Thursday, May 24, 2012

How to Choose a Rental Company

Our next "how to" is about rental companies.  You will find that most of the time you don't have everything you want at your venue.  Sometimes a bride may want special uplighting for the room or specialty linens for her sweetheart table.  Other times a bride may want the venues patio tented so that her guests can enjoy the outside- be it rain or shine. Well- a rental company is the place you would call for these specialty items. 

You want to choose a rental company that knows what they are doing.  Make sure that they are professional and have a good reputation.  Keep in mind the old saying when it comes to choosing your rental company that "you get what you pay for."  Some rental companies will give you the same look from afar but the quality up close does not compare. 

A rental company can provide you with draping, lighting, specialty china, chocolate fountains, linens, furniture, and the list goes on and on.  They have just about everything and anything that you have in mind even popcorn and cotton candy machines for your novelty weddings!!

Here at Party Plus have been your renting headquarters for over 20 years. Call 1-800-Tenting for more details and talk to one of our special event rental consultants.

Friday, April 27, 2012

How to Choose a Caterer

So now that you have chosen the perfect space for your wedding, it's time to choose your yummy food!!!

It's important to pick food that compliments your theme.

Are you doing an elegant affair at a manor and having shrimp cocktail, succulant pan seared scallops and steak au' poivre with a rich demi glaze?
Or are you having a whimsical barn wedding with lots of  heart warming, comfort food, such as apple stuffed pork tenderloin with glazed carrots, cheddar mashed potatoes and baked apple pie with hand churned cinnamon ice cream?
Or are you going for a more rustic, country feel with crispy Fresh Tomato Bruschetta, perfectly Fried Green Tomato drizzled with Pesto, and Barbecue-Braised Short Ribs with Sweet Vinegar Glaze?
Whatever your taste is, make sure it reflects your theme!

There are many talented chefs to choose from but they may not be the chef for your wedding style and budget.  So narrow down your favorite chefs to about 2 or 3, schedule your tasting and have your questions ready!

I spoke with Christine Eichenmuller from Creative Cuisine and she gave me some great pointers."Food choices, presentation, and execution set the tone for a fabulous event. Work with a person that is innovative, creative, and willing to create a menu that meets your needs, vision and budget.  The single most important thing, other then the food of course, is feeling comfortable and at ease with your catering choice."

Another key point that Chef's Expressions made  is  "How many other weddings or events is your caterer involved with on your event date?" Chef's expressions states: "Unlike many caterers, we limit our calendar to ensure that each event receives the full attention of our staff. We don’t believe that a smaller event should suffer when a date or weekend is crowded with other events. Therefore, we do our best to only schedule three to four events on the same day depending on the size of the event and needs of each client." So this is a great question to keep in mind when you meet with your caterer!

If you have any questions or need a great caterer, call Party Plus for our very own favorites!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

How To's for I Do's- Choosing A Venue!

Now that you have your wedding planner, it's time to start looking for that magical place- your venue!  There are so many venues to choose from, but you need to choose what is best for you and your groom.  Are you a traditional kind of bride, looking for a ballroom?  Are you a country couple looking for a barn wedding? Do you want to start with a blank canvas and have your wedding in a tent so that you can make it exactly what you want?  All of these are questions that you need to ask yourself.  Your wedding venue, just like everything else we talk about should represent YOU!

I recently sat down and spoke with Joanne Heard, the Director at Oxon Hill Manor.  She gave me good insight on what should be important to a bride when choosing her venue.

"Brides looking for a venue for their wedding day should consider what factors are a priority for them. There are many types of venues and choosing which type is for you is very important. Budget of course is always a consideration, so asking what amenities are included in the rental price is a must! Such as, does the site offer catering services? And is there an option for indoor or outdoor wedding? The other thing that a bride needs to consider when walking into a venue is, are the grounds kept and well maintained.  Is it clean?  Does it really show what type of person you are?   If at that point you absolutely love the site, it's important to keep in mind that you may need to be flexible in your preferred date, especially if it is during peak wedding season."

While Joanne brought up many great points,  Jill Jenkins from Pier 5 also brought a few to my attention. "A bride must consider their guests.  Do you have a lot of out of towners?  Does the venue offer a hotel room for overnight accomodations.  And while your guests are here, does the venue offer activities and excursions to entertain them?"  She also reminded me of photo opportunities! "A great photographer can do wonders! But help him or her out and choose a venue that has plenty of vistas for some beautiful shots and a breathtaking wedding album!"  Thanks for the awesome tips Joanne and Jill!!

We hope that this helps you on your journey in finding the space that is perfect for you and your groom.  If you have any questions, please call the Party Plus Team and we can help guide you to the perfect location! 1.800.TENTING

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How to's For I do's- How to Choose a Wedding Planner

Now that we talked about the importance of your vendors, we come to - "How to Choose a Wedding Planner." If you are choosing to use a wedding planner, this should be where your interview process begins!

Charlotte Jarrett, as we discussed in an earlier blog, understands how important it is for a bride to select the planner that best fits them.  She gave me a list for brides to have to keep in mind.  I also spoke with another great planner, Peyton Craig of Encounter Events and he described it as the 4B's when it comes to choosing the right planner for you: Budget, Busy, Blind or Buddy? We'll get to that in a minute, let's start with Charlotte's list!

1. THE MORE THE MERRIER-  You should interview at least 3-5 planners.  Keep in mind you will be spending the next year with this person, in good times and bad! Lol.  Pick someone that understands your vision, who you can get along with,  that will keep you calm when you are not.  

2.  Personality is KEY!!  You may love someone's design and technique but if you can't see yourself having lunch with this person, then they probably won't be the best planner for you. This will be your best friend for the next year!

3.  Pre-Interview Live!-  Website's and Portfolio's are important for "pre-interviewing" wedding planners.  This is where you will see their work.  You can get a good idea of who they are and where they've been by their portfolio and website.  This will help you scratch off a planner or two before you set up an interview. 

4.  Review Relevance!-  Reviews are very relevant.  Check online for reviews and write ups! It is important to find out what people are saying.  You want to know what the experience was like with this planner.  Keep in mind that the bride who wrote the review may not have fit with the planner but as long as you fit and the reviews state that the organization of and access to the planner was there then you are golden!

5.  Referals and References-  Referals are the best compliment! If you have a bride that is recommending a consultant AND you see the consultant is fit for you- then you have just hit the event planner jackpot!!!  There is nothing better then a referral!!

Now let's get Peyton's point of view!  What are the 4 B's and where do you fit?  Budget, Busy, Blind or Buddy? Peyton explained to me that there are different kinds of wedding planners and you need to find out what kind of wedding planner suits your needs. 

Budget-  Are you looking for a planner because you need someone to help you get the best bang for your buck?  These planners will go to appointments to negotiate contracts for you so that you stay within your budget.  Planners are great at this.  And if this is your main goal, you need to let the planners you are interviewing know that this is why you are hiring a planner. Some planners call themselves planners when they are really wedding designers.  So make sure you are clear on WHY you are hiring a planner.

Buddy-  Some gals just need a buddy!  Especially if you are a long distance bride and your friends and family are all in different states, then you may need someone to tell you how beautiful you look when you come out in a gown for the first time, or how magical your day is going to be when your nerves start to come into play during all this planning.  Some planners become your second mom or best friend during this process and for some brides that's just what they needed!

Blind- Some girls feel LOST when it comes to picking colors, design etc.  This is where a creative eye comes in and tries to understand you, your fiance and what defines you as a couple.  A good planner will get a good idea of this and begin to put things together that make sense to you and you will start to enjoy the design process because really it's all about YOU!  Your colors will be colors both you and your "husband to be" love and the venue will be a setting that really explains to your guests who you are together. Starting to make sense? Let's move on!

Busy-  Lastly, a reason and need for a planner is because you are just TOO busy to plan a wedding on your own.    If you are someone who has lots going on, then you need someone to actually PLAN the wedding. This planner will not only plan but also help you with budget, day of wedding issues and design!  This will be the most costly of all because they are taking you from A to Z.

Now that you have all this information,  really take it all in, make sense of it, then start your interviewing process confidently.  You are on your way to a very special day!!

Friday, March 9, 2012

"How To's for I Do's- The Importance of Hiring Great Vendors!

Last blog I talked about "To do's for I do's!" Now, over the next couple of months, I want to help you understand "How to" get them done the best way possible and this starts with hiring great and reputable vendors!  And I couldn't think of anyone better then Karen Buck from the wedding magazine "Wedding 411 on Demand" to get her take on the subject! Karen has been in this business for years and knows the "ins and outs", the "ups and the downs."  She knows every type of bride out there as well as every vendor and knows what works with all of these different personalities.  She gave me all the information you'll need to start your planning off right!

1.How well do you both interact? They must listen and understand your vision and expectations instead of  just trying to sell you something.

2. How did you find the busines? By phone book or are they actively involved in the wedding community, doing local wedding events? Have you seen their ad in a wedding magazine or website? Make sure that weddings are a part of their core business and not just something they do on the side.

3.While cost is most certainly a big consideration, don't set yourself up to be dissappointed by saving $50-$100. Remember- you get what you pay for. You will never have the opportunity to go back and redo this day!!!

4. Referrals are great but not all vendors are for all engaged couples. Do your homework and learn all you can about a business before saying "yes."

If you keep these things in mind, you should be on your way to picking the right vendors for you!

Friday, February 17, 2012

To Do's for I Do's!

You’re ENGAGED!!!!!!!!!  Tears, hugs & kisses!!  Then you look down at the perfect ring and suddenly can’t quiet the question, “Now What?”   We’ve made a brief but VERY important list of “To do’s” before you say that life changing “I do!”

1.      Pick up the phone!!  First rule after he pops the question, PICK UP THE PHONE!! Call your friends and family BEFORE you post your new bling onto Facebook!   Trust me! The people closest to you will appreciate it!  They will not be happy if they find out through Facebook or the grapevine.

2.      Ring a Ling!!  It’s important that you get your ring sized and insured right away.  The brides that don’t do this find that they have lost the very ring that he proposed with and they can’t do anything about it!

3.      Get a Wedding Planner! And No, I don’t mean one like FRAAANCK’ from Father of the Bride!!  I’m referring to that awesome app on your iPhone or the one you can order right online to keep you organized!

4.      Don’t be late to set a date!!  People will bug you about this!  You don’t have to set an exact date, but an answer like “early Spring” or “next Fall” will do!

5.      Size Matters!!!  It is important to outline the size of your wedding and you must talk to your parents before doing so.  Ask them for an ideal list and take it from there. Without an idea of size, you can’t determine a budget, which means you can’t even start dreaming realistically (oxy-moron) without knowing how to dream!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Place Cards Complacent!!

For years, brides have set up a 6 foot table with  traditional, folding, stand up place cards. Really girls? BORING!!!

We are women, and MUCH more creative then that!!!  The small things are what make your wedding memorable!  And the place cards are the FIRST thing your guests see when they arrive.  Shouldn't this make a statement? Don't you think your guests deserve a little more of a "wow factor" then that? I'd say so!

If you are doing a beach theme and you want to keep your guests "ooing and ahhing"  take a look at these beach chairs in the sand or the sand dollars!!!


Flower Anyone??? How about your Spring wedding has flower place cards sprouting from fresh green grass?

And last but definitely not least, the "kill two birds with one stone" idea of doubling your place cards as your favor! This rustic themed wedding did maple syrup and place cards as one! We love it!

So when you sit down to give your guests a seat, remember, do it in style!!!