Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wedding Reception Tips

There is so much to do when it comes to planning a wedding! It's usually best to break tasks down into smaller pieces so that you can manage them more easily. Today, we're going to talk about the reception and what you can do to make your recpetion fun, beautiful, and entertaining.

Picking a Reception Venue

  • Start with phone calls. Call around to find places that have availablity on the date you need, can accommodate your guest list, fits your budget, and has the ammenities you need (heat or air conditioning, dance floor, etc.)

  • Once you have narrowed down your selections you absolutely must visit the venue to make sure it's a good fit before you put any money down. You might discover that it won't work with your decor or that there are other dealbreakers that make it unsuitable.

  • Remember to ask about food, entertainment, parking, and restrictions. Some places don't allow outside catering, some don't allow guests to smoke, and some don't allow alcohol. You need to get the details to know if the venue will work for you and your guests.
Reception Seating Tips

  • Unless you want problems at your reception, don't put bitter enemies together at the same table. That's just asking for trouble.

  • Try to keep people with similar interests together. Seat people with at least one other person they know, put teens together, cousins together, etc.

  • Don't stress too much about who sits at the head table. It's your wedding so it's your call. You can seat only the bride and groom together at the head table and let the rest of the wedding party sit at tables with family and friends or you can put the whole wedding party together at one table. Seat special family members or guests at the table with you if you want. It's your wedding and you should be able to enjoy it.

  • Searching endlessly for tables can be awkward and unpleasant for guests and put a hitch in your party plans. Use table numbers and mark them plainly so guests can easily find their seats.

  • If you feel parents, grandparents, or other special or honored guests need reserved seats, make sure you mark them plainly so that other guests know not to take those seats.

  • Make your table settings special with unique wedding reception place cards and custom wedding favors.

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spin in for Some Fun!

You're Invited to spin in for some fun as our little Gabriel turns one!
To celebrate my little Gabers TURNING the big ONE we threw him a precious pinwheel themed party.

I can't believe that my little baby, pictured above, is already TURNING one. The first year really WHIRLED by!

In the above photo he is patiently awaiting for his party guests to arrive - poor guy was trapped in his chair while mommy and daddy ran around finishing all of the details.

Pinwheel themed Save the Dates, Invites, and Thank You cards were designed to coordinate with the pinwheel theme.

Guests were greeted by whirling yardwhirls lining the sidewalk and a pinwheel wreath on the door. Personalized pinwheels included the phrase 'Gabriel is turning one!' on the quadrants.

Traditional and double peony pinwheels in the party colors of green, light blue, turquoise, grey, and chocolate brown were scattered around to make our home more festive.
Custom pinwheels were also stuck into white tin buckets filled with freshly grown wheat grass.
Several memo boards were scattered around the dining area featuring our favorite photos of Gabe throughout his first year. Party pennants were strung to add to the atmosphere.
The above memo board features 11 photos of Gabe - each one taken on the third of each month at exactly 12:08 pm (his official birth date). All photos were taken in the same rocker in his nursery and were posed with Mr. Bear. As Gabe grew bigger throughout the year the bear magically grew smaller. (I borrowed this idea from Laura.)
Food items included easy to eat items including pinwheel sandwiches and twirly antipasto pasta salad.
All 20 guests were offered fun party hats from our Pennant and Party Hat Tower. Guests drank their lime-aid (with blueberries for a blue touch) from green and white striped paper straws. The custom flags helped everyone keep track of their drinks throughout the afternoon.
Instead of cake, key lime cupcakes with key lime cream cheese icing were served. And yes, the personalized pinwheel cupcake toppers actually whirl!
As you can tell, Gabe enjoyed his yummy cupcake!

And best of all - he had a great time with all of his Aunties, Uncles, and Cousins.
After the party, it occurred to me that my little guy is really not that little anymore and I started to think back on all of our great memories from the past year. Thinking back on all of his firsts brought a few tears to my eyes. I know that there are many more great moments ahead, but the past year has also been very bittersweet. I love you my funny little honey bun!
For more photos and larger view of any of the above click here.
Pinwheels, Party Hats, Pennants, Banners, and Invites - Pinwhirls
Striped Straws and Pennants - Pebbles in My Pocket
Tie and Suspender Onesie - BK Chic Boutique
Wheat Grass - Genesis Wheatgrass

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Top 50 Easter Basket Ideas for Kids, Teens, and Adults

One of the things we love most about Easter is personalizing baskets each year. It’s easy to get lulled into complacency, selecting the same rock-hard jellybeans and dime store chocolates year after year. This year, scour our ideas for a new spin on your Easter goodies. Do you do something unique with your baskets? Share your tips and tricks with us in the comments!

Here are our top 50 favorite Easter basket ideas for kids, teens, men, and women. We hope you’ll be inspired to step out of the ordinary and make Easter extra special for your family and friends this year.

For Kids
  • Stickers and sticker books
  • Coloring books
  • Markers or crayons
  • Deck of cards
  • Travel games
  • Candy
  • Yo-yos
  • Jewelry
  • Action figures
  • CDs or DVDs
  • Frisbees
  • Pinwhirls
  • Puzzles

For Teens
  • Makeup
  • CDs
  • Movie tickets
  • Video games
  • Books
  • Memory cards for electronic devices
  • Money
  • Water bottle or coffee mug
  • Athletic gear
  • Coupon for a chore-free day or an extended curfew
  • Pinwhirls

For Men
  • Golf balls
  • Bait and tackle items
  • Memory cards for electronic devices
  • All-in-one charging pad
  • Key chain
  • Toiletries
  • Sunglasses
  • Watch
  • Favorite candy
  • Batteries or chargers
  • Car wash coupons
  • Gift certificates
  • Coupons for a favorite home-cooked meal or dinner out
  • Coffee mug

For Women
  • Nail polish
  • Makeup
  • Recipes
  • Yarn
  • Books
  • Seeds for the garden
  • Jewelry
  • Movie tickets
  • Salon gift certificates
  • Gourmet chocolates or candies
  • Coupons for a favorite home-cooked meal or dinner out
  • Gourmet coffee or tea

Stop by the site for even more Easter party ideas!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How to Throw the Perfect First Birthday Party

Your child’s first birthday party is a special occasion! Here’s how to make the day fun for baby and guests.

First Birthday Party Tips

Keep your guest list small. Of course your child’s first birthday is a big deal. And of course you want to invite a hundred people to share the day with you. But think about trimming your list in order to make the day happier for the birthday girl or boy. At 12 months, some children experience anxiety around strangers or become upset in the midst of too much activity and noise.

Pick a kid-friendly time. Schedule your child’s birthday party at a time of day when he or she is likely to be awake and happy. Schedule the party during nap time, and things are likely to turn sour. Parties should probably only last 90 minutes to 2 hours.

Choose age-appropriate party activities. A group of one year olds probably won’t appreciate anything too elaborate. Think of ways to keep festivities fun but simple. Plush toys, sandboxes, and sing-alongs can be a good choice. Save the clowns for later, as people in costumes can be a little disconcerting for youngsters.
Birthday Party Hats

Serve finger foods for children. Having snacks on hand can help keep hungry children from getting cranky. However, avoid any foods that could present a choking hazard like grapes, small candies, and nuts.

First Birthday Party Checklist

  • Set the venue
  • Order and send out party invitations and purchase corresponding thank you notes
  • Plan and prepare appetizers, food and/or drinks
  • Order birthday cake or cupcakes, candle and pinwhirl toppers
  • Choose a birthday banner
  • Select plates, napkins, cups, and utensils that go with your party theme
  • Order party hats for each guest
  • Select games or activities
  • Find coordinating party favors
  • Mail thank you notes to guests

Monday, March 7, 2011

Pinwhirl Party Favorites: Top 5 Unique Cupcake Recipes

We dedicate this page to some of our favorite people—the do-it-yourself party planners. We’ve paired some truly unique cupcake recipes with our themed Pinwhirl paper designs so that you can plan a party with the perfect cupcake AND the perfect cupcake topper.

Creamsicle Cupcakes from Woman’s Day

With creamy and dreamy flavors of orange and vanilla, the orange juice and orange zest will remind you of one of your favorite summertime treats. We think these cupcakes are great for a child’s birthday, a summer birthday, or even a family picnic. Pair them with our Pinwhirl toppers or an extra special dessert. Suggested pinwheel paper designs: Circus Papers

Mojito Cupcakes from Cream Puffs in Venice

These cupcakes will cater to your adult party sensibilities. With the distinct flavors of rum, lime, and mint you’ll be carried away to Miami. The macadamia crackle and rum syrup put these cupcakes over the top. We think they’re the perfect cupcake for a rehearsal dinner or an outdoor wedding. Suggested pinwheel paper designs: Zag Papers

Cherry Coke Float Cupcakes from Moogie & Pap

There isn’t anything quite like dessert inspired dessert! Moogie & Pap’s Cherry Coke Float cupcakes feature real Coca-Cola and maraschino cherries and syrup. We think these cupcakes make the perfect treat for a Sweet 16. Suggested pinwheel paper designs: Summertime Papers

Chipotle Cinnamon Chocolate Cupcakes from Vanilla Garlic

Dark chocolate, cinnamon and the spicy kick of chipotle puree make these cupcakes a must for those times when you want dessert to be an adventure. Kick off your bachelorette party or a 21st birthday with these spicy-sweet cakes. Also the perfect anniversary or Valentine’s Day cupcake. Suggested pinwheel paper designs: Love Papers

Chocolate Whiskey and Beer Cupcakes from Smitten Kitchen

The Guinness and Bailey’s in these cupcakes give them a distinct flavor that pairs perfectly with the cocoa powder and cream. We think these delicious cupcakes are tasty and festive or a retirement party, holiday party, or birthday party. Suggested pinwheel paper designs: Customizable Papers