl’ at my local skating rink when I was 16 years old and I would set up the table and gather the kids around to sing and then cut the cake.

I took a bit of a long journey around to come back to events (via getting my mechanical engineering degree and working 15 years for corporate America) but after being an assistant for a local wedding planner in 2010, she inspired me to start my own business.

It took less than 6 months to get my first paid contract and less than 3 years to get my first non-profit contract.

What’s the first event you can ever remember planning and how did it go?

In 2010 I had my first wedding client which was a friend of a friend. There were a lot of things, looking back on that day (including the 3 foot long sparklers that wouldn’t go out), that I wish I knew but overall I remember the couple gushing at the end of the night about how great I made their day and the satisfaction I felt that I was able to make that happen for them. That feeling never gets old.

What are some things you wished you knew before starting your businesses?

I wish that I knew a bit more about things I needed to have in place before starting a business such as a business plan and accounting needs along with things to think about when looking at taxes. I had to learn a lot of that on the fly but it would have been great to get things in place from the start.

What’s the most surprising or unusual request you have ever received from a client and were you able to fulfill it?

For my non-profit award ceremony this past year, we had 8 women honorees. They wanted to somehow incorporate this into our stage design. We were working with a fantastic production company, who after an hour brainstorm session that included a 6-foot Grecian column, black draping, and some crystal beading, was able to assimilate a bust of a woman that looked liked she was wearing a long black dress with a crystal draping necklace.

After adding some lighting, we were able to create an elegant yet stately representation of our 8 honorees on the stage at our award’s gala, thrilling our clients and attendees.

Anything else you’d like to comment on while we have you?

I love the event industry because we are all creators. We take client’s visions that they entrust to us and we make magic happen for them every day. I am so passionate about being the support that our industry needs to endure, especially in the ever-changing times that we are in today.

I have always said that when you insert ego into a team, everyone loses. So I will say the opposite–when you work with fellow friendors, we all win, especially our clients. Let us all remember that we are in this together as we move through our different journeys!

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