Saturday, December 12, 2009

Hosting a Holiday Party

December is always filled with company parties, socials and luncheons for work, it can be a bit overwhelming! How do you make yours different?

I planned a holiday party for a martial arts school last weekend and it was great! The venue, A Cow Jumped Over the Moon, has always had such a great staff and the restaurant's look is already elegant, sophisticated, and fun.

With just a little bit of holiday magic, I was able to create a casual yet chic holiday party for families, couples, and single ready to mingle people. Thanks to Christine Chang for capturing these beautiful photos of the night.

Signage is key, especially if your guests have never been there before.
The venue already had such great ambiance, it made it easy to just accents and little details to finish the festive look.
Great (kosher!) sushi was featured in Angeleno magazine.
Ornament-shaped name tags and a
customized wreath featuring the company's logo on silver medallions.

A live DJ makes all the difference!
Ready for the party to begin!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Decorating for the Holidays on a Budget!

So the economy is down and you’re trying to keep your expenses low this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring in the New Year with decorations for the holidays! I always believe that when you’re on a tight budget, it only makes you more creative and resourceful! So let’s get those creative juices flowing as I show you some fun tips to make your house ready for the holiday spirit without spending any of that gift money!

1. It Smells Like Christmas! Nothing feels more like the holidays to me than all the wonderful smells that come with it. Peppermint, pine, and cinnamon scents are easy to capture with candles. Decorate the candles with some greenery or even a ribbon, and you’ve got a beautiful tabletop piece that also smells great!

2. Edible Centerpieces. Don’t know what to do for the center of your table? Place a few jars of various shapes and sizes and fill them with yummy holiday-colored candy! Your guests won’t be able to resist grabbing a handful of sweets every time they walk by.

Photo: Inspire Me Crafts

3. Display Your Christmas Cards. What do you usually do with all the holiday cards you receive in the mail, place it on the mantel? This year, use those cards as part of the decor, displaying them in groups around the house, or putting them up on a wall or door in the shape of a tree, or placed in a basket or bowl.

4. Back to Nature. Take a brisk walk outside (chilly!) and collect some pinecones, acorns, leaves, small branches, berries, and evergreens. Arrange them together as a nice display in a tall vase or tied together as a bouquet. To add some color, spray paint the pinecones and branches gold or silver to make it really sparkle!

5. Happy Green Holidays! You may not even realize it, but being creative and resourceful with your decorating helps the environment too! My final tip is to skip on all the unnecessary wrapping paper (they’ll just throw it away, right?) and use newspaper or any other large printed material instead! Know an architect who throws out blueprints all the time, or banner paper that schools throw out at the end of the year? Use those interesting prints to create a unique gift wrapping idea for your friends and family. Finish off the wrapping with an elegant bow. Not only will everyone notice how eco-friendly you are, but your gifts will probably be the first to be opened!

Friday, December 4, 2009

My funniest moment in Event Planning So Far

So I've been meaning to write about the funniest moment in my event planning career so far. I would say other people had the laugh, I was just trying to get my work done!

For Halloween this year, my boss requested 2 "dead" bodies to float in a swimming pool at a party. Since we only had a few days to procure this and it wasn't in the original budget, I had to think of something fast. After much research online and calling for prices, I decided to get resourceful. I went over to the local sex shop and the woman there was very helpful about explaining the various looks and positions of inflatable lifesize dolls.

After purchasing 2, I headed back to the office and began creating a "dead man" and "dead woman" in distinct clothing. The man got to wear a pair of my old jeans, a plaid button-down shirt, and a fun hat to cover the big gaping hole of the inflatable doll's mouth. I also had a problem with the gy-normous chest on the man, so I had to roll up the plastic and tie them down! For the woman, unfortunately I didn't have a dress picked out so I had to put together a sexy dress of random fabrics that we had in the warehouse, but I made sure she wore matching black bra and panties (she was a DD). I was also able to snag a black wig for her to give her some long locks.

The end result is what you see before, and guess what? My boss LOVED it, and I got to learn about the 3 holes that all inflatable dolls come with!

My "Dead Man" to float in the pool.
Look at the dress on her!

My happy Halloween couple!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Wedding Traditions, What Do They Mean Anyway?

Working on another wedding in a few weeks, and I started wondering where all the wedding customs and traditions came from and what they meant back then. I was able to find some really interesting and fun stuff!

The Wedding Bouquet
There are several reasons for the wedding bouquet. In ancient Poland for example, when you sprinkled sugar on the bouquet it would keep her temper sweet. For Greeks and Romans, the bouquet was a mix of garlic and herbs or grains. The garlic was used to ward off evil spirits, and the herbs or grain was to ensure a fruitful union.
Wedding Dress
Traditionally, brides didn't wear white! Up through the 18th century, most brides just wore their "Sunday best" to their wedding, including red as a favorite during the Middle Ages in Europe. Other colors were worn for symbolic reasons: blue meant constancy, green meant youth, and eventually white was worn as a symbol of purity.

Throwing Rice
One of the oldest wedding traditions, the custom of throwing rice originated with the ancient Hindus and Chinese. In these cultures, rice is the symbol of fruitfulness and prosperity. Tossing it after the ceremony was believed to bestow fertility upon the bride and groom. Eating rice and other grains was thought to guarantee health, wealth and happiness for the newlyweds. Today, rice tossing is being replaced by the more ecologically friendly birdseed tossing, because uncooked rice is damaging to birds who eat it off the church lawn.

Wedding Veil
Originally, the veil was thought to have been used to hide the bride from abductors, much like dressing the bridesmaids in similar dresses was supposed to do. But more recently it has been to romantically conceal the bride's face because it was believed what was hidden is more valuable. Another early interpretation of the veil was that it symbolized youth and virginity.

Wedding Ring
The wedding ring has traditionally been worn on the third finger of the left hand because it was believed that a vein in this finger ran directly to the heart. The third finger of the left hand has become the customary wedding-ring finger for all
English-speaking cultures.

Kiss
The first kiss at the close of the ceremony is still very important today. Many cultures believe that when the couples kiss, they exchange spirits with their breath and with that, part of their souls are united.
Cake
The wedding cake has always played an important part in the wedding. Ancient Romans broke a cake over the bride's head to symbolize fertility or abundance. Many other cultures dropped wheat, flour or cake on the bride's head, and then ate the crumbs for good luck. The early British baked baskets of dry crackers, and every guest took one home after the wedding. In medieval times, guests brought small cakes and piled them on a table. The bride and groom then attempted to kiss over the cakes. Eventually, a young baker decided to put all the cakes together and cover them with frosting, thus the tiered wedding cake was born.