Where in the world have I been?

I know it has been far too long since my last post. But I have a very valid reason. I was planning the biggest event I will plan in my lifetime, my wedding!

I didn’t want to bog down BTEE with wedding posts, so I was so excited to be selected as a Bridal Blogger over at Partyspace.com. I was able to share consistent wedding planning updates over there, and it was truly an enjoyable experience. Not to mention, I have a way to go back and remember some of those happy planning moments again.

But, I decided that I should definitely do a recap post for Beyond the Essentials blog. So, here it is pictures and all.

Since this an event planning blog, I really cannot have a complete post without providing some planning advice and tips that I used and learned along the way.

1. Be Organized – I am an organized person by nature, and I believe it has helped me in my career tremendously. However, I have worked with planners that have not been organized and very last minute. You can’t be that type of planner when it comes to weddings. I had a very detailed spreadsheet from day one, my wedding notebook was filled with to do list by the end of it all and I couldn’t have done anything without those tools.

2. Have the big picture in mind – My husband and I took a step back very early on the planning process to make sure we were on the same page for the big picture vision of our wedding. This picture is what guided every step we took to pull this off. That isn’t to say ideas didn’t come up last minute or we each made random purchases that we thought our wedding needed, but we knew it all fit into the big picture. So those decisions were easy to make and to justify.

3. Details Matter – Most event planners know, details matter. Not everyone will notice them, but there are people who will. So take the time to put those specials details into any event you plan.

For all the brides to be out there, you can find my very detailed advice here.

Now, to the fun part…PICTURES


Brides Gown: Maggie Sottero ” Sydney ” – Brides and Grooms, Delaware
Grooms Attire: Formal Affairs, Delaware
Bridesmaids Gowns: Alfred Sung, Brides and Grooms, Delaware
Venue: White Clay Creek Country Club, Delaware
Photographer: Sean Kane, The Pros
Floral Arrangements: Ramone’s Flowers, Delaware


I’ve included this picture because it is very important to set the tone of your wedding early on. We wanted our guests to have fun, so when my husband entered the ceremony to King of Rock by Run DMC and obviously did some entertaining on his way down the aisle, guests knew for sure, this was going to be fun!


Ceremony Space


Card Table – These letters were my one and only DIY project


Ashley’s Creation – Our Card Box


Our Cake Table – Instead of a traditional tiered cake or even the trend of cupcakes, we opted for a cheesecake. We had a cheesecake bar for the guests! 


Ceremony Decor


Reception Room


Hosting a Bridal Shower

Beyond the Essentials Event Blog - Hosting a Bridal ShowerOf all the wedding celebrations, the bridal shower is the one you can get the most creative with. There are lingerie showers, Tupperware showers, honeymoon showers, Jack and Jill/Co-ed showers, brunch showers, slumber parties and of course the most popular, old fashioned, ladies only bridal shower.

1.  Check in with the Bride

Whether it’s a surprise or planned, you should do a check in with the bride to see if she has any strong wants or dislikes. You could have your plan all set for a lingerie party, but the bride has her heart set on a ladies brunch. Before you get too far with your planning, make sure you have a general idea of what the bride would be excited to see. A creativ way to achieve this is by asking impactful questions. One question that can give you a good idea of what the bride cares about is: “If I had an extra $200 to spend on your shower, what element would you like to see it go to? “. This allows you to find out what the bride is really looking for to. It could be an upgraded venue, food and drink, decorations or favors for the guest. You don’t have to invest actual money into that particular element, but it you can invest your effort, knowing the bride will appreciate it. Continue reading

Tis the season for…hot chocolate

If there is one thing I actually enjoy about the winter season, it’s hot chocolate. And popcorn balls. Hot chocolate and popcorn balls. But today, I’d like to explore my love for the many possibilities of hot chocolate.

So often the holidays just pass us by. We say we’re going to invite people over, we say we’re going to have a holiday party and then before you know it, it’s New Years Eve! I have a solution for you!

If you don’t have the time to pull together a cookie exchange party, white elephant party or even an ugly sweater party, consider having a hot chocolate party. It’s actually quite simple since you’re only offering beverages and maybe a few cookies or treats to enjoy. Be sure to invite your guests over after dinner time, as to manage their expectations of a very simple and sweet party. It’s all in the spirit of gathering with friends and family and enjoying the holidays. And hot chocolate.

Grab some mugs, invite your friends over and enjoy some of these delicious hot chocolate recipes with your loved ones.

The Classic Twist: Red Velvet Hot Chocolate 

Continue reading

The Coming and Going of Trends: Birthday Cake Flavor

efdecca019f45eef53acff0f9d3b4e07While we wait for the next new ” cupcake ” trend to take lead, there’s another trend doing a switch. Apparently, people are over the bacon craze and it’s time to get celebratory with birthday cake flavors! Who can blame them, everyone loves to celebrate a birthday and besides gifts, birthday cake is the best part of the celebration!

I am a fan of bacon, but not I never got too far into the trend. Now, birthday cake is something I can definitely get behind, with a spoon or fork preferably. So, in honor of my new birthday year I bring to you my favorite birthday cake flavored items! I hope these are enough to get your mouth watering, excitement going and ready to jump on the birthday cake bandwagon.  Continue reading

My Events: Passing the Torch, an annual fundraiser

I haven’t posted in awhile, but for good reason, I’ve been busy planning my annual fundraiser, Passing the Torch. In its 8th year Passing the Torch continues to honor family owned business. This is my 7th year planning and coordinating this event and while they have all been great, I believe (and have been told) this was the best one yet!

Typically, we honor a mix of women and men, but this year we honored three outstanding women entrepreneurs and decided to make it ” Ladies Night “. Pulling the orange from the past orange, burgundy and yellow color scheme, I decided on an orange, raspberry and hot pink theme with a background of gray (highlighted in the gray drapes and silver chair covers) for this year’s event.

Beyond the Essentials Events Blog - My Events: Passing the Torch

The decor highlight of the evening were the orange Queen of Love chairs we had for our honorees to enjoy throughout the program.  Continue reading

Inspiration Thursdays…Creative Ways to Label Food at a Party

Beyond the Essentials Event Blog - Creative Ways to Label Food at a PartyAs the host of a party, we deserve to have a good time too! But as someone commented on my recent post regarding hiring a bartender, sometimes our enjoyment is boggled down with serving our guests and answering a slew of questions, including, ” what is this? ” and ” what does this have in it?”.

When hosting an event in your home, usually you are familiar with the likes, dislikes and allergies of your guest list. If I have a guest who is allergic to a particular food item, when greeting them I tell them what on the menu was created with them in mind, and what items they should stay away from. There are usually only one or two guests with severe allergies, so it isn’t a major inconvenience on your part.

On the other hand, ” what is this?” will be asked by everyone. Here are a few creative (and fun) ways to label food for your guests. Continue reading