Creating Extra Space for Your Party

tent-over-deck

Having people over for a party or holiday dinner is so much fun. Sometimes, though, your family and party outgrow your space. A great way to overcome this is to add extra space by tenting your deck or patio.

A deck or patio usually has door access that can help the flow of people. The door can stay opened even in the dead of winter by heating the tent. Even in bad weather a tent can provide extra party space with minimal exposure to the elements.

 

Managing Your Wedding and Event Vendors

Managing all of the vendors for your wedding or event comes down to organization. No matter your style, there is a way to tame the madness.

Separate Email

The first suggestion is to create a separate email for your wedding/event or designate one email where everything will be sent. This will make looking back on conversations much easier.

Planning Websites

Whether you are planning a wedding, a large fundraiser, or any other event, you are likely going to need to manage various vendors and suppliers and there is likely an online tool that fits your style. Below are a few that our customers have used.

WeddingWire
Lanyon
PlanningPod

Creating Your Own System

There are a lot of resources you can use to create your own system if you don’t want to use (or pay for) one.

An easy way to create a paper system is to print out a standard form you design or download and fill out all the information for each vendor. Put this is a binder in sheet protectors with the contracts behind them. This will allow you to keep track of all the information. You can even keep all of your quotes in the binder in the back and move signed contracts to the front so you have who you talking to in an easy to access place in case they are needed.

If you are more tech savvy, you can do the same thing in Google drive. This way all of the information needed is in a uniform template making it easy to find (things like company name, contact info, overview of services contracted, etc.)

No matter how you decide to organize your vendors, decide on a system before you start making calls. This way you have a way of tracking who you have contacted.

Tipping Your Event Vendors

Tipping can be a tough topic to navigate. Below we help clarify the matter, broken down by category of vendor.

Helpful Tips

Most wedding/event professionals do not expect a tip even though it is becoming customary to tip all service providers. The only one that normally expect tips is the catering staff and the salon staff.

Catering

There are 3 ways to handle tipping the catering staff.

  1. Put it in the contract (some caterers do this, so read before you tip)
  2. Tip 15% – 20% of the bill
  3. Find out how many chefs and servers will be working your event and tip $50 – $100 per chef and $20 – $50 per server.

Wedding planner

Tipping your wedding planner is not necessary. If they gave you a large discount or went above and beyond their contracted services giving a 10-20% tip is a nice gesture, up to $500. Also, if you have professional photos of your wedding for the planner’s portfolio, that can be a great way to say thank you as well. Both a monetary tip and photos can be mailed in a thank you card after the honeymoon.

Photographer and videographer

If your photographer and/or videographer own the studio, there is no need to tip. However, if they do not, giving $50 – $100 per photographer/videographer is a nice gesture at the end of the reception but it is not required.

Ceremony staff and reception staff

Often gratuity is built into your contract for the venue staff. If it is not included below is a general guideline.

  • $200 – $300 for the maître d’
  • $20 – $50 for ceremony staff, reception staff and delivery staff
  • 10 – 20 % of liquor or food bill to be split among bartenders or waiters
  • $1 per guest for coatroom
  • $1 per car for parking attendants

These tips are usually given at the end of the event.

Officiant

A lot of times officiants do not accept tips but offering $50 – $100 is a nice gesture. If they are affiliated with a church of synagogue, make a donation to them.

The best time for this tip if the rehearsal dinner if the officiant is there. If not, after the ceremony is acceptable.

Hair and makeup artist

A tip of 15  to 25 % is expected just like if you went for your regular visit. It is a good idea to have extra just in case someone has a meltdown and the up-do needs to be redone. Tip your beauty stylists at the end of your service.

Band or DJ

Offering a 10 to 15 percent tip is a nice gesture to your band or DJ, especially if they have to carry a lot of heavy equipment from one location to the next. For musicians, a $25 to $50 tip per band member is appropriate or $50 to $150 per DJ at the end of the reception.

Tipping musicians is completely optional, depending on the quality of the job and how willing they were to follow your ideal playlist. Don’t forget about any sound technicians they bring with them too.

Transportation

A 15 percent tip is optional if it isn’t included in the contract. Tip transportation pros at the end of the night or after the last ride. If you used a separate company for the guest buses, designate a bus captain to hand the driver a tip.

Florist

The florist doesn’t expect a tip. However, if they do an outstanding job, you can consider giving them a 10 to 15 percent tip after services are rendered.

No matter who and what you decide to tip, make sure you budget for this expense so that you can keep tabs on it and aren’t scrambling at the last minute to get money where it is supposed to go.

New Year’s Eve Party Trends

New Year’s Eve is a great reason to have the all out bash you’ve wanted to have all year. Don’t know where to start? Check out some of the themes that are trending this year and things to consider while you are planning your end of year party.

Popular themes this year

This year is seeing some traditional themes plus some new themes to consider for your New Year’s Eve event.

  • Gold and Silver
  • Black Light
  • Decade Party
  • Black and White
  • Masquerade
  • Bonfire
  • Cocktail

Add some fun

No matter your theme, what’s a party without champagne and confetti? Don’t forget to add the festivity when midnight is approaching!

  • Champagne
  • Confetti
  • Balloons
  • Noise Makers
  • Streamers

Above all else, have fun ringing in the new year!

Holiday Party Planning

With parties, decorating, baking and other festivities, the holiday season can be a busy time of year. If you are looking to have a holiday party, plan early before you get over taken by all of the holiday to dos and you will have a blast.

Below are some things to keep in mind while you plan your party.

Venue, date and time

Venue, date and time are important to plan early. You want to give yourself plenty of time to plan before you need to be attending holiday events, wrapping gifts and everything else that goes on during the holiday season. Securing your venue early if you will not be having the party at home (and sometimes even if you are having it at home) will make sure you have your first choice of venue, date and time.

If you are having the party at your home, make sure you have everything you need as far in advance as possible. Things like coat racks can sell or rent out quickly.

This is also the time to decide if you will be having a sit down dinner or a buffet style party. If you are having a sit down dinner remember you have to seat everyone at the same time. If you do not have the tables and chairs to do that, consider renting them early so you know the items will be available.

Invitations

Invitations should be sent out at least 3 weeks prior to the event. During the holiday season it is a good idea to send them out earlier than that so people do not fill their calendars or miss the invitation in the mix of holiday cards.

If your guests will need to bring something such as a gift for a gift exchange or an ugly sweater for a contest you will want to give guests time to get those items ready.

When you are writing out your party invitations, be sure to include all of the following pertinent information so there is no confusion:

  • Date
  • Start and end time
  • Location
  • RSVP information (especially important for a sit down dinner party)
  • Theme if there is one
  • What guests should bring, if anything

Menu

By far the least stressful way to provide food and drinks for a party is to have it catered. If you will be short on time, this is a good route to go.

If, however, you want to do the cooking, plan on making easy things you have made before. This will help eliminate some of the stress. Also, consider making all finger foods and serving the food buffet style. This will eliminate the stress of a large dinner needing to be ready at a certain time and create less clean up after the party.

Another way to reduce the stress of food preparation is to make everything ahead of time and set your oven to 200 degrees to keep everything warm. This also works to keep buffet food warm so you can easily replenish the buffet.

Cocktails are fun, but time consuming as they are made as people want them and one drink at a time. Consider drinks such as punch, wine and beer that can be self-serve. This way you can enjoy your party instead of being a bar tender.

When you are planning your food and drinks, make sure you have enough cups, plates, spoons, forks and knives. If you do not, consider buying plastic wear or renting the items you will need.

Decorating

Lighting is important for any party. Consider turning off overhead lights and use candles and Christmas lights instead. This will create a warm glow for your party.

If you have a theme for your party, make sure to decorate for it. Otherwise, decorate your home for the holidays. This will make for a festive space for your party.

Some theme ideas are:

  • Winter wonderland
  • Green and red
  • White Christmas
  • Ugly sweater party
  • Christmas karaoke night
  • Christmas cast off exchange

Make sure to play holiday music or a holiday/party mix that is appropriate for the feel of the party.

Having some friends come over a few days before the party to decorate will make things easier and make decorating more fun.

Clean

Before the party starts, fill a tub with hot soapy water to put all of the dirty dishes in during the party. This will make them easy to clean the next day and will keep bugs at bay so you do not have to do them right after the party ends.

Place cleaning supplies near the party area for easy access so that spills can be cleaned up right away to prevent stains.

What Your Rental Company Needs From You

Making your event go smoothly is a top priority for your rental company. The more information you can give them up front the better. This will help get you the most accurate quote possible and make the event set up and break down go off without a hitch.

Event Questions

If you are just getting started in the planning process you might not know all the answers to the questions on the below questionnaire and that’s ok. These questions will help you get a clear picture of what you will need and what you need to think about.

Event Information

Some important things to think about are how many people will be invited, venue rules about deliveries/pickups, lighting available and noise policies.

Set-up Questions

It may seem like there are a lot of questions about set-up, but they can be broken down into a few categories of items that need to be discussed.

  • Time frame
    • Is there flexibility with set up or does it have to occur on a certain day or within a certain time frame?
    • When does your event set up start and when does the event actually start?
  • Space
    • What kind of access will be available?
    • What size is the space?
    • Are there any aspects of the space that may need to be addressed (trees, uneven ground, low ceilings, etc.)?
  • Equipment to be set up
    • Some items require special knowledge to set up and will be installed by your rental company. Things such as tables and chairs may be dropped off for you to set up. If you want certain things set up, make sure you communicate that with your rental company early. Also, be aware that some set ups may come with fees. Make sure to ask about any additional costs.
    • Where in your space are things to be installed?

Take Down Questions

There are a few really important pieces of information to coordinate and questions to ask about take down. They are

  • How should the equipment be left for pick up (i.e. dishes scraped, chairs stacked, etc.)
  • Who is responsible for the take down of the equipment?
  • Make sure if there are specific parameters for take down that you communicate them early.
  • When does your event end.

You may not have all the answers when you first contact a rental company but make sure you get as much information together as soon after contacting companies so that you are looking at accurate quotes and can be comfortable with the company you hire.

Planning a Halloween Party

Planning a Halloween Party? Below is the who, what, where, and when of planning.

WHO: Children, adults, all ages?

This question is important to answer first because it will affect the rest of your planning. Time of day, location, and food and drinks may have to change to be kid friendly.

THEME: Halloween is its own theme, but adding a more focused theme for costumes and decorations can be fun. Some ideas include:

  • Ghosts and goblins
  • Zombies
  • Pirates
  • Trick – or – Treat
  • Harry Potter
  • Gothic
  • Monsters

DATE/ LOCATION: Choose the date and location early so you can invite guest and have time to plan everything else. Things like seating and serving food will take some time to plan.

If you are having an outdoor party, consider renting a tent to protect against inclement weather. Whether the party is inside or outside, make sure you have enough tables and chairs for all of the activities and food. Rent anything you need early to ensure everything you need will be available.

FOOD/ DRINKS: Making food and drinks to look like body parts, creepy crawlies and blood can be a lot of fun and add to the atmosphere. Making jello and putting it on top of drinks as a “skin” layer that must be eaten through before you drink is a neat way to add a little creepy and sweet.

INVITATIONS: This is a great place to get creative. You can make cut outs of witches hats, pumpkins, etc. to write the event details on or you can buy invitations that match your theme. Make sure you put an end time, theme and costume information on the invitation to avoid confusion.

DECORATIONS: If you are going to buy your decorations, shop early to make sure that everything you want will be available. Also, have your theme and space in mind when shopping to make sure that everything will fit in your space and go together.

Diming the lights and adding fog will make any Halloween party spookier. Using black lights instead of regular light bulbs will make things glow and cast eerie shadows.

ACTIVITIES: Activities are important for children’s events, but adults have fun with them as well. Some ideas for activities are:

  • Bobbing for apples
  • Costume contest
  • Ghost stories
  • Trick – or – treating
  • Pumpkin decorating

Creating a Hashtag for Your Event

Creating a hashtag for your event allows you to see the photos that people post and interact with your guests. This is a great way to make sure you get photos of everyone at your wedding or event.

Make sure no one else is using it

Do a quick search to make sure no one else is using your hashtag. Google search your hashtag as well as search the social media sites you plan on using such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Make it memorable

You want people to remember your hashtag so that they use it. Make sure that whatever you use is easy to remember. Putting the hashtag on all of your printed materials (menus, programs, etc.) so that people will know what you are using will help as well.

Are there any other ways this can be taken?

For example: #lastnamepartyof3 implies a couple is having a baby, not that you have a dog. Keep this in mind if you are using a hashtag for your wedding.

It is always a good idea to ask a few people what they think of your hashtag to make sure that it is memorable and isn’t going to be taken out of context.

 

 

Lighting Considerations for Your Outdoor Event

Lighting is a really important component of your event but often overlooked. Things that you should consider for lighting are

  • time of day of your event,
  • time of year of your event,
  • the look/feel going for,
  • the parking area,
  • if you are having a separate party area, and
  • existing lighting in the area the event is taking place.

Time of Day

If you are having a daytime event you may not need lighting even if your event is under a tent. However, if you are having a night time party you will need to make sure that people can see to party, go to the bathroom and get to their car at the end of the night.

Time of Year

When you do a site visit in the summer at your wedding time keep in mind the sun will go down earlier in the fall/winter. Another thing to keep in mind is daylight savings time. Daylight savings time will change the time the sun goes down so make sure to account for the time change when you are planning your event.

Look/ Feel You Are Going For

The type of atmosphere you are trying to create is going to play a role in the type of lighting you choose.

Bright lights will take away from a romantic setting while low lights may set the wrong tone if you are looking to get a party going on the dance floor.

Parking Area

Will people be able to find cars at the end of the night? Even if there are lights on the outside of the building, going to see how far the lights will illuminate at night is a good idea. This way you can make sure that if you have guests parking far out from the venue lights on the building you can insure they will be able to safely find their car.

Party Area

Will you want a different mood set for the dancing than for dinner and the ceremony? Maybe you will need uplighting that will be turned on later in the event to transform a romantic wedding ceremony and dinner into a dance party. Or maybe you are looking to take a daytime family affair into a nighttime evening of romance.

Existing Lighting in The Area

What type of lighting exists may determine what you can do lighting wise and what you need to worry about. If you are competing with flood lights you may need to decide on using all white lights instead of color that will get washed out.

Whatever the type of event you are creating, make sure to spend some time thinking through the lighting.

How to Install a Moonbounce

When you rent a moonbounce and have it delivered, we install your inflatable. However, if you are picking up the moonbounce from our warehouse you will need to install it yourself. Below is a step by step guide to safely install the inflatable you are picking up. If you have any questions, call us and we will be happy to walk you through the process.

Moonbounce Setup

Bounce safely!