School’s out! How to Host a Great Graduation Party

May 17th, 2017 by Erin K. Martell

graduation party

Whether it’s high school, college or even the 5th grade, this is the season when school is over and those finishing a particular chapter look forward to what comes next. No change is quite as meaningful, though, as the transition from college to the “real world.”  Chances are someone you love may be among the high school graduates this year, and you’d like to help them celebrate their accomplishment. Now is the time to start planning, so here are some things to keep in mind when planning a killer graduation party.

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4 Awesome Bachelorette Party Ideas

May 3rd, 2017 by Erin K. Martell

bachelorette Party

Whether you’re in the wedding party or just a great friend, when you’re throwing a bachelorette party, you want everything to be perfect. A bachelorette party doesn’t have to be what we always see on tv. You can go big, small, loud, quiet… or somewhere in between. Hopefully, you’re familiar with your friend’s style and the style of the wedding. This week, we’ve got a few ideas to inspire you!
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How to Plan Your First-Ever Event

April 23rd, 2017 by admin

Planning your first event is never easy but with preparation it can be one of the most exhilarating moments of your life. During preparation, it is important to never forget this event is for your guests. Every step of the way should have the guests in mind.

What are the key details you should keep in mind when planning your first event? 

 

Research, Research, Research

There is no test trial when planning your first event. To keep yourself organized from the beginning, manage your event through Eventbrite. In addition, it is important to research the latest trends before the event begins. Personalization is the hottest trend right now in any event. From handwritten name cards to individual parting gifts, this is the perfect way to make sure each person knows he or she is the most important attendee at the event. Natural decorations are key to creating an authentic environment for your guests. The use of seasonal plants, animal furs and bird feathers, including ostrich feathers, creates a warm and inviting ambience for the event.

Lean on Key Influencers in Your Network

It is important to think through key influencers who will be able to help you pull off the event. Months before the event begins, think through your network of friends and the gifts and talents of individuals in this network. Is your friend a calligrapher? Can a family member provide live music during the event? A friend or family member could provide the integral piece to taking the event to the next level.

Communication

There are so many components to an event, so it is vital to communicate to your team, attendees and vendors before, during and after the event. Create to-do lists for each team member so they know their specific roles going into the event. During the event, clearly label directions for attendees and have extra team members ready to answer any questions. After the event is complete, write thank you notes to the key team members and vendors who made it all possible.

Your first event will set the trajectory for your career as an event planner. Take in each moment of the event so you can remember it the rest of your life.

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What if it Rains on Your Wedding Day?

April 18th, 2017 by Erin K. Martell

rain wedding day

Of all the variables that can go right or wrong on your wedding day, none are quite as far outside of your control as the weather. Weather forecasts being as unpredictable as they are, it’s hard enough to plan for an outdoor event a week in advance, let alone a year. However much you may not want gloomy weather to intrude on your bright and happy occasion, the possibility has to be considered. You can’t control Mother Nature, but you can control how you respond to her meteorological whims. In the season of “April showers,” let’s consider some options for those dreaded rainy-day weddings.

Have a Back-Up Plan

If your wedding and/or reception are outside, make sure you know venues contingency plan—and that it’s acceptable to you. Your venue should be able to move you to a sheltered location and still keep things elegant. If you know the back-up plan in advance, you won’t be surprised or unhappy. And you won’t have the stress of worrying about what will happen when. You don’t want your guests and wedding party to spend a day miserable and drenched!

Be Creative With Your Photos

Believe it or not, some of the best wedding photos are taken on rainy days. You just need to think ahead! Invest in a black-and-white umbrella as a great accessory for pictures on a potentially-rainy wedding day. Identify sites at your venue that will still work. (Gazebos and tasteful overhangs make for great backdrops.)  An experienced photographer will be able to improvise and make the best out of the last-minute change. Make sure your team has some ideas in place ahead of time, just in case!

“Rain, rain, go away!”

Stay positive. You may not be getting the precise event you’d hoped for, but you’re still getting married! There are lovely decorative touches that work indoors, and most of what you’d planned out of doors will still work. Table arrangements, centerpieces and draping might even hold up better when not subjected to outdoor weather. If allowed, consider some lovely candle arrangements, and see if you can hold some floor candelabras in reserve as a stylish note well-suited to either a wedding or reception site.

If the rain insists on sticking around, you have options, and with some planning and forethought, they can be great ones!

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How to Throw a Beautiful Vintage Wedding

April 5th, 2017 by Erin K. Martell

vintage wedding

From an opulent Great Gatsby wedding, a more traditional Roaring 20s theme or something in the natty style of the 1960s, a vintage wedding is all about making what’s old seem new again. Although the vintage theme is quite popular, there’s no shortage of ways to put your own stamp on a vintage wedding.

Wondering where to start? There are tons of little touches that will make your event perfect, but hit these three main areas, and you’ll be throwing the vintage wedding of your dreams.

What to Wear, What to Wear?

Dressing the part is important when it comes to dating an era, so you’ll need to put some time and thought into making sure the wedding party looks the part. Your budget will dictate how closely you can re-create the time period you’re aiming for. But keep to the style as closely as possible, and try to make choices that won’t undermine your visual narrative.
You also have the opportunity to decide if you want family members, and even guests, to wear period attire. Although you probably won’t be able to get every guest on board, some will find the idea fun and charming. If you do want others to participate, provide them with suggestions, websites and images to help guide them.

Setting the Scene

The decorations are probably the best and easiest way set the tone for the era-specific atmosphere you’re looking for. Everything from the flowers and the grander design all the way down to knickknacks at the guest tables can speak to your larger theme. Depending on what version of vintage you’re going for, you can choose more classic centerpieces, flower arrangements and even place card holders.

Don’t Skimp on the Cake!

The final piece that’s central to any wedding is the cake, but at a vintage wedding, the bar is raised. Your choice of cake—and how it’s presented—should tie into your vintage wedding theme. Look at your cake stand, serving set and cake topper as the final touch. As for the cake itself, make sure you choose a baker with the skill to execute your vision. You might even want to spend a little extra for a test cake so you’re not disappointed on the day of.

Whatever era and style you’re a fan of, we know your wedding will be beautiful!

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What to Look For in a Florist

March 15th, 2017 by Erin K. Martell

florist

Whether it’s Valentine’s Day, a birthday or an anniversary, flowers are part of almost every celebration in the world. Any event is enhanced by beautiful floral arrangements. But with so many florists and floral shops out there, how do you know which one is best for you? Here are some tips to make sure you’re choosing the best florist for your event.

Set A Budget

Simply put, flowers can be expensive. The final dollar amount for your event will depend on how elaborate your arrangements are, what flowers you choose and where you live. Floral costs can range from a few hundred dollars to as high as several thousand. If you choose a rare or out-of-season flower, be prepared to pay!

The best first step you can take is to decide on your budget, and stick to it! Get firm estimates from the potential florists you interview. But don’t be afraid to have a back-up choice in case their final proposal is more than your budget.

Find Your Style

A florist’s work is by definition visual, so ask for samples and pictures of their work. You’ll be able to confirm your florist’s decorative style is right for you and that they have the skill level you need. If they don’t have pictures to share, that’s a red flag.

Of course, you need to know your style first! The florist’s look book can also help with this. Is your preferred style classic/formal? Minimalist? (If so, you could save some money!) Or do you prefer the charming chaos of “Anything goes!” so long as it’s pretty?

Wherever you land on style, commit, and be consistent! And don’t focus so much on the flowers you forget the flower holder. Choose vases and floral stands that won’t clash with your overall theme.

Do Your Homework

Learn how much the services of a good florist go for in your area. Look for bargains, but the cheapest service is not always the best. If the quote seems too good to be true, it probably is. Pay attention to local word of mouth as well. When someone is thrilled with the flowers at their event, they won’t hesitate to tell you about it!

Did you love the flowers at your event? What were they? Share in the comments below!

 

image credit: Bara Art
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What Will Your Wedding Cake Look Like?

March 1st, 2017 by Erin K. Martell

WES Blog 01 2017 03 Wedding Cake

When you get right down to it, what’s a party without a cake? In many ways, your wedding cake is the centerpiece of your reception celebration. Since this tradition is so important, take some time to make sure you and your spouse-to-be agree on the details. Wondering what those details are? We’ve got you covered!

Choosing a Baker

Whether your reception venue already has a first-class baker or you bring in a shop or vendor from the outside, your selection of a “cake boss” is a big decision. As with any of the other important roles in your wedding, ask for referrals from friends, read online reviews and, of course, do a tasting! Sample a few of your favorite types of cakes to figure out what will work best. Be thorough, and don’t be afraid to interview multiple bakers. (Just don’t interview too close to any dress fittings!)

Size Matters!

Ideally, you want a cake large enough for all of your guests to be able to have a slice without leaving a whole lot left over. As a general rule of thumb, you can expect to feed, on average, about 25 guests for every tier of wedding cake. You may not have all of your RSVPs back when making your cake decisions, so just go with your best guess for a final number of attendees, and when in doubt, round up. Always better to have too much cake than too little.

The Presentation

Possibly the hardest decisions about the wedding cake are those related to the details of the style.  Should it be round or square? How should it be decorated? What sort of cake topper should you have? Let your imagination run free! There are other matters of presentation to be sorted out as well. You get to choose the style of the serving set and the cake stand. You can personalize as much as you want!

Your wedding day is one of those rare occasions where you get to have your cake and eat it too. Make the most of it!

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Get Your Romance on with a Valentine’s Day Wedding

February 14th, 2017 by Erin K. Martell

Valentine's Day Wedding

Today is Valentine’s Day, and we’re feeling the love! If you’ve been inspired by the season to throw a romantic Valentine’s Day wedding, we say great choice! You’ve got a year to plan, and we’ve have some fun ways to incorporate the season of love into your big day.

Two Hearts Beating as One

A heart-shaped theme is wedding appropriate any time of year, but if you’re planning a Valentine’s Day wedding, the theme is doubly appropriate. Stylish hearts—especially in a gold, red or silver foil–are a beautiful addition to the top or side margin of your programs. You’ll easily find heart-themed cake toppers, place settings and favors.

Do keep it classy, and don’t go overboard, but February gives you a little leeway in the heart department. This is the time of year when a little bit of heart décor is seen less as an excess of schmaltz and more as a touching hallmark of the season.

Lad(ies) in Red

While you don’t have to choose pink, red or white, even if your wedding is on Valentine’s Day, you certainly can! Pink can be gorgeous when done right, but it’s not for everyone. If you tend toward the bold and dramatic, choose a deep red for the bridesmaid dresses and complement with white bouquets. With the contrasting colors, your wedding pictures will really pop!

Keep it Toasty

Love is in the air at weddings but especially around Valentine’s Day. In many areas, though, a chill is in the air as well! Add some warmth—literally and figuratively—to the occasion with cuddly red or pink blankets as favors. Need a great send-off? Heart-shaped sparklers are just the thing! (Don’t miss our safety tips here.) The tone to set is cozy, so choose a warm color for your linens. And make sure there are enough heaters—especially if your wedding is outside!

Did you have a Valentine’s Day wedding? We’d love to see the pics! Share on our Facebook page or in the comments below!

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5 Clever Ways to Reuse Your Peacock Feathers

February 1st, 2017 by Erin K. Martell

peacock feathers

We love peacock feather centerpieces—especially because they are so easy to re-purpose. So get your creativity on, and get designing! To kick things off, we’ve put together five ideas that are easy, clever and inexpensive.

Create a “Flower” Arrangement

Put your peacock feathers in a clear vase, add a little decorative filler and voila! A lovely and unique arrangement with a pop of color to brighten your space. If you’d like, you can even include some real or dried flowers for variety. There are no rules, so put on your decorator hat, and arrange away!

Want Good Dreams? Make a Peacock Feather Dreamcatcher!

Used by the Ojibwa tribes to filter out bad dreams, these feather-adorned hoops are a favorite of modern craft kits. A perfect use for your peacock feathers, dreamcatchers are fun to put together and beautiful around the house. Buy a craft kit, or look up the instructions online.

Don’t Forget Your Memory book

Could there be a more appropriate place for your peacock feathers? We don’t think so! Keep your memories safe by using your feathers as a theme throughout your scrapbook or by tucking a few feathers into key pages.

Decorate a Picture Frame

Along the same lines as your memory book, incorporating your peacock feathers into the design of a picture frame—particularly one featuring photos of your event—is a great way to stay connected to your big day.

Peacock Feather Earrings

Peacock feathers are enormously popular when paired with beaded earrings—for good reason! They’re just the right size, and the deep and vivid hues pair perfectly with different styles. Make your own gorgeous peacock feather earrings out of your centerpiece feathers for the price of nothing more than a few simple items from a craft store.

However you choose to reuse you peacock feather, think creatively and have fun!

Have you repurposed your peacock feather centerpieces in a clever way? We want to hear! Share in the comments below…

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How to Find the Right Wedding Photographer For You

January 18th, 2017 by Erin K. Martell

wedding photographer

Brides and grooms often have differing ideas about the wedding, but one thing both parties can agree on after-the-fact is the big day goes by fast. With so much happening in such a blur, you want to be able to capture as many precious moments as possible. That’s why it’s so important that wedding photographers really know their stuff! Here are some things you should consider when selecting the perfect wedding photographer.

Interviewing the Wedding Photographer

Choosing a wedding photographer can be done relatively early in your planning, so time is on your side. Do some internet research, ask for referrals from friends and schedule several interviews. This is service you don’t want to skimp on, so don’t make a rushed decision. Finding a photographer whose work you’re comfortable with, and who you both you and your future spouse agree on, is a must.

It Can’t Hurt to Have a Back-up Plan

Though not a replacement for a good photographer having a back-up plan is always a good idea. Even professional photographers can have accidents, and you don’t want to be left without wedding photos. A great solution is providing each table at the reception with a disposable wedding camera. Many tasteful designs are available, and your guests will have a great time snapping away. You’ll probably get a few silly photos, but you’ll also get some extra candid moments you might have missed.

The Complete Package

Your photographer should offer final products that are attractive to you. If you want a traditional, bound wedding album, make sure your photographer offers that at a reasonable price. Or, if you just want digital files to print or assemble in your own time, make sure that’s understood and agreed upon. You want a professional that will be in the right place at the right time to take great pictures, but if you can’t actually get those pictures in the way you want, you’re liable to come away disappointed.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. The best wedding photographers illustrate this in spades. Search carefully for the right photographer for you, book well in advance, and don’t settle!

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