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home : readerswrite : yourstory July 23, 2017

Throughout the year, all of us are engaged in life events that deserve celebrating.
- Ann Nelson

by Ann Nelson

I believe in celebrating often and with intention.

As professional event planners, my colleagues and I approach each client event as a great platform for celebrating. We bring people together in ways that are fun and memorable, deepen connections, and have lasting impact.

Throughout the year, all of us are engaged in life events that deserve celebrating. Celebrations that I have been part of this year include my 24th wedding anniversary, 9th anniversary of my business, running my 10th marathon, and celebrating the life of my father, whom we lost to complications from dementia. The launch of a new product or service, receiving an award, making a healthy lifestyle change - such as losing weight - and starting a new job are all occasions to celebrate.

Sometimes the reason to hold a celebration is as simple as wanting to bring friends or the larger community together. This September we helped the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation host their first annual Wilder Block Party, a free event engaging people of all ages through shared food, music, magic and a community mural painting project. The Block Party lifted up Wilder's commitment to our community and deepened connections with neighbors.

Tips for helping make any celebration the best it can be:
• Clarify your top goals and desired outcomes before diving into the nitty gritty of planning. Base all of your decisions on those outcomes.
• Be creative and intentional in having all aspects of your event - including location, entertainment, decorations, activities and food - reflect who or what you are celebrating.
• Early on in the planning process invite the ideas of others who are invested in the success of the event.
• Even small events have lots of details, so don't be shy about delegating tasks.
• Create a timeline for everything that needs to happen for a seamless event. Have fun with milestone numbers. At the 150th anniversary celebration we planned for Lutheran Social Service, 150 great neighbors were recognized for their commitment to making a difference in the lives of others.


Whether your next event is an intimate gathering of a handful of people, or an event for hundreds, start planning - and never stop celebrating!

Ann Nelson is senior event planner with Ann Plans LLC, which partners with nonprofit organizations to plan and host events that inspire generosity. www.annplans.com

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