A Message from Lisa Ware, President ILEA Chicago


Hello ILEA Chicago! 

I cannot believe how quickly two years has passed as your Chapter President.  It seems like the time has passed so quickly but when I think about everything that has happened to me – then it seems like so long ago.  I got engaged and married in the past two years, I have traveled to the Dominican Republic, Israel, Argentina and so many states in the United States. I have attended The Special Event in California, ILEA Live in Austin, Catersource both in New Orleans and Las Vegas and personally spoken at the Day of Education in Indianapolis.  I have switched jobs and am three months into a new position as Director of Sales at Entertaining Company.  I remember how nervous I was to take over as the ILEA Chicago Chapter President.  How do I live up to past leaders?  How do I move our Chapter forward while paying tribute to where we have been?  When I think about what ILEA Chicago has accomplished in the last two years – I am PROUD.  As a leader, there is no better feeling than being proud of what your team has accomplished. 

Let’s talk about a few things that ILEA Chicago has accomplished that make me proud.  Any group of individuals who make up a Board have different opinions and ways of doing things but for the last two years, the people on your ILEA Chicago Board have worked together with kindness and respect and always held the best interests of the Chapter as our priority.  This group of people have worked together to create a dynamic calendar of events full of education, networking, unique opportunities, fun and friendship.  Our MarCom team has created a content calendar of communication that is beyond my wildest dreams to ensure our members have the information needed to get the most out of your ILEA Chicago membership. We had an extremely ambitious goal of getting 50 NEW members this year and we are less than 10 away.  That alone is unbelievable. The work of our Membership Committee and the way they work together has been inspiring to watch.  The NICE Awards have had record setting attendance and surpassed all fundraising goals the last three years.  I was terrified of maintaining a budget during my tenure as President and I am so happy (and relieved) with the progress we have made to build our resources for future years.  And a huge goal that I have always had for ILEA Chicago is to win a Spirit of Excellence (SOE) Award and go for Chapter of the Year.  That means we are not just submitting one SOE – but four.  And we are going for Chapter of the Year this year!! A huge accomplishment just to go for it!  Wish us luck!

All of the above cannot be done without a lot of amazing people.  To the ILEA Chicago Board Members and Committee Members over the last two years – THANK YOU!  You have no idea how proud I am of all that we have accomplished.  Thank you for your time and dedication to this amazing event city and to our ILEA Chapter.  To Barb Harris, CSEP, DMCP and Nicole Zenner, CSEP for your amazing guidance and leadership as I navigated my way through being President.  I could not have done this without you.  My biggest goal during my tenure was to leave the Chapter in good hands and Chicago – we have some of the best event people in the business leading the charge.  Lastly– thank you to our members for trusting me to be your Chapter President! Thank you for your time, your generosity, your participation and your friendship.  Being the Chapter President for this amazing organization has been my sincere pleasure! As a former Kindergarten Teacher – our ILEA Chicago future is so bright, we have to wear shades!  No better time than now to become a member! Thanks for making me proud!!

Lisa Ware
ILEA President, 2016 - 2017 & 2017 - 2018

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Enjoy this Vlog post by VP Membership, Jeff Durocher


VP Membership Jeff V. Durocher shared the following message today.

Jeff's May Membership Video

For information on ILEA membership types and pricing, go to ILEA - International Live Events Association.


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Summer Wedding Season: Are You Prepared?

With the royal wedding and summer wedding season fast approaching (19 May is right around the corner!), wedding planning is top of mind. As one of the most anticipated live events of 2018, the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is sure to generate some new wedding trends and inspiration. To prepare for the upcoming season, we talked with ILEA board member Morgan Doan, CSEP, PWC, San Francisco-based wedding planner and owner of Morgan Events. Morgan has over 17 years of experience planning weddings, and today shares with us her insights for planning beautiful, personalized weddings.

wedding photography-arrowwood

Picture Credit (cover image and above): Arrowwood Photography

ILEA: What are you most looking forward to about the royal wedding from a live events standpoint?

Morgan Doan (MD): What I’m looking forward to most is seeing how Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will make their wedding their own. They have already made a statement with the couple’s decision to wed on a Saturday, which goes against tradition, as royal weddings usually take place on a weekday. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge wed on a Friday, and the Queen on a Thursday. It will also be exciting to see how the other elements of their wedding come together to reflect their personality, but most importantly is the experience and the atmosphere of this special day that not only friends and family will share, but also members of the public.

ILEA: What are some wedding trends you foresee coming to light in the next year?

MD: Some wedding trends to look out for in next year are:

  • Unique texture: Texture will continue to be a big element of future celebrations (e.g., laser-cut linens, mixture of metals, wood, etc.).
  • Unexpected uses (and types!) of florals: Expect to see lush dogwood arrangements, living botanical bars and potted plants on ceremony aisles and everywhere at receptions.
  • Bright hues: Color is back in a big way. Moody and richly pigmented flowers and colorful candle centerpieces will be the table décor of choice. And if you were on the fence about having an outdoor wedding, go with your instinct. Every couple is different, whether you decide to select an indoor venue (e.g. industrial lofts, museums and rooftops) and or an outdoor venue (e.g. vineyards, gardens, beaches, etc.), at the end of the day it’s about where you feel most excited, meaningful and that it reflects who you are as a couple.

ILEA: Can you describe a few successful elements that you have incorporated into weddings in the past?

MD: We believe in seamless events, collaborating with incredible industry partners and creating unforgettable and unique moments. Although we love fabulous design, personal touches and seamless execution, at the end of the day, what truly makes a wedding are a couple’s energy, love and joy that they share with their friends and family. If we can capture this and reflect it into our clients’ celebration, then we have exceeded their expectations.

wedding photography-larissa-cleveland-ilea

Picture Credit: Larissa Cleveland Photography

ILEA: How does your CSEP designation help you plan weddings and advance your career?

MD: The CSEP designation is designed to elevate industry practices and professional event standards. It adds credibility with other professionals in the industry. Additionally, it denotes membership to an elite international group, which shows clients and colleagues that you can be trusted and practice the highest event industry standards. Personally, I was surprised when a bride hearing about the CSEP approached me. She was thrilled to know that I had this designation. We had a wonderful conversation and laughs in discussing her wedding and, to say the least, at the end of the meeting, she ended up hiring me. I would like to think it’s my personality, but my CSEP has definitely given me a competitive advantage.

ILEA: What attracted you to the wedding industry?

MD: I wanted to bring happiness in every event and celebration that my team and I produced. Although we produce other events (social, corporate, nonprofit, and more), we always have a soft spot in our hearts for weddings because it’s personal, and we love love. It may sound cliché, but you have to love what you do. We absolutely love the connections that we make with our couples and continuing to exceed our clients’ expectations.

ILEA: What advice would you give to other live events professionals planning weddings?

MD: First and foremost, listen to what your clients are looking for, and then know how to guide them if an idea isn't realistic.

ILEA: How can you make each and every wedding special?

MD: How we make each and every wedding special is getting to know our clients so well that their personality, style and taste are reflected in their wedding. It’s the personal detail and touches that makes our client’s wedding unforgettable, unique and special. Creating weddings by approaching the design and production process with a unique perspective, distinct ideas and a discerning eye, we are the core that connects all of the elements together.

Thanks to EXPERIENCE ILEA for this great article.  

With over 17 years of experience in the industry, producing special events from luxury weddings to successful nonprofit fundraisers, Morgan Doan is one of today’s most sought-after designers and event planners in the San Francisco Bay Area. With a degree in business and Marketing, Morgan draws on her corporate experience to ensure that each event is produced with the highest standards. Morgan is a Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP), a Professional Wedding Consultant (PWC) and a past president of the International Live Events Association of Northern California (ILEA-NCC). She is currently serving on the ILEA International Board of Governors. In 2017, Morgan received an ILEA Esprit Award in the category of Best Wedding Over $150K for “Magic by the Bay.”

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