Event Planning Needs vs. Wants

When you start planning an event, there are so many detail options it can feel overwhelming. From chair covers and sashes to garbage can covers, how do you know which are necessary? Find the answer by asking yourself some simple questions.

  • Will guests notice it?
  • What is the formality level of the event?
  • Can I afford it?
  • What does the space look like without it?
  • Am I trying to cover up something old/ugly or trying to add decoration?
  • What are my priorities for the event?

Your answers to these question can help point you in the right direction for each specific item you desire. If you’re still stuck on a decision, ask a trusted friend for a second opinion or take a small group poll to get a feel for what most people think.

If you still need help making a decision, consider these suggestions.

Chair Covers and Sashes

If you’re hosting an elegant event, but the banquet chair clash with your color scheme or are in rough shape, you need chair covers. This is especially true when working with a particular brand or logo that has very specific colors. You don’t want to spend all this time and energy on creating a luxury event only to have guests feel uncomfortable in the old chairs or unimpressed with the clash of colors. Sashes are always a want rather than a need. But, if you have minimalistic table settings sashes give that feeling of attention to detail.

Garbage Can Covers

If you’re turning an unorthodox location into an event space, trash cans won’t have a natural hiding spot as they do in banquet halls. Small details like can covers help create the feel of an event space at any location. Keep in mind you want guests to be able to find the trash cans, so don’t choose colors that blend in with your decor too much.

Placemats and Charger Plates

These optional items are most necessary for very formal events or occasions where you aren’t using tablecloths. If you’ve already picked out beautiful table linens, you don’t want to completely cover them with place-mats.

Napkin Rings

If you’re planning to use a napkin fold that requires a ring, like the fan fold, then napkin rings are necessary. However, on most occasions these tiny details are a want, not a need. While they can help pull a look together, they essentially get tossed to the side once the meal is served and become a distraction from your beautiful table setting.

Details are important in creating a polished look at any event, but some add more to the look than others. Consider your priorities and make informed, smart choices from your head, not your heart, to decide which items are needs and which are wants.

Posted in Cloth Napkins

Pros and Cons of Cloth Napkins

Napkins are a staple of every meal. They are your way of keeping clean and presentable in front of other diners. With so many napkin choices today, how can you possibly choose which type is right for you?

To start, think about the occasion. If you’re hosting a family-friendly picnic at a park you might not want the burden of extra things to bring home and launder. You’ll also likely need a lot more napkins since picnic food tends to be messier and sometimes eaten on the move. In this case disposable napkins might be your best choice. However, if you’re hosting an elegant dinner party for couple on Valentine’s Day you’ll want a more upscale look and feel. Since you’ll only have a few guests and are hosting the party at home, cloth napkins fit the bill.

Next, consider your personal values and desires. If you feel strongly about helping the environment, you might look at the difference in impact of using cloth versus paper.

As you decide whether or not to use cloth napkins, consider their pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Many napkin folds work best with cloth napkins because they’ve got the size and weight to hold the shape
  • Potentially lower cost due to longevity in repeated use
  • Easy to care for and store when you purchase cotton or polyester fabrics
  • Fit many themes from rustic to black tie depending on color
  • Large surface area to clean up big messes
  • Feel soft and comfortable against your skin

Cons:

  • May require ironing before use and for napkin folds
  • Some fabrics aren’t easy to launder
  • Take up extra space when used for out-of-the-home events
  • High quality products can be expensive
  • Certain fabrics may not be very absorbent for liquid spills

Cloth napkins are not the best choice for every lifestyle or every occasion, but they do fit in nicely with a variety of events and meals. When possible, request a sample before making a purchase to ensure the napkins meet your needs. If you can’t get a sample, see if a friend or family member has some you can test out before buying.

Posted in Cloth Napkins

Product Spotlight: White Cotton Cloth Napkins

If you’re looking for a cloth napkin that is environmentally friendly, easy to care for, soft against the skin, and affordable, cotton is the fabric for you. While shiny and frilly cloth napkins look great on a table setting, sometimes you want to pare down to the basics and give a classic look. Standard white, cotton cloth napkins fill all these needs. Pair them with vibrant tablecloths or plates to help balance the whole setting or go monochromatic with white on white. No matter how you style your classic napkins, these two options are all you need.

White Cotton Momie Cloth Napkins

Standard and classic are the two words that best describe the White Cotton Momie cloth napkin. These 20 x 20 inch white cotton napkins feature:

  • crepe weave
  • hemmed edges
  • soft texture

At only $0.99 each, these napkins are a great bargain with additional savings when you by in quantities of 60 or 132. While these napkins are 1st Quality, you may see some imperfections in their shape and coloring since they are an economy product. To give guests or customers the softest feel, wash all napkins before use.

Reviewer Natalie gives them 5 stars for quality, value, and price saying “These are great cotton napkins…are lovely right out of the box, but are also nice once they have been washed and the fabric has tightened up.”

Cotton Bird’s Eye Cloth Napkins

If you want a classic white napkin with a bit more style, try the Cotton Bird’s Eye cloth napkin. These 21 x 21 inch 100% cotton napkins feature a subtle texture in the bird’s eye pattern around the edges. The pattern is a small-scale grid of squares that are slightly raised. The hemmed edges help pull together the napkin with a sleek, stylish look. At around $2.79 each, this extra design feature is a little more expensive than a standard white napkin. As always, save when you buy in quantities of 12, 36, or 144. Reviewer Jennifer says “These are a pretty white and a soft cotton.”

Posted in Cloth Napkins

Hosting a Progressive Dinner Party

What do you get when you combine a dinner party with game night? A progressive dinner, of course. If you’re looking for the ultimate theme to jazz up your next dinner party, consider organizing a progressive dinner. The basic concept involves several courses, each served at a different person’s house.

For a typical dinner:

  1. Enlist four to six friends who live within a fifteen minute walk of each other to serve as the hosts. Each host should serve one course in the meal. Courses can include cocktails, appetizers, soup, salad, entree, seafood, palette cleanser, dessert, and anything else you can think of. Keep in mind the more houses involved, the longer the party will last.
  2. Choose a theme to work around like Italy, Mardi Gras, or local products. Each host should stick to this theme to tie the whole event together. Hosts should also choose dishes they can prep ahead and make quickly so the don’t miss all of the other stops.
  3. Make a general plan so everyone knows which course starts at what time.
  4. Invite friends aside from the hosts to attend, just keep in mind how many guests each home can accommodate.

If you don’t have nearby friends who can participate try serving each course in a different room of your house.

  • Drink cocktails on the front porch.
  • Serve up soup in the dining room.
  • Eat the main course in the living room.
  • Dish out dessert in the back yard or basement.

Don’t be afraid to use the space as is, you don’t need to bring in a bunch of extra tables and chairs. Guests can stand for cocktail hour or carry their own folding chair to each room. Keep the party cohesive by adding in a few simple decorations in the same color scheme for each room or using table linens of the same colors and fabrics.

You don’t need to spend a lot of money or designate drivers to have a fun night out on the town with friends. Keep everyone excited and engaged with a progressive dinner party sure to go down in the books as one of the best nights ever.

Posted in Tips

Change Up Your Look With Table Settings

Start off the new year with a new dining plan at home for weeknight dinners or special occasions. If you’re not ready to commit to furniture and linen changes, consider the art of table settings to give your table a fresh look. Whether you’ve got fine china or prefer disposable dishes, there’s a place setting for you. And since there’s no such thing as the table setting police, feel free to experiment with dishes and setting styles.

While there are those who’ve dedicated their lives to the study of etiquette and the science of table settings, you’re free to learn from their expertise and give it your own twist. Start with beautiful table linens then get into table settings. In general there are a few basic styles of table settings which include positioning for plates, cups, napkins, and silverware.

Formal

Formal table settings are often reserved for restaurants and black tie events. But, you can serve up Taco Tuesday with the same setup. Something as simple as changing how you set the table can get everyone excited about the meal and serve as a conversations starter. With up to four drinkware options and eight utensils this style can seem overwhelming. The trick to remember is everything gets used from the outside to the inside. If you’re not serving up a multi-course meal leave out some of the extras but keep the general placement of items intact.

Casual

Get the laid back look with high style in a casual table setting. Remove the charger plate, bread plate, excess glassware, and extra utensils to create a polished, yet simple place setting. This style works great for large dinner parties where you don’t have time and supplies to support a huge crowd, but want the table to look put-together.

Informal

When you want an effortless look for events and dinners, an informal table setting gets the job done. It will look like you put in tons of effort because people today are so used to not having tables set before meals. In the informal style, you only need one of each piece and the rules on where they go aren’t very strict. You won’t find salad plates or wine glasses at this table, just the basics.

Buffet

If you’re serving a buffet meal, you won’t keep most of the tablewares on the dining table. In this case you could arrange the napkin and silverware at each place setting to define the table space and help keep guests from forgetting to grab those in the buffet line. Follow general silverware guidelines for the style that best matches your buffet food. If you’ve got appetizers, a main meal, and dessert stations a more formal setting is fitting. If the buffet is one lone line with all courses included something more casual works well.

You don’t have to be a professional decorator or experienced host to create an inviting atmosphere that looks like it took you all day. Guests appreciate subtle details that make any dining experience feel special and thoughtful.

Posted in Tips

A Sprinkle of Sparkle for Holiday Decor

With the holidays in full swing bright, twinkling, sparkly decorations are in their prime. Whether decorating for Christmas or New Years, is there such thing as too much sparkle? For some the answer is a clear no, but for others sparkle overload is real. So, how can you jazz up your holiday decor without leaving guests covered in glitter and blinded by bling at your festive party? Follow these decorating tips to include just the right amount of sparkle and guests will rave about your shining accomplishment.

  • Mix metallics with soft textures to mute the shine. Try a woven wool placemat or velvet table runner paired with metallic vases to balance the shine.
  • Stick with a darker color scheme to keep decor easy on the eyes. Deep jewel tones like plum, maroon, and olive green incorporate traditional holiday colors without blinding everyone.
  • Use sequins, glitter, or other sparkly materials in only one aspect of decor. Choose either a shimmering tablecloth or sequin-clad napkin rings, but not both.
  • Look for metallics with less sheen like those with a brushed or hammered finish to add in with other bling.
  • Mix in greenery like leaves and evergreens to mute some of the shine.
  • Use different kinds of sparkle like metallics, sequins, lights, and high gloss finishes so each one won’t feel so overwhelming.
  • Go for a monochromatic look and the shiny elements won’t stand out so much from the rest of the decor.
  • Use mirrors or other reflective surfaces sparingly to highlight glowing elements like candles.

Decorative elements for your holiday party or gathering should include some sparkle and shine to reflect the season. However, you don’t want to overwhelm guests with bling explosion. Look for creative and unique ways to incorporate items with different levels of shine or sheen to create a welcoming, festive atmosphere. Once you’re finished decorating, walk out of the room then come back in with fresh eyes. Are you intrigued and excited or feeling like you just walked into a mob of paparazzi? Adjust decor accordingly until you’ve got just the right mix of sparkle and holiday spirit.

Posted in Informational, Tips

Product Spotlight: Basic Polyester Tablecloths

Are you looking for the perfect tablecloth with high style and function at the most affordable price? Look no further than the Basic Polyester Tablecloth. It offers a silkier and shinier appearance than a cotton tablecloth giving you the opportunity to really dress up your table. In addition, these simple tablecloths are ultra-durable as they can withstand tough stains, are machine washable and dryer safe, and will never shrink or lose shape. As part of the Custom Made Quick (CMQ) line your order can ship out in 3-5 days. Other great features of the Basic Polyester Tablecloth include:

  • 100% polyester
  • No-iron finish
  • Superb color retention
  • No seams, clean merrowed edges
  • Low lint, mildew resistant

Although these features are amazing, the best part about these tablecloths is the variety of size and color options available. Before you choose your perfect shade from over 70 colors, order a swatch card for just under $2 to touch and see what each one is like. Reviewer Stephanie raves “The color is exactly as shown on the swatch we got ahead of time.” Color selection includes basics, brights, and hard-to-find colors like:

  • Black
  • Charcoal
  • Ivory
  • Neon Pink
  • Neon Green
  • Ice Peach
  • Aubergine
  • Watermelon

Square sizes range from 45-90 inches for a standard square shape. Square tablecloths with rounded corners come in sizes 108, 120, and 132 inches. When you buy in lots of 36 or more, prices for square sizes range from around $5 to $40. Rectangle sizes range from 60 x 90 to 72 x 120 with two larger rounded edge rectangle options and two larger oval shape options. Prices range from $12-$40 when you buy three dozen or more. Round sizes range from 60-132 inches and sell for $8-$35 when you buy in lots of 36 or more.

Whether you’re hosting a wedding, Sunday dinner, or getting ready for a restaurant opening, the Basic Polyester Tablecloth meets your needs while looking elegant and expensive. Give your tables a custom look with unique color choices and specialized sizes made for every occasion.

Posted in Informational, Tips

Hosting a Fun Holiday Office Party

Make your office holiday party a night to remember this year with fun decorations and games. Depending on the size of your office, holiday parties can get expensive. Cut back on costs when you focus the event on opportunities for fun and funny interactions.

Decorations

Whether you want a seasonal theme, a Christmas theme, or any other winter holiday theme, you need an overarching concept to pull the event together. The best way to send your message is with decorations. If you don’t have a big budget, these DIY decorations make a big impact without breaking the bank.

  • Wrap plaques, wall hangings, and framed art or photos with Christmas wrapping paper then hang them back on the wall to look like presents. Add festive bows and ribbon for a more elaborate look.
  • Spray windows with fake snow.
  • Pin buttons and ribbon on white pillar candles as the eyes, scarf, and buttons of a snowman.
  • Tie festive ribbon in bows on the backs of chairs.
  • Cover tall glass jars or vases with Santa and elf  hats for an easy centerpiece. The glass object helps the hat stand tall.
  • Choose tablecloths in holiday colors that can be reused for other holidays. Red is a great choice because you can use them again for Valentine’s Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, and birthday parties.
  • Create Naughty/Nice List to post on the wall using poster board and markers.  Add pictures of each employee in one column then embellish the pictures with stickers like Santa hats, elf ears, or reindeer antlers.

Games

Party games help people get to know each other better and create instant memories. Christmas office party games include classic ice breakers with a holiday twist and seasonal activities.

Some party guests, like employee spouses, won’t necessarily know everyone in the room. Help people with introductions by planning a few ice breaker activities.

  • Write trivia questions about the company or the holiday on disposable cups. When people get their drinks they can ask each other about the trivia.
  • Write the name of each employee inside a Christmas card and place one card at each table setting. Challenge party-goers to find the person whose name is on the card where they’re sitting before the end of the party.
  • Give each guest a Christmas pin to wear during the party. Every time a guest catches someone saying Merry Christmas, he can take that person’s pin and wear it. The person with the most pins at the end of the party gets an extra gift.

If you’ll be handing out employee gifts, turn the giving into a game to help people feel more comfortable.

  • See who can unwrap the gift in the fastest time.
  • Hide gifts on the underside of chairs so each guest doesn’t see it at first. When it’s time to open everyone will feel like they’re on a game show as you instruct them to look under their seats.
  • Hide gifts around the room and direct employees to open the first one they find.

No matter what kind of party you host or how much is in your budget, you can host a holiday office party. Keep the atmosphere festive and encourage fun to ensure everyone has a great time.

Posted in Informational, Tips

Home and Garden Show Table Setups

As winter approaches, many people look for fun things to do indoors. Home and garden shows are a great way to engage customers during cold-weather months because they have time to think about projects around the home. Make the most of your vendor table by choosing the right display techniques for your products.

U-Shaped Setup

In this style, you’ll use three long tables to create a squared U-shape. Place one table horizontally along the back of your space then but one table vertically against each end of the horizontal table. Invest in a bold, full color table cover with your company logo to use on the back table. Cover the two side tables in one solid color that goes with your logo colors. This will create a visual pull for guests to enter your space. Once they enter, customers will be flanked by your products so they won’t be distracted by what’s happening on either side of you.

Up Front Table Setup

Smaller venues or companies warrant the use of a basic, one-table setup. In this style your table is front and center in a horizontal orientation. Make the table look bigger with a thin table runner featuring your logo. Place the runner on top of a table cover in a contrasting color to create visual interest. Display large products on the floor at each end of the table and use small shelving systems for smaller products on top of the table.

V-Shaped Setup

Create an arrow leading guests to you or your main product with a V-shaped setup. You’ll need to set up two tables, each at an angle where the inside corners of one end meet. Place your main product or position yourself in the corner where the two tables meet. As guests enter your space, they’ll feel compelled to travel toward this corner in the center of your display.

 

 

No matter the size or shape of your vendor space, the right setup says a lot about your company and can influence visitor actions. Play around with configurations then walk in the customer’s shoes to make sure you find the best fit.

Posted in Tips

Surprising Side Dishes

Whether you’re still searching for that perfect Thanksgiving side dish or planning ahead for other holiday meals, new and exciting side dishes liven up any meal. This year wow guests and give your own taste buds a surprise with a dinner side like they’ve never tasted before.

Create your own unique side dish by mixing unexpected flavors the professionals have proven to work together. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking:

Not Your Standard Stuffing:

Radical Root Vegetables:

Variations on Veggies:

If you don’t want to use these recipes as is, use them as inspiration to invent your own new side. To start:

  • Choose the standard side dish you want to upgrade.
  • Pick unexpected flavors to swap in for an old standby.
  • Experiment by making the dish at least once before serving to guests.
  • Come up with a fun, creative name for your new dish.
  • Take notes on guests’ reactions to see how you can tweak it in the future, or if it’s just a dud.

 

Take your favorite holiday flavors or dishes and give them new life by creating surprising side dishes. Start by swapping out one traditional dish for something new or make a bigger impact by replacing all your usual sides. When you place these upgraded sides on the festive table cloth, guests will be impressed. 

Posted in Tips