Monday, December 14, 2009

I'm back (sort of)

After a 3 year hiatus I am returning to event planning!

My dearest friend's oldest daughter is getting married.  I had promised her mother, before she passed away in 2006, that I would help with this event when it came along.  It is here!  While I am deeply saddened that Laura is not here to play with me, I am thrilled to be dusting off my wedding planner hat and getting back in the proverbial saddle!

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Saturday, August 27, 2005

Planning a great children's party

What's the key to a great children's party?

That's a great question. Many parties that are thrown for children are built around the notion that kids will play well together and entertain themselves. Thus the advent of Chuck-E-Cheese style parties. The draw for parents is that they have minimal time investment, attractive for busy moms and dads or those who are creatively challenged.

The problem? They're not special. They're not memorable. The one-size-fits-all approach hasn't ever really worked well for anything. Children are unique. They have divergent interests and attention spans. Some are creative, some are talkers, some just want to run and play.

The solution? Plan a real party. I hear you saying "you don't understand." I know it's tough. You're busy. You have to work. You have to take care of everyone. You have community obligations. You have church obligations. You have to sleep. That's what makes it Special. The gift of your time is the most meaningful of all. Taking time to plan a unique party, tailored to your child - that memory will last a lifetime.

It takes about 10 hours to effectively plan a children's party. That's 2 weeks of lunch breaks. First decide on a theme that really interests your child. Decide on a location that will work for you, then set a date. Send your invitations early (3 weeks is good), then set a day about3 days in advance to follow-up on those who haven't RSVP'd (earlier if you have catering to confirm). Be creative with your activity plans, include 1-2 arrival activities to keep early and on-time arrivals entertained while you wait for everyone to get there. Plan 1 or more craft activities (even boys like crafts), especially something personalized with each child's name. Be sure to plan at least 2-6 active games, always plan for more than you need!

Plan refreshments that take very little prep time and/or can be prepared in advance. It's sometimes a good idea to hire a professional entertainer, like a clown to do twisty balloons or face painting.

Make your list for shopping and plan where you need to go. If you're shopping on your lunch break this is double-important! Ask a one or more friends to help you on the day of the party. It's always good to have an extra person who can make a run to the store for that one last thing.

If you still feel overwhelmed, call on a professional. Our company takes care of all the planning, invitations, RSVP tracking, decorating, running the games and activities and clean up. All for less than you'd expect!

Happy planning!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Making the most of your decoration budget

I recently helped a client with a dinner banquet for 200 people. They wanted a lot of bang for not a lot of bucks. This is not an uncommon delimma!

Hotels and banquet facilites regularly provide "standard" decorations at no charge, or at a very small fee. The problem is, well, they are "standard". They are boring. I won't go so far as to say that they are ugly, but they are definately predictable. So how do you dress your wedding reception or dinner banquet tables for $25 or less? The answer is "You have to be creative."

Start by looking around - what do you have in abundance already? What is easily attainable for a good price? In many cases, the answer is right under your nose.

For this client, we used ivory candles and tons of fresh rose petals. We used some things that we already had, like the gold candlesticks and candleplates, but the look can be recreated using your own collection of candlesticks and candle plates.

Here's an idea - go to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army thrift store. People regularly donate brass and silver candlesticks of all varieties. Don't like brass? Spray paint them ivory or another color to match your decor theme. The key to keeping such an ecclectic decor together and looking intentional is to use the same color candles. We used ivory in many different forms, pillar, votive, ball and tapers. Look for sales at Garden Ridge, Michaels, or JoAnn's, ask for a quantity discount (it never hurts) or shop at a wholesale store. Always use unscented candles when planning for a large group - you don't want to aggrevate anyone's allergies!

The fresh rose petals are a lot of work, but well worth it! I recommend that you plan for 1 dozen per table for maximum impact and coverage. Go to Sam's, Costco or the grocery store and buy roses in your desired color. If they have some that are in their "last glory" you can usually get a really good price on them. When you get them home, remove any brown or damaged petals and discard. Gently remove the petals and place in a Ziplock bag. Do not include the innermost petals that are "shriveled". For extra sparkle, spray some of the petals with Design Master glitter spray. Store the rose petals (in Ziplock bags) in the refrigerator up to 24 hours before your event. (Make sure that you remove any fresh citrus, onions or garlic before storing fresh flowers in the refrigerator, the acids can damage the flowers).

When it is time to decorate, use heavy clear plastic disposable plates under your pillar candles. This not only saves you money, but it saves you clean up time - just toss them!

I'd love to see your photos, send them to me at
Until next time, happy planning!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Wedding Toss Ideas

Whether you call it a "wedding toss", "going away shower" or "rice throwing", the tradition of showering the newlywed couple with rice is a tradition that most couples still embrace.

  • Birdseed. This is pretty standard fare. You can dress it up or down to match the feel of your wedding.
  • Pre-tied in tulle or fabric packets. Just make sure that you tie bows, not knots, or your guests will never send you off!
  • Pre-tied in plastic communion cups wrapped with tulle or fabric to represent wedding bells.
  • Inside fabric “flowers” attached to floral picks. These should be done in the color(s) of your wedding and neatly arranged in one or more baskets with Styrofoam in the bottom to resemble real floral arrangements. (check out McCall's pattern #6969 for detailed instructions)
  • Try something different! Place loose birdseed in a fabulous crystal bowl and encourage guests to grab a handful on the way out the door.
  • Use a large bucket, jug, basket or other container to hold loose birdseed for your guests. This is best placed outdoors!
  • Bubbles. A newer trend and very popular if you have lots of children attending. I recommend supplementing with one or more bubble machines for really great photos. A word of caution here, look for “non-staining and non-toxic” formulas, and don’t use bubbles if your dress is silk.
  • Live butterfly releases. This is a beautiful addition to a natural outdoorsy feeling ceremony. Try a company like or
  • “Dove” release. Expertly trained white homing pigeons. In the Dallas area, try or
  • Balloon Release – put your wedding date and a mailing address inside each balloon, inviting those who find it to drop you a note. You’ll be amazed at how far your wedding balloons will travel! Please be sure to check with your city’s regulations to see if a permit is required and if there are special rules (some cities require that the balloons not be on ribbons for the safety of local wildlife). Check out our balloon page .
  • Rose Petals. Fresh, freeze dried or faux rose petals are a romantic way to be showered when you leave your wedding. Fresh ones are easy to do and will cost less if you do it yourself. Purchase one rose for every 2-4 people (so for 100 guests you would need 25 – 50 roses). Being careful of the thorns, hold the stem in one hand, close to the base of the rose. With the other hand, grasp the bud and gently twist and pull the entire head of the rose off of the stem. The stamen will often come out too (the little white and yellow parts). Gently shake the rose blossom until it is empty. You can even check with your local grocery or wholesale club and ask if you can purchase roses that are a few days old (the petals will still look fresh) Freeze dried petals are soft and still fragrant, try or . Faux petals can be purchased in your local crafts store or online at or
  • Confetti – If your theme is more party than fairytale, use confetti cannons and party poppers to celebrate your departure. Flutterfetti is a personal favorite ( ). Also for fun and unusual shaped confetti.
  • Paper Streamers. These are inexpensive, fun and available in many colors. Use them along with confetti for a truly festive occasion.
  • Fall Leaves. For a fall wedding, why not relive your childhood and run through that freshly raked pile of leaves? All right, so it’s artificial leaves and they are being tossed by your friends, but it’s close … right? Look for the sheer organza leaves to mix in and add a little shimmer!
  • Fireworks! Pass out sparklers and light them up just before the couple leaves. Really want to make it spectacular? Set up a small fireworks display with a professional pyrotechnics company. Again, check with your city, as these usually require permits and fire engines on standby.
  • Birdseed Alternatives. There are many companies now making prepackaged birdseed and rice alternatives for you. Like this one , and or
  • Herbs, Dried Lavender Buds or Potpourri. This is a favorite of aromatherapy enthusiasts! Make your own, or purchase from an online retailer like . Caution – make sure that it does not include any pinecones or large pieces of dried materials. I was actually hit in the face at a wedding I attended some years ago – OUCH!

Happy Tossing... Until Next Time,

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Inexpensive welcome baskets (or bags) for out of town guests

It's always nice to have a gift waiting for your guests when they arrive for your wedding from out of town.

Think about the items that you need when you are out of town:
  • You need to eat. Give a list and directions to nearby restaurants. Be sure to include a variety of cuisines and price ranges (and directions).
  • You need to shop! Put together a list of the best shopping spots in town. Be sure to include at least one mass-retailer that's open late (like Target or Wal-Mart) and directions. Chances are good that someone forgot pantyhose or has other urgent needs.
  • You need to munch! Put together a snack basket with snack items purchased at a wholesale store like Sams or Costco. Choose a variety (I like the snack packs that have nuts and M&M's together). If you know their favorite soft drinks, include those ($1.50 each from the vending machine gets expensive!). Also include fresh fruit for quick breakfasts or chips and salsa for serious late night muchies!
  • You need those things you should have packed. You know, a sewing kit, gum, mints, floss, lip balm, sunscreen. Ask the hotel if the normally offer complimentary items on request like toothbrushes, toothpaste, razors, etc. See if they will pitch those into your welcome baskets for you.
  • You need sleep. Consider a soothing aromatheraphy oil or linen spray and an eye mask.

For your attendants, perhaps nail poilsh in a complimentary shade to their dresses (or take them all for a pedicure for your bridesmaid's lunch!), and new flip flops that will match for the late night reception.

You can also obtain information from your local chamber of commerce or visitors and convention board that might be useful, like maps and discount coupons for area attractions.

The key here is to be creative and thoughtful, not necessarily to spend a lot of money. Of course, if you have the money, it's nice to include a monogrammed robe, fresh flowers, Godiva Chocolates...

Sweet dreams, until next time...


Monday, June 13, 2005

Planning a Bachelor Party in Dallas

So, you're the best man... Congratulations! What's the first order of business? Well, if you ask the bride, it's making sure the groom arrives in a sober state and that you have a nicely polished toast prepared. But we all know that's not what is on your mind!

How do you throw an awesome bachelor party that he'll never forget? Here are some ideas:
  • Intead of the stereotypical stripper, why not go for a much classier option, a REAL Dancer (Belly Dancer, a.k.a Middle Eastern Dancer or Hula dancer a.k.a Poynesian Dancer)? Here are a few websites for area performers: Tribal Feat, Isis And The Stars Performers, Cresent Moon or Tamra Henna. A word of caution to you - these are professional dancers, not strippers or prostitutes. They will not give you a lap dance, don't ask!
  • Worried about drinking? Don't want to be the designated driver? Try a service like Last Night Events. They have some fabulous club hopping packages that include limo transportation, dinner, VIP club admission to multiple clubs, and free drinks. Or hire your own limo driver from A 2 Z Limos 4 U or Dallas Towncar. You'll be glad that you can keep the party started in safety.
  • Make a weekend of it. Sweep your best friend off to Las Vegas, Rio, or New York City. Make sure you plan something besides drinking and groping. What you ask? Dinner at a nice restaurant, followed by brandy and cigars, and try to take in a sporting event. The important thing here is "guy time".

He picked you to be the best man for a reason - don't let him down! And, if you feel overwhelmed or have serious time constraints, there is help out there! Hire a professional event planner to make sure that you have a great time!

- Noel Giger, Owner
A Spectacular Occasion, by Giger Design Studio. Noel has been helping people celebrate special occasions in spectacular ways for nearly 10 years. To hire Noel to plan your bachelor party or other occasion, call 469-583-4604 or e-mail Visit her website at

Thursday, June 09, 2005

The Bride’s Wedding Day Emergency Kit

The best way to handle the unexpected is to be prepared! Bring the following items in your "Wedding Day Emergency Kit" and you'll not be caught off guard:

  • Aspirin, Tylenol, Advil or other pain reliever
  • Bottled water
  • Breath mints - not gum ladies! You don’t want to look like a cow chewing your cud!
  • Camera – to catch those unexpected moments. You WILL laugh about them… one day.
  • Clear Band-Aids and antibiotic ointment
  • Clear Nail Polish
  • Deodorant / Antiperspirant, nothing with a heavy scent
  • Extra make-up - pressed powder, lipstick, lip gloss, WATER-PROOF Mascara
  • Extra pairs of pantyhose - yes I said pairS. When you are nervous and sweaty it is easy to poke your finger through them!
  • Food - crackers, bread, cheese, grapes, nothing too heavy, but you MUST eat something the morning of your wedding!
  • Hair Combs
  • Hair Pins - even if you don’t normally use them! Your wedding ‘do might need them!
  • Hair spray
  • Hand lotion, non-greasy formula and nothing with a heavy scent
  • Hand mirror
  • Instant ice pack - just in case someone faints and hits their head, don’t laugh, it’s happened!
  • Masking Tape
  • Nail File
  • Needle & Thread in white, black and the colors of your bridesmaid’s dresses.
  • Perfume - consider asking all of your bridesmaids to wear your favorite scent. Be sensitive to guests with allergies and use with a light touch!
  • Q-tips
  • Safety Pins
  • Stapler
  • Super glue - this will come in handy for broken nails, broken jewelry, etc. Just keep it AWAY from the groomsmen, they will find many uses for it that you do not want!)
  • Tampons, pads and panty liners - no one wants to need these on their wedding day – let’s hope they’re for one of your bridesmaids!
  • Tissues - you’ll need them – and so will mom & dad!
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste, to ensure your first kiss is fresh!

This would be a good job for your maid of honor or one of your bridesmaids to collect for you. They are almost always ready to help but don’t know how. Give them something special to do, it takes one more thing off of your shoulders and will allow them to feel more a part of your wedding day.

by Noel Giger, owner of A Spectacular Occasion, by Giger Design Studio. Noel has been helping her clients in the Dallas - Fort Worth Metroplex have spectacular events for nearly 10 years. She brings many of these items in her own emergency kit when she is hired for full service or day-of wedding coordination. You can contact Noel at or 469-583-4604.