Elegantly Yours

Creating and Planning Events. Beautifully.

The Perfect Party Favors April 4, 2013

What a cute idea!

What a cute idea!

 

Party favors are supposed to be a favor. As in thanks for coming, hope you had a great time, and not as in “oh great a mini lint-roller” or something random that would evoke a similar response.

 

Party favors should be fun and reflect your personality. Even so, there are still a few guidelines you should follow when it comes to choosing the party favor for your event.

 

Practicality. If you’re having trouble thinking of something creative that won’t be a wash, think practicality. People like gifts that they can and will actually use. No knick-knacks. What am I going to do with a little pail full of confetti? Build a miniature sand castle? No, throw it out.

 

Ideas for practical favors include:

  • Measuring spoons
  •  Ice-cream scooper
  •  Luggage tag
  • Tea light candle holder

 

These items can be personalized with a date, name, or phrase. They can easily tie in with your theme or event if you tie a bow or ribbon on them in a color that matches the overall color scheme of your event.

 

Relevance. Granted, there is usually no way something like an ice-cream scooper could be completely relevant to the actual focus of the party, but if you do have a specific theme, definitely try to stick with the theme when it comes to the party favor.

 

For example, if you’re having an outdoor wedding, little jars of honey is a great idea. Or packets of flower seeds personalized with your name on them.

My aunt and uncle had these mini honey jars as their wedding favors. So sweet!

My aunt and uncle had these mini honey jars as their wedding favors. So sweet!

For a bridal shower, the attendees will mostly be female so winning favor ideas include:

  • Nail manicure set
  • Bubble bath
  • Hand sanitizer

 

Food.  Food is great. Always a winner. People like immediate gratification and offering food as your party favor will encourage people to take your favor and eat it right away. Whether you’re planning a sweet sixteen or not, candy bars or gourmet truffles in a cute box always end the night on a sweet note.

 

Some other food related favors include:

  • Personalized bottles of hot /BBQ sauce
  • Salt and pepper shakers
  • Mini bottles of ketchup
  • Fortune cookies
  • Breath mints
  • Little jars of spices, honey, or jam
  • Tea bags
Sauce it up!

Sauce it up!

 

Anything Related to Alcohol. This is not a joke. Think a personalized bottle opener, cork stopper, or a shot or pint glass. Assist your guests in getting that booze flowing!

 

A Personalized Pint

A Personalized Pint

 

Price.  Although you may spend an ample amount of time, effort, and money on planning and purchasing your party favors, the truth is that some people may end up leaving it at the party. This is a frequent occurrence at events, so just be wary of the amount of money you are spending on the favor. While it’s always nice to leave from a big event with some memorabilia, it is not worth sacrificing an awesome DJ or a killer cake for party favors.

 

Event Speaker Diversity April 2, 2013

 

Diversity. We hear about it all the time, in news, in schools, in business, in nations. Believe it or not, diversity becomes important when we talk about events too.

 

One of the recent posts on Event Manager Blog delved into this issue. Event Manager Blog is an excellent blog covering all things event. Its discussion topics include hospitality, inspiration, planning, social media, and technology. Its editor, Julius Solaris, created the Event Manager Blog in April 2007. Solaris is a social media and events enthusiast.

 

His post, “How to Ensure Speakers Diversity at your Conference,” was a great piece on the misrepresentation of diversity among conference speakers.

 

I recently attended the OpEd Seminar, a seminar focusing on the dismal female representation within op-ed pieces in major newspapers, and Solaris’s piece on diversity really stuck with me. Solaris has attended dozens of conferences and notes that there is a serious under-representation of female speakers at these conferences. He notes that although the technology industry (the kinds of conferences he usually attends) is dominated by men, the intuitive reasoning to then only have male speakers wards off change within the industry.

 

To combat this seemingly commonplace issue, Aanand Prasad created a diversity calculator to calculate the fair representation of a given gender that should be present during an event. The calculator determines these figures according to the audience diversity. Pushing boundaries by bringing in female speakers to a male-dominated event will lead to change within this industry as well as many other industries.

 

Whether you work with events that deal with corporate speakers or not, it is always great to bring in speakers that have a different point of view. It really doesn’t matter if someone is male or female; if they are the people chosen to present at a conference, then what they have to say is probably noteworthy. All corporate and business conferences should switch up the type of speakers they have from year to year. In the end, who doesn’t love a little extra something to spice up your event!

 

 

5 Creative Easter Centerpieces March 29, 2013

Filed under: The Plans,Themes,Uncategorized — dziminski @ 5:38 pm

Looking for an alternative to the typical bouquet of flowers to adorn your dinner table this Easter? While flowers are always gorgeous, it is nice to switch up the centerpiece every now and then. Check out these creative ways to enhance your Easter centerpieces.

 

1. Eggtastic Vase

 A simple way to spice up your vase for Easter

A simple way to spice up your vase for Easter

This centerpiece is easy to make and looks great with any type of flowers and in any type of vase. Simply put eggs at the bottom of the vase and then insert your flowers around them. At my house we have a collection of handmade Polish wooden eggs. They are bright, colorful, and create a wonderful  contrast with the flowers. Use wooden eggs, plastic eggs, ceramic eggs, and I guess you could use real eggs too, but they might start to smell!

 

2. Sweet-tooth Vase

Yum!

Yum!

This centerpiece also incorporates flowers, but with a sweet twist. Pour a bag of jelly beans into a glass vase (preferably a square or circular vase) and you’ve got a cute way to show your Easter spirit!

Everyone loves Peeps

Everyone loves Peeps

Take it up a notch a outline the rim of the vase with Peeps. Snacking is allowed while creating this centerpiece!

 

3. Egg Candle Centerpiece

These eggs offer a unique twist on the typical candle. You can purchase egg shaped candles from places like Amazon and Potterybarn for about $8 for a set of 6. Place your eggs on a decorative plate or serving dish and adorn with real or fake flowers or nesting straw.

 

4. Bunnylicious

Elegant Ceramic Rabbit

Elegant Ceramic Rabbit

For a more sophisticated dinner, sleek home decor can work well as a centerpiece. This white ceramic rabbit accentuates the crystal glassware and white linens nicely. The Wisteria flowers add a cheery “Spring” element to tie the table together. Look for inexpensive yet stylish Easter-related home decor at places like HomeGoods, Pier 1 Imports, Michael’s, Pottery Barn, West Elm, and Crate and Barrel.

 

5. Nest Centerpiece

What a great color scheme

What a great color scheme

This centerpiece will add a natural feel to the table. To create the bedding that the eggs will lie in you can buy the fake twigs and small branches from your local craft store. Another innovative option is to buy a Spring wreath and then simply place the eggs in the middle of wreath. You can then re-use the wreath to adorn one of your doors! The egg situation here is the same as it was for the first centerpiece: wooden, plastic, or ceramic eggs will all look great.

 

Use your creativity and resourcefulness when it comes to incorporating an Easter theme into your table setting and centerpiece. Have a lovely day celebrating with your family and friends!

 

The Role of Electronic Devices and Cameras at an Event: A Necessity or Overkill? March 28, 2013

camera

 

Heather Schultz, a writer for the New York Times, published a blog post a few days ago titled “Vying for a Shot of the Wedding.” Her article discussed the growing trend in photo sharing and the overall presence of social media in events.

 

New Hampshire couple Laura Bishop and Walter Carroll placed cards on the tables at their wedding with instructions for guests on how to download and upload pictures to an application called WedPics. The couple was able to check WedPics right after the wedding and download all the photos their guests took right to their phones. Other couples choose to create a hashtag for their guests to reference while uploading wedding pictures on Instagram.

 

While the ease of accessibility with which to take and upload photos represents the growing world of technology, controversy arises when the technological bombardment outshines the intimate moments of a wedding or an event. Heather Waraksa, a photographer in Brooklyn, commented on people’s need to document the entire event saying, “If they have a device in front of their face it doesn’t have the same impact or timelessness.” Ms. Waraksa, when she was married last year, asked guests to turn off their electronic devices during the ceremony, toast, and cutting of the cake.

 

The interaction of electronic devices and real-time moments of an event creates a two-way dynamic within the event. On one hand we have the guests who are trying to document every minute of the wedding or event by frantically taking photos or brandishing their tablets in the air to get the best snapshot. Whether these photos are for their own personal use or will be handed off to the bride or groom depends on each person.

What a beautiful shot!

What a beautiful shot!

 

On the other hand we have the people who maybe take a photo or two but bask in the celebratory spirit of the day and embrace each moment as it materializes instead of trying to capture the entire event from behind a lens. While society today values collaborative effort and sharing special moments, this too can reach an extreme. The host of the event has most likely hired a photographer anyway, and the photographer’s skills and camera equipment will surpass the quality of iPhone photos.

 

I think Heather Shultz’s article brought up a great point about living in the moment and enjoying life in the present. We are often so caught up in our modern technologies; weddings and special events offer us the time to relax, surround ourselves with loved ones, and embrace life. So while each guest may feel obligated to document the event, the truth is that the artistic aspect of the day is already being covered. The point of being a guest is to come together to celebrate another person’s  life milestone.

Photographers can skillfully take funny and candid photos like this!

Photographers can skillfully take funny and candid photos like this!

 

If you’re afraid of guests getting too caught up in their devices, feel free to restrict the use of electronic devices. After all, a lot of money is going into this event, and you don’t want guests to glaze over these moments from behind their screens. The heartfelt, genuine moments that arise from candid actions of guests enjoying the day will create the best photographs, and the best memories.

 

A Melodramatic Ode to Napkin Folds March 26, 2013

Quietly holding a space on the table,

You’re an essential part of the party.

Without you we’d all have to eat like slobs.

But with you we can look classy,

 Prevent crumbs from spilling onto our laps,

Wipe our mouths when we’ve taken too big a bite,

And soak up our spills when we have had one drink too many.

You can take anywhere from 30 seconds to 5 minutes to fold

And are quickly destroyed in less than 5 seconds by a guest sitting down.

Sure, you make the table come together,

Perfectly coordinating with the tablecloth,

Accentuating the centerpiece.

But I hate when your intricate folds make my fingers hurt,

I hate when you lose your shape

And fall down,

Or unfold,

Or both.

Oftentimes you are not completely square-shaped

And that certainly doesn’t help when I’m trying to fold you.

But overall, you look great.

Whether you’re a rose, bird of paradise, fan, roll-up, or a baby’s bootie, you are versatile.

You come in many colors,

And this makes it easy to match you with the party’s color scheme.

Even though you’re a pain to maintain,

You pull the table together.

For that, I must acknowledge your role within events

And say that while you’re not my favorite thing,

You’re not my worst nightmare either.

We have the mother-of-the-bride for that.

So, fold on napkins!

Or I guess let us keep folding you into appealing shapes.

The Classic Rollup

The Classic Rollup

 

Having a Private Affair in a Public Location March 25, 2013

Dancing in the Street

Dancing in the Street

This past weekend I was down in New Orleans for a conference and while walking around the picturesque French Quarter on Saturday I noticed a bunch of blushing brides and their wedding parties around the town. (In addition to all the Bachelorette parties having a blast on Bourbon Street!)

 

These bridal parties were all posing for pictures around the historic and gorgeous St. Louis Cathedral and the quaint side streets. The unifying theme between these brides was that these women and their wedding parties were thrust into the public eye when weddings are usually a private affair.

St. Louis Cathedral, New Orleans

St. Louis Cathedral, New Orleans

 

A couple laughing and spontaneously dancing to a jazz band playing in the street

A bride leaning in to whisper something to her father in between photos

A bride and groom holding a sweet, endearing pose for the photographers while the city rushed around them

 

These charming, personal moments and others like them are private occurrences that are generally tucked away inside a person’s memory. But when an event occurs in a very public location, these moments are projected before the public. A closed, private moment easily transforms into a public show for all; like a movie still the passing pedestrians can glimpse into your life’s celebratory moments.

 

The night before I saw all these weddings, there was a private party for Microsoft occurring at the Riverwalk along the Mississippi River. This event was closed off to the public. Trust me, I tried to sneak in to get close enough to see Matchbox 20 (who was performing at the event) but I was stopped by security guards. If the security option is out of the question for your event or if your event plans take you out and about in a public area, just know that there will be onlookers.   If you are rather shy and don’t like the idea of outsiders being able to peek into your special moments then it might not hurt to consider having your event at a more remote location.

A bridal party posing for pictures adjacent to the cathedral

A bridal party posing for pictures adjacent to the cathedral

 

Feel weird with a crowd of people staring at you and your hubby taking pics? Don’t! People love to rejoice and often find the beauty of weddings and other cool events irresistible. You may feel like you’re being thrust into an undesired spotlight, but c’mon, we all know everyone loves to ham it up now and then! Bask in your celebrity moment and appreciate the passersby’s’ well-wishes!

 

In all, be aware of the potential for onlookers and don’t be alarmed by them. If they take you by surprise, roll with it and embrace the moment!

adorable!

adorable!

 

Why Anniversary Parties are Great March 18, 2013

The happy couple laughing about something...

The happy couple laughing about something…

 

A anniversary party, whether it be in honor of the 10th, 20th, 25th, or 50th  wedding anniversary is a memorable way to commemorate a couple’s love…and who doesn’t love another reason to party!

 

Foremost, everyone just wants to have a good time. This isn’t the wedding, so chances are no one is stressing out making sure that the cake is brought out at an exact time or that the toasts are precisely 3 minutes long. Everyone at the party is more laid back; this relaxed atmosphere is completely conducive to having a great time!

 

The party doesn’t have to been too fancy or expensive. My parents just celebrated their 25th anniversary a few months ago and they had the party at my uncle’s restaurant. Our family and friends attended, and that was all that my parents needed. Compassionate people, delicious food, and tasty drinks. Success.

 

Simply put, there is nobody to impress. Realistically, those first few combined family gatherings, the reception dinner, the engagement party, and even the wedding, are times where members from both sides of the family are trying to get acquainted with each other. Come anniversary celebration time, both families will be comfortable with each other. Everyone is relaxed and just wants to celebrate the happy couple. No need to hold back or to try to impress the sister-in-law. If they don’t like you by this point, well…

 

Life is about celebrating important moments, and if we can’t celebrate anniversaries, then what’s the point?! We all know that divorce is an unfortunate commonplace in today’s society, so when a marriage has successfully lasted for years, we should rejoice and spread the love!

 jelly heart

“An anniversary is a time to celebrate the joys of today, the memories of yesterday, and the hopes of tomorrow” –Anonymous

 

 
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