Bey Bey Shower

Hello, everyone! I have been a bit MIA the past few weeks on the blog because we welcomed our little one into the world on Thursday, November 16th! It has been the biggest blessing as well as most challenging aspect of our lives, but we have enjoyed every minute of it. Hopefully you can understand why there hasn’t been a post in a while.

But on Sunday, I attended a baby shower that is so worth blogging about! My friend Nancy is due in February and as a Queen B lover, her sisters threw her a Beyonce themed baby shower. Yes, you read that right. Nancy was the Queen B for the day, and this “Bey Bey Shower” was nothing short of insanely creative. Take a look!

First of all, here is the invitation I received in the mail. Needless to say, I was dying when
I opened it up because I loved the theme so much. Not only have I never seen it before, but Nancy loves Beyonce, so it was the perfect fit. Hats off to the lovely hostesses for the creativity!

Upon arriving, we were greeted with customized glasses to drink out of at the shower all labeled with different song lyrics. I choose a line from “Run the World.”

Most of the decor was centered around B’s “Lemonade” album including vases filled with lemons that adorned the table and lemon-infused water.

Nancy also rocked a crown made out of lemons, and only she could look adorable wearing it. Plus, she conveniently matched the color scheme without even knowing.

We played a game where guests had to guess the song based on a short snippet that included the word “baby.” You would be surprised how much Beyonce uses it in her lyrics! From there, we celebrated and showered the mama-to-be and her little one with gifts, laughs and well wishes!

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A Few Of My Favorite Things: 2017 Wedding Edition

At the end of each year, I pull together a post that dives into my favorite event ideas from the year. And although I know 2017 isn’t over yet, I just wrapped up my wedding season at work and wanted to do a special wedding edition of My Favorite Things.

These are ideas, tricks and overall good-for-the-soul tidbits from weddings I’ve coordinated, attended or I know people who have attended, so take a look if you plan on throwing a wedding bash next year because you might want to incorporate a few of these!

If The Shoe Fits
This gorgeous wedding shot by the talented ladies at Love Tree Studios was completely centered around none other than a pair of shoes. And if you know me, I am totally a shoe girl, so I love that Jaime and Todd used these shoes (which they also found a matching tie for) as their color and design inspiration for their big day. And a special shout out to Kent’s Floral Gallery for making the floral pattern come to life!

The Veteran Flower Girls
Yes, little girls in fluffy, tutu-like dresses are adorable. But how much cuter is it to incorporate your grandma’s as flower girls instead of putting them in the traditional prelude? Those smiles on their faces just tell it all!

Frost Yourself (Or Your Invitation)
“How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” anybody? I was drooling over these gorgeous vellum envelopes when my invitation to a friend’s wedding came in the mail. You spend lots of time and money on gorgeous invitations that people hang up in their house as the countdown to your big day approaches, so why not package them in a pretty frosted envelope?

Bring Your Wedding Day to Life
I think Cindy is on my list every year, but I just love having a live painter at events! Not only does it create an amazing keepsake for your special day, but it’s also a great way to incorporate an interactive element for your guests. Plus, it’s fun to compare the real photography to TooRooster Artistry’s painted version.

Dripping with Deliciousness
I’m all about a naked cake because A) I think they’re gorgeous, and B) I am not a frosting fan, so a naked cake is the perfect solution to a dessert that I enjoy without the top layer. However, this naked cake produced by All About Cakes definitely takes the cake–yes, pun intended. It was my favorite cake of the year! Thanks to Scott Patrick Myers for the photo!

Setting the Scene
I watch tons of wedding videos, but the opener to this video produced by Byler Media was one of my favorites. It not only kept religion in the wedding day, but it also incorporated the bride and groom’s wedding party. Clearly, there was a little forethought in this one 😉

Coordinated Chaos
As someone who had her bridesmaids wear mismatched dresses in her own wedding, I continue to be a fan of non-matching dresses. But what I really love and hope continues into 2018 wedding trends is not only mismatched colors but a mixture of colors, textures and patterns. I love the depth that various patterns and textures can bring in whether it’s through bridal bouquets or in this instance, through bridesmaid dresses.

Photo compliments of Erin Evangeline Photography. 

Extending the Wedding Day
We all know about the traditional act of giving roses to the mothers during the ceremony. Well, Sally and David decided to switch it up a little bit. Their mothers were part of a special moment during the ceremony where they each brought a rose to the alter where David and Sally were standing. Sally and David then exchanged roses as their first gift as husband and wife. They put them in a vase that stayed at the front for the remainder of the ceremony. While that was cute, the message that the officiant continued to explain is what really struck a cord with me. The vase they selected for these flowers was going to be displayed empty in their home. Whenever Sally and David have a fight, are at a loss for words, etc. one of them will place a single rose in that vase to let the other know exactly what they are thinking. No words are needed, no special cards, just a single rose that will transport the two of them back to their wedding day and to those promises each of them made. How sweet is that?

Little Pumpkin Is On Her Way

In honor of Halloween, I wanted to sneak in another blog post this week. Our final baby shower was very much seasonally themed, and I absolutely love it! I am such a fall girl — crisp weather, boots, pumpkin spice flavored things, coffee…I know very basic.

So when I received the baby shower invitation that said “A Little Pumpkin is on Her Way,” I couldn’t help but be even more excited than usual! This shower was hosted by my sister-in-law and mother-in-law, who are both extremely talented when it comes to hosting. Here are a few insights on some of their fun pumpkin and baby-themed ideas:

These flower arrangements are some of my absolute favorites! I’ve coordinated a few October events at work that used pumpkins as the vases, so I loved the cute spin on these ones that used white and gold-painted pumpkins with soft pink and white flowers because they incorporated both the fall and baby themes.

It had been awfully warm prior to the shower, but the weather cooperated perfectly and dropped to the high 50s for the shower day. The timing was convenient since a lot of the menu for lunch consisted of different soups and sandwiches. There was also delicious “she’s ready to pop” kettle corn and small, bite-sized desserts.

And because all baby showers have to have a beautiful diaper cake, my mother-in-law put her creative touch on one and made it all fall themed as well. She used diapers to construct the base of the cake and then adorned it with burlap, small pumpkins, orange ribbons and bows.

I know I’ve said this with EVERY one of my baby blogs, but I can’t tell you how blessed we feel to have such amazing people in our lives as we start this new season with our newest addition!  Let the countdown begin…

Don’t Put Grandma Solely in Charge of the Kiddos

This is something I’ve witnessed multiple times just over the past six weeks or so as I’ve been coordinating weddings at work. The Mother of the Bride only gets to partially enjoy the wedding day because she spends much of her time distracted by grandkids.

Now don’t misunderstand me. Every other day, it’s perfectly acceptable for Grandma time, but I feel terrible when Mothers of the Bride or Mothers of the Groom don’t get to fully enjoy their role because they are also on babysitting duty. Usually this issue stems from one or both parents of her grandkids taking part of the bridal party. Therefore, when Mom and Dad are up at the head table, who is in charge of their little ones? Here are a few suggestions I have.

  1. If the in-laws are invited to the wedding, put them in charge of the grandkids. This worked out great at our wedding because our nephews were able to be part of our wedding as ring bearers and tear up the dance floor at the reception, but my mother-in-law was able to enjoy the day as Mother of the Groom. Instead, my sister-in-law’s mother-in-law was on Grandma duty.
  2. Hire a baby-sitter to watch after the kids. This might sound strange, but if the in-laws aren’t invited to the wedding and there isn’t quite the perfect person to watch after the kids, hire a baby-sitter to come to the reception to watch after them and be in charge of taking them home. This can also be a great option for family members who have small children but also want to stay a little later at the reception. The sitter can be in charge of a handful of kids.
  3. Don’t bring the kids to the reception. I know this option isn’t quite as easy to do, but depending on the kids’ age, it might just be easier to take them home between ceremony and reception to be with a sitter, so Mom and Dad can enjoy the evening and Grandma isn’t on duty. This might be a necessity if the reception isn’t kid friendly.

Far too much, I’ve seen the Mother of the Bride or Mother of the Groom not being able to sit and enjoy dinner because she’s running after little ones down the hall. Or, she almost misses the first dance because she’s in the lobby consoling a screaming baby.

It’s not fair to these moms because they’ve spent a lot of time and energy planning the big day with their son or daughter. Not to mention, they are probably helping to pay for the event too. In addition to the bride and groom, she is a hostess as well, and she should have the opportunity to soak up the special moments of the day, mingle with guests and not have to leave early to take kiddos back home.

Inform, Inform, Inform

People are not mind readers. As much as we would love for people to know what we are thinking at certain times, it’s inevitably not going to happen. And especially when you are inviting people to an event or trying to coordinate a large amount of people, it’s important to communicate exactly when and where you need people to be.

Before the Event
Verbiage on your invite is key. This is your opportunity to prepare guests for your event. If the timeframe of your event is over a normal eating time, but you are not planning on serving a full meal, make sure guests know just appetizers and drinks are being served. Is there pertinent clothing information they need to know? Is it a costume party, a formal event, or is there a need for specific type of footwear (think outdoor venue where heels would not be an appropriate choice) needed? Are there specific directions guests need to know? Sometimes an address and specific instructions once they arrive on property are important. Is there parking on site, or do they need to find parking close by? Are there detours or road closures due to constructions or citywide events? A successful event starts with communication prior to its start.

Photo compliments of Catherine Rhodes Photography.
Photo compliments of Scott Patrick Myers Photography.

During the Event
Posting a timeline somewhere at the event helps guests to know where they need to be when and exactly how long each portion of the event is. If there’s a silent auction that closes at a particular time, you might want to note that in a program. Or if you have a long cocktail hour, letting guests know what time dinner is served allows them to know they have time to mingle and walk around before finding their seats. And if there is a particular group of people who need to be aware of an activity, it’s always helpful to make an announcement about it. For example, if you need family to stick around after a ceremony for family photos, have the officiant make a reminder announcement following the ceremony.

Photo compliments of D Squared Designs.

After the Event
Showing your appreciation for guests’ attendance and if they brought you a gift is proper etiquette. Follow-up can also be a great way to remind guests where they can go online to find party or photo booth pics. Or if there’s still opportunities to make a donation to the cause of the evening, make sure to mention that in your follow-up email or thank you.

By taking the time to do each of these, your guests will remain well informed, and the overall flow of the event will be much smoother!

Photo compliments of KatFour Photography

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. 

 

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!

Booze Blowing Your Budget?

Let me start this blog first by saying what I tell all of the couples that I work with: Whatever alcohol you host for your guests, they will be grateful for and enjoy it. All hosts/hostesses stress about the bar; it’s inevitable. But stick to your budget, and don’t stress yourself out.

In a perfect world, yes guests would be able to order and enjoy whatever type of alcohol they would like or would normally order and have it taken care of. However, don’t force the open bar if that means you are going to have cut other details of your event that are important to you. Guests would much rather be offered beer and wine and be able to tear up the dance floor than having a full open bar and no entertainment.

My suggestion is find a happy medium. For example, offer guests beer and wine with a fun signature cocktail. The signature cocktail can coordinate with the theme of the event or represent the likes of the guest of honor. And you can control the price of the signature cocktail by using a well-grade or call-grade alcohol instead of top shelf. Unless you’re offering a drink on the rocks, guests are not going to be able to tell the difference between a cocktail that has 5 ingredients including well vodka or a cocktail that has 5 ingredients and Tito’s.

Another option is to mix and match when you offer specific types of alcohol. For example, if your venue or caterer offers a beer and wine package, a house bar package and a premium package, that doesn’t mean you necessarily have to offer one of those packages the whole time. Ask them if you can create your own customized package. Most likely, they will be willing to do so. For example, you could offer beer and wine during cocktail hour and throughout dinner and then open it up to a house bar for the remaining of the event. Keep in mind most guests are going to be eating during dinner and not up at the bar (for the most part).

Other things you want to keep in mind when selecting your alcohol menu is the price of mix-ins and garnishes. If you have a cocktail that has a blackberry-infused simple syrup, that is going to cost more than a cocktail with a simple lemon twist.

Lastly, make sure to ask your caterer or venue about service fees. There will be a bartender fee whether it’s combined into an overall service fee, a per hour price, etc. And if you are simply offering your guests a cash bar option, make sure to check if there is a minimum that must be achieved.

If you follow these tips and tricks, you will be able to host a fun and enjoyable event for all without breaking the bank!