Archive for August, 2010

Party Decoration Ideas for a White Theme Party

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Labor Day is just a week away and typically this holiday weekend signifies the end of summer and the end of wearing white.  Therefore, why not go out with a bang with a white theme party?  Here are some party decoration ideas including some finger food ideas for a white party theme.

First, set the tone for a white theme party with an invitation that specifically states what the party is all about.  Last summer I attended a white party theme special event and on the invitation  it specifically stated that you had to wear white to gain entry into the event.  Believe me, when it is mandatory that you wear white and you don’t, it’s obvious!

Next, think about party decoration ideas.  Some quick and easy flower arrangements using all white flowers are a must as well.  Roses, hydrangeas, orchids, mums, daisies are all readily available flowers that you can use for these arrangements.

Submerge a white Cymbidium orchid in a small glass container and maybe add an accent color with the glass beads.  Or, do a reverse color flower arrangement for your white theme party by using white rocks, a clear glass container and submerging a green, yellow or pink Cymbidium orchid.  (Other flower arranging ideas with instructions can be found on pages 59 to 65 in Budget Bash).

Other party decoration ideas include white votive candles, pillar candles of various heights and shapes as well as white taper candles will not only add a nice ambiance to your event but also stay within your theme.  If you can’t rent white furniture or don’t have it readily available, then pick up some large white pillows or bean bag chairs and throw those on the floor to help accent your white party theme.  Of course for your food, rent or purchase white linens, white china or (plastic will work as well) and don’t forget a white dance floor.

Now here are some quick and easy finger food ideas for a white theme party. These selections can easily be found at your local market if you don’t have the time to prepare them prior to your event.

1.  Selection of white European cheeses and sliced crostini
2.  Garlic, plain and eggplant hummus accompanied by sliced pita bread
3.  Artichoke heart bruschetta served on an endive leaf
4.  Brie and pear quesadilla
5.  Skewered tortellini with parmesan dipping sauce

Of course, finger food ideas for dessert can include the following:

• White chocolate fondue or heated marshmallow sauce for dipping fruit
• Vanilla cupcakes
• Frozen bananas rolled in coconut
• Skewered cheesecake bites

(Note the brie and pear quesadilla recipe along with the instructions for the artichoke bruschetta can all be found in Budget Bash).

And let’s not forget your bar menu.  Create a white party theme specialty drink list and don’t forget to include:

• A White Russian
• Vanilla vodka on the rocks
• Kahlua® and Cream

I hope you can use a few of these white party theme ideas along with the party decoration ideas mentioned above for your end of summer party over the Labor Day weekend.  The finger food ideas mentioned are readily available and not too expensive and will help keep your white theme party intact.

Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!

Event Coordination for the 17th Annual SAG Awards®

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

It’s hard to believe that we are already starting event coordination for one of the premiere red carpet events in Los Angeles, the 17th Annual SAG Awards®.  Special event planning for this event usually starts about six months out and we are right on target.

One important aspect of all red carpet events is the food, and I am excited to say that today we had our initial tasting at Lucques who will once again cater the event.  Part of the task of special event planning is to review with the caterer the parameters of the food served at the event and then of course, taste it.  I know, it’s a tough job.

Sorry I can’t reveal more right now about our event coordination for the 17th Annual SAG Awards® but I will as we progress throughout the months.  It is an honor for us to once again be a part of one of the most prestigious red carpet events here in Los Angeles.  We are delighted to work with a team of special event planning experts and together make this event a magical evening for the attending guests.

Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!

Summer Appetizers Featuring the Best Crab Cakes with Lump Crabmeat

Friday, August 20th, 2010

It’s so easy to pick up recipes with the countless resources available such as the various food shows on television, lifestyle magazines and the internet.  Recently, I was working out at the gym and playing on TV was a food show featuring summer appetizers.  One of the easy-to-make recipes they featured were the best crab cakes with lump crabmeat I have ever tasted.  I was so impressed with how easy the crab cakes were to make and how great they tasted that I thought I would pass along the recipe.

Best Crab Cakes with Lump Crabmeat

1 pound lump crabmeat

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs

1/4 of green onions

2 tablespoons of mayonnaise

1 tablespoon of lime juice

Couple of splashes of Tabasco sauce

1 egg

Salt and Pepper to taste

3 Tablespoons olive oil

Place the lump crabmeat into a bowl and go through it to ensure there are no shells.  Add to the crabmeat the mayonnaise, breadcrumbs, chopped cilantro, green onions, egg, lime juice and Tabasco sauce and mix together.  Add salt and pepper to taste and refrigerate the mixture for 20 minutes.

Remove the crab cake mixture from the refrigerator and form the crab cakes.   The recipe will make 8 nice size crab cakes.

Fill a bowl with about a cup of Panko breadcrumbs and then take your formed crab cakes and gently place them in the bowl and cover them with the breadcrumbs.

Now, cook the best crab cakes by heating them in a non-stick frying skillet and coating the bottom of the skillet with olive oil.  Place the crab cakes in the heated skillet and cook them for about 6 minutes, roughly 3 minutes on each side.

Once the crab cakes are cooked, remove them, place them on your serving dish and serve the best crab cakes with your choice of toppings, whether it be guacamole, tarter sauce or a Thai chili sauce to name a few.

Other summer appetizers that are impressive and easy to make are the following:

  1. Skewered Cooked Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce (recipe on page 77 in Budget Bash)
  2. Dates with Goat Cheese Wrapped in Prosciutto with a Balsamic Glaze
  3. Mini-Hot Dogs (old-fashioned but everyone loves them!)
  4. Shot Glasses with either Gazpacho or Cucumber Soup

And for dessert to compliment those great summer appetizers be sure to include:

  1. Skewered Summer Fruit
  2. Brownie Bites
  3. Lollipop Cookies

The above mentioned appetizer selections can all be served via tray-pass and therefore you don’t have to worry about setting up a buffet.  Just make sure that if you tray pass the crab cakes to make them in bite-sized portions.  For easy decor, use loose flowers such as Cymbidium orchids, small rosemary branches or tea roses on your appetizer trays.

I hope you enjoy making these crab cakes with lump crabmeat.  As I mentioned earlier, I thought they were the best crab cakes I have ever tasted.  They are an easy item to prepare and will impress your friends if you serve them along with other summer appetizers at your next party.

Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical for all!

Wedding Decorating Ideas Using White Wedding Décor

Friday, August 13th, 2010

As a wedding event planner, it is always fun to unexpectedly come across a wedding or special event being set up.  Recently, I was traveling in Spain and our hotel had one of the most beautiful outdoor wedding locations I had ever seen.  I saw that they were hosting this wedding using white wedding décor which of course sparked the idea for this blog that describes various wedding decorating ideas.

First let’s discuss outdoor wedding locations and why this site in particular stood out as one of the prettiest I have ever seen.  Situated on the Mediterranean, the St. Regis Mardavall Mallorca Resort has a stunning view of the ocean from their large lawn where the wedding was held.  They also have a path with bougainvillea archways that is beautiful for bride and groom pictures.

Other wonderful hotel features in respect to fabulous outdoor wedding locations is the grand patio where cocktails were held.  This terrace is located just off of the main bar of the hotel and is beautifully furnished with outdoor furniture.  Therefore, you can save some money and not bring in any of your own furniture (other cost-saving wedding ideas can be found in Budget Bash).

Finally, as a wedding event planner, I felt completely at ease speaking with the catering department as they were setting up the event, and I got the sense that the hotel is very accommodating and understands the task at hand in making the wedding day special for the bride and groom.  In addition, the food and service I experienced at the hotel were among the best I have had at any hotel.

Now for some wedding decorating ideas I picked up while watching the hotel set up the white wedding décor for this wedding.

  • Use smaller tents and put them together creating individual spaces or rooms versus one large tent.  Plus the bonus of using smaller tents is that you can leave off one corner and create an outside lounge or dancing area.
  • Keep costs down with your lounge by using just votives on the coffee tables or simple white cymbidium orchids in votive glasses. (Check out other easy inexpensive décor ideas in Budget Bash – Simply Fabulous Events on a Budget.)

As a wedding event planner, I really liked the idea that they used sand as filler for the flower vase instead of colored glass or rocks.  This is a great white wedding décor idea incorporating the location with the wedding.

Other wedding decorating ideas include:

  • Use different types of flowers and vases on the tables for an eclectic look and a contrasting color such as black for an accent color.

  • Cover the chairs with white chair covers to give a clean and uniform style to the event.
  • Bring in some fun décor pieces like these 2’ diameter-sized large round candle holders and intersperse them around the reception area.

I hope you found these wedding decorating ideas interesting and can possibly incorporate them with your white wedding décor.  As I mentioned above, the hotel in Mardavall was spectacular and I would consider one of the prettiest outdoor wedding locations I have seen.

Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!

Wedding Photography Tips for When you Hire a Professional Wedding Photographer

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Today I went to interview a professional wedding photographer for my wedding occurring next year, and it sparked an idea to share my experience with my readers.  As a wedding event planner, why not provide some wedding photography tips and a wedding photography checklist to help another fellow bride with her wedding?

I think it is important when you are researching a professional wedding photographer to let your groom in on the experience. (Based upon the fact that he’s interested!)  My fiancée happens to be a professional photographer so he has a vested interest in this part of the wedding.

Therefore, take a look at different photographers’ portfolios, ask your friends, relatives, your wedding event planner for references as well as research online at various wedding sites that offer suggestions and wedding photography tips when you are first selecting your photographer.

Next, go and interview your potential photographer like I did today (well, I didn’t really interview Michael since I have worked with him as a wedding event planner on other weddings)!  It’s important that you and your fiancée are comfortable with your photographer so that you will look relaxed and happy in your pictures no matter what happens at the party.

Discuss with your professional wedding photographer what type of pictures you are looking for.

  • Do you want wedding portraits or journalistic-styled pictures?
  • Do you want black and white and color shots?
  • What type of wedding photography package do they offer?

Prior to the meeting, you should create a wedding photography checklist to help you focus in on hiring the right type of photographer for you and your fiancée.

Other wedding photography tips to think about include providing the photographer with the name of your other vendors, such as the DJ, wedding event planner and florist since many times they work together at other weddings and will talk amongst themselves as to what important shots should be captured that day.  (For additional tips on hiring your photographer as well as other vendors checkout pages 32 to 35 in Budget Bash.)

Also, very important, well in advance of your wedding, create a wedding photography checklist for your wedding day.  Remember to include and write down which type of family shots you want and who you want in them, ceremony shots, bridal room shots, candid pictures during cocktails and the reception and party shots to name a few.

Keep in mind where you’re getting married (indoors or outdoors) as well as the time of day.  You want to make sure that your photographer knows the people you want photographed by face and/or name so you might want to consider making a “facebook” for your photographer.  All of these elements are just the tip of the iceberg when you start to generate your checklist, and this is why you want to start early with your list and then continue to add to it up until your wedding day.

I hope you found these wedding photography tips helpful for when you start your selection of a professional wedding photographer.  It is not only important to create a wedding photography checklist during the selection process but also one for the wedding itself.

Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!

Wedding Dress Tips for When You are Considering Wedding Dress Styles

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

When you buy a wedding dress, there are quite a few things to consider with wedding dress designs.  What I thought I would share with you are some wedding dress tips that I learned while in the process of buying my wedding dress.

1.    One of the first wedding dress tips you should consider is to keep an open mind.  Since there are so many wedding dress styles available, even before you go to buy a wedding dress, you can easily be overwhelmed.

I was very specific about the type of wedding dress I was going to wear.  I swore I was going to buy a tea length wedding dress that was vintage, very 50’s, and ended up purchasing a mermaid wedding dress.  Go figure!  Therefore, don’t be surprised if you end up trying on something you thought you would never wear and end up loving it.

2.    Go with your gut.  Once you try on the dress and it looks fabulous on you, then you are done shopping and you don’t need to continue looking at various wedding dress designs.  You will stress out and make yourself crazy if you start comparing your dress with others you see in magazines, stores and online.

3.    Before you buy a wedding dress, determine what your budget is.  When I was researching various wedding dress styles, I telephoned the manufacturer to learn where the dress was sold locally.  I then called the store to find out what the price was to determine if the dress was in my budget.  Don’t discount a dress if it is very inexpensive, again go try it on, you might be pleasantly surprised.

4.    On a tight budget? Then once you have an idea of wedding dress styles and what type of wedding dress looks good on you, check out eBay, wedding dress consignment stores, thrift stores, sample sales and in some cities, you can rent your wedding dress as well.  I knew someone who once stumbled upon a garage sale and there, hanging on the garage, was her wedding dress!  (For a sample wedding budget check out page 8 in Budget Bash.)

5.    Some other wedding dress tips to keep in mind are to remember that you want to be comfortable on your wedding day.  Never in a million years did I think I would be comfortable in a mermaid wedding dress but was pleasantly surprised when I tried it on and not only did it fit perfectly but it was also easy to move around in.

6.    Also, remember not all wedding dress designs will fit you perfectly especially in the dress length.  Therefore, leave yourself a few months for alterations.  If you have to order the dress, then tag on another 6 months leaving yourself with at least an 8 months lead time for manufacturing and altering the dress prior to your wedding day.

Of course, I can’t show you my dress, wouldn’t be fair to my fiancée.  However, it’s an off-white mermaid wedding dress and I love it!  Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!