Archive for April, 2011

An Engagement Dinner at Il Tiramisu

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Recently, my brothers and their wives threw a surprise engagement dinner at Il Tiramisu restaurant in Sherman Oaks, California, and I thought I would share with you some engagement party ideas that they implemented at our dinner.  Plus I would love to tell you about our dinner party menu and how it fit within the theme for the party.

The first thing to think about when planning an engagement dinner is your budget and guest list.  This budget and guest list were easy for us since it was a surprise but some things to think about at a restaurant party such as Il Tiramisu are the cost of the dinner, tax, tip and guest count.  Depending upon the guest count is where the restaurant will seat you.  Do they have a private dining room or are you seated in the main restaurant or a portion of the restaurant?  In our case, we were seated on one side of the restaurant at one long table.

Some engagement party ideas to consider are the seating arrangements and whether or not to bring in your own wine.  Our hosts used heart shaped cookies as place cards which added to the table decor as well as small dishes of candy that were placed down the center of the table.  Bringing in the wines was a great idea since it saved money and also provided a variety of choices.  Since the guests were mostly wine collectors it also provided a great conversation starter since no one knew one another prior to the engagement dinner.

Other engagement party ideas to think about are the invitations and the party theme.  Since we are honeymooning in Italy, the theme of the evening was Italy.  Not only the restaurant choice but also the Italian wines selected for the table and the invitations for the event were all centered around Italy.

Our dinner party menu at Il Tiramisu was a four-course engagement dinner.  We started with a pasta, Crespelle di Zucca, a crepe filled pasta with butternut squash and ricotta cheese in a light cream sauce then the house salad.  Our third-course was a choice of Salmon Cipriani, Veal Scallopini Marsala or Chicken Picata.  And of course, Tiramisu for dessert.  The food was great as well as the service and every course was well-paced giving us plenty of time to converse and enjoy our meal.

When thinking about your dinner party menu, remember to select a variety of dishes to please every palette as well as to make sure dietary restrictions and allergies can be accommodated.  What I liked about Il Tiramisu is that when they started to take our dinner orders they asked each guest about diet or allergies and were to able to accommodate each guest’s dietary needs.

I can’t believe my wedding is less than three weeks away! We had such fun at our engagement dinner at Il Tiramisu and I hope you picked up some engagement party ideas from this article.  To learn more about planning parties, whether big or small and to pick up a dinner party menu or two check out Budget Bash.  Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra:  make it simple, stylish, fun and economical to all!

Corporate Event Ideas for Maintaining Corporate Event Planning Budget

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Recently, I produced an event for a long time client and thought I would share some corporate event ideas that I used during the process of planning this event.  I find planning corporate events just as challenging as planning any other type of event and here are a few tips to think about when considering corporate event planning.

Like any other event, determine a budget when planning corporate events and follow it through.   It seems across the board corporate event planning budgets have decreased, and in the case of this event, I suggested to the client that we even cut the budget more than in previous years as a start and then if need be, add to the budget later.  Our strategy worked since it seems that vendors as well as event planning providers understand that there are less events happening and are more willing to work within the budget you provide and still help create an outstanding event.

One of the corporate event ideas I discussed with my client and which also helped keep our budget costs down was to bring in our own wine.  We weren’t crazy about the list of wines offered at this venue and thought why not buy the wine and pay the corkage fee.  Thus, we would be serving wines to our liking while saving money (we saved over $500 plus sales tax).

Other corporate event ideas we used to keep our budget costs low were to shorten the length of our cocktail hour from an hour to 45 minutes and also to hold the event earlier in the evening on a Sunday night.  By shortening the cocktail hour time, we didn’t serve as many appetizers which were charged on a piece-by-piece per person cost, and we also cut down on the amount of cocktails served during the shortened time period.  Holding the event on Sunday can save you money when planning corporate events because at most sites, especially restaurants, Sunday is a slower night especially early Sunday eve and you might be able to negotiate a better rate.

When planning corporate events, think about the timing of the event itself and how to use the time period of the dinner portion effectively.  This is another one of the corporate event ideas we put to good use.  Since we held the event at a steak house and all dinners were cooked to order, we had quite a delay between our first course and the main course.  Thus, we used this extra time by honoring those people in the company who were receiving promotions.  Keep in mind with corporate event planning, you still want the event to move thus be sure to set time limits with your speakers.

Summertime company picnics and events are near, and I hope you can implement some of these corporate event ideas during your corporate event planning process.  Planning corporate events still require careful consideration especially with budgets, and there are many creative ways to help you keep those budgets in check.  Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra:  make it simple, stylish, fun and economical to all!

Flower Tips for Springtime Flowers

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Love the springtime, especially since so many pretty springtime flowers are more readily available and are priced more economically.  Here are a few flower tips for your at-home flower arrangements.

It is best to cut your springtime flowers at a 45 degree angle and to use a knife versus a scissor.  You will create a better surface area for the flower to absorb the water when using a sharp knife.  Also, make sure the water is at room temperature and not too cold for the flower arrangements so that  you don’t shock the flowers.

Flower tips for tulips include something I just learned which is to place a penny at the bottom of the vase.   The penny prevents the tulips from falling over, and they will stand straight for the time you enjoy the flower arrangements.

Something I learned long ago is to eliminate all of the foliage below the water line from the stems of your springtime flowers.  Removing the greens from the stems allows more nourishment and water to the flower.  I also like to stock up on the flower nourishment packets, and I always add one to the flower water to help lengthen the life of the arrangement.

Other flower tips include changing the water every few days, re-cutting the stems and keeping the flower arrangements out of the direct sun.

I love using cymbidium orchids for simple flower arrangements since they last quite a while and are easy to work with.  I just coordinated a party and the florist created simple bathroom arrangements using cymbidiums.  Just one stem in a small glass container.  Not only does the flower add color to the room but these arrangements are simple, fast and easy to make.

So many of my non-profit clients use cymbidium orchids since you don’t have to use too many to create effective flower arrangements, and you can intersperse them with pillar and floating candle arrangements.  One type of entry piece you can create with cymbidiums is to take a long stem with the orchids bloomed and simply drop it in a tall cylinder glass container filled with a couple of inches of water.  Then use contrasting colored rocks or glass marbles and place them on the bottom of the container.

Accent the tall arrangements with pillar candles in various heights as well as various glass containers filled with water and floating candles.

I hope you were able to pick up a couple of  flower tips that you didn’t know previously and can use these tips for any of the  springtime flowers you buy for your at-home flower arrangements.  To make quick and easy flower designs, look to cymbidium orchids and intersperse them with various candle arrangements.  Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, stylish, fun and economical to all!