let’s learn about flowers: peony edition

SarahB-Peony-head-350_21e13e4a

I have a secret. I don’t know that much about flowers. I know more than a lot of people (namely men) but for an event planner, my knowledge is really lacking. But while I love and appreciate flowers, I can’t always tell specific varieties apart.

When I was at The Special Event a few weeks ago, I sat in a fabulous session on creating floral arrangements presented by the ladies of Fifty Flowers, which is a great online resource for wholesale florals. I had heard of Fifty Flowers but had never used them. What a great resource – in addition to fabulous prices, they have lots of information about each flower they offer, including when they are available, when to order them in time for your event, and how to care for them. I highly recommend Fifty Flowers, even just for browsing!

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friday favorites – best event ideas of the week

This week for my Friday Favorites, I wanted to showcase my favorite ideas from The Special Event conference last week in Nashville. TSE had two tabletop competitions. While TSE had it’s own judging, I wanted to share my top picks as well.

#5 – Sherlock Holmes Centerpiece

Sherlock Holmes centerpiece

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office holiday party at top of the town

holiday party at top of the town in arlington, va

A few months ago I featured a site report on Top of the Town, just outside of Washington, DC. In December, we used Top of the Town for an office holiday party for about 150 people. I wanted to share some of my thoughts on the venue and how the party worked out, as well as share some of the ideas we used for decor and the menu. We also had some entertainment for the evening, but I will feature that in a separate post.

I’ll start with a disclaimer – my photos are terrible. We didn’t have a professional photographer at this event so it was just me and my decent camera in poor lighting conditions during set-up. So, please forgive me!

The Venue

The selling point for Top of the Town is its view. It’s right outside DC (in the Rosslyn neighborhood of Arlington) so it has magnificent views of DC and the monuments. It was actually a gray, rainy day on the night of the party, so I wasn’t able to take any good shots of the view but you can see some here. Luckily it cleared up enough by the time the party started that the guests were able to marvel at the view.

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christmas centerpiece ideas

christmas DIY centerpiece ideas

As I’m sure you’re aware, Christmas is just around the corner (it’s coming a little too quickly for my taste!). While I’ve been absorbed with planning a company holiday party (could you guess that’s been on my mind?) I don’t want to forget about Christmas at home. This year will be my first hosting Christmas in our new house. While it will just be a small group, eight total, I still want it to be special and perfect. As I’ve been brainstorming little ideas to make my first Christmas dinner in the house special, I wanted to share some ideas with you. I’ll have three posts over the next three days geared toward Christmas entertaining. These are all ideas that you can DIY. Today I wanted to focus on centerpieces.

Just like with Thanksgiving dinner, I feel like the centerpiece at Christmas dinner should err on the side of simple. There’s always so much food on the table, you don’t want the centerpiece to get lost or get in the way. I usually opt for something low. Your comfort level around candles will depend on who your guests are. Since the “kids” at our dinner are my 17 and 20 year old nieces, I think I’m ok, but you will need to decide for yourself.

I also recommend something that you can do ahead – with everything else you’re worried about on Christmas, I wouldn’t add greenery arrangement on top.

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winter white tablescape inspiration

My husband and I moved to a new house a few weeks ago, and instead of living in the DC suburbs, just barely inside the Beltway, we now live in what DC folks call ‘the country’ – about an hour or so west of DC, closer to the Blue Ridge Mountains. Any of you who actually live in ‘the country’ have permission to laugh at the characterization of an hour west of DC as the country. One major difference between our former apartment and our current house is the weather. We now live just far enough away for slightly colder weather and more snow! So while my friends in DC have barely a dusting, we have about 3-4 inches already! This is the view from our front door:

let it snow!

So since I am surrounded by white, I felt inspired to write about winter white tablescapes. Whether you are looking to plan a winter wedding or a winter dinner, or are just looking to add a bit of winter flair to your next dinner party, here are some ideas I love:

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friday favorites – best event ideas of the week

I know we were off last week but today I’m resuming my Friday favorites! Let’s get started!

#5 – Salt shaker table numbers

salt and pepper shakers wedding table numbers

I think this is cute. Instead of numbers or table names, this bride and groom had different salt shakers which represented famous pairs – Mickey and Minnie, two cowboy boots, a burger and a drink, etc. The salt shakers were incorporated into the centerpieces and guests had to find the right shakers for their table. Sure, it’s a little kitschy, but it’s fun. Photo by Fete Photography via Mountainside Bride.

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michael & melissa’s georgia garden wedding

mike & melissa's georgia garden wedding

Michael and Melissa were married in Decatur, Georgia on September 28, 2013, near where they both grew up. The fall wedding was full of personal details. Since the bride and groom both live in Washington, DC, they relied on their friends and family to help, and the result was a wedding that was sweet, poignant, and full of personal details. The ceremony was held at the same church where the groom’s parents were married. The reception venue, the Cator Woolford Gardens in Atlanta, was a beautiful backdrop for the start of this couple’s married life.

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