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ILEA Chicago Memberships - Here's What You Get...

ILEA Memberships educate you and help you build your career, promote you as an event professional, bring you together in networking events with other professionals and so much more.   If your not a member yet, or if you know event professionals that would benefit from joining our group, here are some great highlights of membership.  
Here’s just a few of the benefits of joining ILEA:
  • Get access to the wisdom of a broad member collective who plan and execute over 1 million special events each year –the brightest, most accomplished creative event professionals in the industry who execute some of the world’s most recognized live events.

  • Experience stimulating ideas and knowledge sharing with other creative event professionals from around the world at the annual ILEA Live conference.



  • Receive up-to-date deadline information for the Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) designation—keep updated on all of the information needed to gain your CSEP designation and show potential employers or clients that you are committed to the craft.

  • Use the ILEA Member Directory to find and connect with fellow creative events professionals around the world for advice and support.

  • Find resources, toolkits and tip sheets to grow your new client pipeline, increase revenue and manage the day-to-day tasks of running a business - available only to ILEA members in the Member Community

  • Take your job or candidate search in the right direction by exploring the ILEA Career Center.

Not yet a member, watch for our Membership Drive in May and be sure to take advantage of our $50 discount May 7 - 17! #MyILEA
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What makes ILEA such an important part of your business / career development?

Highlights in last 12 months …What did you miss this year?

  • 4 members only events
    • SPiN Ping Pong networking (July 31) Free to members, 
    • Jennifer Perna from Fulton Market Consulting shared sales tips at Row24 (Sept 28 lunch
    • 11am-2pm); 
    • Ricky Hirsh from Think Jerky at Bridge 410 in conjunction with Chicago Food Planet (Jan 
    • 17-lunch 11am-2pm), 
    • Michelle Loretta from Sage Wedding Pros (Feb 20 breakfast 8am-11am) at The Lakewood 
    • Chicago, 
    • Howard Wallich from A-Z Entertainment discussing -Proactive Habits at Pinstripes on Navy Pier (March 20)
  • 19 new members!
  • New CSEP website to explain and promote benefits of getting your CSEP Certification!
  • December program Caroling at Maggie Daley Park in Millennium Park
  • November program Erin Diehl from ImproveIt (nov 14 at The Godfrey I/O)
  • October ILEA/NACE Wisconsin joint meeting at The Shore Club (Oct 11-evening); Speaker 
  • Brad Finkeldei “The Rubber Chicken Guy”
  • August event at Hard Rock Café- speakers Dave Calzaretta from Magnificent Events and 
  • Hayden Moldenhauer from Arena Americas

Still to come!
  • IX Exchange April 12 at Wintrust Arena in combination with Choose Chicago’s Annual meeting 
  • and Global Meetings Industry Day
  • NICE Awards – April 17 at Theater on the Lake 
  • Leaders Summit at House of Blues Foundation room - May 7
  • Esprit Awards – August 16-18 in Denver, CO at ILEA Live

Join Us! The best opportunity to join ILEA is May - get 14 months for the price of 12. During our special week - May 7 - 17, new members can save an additional $50 off their membership. 

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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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Member Spotlight: Emily Wuerdeman

Emily discovered her passion for the special events industry while studying Arts, Entertainment, and Media Management at Columbia College Chicago. Upon graduating in 2016, she started her career with Event Creative, where she was previously brought on as an intern while still in school. As the Executive Events Assistant, she helped out in all areas across the board. She assisted with everything from event design, planning, and production. She supported the event leads and oversaw load-ins and strikes for large-scale events such as Chicago Gourmet and the PCMA Awards in Washington, D.C. She was also the event lead in their adjacent venue for smaller events such as company meetings and retreats. Currently, she works for Stitely Entertainment, where she’s excited to have the opportunity to combine her two passions- events and music. As the Planning and Operations Coordinator, she works directly with clients, musicians, and planners alike to coordinate the entertainment portions of events. She’s also lucky to be able to partake in networking within the community, like with ILEA!

Getting to Know You Q&A...

Who/What inspired you to go into event planning?
I went to an arts high school in Cincinnati and studied Stage Management. Originally, I attended for Theater Arts and Acting but realized I wanted to be behind the scenes. That’s where the fun is! I practiced stage management for all four years of high school, but always had a passion for the music industry as well. You’d always catch me at a local venue on the weekends catching a show. All of my friend’s parents called me “Concert Girl.” Now, I’m with Stitely Entertainment and I plan music entertainment for private events. How fitting!
 
Tell us one thing we might not learn about you right away?
I’m a big animal welfare advocate. In college, I interned with PAWS Chicago, helping to coordinate their special adoption events with the foster team. I’ve continuously fostered and volunteered for them since then. I have one cat that I got from PAWS and a dog that I adopted from a small rescue called Fortunate Pooches and Labs. Start a conversation with me about it and I could go on for hours, though I’ll be crying by the second sentence…
 
What do you love the most about what you do?
There’s two big things that stand out for me. One, as I’ve mentioned before, is that I get to combine my two passions of music and events. Second, is the opportunity to grow and network. Stitely Entertainment has given me the opportunity to be a part of the community and other groups such as ILEA. It’s been so rewarding- both personally and professionally.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up outside of Cincinnati, Ohio in the house that my father grew up in. So, I’m a small-town girl at heart. But, I started going to school in downtown Cincinnati in the sixth grade. So, it makes sense that I found my way to Chicago.
 
What is your event gone wrong horror story?
No event will ever be a horror story for me. Sometimes, you have to keep that mindset. Of course there’s been mistakes and mishaps. These are not horror stories. They are learning opportunities! I’ve still got a lot to learn so I don’t take things too hard when they go wrong. And I’ll still be saying the same thing at the end of my career. Just learn from it and progress.

What made you interested in participating in ILEA? 
As I mentioned above, I’m young and fairly new to the industry. I have a lot to learn and a lot to experience. I’m loving my journey in the industry and am excited to grow and continue with my success. Having the opportunity to meet and connect with other people on the same journey has been such an amazing opportunity and I’m really looking forward to what my future with ILEA, and the events industry in general, holds!

Thanks Emily and welcome to ILEA!

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President’s Letter: ILEA Members Drive Real Results, Real Impact

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