Cute and Classy Baby Shower

I’ve mentioned this before, but in addition to being able to share tips and insight of the event industry, I also love this blog because it gives me a chance to brag on friends and family for their party-throwing skills.

A few weeks ago, my friend Alex threw me the most adorable baby shower that my girlfriends were all invited to at Country Club of Missouri. It was the perfect balance between cutesy and girly and a classy tea party. See some of the great ideas and photos below!

One of my absolute favorite ideas that I hadn’t seen before was an adorable create-your-own headband station where each guest was able to use their creative juices to make a headband for our little girl. She purchased a variety of various ribbons, stretchy headbands and appliques, so guests could mix and match for their own creation. She had a number of hot glue guns plugged in, and the guests really had fun with it! Plus, now our little girl has tons of bows and headbands for all of her new outfits.

Although pink was an obvious choice as a color since we’re expecting a girl, Alex included ivory, light green and golds for a girly yet sophisticated color palette. She also paired a few textures and patterns to create depth to the table settings thanks to a few rentals from A-1 Party and Event Rentals.

Since it was a 1 PM shower, guests enjoyed finger sandwiches, veggies and hummus, homemade chips and other light snacks. Plus, adorable cookies from Fluffybutt Cookies were served as dessert/take-home gifts.

And it wouldn’t be a true Alex party without a few monograms! She purchased a monogram for our little one that was used as decor for the shower as well as included her monogram on the personalized cookies.

Advertisements

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. 

 

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!

Be Bold With White

For anyone who knows me, I am all about color! The bolder and brighter, the better. In fact, it’s not shocking to see me adorned in neon workout gear or a bold nail polish color on my toes, and I might have slept in a room growing up that was painted “Taxi Cab Yellow.”

But over the years, I have slowly embraced a more neutral side and become totally OK with the color white, and I strongly encourage you to utilize white or another neutral when planning an event. I know all my designer friends out there are cheering right now because they’re all huge fans of “white space.”

Take this for example. Never in a million years did I ever think I would own white dishware. You want to know a secret? I now have not one but two cabinets FULL of white dishes. When Ryan and I started registering I put up a huge fight to not have white dishes, but in the end we compromised on a textured white pattern that was designed by the one and only Kate Spade. See? I still won there. The best part? She has all sorts of different accent plate designs that can be mixed and matched within the white dishes.

And when it comes to throwing a dinner party or putting appetizers on display at a get together, I am so glad I have all those white dishes. They are the foundation to the tablescape that allows other dishes to pop or guests to really appreciate the colors of food that are situated on their plate.

 

Photo by Scott Patrick Myers Photography

For a wedding, a classic ivory base palette can really allow for greenery to pop or touches of gold to couple with it to create a clean and glamorous design. I even surprised myself with choosing to use all white flowers at my own wedding with only greenery to accent the soft palette. I did, however, incorporate a fun, bold stripe that acted as my accent “color,” even though it was black and white.

Photo by D-Squared Designs

Now for those of you who are the complete opposite and own a wardrobe full of black and white clothing, you might want to embrace color a bit more. Maybe try a fun tassel earring in a bold color coupled with your LBD to make a statement at your next party. Or, make a bright bouquet of tulips the centerpiece at your next dinner party among the other neutrals on the table. And keep in mind, prints can be a neutral! Yes, my girl Stacy London confirms that. Think about it: leopard print is full of browns and blacks…yes, neutral colors.

Photo compliments of Redbook Magazine. 

So I am challenging you now! If you have incorporated the entire color of the rainbow into your home decor, try embracing the neutral side of things. And if color completely scares you, take a few baby steps by adding in one pop of it at a time.

The Knot Workshop: Kansas City

You guys! I had the coolest opportunity a few weeks ago to attend one of The Knot Workshops, which was in Kansas City. If you get a chance to go to one, I HIGHLY recommend it!

Not only did I learn a ton of information and how to utilize social media and digital platforms to grow a business, but there was lots of networking, gorgeous event details and beautifully catered food. Here are a few of the talented speakers we got to hear from throughout the day:

Jesi Haack, Owner & Creative Director of Jesi Haack Design
If you are arsty, love a good loud print and have ambition for big things, this girl will be a huge inspiration to you! Check out her work: @jesihaackdesign
Plus, she’s a mama of four kiddos, so she knows how to balance a kick ass career and being a family woman!

Brian Leahy, Owner & Lead Photographer at Brian Leahy Photography
Not only is this photographer crazy talented, but he has the networking game down to a science. He highly encourages digital stalking, which we all know I excel at, so I was loving his presentation! My favorite tip of his? Don’t drive to a networking event. Instead, Uber there, so you can spend valuable time looking at your potential contacts. Driving is a waste of time.
Check out his work: @brianleahyphoto

Stacy Stahl, Director at How He Asked 
Ok, this girl is simply a genius. Basically, she took my down time activity at work and created a successfully huge business idea out of it. She started the website HowHeAsked.com where they feature proposal stories, proposal advice and everything you could need for the perfect way to pop the question.
Follow her and all her proposal stories: @howheasked

The workshop took place at the beautiful Gallery Event Space in Kansas City and was adorned with beautiful pops of green, texture and bright flowers that created an urban garden party feel thanks to Ultrapom and Blue Bouquet. And catering was provided by the venue. Everything was creative and bite-size, and we all know I love mini everything! And of course the fabulous Madi Sanders from Madison Sanders Events flawlessly executed the entire day. Way to go, girl!

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!