You know what’s super fun about the event industry? The array of beautiful events, mixers, networkers and parties that fill up the calendar and show off the talents of those involved. The amount of “pretty” that goes on is really something else and I’m so fortunate to work alongside such talent! On the flip side though, it’s nice to give back, to be generous with our time and dollars, and to help those in need whose lives are so very far from the cocktail parties and high budget weddings we see every week. We love any excuse to get together with our wedding and event industry friends, but were especially excited when one group we’re a part of, Tuesdays Together, decided to gather a group of creative entrepreneurs and industry pros for an evening of packing 15,000 meals for needy children and families in our community.
This week we met at Feeding Children Everywhere, an organization whose mission is simple and pure: to empower and mobilize people to assemble healthy meals for hungry children. And that’s just what we did! Each table of about 10 people worked together assembly-line style to package a dried lentil casserole in airtight bags and box them for shipping. These bags of healthy meals will be distributed throughout our community to those in need, be it food banks, schools, churches, shelters, or families in crisis. The music was cranked up and we got busy, packaging 15,000 meals in less than an hour and a half. Since this was a family friendly event, I brought along my husband, Sam, and our older two children, Jack (4) and Saylor (6). Even the little ones were able to get hands-on by doing jobs like scooping dried veggies and weighing the packages before they were sealed. The kids took their tasks seriously and were proud to help! I had explained that some children go to bed hungry at night and the meals we packed would be a big blessing to them. I believe children have so much compassion and care for others, especially other kids, and they are able to start contributing and helping others very early in life. I was so glad to be able to share in this service project as a family, alongside some amazing industry pros who gladly give back to their community.
Here’s Jack scooping dried veggies. He was really into the hairnet and brought it home as a souvenier.
Photos courtesy of Amalie Orange, the fearless leader of Orlando’s Tuesdays Together group! Thanks, Amalie for all you do and for rallying the troops for this special event!
Looking for a way to get involved in the community this fall? Here are some other organizations in the Central Florida area to look into:
Ask anyone who has already had their wedding, or experienced the joy and frustrations of helping someone plan a wedding, and you’ll find that these people have some insightful tips on what worked and what didn’t. Maybe the schedule they thought would work felt rushed or dragged on. Maybe their favorite music did not translate to a full dance floor. Maybe food and alcohol was under ordered and a groomsman had to make a beer run (or the bride just wanted a cheeseburger at the end of the night!). Every couple, family, and service providers are a different mix so what works for one may not work for all. However, here are some of our top tips for planning a successful, smooth running event.
- Set a realistic budget and try sticking to it. Even couples/families that say “budget isn’t an issue”, there is still some number they don’t want to go over. Wedding planning takes prioritizing so before you get started, pick your top 3 or 4 priorities and make those things happen. On items that aren’t as important to you, skip them or go with something more basic. For instance, white poly tablecloths from the caterer or venue rather than upgraded specialty rental linens.
- On that note, napkins are an easy and affordable way to dress up your place settings and add color and texture to your tables.
- If you are giving out favors (and you are not required to!), edible ones will always be a guest favorite.
- By all means, don’t plan to set up or break down ANYTHING on your own wedding day. If you have a specific vision then take a picture or draw a diagram of what you want and relinquish control to your coordinator or the team you’ve designated.
- Prior to the wedding, designate WHO will be taking home every last gift, cake topper, and heirloom toasting flute. Make them aware of their job ahead of time.
- Consider closing the bar while guests move from cocktail hour to the dinner reception, especially if those are two separate locations. It helps move guests a little more quickly and can slightly save on your bar bill.
- Repurpose ceremony floral and bouquets if possible. This can save you money and enhance the dinner reception significantly. Or use the leftover floral to dress up your brunch the next day.
- If possible, keep all reception activities in the same room as the dance floor. Photo booths and bars outside the room will draw the crowd out and away from your party.
- Although we love a good “first look” moment between the bride and groom, don’t have one if your vision has always been to see each other on the aisle. Yes, first look photos give you more time for pictures before the ceremony, but the schedule can always be adjusted accordingly if you decide to wait.
- Lastly, in our experience, the biggest regret we hear is when couples don’t hire a videographer. It’s not a priority for everyone of course, but having footage of your walk down the aisle, saying your vows, hearing those sweet and funny toasts again later, and first dance/parent dances are always welcome moments to relive down the road.
What are you doing for Halloween? We have a tradition of having family and a few friends over for food and festive cocktails before the kids go trick-or-treating. This year Saylor is dressing up as Batgirl, Jack as a Pteranodon (it’s basically a pterodactyl for those of us who don’t know the difference), and little Lucy will be a flamingo. Though I’m sure she won’t keep the hat part on so she’ll be a pink fluff. Every year we carve pumpkins but here in Florida they tend to quickly turn moldy from the humidity so this year we’ve painted and bedazzled them instead. After Halloween we’ll dig out their seeds so we can still roast them to snack on.
I’m a big fan of finger foods and what I call “snacky dinners” for mix-and-mingle type parties, so here’s the menu we’ll be serving on Saturday and links to some recipes:
- Chicken fingers (crowd pleaser especially for the kids). These are ordered in advance so all I have to do is pick up a tray of them.
- Jalepeno popper dip
- Roasted Brussels sprouts with curry dipping sauce
- Broccoli cheese bites
- Charcuterie board (this will be my favorite part)
- And the kids will make some fun desserts like cupcakes with too much orange frosting
Have a fun weekend and if you’re still decorating pumpkins, check out these ideas by Sincerely Sarad!
When I started working in the wedding industry at a designer wedding gown salon, I was asked many times whether we rented gowns. The answer was always no, and to be honest, I had no idea whether anyone offered such a service or if many brides would even use it. Fast forward almost a decade and now we all know about Rent The Runway, a website that rents dresses and accessories for all of life’s occasions. Only recently have I heard of brides using the site to choose their own wedding day attire, and I have to say, I’m intrigued! All of the looks below are currently available on the site and first time customers can receive 20% off with code FIRSTRTR20P.
So tell us, would you rent a wedding gown?