Tuesday, November 13, 2012

From Inspiration to Reality: Pirate Birthday Party

Arrr you looking for ideas for a Pirate themed birthday party? I had the pleasure of designing a pirate themed party for a client and know the band of 9 year old pirates-to-be loved it!

The party started with these perfectly themed treasure map invitations that were customized by Suenios Encantados.

"X" marked the spot 

Old and broken fence boards came in very handy for signs!

 A Styrofoam wreath wrapped in black and white stripe fabric that was covered in black tulle, skeletons, necklaces, jewels, and gold coins greeted guests.

A photo booth provided lots of opportunities for the little Buccaneers to show off their pirate loot! 

A scavenger hunt is sure to keep your little Scallywags busy! I divided the guests up into two different teams and had them each get an initial clue on a puzzle piece that would lead the two teams into different places. 

Each puzzle piece led to another clue and when the last collected puzzle piece instructed them to put their pieces together for the next party event! The fun could lead to the cake, pinata, games, gifts or whatever!

I tried to keep the clues "Pirate themed", but the party was outside so I also had to give clues to different objects on the property. This clue led them to the light post by the driveway- making sure to give clues that are age appropriate and safe!

Inside the house the table was decorated with a burlap tablecloth that had fishnet overlays. Black candelabra with red taper candles were strung with necklaces and the table was covered in pirate loot.

 A pirate theme isn't complete without a skull with an eye patch and jewels cascading from his jaw!

 The birthday boy's initial was painted and distressed in coordinating colors.

The party had plenty to keep ye mateys busy:
Photo booth
Scavenger Hunt
Pirate ship pinata
Guess the number of lost eyeballs in the apothecary jar
Pirate Loot
Canon Fight (Water balloon fight)

Some clues that I used:
Rock: A rolling _____gathers no moss 
Flag Pole: Other boats know a pirate ship by this flapping in the wind, high above the boat
Garage: A pirate's ship hides in coveys, but the treasure is where your transportation hides
Soccer goal: You next clue is hidden here, in case you're keeping "score"
Boat Trailer: You may use me to haul your boat, but I'm where the dead men float (I left balloons tied to a skeleton floating.)
I left clues at the dog house (the first clue for one team in the photo above), trampoline, counted off steps to the next clue and more! 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Real Wedding: Meagan and Eric

I met Meagan and her mother in early 2012 to begin planning her July 2012 wedding. I knew right away that I would love working with this family! Meagan had a wonderful vision of what she wanted for her wedding and I think she and her family did a beautiful job!

A coordinator's job is never dull!

The sweetest moments!

 The reception:

The beautiful blush hydrangeas and baby's breath centerpieces

I had a difficult time deciding which cake I wanted! In the end, I ended up with the groom's cookie cake!

Full House rocked the barn!

The new Mr. and Mrs.!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Tips for Tipping

There are so many details to consider when planning a wedding that sometimes tipping slips your mind until the very last minute. I get asked this question quite a lot so I felt it deserved some extra attention.

As always, your vendors will love receiving a heartfelt thank you note letting them know how thankful you were for their services on such a monumental day!

When deciding who to tip at your wedding and how much to tip, look at the type of service that is being provided and whether a gratuity or service charge is already included in their contract. Classic example, some caterers include a staff gratuity or service charge on top their invoices so you might want to double check your contract!

One of the most often questioned vendor is how much to tip the officiant:
Often, an officiant may charge a fee or request a donation to the church for performing your wedding ceremony. A small gift and a thank you note are a wonderful way to show your appreciation.

Wedding Coordinator/Photographers/Florists/Bakery/Videographers
These vendors typically charge a flat fee for their services and typically do not expect a tip, but they are always appreciated and if you think they went above and beyond their duties a heartfelt thank you note and small gift would be just fine.

Tips are most often delivered at the end of the reception for vendors partaking in the reception in envelopes delivered by a designated person or your wedding coordinator. Some can be tipped at the rehearsal dinner or after the ceremony.

Remember-Tips aren't expected, but are an additional thank you for a job well done!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Food for Fetes: Catering Trends for 2012

It's been a while since my last blog and I"m feeling a bit rusty, but I did want to share with you the newest trends in catering that the March/April Special Events Magazine highlighted for 2012! You can check out the full article here.
Most couples put a lot of thought and careful planning into what they serve their wedding guests and I always appreciate the careful consideration when I attend a wedding! Let's start with your guests first introduction to your reception fete:
The Cocktail Hour:
Have you heard of infusion bars?
(Champagne infusion bar photo courtesy of Project Wedding )
Infusion bars allow guests to customize their libations by adding syrups, fruit, liqeuors, etc. It also is sure to encourage connection and conversation among your guests!
There can also be wine tasting receptions! Guests can start the reception in a wine cellar and partake in a private wine tasting complete with custom wedding labels and corks! This would be ideal for a rustic or garden/vineyard theme.
How about more playful savory mini cupcakes and lolipops for your guests? You definitely want to think about bite-sized options for your guests during the cocktail hour and who wouldn't enjoy a savory cupcake favorite like Lobster and manchego cupcakes with chive creme fraiche icing? Oh, my!
The Main Course:
Now that you've treated your guets to Champagne, Martini or Vodka infusion bars and then teased them with savory bite-size apetizers it's time to really treat them and their taste buds!
Spring and summer weddings would definitely shock guests with Chilled soup stations. You can treat guests to seasonal chilled soups and even follow up with fruit soups for dessert. My husband would go nuts for classic tomato gazpacho with grilled shrimp and cilantro oil!
How about Fusion Cuisine? I've actually seen these for a while, but cross-cultural cooking is still a hit and I've seen classic American and Latin American fusions as well as American and Laio. Sushi? Dim Sum? Yes, please!
Ever think of using small plates for your guests to sample your fete? Having different stations and utilizing small plates keeps the feel of your reception more casual and fun with less formality like plated dinners.
My favorite: Dessert
We know that cupcakes have stolen the classic wedding cake's thunder, but another viral sugary treat that has hit the scene thanks to Pinterest Cakes in a jar! Induvidual cakes are baked in jars, mismatched vintage teacups or mugs in uniform colors that complement the wedding's overall theme. How precious!
Dessert stations with one-bite assorted finger sweets, think themed candies and cake pops, are always a hit! I see guests digging into these all night long!
Ice cream pops are very new (I haven't seen them yet!) but would treat your guests to a cool refreshment in the very hot summer months we have here in the south. Salted caramel, raspberry chocolate chile, coconut mango, espresso bean, orange pistachio and Swiss vanilla almond, too many great choices just might make me visit twice!
The After Party:
You definitely work up a large appetite as you hit the dance floor and dance until the late hours of the night and you're sure to need something to soak up the infusion bar drinks too! Take guests back to their childhood with grilled cheese sandwiches! We're not talking about Wonder Bread and Veleeta cheese slices here, but meat and cheese combos such as slow cooked short ribs with fontina cheese, duck confit with Brie, and Maine lobster with Gruyere!
There's always the grilled cheese sandwich with tomota soup shooters, and shoe-string fries washed down with mini-milkshakes (LOVE this one!), French toast cubes with nutella hazelnut spread, blueberry sauce or chocolate ganache offer a sweet ending to the night!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What's Hot: Wedding Genealogy

These genealogy charts hit the scene last year, but I ran across these customized wedding genealogy charts from Melangerie Inc. and cant' get enough of them! Your guests will love getting to see how the bride and groom know all of their guests and even how the guests know each other. It's truly a small world after all (insert theme song here!)
These are 100% customized to your wedding size, theme, colors, etc. and you can contact the talented ladies at Melangerie or their Etsy shop for more details!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What they're saying

I received this wonderful email from Jackie and Bobby! It is wonderful to work with such wonderful clients who you end up calling your friends!!
My husband and I had the privilege of working with Shannon Langston in
planning our wedding. As Bobby and I are both full time students and live about
10 hours away from Fayetteville, AR where our wedding was taking place, Shannon
was invaluable in coordinating and facilitating our wedding plans. She worked
closely with my mother and consolidated detailed lists for me when my opinion
was needed for decisions. She was incredibly patient with the frequently delayed
responses that I sent when school was overwhelming and never made me feel
pressured or stressed :) . She really saw the vision I had for my wedding and
helped refine the ideas in my head so that they could be made into reality
through the bouquets, rental pieces, table linens and overall flow for the
reception. Her experience and contacts with vendors in the area was extremely
valuable as the majority of our planning was accomplished in the last 3 months
before the wedding. She kept us organized and on track and really helped lift
some of the burden of planning from my mother. The day of the wedding
came and Shannon was everywhere making sure everything went smoothly so that we
could just enjoy our day. My mother got to simply enjoy being the mother of the
bride and I got to spend that special time with her while Shannon managed the
details. Her positive and calming presence meant a great deal to me before the
ceremony as I was suddenly overcome by emotion before my walk down the aisle :)
Shannon was a tremendous help during the reception where she helped us stay on
track to do everything we planned to do. She made us plates for our sweetheart
table so that we could visit with family, guided us to the cake table at the
right time for toasts and cutting the cake, let us know when it was time to
change into our Lao outfits for our special dances and overall just made sure
that everything went as we'd planned. I absolutely cannot thank her enough for
all of the time and effort she put into making our wedding more than we even
hoped for. Thank you Shannon! Bobby and I will always treasure the wonderful day
you helped create for us.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Real Wedding: Jackie and Bobby

I often tell the story of my trip to London in 2000 and how small the world truly is and that the degrees of separation are less than 3 in my world. Here's the story: I was outside the Queen's Theatre at 2:00am after seeing "Phantom of the Opera" where I ran into someone I knew from the University of Arkansas some 3,000+ miles away! What are the chances of that and how does this story relate to Jackie and Bobby?!

While in our initial consultation, Jackie mentioned that she was currently living in San Antonio, Texas finishing her Doctorate in Physical Therapy. I mentioned that my son was currently in therapy while we were meeting to find out that her mother is a therapist at the same clinic! I loved Jackie's sweet spirit and her mother as well, so I'm so glad they agreed to let me share in their family's very special day!

There were hundreds of wonderful photos from their wedding, but I wanted to show you some of my favorites!
These are the emotions I never get to see!
Her beautiful bouquet of cream roses and calla lillies wrapped in white lace and a crystal brooch.
This guest book touched my heart! The guests were asked to sign Jackie and Bobby's Family Bible or sign by their favorite verse in the bible!
The reception was lit with over 150 candles for a very intimate glow.
I love the arieal view of the tables that were taken by the photographer, also the brides brother-in-law!
The couple did a wonderul job of bringing together both of their cultures as the dinner began with a Laotian prayer by the groom's grandmother.
The couple did a costume change during the reception and re-entered in Lao dress and then got the entire crowd involved!
A family friend of the groom's carved out these incredible watermelons and created the gorgeous fruit display! Incredible!!

These are priceless memories! The flower girl (also the bride's niece) had danced her heart out!
The guests were treated to a boutiful candy buffet to keep them fueled for hours of dancing!
Reception Venur-Fayetteville Town Center
Florist-Jules Design
DJ-Groove Productions
Bartending-Premiere Bartendening
Caterers-Noodles Italian Kitchen and Twin Kitchens
Cakes-Rick's Bakery
Photographer-Felix (Bride's brother-in-law)
(Blogger won't let me link to these vendors, but they did a wonderful job on this wedding!)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Defining the terms: Wedding Planner and day-of-coordinator

Most wedding planners (including myself) are asked this question: What's the difference between a wedding planner and a day-of-coordinator?
The Winter 2012 issue of Martha Stewart Weddings directly answered this question!
Acutally, they're all planners. but their roles change depending on what you hire them for. If you want help with pretty much everything-from setting a budget to sourcing favors-this is considered full-service planning. You'll need to bring someone on months in advance, and they'll work with you all the way up to the big day, which they'll spend finalizing last-minute details and troubleshooting unexpected problems.
If you'd like to handle most things yourself (DIY bride), but want someone to setp in when the date draws close, most planners also provide day-of services. In this situation, theyll come onboard a few weeks early. First, they'll wrap her head around the plans you've already made and create an itinerary for the day. Then, they'll become the point person for your vendors. Day-of, they'll be on-site to make sure people and objects are where they need to be.
*Did you know that I offer both services, but specialize in day-of coordination?!

Monday, January 9, 2012

2012 Arkansas Razorback Football Schedule

Well, the Hogs wrapped up a great year on January 6th as they beat Kansas State in the Cotton Bowl!! We know how serious football is here in the south and we definitely don't want your guestlist to dwindle by scheduling your wedding on a home Razorback game! (I've seen it happen all too often!)

2012 Arkansas Razorbacks Schedule (1 game to be added)

Sept. 1 Jacksonville State Home
Sept. 8 Louisiana-Monroe Home
Sept. 15 Alabama Home
Sept. 22 *Potential Home/Away Game or Open Date (TBD)
Sept. 29 vs. Texas A&M# TBD
Oct. 6 at Auburn Auburn, Ala.
Oct. 13 Kentucky Home
Oct. 20 * Potential Home/Away Game or Open Date (TBD)
Oct. 27 Ole Miss Home
Nov. 3 Tulsa Home Nov. 10 at South Carolina Columbia, S.C.
Nov. 17 at Mississippi State Starkville, Miss.
Nov. 24 LSU Home
* Additional non-conference game will be added on Sept. 22 or Oct. 20. Other date will be open date. # Texas A&M will be the home team at site to be determined