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

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Hosting a Going Away Party

Saying goodbye is never easy. But we can lift everyone’s spirits with a going away party to send them off!

Starting the Planning

Going away parties should be held within two weeks of the guest of honors departure. It can be a surprise, but make sure you do your research, as they might be busy getting ready for the move and other people might be planning parties for them too.

Gifts aren’t required for going away parties and in fact, it should be noted on the invitation for guests not to bring any. The guest of honor is already packing up their life; they don’t need any additional baggage.

As always, start the theme with the invitations. Here are a few theme ideas: Continue reading

If you’re going to do…Creative Guest Books Edition

For those of you who are thinking you can skip this post because “guest books are just for weddings “. I say to you, No Way! Remember, guest books are for your special occasion of choice. Birthday parties, baby showers, housewarming parties and even sip and sees. Any event you want to remember and remember who you shared it with, guest books are for you.

The purpose of a guest book originated as the idea to gather the information of guests attending a special event to be remembered and used as a souvenir of sorts.  They were actual books available for guests to sign and provide their contact information; this allowed the event host to have on hand information for thank you notes. Now you find that event hosts aren’t just collecting names and contact information, they are looking for sincere reminders of the special occasions. We’re not collecting information; we’re gathering best wishes, remarks and pictures from guests to hold on the memory of our special occasion. There has been a great deal of creativity brought to the idea of guest books that we see today. From fingerprint Family Trees to puzzle pieces, the creative possibilities for guest books are endless.

So if you’re going to take the non-traditional route and try something innovative for your guest book, let’s remember a few things.

If you’re going to do creative guest booksMake it easy for your guests. The number one thing to remember about guest books is to make it easy for your guests. Guests come to celebrate and have fun with you, so you don’t want them spending too much time on their guest book activity. Make sure your idea and directions are easily understood and implemented.  Take for example the idea of having guests leave their fingerprint on a family tree. A very sentimental and meaningful guest book idea. If you want to use this idea, but you’re not having a small gathering (which this is much better suited for) consider having guests sign leaf cut outs, for you to place on a family tree design.

If you’re going to do creative guest booksDecide how you’ll want it to be displayed. Deciding how your guest book will be displayed, is key in deciding how creative you want to go. Will your guest book be a conversation piece? Will you keep it in safe keeping only to open when you want to relive the memories?  If you want your guest book to be on display consider having guest sign a picture of the guest(s) of honor, have them sign a piece of furniture or serving ware (serving platter, bench) or have them sign puzzle pieces that come together for a beautiful and meaningful piece of art. {You can use the puzzle pieces filled with messages, or create a photo puzzle and have guests sign the back. Either way it’s a piece of art you’ll cherish.}

If you’re going to do creative guest booksMultipurpose to save the budget. Guest books can easily be paired with place cards and table numbers. Your place cards can double as guest books by simply adding space for guests to write their message for you. You can also combine them with your table number. The time capsule/prediction idea is being used a lot lately. Have your guests leave a message for you to open on your Table 12th anniversary. Or have them leave Table 5 birthday wishes for the guest of honor. Bonus: If you are doing a guest book to gather information for thank you notes, remember to leave space for name and contact information.

If you’re going to do creative guest books…Allow the book to be the creativity. Save yourself the time spent on a DIY guest book project and let the book bring the creativity. For a child’s birthday party, buy a copy of their favorite book and have the guest sign the pages. If you’re looking for guest book ideas for a milestone birthday party (21, 30, 40, 50…), look to the classic motivational book, Dr. Suess’s Oh, The Places You’ll Go and have your guests leave motivational birthday wishes throughout the pages. You can also bring the ease of this idea to your wedding. Not sure what to do with all those engagement photos you took? Create a photo book and have your guests enjoy your photos and leave their best wishes at the same time.

What’s the most creative guest book you’ve seen? Leave a comment and share!

(Photos: etsy.com, jesihaackweddingblog.com, casasugar.com, theknot.com)

Role Reversal…How to be a Good Guest

Every event needs a good host and a good guest. The two work hand in hand for everyone to have a great time. For a change of pace, today’s post offers the essential tips on how to be a great guest.

– Don’t come empty-handed. It is proper etiquette to bring a host(ess) gift when coming to someone’s house for the first time. Following an initial visit, it’s nice to bring a bottle of wine or small gift for special occasions. Flowers, specialty bathroom soaps, wine and small gift baskets are great options for host(ess) gifts. Looking for host(ess) gift ideas? Check out my Pinterest Board.

– Arrive on time or according to the hosts style. In most cases arriving within 15 minutes of the start time is the polite move. But some friends run a little late. If you know the host tends to run late, arrive according to their typical style. Arriving early (read: on time) may be an annoyance or disturbance for them.

– RSVP On Time. Your host has a lot of planning and work to do, don’t add guessing to their list. Remember to RSVP by the requested date and let the host know if you will be attending  and how many people will be attending with you, including children (if it’s been stated you can bring guests with you). If you have any stipulations, such as a prior engagement before their event, let them know so they can understand if your plans change. If there isn’t an RSVP date, RSVP as soon as possible.

– Don’t overstay your welcome. When the party starts to die down, the host is putting away food and the end time is approaching, a good guest will pick up on the clues and say their thank you’s and goodbyes.

– Be Yourself. Everybody brings something to the party, and it’s not from the store, it’s from you! You were invited to the party because the host wanted you to share in the fun and the company. So be yourself and enjoy yourself!

Great Host + Great Guest = Great Event.

Entertaining at Home…Preparing for Attending Kids

It’ll happen at least once, you have your adult get-together planned out. Wine glasses, cocktail menu and your best plate set all ready to go. A few days before, you get a call from your best friend asking if it’s okay for her to bring her daughter. Oh No, You weren’t really planning on entertaining children. Don’t panic, just take action with the below tips and you will still have the great get-together just as you planned!

Have kid friendly foods and drinks. Even if there is only one child attending your event, a good host(ess) always has accommodating food and drink for the little ones present. It can be as simple as chicken fingers and tater tots with some apple juice.

Bonus: Make sure you have plastic/paper utensils for the children, to avoid any accidents.

Have the appropriate space for “ baby tending “. Depending on the age of the child, it’s important to have some space in a private area for any baby tending that may need to be done. It can be your bedroom or a spare bedroom, but it should be clean and have a comfortable flat space for any diaper changes, or naps.

Prepare activities. Most parents will bring toys for their child to play with, but in case they don’t purchase some for them. If you’re expecting a group of kids you can gather some coloring books and crayons or an friendly board game. If you’re a host who doesn’t have kids, it would be worth it to just invest in a few small child friendly toys for when the babysitter cancels on your guest at the last-minute.

Relax. We all know with children comes surprises and accidents. If you’re worried about any breakable items, store them away and relax. If some of your guests have to leave early due to children bed times, it’s okay, relax. Enjoy the entertainment that children always bring to a party.

Do you have any tips for entertaining with children? Leave a comment and share.

The Rules of Engagement…Parties

Engagements are usually the start to a ton of celebratory events…weddings, showers, bachelor/ette parties and sometimes…Engagement Parties. Engagement parties aren’t that common, especially in the current economy, where most are choosing to cut back as much as possible.

Engagement parties are a celebration and announcement of your new engagement, and should be thrown as close to the engagement as possible. Typically given by or for couples who have decided to have a destination wedding, that the majority of their family and friends won’t be able to attend, or if they plan on having a long engagement.

Engagement parties are also a great venue for the soon to come union of family and friends. It gives everyone a chance to meet and share in the joy of the pending nuptials.

Engagement Party Etiquette

All guests of the engagement party should be guests of the wedding. This gives you a head start at developing and narrowing down your wedding invite list. If you’re hosting an engagement party for a couple, be sure to coordinate with them for the guest list. Bonus: It’s also helpful to have decided upon your bridal party. You can invite them to the party and surprise them with the ” ask ” or use it as a time for those who don’t know each other to formally meet.

Don’t expect or ask for gifts. An engagement party whether thrown by the couple or hosted by a friend, is simply to share and celebrate the announcement of your engagement. Gifts typically are not given and having a registry on the invitations isn’t expected.

Speaking of gifts, if someone hosts an engagment party for you, be sure to get them a gift.

Engagement parties can be as formal as a wedding to as casual as a backyard get together. It’s totally up to the host and should definitely speak to the personality of the couple.

A few ideas…

Destination: If the couple is planning on having a destination wedding, why not give the guests a sneak peek of what they can expect. Whether it’s the Bahamas or Paris, bring the destination to the party!

” Tying the Knot ”

The Casual Get Together – ” Meet, Greet and Eat! ”

He ” popped ” the question!

” Getting Hitched ”

Do you have a question or idea you would like to see explored? Leave a comment and let me know! It will be featured in a future Beyond the Essentials post.