Born to Hand Jive Baby!

Each year the country club hosts a member appreciation party, and since Brenda, my fabulous co-worker, has come on board as the membership director, the party has gotten bigger and better every year. Between some of my ideas and her ability to execute, we took a lot of big ideas and made them a reality for this year’s party.

This year’s party was centered around the ’50s and ’60s and had lots of elements from the Grease movie, including Rydell High prom with a king and queen, a diner, a drive-in movie theater and snack shop.

The end result? A huge hit and some very happy members. Check it out!

dsc_0158Vintage cars flanked the front doors to set the tone right as guests entered the building.

dsc_0163We highly encouraged everyone to dress their part, and the staff definitely got into the fun with 100% participation! You just can’t have a gymnasium without bleachers, right? Thanks to Joe Herzog and his crew and Wilson’s Fitness, we were able to make the ballroom feel more like a gym.

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Although not good-for-you food, we featured traditional diner selections: sliders, hot dogs, fries, chili and root beer floats.

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We even crowned a king and queen after members nominated and cast votes for the winners!
dsc_0184Those streamers? Yes, they took forever to put up! God bless prom committees who hang much more than we did!

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Almost all the guests danced the night away, including rocking out to the infamous hand jive! All the spectacular lighting was thanks to that dancing fool on the left 🙂 Thanks to SW Productions for all your help creating a great ambiance for the space.

 

And we rolled in real motorcycles to have on display thanks to Mid America Harley-Davidson. It’s not everyday you see this happening at my job!

So the moral of this post is there is never an idea too big to accommodate as long as you have a great crew helping you and some creative ideas!

 

A Change In Light Can Make Everything Right

Above image compliments of Catherine Rhodes Photography, lighting compliments of Exclusive Events

Lighting is everything. Am I right? Lighting effects photos, how good your makeup looks, the mood of a room, and it can transform any event space. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at a few events the incorporated a lighting professional into their vendor list.

A colored uplight can completely transform a space like you see in the photos below. The venue goes from a large, stark room with harsh lines to a warm and more dramatic feel.

                        BEFORE                                                            AFTER

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Photos and lighting compliments of SW Productions

Lighting can add cohesiveness to the space by using one of the accent colors to compliment the other decorations.

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Lighting compliments of Complete Wedding + Events

It can also be utilized to highlight an architectural details or draw attention to a particular piece.

11986469_813051125474827_5414944666708549998_nLighting compliments of Exclusive Events. 

Lighting can be used as the wow factor, especially outdoors on a patio or inside a tent like this photo below:

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Photo compliments of Lindsey Pantaleo and lighting compliments of Exclusive Events.

Or, it can add a little personalization to an event.

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Lighting compliments of SW Productions

Now this is a totally different type of lighting, but fireworks are never a bad idea! There’s nothing like a big bang to the end of a fabulous evening.

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Photo compliments of Silverbox Photographers and fireworks compliments of SW Productions

Regardless of how you use lighting at your event, it always has a huge impact that never disappoints. Even if it does take up more of your budget than you would like to, it usually adds enough style to an event that you can eliminate some decor from another area. That is if you need to squeeze it into your budget….totally worth the expense!

Free, Convenient and Totally-Worth-It Workouts

Well, let’s state the obvious: no, I am not a fitness coach. In fact, I have a hard time keeping myself motivated to workout and eat healthy. But I’ve recently become obsessed with some online workouts, and I wanted to share them with you!

popsugar-6When my husband and I were on our honeymoon, I grabbed an easy-read book at the airport titled “Power Your Happy.” It gives insight into Lisa Sugar’s life and how she created the online pop culture source PopSugar. If you’re a go-getter girl who is searching for success, life balance and the opportunity to have a family all at the same time, I definitely recommend the read.

Anyways, I dabbled a bit on PopSugar’s website, but I had never really considered it a go-to. That was until I discovered their workouts. They are amazing! First and foremost because they are free. I had recently contemplated paying for Beach Body workouts, but these online workouts kicked that idea to the curb.

Now you’re probably wondering why the heck I’m endorsing a workout website on an event planning blog. Well, let’s be honest. It doesn’t matter what event you’re attending, everyone wants to look their best! Whether you are the bride who is the center of attention, headed to a high school reunion where you haven’t seen people in years or just want to look back at the photos and be proud of your shape, working out is a necessity.

And if you’re anything like me, time and money are two of the things that get in the way of having a killer body. So, these are the reasons that I love PopSugar workouts:

1. They’re completely free!

Yup, you heard me. Zero dollars. All you need is a laptop (which i often hook up to my TV through an HDMI cord) and yourself. There are some workouts that require a small set of weights or a mat, but for the most part, they use your body weight for effective workouts. They even have some workouts that you can adapt or take to the gym to utilize while on an elliptical machine or treadmill. So if you already have a gym workout, you can still use them to mix it up and keep muscle memory guessing again.

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2. The workouts are quick yet effective.

Even if you just Google “PopSugar workouts,” before getting to the site you can click on the timeframe you’re looking for.

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When you have a hectic schedule or just not feeling the hour and a half commitment to get dressed, drive to the gym, workout and drive home, here is your answer. My favorites are the 30-minute workouts, or I like to mix a 20-minute strengthening workout with a 10-minute cardio blast.

3. The variety.

There’s a little bit of everything on this site. There’s high-intensity, fat-burning workouts that will leave you dripping in sweat. These are my favorite to do when I’ve eaten my energy-packed foods all day and work hasn’t completely drained me.

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There’s yoga and Pilates videos that are a little bit more low key. I love doing these workouts in the morning when I want to get some fitness in prior to work, but I don’t have the energy to jump around (did I mention I’m not a morning person?)

popsugar-4And lastly, there’s tons of celebrity trainers that know how to kick your booty while keeping the workouts exciting and different. My personal favorite is the workout with Selena Gomez’s personal trainer. No wonder that girl looks so good!

So if you find yourself saying you don’t have time to workout or you don’t have the money to spend on a gym membership or a subscription to a workout program, the PopSugar workouts are the answer to your prayers. No go knock ’em dead at your next event, and I hope you feel your absolute best!

Note: All photos in the blog post are images from the PopSugar website. 

The Seasons of Weddings

It was quite a busy year of weddings in 2016, and I had the pleasure of attending weddings all 12 months of the year. For today’s post, I pulled some of my favorite weddings from this past year’s archives. Using the seasons as a guide, I wanted to share with you some snapshots of these weddings that so beautifully fit into the seasons:

Spring
Bride & Groom: Jill Elder & Josh Smith
Wedding Date: June 4, 2016…Ok, so I stretched this “spring” wedding. It really was at the beginning of summer, but with all the beautiful colored blooms, I couldn’t help but include this in the spring section because it’s a great inspiration for spring brides.
Ceremony Location: Columbia Country Club Event Lawn
Reception Venue: Columbia Country Club
Photos compliments of Silverbox

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The Pre-Wedding:
Jill and her bridesmaids were dressed in beautiful matching robes during their wedding preparations and started the day off with floral accents from the beginning!

 

 

jill-josh-2The Color Scheme:
Everywhere you looked were bright, beautiful flowers. From the ceremony archway to the reception tables, pops of purples, pinks, yellows, greens and oranges were all complimented with gold accents. The bridal party wore greys, whites and blacks, which allowed the flower colors to shine.

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The Dessert:
A five-tier cake had the spotlight as guests entered the ballroom for the reception, which of course was also dripping in flowers. Edith Hall worked her cake magic once again!

 

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The Sweet Touch:
Josh proposed to Jill while the two were on a camping trip. So, guests were given “S’more Lovin'” as their favors, which were individually packaged s’mores supplies.

 

jill-josh-7A Unique Detail:
One of my favorite details was incorporated into this wedding. TooRooster Artistry was at the reception live painting each and every detail of the celebration. If you haven’t checked out Cindy Scott’s work, definitely do! It’s entertaining for the guests, and a great memory for the couple to take home with them.

 

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The Wow Factor:
I know I’ve talked A LOT about these flowers, but Kent’s Floral Gallery really outdid themselves. The show stopper? This gorgeous archway that the couple stood under as they said their “I dos.”

 

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The Seasonal Touch:
With warmer weather and a large guest list, the couple utilized the country club’s veranda for outdoor seating in addition to the indoor seating.

 

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The Perfect Ending: 
This reaction. Doesn’t every groom want a bride who is this happy?

 

 

Summer:
Bride & Groom: Alex Weishaar & Zachary Kluesner
Wedding Date: June 25, 2016
Ceremony Location: Church of St. Mary’s in Fulton, MO
Reception Venue: Sorenson Estates in Columbia, MO

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The Pre-Wedding:
Alex is a huge fan of monograms…ok, that’s an understatement. She LOVES monograms and was super excited to be able to change her monogram to her new last name. It did not surprise me one bit when the bridemaid’s gift were adorned with each girl’s monogram.

 

 

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The Color Scheme:
Keeping in tune with the naturalness of the outdoor reception, the wedding decor was full of ivories, creams, golds and forest greens.

 

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The Dessert:
A simple yet elegant three-tier white cake adorned with flowers coordinating with the bouquets and centerpieces. Plus, there was a nod to the groom with his own groom’s cake.

 

 

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The Sweet Touch:

Since the reception was outdoors and there was lots of dancing to be done, Alex and Zach offered their guests flip flops to be warn when the party got started.

 

 

13533086_10153833626035914_1982605932848900480_n 13537789_10153833625935914_4660732316999410563_nA Unique Detail:
If you live in Columbia, you are aware of the downtown staple: souvenir plastic cups. Because the couple met at Harpo’s where Alex used to work and manage, they served their guests drinks in personalized Harpo’s cups.

 

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The Wow Moment:
When Alex and her mom came down the aisle holding hands, I couldn’t help but tear up. it was evident how strong their relationship was and really represented them standing by each other’s sides through life’s endeavors.

 

 

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The Seasonal Touch:
It wouldn’t be a summer party without a game of bags! During cocktail hour, guests were able to socialize outdoors with a little friendly competition using this personalized game of bags.

 

 

 

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The Perfect Ending:
The bride and groom along with their guests danced the night way under the stars, moon and this gorgeous arrangement of Italian-style string lights designed by SW Productions.

 

 

Fall
Bride & Groom: Emily Milford & Tom Stevenson
Wedding Date: November 5, 2016
Ceremony Location: Mary Queen of Peace in Webster Groves, MO
Reception Venue: Forest Park Visitors Center in St. Louis, MO

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The Pre-Wedding:
The crisp, fall air and the early rising for the bridesmaids coupled so perfectly with the mismatched flannels worn during hair and makeup.

 

 

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The Color Scheme:
Red was the obvious bridesmaid dress choice for Emily’s love of the color, and rich dark and pastel florals created the perfect contrast for the fall festivities.

 

 

 

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The Dessert:
A classic beauty in white adorned with coordinating flowers, it was simple yet elegant just like this couple.

 

 

 

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The Sweet Touch:
Each of these bridesmaids and all of their mothers have been friends since these girls were in elementary school…talk about long-lasting friendships! The ceremony also took place at their elementary school.

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A Unique Detail:
Both Tom and Emily have a true love for beer. Tom works for Anheuser Busch, and Emily has an immense knowledge of craft beers. So instead of stuffy, posed photos, the couple decided to have the wedding party enjoy beers at Urban Chestnut Brewery during photo time for more candid photos.

 

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The Wow Moment:
Although my favorite moment of the night was when the groom swept Emily off her feet (literally) and spun her around during the first dance, we also were very appreciate of this firey sunset that was a gorgeous backdrop for the perfect day.

 

 

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The Seasonal Touch:
Guests were greeted by a table of small white pumpkins, which were not only great seasonal decor but also doubled as escort cards.

 

 

 

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The Perfect Ending:
Tom and Emily said goodbye to their guests as they exited through a (rather long) sparkler aisle lined with all of their guests. It was truly a magical part to the evening.

 

 

Winter
Bride & Groom: Carroline Kirtley & Michael Stoll
Wedding Date: December 17, 2016
Ceremony Location: Rocheport United Methodist Church in Rocheport, MO
Reception Venue: Columbia Country Club

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The Pre-Wedding:

A nasty ice storm the evening before made travel into Columbia a little crazy and changed the plans around for the rehearsal. But a little inclement weather cannot stop true friendship!

 

 

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The Color Scheme:
We saw lots of shades of red this year, and of course a winter wedding wouldn’t be complete without it! A mixture of burgundies and pinks popped from the flowers, and lots of wintry greenery was incorporated on the mantels, in the bouquets and as part of the centerpieces thanks to Addie Jane Originals.

 

 

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The Dessert:
A naked cake. Whimsical and perfectly fitting for this bride’s style.

 

 

 

 

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The Sweet Touch:
Although I wasn’t at the church to witness this precious moment, this photo of the bride and her flower girls is one of my favorites of the day!

 

 

 

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A Unique Detail:

Carroline enlisted the help of Courtney Canine with the rental company Pretty Little Things to add beautiful antiques to compliment the 1920s venue. My personal favorite was the pairing of a vintage table, an old window turned into a sign and and old mailbox used for the card box. Adorable!

 

 

15578487_1124212824358654_1220016279465755869_nThe Wow Moment: 
The best man’s speech was great! I wish I had a video of it, so I could share. I’ve seen lots and lots of speeches, and his was definitely up there as one of the best. He was witty, showed emotion but held it together and truly summed up the relationship between himself and the groom.

 

15542053_1124212697692000_828034969302906938_nA Seasonal Touch:
At each place setting was a thank you note from the bride and groom expressing their gratitude for all of their guests attending their big day. And laid right on top of that was a small piece of greenery. It was such a small detail but really tied everything in together.

 

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The Perfect Ending: 

Just after the bride and groom swayed to their first dance, a light sprinkling of fluffy snow began falling and made for one epic photo! Photography compliments of Catherine Rhodes Photography.

Wedding Show Must-Haves

It’s wedding show season, brides! Shortly after the start of engagement season (yes, that is a thing), is the start of wedding show season. Even with the crazy ice storm that’s threatening Columbia this weekend, we still have plans to be at the Super Wedding Show at the Holiday Inn Executive Center. Come visit me from noon to 4:00 PM if you’d like 🙂

With that, I wanted to share a few tips for attending a wedding show as a bride or groom:

1. Prepare Information Stickers
Almost every booth you visit will have some sort of drawing or giveaway. And in order to be entered into the drawing, the vendor will most likely ask for your information. Instead of having to rewrite the same information over and over, come prepared with a few sheets of address stickers. I suggest including the following information:

  • Bride’s Name
  • Groom’s Name
  • Anticipated or Scheduled Wedding Date (feel free to give a specific date or broad range, i.e. Summer 2017)
  • Phone Number
  • E-mail Address

Some vendors might ask for an address, but most likely vendors will want your e-mail address over your actual mailing address. If there’s any other information needed, then you can write it by hand. But having the labels ahead of time will save you LOTS of time and gives you an opportunity to make sure you get around to each booth.

2. Come Hungry
Even if the show takes place over a meal hour, don’t eat before you come. Between caterers, bakers and sweet treats to lure attendees in, booths will be offering tons of food. And if you come with a full stomach, chances are you’re going to feel stuffed when you leave. With that being said, I do recommend bringing a water bottle with you if you plan to stay for an extended period of time as lots of booths have food but not all have beverages.

3. Take It All In, But Don’t Commit Right Away
Lots of vendors will allow you to sign up for their services right there. As tempting as it can be to check needs off your list, wedding shows can be overwhelming. Definitely make appointments with people, take information and get copies of contracts, but I would not recommend signing anything on the spot. You want to make sure you check out all of the booths and options and take some time to think it over. Don’t give into the pressure of a vendor who says you are “going to miss out if you don’t sign up today!”

An Event Planner’s Emergency Kit

You can only imagine the random supplies I get asked for when hosts and hostesses are anxiously preparing for an event. Although I might not have everything guests ask for, I keep the following items on hand for when the need arises.

Lighter
These always seem to grow legs and walk off, but they are crucial when you have a roomful of candles to create a romantic glow at a wedding or need a quick flame for birthday candles.

Stick Pins
I most often use them for pinned up linens to give a room a more formal look, but they also come in handy for floppy boutonnieres or to fix an unseamed hem or dress that is too long.

Scissors
If I had a dollar for each time I was asked for a pair of scissors, I would be a millionaire.

Flats
I am a heels girl through and through, but when I have a long day or lots of set-up to do for an event, flats are a necessity! Plus, they come in handy when weather isn’t exactly on your side. It’s not fun to be sinking into damp grass as you watch a ceremony take place of are trying to shuffle across any icy parking lot because you so graciously parked in the back and let the guests park up closer to the venue.

Granola Bar or Small Snack
I attest to often times “forgetting to eat” on busy days. For someone who really loves food, it does seem hard to believe. But when you’re doing a lot of orchestrating and working straight through a meal, a small snack can be a real lifesaver. It can be that boost of energy you need to get through the last few hours or save a bride from feeling faint right before her ceremony.

Floral Wire
This seems a little bit random, but after working on a DIY project at home, I threw floral wire into my desk as a “this might come in handy someday” item. And you would be shocked how many times it has been used. It’s malleable to be able to twist it and use it in small places but sturdy enough to hold some weight and durable enough to last through the course of an event. Plus, it can easily be cut with scissors instead of needing wire cutters.

Fine Point Sharpie
It can take the place of a generic pen for a guestbook; it’s fine enough to be able to create an on-the-fly escort card without sticking out too much in comparison to the printed font; and it can be used to label supplies, so yours don’t get mixed in with rentals or to mark alcohol bottles to decipher what you paid for and what was there to begin with.

Spray Deodorant
There’s nothing less sexy than being able to smell the odor of a groom who has been nervously perspiring in his suit or having to run around outside in the sweltering heat to make a last-minute change to the set-up of an event. Spray deodorant has come in handy multiple times! By using it myself, I feel refreshed before guests arrive to an event, even if I’ve been there all day. It has been a lifesaver for a bridesmaid who forgot to pack hers. And it’s even doubled as air freshener when someone has used the facilities and created a stink right before guests arrive to the party.

Hosting on the Fly

Nobody enjoys being caught off guard. Whether you’re a planner or not, surprise guests or unexpected hosting can create a bit of uneasiness. But instead of panicking when out-of-town guests are suddenly in town or shying away when the original host gets sick, try keeping a few of these things on hand to make hosting on the fly that much easier.

13315640_10153768928355914_8648626608434208068_nFood: Cheese and crackers. Seems simple, doesn’t it? It’s the age-old, easy appetizer at any gathering. Kept simple, it is a crowd pleaser for a children’s party. Dressed up a little bit with salami and nuts, it can transform into a charcuterie board.

Drink: Champange
No, I am not just saying this because I am a lover of bubbly. It really is a very versatile beverage. It can be combined with juices and fruit to create a themed punch or compliment a brunch when served with orange juice. Andi f you’re opting for a more formal gathering, it can be the center of a formal toast or speech.

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Drink: Carbonated Beverage

Think lemon-lime soda, ginger ale or tonic water. This offers your guests a non-alcoholic option or can be paired with alcoholic beverages for fun creations.

15726770_10154938848902975_5060880096617101071_nDécor: Candles
I tend to keep a variety of candle options on hand. In addition to my favorite White Barn three-wick seasonal candles from Bath & Body Works, I also make sure I have a stash of tealights, pillar candles and of course, birthday candles. Tealights can be lined along a window sill close in proximity to create a romantic ambiance. Grab paper bags and sand or kitty litter and a few pillar candles to build easy DIY lanterns along your walkway. And make anyone feel extra special (even if the party isn’t exactly a birthday party) by popping birthday candles into the dessert selection and singing to them.

image2 (1)Décor: Chalkboards
My personal favorite is a sandwich board with a black board finish. You can use chalk or colored chalk markers to draw out a welcome sign or display a menu. It instantly eludes that thought and time was put into the event, even if it was completed just moments before guests arrived.

Games: A Deck of Cards
It’s a fun go-to after dinner when guests aren’t quite ready to leave yet. It can also be an activity for guests to focus on if there is a mix of people who aren’t necessarily friends or acquaintances. Games can break the ice for guests who don’t know each other well. And in the wintertime, a deck of cards can direct a game of Chinese Christmas as we call it creating a little friendly competition over gifts.

Miscellaneous Supplies: Small Gifts
When I’m out and about or have a few extra dollars, I always keep my out for small gifts. I keep them on hand for that “oh crap” moment when you realize someone is celebrating a birthday, anniversary or milestone without your knowledge. Or, they are great to have as hostess gifts when I myself attend a gathering. My stash changes throughout the course of the year but can usually be found stocked with some of these staples: cute and clever coffee mugs paired with $5 coffee house gift cards or a seasonal blend, a bottle of mid-range wine (in price and taste), stationery that can be paired with a fun pen or tied with a ribbon and a few fresh blooms, and chocolates or cheeses given with a candy dish or small cutting board.

Hopefully the next time the doorbell rings or your family stops in for an unannounced visit, you will feel much more prepared!