Elegantly Yours

Creating and Planning Events. Beautifully.

Maximizing Your Floor Space May 21, 2013

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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!)

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5 Crowd-Pleasing Hor’ D’oeuvers April 24, 2013

hors-d-oeuvre

 

No matter what type of event you’re throwing, there are some hor’ d’oeuvers that are sure to be crowd-pleasers! Whether you are ordering these tasty treats, buying them, or making them from scratch, they are sure to win over your hungry crowd. While these hor’ d’oeuvers are rather simple, you want guests to eat the food, so sometimes plain yet tasty is better! The key to a great party is great food; get your guests’ palate’s yearning for more with these succulent hor’ d’oeuvers.

 

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1. Mini Frankfurters. A classic. Simple and tasty, these mini frankfurters will please everyone from your 5 year old nephew to your 80 year old aunt. Everyone loves a mini-dog! Serve with a zesty mustard, honey mustard, or traditional yellow mustard.

 

2. Chicken Satay. Juicy meat on a stick? How could anyone resist? Go with a garlic-herb, teriyaki, or barbeque seasoning depending on the type of event you’re having.  Serve with peanut sauce or soy sauce.  Not a chicken fan? Go with beef satay. Both are delicious options!

 

 

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3. Coconut Shrimp. Perfect for seafood lovers, this is a sweet, savory, and crispy alternative to the above meat options.

 

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4. Vegetable Rolls. It is always a refreshing alternative to be able to spice up your hor’ d’oeuver options with a dish that may not exactly coincide with the rest of your appetizers and meal. Serve with classic duck sauce, spicy peanut sauce, or soy sauce.

 

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5. Bruschetta. Crunchy and bursting with flavor, bruschetta is a great appetizer for Italians and non-Italians alike! A fresh alternative to bruschetta is a slice of tomato and mozzarella, and a basil leaf on a crispy piece of bread. The tomato and mozzarella combo can be done without the bread too. Drizzle with balsamic or top with fresh pesto. Delish!

 

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A Butterfly Party April 18, 2013

Lovely Purple & White Butterfly Theme

Lovely Purple & White Butterfly Theme

 

As the weather gets warmer we await the beautiful butterflies that will flutter around us. These dainty creatures offer wonderful inspiration for a bridal or baby shower or for a young girl’s birthday party.

 

The Decorations: The whole butterfly theme really adds an element of fantasy to the party. Go for this look of whimsy and adorn fake butterflies to the seats, shelves, and even walls around the house.

So crafty!

So crafty!

 

Look on Bugs and Blooms website to purchase cute butterfly decorations. Craft stores like Michaels have them as well. Paper, fabric, plastic, and even wooden butterflies will all look great.

 

Pink and Yellow Theme!

Pink and Yellow Theme!

 

  • Cut out butterflies out of pretty card-stock and you can hang them across the room or vertically over the table
Hanging across the table

Hanging across the table

 

Great way to incorporate the butterflies!

Great way to incorporate the butterflies!

 

The Table: Usually the centerpiece of the party, the table is a great place to incorporate butterflies!

  • Tie ribbon around the back of the table chairs
  • Place paper butterflies or the costume butterfly wings on the back of the chairs
  • For a centerpiece: Place a bunch of small branches (real or fake) in a vase and adorn with butterflies
  • Another centerpiece idea: Place flowers and butterflies in and around a birdcage

 

Rustic-looking, yet still sophisticated!

Rustic-looking, yet still sophisticated!

 

The Food:  Butterflies can easily be integrated into many desserts!

  • Attach a paper butterfly to a straw and serve in drinks
  • Butterfly-shaped cookies, butterfly cupcakes, and you can probably guess the last one, a butterfly cake

 

Even if the party isn’t necessarily “butterfly themed” these creatures are still cute decorations to incorporate into any party!

 

Party Planning on a Tight Budget April 16, 2013

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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.

 

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

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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.

 

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

 

Simple Ideas for a Tea Party Themed Event March 13, 2013

Filed under: Themes — dziminski @ 12:58 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

 

It’s a rather rainy Tuesday here in New Jersey and the rain always makes me want to just snuggle up with a hot cup of tea. Speaking of tea, a charming idea for a themed bridal or baby shower would be to host a tea party.

 

A tea party theme is a great option for a smaller-scale shower. This theme would be better for an in house-party; it will be easier to decorate and to create a cozier atmosphere with couches and comfy chairs as opposed to the banquet chairs that are found in a rented out space. Being in your own home will allow you to add more personal touches to the affair and you will not have to worry about time restraints. Plus you will save money by not renting out a banquet space. A tea party theme can also easily be incorporated into an outdoor garden party, so keep that in mind if the weather is going to be temperate!

 

Decoration Ideas:

  • Put flowers in old tea tins. Instant centerpieces!
  • Use the tea tin boxes to stack on tables. Or use them as stands where you can place the food dishes.
  • Find old tea cups at a local thrift store or garage sale. Or buy inexpensive ones at shops like HomeGoods. Put tea lights or votives in the cups and violá, tea cup candles!
  • String together dollies to make a cute banner to hang around the room.
  • Personalize tea bags to give as party favors or to use as place holders.
Tea Box Centerpiece

Tea Box Centerpiece

 

Food:

  • The classic mini sandwich. If you’re no cook, get those babies catered! They’ll still taste great and ordering them will save you time.
  • Melted brie and jam. Served with assorted crackers this dish is simply delicious!
  • Early luncheon? Quiche is a must. Eggs, cheese, more cheese, yum.
  • How about a mean gazpacho soup? Or a turkey barley soup if the party is in the winter months. Serve with a dainty side salad.
  • Anything mini. For some reason, people go nuts when food is “mini-ized”.” If you’ve already got mini sandwiches, why not go for the mini muffins, mini cakes, mini chocolates, the works. As long as the gifts for the bride-to-be or mom-to-be don’t become “mini-ized” too!

 

Sweets:

  • Ask each guest to bring a cookie, instant cookie swap. Guests can fill tea tins with cookies and take some for the road!
  • Scones. I’m not even remotely British, but I’m a sucker for a good scone. Not that you have to be British to enjoy a scone of course! Go for a twist on classic scone flavors. Try something new like cinnamon chip or pumpkin spice scones in addition to the classics like blueberry and lemon.
  • Nobody will ever deny the cuteness or the tastiness of petit fours.
  • Other elegant desserts that a Duchess would approve of include: macaroons, lemon squares, shortbread cookies, tea cakes. Think of what your guests will enjoy!
Tea Cup Candle

Tea Cup Candle

 

Of course no tea party will be complete without tea! Make sure you have sugar, cinnamon, honey, and milk available for people to perfect their teas. It’s also a good idea to have coffee for the non-tea drinkers.

  • English Breakfast Tea
  • Green Tea
  • Earl Grey Tea
  • Decaf Tea
  • Assorted Herbal Teas (chamomile, mint, lemon)
  • Any other flavors you think will be crowd-pleasers!
 

 
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