Greeting guests, making guests feel welcome, event planner

How to Make 50+ Guests Feel Welcome

Most people cannot handle a large group of guests without some expert help. How a planner can assist…

Putting out the welcome mat when guests come to your home (presumably less than 10 at a time), can be a fun and uplifting experience. Feeding, watering, bedding out of town guests for a few days is exciting but challenging and exhausting. It’s usually a relief to say goodbye and get your house back in order.

What about trying to make 50 or more guests feel like you’re happy they’re there; that you can hardly wait to greet them at the festivities; that you’ve made sleeping, eating and travel arrangements for them; that they don’t have to do a thing except be at the right places at the right times? And how will they know what the right places and times are?

In addition, you might be the bride, groom or parent of either. You’ve got a lot of things to do that don’t leave you time to be busy with all of your arriving guests a day or so before the event. On the other hand, you don’t want then to feel as if you don’t care.

So What Now?

This is where the event planner comes in. It’s his/her job to take good care of your guests. Your event planner can do any or all of these tasks for you, freeing you up for getting all ready for your big day with peace of mind, knowing your friends and family are being taken care of:

  • Reserving blocks of rooms at one or more hotels that fit your/your guests’ budget
  • Arranging for transportation for your guests to get to and from the ceremonies
  • Preparing custom welcome packages for each guestroom to include a light snack and drink, some small amenities to make their stay more delightful, a personalized note from you, a printed schedule of events upcoming and, maybe most important, a small map of the area with suggestions of where to go locally for food, entertainment and other necessities.
  • The event planner will make sure all of your guests board the transport to the ceremony on time and that they are all there again when it comes time to shuttle them back. These are potentially huge headaches that you won’t need to be responsible for. What a relief!

 

  • In Conclusion
  • An event planner, while a significant part of your wedding budget, can be a lifesaver! He/she can make the difference between being stressed out and exhausted the day of the wedding or calm, cool and collected. The planner is the working partner for the wedding…their job is to make certain everything is organized and runs smoothly so you can enjoy your big day to the fullest!

For more articles on event planning click here.

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Chef Yaakov returns after a year break to make delicious peanut chews for his fans to enjoy!

Peanut chews are among the most fun and easy desserts/snacks to make. They are kid friendly, but adults love them too! They don’t need to bake and there is minimal cooking involved, so they are ideal for a quick, yummy Sunday project!

All you need is a pot, a measuring cup and a large bowl for mixing. Just have an adult available to help with melting the butter and other ingredients. Be especially cautious when pouring the hot mixture into the crisp rice and be ready to stir quickly (but carefully as the rice tends to jump out of the bowl!) before it gets stiff.

PEANUT CHEWS

6 cups crispy rice cereal

1/2 cup butter/margarine
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup creamy peanut butter
9×13 pan

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We managed a snap of this beautiful place card table before the cards were yanked off by the waiting guests!

So You Are Thinking of Getting Into Events…read on…

So you are considering becoming an event planner…this post is actually inspired by a Facebook thread that I was tagged in recently. A woman was asking about becoming an event planner; what is involved and how much remuneration she could expect in the industry. Along with others, I gave her some information and we private messaged a bit about it. In the end, she decided the amount of work wasn’t worth the amount of money and would look elsewhere for her career.

That got me thinking. Do I make enough as an event planner to make all the work worth it? The answer is yes…and no. Yes, I make a decent amount of money and I love what I do. But…no, I can’t ever get those hours and minutes back that were spent on the phone with clients and vendors, the stress I incurred when dealing with last minute issues and changes, the aches and pains in my body after standing on my feet for 12-18 hours straight.

So if you are thinking of becoming an event planner, read this story of a wedding and let me know if you think it’s worth it.

THE LOFT WEDDING

Leading up to the wedding day:

This August wedding was booked in January so we had plenty of time to prepare. The young couple were lovely to deal with all throughout, so that made it all the more pleasurable!

We met with the couple three times, traveling into NYC (1.5 hours each way) for the initial meeting. There were numerous phone calls and many, many emails and texts over the next 8 months.

There were changes to the venue, to the menu, to the guest count and design plans. Many hours are spent on our computer, planning, designing, tweaking, adjusting, emailing and adjusting the event again. We spent time discussing the menu, layout, decorating ideas, etc. We made many orders, coordinated drop off times for all the vendors, organized all the décor we were providing from our warehouse, hired another planner to assist us for the day of…we were finally ready!

The Morning of…

It rained on the morning of the wedding, leading us to be in touch with the florist about possibly changing the location of the outdoor chupah. Luckily, it all cleared up and although it was extremely hot and humid, it was not raining, so chupah stayed on the rooftop.

There were 3 of us going to do the set up, myself, my partner Chany and our good friend and event planner, Erick. We met at our storage facility at 8am. We all loaded up a small truck and then went to Erick’s place to load up some of his props. We were hot and sweaty before we even got on our way!

We had lots of traffic going in to Brooklyn, and arrived there an hour behind schedule. Some of the vendors were already there, unloading. When we came to the street where the hall was located, there was massive roadwork being done all up and down the street. We had to crawl in around tractors and trucks. We managed to get a parking spot to unload, in front of the doorway. Then we discovered that the elevators were VERY SLOW. And full of passengers who were constantly coming in and out, visiting offices on other floors. We weren’t really supposed to be using the passenger elevator, but since the freight elevator was being used by the other vendors, they were nice and let us, but only in between passenger runs! It took us over an hour to get our stuff upstairs. It was the most frustrating hour ever!

Early afternoon…

Finally, we were upstairs in the hall with all of our stuff. (By the way, heat, humidity and frustration really tire you out.) By the time we got everything up, we needed a break, but there wasn’t time. We were behind schedule. My first job was to direct vendors that were dropping off their items, and to organize the items we had brought so everything could be found when needed.

The waitstaff began to arrive, so, as the event planner, we needed to give the captain instructions. The caterer was running 2 hours behind, so that was a constant worry in the back of my mind. When the rented oven was brought up, it was a behemoth! It wouldn’t fit through the kitchen door! There was absolutely no way it would go in and couldn’t be used anywhere else, so back in the truck it went. I called the caterer, who was still en route and told them what happened. They would have to figure it out somehow.

Place card disaster (almost)

In the meantime, I sat down at a table to write the table numbers on the log slices for each table. Chany  and Erick were standing on ladders, stringing Xmas tree lights across the ceiling beams. All the while, we were directing the waitstaff and making little adjustments and corrections to their set up of the tables.

Then Erick went to set up the card table and I realized I didn’t have the place cards! I thought and thought, going back step by step to where I had ordered them from and when they were supposed to have been delivered. Soon I realized they were supposed to have come 2 days before, straight to my house but they hadn’t shown up and I (wrongly) hadn’t made myself a reminder to check up on them.

Three hours before…

I quickly emailed the printer to find out what had happened to them. He emailed back that he had sent them by messenger service to my house the night before. This messenger service (infamously) often comes in the middle of the night. Usually, they will just leave the delivery at my door. I made a frantic phone call and the service called their driver to find out where the delivery was. After half an hour, they finally figured out that the driver hadn’t wanted to leave the cards on my porch, so he took them back with him and figured he’d deliver them later the next day.

“Well,”, said I, “I’m in Brooklyn and you are in Rockland County (1 ½ hours away) and it’s 3pm and the guests are coming at 6pm and I need the cards.” They found a new driver and sent the cards with him. With the famous NY traffic, he barely made it in time. He arrived at 5:40pm. Erick and I were like a machine! He handed me a card, I quickly slid it into the cork holder, handed it back to Erick who placed it on the table in order. The guests were standing over our shoulders and grabbing their cards as they were set onto the table. Whew!!

And the wedding begins!

Despite begin late and having no oven, the caterer made their magic happen and all the food went out on time. Everything was wonderful. The guests loved the branded water bottles and hand-held fans that they grabbed on their way out to the chuppah. We had set up lots of little touches (signs and wagon wheels, etc) around the room, which the guests just loved!

After the chuppah was over and the dinner began, Erick, Chany and I climbed to the second floor (no elevator in the hall) and began setting up the dessert buffet.

Everything went smoothly and we all had a lot of fun dancing to the country music the couple had requested of their band.

All told, we were on our feet for 18 hours straight. We were so sore that we could barely move for 2 days afterwards! My clothing felt like it was melted onto me and would never come off! This is normal for event planners – just another day “at the office”.

In Conclusion…

This was a very smooth running operation. I’ve been at parties where the electricity went out (in Hawaii on a horse ranch in the complete black); food was burnt; the bride and groom’s fathers got into a shoving match; the manager of the venue pulled the plug on the band to make them stop playing to end the party, etc. etc. Yes, after 25 years in this business, I’ve seen it all. But I keep coming back for more, so I guess I can say it’s worth it…for me.

What do you think? I would love to hear from you in the comments section!

Love,

Davii

For more posts: DECORATIVE SIGNAGE FOR PARTIES

 

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What’s the best use of my Event Decorating Budget?

For anyone who has an event coming up, you’ll be facing this dilemma: how can I make the most of my event decorating budget? You want to make sure your event is a reflection of you and your vision; you want to pull it off in a classy and elegant way, but don’t want to throw your money into something that may not make an impression or might just end up looking tacky. When the event decorating budget is not limitless, you need to look for what are the most important items to spend money on.

 

Top three decor focal points:

 

  • LIGHTING! Lighting is everything! It will totally transform the simplest room or even a room that just has the wrong coloring for your theme. From dramatic up-lighting to lighted logos and patterned lighting, there are endless options. Make sure you discuss it with your caterer or event planner for your next event.

 

  • Textured/printed linen and napkins. Don’t settle for the old solid ivory and white cloths of the past! Not when these new linens can literally change the entire look of your event.

 

  • Centerpieces– of course, your budget will be the biggest factor in determining how far you can take your centerpieces. Flowers are a timeless and classy way to dress your table. There are endless possibilities of sizes, shapes, colors & budget. We have included some different centerpiece ideas to pique your imagination. Many caterers and party planners work with florists regularly and can sometimes get you more for your money.

If you don’t love flowers, branches can work really well too. Branches are a more streamlined, simple look which can be very impressive yet more economical than flowers. Candles are a great way to go if you want to skip flowers, they can make a huge impression, but be GENEROUS; more is more with candles.

Here are some beautiful examples of what we wrote about above:

Also check out our post about how much plastic ware to buy if you are doing it yourself.

Event Decorating Budget-Linen

Gorgeous Linen!

Event Decorating Budget-Room Lighting

Room Lighting & Lighted Tables

Event Decorating Budget-Feather centerpieces

Feather Centerpieces

Event Decorating Budget-Branches

Branch centerpieces with frosted pinecones

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Fruity Pebbles Cookies

Delicious Homemade Fruity Pebbles Cookies!

This time Chef Yaakov is making delicious, homemade Fruity Pebbles Cookies! They are soft, yummy and colorful. All the things kids (and adults) love in a cookie! Fruity Pebbles Cookies are made with Fruity Pebbles cereal and are easy, shmeazy!

Yaakov is a friendly young man who just loves to teach kids how to make delicious, healthy foods that are easy enough for him to make all by himself (or with just a little help from Mom). This is one of his favorite recipes! Please enjoy along with him and let us know how you liked them!

Watch the video here for instructions and wait for the recipe at the end. Thanks for subscribing!

 

For more Chef Yaakov videos, click here.

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Tuna CrackersLearn how to make yummy tuna crackers with sriacha sauce!

How would you like a yummy, healthy snack made by Chef Yaakov – tuna crackers?

Chef Yaakov is the youngest member of our staff, therefore he loves cooking. He wants to teach other children the basics of making yummy food. He also loves to be in front of the camera!

Yaakov believes that kids can make their own healthy food with minimal help from their parents, as a result, he has decided to make his own videos in which he can teach other kids to do the same! He carefully shows how to make tuna salad, step by step, with his own, distinctive Chef Yaakov commentary along the way. Then he shows just how easy it is to top the cracker with the tuna salad. After that he will make a smiley face with the sriacha sauce! Let your kids play chef for the day and follow along with Chef Yaakov!

The recipe for the tuna salad is at the end of the video! Click here to watch the video.

 

To check out more of our Chef Yaakov videos, click this link.

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New Trends in Buffets

You may have noticed a trend at events you have attended in the last year or so. It’s a small thing that makes a big impression when done right. Station signs, otherwise know as decorative signage for parties. It’s the little details like this that will make your buffet bounce from just nice to WOW. These work especially well on buffet and with hors d’oeuvre, but there are countless creative ways to incorporate funky signage in your event. From full size chalkboards and multi-colored chalk to mini chalkboards printed labels stuck on or tied with ribbon to cute oversized clothes clips holding printed mini signs which you can make on your computer.
Another creative way to do food signage is to buy striped straws and design your own flags with cute messages or a name on them. Hole punch 2 holes and push onto the straw. Takes a bit of time, but is truly adorable and eye catching!

Here are some awesome examples of signage and how they decorate and upgrade the look of the buffet!

Examples of new trends:

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See our post where we discuss using your decor budget to the best advantage!

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Delicious Cinnamon Sugar Knots almost melt in your mouth right out of the oven!

Hey friends! Here is an awesome recipe for Cinnamon Sugar Knots that can be made all year round, but is specifically for Shavuous which is right around the corner. How delicious would a warm cinnamon knot with cream cheese icing be right now??? This yeast dough can be made ahead and frozen right after kneading and before allowing it to rise. This way you can do the work over two days. Just place the dough into a large zip lock bag or bag with a tightly closed twist tie, with enough room to allow for some rising which will start to take place until the dough is cold enough to stop. 

For defrosting, just take the dough out of the freezer at least 4-6 hours before using. Leave it in the bag or transfer to a greased bowl, cover and let defrost and start to rise. When doubled in size, use as directed with the filling.

Try it out and let us know how you liked it!

Cinnamon Sugar Knots recipe

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BEST BABKA CAKE 

Watch our instructional video below on how to make delicious, homemade babka cake! This is the traditional, Russian style yeast cake with chocolate filling with an American style twist to it. Your whole family will love it!

Dough:

  • 8-10 cups white flourBabka Cake
  • 3 sticks margarine (softened)
  • 3 Tbsp dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs + 2 egg yolks

First, dissolve yeast in warm water, then add 2 tbsp of the sugar to help it to begin rising. Add all ingredients and then mix in mixer until well blended. Add more flour if dough is too sticky. Then cover with oiled plastic wrap (or plastic bag) and let rise one hour. As a result, you will have made the dough partially ready for baking.

Filling:

  • 2 cups cocoa
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 pkg instant chocolate pudding
  • 2 sticks margarine (softened)

Mix all ingredients by hand or in mixer. Punching down the dough, divide it into four parts. On floured surface, roll out one part as thin as possible into a large rectangle and then spread 1/4 of filling onto dough to within one inch of edge. After that, roll up dough tightly on long side to make a log. Slice log in half with a sharp knife. Twist into a braid and then fold in half. Place in well greased and lightly floured 9×13 pan, (should be able to fit two babkas in each pan) finally, sprinkling with crumbs. Bake at 350 for approximately 40 minutes. It should be golden in color and slightly crusty on top. Try not to overbake, therefore it will be soft inside.

Crumb Topping:

  • 1 stick margarine (softened)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar

Blend all ingredients by hand with a fork until it resembles small crumbs.

Enjoy our babka cake and let us know how you liked it!

Enjoy our other cooking videos, click the link here.

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baby spinach salad - Mi Chicas Celebrations

This baby spinach recipe is extremely easy and surprisingly delicious.

Start with very fresh baby spinach and ripe strawberries. You cannot go wrong with this! The color, crunch and taste blend is exceptional!  You can also make a larger batch of the Poppy Dressing and use it with other salads or combinations of fruits & vegetables. It lasts for weeks in the fridge.If you’ve been reluctant to try these interesting ingredients together with a vinaigrette, take the plunge and try it! It’s refreshing and wonderful!

 

Baby Spinach & Strawberry Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

  • Baby Spinach
  • Red onion, chopped (as much as you like)
  • Strawberries, sliced
  • Candied Nuts
  • Poppy Seed Dressing

Combine
spinach and dressing and top with strawberries, nuts and red onion.

Poppy Seed Dressing:

1/2 canola oil

1/4 apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup sugar

2 Tbsp sesame seeds

1 Tbsp poppy seeds

1 1/2 tsp dried minced onion

1/4 tsp Worcestershire Sauce

1/4 tsp paprika

Mix all ingredients well and pour over salad

 

baby spinach salad - Mi Chicas Celebrations

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