This will be the first in a series of blogs for you, the newly engaged couple. This really is a magical time in your lives, the magic of the year leading up to the I do’s is often overshadowed by what seems like a daunting and never-ending task, planning your wedding. We are here to help you! Throughout this blog series we will be discussing the planning stages for your wedding and etiquette. Wedding planning has six main phases and today we are going to talk about the basics.

Basics

At this point you are newly engaged! Now take a breath, smile, and take it all in. You are on the journey of a lifetime. With any luck you have at least 13 months or more until the big day, so take some time to celebrate. Plan an engagement party or go on a small trip. Take some time for you as a couple, before all the big planning really starts. Now, is a good time to start considering what type of wedding you will have. Will it be small and elegant, or will it be a grandiose affair with everyone in attendance? Remember the style and size of your wedding set the stage for what your wedding day will be.

Budget

Now that you have a vision in your mind of what you would like your day to look like, it is the time to ask that hard question: What will our budget be? This is probably one of the more important questions you will have to answer in the planning process. The average couple budgets $23,000 for their wedding and that budget is often exceeded. This can be avoided through careful planning and using a budget planner. Think about the things you must have that will make your day perfect and then determine what things you would like to have that do not have much of an impact on your day.

Bridal Party

Now comes one of the best parts of your wedding, determining who will make up your wedding party. Remember these are the people that will help you with the planning and parties leading up to your special day. You will spend a lot of time with these people so choose wisely. Choose people you are close to that are fun and easygoing, yet responsible. I remember one bride who chose someone as a bridesmaid out of duty and it did not go well. Instead of a bridezilla, we had a bridesmaidzilla, she thought the whole wedding was about her. The lesson to be learned here is to choose the people you love that will remember the day is about you, the couple. These are the people that will feel honored to be chosen and will want to make your day special!

Romance!

Finally, enjoy this time. Have romantic dinners, spend time together, and remember not to turn the wedding into your lives. It is important and a special day, but it does not define you as a couple and it should not be all encompassing. Remind each other daily through thoughtful acts and time spent together that you love each other. You have already made the commitment to spend your lives together through the act of getting engaged. The wedding, while big and beautiful, is the public commitment and celebration of your love with family and friends. You already know you love each other and want to spend forever with each other, do not let that feeling get lost in the undertaking of planning your wedding.

Events are BACK!!!!…or at least they will be once we all get vaccinated.

Governor Cooper recently announced that, if vaccination and case number trends hold, most COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted on June 1st. This is amazing news.

Soon we will no longer be staring up at our own ceilings, but rather looking down at a delicious meal at a restaurant or a Goels Plaza gathering. Gone will be the days of trying to make 12 hours of conversation with our pets and returning are the days of conversing with friends at a party! And we hope you have that party at Goels Plaza.

As the world is filled with steady optimism, we’ve been paying close attention to the wants and needs of our clients:

Young People Dare to Be First

Trends show that younger people will be among the first to begin being customers and attending public gatherings again, albeit in smaller numbers. Still, even young people prefer the security of remaining socially distant and engaging in contactless interactions with others. With our introduction of micro-weddings and micro-events, let your next event be a spacious and distant reunion of your closest friends and family at Goels Plaza

Back to the Restaurants

Another common trend is a return to public restaurant eating – albeit distanced. Restaurants and event spaces, including Goels Plaza, have been inviting people back to explore their dining options. People are feeling comfortable to eat and drink in public, so long as they are 6-10 feet at least from the nearest other table, and eateries have been converting their spaces into hybrid indoor/outdoor dining areas.

A Room Divided…

Even at a micro event, some will still feel that anxiety of being around people in an indoor space again. That’s why many have cleverly devised ways for their event guests to stick to defined pods. Be it physical barriers or something as simple as a line of tape on the floor, it is that kind of creative ingenuity and adaptability that we love about our guests.

Eating, Drinking, and Fashion

The data is in! So far, the top 3 expenditures for people post- vaccination are food, beverages, and clothing. What better way to enjoy food and drinks with friends and show off your newest fashion fit than a gathering at your local venue?

 

These new trends are perfect for Goels Plaza’s offerings. We see you post-COVID shoppers and event attendees as determined to stay safe, yet resilient in your commitment to engage with the world. We share those values. We are dedicated to keeping our doors open and continuing to serve the community safely.

 

At Goels Plaza, we look forward to serving you!

2020 Reflections &
2021 Visions

Get the inside scoop on what it was like operating an event venue in the midst of COVID-19, lessons learned, and our visions for recovery in 2021.

     I bet we’re not the only ones screaming, “THANK GOD 2020 IS OVER!!!!” It’s no secret that 2020 was a bust for everyone—no matter if you’re an individual or a business. Just like you, we welcomed 2021 with arms wide open and cheered when the clock struck 12 in our homes! From COVID to social unrest and political chaos, it’s been a tough year all around. Businesses struggled to keep their doors open, while families struggled to keep their lights on and food on the table, and most of the time the two went hand-in-hand.

     Navigating the turmoil caused by COVID was no easy feat. Sales went down and bills kept piling up. For a business like Goels Plaza, a banquet and conference center, operating “as normal” was nearly impossible. With Executive Order after Executive Order, local and federal, banning gatherings, imposing limits and social distancing, and stay at home orders, the event venue/hospitality industry came to a grinding halt. Long term tenants backed out of their leases as they could no longer use our immense space and frantic customers cancelled their events. Slowly but surely, every source of income keeping our business afloat diminished. While we were losing revenue left and right, we also could help customers who were eager to hold their milestone events given restrictions at other smaller venues.

“Just like you, we welcomed 2021 with arms wide open and cheered when the clock struck 12 in our homes! From COVID to social unrest and political chaos, it’s been a tough year all around.”

     While there has been some relief as the laws are becoming more lenient and even as the threat lessens with time, the “aftershocks” felt by 2020’s turmoil will still be felt for some time. But we are resilient. As time passes, we have been able to pick ourselves up and keep pushing forward—finding creative ways to get by. For instance, Goels Plaza created a Micro Package offering reduced pricing for events with less than 50 guests to cater to the smaller, more intimate gatherings that were becoming all the trend in part because of COVID.

Here are some lessons we learned from COVID, that may help you too:

  • Make sure both parties understand terms and conditions, as external situations may now seem more evident than before.
  • Social Media and an online presence is crucial to business survival. As the stay-at-home order isolated the population, businesses and individuals were still able to connect.
  • Be adaptable and have a plan for when things go south, because you never know if or when they will. Be prepared for anything!
  • Make sure to build good relationships with your customers and be able to calmly manage any conflict that comes up because no one gets far communication-wise while having heated arguments.
  • If you’re able to, find ways to help those in your community who are in need. We dedicated funds to Healthcare Heroes, who fed and honored those front-line workers facing COVID-19. Find a local organization and make an impact!

     Goels Plaza is excited to enter 2021 with a positive outlook and head towards a promising future. We’re dedicated to keeping our doors open and continuing to serve the community safely. Just like you, we’ve created resolutions that our team is going to strive to reach day in and day out. We achieve stable growth by finding reliable forms of income through tenancy and events, focus on special relief and promotions for smaller events, and increase our overall visibility to better serve our community. At Goels Plaza, we look forward to serving you!

Micro Weddings & Events

Goels Plaza is proud to add our brand new Micro Wedding & Events Package to our growing list of offered services. 

One thing has become noticeably clear during this pandemic: the culture in America is shifting on many different levels and wedding and event planning in general are following suit. From things as complex and sensitive like inequality to how we gather and interact as people—the rules are changing. Natural selection is occurring in the small business world. Since the only two options amidst the chaos are to sink or swim, businesses must adapt to the rapidly changing cultural climate. There is not a one-size-fits-all solution for every business, but the innovative owners and managers will be the ones to come out on top especially in the event venue world.

We’ve talked to brides and general party planning people alike who are scrambling to adjust and re-adjust because like normal human beings, they want to celebrate their special occasions with the people they love and cherish most in the world. People are craving human interaction that they have been denied for so many months. It is a confusing and chaotic time filled with questions that have no good answers: should I cancel? Postpone? Reschedule? If we choose to wait, when is a good time to rebook? A month? A couple months? A year? Will the law allow us to gather by x date? What if COVID-19 is still running rampant when I reschedule? There is no official, good answer—only best guesses and flexibility in the face of uncertainty for both parties.

In the event business, particularly when it comes to weddings, “bigger is better” or “the bigger the better” is becoming an outdated phrase as we transition into a new norm of smaller and more intimate gatherings. Huge, fancy weddings use to be all the rage, but a new trend has emerged: Micro Weddings. According to brides.com “a micro wedding is an intimate affair, typically with no more than 50 guests. They still feature time-honored traditions that make a wedding but on a much smaller scale.” As we dive further and further into the pandemic, micro weddings are gaining more and more traction as people prioritize intimate gatherings over big, fancy soirees. While most girls have fantasized about the fairy tale, princess sized wedding there are many benefits of micro weddings:

There are so many benefits to micro weddings, so Goels Plaza has decided to coin a new term: micro events! While the world is recovering and figuring out the next moves to take, why not plan a micro birthday party, baby shower, or just a party to bring your loved ones together? We are happy to announce that we have added a new “micro event package” to best serve our customers! Don’t wait another second—take the first step to plan your micro wedding or event today with Goels Plaza.

Offer expires December 31st, 2020

Here at Goels Plaza, our goal has
always been to bring the people you care about together to enjoy life’s
greatest moments. We are anxiously awaiting the day of normalcy, when we can
open our doors to local communities we so dearly love, so you can get back to
celebrating with the people you love.

COVID-19 has turned our world
upside down. We want you to know we are standing with you. Facing the
challenges of this pandemic means that we are taking extra precautions for the
continued health and safety of our staff, customers, and visitors. These times
are daunting for the citizens and small businesses of our community; we are
facing the scary reality of uncertainty. Now more than ever, the importance of
supporting local cannot be understated—standing together as a community during
this time is how we will get to the other side of these crazy times thriving.
From things as simple as helping a neighbor or shopping local to supporting
charities, nonprofits, and relief efforts YOU can make a difference.

Goels Plaza is making a conscious
effort to support local relief efforts to get our community back on its feet by
supporting these organizations:

  • Triangle Community Foundation: supports
    local needs of the nonprofit community
  • NCHA’s Healthcare Hero Response Fund: purchases
    meals from local restaurants to provide meals for healthcare workers
  • PM Cares: combative, containment, and
    relief efforts against coronavirus outbreak around the world

We know our community is resilient and will bounce back from this crisis, but it will require all of us standing together. Our team is currently brainstorming ideas to further assist our community and to get involved with more charities and nonprofits.

Following the Governor’s orders and guidelines, we are currently not hosting events. Looking forward to future events, the Goels Plaza Event Coordinators are scheduling limited tours, and booking events for September 2020 and beyond while assuring that we will reschedule your event if the COVID-19 climate prevails. Currently, we are limiting tours to 2 people at a time. In addition, we kindly request each visitor to follow these guidelines: please wear a mask and gloves, as well as maintaining a safe social distance while visiting our venue. If you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, please stay home and allow us to provide you with a link to our virtual tour.

We value your business and hold the belief that a community that stands together will become stronger for it. Thank you for supporting Goels Plaza.

Follow these tips & tricks to help ensure a smooth wedding planning process


1. Tackle Things One at a Time

If you think planning a wedding is stressful, you’re not alone. But it doesn’t have to be! To stay organized and on track, snag a binder that you can use to organize everything in. You can use this to keep lists for vendors, guests, budget categories, items needed and more. This will help you quickly store and maintain contact information, vendor notes from meetings, pictures of flowers or wedding dresses you like or are considering using for your wedding day, etc. This way you can follow a smooth and logical order of tasks that you can address one item at a time. Take each item and action one at a time and in chronological order so you don’t get overwhelmed or off-track. For example, start with deciding your wedding date before deciding the venue and don’t worry about a caterer or DJ before you finalize the venue.

2. Book the Right Venue

Having the right wedding venue is perhaps one of the absolute most important variables on your wedding day. This is where you will want to make a list of your ideal wedding day environments and do some research on what type of venue will make your day as special as possible. If possible, try to find a venue that has a spacious dance floor or ballroom on site – maybe even a separate room for the reception. For example, we at Goel’s Plaza take pride in the fact that we’ve hosted spectacular weddings and receptions for over 15 years.

3. Guests are a High Priority

You’ll want to know the number of guests you’ll have prior to finalizing your venue. A general rule is having 20-30 square feet per guests. While this seems like a lot, take into account the room needed for tables, vendors and the dance floor while still keeping enough space for smooth foot-traffic.  

4. Be Aware of Other Local Events

When planning your wedding date, try to identify any major local events that may be taking place on the same day as your wedding. This can drastically impact traffic, hotel availability and guest’s ability to arrive on time and at the right location. Be aware of events such as conferences, holiday events, charity events, etc. and avoid those days if possible.

5. Pay Attention to Mother Nature

Having an outdoor wedding can be beautiful and refreshing. However, being aware of mother nature is key. Whether it’s an abnormally hot day, or unusually rainy day, you’ll want to prepare to keep a smooth experience for your guests. Consider providing small handheld items such as miniature fans or small umbrellas to keep your guests comfortable and focused on the wedding at hand.

6. Leverage Your Network

You will likely be contacting numerous wedding vendors that you know little about when it comes to their quality of work – heck you may not even know where to start. To help identify the right vendors, use your vendor network. Once you’ve identified a great vendor or two, ask for their recommendation on other vendors they’ve worked with in the past and that they can vouch for. This helps create complimentary vendors that are more likely to keep your wedding day running smoothly.

7. It Never Hurts to Ask

You want your wedding day to be as special as it is unique. For this reason, you may be able to submit special requests to the bartenders, the band or other vendors. If so, be sure to make these requests early on, before you sign contracts with them as vendors tend to be more flexible earlier on to win your business. However, they are more likely to resist or deny last minute changes or requests.

8. Food Adds Up

Having food for guests is a must, but what about the vendors and wedding crew such as photographers or musicians? While these are also guests that will need food, you can substitute the fancy steak for a lower-cost but equally hearty meal. Regardless, it is best to plan this out in advance and run it by the caterer if you plan on providing them with the same meals as other guests.

wedding-dinner-toast

9. Keep the Bar Running Smoothly

To avoid letting the bar get backed up, you may want to consider having an additional bartender. A good rule to follow is having one bartender for every 45-50 guests. If you are serving custom drinks, having a designated bartender for this task may be helpful.

10. Set Aside Buffer Cash

Deciding on how to allocate your budget can get overwhelming. To help, here’s a suggested way to measure and categorize your spending:
45% of total budget to reception
10% for flowers and decorations
10% for wedding attire
10% for DJ/music;
10% for photographer/videographer
2.5% for invitations
2.5% for gifts
5% for miscellaneous items
5% of your budget for unexpected items such as additional invitations, additional alterations, guest handouts, etc.

11. The No-Show Rule

Depending if you have a destination wedding or have a large number of out-of-town guests, it’s a good rule to account for roughly 15% of guests to not be able to attend. Of course, with destination weddings, this number can be even higher. Other variables include the time of year your wedding takes place and the local cost for those coming from out of town.

12. Hierarchy of Guests

Deciding on the number of guests you want can be tricky, but one helpful tip on navigating this list is sorting guests categorically – in top tier come immediate family and absolute best friends on the list. Next come extended family and close friends and finally come other guests such as colleagues, neighbors and casual friends. This way, if you need to reduce the number of guests or save reduce the cost, you can more quickly and easily decide which guests to cut. If each guest has an average table and food cost of $75, cutting 10 people from the bottom of the list can save you $750.

13. Reserve Local Hotel Rooms for Guests

For wedding that have traveling guests, having a place for them to stay can alleviate a lot of their stress for their trip. Once you’ve secured a wedding date, be sure to reach out to local hotels to inquire for wedding/bulk reservations. Hotels will often offer a reduced rate for bulk reservations, saving time and money for guests. Often, you will be able to simply cancel the rooms that are not booked. However, be sure to check and see if there is any contracts that charge a penalty for the cancelations – if they do, it may be best to check elsewhere as you don’t need to bear the burden for rooms that are not booked as long as you are able to give at least a month’s notice or more. For example, at Goel’s Plaza, we have partnerships with nearby hotels to make things easier for traveling friends and families.

wedding-dance-with-bubbles

14. Guide Your Guests

For wedding that have a good amount of folks traveling from out of town or weddings that take place in a populated location, having detailed directions and instructions can prevent guests from a late arrival. You may opt to include these instructions to your wedding invitation. If not, be sure to include these instructions in an email to guests that can be printed so they can quickly access and navigate using those instructions. Additionally, it may be helpful to include detailed directions to not only the ceremony, but also the reception location or venue.

15. Document Your Spoken Agreements

Often times you may have special agreements in place with certain vendors. However, the day of the wedding, you may be dealing with an employee or assistant of the vendor that may not be familiar with your special arrangements. One way to keep things on track is to keep some form of documentation confirming the approval of those special arrangements. That way you have something you can quickly point to that with hold and honor your arrangement.

16. Don’t Underestimate Setup Time

On the day of your wedding, the last thing you need is to be in a rush to set everything up in time before guests arrive. Be sure to ask your venue manager when the earliest arrival time can be to optimize your setup time. If possible, see if you are able to do the majority of the setup the day before, relieving much of the last-minute stress. This is something we’ve had implemented for quite some time – we’ve seen couple go from from stressed to relieved in a heart beat when they find out they can schedule free setup time the day before!

17. Categorize Your Spending

With so many smaller costs that can quickly add up, it’s wise to create a plan for your wedding spending through making a list based on priority. Use a number system so that if you wind up in a crunch, you can cut items that are lower on the list. Perhaps you needed some unexpected alterations and see that invitations fall lower on your list – cut corners on the invitations to make room for the alterations so your budget stays on track. 

18. Keep Emergency Contacts on Hand

Even with thorough preparation, unforeseen circumstances can arise at the last minute. Don’t get caught off guard: It’s critical to keep an emergency contact list on hand (or on your phone) so that whether your DJ or photographer got lost on the way or your limo driver cannot locate your pickup location, you are able to quickly reach the people you need to reach to keep everything on track.