Celebrate The Little Things

On Kristi Uncorked, we tend to celebrate the BIG THINGS in life: marriages, the birth of new babies, showers, retirements and countless other milestones. Today, I wanted to send a little reminder to all the readers to enjoy the little things as they come too.

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s so easy to overlook the small accomplishments and forget to take in the slow beauty of our world. So whether you’ve checked a huge project off your list at the office, or maybe it’s a reunion between you and a friend you haven’t seen in a while, take the time to savor those moments.

An easy way to celebrate is with food or a few cocktails, of course. My personal favorite is a bowl of chips and queso and a frozen margarita (can I get an Amen?), or simply a glass of champagne on the couch at home after a long, successful day. Or maybe a frozen concrete from Andy’s? Yeah, that works too!

But don’t forget about other ways to reward yourself. If you’re watching the calories a bit or trying to be conscious of a healthier lifestyle, maybe rewarding yourself with treats isn’t the best idea. I love Megan Seales’ idea that she has. Megan is an online health and fitness coach, who runs her own company called Meg Moves. The other day she posted about rewarding herself with new workout gear because who doesn’t love a new pair or Nike kicks or a trendy new sports bra?

And to wrap up this short and sweet blog post, I wanted to leave you all with one thing: regardless of your age, how you feel, etc., please do not brush aside celebrating your birthday! My friend Beth and I were just talking about our favorite quote yesterday. It was one I had originally heard from the talented Jill Orr, “Do not regret growing older; it is a privilege denied to many.”

And with that, Happy Friday everyone!

Fiesta, Siesta, Repeat

I had been super excited for this past weekend because over the past month or so, I have been watching my co-worker, Brenda, put together the most adorable bridal shower for her best friend. Brenda and I share a love for Mexican food, so when she was throwing around ideas for a Mexican-themed bridal shower, I was already in love.

She totally took the idea and ran with it, and I had fun making some suggestions for a few details here and there, When I saw the photos, I was so impressed! To top it all off, Brenda and the other girls there did all of this without the bride, Kirsten, knowing. How fun is that? Take a look at some of her cute ideas:

Check out all this color! It was the perfect contrast to Kirsten’s contemporary loft in KC, and a huge component of that was these beautiful blankets that Brenda found on Amazon.

She coupled these with a collection of bright, summery flowers and succulents for the middle of the table. Then, she used galvanized chargers and bright yellow plates to create a place setting. And to add a little bit of personalization, she found matching galvanized place card holders, so guests knew exactly where to sit.

No fiesta can be complete without a margarita, and to take it up a notch, Brenda created a margarita bar. She offered lime, mango and strawberry margaritas, which were served in adorable cactus margarita glasses. The Dollar Tree is the perfect place to look for festive little adds to your party, such as glassware, that you don’t want to spend tons of money on.

After noshing on tacos, chips, salsa and, of course, queso, the menu was rounded out with this adorable “Señora Conley” cake. How cute!

As party favors, custom tanks were made for the girls and the bride. The best part? The bachelor and bachelorette party are taking place in Mexico, so the tanks can be dual purposed for both celebrations.

Buen trabajo, Brenda!

Maximize Your Venue Visit

Since I regularly give tours at the venue I work at, I thought I would share a few tips tonight on how to maximize your venue tour to ensure you get the necessary information you need as well as be able to visually understand the space as it would be utilized for your event.

1. Make An Appointment
I know it’s easy to get excited about planning an event and start cruising around town at your first free moment to look at venues; however, I would highly recommend calling or emailing ahead to get an appointment. Not only does that ensure the space you are interested in will be available and not occupied by another group, but you can also make sure the coordinator is free. Obviously, there are multiple people at venues who can give you general information about the space but usually the specific questions are best limited to the one or two coordinators who work with clients and events the most.

2. Know Your Objectives
If you go into booking an appointment with a very vague idea of what you are looking for, you ultimately might have to come back to look at the venue again. Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint an exact head count, but having a rough estimate will help you two ways: knowing which spaces best fit your group if the venue offers multiple spaces, and if the venue has a food and beverage minimum or per person cost, you will be able to easily ball park how much you are going to spend. Many times rental prices vary based on date, time and availability, so having a preferred date and a back-up date is what I would recommend.

3. Gather Information Ahead of Time
After speaking with you, most vendors will be able to digitally send you some sort of event packet, pricing sheet or menu options. Make sure to look through this prior to your appointment. It’s better to come equipped with questions about things you don’t understand or can be clarified during a tour than trying to think back to your tour and recall information.

4. Gather As Much Information As you Can While You Are There
A great question to ask is if the coordinator has any photos or room layouts of an event similar to yours. It might not be exactly what you decide to do, but it will at least give you a good idea of spacially what the room is capable of offering as well as spark some inspiration for design.

5. Devote A Chunk Of Time To Viewing Venues
Not everyone has the freedom and flexibility to take off a day or afternoon from work for tours and meetings, but regular business hours are often the best times for tours. Why you ask? First and foremost, the majority of major celebrations happen on nights and weekends. If you are limited to nights and weekends only, you might have to work around other events happening that same day at various venues, which can make scheduling multiple appointments in a day challenging. Secondly, the coordinator usually has a hundred things running through his/her head about the upcoming event and as much as he/she tries to give undivided attention to you, he/she could ultimately be distracted by vendors stopping in or tasks that still need to be completed for the event.

6. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For a Follow-Up
If you have narrowed down your list to a couple of venues, don’t be afraid to ask for a follow-up appointment. It won’t be as long as your first appointment, and if you send the coordinator a list of wants/needs ahead of time, he/she is usually more than willing to have some diagrams and mock invoices prepared for you ahead of time. This makes comparing venues much easier. If you have already book a space, I recommend asking if there is another time that the venue is hosting a similar type and size event, so you can see the space laid out in person. Most of the time venues are willing to let you come by and peruse at your leisure prior to the start of an event.

These Are A Few of Molly’s Favorite Things

Most likely, I will be singing that “Sound of Music” song in my head all evening now! But how cute is that for a bridal shower theme? As a bridesmaid in my friend, Molly’s, wedding we were enlisted by her Maid of Honor to help put on a shower including all of Molly’s favorites eats and treats.

The menu selections included a vast array of options:
-Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp
-Cheesy Gordita Crunches (yes, I was super pumped about this one!)
-Red Vines
-Swedish Fish
-Cheese, Crackers & Meats
-Popcorn
-Yogurt Parfaits
-Chicken Salad Sandwiches
-Etc.

And let me tell you, this preggo girl really appreciated the green smoothie shot in Molly’s honor instead of the typical alcoholic toast…celebratory and healthy!

Yes, it was a little random but totally Molly, and I loved each and every item. Since we used to be roommates, I had a great time looking through all the options and remembering Molly enjoying all of the food and drink selections at various times.

In addition to the cute theme, I have to give our girl Kaitlin a huge shout out because invitations and signage for the shower were beautiful. She’s a graphic designer by trade and even has her own side gig (check her gorgeous designs out at Flan De Vida Designs).

Molly and Chad’s wedding is incorporating lots of lush greenery and a neutral color palette, which is a trend I am so on board with! Kaitlin incorporated that as well as threw in a fun pop of pink to add to the shower color scheme.

It was such a fun afternoon getting to celebrate with girlfriends, enjoy delicious food and see an abundance of monograms (because what St. Louis girl doesn’t love a good monogram?). Getting excited for the wedding in October! #younglove

Photos compliments of Kaitlin Carratero & Morgan Flannery. 

 

An Uncorked Celebration: Gender Reveal!

We’re poppin’ some bottles around here! OK, so more like non-alcoholic beverages, but we sure are celebrating the exciting news around here. Ryan and I are welcoming a little baby girl into the family!

Bring on the bows, tutus, dance competitions….can you tell I’m on cloud nine about this? Coming from a family of three girls growing up, it just seemed fitting to have a little girl as the first grandbaby on that side of the family.

So for today’s post, I decided to share how we told our friends and family about the exciting news from the beginning and then again when we found out the gender.

The Initial Baby Reveal:
Ryan and I both knew we wanted to start sharing the news with family as soon as we could. Luckily, Easter fell right around the timeframe that was the “safe zone” for sharing the news. For this particular reveal, we knew that his parents have an Easter egg hunt each year for our two little nephews. They had also shared with us that this year in addition to all the fun treats for the boys that the “big kids” (that’s us) would have the opportunity to hunt for the golden egg.

A few weeks prior to Easter, his mom showed us the golden egg, so we all knew what to look for. That week while doing my usual Target walk through (and by walk through, I mean wandering each and every aisle looking for any excuse to purchase their adorable products), I spotted the golden egg. Bingo! I thought. That’s exactly how we were going to share the news with them.

So for Easter morning, we filled our version of the golden egg with fake grass, a pacifier and a little note that said “Baby Ruprecht Arriving November 2017!” We made sure to hide is somewhere that was much easier to find than the original golden egg and patiently awaited the adult hunt time.

Our little nephew actually found the golden egg prior to the adult hunt (because we wanted to ensure it was extremely easy to find), and I wish I could have videoed my mother-in-law’s reaction to the whole thing. It was absolutely priceless! First, her face showed sheer horror because she was angry that my father-in-law had not hid the golden egg in the spot she told him to. Next, was confusion because when our nephew opened the egg, the contents that fell out confused her. And lastly, was instant tears because she was putting it all together. Keep in mind, these all took place within about 20 seconds of each other. We couldn’t have asked for a better reaction. It was perfect!

The Gender Reveal:
As I mentioned a few posts ago, we ended up having a gender reveal party because we all know Kristi can’t do nothing about something this exciting. It was actually really great because it took place the weekend before the 4th of July when my family happened to have time off as well. We were able to find out the gender of our baby along with most of our family and lots of friends.

For the theme, I ran with a Pink, White & Blue Baby-Que theme where all the decorations were shades of pale pinks, whites and light blues. We grilled out traditional BBQ food to keep with the summer theme. And we decided to go along with the Independence Day celebration and shoot off a firework, which would let us know the gender of our little baby.

Not shockingly at all (because people find ways to make money off of everything!), there are gender reveal fireworks, which we purchased for the big reveal.

Right before we shot off the correct firework (keep in mind not even Ryan and I knew if we were having a boy or a girl), I handed over the Fort Knox envelope from our ultrasound appointment to my trusty brother-in-law, and he took both fireworks down the street.

The video from the reveal is quite funny because there was so much confusion when the firework finally went off. First, it looks much pinker in the video than it did in person. And toward the end of the pop, the color changes from a pink to a green, but we were all thinking at the time that it was blue. So, forewarning to anyone who purchases these fireworks, the pink firework fades from pink to GREEN not pink to BLUE 🙂

It was such a fun day, and although Ryan is a little bummed our first born isn’t a boy that he can take out hunting and fishing with him (although I assured him you can do that with girls too), we are both counting down the days to November 14th when we get to meet our new little bundle of joy.

Making the Best of Small Spaces

Sometimes renting out a venue for an event really just isn’t in the budget, and that’s OK! Hosting an at-home soiree can be just as exciting and just as beautiful. Usually, the biggest issue when it comes to hosting an event at home is space because let’s be honest, most people’s homes are not made for 30+ people.

So for today’s blog post, I’ve pulled together a few tips and tricks for making your home a little bit more conducive for hosting a crowd.

1. Create a two-tier food display.
In lots of modern-day kitchens, there is a center island or peninsula that serves as a small breakfast bar. With other counters being used for clean up, food prep or beverage service, it’s nice to be able to have more space to serve from. My suggestion? Move your bar stools and replace that area with a 6-foot or 8-foot table depending on the length of your counter. By doing so, you’ve now created a two-tier serving area that has more surface area without taking up too much more space.

2. Maneuver your furniture.
I know it sounds crazy! My husband always looks at my like I am slightly off my rocker when I ask him to help me shuffle the couch to a different room or move our kitchen table, so it’s off centered in the room, but moving your furniture can improve the flow of the entire event. Plus, sometimes it makes way more sense to spend a few dollars renting or borrowing chairs that take up less space, so all your guests can be in one area at a time versus trying to cram in extra chairs around your pre-existing furniture.

3. When in doubt, move guests out.
I know I talk so frequently about not relying on the outdoors events, but if the weather is nice and you have the yard space, use it to your advantage!

3. Invest in a few folding tables and chairs.
They don’t even have to be pretty folding chairs and tables (although, that always does help the look of an event). Just having a few tables on hand that provide space for food service, gift tables and additional eating areas plus a few extra chairs can tremendously help ease your stress in having guests over. I promise that you will use them for birthdays, holidays, bridal showers, BBQs, etc. They make a great wedding registry gift!

4. Create decorations that are multi-purpose.
Use snack food as a way to fill and decorate your tables. Fill cute color-coordinated pails with munchies, so they add accents to the table while serving as food dispensers, or hang a monogram letter that doubles as a guestbook. It not only helps for small spaces but keeps your budget down as well!

Outdoor Wedding Ceremonies

Here I am sitting on my back patio as the sun is setting on the most beautiful day of the year: summer solstice. And with that, it means we are right in the thick of 2017 summer wedding season. Tonight, I wanted to touch on a few pointers I had for outdoor weddings.

Above photo compliments of Love Tree Studios

The trend for wedding ceremonies is definitely moving away from churches and religious affiliated locations, and lots of couples have their eye on a dreamy outdoor space. However, with this decision does come a few additional factors that you must include in your planning. Here are a few tips:

1. Always have a back up option.
In a perfect world, it’s going to be 75 degrees and sunny on your big day, but chance are (especially here in Missouri), you’re going to have some sort of weather to be leery of or that changes your plans all together. Even if there’s not a physical indoor space for you to move to, at least have tents rented if weather looks questionable that way. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

2. It’s the little touches that make the guests feel that much cooler.
More than likely if it’s June and you leave anywhere near me, an outdoor wedding means heat. And your wedding day is definitely one of those days you want to be hospitable to your guests. How about serving a refreshing cocktail or mocktail as guests make their way down to the ceremony site? Or if your budget doesn’t allow for pre-reception beverages, at least provide guests with a self-serve water station (throw in a few slices of sun summer fruit to add in some color and flavor!) If you have a program, most guests are going to use it as a fan, so why not make it a bit easier on them and get your programs printed on a fan? It’s functional as well as completely adorable.
Above photo compliments of engaFOTO compliments of Madison Sanders Events. 

3. Give guests a heads up.
On your invitation or wedding websites, make sure to warn guests about the outdoor ceremony or reception. First and foremost, it will help guide their attire for the event. Instead of a taffeta cocktail dress, ladies might opt for a breezy high-low number, and gentlemen might go for a shirt and tie versus a full suit. Plus, it warns guests to be particular about their shoe choice: wedges versus heels and loafers instead of dress shoes.

Above photo compliments of Silverbox Photography

4. Be OK with imperfections.
Inside, it’s easy to control all the variables. Doors can be closed, noisy air conditioning can be temporarily turned off, and crying babies can be escorted to the lobby. But when you’re outside, there’s so many additional variables that can play into your perfect vision: wind, the location of the sun, bugs, surrounding noises, etc. I often see brides get hung up on these details, but unless the weather is ungodly or the bugs are eating people alive, guests tend to not even notice these details. They are too focused on the sweet vows being recited or catching a glimpse of the adorable flower girl as she makes her way down the aisle. Just be prepared to be OK with the imperfections and embrace them as part of the day’s experience.