apple inspiration for fall weddings & events

Pumpkin gets all of the attention during the fall, but apples are just as prevalent. Each fall, I go apple picking. Of course, apple picking in Northern Virginia isn’t exactly the same as I remembered it as a child in New York. It’s usually still fairly hot, the apple trees peak early. I strongly feel like apple picking should be done during crisp fall days where you wear a sweater, jeans and boots, and sip on hot apple cider at the quaint general store next to the orchard, and much on fresh apple cider doughnuts. Alas, it’s not ever really like this in Virginia. But I digress… apples are still a great way to make a fall event feel festive and fall-like, and also a low-cost alternative for centerpieces and decor. Here are some of my favorite ideas:

A simple potted plant with apples makes for a lovely centerpiece. You can easily DIY this – you just stake the apples. Via Ashley Austin Homes:

Apple Inspiration for Fall Weddings & Events

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event planner in your pocket: social tables’ pocket planner app

event planner in your pocket: social tables' pocket planner app

My friends at Social Tables, the fabulous event software company, have come up with a great resource for event planners and non-planners alike: the Pocket Planner mobile app. They teamed up with the Convention Industry Council to create a neat little calculator app that’s really like having an event planner in your pocket. The best part about the app – it’s FREE!

I had the opportunity to take the pocket planner for a test drive. There are four different categories – Food & Beverage, Service, Tables, and Other, which is kind of the miscellaneous category and includes number of screens, portable toilets (who said event planners’ jobs weren’t glamorous!), trash cans, dance floor size, bandwidth and fire code. For each section it is automatically set to 50 attendees, but as you edit the number of attendees, everything changes proportionately. For example, if you go from 50 attendees to 100, your gallons of coffee you should order goes from 4 to 7, the number or bartenders goes from 1 to 2, and so on.

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meet the [planner] blogger: brittany ryan of beaux & belles

Meet the [planner] blogger: Brittany Ryan of Beaux & Belles
There are so many event planners out there… and even more bloggers. But there aren’t as many event planner bloggers as you might think!
But one such blogger is Brittany Ryan, a corporate event planner by day and blogger at Beaux & Belles by night.  Read on to learn about Brittany!
What’s your day job like [Marketing Communications Specialist at Ericsson]?
Always busy! But I like it that way. I usually have a few planning calls throughout the day – one for each upcoming event per week. I monitor my email (like a hawk!) and try to stay on top of the incoming flow of communication, which concerns both internal requests within my company and external inquiries. When not responding to email or on the phone, I may be found generating marketing collateral or developing our show’s social media strategy. I travel an average of once per month to either manage a conference onsite or to perform a site visit.
How did you get into corporate event planning?
In my college days, I received a BA in General Management from OU and an MSc in International Business from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. I always knew I’d be in some sort of corporate or business environment. When applying for jobs, I came across the role of a Business Analyst for Ericsson, a telecommunications company. After accepting the position, my role quickly evolved into a Business Operations Manager. It was in this position where I was asked to plan my team’s retreats and offsite events. This was the favorite part of my job, and after identifying that, I knew that my career lay within the corporate event planning team at Ericsson. For the next year, I volunteered for this team in my spare time. When a job opening finally opened up for this coveted position, I was overjoyed to accept the position as Marketing Communication Specialist and start my dream career!

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help, I’ve got ugly chairs! part 2: chair treatments & embellishments

How to embellish chairs

Welcome back to the “Help! I’ve got ugly chairs!” series! Yesterday I discussed the different types of chairs you usually find at hotels and banquet halls. Today we’ll talk about ways to enhance your chairs, whether you have a wooden folding chair that needs some pizzazz or if you want to make a chiavari chair a little more special. This is called chair treatments or chair embellishments. Enjoy!

Chair caps: If you are just itching to cover up part of that chair but don’t want a big, baggy chair cover? What about a chair cap? These are also called toppers or half covers, or sometimes sleeves. They can be made in almost any fabric, but I love the lace for a soft, romantic look.

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Help, I’ve got ugly chairs! Part 1: The Low-Down on Event and Banquet Chairs

What to do with Ugly Banquet Chairs

Ahh, the chair. For those of you who don’t plan events for a living, you may be thinking, what’s the big deal about chairs? But for many events – parties, galas, weddings, even (and sometimes especially) conferences – chairs are the unsung heroes of the event. They provide needed seating and respite for guests. But they are also an opportunity to wow guests when tied into the event decor.

Since chairs are such an important part of events, I’ve decided to do a two part post on chairs. Today, we’ll talk about the different kinds of chairs you can use at events, and the pros and cons, and when it actually makes sense to use a chair cover. Tomorrow we’ll talk about ways to decorate and embellish your chairs.

To begin, let’s talk about the chairs you will likely run into when planning indoor events at a hotel or banquet hall. Most hotels stock banquet chairs. They are stackable and usually have some modest padding on the seat and the back. They may be designed so they can lock together. They usually look something like this:

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friday favorites – this week’s best ideas (9.12.14)

Friday Favorites 9.12.14

Happy Friday! Here are my favorite ideas from other event planning, wedding planning and entertaining blogs this week! Enjoy!

From left to right, clockwise:

It’s no secret that I love fall – who else would devote an entire week to pumpkins on an event planning blog? So naturally I love this free printable that’s perfect for fall. I’m going to hang mine in my home office – what about you? { Joelle Charming }

I love this idea for a bridal shower – all the guests wrote messages on balloons that the bridal party will inflate and use to decorate the room where the bride gets ready the morning of the wedding. What a fun idea! { Studio DIY }

Naming wedding tables after places isn’t a new idea anymore, but I love the seating chart this couple used to illustrate the idea – they used an actual map of the area and tied each table name to the actual location on the map. Makes finding your seat more like an actual treasure hunt! { Snippet & Ink }

I’m pretty obsessed with mimosas, so naturally I love this sign. This is from a bridal shower but I might make my own and bring it with me to Sunday brunch, just to make my needs clear to our waiter. Thoughts? { Creating Couture Parties }

What happens when you are planning a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Party and are trying to incorporate some healthy snacks? These adorable apples modeled after the turtles themselves! I can’t think of a better way to get kids to eat an apple! What a great idea!    { Creative Juice }

Have a fabulous weekend!

how to choose an hors d’oeuvres menu for your cocktail hour

how to choose a cocktail hour menu

Choosing a menu can be one of the most fun parts of wedding planning for both the bride and groom – everyone loves food tastings! – but actually selecting the menu can be a daunting task. After all, the food is one of the most memorable aspects of a wedding according to guests, but catering to different tastes and diets can be a challenge. Here are some guidelines to help select a menu that’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Know Your Guests: The number one rule for planning any menu is to know who will be eating. If a lot of your friends are vegetarians or vegan, you will want to include more vegan hors d’oeuvres that usual. If you will have a lot of children in attendance, you will want to have a few more kid-friendly items available. If any guests have food allergies, make sure  you let your caterer or chef know so you can be sure to have a few items that those guests may eat. This is easier to plan for with cocktail hours because you will naturally have some variety and guests can choose the items they like.

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why event planners (and everyone else) needs whitespace in their lives

event planners need to find ways to be less busy

Last week I attended HSMAI’s Meet National Conference in Washington, DC.  The most memorable part was the keynote speaker – Juliet Funt, a speaker and business consultant, and also the daughter of Allen Funt, the creator of Candid Camera. Her talk was on whitespace and I’ll admit, I went into the presentation with pretty low expectations, but I was pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable Funt’s presentation was and how much I agreed with her. For all of us who strive for work life balance, her talk really resonated.

The WhiteSpace schtick is the idea that we all need WhiteSpace in our lives. According to Funt, “WhiteSpace is improvised and scheduled time and thought for which we have no predetermined agenda or plan… it’s the time during which strategic thinking occurs, creativity soars and focus returns.”

In other words, WhiteSpace is the time when you can actually be creative, think clearly, solve problems and… do your job. When I say do your job, I don’t mean just the tasks that make up your daily grind, but manage to achieve value that event planners bring to the table.

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want to have a food truck at your wedding? here’s how…

Wedding Food Truck Tips

Food trucks have taken most major cities by storm so naturally, they are starting to appear at weddings. This is a fun way to add a unique catering option for your guests. Here is what you need to know in order to pull off the food truck trend at your wedding:

Consider Timing:

There are plenty of ways to fit a food truck (or two, or three!) into your wedding. But unless you want to replace your main meal with food truck fare, the easiest ways to work them in are during the cocktail hour, dessert, or as part of a late-night after party.

Menu Planning:

Is the food truck going to be providing the only food at the time it’s serving or will it be adding to other options you’ll have, such as the wedding cake for dessert with the add-on of an ice cream truck for your guests? Make sure the amount of food and type of food is appropriate for the timing. You don’t want to offer heavy, greasy foods during cocktail hour if your guests are going to still have a formal sit-down dinner. If a food truck normally offers meals, ask if they can serve bite-size hors d’oeuvres portions of their menu.

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pumpkin week – DIY pumpkin projects

As pumpkin week continues, I wanted to share some DIY ideas. These are all ideas that could be used for fall entertaining. Enjoy!

There are infinite ways to decorate pumpkins without carving them – paint, glitter, decoupage – but this lace pumpkin is adorable! Via Camille Styles:

DIY pumpkin ideas for fall entertaining


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