Thoughts on the Mix & Mingle!

It seems these days that every other week someone is throwing a mixer. We have seen the same vendors at all the events hoping to get noticed, hoping for a chance to meet the owner, get on the list, make an in road for their business. After all isn't that what mixers are all about?

Each year I get dressed up and drag myself to at least three of these events and each year I wonder why? Why do I put myself through it! Yes I see some great folks, some that are there to compete, some that are there to be seen, and others who are there for the free food. I never really feel like I know who they are, what they do, how they do it, or what motivates them to do it!

Social mingling and crowds are not my favorite way to meet people. I enjoy seeing new venues, I like the informative mixers that offer statistics or advice on how to be more successful, I like inclusion and good information about the venue and how it works. Some folks do a great job at hosting mixers, others can feel a bit like crashing a party! I'd much rather see these folks in action. Demonstrations are great, walking tours are great, interaction is great, workshops are great! How well do they work with others, can they handle stress, are they prepared, Are their rates reasonable or through the roof? I'm always less impressed by how they look in a cocktail dress. In other words, If you're a bartender who wants to offer event services and you are throwing amixer - Pick two signature drinks and let people see you in action, how attentive were you at the bar, how friendly, sociable, organized? How good were the drinks?

My solution - Get to know folks. If I haven't been to one of your mixers yet, you're probably on a list of venues that I would like to personally tour. I am about community. I like to know what inspires people, why they started doing what they do and then the hard questions , like how do you handle guests that linger, do you have a catering menu or outsource all the work? How many guests do you accomodate? Mixers should be informative.Why would you hire a caterer if you didn't know what the food looked like or if you had never tasted it?

My solution has always been to develop good working relationships with vendors in the community. As a result, I'm less about see and be seen and more about let's hang out, do lunch, tour a venue and come up with some great ideas for a photo shoot! This year we will do several photo shoots with local vendors,starting in April. This gives the public a chance to see the quality of our work, the beauty of the venue and the talent of the dress designers, caterers, bartenders and photographers.

Don't get me wrong, it can be fun to mix and mingle, I just prefer to get to know the vendors on a personal level, I like to work with them and see them in action. This not only helps me to appreciate their skill set, It helps me make recommendations to our engaged couples that will be a good fit for them. This is how I get to know the best of the best and those that are a pleasure to work with. There are many great vendors in our area and I believe in giving a shout out to the ones who know their stuff and love what they do like Chef Michael's Catering.Not only are they amazing people, their passion for what they do comes through in the dishes they create.

Take this guy for example! Everyone should get to love what they do - Whatever that is for you!!

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