When I first started this series, I wanted to learn more about flowers, particularly ones that I wasn’t very familiar with. But I think somewhere along the line I cheated because last week I featured sunflowers and the week before that I featured tulips. So in order to get myself back on track I figured I’d publicly admit this fact: Until today, I had no idea what a dahlia was. I knew it was a flower, I had heard of them. But if you asked me to pick a dahlia out of a flower lineup, I wouldn’t be able to do it. Until now.
The most fascinating thing about dahlias (and what probably added to my confusion about them) was the sheer variety. There are so many different kinds of dahlias – and some simple don’t look like the same type of flower. I’m not talking about the variety of carnations that look like peonies, I mean these look like totally different flowers. They also range in size, from small to huge (the really large ones are considered “dinner plate” sized).
I’m not Irish at all. Growing up in New York, I felt like I was in the minority because of this fact. In elementary school, St. Patrick’s Day meant someone’s mom brought homemade Irish soda bread and we made leprechaun arts and crafts. As an adult, the focus is on green beer. No matter what your plans are for St. Patrick’s this year, here are a few fun ideas to incorporate into your plans, including two alternatives to green beer.
It’s no secret that I’m a huge history nerd and I love museums and historic places. So it makes sense that I’m dying to plan events at some of the amazing museums that DC has to offer. I’ve already crossed the Newseum and the Library of Congress off of my list, but here are a few others where I’d love to work, or even just attend!
Smithsonian Air & Space Museum
There are actually two air and space Smithsonians – one on the National Mall in Washington, DC, and one near the Dulles Airport in Chantilly. Both look like pretty fabulous places to host events. I wouldn’t mind having to “work around the giant airplane” in my design! The museum’s various halls and exhibits can accommodate events of up to 7,000 people for a reception or 1,000 people for a banquet. More info here.
If you do any bit of event planning at all you know that you can’t go it alone. Even if you are the sole planner working on an event, you need to work with at least one vendor (but probably multiple vendors) to make it happen. Beyond just working with vendors, it’s important to build relationships with them (if you’re wondering why, ready my previous post on the value of building relationships with hotels).
But in a business that’s built on relationships, there is one almost constant hiccup – incredibly high turnover in the hospitality industry. It’s not uncommon for hotel staff to jump around from property to property.
I’ve never worked in hospitality in any capacity; I’ve always been squarely on the event planning side, a buyer – not a supplier. I have a bit of an understanding why there is so much turnover from my friends who work in hotels, but it’s not my place to speak for them.
I feel like I’ve been cheating with this flower series. I started it as a means to learn more about flowers, but last week and this week I’ve focused on flowers that I already know a bit about. But I have an excuse: today, the east coast is getting slammed but yet another winter storm and I can’t help but long for spring and summer. No flower says summer quite like sunflowers. So today, I wanted to share some photos and information on these gorgeous flowers.
Sunflowers have a reputation for being more of a casual flower, kind of the opposite of roses. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use sunflowers in formal arrangements or weddings. I had sunflowers in my wedding bouquet – they weren’t the focus, just a complement. Sunflowers look fabulous with wildflowers, they also look amazing on their own. While sunflowers can come with a long stem (they can grow 6 feet tall or more!), you can bunch them together for a bouquet or arrangement, or take advantage of their height with tall arrangements. Sunflowers work great with a rustic summer wedding, but you don’t have to be going for rustic to use them, either.
Brunch is my favorite. I love going to brunch, I love hosting brunch. I love breakfast foods and I adore mimosas. I wish I had thought about brunch weddings when I was getting married myself a few years ago because I would have absolutely done it.
So many weddings are evening affairs but you don’t have to follow the crowd. If you have even an inkling that you might enjoy a brunch wedding, here are 10 reasons why a brunch wedding is a fantastic idea that will put you over the edge.
#10 You will save money
Most social events are in the evening, which drives up demand and thus pricing. You will almost always pay a premium for a Saturday night wedding reception. You may pay a bit less for Friday or Sunday night. But Saturday or Sunday morning? That’s a space that wedding venues and caterers aren’t planning on selling, so they can offer a significant discount. Depending on your menu, the food and beverage costs may be lower, especially if you opt for traditional brunch and breakfast foods over filet and salmon. On the alcohol side, guests tend to drink less during the day so your bar bill will be lower. And for all of your other vendors, depending on the exact timing, they may be able to handle your wedding in addition to a night event, so they may be able to discount. For all the money you’re saving, you might be able to invite more guests, upgrade something, or just pocket the dough for that house down payment.
For most events that you might be hosting, the food and beverage can easily be the most expensive cost. I’ve already covered some tips for saving money on your entire menu here, but I thought I might offer some suggestions specific to saving on alcohol, as bar costs can quickly add up if you’re not careful. Not all of these suggestions may work or be appropriate for your event, but it’s good to be aware of them.
BYO – Bring Your Own
One of the easiest ways to save money on alcohol is to provide it yourself, meaning, the event host goes out and buys the wine, beer and/or liquor, and brings it to the event venue to be served by the caterer. Unfortunately, this is not always an option. Depending on your venue and vendors and their liquor licenses, they may or may not be able to allow you to provide your own alcohol. Check your contract – there will be an exclusive provider clause in there if you aren’t able to bring your own. I’ve had better luck with this working at special events venues where you can bring your own caterer; many caterers allow you to provide your own alcohol.
I’ve had tulips on my mind lately, mostly because I feel surrounded by them at work thanks to Valentine’s Day deliveries and some recent event centerpieces. Tulips are some of the most recognizable flowers, they aren’t terribly expensive, and they are widely available. That might lead some people to believe that they aren’t special, but I’ve always found tulips to be beautiful. What I didn’t know was how many different varieties of tulips exist in the world.
Standard tulips – the kind that most people would identify as tulips – are available year round. They typically have a 1 inch bloom size, and are available in a variety of colors – reds, pinks, yellows, white, purple. Some (not all) have a light scent.
I have a not-so-secret passion for history. I was a history major in college, I once had dreams of being a history professor. I even dabbled in museum studies before finding my way to the meetings and events industry. And I always love unique event spaces. So when I come across an event space that is unique and historic – well, it’s bound to be a new favorite for me.
The Warner Theatre is one such space in Washington, DC. On it’s own, a working theatre is a unique event space, especially for a wedding or gala. Add in the history of the building, and you have a unique venue with a great story. I recently had the opportunity to visit the Warner Theatre and I was impressed with the grandeur of the building – it truly is like stepping back in time.
In terms of location, the Warner Theatre boasts a good one. It’s right in the middle of downtown, only a block from Metro Center station. As you approach the theatre, it’s hard to miss – there is an enormous marquee outside.