Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Questions You Need to Ask When Choosing a Wedding Venue

Your big day is right around the corner! Choosing a partner for the rest of your life can be nerve-racking enough – adding wedding planning to the mix can be enough to put some over the edge. Knowing the right questions to ask when booking a venue can help you enormously.

We have put together a few questions to ask when booking and planning your dream wedding venue.

The Date

When choosing a venue, the calendar can be a deal-breaking factor in deciding on a venue. Some venues are in high demand and book quickly for certain months, so this should be the very first question you ask.

The Guests

Yes, this day is all about you and your soon-to-be spouse, but having your family and friends there is a huge part in making this day special. Asking about the location of the venue and how many guests it allows is on our top lists of important questions to ask. A venue that accommodates the guests you want and an easy to find location with available lodging can be a determining factor.

The River’s Edge Convention Center has many banquet rooms for parties big and small, as well as a convenient location with many food and lodging choices for those out of town guests.

The Food and Drinks

Choosing a catering company that fits your wants and needs is another important aspect of planning a wedding. Most venues have a list of catering companies and liquor options that they allow. Some venues have more than others, and some have very limited options, and some host food and beverage services in-house. An extensive list of licensed caterers with many different types of food and drink options is desirable in a wedding venue.


The D├ęcor

Whether you have expensive tastes or are a matrimonial minimalist, decorating is always an important aspect of a wedding. If you plan to bring your own decorations or hire a company, asking about the process of decorating a venue is a need-to-know. Some venues have a list of suggested professional decorators to help you in your decorating decisions.

The Equipment

Everyone needs a place to sit, stand, and (most importantly) dance. Available equipment options are important, as well as their prices. Think about the visual and sound equipment needed as well. The River’s Edge Convention Center has an ample list of equipment and prices to look at as well.


Overall, everyone hopes their big day will go as smoothly as possible. Creating a memorable and enjoyable wedding doesn't have to be hard or stressful. Asking the right questions and getting the right information about your venue can help the process.

For more information on The River’s Edge Convention Center and what they offer for weddings, visit our website.





Monday, July 24, 2017

5 Trends to Help you Create the Event of the Year

The event world around us is constantly changing. With the number of creative event ideas getting more and more elaborate each year, it’s hard to keep up with and create an event that stands out from others.

Apart from creative ideas booming, distractions are also a consideration to take into play as you plan an event. With the number of apps and devices consuming the audience’s attention, it can be difficult to execute a memorable and captivating event. To help you create an amazing event this year, we have put together the top five trends we think will help.

1. The Smaller, The More Intimate

Smaller, more intimate events have come into a bright light this year. Creating an environment that is more focused and specialized helps engage the audience and creates a group of people engaged in the topic at hand. When you plan a smaller event, this also opens the door to a more personalized experience as you go in knowing your audience and what they expect to get out of your event.

Another positive attribute of having a smaller audience is the chance to learn and connect with each other. A smaller group causes attendees to feel more engaged and tuned-in, and also give them a more comfortable setting to connect with the speaker and other audience members.


2. Beneficial Break Time

Breaks are important and almost necessary during an event, so creating a break time that is beneficial to you and the audience is a bonus. During a break, you might consider bringing in local food, culture, etc. for the guests to enjoy and interact with. This type of easy, laid back environment during a break also creates opportunities for networking amongst your audience and gives them a chance to discuss and interact with one another.

3. Encouraged Participation

This is a crucial point in creating a worthwhile and beneficial event. As the use of keynote speakers declines, the idea of “learning sessions” will come more into play. During these types of engagements, both speaker and audience share the limelight and the feeling of a useful discussion in which everyone learns from one another. Giving the participants a chance to be a part of the event also takes away from the constant distraction of a cell phone, tablet, or laptop.

4. Positivity

Creating an event with a positive message while leaving your audience with a positive feeling afterward is important. One of the ways to boost a feeling of acceptance and positivity in your event is through diversity. Try and incorporate people who don’t represent the stereotypical “man in a suit” figure. This can allow people who don’t fit that character to feel comfortable attending and participating at your event. Show the audience that you care about them and that it isn’t just an event to inform or create business. Mentioning giving back to a community or how to “go green” are good ways to do this.


5.Technology

Technology is probably the largest subject to focus on when conducting an event. From creating a live stream to using smartphones as tools, technology can largely benefit your event. An event that uses the integration of technology can upgrade the audience experience and makes it so audiences are more likely to attend again. Other uses of technology are real-time notifications and interactive apps. Using these techniques converts your cell phone from being a distraction to being a beneficial and positive tool.


With the use of these five tips, your event can be more engaging, beneficial, and successful. Through the use of smaller sizes, break times, participation, positivity, and technology, you can create the event that keeps everyone talking and wanting more.

If you’re looking for the perfect space to hold an event of any size, look to the River’s Edge Convention Center in downtown St. Cloud.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Leverage Technology to Enhance Your Events and Meetings

The days of shuffling papers and handouts at your meeting may be coming to an end. If you’re in the tech industry or wish to be seen as cutting-edge, this especially applies to you. Get new technology working for you at your next event, and make a great—and modern—impression on your attendees.

Event Planning Apps and Software

As you’re beginning to plan your schedule and organize your event, try using an event app. Not only do these apps help you keep track of attendees, keep your materials in one place (like the ever-changing schedule and speaker lineup), but they also offer attendee-facing functionality. Your guests can access the most up-to-date schedule, see presentation decks, and even arrange private networking meetings with fellow attendees. Try Pathable, Whova, or EventsXD for help.

Seating Charts & Floor Plans

Many of the above services will do these for you, but it’s worth calling out that you can ditch the post-its and whiteboard maps you’ve been using to plan your seating or floor plan. This can be one of the most daunting parts of event planning, so check out Social Tables or other sites that will help you stop dreading the map.

Create Your Own Event App

There are several available options for creating your own app for your event. It’s a chance to provide attendees with everything they’ll need before, during, and after the event, while making sure their materials are up-to-date, shareable, and paperless. Plus, many services will turn your event app into a webpage as well.

Social Media

Prep for your event by leveraging Social Media on as many platforms as you can. Create a hashtag for the event and begin running social posts and social ads that lead to your event page. #AmazingConference2017

Internet Access

Your presenters and your attendees will expect wi-fi service that is fast and secure. We recommend using the network at River’s Edge Convention Center to avoid any problems.

Take Advantage of Mobile Devices in the Audience

In the past, guests have been asked to turn off mobile devices during presentations. But it’s important to remember that there may be benefits to guests taking photos, videos, posting to social media (using your hashtag of course), live streaming, and more. Don’t be afraid to encourage guests to post, tweet, and even text key take-aways out to colleagues.

Ask Your Audience

One fantastic way to make use of all those devices is through real-time audience engagement. Although you may still want to hear from audience members and answer their questions while looking in their eye, there may be moments when an audience poll or vote could add another dimension to your presentation. Audience Response Systems (ARS) like Turning Technologies, Join Speaker, or mQlicker can help keep your guests interested and involved right from their seats.

PowerPoint Alternatives

We hate to say it, but it’s time to look beyond PowerPoint for your presentations. Make a more modern impression, and share your impressive presentation with your audience. Here are a few suggestion lists of PowerPoint alternatives.


We look forward to helping you plan your next St. Cloud event at the River’s Edge Convention Center. Whether you’ve got paper handouts or the latest custom app, we’ll help make your event shine.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

How to Successfully Promote A Company Event on Social Media

A lot of work goes into planning a company event. After you’ve set an agenda, allocated a budget, chosen your amenities, and constructed a backup plan, it’s time to do some promotion. The goal may be to help your company increase brand awareness or attract more engagement. Whatever your goals are, using social media to share your event with others is essential in today's business environment. Keep reading for some essential elements of a social media strategy and some pointers geared toward promoting your event.

 
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Plan Your Social Strategy

Most great things often require a plan. Start by identifying your customer base and deciding how they can benefit from your event. You can use the characteristics of your target audience to reach a great number of people effectively in Facebook’s audience targeting. You’ll often find that using social media to its fullest potential will require a bit of extra money from the budget, so be sure to set aside some extra cash to promote your event. 

Create Meaningful Content for Your Event

If your event is recurring, there are a few things you can do to kick off your social media involvement. If you’ve taken photographs or shot videos in the past, now is definitely the time to share, post, and pin them as a reminder to your audience. If others have written testimonials about your event, using them in your posts can be extremely effective. You’ll also want to make sure that your content is easy for viewers to read and visually pleasing. Canva and PicMonkey are commonly used tools that you can use to create some attractive social media graphics.

Some other examples of types of content include:
  • Finding influencers to share your event
  • Creating an event hashtag
  • Using quotes from speakers attending your event 
  • Going live on Facebook or Instagram
  • Offering early bird specials or discounts 

Hold an Online Contest

Giveaways and contests have been very common on social media, so constructing a simple one to giveaway free tickets to your event can get your audience excited. Be sure to check each social platform’s rules before running a contest.

You can find more information about running a social media contest at convinceandconvert.com.

Distribute Your Content in the Right Places

Not every company attracts the same people, and not every platform has the same audience. For instance, if you would like to attract mothers ages 30-50 to an ecommerce site, Pinterest would be a great platform to utilize. If you’re looking to attract teens and young adults, schedule your posts for times they would be most active on social media, such as after school or later in the evening. If you’ve done your due diligence with your target audience, you should start to have a pretty good understanding of when and where they’ll be on social media. This Hubspot blog has some useful statistics on social media platform audiences.

 
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Analyze How Well it Performed

One of the biggest reasons so many people are flocking to social media for event promotion is because of the ability to analyze data. With a platform’s analytics, you can see how many people you’re reaching and how many are engaging with your event-related content.


These elements of a social media strategy are important for any event to perform well on social media. If you’ve followed the steps and observed your results carefully, you should see a return on your endeavors. Now that you’ve read about the basics, you should be ready to spread the word about your upcoming event at the St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

5 Questions to Ask Before Planning a Company Conference

Imagine you’ve been given the task of booking your company’s next big meeting and you’re not sure where to start. You can’t go over budget, you need a location that is convenient for everyone attending, but you still want to wow and impress. Event planning can be tricky, but with a few pointed questions, you can set up your next business conference with ease.

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What is the Agenda for the Meeting?

Knowing the agenda ahead of time is critical. Booking a holiday party, for example, will differ from a corporate conference. Understanding the goals your company wants to accomplish in their next get-together is important and knowing the task at hand will allow you to make a list of resources you’ll need to get started.

What is the Allotted Budget for the Meeting?

Before you get carried away with your list of event materials, it’s important to know your budget. If you want to save money on your next event, a little creativity can go a long way. One example of event planning thriftiness is to use paperless invites.

Which Amenities Will We Need for the Meeting?

To get a list started, think about the meeting’s agenda and talking points. Will you have a speaker? Will there be multiple speakers? Is there ample parking available? What kind of technology will you need? While you probably have a good picture in mind, this may save you from overlooking a key part of what you need for a company gathering.


How Should I Promote My Event?

If your event is a company-wide get-together, sticking with email should be completely safe. If the budget and theme allows, a mailed invitation could spice things up. But what if your company is promoting an expo or trade show? You’ll need to meticulously plan a marketing strategy to attract the right attendees.

Do I Need a Contingency Plan for My Event?

If your event doesn’t go as planned, relax. In event planning, an important thing to remember is that leaving an option for things to go wrong increases its likelihood of happening, so a good plan B is a must-have. Visit mindtools.com for ideas on creating the perfect contingency plan.

You’ve made your list, checked it twice, and have a few extra tricks up your sleeve. If you’ve asked yourself these key questions and prepared in advance, your organization’s conference should go off without a hitch. Be sure to subscribe for more tips on event planning and view the available rooms at the St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center for your next company meeting.


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Time to Book Your Company Holiday Party is Now!

As spring finally comes into full swing, the last thing most people are thinking about is the holiday season. The snow is gone, your holiday debt is nearly paid off, and that neighbor down the street finally took down their holiday lights. So, why would you start to think about the holiday season now?

As one of central Minnesota's premier event headquarters, there's no better place than the St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center to host your company holiday party. Below, you’ll find reasons why many companies choose the River's Edge:
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Large Gathering Spaces
Whether your business has 20 employees or hundreds, you’ll be able to find a suitable room to host your holiday party. Along with the reservation, you’ll have access to our equipment rentals, ensuring your event will be one the office will remember.
Convenient Location
Being located in the heart of historic downtown St. Cloud has its perks. Your party has access to a variety of caterers and decorators located nearby, making it easy to celebrate in style with quality food and decor.  Access to our parking facilities, as well as close distance to hotels make it easy to enjoy the holiday experience with coworkers and family.
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Book Your Office Holiday Party Now!
When should you book your office party? Many organizations in central Minnesota start booking their holiday get-together at the beginning of spring.

It’s no surprise that dozens of companies trust the River's Edge Convention Center with their holiday parties. It’s also not surprising that spaces fill up quickly. During the holidays, space becomes limited and time is short, so why not take the first steps today?

Contact the River’s Edge Convention Center on our website to get started planning.  

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Beaver Island Trail Extension Brings More Excitement to the River’s Edge Convention Center

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Construction recently finished on a very exciting project in downtown St. Cloud; the Beaver Island Trail extension. The grand staircase to enter the new trail is located on the Northside - right behind the St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center on your way down to the river.

While attending an event or conference at the Convention Center or simply being downtown, you can now take a stroll alongside the Mississippi and enjoy the sights. It is a whole new way to appreciate and experience the river and downtown St. Cloud. This is yet another reason why we are excited about the upcoming season at the River's Edge!

The Beaver Island Trail connects the highest traffic areas of downtown. Mayor Dave Kleis says, “From St. Cloud State University to St. Cloud Hospital you now can walk, bike, roll, or stroll without crossing a roadway. You can do that on the trail for the first time.” This is all in an effort to make St. Cloud more pedestrian friendly and invigorate our downtown atmosphere.

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The River’s Edge Convention Center has been involved with this initiative, sincerely promoting the idea of making St. Cloud Greater. Funding for the extension came from the Convention Center expansion project, as well as a federal grant and half-cent sales tax dollars.

The trail will eventually connect to the Lake Wobegon trail system, allowing pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy hundreds of miles to venture. In an interview with WJON, Mayor Dave Kleis noted that Centracare has also committed to extending the Beaver Island Trail in the future; the plan being to build from behind the St. Cloud Hospital all the way to the Sauk Rapids Bridge.

There are a lot of things to look forward to coming up at the River’s Edge Convention Center. Join us this year by attending an event or hosting one of your own and enjoy the new Beaver Island Trail while you’re in the area.  

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The St. Cloud Wedding Expo Returns to River’s Edge

On January 15th, the St. Cloud Wedding Expo brought in over 90 vendors to the River’s Edge Convention Center, creating an incredible atmosphere for soon-to-be newlyweds in the center of Downtown St. Cloud. Hundreds of forthcoming brides and grooms experienced the latest trends in wedding food, fashion, and decor and found inspiration for the wedding of a lifetime.


We would like to give special thanks to Geyer Wedding & Event Rentals for decorating the Herberger Suite for reception demonstrations. Experiences like these give brides and grooms a hands-on look and clear expectations of their upcoming nuptials. Not only does this give couples clearer choices, but it gives them peace of mind.

Once again this year, Sauk Rapids’ Granite City Lumberjacks donated a few dashing fellows to participate in the runway show. Sponsors of the runway show included Tip Top Tux, Celebrations Bridal & Formal Wear, & Mantra Salon & Spa.


Did you miss out on the wedding expo this time around? Don’t worry! The St. Cloud Wedding Expo is held twice a year, so be sure to mark your calendars. The next illustrious event will be held on September 24th from 10 AM - 2 PM and January 14th, 2018. These events will take place in the spacious Terry Haws Rooms A & B covering over 30,000 square feet for wedding inspiration.


If you’re in the process of planning a wedding, the River’s Edge Convention Center offers a truly memorable Minnesota wedding reception site in a wide variety of sizes, setups and celebration styles, as well as an unforgettable view of the Mississippi River. Unlike many other venues, you can book your wedding at the Convention Center within 12 months of your I Do’s - with easy access to our list of Caterers and Decorators.