Celebrating New Beginnings: Graduation Party Ideas

 

As the summer begins, there’s a particular group of students that are particularly thrilled: new graduates. This time is particularly special, as it ends one chapter to begin the next stages of their lives into adulthood. Since the occasion calls for a celebration, here are some excellent graduation party ideas that any parent would be proud to host to recognize all the hard-earned accomplishments.

 

Let Them Shine: A Bright Future Ahead

The Backdrop: This theme works best at night, as the decor will revolve around lightwork and plays on the theme of “A Bright Future Ahead.” The color scheme is flexible, where if the look leans towards a clean and modern ambiance, white, black and gold are an ideal combination. We’re going to focus on a different ambiance: the country rustic ambiance with a white, cream and gold color scheme. The decor can include white paper lanterns and string lights. Mason jars can be used to serve drinks to guests, as well as centerpieces filled with artificial white flowers and white LED lights. The table set-up is simple, using decor that revolves around the color scheme. A graduation sign made of burlap or white paper in the style of a flag banner adds to the celebratory feeling.

For the Guests: A fun guestbook that can be hung as art decor afterward is a 3D guestbook. Guests can sign Cork hearts or other shapes, then tossed into the frame for a keepsake. For games, ring toss (made from old bottles and a wooden box) and cornhole fit right into the look. With some tulle and more string lights, it’s simple to create a mesmerizing starlight backdrop, whether to add to the mood or for guests to take selfies.

 

College Colors: Smells Like Team Spirit!

The Backdrop: A play on words with the 1990s Nirvana hit, Smells Like Teen Spirit, this party is a great send off for your new grad going off to college. It’s especially great for celebrating the acceptance to a college with a sizeable athletic presence. For the welcome banner, using college color pennants with the college mascot sets the tone perfectly for the graduation party idea.

For the Guests: While the color scheme should all fall within the school colors, party decor that can make your set-up stand out includes pennant flags for straws, jersey-shaped can cozies and customized paper cones for popcorn or other snacks. Team color cupcakes also make for a delicious touch to add to the color scheme. For entertainment, an imitation field goal toss makes for a quick game, and pom poms and props will have guests taking photos to remember.

 

Tropical-Themed: Aloha to New Beginnings

The Backdrop: One of the ways to enjoy the warmer weather season that comes with graduation is to throw a tropical-themed graduation party. Build a tiki hut bar for about $300 or buy a prefabricated one for $99 to serve kid-friendly beverages. Tables for serving food can be lined with grass table skirts. Drinkware can be served in tiki cups or coconut halves, which will go right with the bright-colored plates and cutlery for food.

For the Guests: Have leis, hula skirts, sunglasses and floral hair pieces to welcome guests when they arrive. Keep the party going with fun games like playing limbo to some classic tunes like Jimmy Buffet or the Beach Boys. Another game that keeps guests moving is Hula Hoop ‘Til You Drop. Hula hoops are inexpensive to get, so have a handful to have a Hula competition. The music can have different speeds to keep the game interesting.

 

Dr. Seuss: Oh the Places You’ll Go!

The Backdrop: The famous book penned by the classic favorite author, Dr. Seuss, and has been included in many graduation speeches. It makes for a perfect pick for a graduation party idea for a young graduate or anyone with a soft spot for Dr. Seuss books. The decor can be created with bold color schemes and creative party props. For a backdrop, these quirky Truffula Trees can be made with some plumbing insulation or pool noodles, floral wire and tissue paper. The welcome post can be the familiar askew sign post found in the books, including signs with quotes right from the book.

For the Guests: A creative take on the guestbook is to have a world atlas or a globe for guests to sign their well wishes. A nice touch to the table is a play on well-known story items like this Green Eggs and Ham Deviled Eggs recipe and Lorax drink dispenser decoration. For memorable photos, Dr. Seuss selfie props are great at getting the grads and their friends engaged.

How to Host the Perfect Backyard BBQ

 
Break out the patio chairs and the BBQ grill because summertime is right around the corner! With the sunshine breaking out, it’s time to invite your friends, family and neighbors to enjoy some good grilling. Here’s our list of how to host the perfect backyard BBQ.

 

Food and Drinks Fit for Friends

One of the most important parts of hosting an enjoyable BBQ is to have some amazing food and delicious drinks. Here are great BBQ recipes to have your guests leaving satisfied with their bellies full.
 

The Meats Are on Fire

Lovers of BBQ (such as Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters) know that it’s all about the marinade, seasoning and technique. Hot dogs make frequent appearances at the backyard cookout because they’re simple to make. For mains that go a little further, try these recipes out to wow your guests.

 

The Chips, Dips and Sides

A good barbecue can’t be rushed, but guests will come hungry, so get ready to have some quick munchies to keep their appetites occupied while the grill is at work.

 

The Beverages

While pop, beer and water are the easy go-to drinks to cool down under the sun, here are some great recipes to go the extra yard to quench your guests’ thirsts.

 

The Atmosphere

If you do decide to go with a theme, it adds a fun element that makes for a memorable event. The theme is comprised of color scheme, ambiance and concept. Whether you’re going for rustic farmhouse, an all-white affair or tropical themed, deciding on a theme makes shopping for decor simpler. Here are some great tips to picking out a theme for your BBQ.
 

Decor

If you do go with a theme for your BBQ, the decor that pulls the theme together include:

  • Invitations
  • Decoration
  • Plates, cups, napkins and cutlery
  • Serveware for drinks (such as these great drink dispensers), food and ice

 

Music

Another part of the ambiance is the music. If we have unusual taste in music, if your guests come with diverse tastes, keep that in mind when creating your playlist. If you’re tight on time preparing all the delicious food for the BBQ, Spotify has some great playlists to choose from to get your party started.
 

Games

Sometimes games can lighten the ambiance for your guests. Here are some great games to get the giggles going from guests, both adults and youngsters alike.
 

The Odds and Ends

While all the other things mentioned are the most essential parts of the BBQ, there are also odds and ends that should be prepared to make sure that your backyard outing goes smoothly.

  • The Shopping List: Decoration, flatware and serveware can be purchased the weekend prior, while the food checklists should be purchased 1-3 days prior to the BBQ to assure freshness.
  • Preparing the Food Ahead of Time: Review the recipes that you’ll be using to see if they require marinating a day before the BBQ. Some salads, dips and other side dishes can be prepared the night before to ease your preparation the morning of the BBQ.
  • Ice: Ice is one of the few things that can be forgotten by the wayside. Purchase bags of ice the morning of and having a cooler or two on the side (one for storing cans and bottles and one to use for drinks) is recommended.
  • Trash: Place the trash receptacles in convenient locations, such as a meter or two away from the food and by the BBQ grill. Have extra trash bags within easy access and check on them often to avoid overflowing.
  • Offer Packaging to Bring Food Home: It is more atypical that people will bring tupperware to bring food home from the BBQ, so have some disposable packaging for guests to use to help avoid having excessive leftovers as the host.

 
With our guide of recipes and tips, hosting the perfect backyard BBQ will come with ease, with guests complimenting you for hosting a memorable backyard outing for days to come.

Your Guide to Wedding Etiquette: Tips & Tricks for Guests

 

As the royal wedding is getting near, you might also find yourself being the guest of a wedding for a family or friend. For the special couple getting married, the big day has most likely been in works for many months, being as monumental for them as the wedding of Amy and Sheldon for Big Bang Theory fans. In sharing the honor of attending your family or friend’s wedding, we bring you helpful wedding guest etiquette, tips and tricks to make the day as memorable for you as it is for the newlyweds-to-be.

RSVP

Whatever the way you receive the invitation, RSVP as expected. The wedding planning process gets hectic, so not RSVP-ing as requested (whether by card or online) can just throw in a wrench for the bride or groom’s planning. The bride or groom will put time aside to organize the RSVP cards when they’re ready, so RSVP-ing in the manner requested will assure your seat at their wedding (avoiding any conflict because they forgot you told them at the coffee shop that hectic Thursday).

Guest of the Guest

Weddings aren’t the best place to get to know a date, so keep in mind that the plus one is typically reserved for long-term beaus and spouses. Another consideration is that if you are being invited as a family bunch, unless the host outright gave the OK (such as being assigned the ring boy or flower girl), newborns should stay at home. This is a special event that has taken a lot of effort, time and money to put together for the host. While it may be hard to part with your newborn to attend the wedding, it would be quite the discomfort for all parties if a newborn begins to cry during the vows. If arrangements can’t be made, it is OK to turn down the invitation if the family or friend is distant by relation.

Gifting

The simplest gift (and probably the most desired one unless otherwise stated) for a wedding is money. Here are some tips on giving a gift for a wedding:

  • A Card with Money: More often than not, the couple will have a system in place to receive cards. This can either be in the form of a box where you can put in your money card, or a family or member of the wedding will be close by to collect them on behalf of the couple. The rule of thumb is to give at least the worth of your meal at the table.
  • Virtually Sending Money: Save a bit of hassle and send them money before the wedding. If you don’t have a way to transfer the funds beforehand, many couples are using websites like Zola, which doubles up as a gift registry and honeymoon fund website.
  • Gift Registry: While the bridal shower is typically where actual gifts are given, you can also alternatively gift the couple for their wedding through the registry. If you do choose this route, do not come to the wedding donning a large gift (order it before the wedding). The couple will be inundated with many things the day of the event, so a large gift, while appreciated, will risk getting lost in the piles of many other things at the wedding.

Attire

From the get-go, for ladies, an outfit that is all-black or all-white is a hard no, unless it specifically states that it is a black-and-white affair. Another consideration is that your outfit should not upstage the bride or groom (even the royal wedding states “simplicity is the rule”). For men, at the very minimum, an outfit of slacks, button-up shirt and a vest. For the sure side of things, a formal suit and tie always works. While the level of elegance may vary location-to-location (beach wedding vs. banquet hall), the rule of thumb is overdressed is safer than underdressed.

Bring Cash

While a vending machine is now available for last-minute wedding needs, one thing that should be planned ahead: having cash at hand. One of the scenarios to prepare for is that drinks might come from a cash bar rather than an open bar. No matter the set-up, for the cash bar, the reason is pretty straightforward. For an open bar, unless it is self-service, tips are always appreciated. While gratuity is usually charged upfront to the host, giving a tip personally as a guest is a great way to assure your drinks are made with some extra love and warmth. And, of course, when drinking, stay classy and safe.

3 Tips to Nail Your Event’s Budget

 

Talk to any event planner long enough, and you’ll hear at least one frustrated reference to the b-word. That’s right, budget – the bane of every event planner’s existence. Not unlike the rest of the world, budgeting can be the hardest aspect of any project, but it doesn’t have to be. As financial guru, Dave Ramsey famously said, “A budget is simply telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.” Creating even just a little structure within your budget during early planning can help remove stress exponentially. Read on to ensure your budget hits all the marks and discover the key budget questions to ensure your event’s success.

 

1. Cover all your bases

Knowing what you need for your event is the obvious first step in drafting your budget, but it’s usually the little easy-to-forget details that add up (pun intended). Start by writing out the event timeline starting with guests receiving the announcement/invitations to clean-up. Pay close attention to details, outlining all elements of your event and ensuring you do your research for the best quality results. Last minute choices can result in overspending, but so can randomly allocating an overshot large sum of money. To avoid such scenarios, consider the variety of your expenses and then double check that you got them all. Creating an outline for your event early on will establish a sure estimate and little room for second-guessing and last-minute panicking.

Your event budget should include categories for all related expenses including food and catering, decor/set up, venue, permits, service provider fees, delivery fees, invitations, party favours, and entertainment. Larger-scale company events, such as conferences may need an additional expense category for advertising and promotion, speaker fees, speaker accommodations, etc. If your event can yield profit, include an estimate of your overall calculations, but do not rely on that income to cover the large hard costs as it can’t be guaranteed.

 

2. Prepare for the unexpected

Unexpected scenarios and emergencies are just that- unexpected. There is no way to anticipate all potential emergencies or worst-case-scenarios during events and running through them all is just discouraging. Vendors fall through last minute, late deliveries, weather changes, etc. But you can come to expect the unexpected and prepare for it generally. It is recommended to allocate roughly 20% of your event budget to a contingency fund, to avoid having to cut any items last-minute.

An example of utilizing a contingency budget: Our friend, Tamara hosted an outdoor event, and the weather conditions couldn’t be determined far enough in advance with the venue’s booking policy. So instead of just crossing her fingers, she prepared for the slight chance of rain with her emergency plan funds. The venue she booked could also house all guests for an additional fee. Though it seemed unlikely, on the day of her $20k event, an unexpected thunderstorm came out of nowhere, and the event had to move inside or be canceled. This was no issue for Tamara, however, as she planned for the unexpected and paid the indoor venue fee.

Another element to be cautious of are hidden charges/fees. Hidden charges can be found in every corner of the planning process, and they can really sting when the final bill is due. For example, while music and entertainment is a large part of many events, the hidden fees behind equipment rental are the most frequently overlooked. Venues/vendors can charge for everything from the number of speakers, to microphone usage, lighting, and additional costs of setup and teardown. Be sure to get concrete numbers before hiring your favourite band or booking any other event element.

 

3. Look for cost-cutting opportunities

Most event planners aim to spend the least amount of money for the highest quality, successful event. The most efficient way to lower cost is to review your budget and cut any items that aren’t integral to the event, even if you are within your financial limit. For example, if flowers were only one element of event decor, instead of ordering full flower arrangements, request more greenery usage- or swap costly flowers for the look-a-like in the season.

Another cost-cutting tip from the pros: never accept the first price. Get multiple quotes from vendors and venues, the power of negotiation is on your side. Often, the vendors will match the price of your found quotes, or lower theirs to find a compromise. Regardless of your choices, be sure to update your budget periodically to keep the numbers accurate: updating the budget after any big purchases and at the end of each day is recommended.

 

Strategic spending is the best means of ensuring value for all guests, staff, and hosts alike. Being firm on your overall budget will only benefit the planning process, though it does require some time. Planning your event budget early and in the right way will save you stress and panic post-event. If you’re still looking for more guidance, check out our Interactive Spreadsheet to help you get planning smarter.

How to Use Nostalgia to Create #Throwback Worthy Events

There’s a good reason #ThrowbackThursday is a thing. People love to look back at bygone times – and scientifically, it’s proven that nostalgia is able to ward off feelings of boredom and depression in lieu of contentment and happiness, as reported by the New York Times.

In 2018, the media has proven that nostalgia reins king: Jumanji is top of the box office, new Will and Grace episodes are on NBC and a Roseanne reboot is coming soon. This week we’re taking a look at how to harness the positive effects of nostalgia to make for an amazing event your guests will love to look back on for years to come.

Set the Mood Before the Party.

Social media is a powerful tool for marketing events – and in this case, a perfect platform for inspiring nostalgia. Start building your retro aesthetic by snapping sneak peeks of your vintage event decor, post photos from past events (with or without a retro filter), or reminisce about a city where prior events were held.

If you have a long-running annually-recurring event, reach out to the oldest attendees you can identify and see if they’re willing to share stories from past events you can post. Not only will this bring in nostalgia, but it can also help foster a fear of missing out in this year’s attendees.

Lastly, use printed invitations on colourful, retro-inspired stationary to give a truly vintage feel instead of an e-invite. These disco-inspired invites from RachaelRee are a perfect way to get people nostalgic even before the party’s begun.

Get creative with your theme

If you’re hoping to evoke a sense of nostalgia, get creative and match the theme of your party to the event you’re celebrating. For example, if you’re hosting an anniversary party, include food, decor, and images from the year the couple met. This works for corporate events too – imagine if Coca Cola hosted a retro event with a 50’s diner theme? If applicable, get the guests to join in on the fun with costumes to match.

Visit your local thrift or vintage store to find one-of-a-kind statement pieces to give your guests a true blast from the past.  Swag or event giveaways and promotional items can go a long way in connecting your attendees to the past, and you don’t need to blow your budget to add this touch. Nostalgic tie-ins can be anything from candy popular in that time period to small but highly recognizable items, such as a Rubik’s Cube for the 1980s.

Include retro activities to boost nostalgia.

Invite your guests to participate in the nostalgia by including nostalgia in your event activities. Instead of having an #instaworthy photo wall, why not set up a Polaroid photo station where users can create their own event keepsakes with a vintage flair? Instead of getting a DJ, let attendees dance the night away to a cover band, or an Elvis impersonator? Find a local small businesses that rent out novelty items like jukeboxes or 80’s arcade games for your attendees to enjoy (trust us, pinball is always a hit!). Or, if you’re having a more small-scale personal event, gather your friends around the dining table for an old fashioned vintage board game – read: 80’s era Trivial Pursuit, Dungeons and Dragons, or Mystery Date.

Last-Minutes Ideas for Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is a jubilant occasion worldwide, with the day bringing about fun get-togethers and parades to celebrate Irish traditions. Even the USA’s Major League Baseball teams jumped on the green bandwagon and wear green uniforms for the occasion. We’re here to help you do the same with your festivities with quick and easy green-colored and Guinness-infused recipes and gleeful activities to help you eat, drink and be merry on St. Patrick’s Day.

 

St. Patrick’s Day Recipes

A Kid-Friendly Snack: Shamrock Chips
You could go with classic St. Patrick’s Day green, or go wild with colour and make these amazing rainbow shamrock chips. With a shamrock cookie-cutter, food color and some uncooked tortillas, it’s a simple recipe. The kids will munch endlessly on this snack and come back for more.

 

Frequently found on Irish pub menus, you can also make this hearty meal at home. The recipe infuses rich flavors from coffee beans and, of course, Guinness beer itself. While it takes about three hours to stew, the time is well-worth it to let the flavors simmer and the meat to tenderly fall apart.

 

A Hidden Lucky Charm Treat: Shamrock Cutout Pound Cake
Who doesn’t love surprises? This Shamrock Cutout Pound Cake is an Irish twist to a classic pound cake. It may look tricky, but the secret to a hidden lucky charm in your pound cake is rather easy to do. You’ll end up with two pound cakes, but the effort is well worth it to unravel the smiles from your guests (and, there is no such thing as having too much pound cake!).

 

St. Patrick’s Day Drinks

For Young and Old:
Shamrock Shake
There’s almost an app to find everything, even the revolutionary Shamrock Shake Finder app to find the traditional McDonald’s favorite. Why not bring the recipe home and make it right in your own kitchen? Break out the milkshake glasses and whip some up for the family to enjoy.

 

Is mint not your flavor? Not to worry, this Leprechaun Lime Drink is a great concoction of citrusy lemon and lime flavors. The base starts off with lime sherbert, so it will be just a tad creamy but with all the right flavors (without defaulting to mint).

 

For The Grown-Ups:
While Bailey’s expands on their popularity with a release of strawberries and cream liqueur, their traditional Irish Cream flavor will always be a classic during St. Patrick’s Day. Using the Irish Cream liqueur, the Irish Hammer is a perfect nightcap to a delicious Irish meal. These shots are made with the Irish liqueurs, Bailey’s Irish Cream and Irish Mist, and a touch of Tennessee sass from Jack Daniel’s whiskey. A great accompaniment to pound cake (hint hint!) it also is a great balanced shot to enjoy alone.

 

If you are looking for an adult-equivalent of the Shamrock Shake, here is a milky cocktail that will do the trick. The cocktail can be enjoyed sip after sip throughout the night and is reminiscent of a Peppermint Patty.

 

While pumpkin spice latte days are behind us, Irish Coffee days are coming up. If the hours ahead of you on St. Patrick’s Day look a bit long, you can drink coffee the Irish way: with Irish cream liqueur and Irish whiskey. With some whipped cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg, the day is looking much more cheerful for celebrating the holiday.

 

St. Patrick’s Day Activities

For the Kids:
This fun game is similar to Musical Chairs, with the exception that the chairs are now paper shamrocks. The rules are simple and the supplies are easy to create. Cut out four shamrocks large enough for several kids to stand on. Then spread them to the corners of the room. Start the music, which may festively be Irish folk music. Once the music stops, everyone scrambles to get on the shamrocks. Last person on the shamrock is out for that round and the last person standing is the winner.

 

For Everyone:
The Shamrock Shake is a fun way to get adults and kids dancing (accidentally or on purpose). It requires green tissue boxes, panty hose and 20 ping pong balls (a set of these materials for each player). Wrap the panty hose around the base of the tissue box and tie it around the waist of each player. Then fill up the tissue box with the ping pong balls. The first person to “shake” all the balls out of the box is the winner (music for added fun is optional).

 

For Adults:
If you find yourself enjoying a good pint of Guinness or Irish whiskey drinks, why not add to the jovial ambiance with Irish drinking songs? Buzzfeed has curated a great list of 15 songs to sing with your friends as you swing your ales about.

6 Party Games Your Guests Won’t Stop Talking About

Parties are a great way to build relationships with friends, family and neighbours. One of the things that can create great memories and stir up some laughter from get-togethers are party games. Here are some great indoor party games for all ages.

 

Hanging Out Around the Couch

For the Grown-Ups: Name That Tune,

The game is the home-grown version of the show, Beat Shazam! With the help of your handy-dandy smartphones, YouTube can be a great tool for this game. Split the group into two teams. Each round alternates by a person from each team. The round begins with a person picking a song of their liking. Play a 15-second snippet of the song, and then see if the other team can guess it. To add more flames to the fire, you can even set a time limit for each team to guess. Another challenging twist is adding predetermined music genres or categories.

For the Kids: Catch On

Quick thinkers commence! The idea is simple and requires anything you can easily toss, like a ball or teddy bear. Each round begins with a category. With each throw, the person catching it would name something in the category upon catching the ball. Anyone who repeats or misses from the category is out of the round.

 

Pairs a Plenty (A Party Full of Couples)

For Everyone: Blindman’s Swag

Whether for a party full of couples or just friends and family in even numbers, Blindman’s Swag is a great way to have some fun. It’s especially interesting if you have a lot of furniture or an unusual layout. First set the prize (an item, money) in a certain location (make it good by placing it somewhere hard to get to). Have everyone pair up, and then decide who will be completely blindfolded (no peeking). Then the person who is not blindfolded will guide their partner to the prize using just words. First one to get the prize is the winner!

For the Kids: Tilt a Cup

A little cognitive-motor skills go a long way in this simple game of Tilt a Cup. It just requires a four ping pong balls and four cups. This is played with a pair, where one is the catcher and one is the thrower. When one ball is caught in the cup, stack the other cups on top and try to catch another ball. Repeat until all four balls are in alternating stacked cups. With each additional ball, your stack should get trickier to catch the ball without spilling your cups and balls everywhere.

 

At the Dinner Table

For Everyone: Likes/Dislikes

A friendly way to get to know your friends and family, this game just needs some index cards and pens. Everyone writes five likes and dislikes on the card. Then they fold it in half and put it in a bowl. After dinner is all finished, each person grabs a card and reads it one by one. Take a guess who it is!

For a light-humored and mischievous variation, you can tackle this game with a twist. Start with writing everyone’s name on a piece of paper. Then everyone picks one (tossing back their own, if chosen). Describe the five likes and dislikes on a new card. Fold and throw the cards in a bag and play the game as usual.

For the Everyone: Around the World

This game is fun and draws quite a few confused looks for those who don’t know the rules. The original version of this game is fun when at least 2-3 people know the rules, but variations can be played for children to simply understand categories of things.

For the original game, the concept of the game is to say what you would bring onto a hot air balloon. The answer is always right if the first letter of the world spells the letters of “Around the World” (in order of the spelling for each person’s turn). So for example, the first person can say “I’d bring an apple on a hot air balloon around the world because I’d get hungry.” The next person would say “I’d bring a raccoon on a hot air balloon because I like cuddly animals.” With each item following the spelling, the person that knows the game rules would convincingly agree. The fun is when they don’t get the rules of the game, and the people that know the rules strongly disagree (especially when they make up a funny reason, like “not everyone likes bananas, so it’s not good to bring on the hot air balloon”). If the person doesn’t get it, the next person must still tackle the next letter in the phrase “around the world.” Keep going until as many people get the rules of the game.
For variations of this game, you can simply explain the game rules and pick a category until you spell out the entire quote “around the world.”

Timelines and To-Do’s of Event Planning

Event planning on your own can be an overwhelming experience. As scary as it may seem, fear not! We’ve put all you need to do in a timeline and shopping list to help make your dream event come together within budget. Read through the list below, or download our Interactive Spreadsheet to help you get planning smarter.

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The Event Timeline

Timing makes all the difference between feeling pangs of panic or a collective calm just day before the big event. The ideal starting point of planning is 10 months to one year before the tentative date. With all of the venues and vendors involved, things can be easily lost in the shuffle. To sooth your worries, we’ve made a checklist to help you through your event planning journey. Read below for our recommendations or enter your email address below to get the printable checklist.

10-12 Months Before

  • Visit prospective event venues and finalize date, time and location
  • Visit ceremony site and finalize date, time and location (as applicable)


7-9 Months Before

  • Find a print company for “Save the Date” cards and invitations
  • Make necessary arrangements for lodging, such as hotel room
  • Mail “Save the Date” cards
  • Find a shop for wedding gown and bridesmaids dresses
  • Find a shop for grooms and groomsmen tuxedo


6-7 Months Before

  • Find entertainment professionals (DJ, performers, Master of Ceremony)
  • Find photographer/videographer
  • Find baker for cake or catering for food and beverage
  • Find party supplies rental service (if tablecloths, flatware, furniture and other items are not available through venue)
  • Find florist for floral arrangements
  • Find officiant (as applicable)
  • Find transportation company
  • Find make-up artist/hair stylist
  • Find rehearsal space and schedule rehearsal

Read More

Five Baby Shower Trends for Spring

 

Springtime is a wonderful season to host a baby shower. The season indicates that the trees and flowers are ready to bloom around us, and that is just what a baby shower celebrates: new life. Here are five fun spring themes for your baby shower to celebrate the end of winter woes and welcome your new family member.

Peter Rabbit Theme

The Tale of Peter Rabbit has been a classic book found in many children’s libraries. In early 2018, Sony decided it was ready to take on the big screen and become a real-life animated movie, the Peter Rabbit Movie. Just in time for Spring, this is a perfect theme to welcome the new baby carrot in your garden. The colour scheme is simple: cream and white colours mixed with splashes of soft pastel hues, like the blue of Peter’s jacket and the green for his garden to complete the look. Here are great decor options reminiscent of Peter Rabbit.

French Country

For anyone that is a fan of the popular HGTV show, Fixer Upper, you may be familiar with the do-it-all mother and designer, Joanna Gaines. Not only does she run her interior design business alongside her husband, but they are also opening a new restaurant called Magnolia Table. Nothing can stop her, including welcoming a new baby to make her home a house of seven! It is only natural we’re putting one of her most renowned interior design concepts onto our list: French country rustic. The food concepts include crepes, cheese platters and macarons while the color scheme is whitewashed and natural tones (i.e. canvas, burlap, manila-colored).

Baby-Que

Once the Spring thaw comes, we’ll be ready to fire up the grill to welcome Summer. If enjoying a co-ed concept that foregoes cupcakes and cake pops sounds appealing, consider having a baby-que instead. The baby shower can be similar to enjoying a day out and firing up the grill in the backyard. Invitations can be designed as a BBQ invitation (red and white striped or checkered invitations are an ideal color scheme). Mason jars of iced tea, heartier foods like barbeque platters and pies sound mighty fine to fill your tummy of two.

Cherry Blossom

Cherry blossoms are a beautiful sight across the globe, indicating that Spring is here. In Hokkaido, Japan, Vancouver, BC, and Washington DC, USA, one of the iconic sightseeing experiences is to view the cherry blossoms bloom. Even Starbucks Japan released a new drink, the Sakura Blossom to welcome the warmer weather.  In the same welcoming fashion, Kim Kardashian celebrates her pregnancy with Chicago West in Cherry Blossom-fashion. You can too, by decorating your baby shower with the color scheme of cheery pink, red and white. For an adoring backdrop to match, artificial cherry blossom branches from Michael’s bring the outdoors in.

Circus/Carnival

Warm memories often come with warmer weather, such as visiting the circus or carnival. Exciting festivities bring smiles to our faces, like carnival games, cotton candy and funnel cake. Such childhood pastimes create the perfect setting for celebrating a bun in the oven. The colour scheme is bold basic colours, like red, white and yellow. Fun decor includes pinstriped flag banners, circus admission tickets for invitations and circus animal cake toppers. Here are some decor ideas that are a fit for your carnival dream baby shower.

Should You DIY or Hire an Event Planner for your Next Event?

 

Whether you are planning a wedding, bar mitzvah, or birthday party, a special event is meant to be memorable and enjoyable for you and your guests. Before beginning your plans, it’s essential to understand what you’re able to add to the planning process. Knowing your strengths, weaknesses, and priorities will help you decide whether the event planner or DIY-route is best for you. To help you pick, we’ve laid out the benefits of hiring and event planner vs. taking the DIY-route below.

 

Hire an Event Planner if You Want to:

 

1. Save (A Lot of) Time: 

Planning an event can be cumbersome and time-consuming. In a survey completed by Forbes, the average time spent on planning a wedding alone was between 9-10 hours a week. While your event may not be as big as a wedding, if you’re already a busy person, adding event planning on top of that can we far too much stress. Instead, save your sanity and opt for a professional to do all research and planning for you. Not only will an event planner help you save time,  they can also help you stay within your desired event budget.


2. 
Forego the Trial and Error 

Aside from planning their client’s events, event planners also maintain a preferred vendors list. Referring a quality venue, vendor or supplier positively impacts the event planner’s own reputation. Building a solid relationship with these vendors increases reliability and strengthens communication between both parties (which comes in handy should the unexpected happen). This sense of trust helps in particularly when contingency plans are needed (for example, a surprise sprinkle during your outdoor event or your entertainment is running late).  Forego spending countless hours on Yelp and Google and betting on whether you’ll have quality professionals off of strangers’ reviews. An event planner is equally invested in making your event a success, so they bring a great team along to make it happen.


3. 
Avoid Day-of Event Stress

The worst case scenario is being the go-to for everything that goes wrong on the day of the event. Only you know all of the event details so the onus is on you problem solve while trying to be a host. Instead, having an event planner allows you to leave the day-of problem solving to them – so you can get back to enjoying the party.

 

DIY Your Next Event If:

 

1. You Are Supremely Organized

The thought of checklists and budgets does not scare you away, but rather feeds your soul. OK, we’re pushing it, but you are great at staying organized. Planning an event is like a marathon, not a sprint. You would have to research and sample/visit each venue or vendor for your event. Another ball to juggle is shopping within your budget and know when to cut costs on others when you’re over budget. A good start, if you’re going the DIY-route, is to begin by casting your net out on social media to ask for recommendations of venues and vendors. However, don’t forget to do your own due diligence in researching the quality and service of the recommended vendors and venues.

2. Your Creativity Level is Expert 

Taking the DIY route on invitations, signage, desserts and favours are all great approaches to saving money (especially when time is not of the essence). One perk of going DIY is that it is a wonderful way to let your personality shine in your event, be it bridal shower, baby shower or special dinner. This may be ideal if your event is on the smaller side. If you find that putting that extra bit of love into your event is fulfilling, this may be the route for you.

3. Your Priority is Saving Money

Every little bit of DIY effort counts. If a friend or family has a home with a spacious yard, using this space can drastically cut down on venue rental cost. Centrepieces can be quaint, like upcycled wine bottles that have been spray-painted gold for floral centrepieces. The bar can be stocked with your own alcohol and self-serve. The list can go on. If in the case you are willing to let go without the frills and to dedicate more time to creating everything from scratch, it can go a long way for your wallet.
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