Elegantly Yours

Creating and Planning Events. Beautifully.

Maximizing Your Floor Space May 21, 2013

sports table top-white garden chairs-wheat grass-gold-events-planner-newport-ri


One of the most important aspects to planning any event is to Arrange Accordingly. Knowing exactly how many chairs, tables, and extra tables you need in the room can be a guessing game for some events, but these tables and chairs dominate the event space. It is important to set them up in a way that is conducive to the entire party environment. Not to mention arranging them in a way that doesn’t make the tables seem like a maze for guests.  Read on to avoid trapping guests in a claustrophobic haze of stylishly decorated chairs and tables!


Know your party size. And stick to it. Don’t continually fluctuate on how many people you think are coming.  We all know that for some events like a repast it can be hard to get a definite number ahead of time, and of course it is always good to have one or two extra settings  just in case, but try to have a ballpark estimate if you can’t get a definitive number.   It makes planning out floor space and table settings a lot easier.


Don’t overbook. If the banquet hall or room you are renting out says it can fit 100 people maximum, don’t  try to be sneaky and think you’ll be able to squeeze in an extra 40 people. Between tables, chairs, and potentially a buffet and/or dance floor, you want people to be able to move about. Nobody wants to be trapped in a corner table where they can’t move from their seat because the tables are so close together.


Be familiar with the venue. Take a look around your venue space/banquet hall prior to the event and familiarize yourself with the room shape. This will make it easier to visual where you want everything to go when you are planning out your table setup.


These tables are nicely spaced throughout the room

These tables are nicely spaced throughout the room


Account for additions. Having a dance floor? That takes up space. So does a  DJ/band, buffet tables, a gift table, any display tables, any tents, and a bar. Make sure you account for these additional aspects and that you leave ample space for your guests to access them. Trust me, you don’t want to block anyone’s path to the bar.


Draw a floor plan. Whether you are going to be the one physically moving the tables or not, it always helps to draw a floor plan and know ahead of time how you want the room to be set up. Draw in the tables, entrances, exits, and any additional elements like where the bar or DJ will be.


And lastly, some table arrangement reminders:

·         Never have a table directly in front of the entrance

·         Don’t place tables in front of exits or too close to any doors

·         Avoid placing tables directly under air vents. Nobody wants Grandma shivering the whole time!

·         Make sure tables are not too close to the buffet/bar/dessert station. Guests need to be able to mill about and linger (when deciding to go back for seconds!)


Party Planning on a Tight Budget April 16, 2013


Everyone loves a birthday party!

When you want to plan a memorable party but your bank account seems to keep dwindling, don’t cancel you party plans just yet. There are a bunch of ways to conserve your cash while still being able to pull off a pumpin’ party!


Plan ahead. The cost of food, venues, and entertainment will be cheaper if you book them farther in advance. Know if the party is going to be themed; buy all the items needed in bulk.


Be cost-efficient. Do you really need to invite the cousins that no one has heard from in three years? I’m all about the more the merrier but excess heads means higher prices. Besides cutting back on the number of guests, some other ways to cut back on costs include:

  • Send out electronic invitations. Save money, save trees, everyone wins.
  • Make and bring your own food. Depending on what type of event you’re having and for how many people, it may be pretty simple to do a potluck buffet of homemade appetizers, entrees, and desserts.
Potluck Dinner. Yum!

Potluck Dinner. Yum!

  • If you need drivers to bring guests to and from the location, don’t hire a fancy limo or car service. Neighbors and friends make the best drivers!
  • No DJ? No problem! Create an awesome playlist ahead of time and everyone can jam out to those tunes all night, no need to pay someone to do it for you!
  • Look for less-expensive locations. Although a venue space is important, the atmosphere of the party will be determined by the people that are there. Places like Elks Clubs, Firehouses, and Parish Centers offer great prices for renting out the space for a night.


Stay focused. Ditch the extravagance. Although all the extra decorations and overly priced food seem like a necessity, they are not. Nobody needs all the bells and whistles to have a good time. Sure, if it’s your wedding then attention to every minute detail is important, but if you’re throwing together a birthday party, shower, or a just-because party, less is more. Some things that would not be considered a necessity include:

  • A photo booth or photo backdrop. A picture is a picture, whether it has a fabricated background or not.
  • Ice sculptures. It makes total sense to pay hundred for melting ice.
Looks cool, but it will be water in a few hours time!

Looks cool, but it will be water in a few hours time!

Know your guests. Spending money on filet mignon tips for a gaggle of girls at a Sweet Sixteen will be a waste of money. Stick with simpler (and thus usually cheaper) foods for younger crowds. On that note, parties with older crowds will probably want food service aspects like coffee, tea, and after-dinner drinks. Budget your food expenses according to the dietary desires of your guests.


Think about what you are willing to spend more money on, whether that be the food, an exquisite cake, or a DJ or band and make “budget cuts” among other areas of the party. Ultimately, try to find a happy medium in balancing, cost, quality, and style, but if this proves difficult and you have to make decisions, choose what will best suit your vision and plan for the party.


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


The Transforming Culture of The Sweet Sixteen February 20, 2013

Filed under: The Plans,Themes — dziminski @ 7:07 pm
Tags: , , , , ,
Pink Cake Box Sweet 16 Cake

Pink Cake Box Sweet 16 Cake


What comes to mind when you think of a Sweet Sixteen? An endearing father daughter dance? A lovely evening filled with laughter, friends, and decadent food? A family oriented affair? Think again. Sweet Sixteens have always found themselves at a rather discomforting intersection between girlish innocence and the adult party scene.


Sweet Sixteens can be fun, but their culture is changing. Too often Sweet Sixteens are an awkward combination of family, friends, teenage sass, and gaudy decorations all mashed together in an elegant ballroom or banquet space. In recent years I’ve found the emphasis on transforming the banquet room into a temporary club more prominent than ever. Instead of having a dance floor with a DJ playing family hits, Sweet Sixteens have taken a turn towards the dark, strobe light party atmosphere. Nobody can or ever will enjoy the scene of an 80 year old grandfather sitting at a party where his granddaughter and 100 of her hoodlum friends are grinding up against each other to the blaring rap music.


Please avoid this. The key is to map out, early on, what type of party your child is going for. Turning 16 is a big milestone and many families like to celebrate it, as they should! The issue arises when the party involves too many people from too many backgrounds. The truth is, while your daughter, or son, may want it all, all of it smashed into one party is a hazard for everyone involved. Drunk uncle Billy + crying baby cousin + math class Johnny + glitter up the wazoo may just be too much for everyone to handle at once.


In the end, try to find a middle-ground with the theme and ambiance of the party so some members, ahem, Gramps, won’t be terribly out of place. If your child is going for a dance party bash with all of her friends, then it might be better to have the party at venue like a teen club. More subdued family affairs will be great if celebrated at an upscale restaurant or at a small banquet space.  If you still want to celebrate the birthday with everyone, have two parties! A night out of dancing for her and her friends and then a memorable dinner with the family another night.


The best party will happen when there is a singular focus and not a forced compilation of everything and everyone. Spare yourself and your child the drama of a jumbled up Sweet Sixteen. After all, there will always be the wedding to plan!



Redefining myself. Trying to hold on to the best of the old and embracing the challenges of the new me.


life is always sweeter and yummier through a lens. bunnyandporkbelly [at] gmail [dot] com

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