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Leigh Rendfrey

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5 Things To Consider When Selecting An Event Venue

Posted by Leigh Rendfrey on Oct 13, 2016 2:21:05 PM


Choosing the perfect venue for your event can be intimidating – it’s the detail that everyone remembers and the place where your event begins and ends. So much hinges on selecting the ideal location for your event from the date, to the décor, to the logistics and more.



JJPR has had the opportunity to plan a variety of events in fabulous locations – from a James Beard dinner in historic Fort Gaines, to a movie premier where, with the help of our wonderful vendors, we transformed the Mobile Civic Center Theater to a magical world taken from a page in a fairy tale. Even down to press conferences and economic development announcements, one of the first decisions made is the venue.


Sometimes making a location choice can be daunting, and before you begin your search, a little preliminary work will help you choose a place that fits your budget, as well as your overall needs for the event. Choosing the venue will also help solidify the event date, and from there you can begin working on your event timeline leading up to the event. 

Below is a list of five things to consider when choosing your event venue:

1. Cost

What is the price? This should always be the number one question when making any decision about your event and whether or not it fits your event budget. As event planners, sticking to a budget is a must, so you want to keep the venue cost in mind to allow budget for food, beverage, decor and entertainment. Some venues offer competitive rental rates that include room setups, linens and other basics. Be sure to ask what is included.

 2. Location, Location, Location

A venue in a convenient location can be the difference between a successful event and an event that flops. The venue should be easy to access for your guests. Make sure there are plenty of parking options nearby, and be clear in explaining those options to guests. If the location is not convenient, figure out an appropriate way to get guests to and from the event and make sure you consider whether your budget can support transportation logistics.

 3. Ambiance

Some venues require little to no work to create the atmosphere you are looking for. Some require a lot of vision, creativity and time to achieve the look and feel and set the mood for your event. The budget plays a role in this as well – the more work you have to do, the more money you will have to spend. You can certainly cut costs by thinking of creative ways to accomplish the end result.

 4. Catering

What does the venue offer? If you are looking for a venue that provides food and beverage, you must know that going in. Do you know that you want to have the event catered by someone specific? Make sure that outside food vendors are allowed – in some cases, they are not. This has been the deciding factor for many events we have planned. In some cases, our clients wanted a one-stop shop. In others, they wanted the autonomy to use an outside caterer. Knowing the experience you are trying to create is key.

 5. Capacity

The venue size and layout must be just right for the number of people you expect. If the space is too big, it will seem empty and not well attended. If it is too small, it will seem crowded and uncomfortable. Also consider the floor plan and how people will fit once the venue has been decorated.


While finding the right venue at the right price on the right date can be challenging, finding the right location formula is key for your event’s success. For more event planning tips and checklists, check out our Event Planning Workbook.

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Happy planning!

Topics: event planning, events

Myths vs. Reality: Event Planning

Posted by Leigh Rendfrey on Jul 14, 2016 9:04:24 PM

We love what we do, but often find that people do not quite understand everything that goes into planning an event. Being an event planner demands specific background, expertise and know-how. We serve as the PR people, marketers, copywriters, social media experts, negotiators, project managers and occasionally mind-readers and psychics. Here’s our breakdown of four common myths associated with events...ready to delve into the other side of the “glamorous” life of event planning?



When organizing an event, the event planner is the last one to relax. We are there to assure the good time of the attendees – not to be one of them. Let’s not forget that the event coordinator job was ranked as the fifth most stressful occupation of 2016! Events are all about preparation and months of hard work leading up to the actual event.



It is imperative to have a budget for your event – this should be the first decision made. After that, set goals and objectives to ensure you work toward achieving success from the get-go. Researching costs and collecting numerous bids can help gain insight into how much an event will cost. If you’re on a tight budget, look for venues that have built-in infrastructure included in the cost. Reach out to in-kind donors to serve as sponsors. You can even gain media attention through well-done (and inexpensive) media kits – be creative!



It is safe to say that most event planners are control freaks (I am no exception), but when planning an event, it is essential to rely on others to help you. In fact, it is a must! Include another person on all status meetings/calls regarding the event, so that you are not the only person who knows what is going on. Look to your vendors for their expertise and guidance. If you need volunteers, reach out to people that you trust to do a great job. And, delegate! You cannot do it all.



Having a rain plan is not exclusive to weather. Keep a catalogue of vendors in case one of yours falls through. Confirm and communicate continuously with your team and chosen vendors. If your event is outside and there is even the smallest chance of rain, make sure you secure an extra tent. We have a large toolkit (roughly the size of a person) that we take to every event to make sure we have everything we might need. It includes everything from extension cords, tape, various types of string and rope, every tool you could think of – you get the point. It is always better to be over-prepared than underprepared.


All of this said, we love planning events and consider ourselves lucky to have the skill sets needed to pull them off – hopefully without a hitch! But, those hitches do happen and while we are usually the only ones who know what went wrong, we constantly strive to be better. Up your event planning savvy even more by downloading our Event Planning Workbook.

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All the Buzz: February 2016

Posted by Leigh Rendfrey on Feb 23, 2016 8:26:23 PM

Mardi Gras quickly came and went, and the JJPR team has not slowed down. In fact, we are busier than ever! But, we still find time to chat over coffee, lunch or a happy hour Sonic drink. Here is what we have been buzzing about this month.

 1. LENT

While not all of us are Catholic or Episcopal, we each try to better ourselves during this time of reflection, repentance and growth. Instead of giving up things like chocolate and fast food, we dug a little deeper and tried to focus on what might be getting in our way of growing as individuals and as a team.


As an office, we are trying to focus on speaking positively as well as removing stress and anxiety – sounds easy enough. However, when dealing with type A personalities and perfectionists, it can be a bit difficult. We have had some trying times already this Lenten season, and it seems that God might really be testing us! However, we enjoy this time of growth and see it as a challenge to continually try to be the best we can be. Only 31 more days…



Collectively, there are five children between the girls at JJPR. Make that six. Kelsey is expecting her first baby – a sweet little boy – in August.


Jennifer and I know a thing or two about little boys (we each have two boys) and have been more than happy to share words of wisdom. In fact, we think this sums up those first few years of motherhood perfectly. We are beyond thrilled for Kelsey and Andrew and know that they will make wonderful parents. We keep telling them to get ready for the ride of their lives!


 3. MARCH 1

This is an election year? Kidding. Super Tuesday is right around the corner and there are some important items on the ballot. Of course, the presidential primaries. But, we have seen and heard enough about that to last us until the next presidential election. Let’s focus right here in our own backyard: On March 1st, Baldwin County residents will have the opportunity to RENEW property taxes that support Baldwin County Schools.


Voting FOR the 1-mill and 4-mill renewals will keep schools at the current funding level. Voting against will decrease the current funding level and result in severe cuts. These taxes are NOT new and date back to 1927 and 1950 respectively. Our schools and our community need this. Vote FOR 4 mills! and #‎BelieveInBaldwin.



We have the best clients because they give us the opportunity to do really good work for projects we believe in. When that hard work gets noticed, well that is just the icing on the chocolate dobash cake. The JJPR team was recently awarded three awards at last week’s Mobile Bay American Advertising Federation’s Awards: Gold awards for Specialized Therapy Services Brand Identity and The Camellia Company Brand Identity, and a Judges Choice award for The Camellia Company. Great clients equal great work. See more of our award-winning work here.


















We love a good partnership and that is exactly how we feel about the recent work we had the pleasure of creating for Port City Rentals, our go-to event rental vendor. Port City Rentals is Mobile’s largest and oldest full-service tent and event rental company. Having worked with Port City on numerous events, we were honored when they contacted us for their own rebranding project. Offering a wide array of event necessities, Port City was looking for something to convey that they are more than just tents. We were tasked with including the tent in the new logo, but giving it less prominence than their existing brand identity. We focused on their well-known company name and utilized the negative space within the letters to create a nod to the tent. Be on the lookout for the new logo on the trucks of this Mobile icon.




 And to make sure you don't miss out on everything we are Buzzing About at JJPR, make sure to sign up and subscribe to our updates.

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The Best Times to Post on Social Media

Posted by Leigh Rendfrey on Jan 20, 2016 1:33:08 PM

You can do almost anything on social media these days – buy and sell items, plan vacations, watch the news, put together the perfect outfit, get sports scores, find out who was booted off the Bachelor, keep up with the neighborhood gossip – the list goes on and on. Social media is one of the best ways to get your message out to the public – whatever that message might be.


According to Pew Research Center, 74 percent of adults use social media networks and with so many people engaging in social media each and every day, you want to make sure you post content at the best time to reach the largest audience and gain the most interaction. So, what are the best times to post to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram?


As a big part of our daily routine, we’ve done a lot of research on this topic and came up with the following days and times for each platform. Thanks to research collected by CoSchedule from sources including QuickSprout, SurePayroll, The Huffington Post, Buffer, TrackMaven, Fast Company, and KISSmetrics – it is right here at our fingertips. So, let’s break it down.



Facebook is by far the most popular social media platform, with users of all ages. People utilize Facebook at work and at home, on both mobile devices and desktop computers. The best time to post on Facebook is later in the week and on weekends: 3:00 p.m. on Wednesdays, 1:00-4:00 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, and 12:00-1:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Most people tend to be in a good mood going into the weekend, so Neil Patel suggests posting humorous or upbeat content to engage users on Fridays.



Like Facebook, people use Twitter on both mobile devices and desktop computers, both at work and at home. Most people scroll through the feed during down times such as commutes and lunch breaks, so the best times to tweet are weekdays from 12:00-3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. Short and simple, just like Twitter.



LinkedIn is mostly used by professionals in the working world, who tend to use it during the workweek. LinkedIn is used during working hours, just before the workday starts, and just after it ends, making the most optimal times for posting to be midweek from 5:00-6:00 p.m. Other ideal times include Tuesdays from 10:00-11:00 a.m., and Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 7:30-8:30 a.m., at 12:00 p.m. and from 5:00-6:00 p.m. The worst time to post on LinkedIn is during the night, between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. This is easy to remember by simply thinking about your audience.



Pinterest users are most active in the evening and tend to skew heavily female. Our guess is that mothers start browsing and pinning after the kids are in bed to research their next project – birthday parties, kitchen remodel, next week’s meal plan, etc. (or maybe that is just us!). That being said, the best time to post is in the evening on any day of the week, especially Saturdays from 8:00-11:00 p.m.



Instagram is designed for use on mobile devices, and users tend to access it all the time, any time. So, post away – whenever you like! However, it is recommended to avoid between 3:00-4:00 p.m.


We suggest adjusting post times for each platform and monitoring the engagement – some times might vary depending on the audience you are trying to reach. Social media is a science, and it just takes some tweaking to fit the needs of your message.


Looking for more tips on social media? Need help with prospecting, engaging and converting new leads? Check out this downloadable Social Media Prospecting and Lead Generation E-book.


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Posted by Leigh Rendfrey on Apr 6, 2015 2:16:00 PM

JJPR, based in Daphne, Ala., took home a total of four awards including a Judges’ Choice Award from the Public Relations Council of Alabama’s (PRCA) Medallion Awards held Thursday, April 2, at the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center. PRCA’s Medallion Awards recognize outstanding work in the field of public relations from professionals throughout the state of Alabama.


JJPR received a Judges’ Award and a Medallion Award for its event promotion for Children’s of Alabama’s Tee Off Fore A Cure. In addition, the agency received awards for its work with Yellow Day, the Movie and Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance.

“Our clients inspire us everyday, and we’re honored to be able to produce award-winning work for them,” said JJPR President Jennifer Jenkins, APR. “Our focus on client collaboration and partnership produces creativity and results for our client’s bottom line.”

JJPR’s full list of 2015 PRCA awards include:

• Children’s of Alabama – Tee Off Fore A Cure Event

• Yellow Day, The Movie – Movie Premiere

• Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance – BIQ Newsletter

The Public Relations Council of Alabama is a network of more than 500 public relations professionals with six chapters throughout Alabama. JJPR has been a member of the Public Relations Council of Alabama (PRCA) since the agency’s inception, and the agency’s president, Jennifer Jenkins, APR, is a past president of PRCA’s statewide organization as well as the PRCA Mobile chapter.




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Topics: Alabama public relations, PR agency, PRCA, Medallion Awards, Marketing