Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Seating Chart Tips

If you're preparing for a big event and you're not sure whether or not to do a seating chart, check out Monday's post "To Seating Chart or Not to Seating Chart."  But if you've decided you do want to assign seats, you're in the right place.  There are lots of ways to go about creating a seating chart, but being the tech-savvy planners that we are, we like to incorporate modern technology to make the job easier. So here are our tips for creating a hassle-free seating chart.

  • Use technology.  Microsoft PowerPoint has a seating chart template. To find it, open a new PowerPoint file and search "seating chart" in the template file.  This does a lot of the dirty work for you.  Just fill in the names.  Or if your lay-out is going to be different, it's easy to cut and paste the tables as you want them.  While technology can be great for storing ideas and having a crisp final lay-out, it may be easier to have little slips of paper with all of the guests names on them for easily rearranging tables.

  • Be concious of where you're seating people.  Elderly guests often have a hard time hearing, so seat them up front, but not too close to loud music.  Make sure those with disabilities or small children have a clear path to the exits and restrooms in case a quick sneak-away is needed.  Seat children in the back or corners. Kids are likely not paying attention anyway, and will be out of the way.
  • Figure out what tables you can fill first.  For example, if you have tables for 8, and the Smith Family has 8 members attending, then you can automatically assign them to one table.  Or if you have 4 couples who are all great friends, put them at one table together. Done! 
  • Once you assign all your "full tables," determine if any guests can not sit together.  Start separating those piles. Fill in with couples and singles as needed.
  • Take care to mix tables according to common interests: generation, alumni of the same college, all new parents . . . by giving your guests table-mates of similar interests, you'll ensure they have a great time.
  • Remember not to exclude anyone from a table if possible.  For example, if 9 of your sorority sisters are at the wedding, don't seat 8 together and seat the 9th elsewhere.  The 9th girl will not be as comfortable. Instead, split the group into 4 and 5, so no one feels left out.
Well, those are our tips for seating charts. We hope they helped you out. If you still have questions, feel free to email us at We'd be happy to help answer any of your questions.

Monday, December 28, 2009

To "Seating Chart" or Not to "Seating Chart"

Many hostesses are unsure whether or not they should assign seats at their event.  I've been to events without seating charts that were a disaster (I ended up sitting outside), and I've been to events with a seating chart that were equally distressing to the guests (one groomsman was split away from all the rest of his buddies).  We feel that it's really a personal preference and depends. Only the host knows all of their guests well and can say what will work best for their situation. But there are some things to think about when determining whether or not you should assign seats.
  • How well do your guests know each other?  Will they feel comfortable pulling up a chair next to anyone?  Or would they prefer to be seated with familiar faces?
  • Do you have time constraints that could be eased by allowing guests to bypass standing in line to find out where they should sit?
  • Do you have space constraints that allow your guests to only sit in one basic configuartion?
  • What's the purpose of your event? Do you want to encourage guests to meet new people and strike up new conversations?
  • Do you have ample space/chairs for guests to create their own seating?
  • Do any of your guests have special needs which would necessitate an assigned seat?
  • Are there guests attending who don't get along well and need to be separated?
  • Will you be excluding anyone from a table of friends if you do assign seats?
Once you've considered these questions, you can decide whether or not to do a seating chart and what kind to use.  Stay tuned later in the week where we'll give you more tips on creating a seating chart that works for your event and your guests. 

So how have you handled this issue? Have you assigned seats or let it be a free-for-all?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

From all of us here at We've Got It! Chicago, we wish you and yours a wonderful Christmas celebration!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Holiday Traditions

With Christmas just 2 days away, we've been thinking a lot about holiday traditions lately.  Every family has them, and as we change and grow we add new traditions.  For example, each year my husband and I exhange ornaments.  We buy an ornament that has something to do with the past year. This helps our ornament collection grow and it's a wonderful way to document our time together. 

Traditions can vary from songs sung to different food eaten or other practices.  And we love them all.  So often it's easy to get wrapped up (literally) in the material aspects of the holiday, but thinking about traditions keeps us grounded.  So, tell us about your favorite holiday traditions. What special things does your family do to celebrate?  Feel free to send in your favorite traditions (and include some pictures, if you want), and we'll feature our favorites in our blog to share with all of our readers.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Online Event Planning

We love planning events, which is why we offer great service at an affordable price.  But sometimes hiring an event planner just isn't in the budget at all.  So what can you do when you still need some help?  We recently dicovered this great event-assistance website,  This site is a great resource for event planning. helps you:
  • set an event date
  • keep track of a pot-luck
  • designing and sending invitations
  • and so much more.
So if you're ever in a jam and can't afford an event planner, check out

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Holiday Party Decor

We're deep into the midst of holiday party season, but if you're still looking for a last minute decor idea for your party, look no further.  Tissue paper pom poms are a great and affordable way to fill a large space with vibrant colors.  This easy DIY project is something older kids can help with too.  And with tissue paper coming in every color of the rainbow these days, the possibilities are limitless. 

We originally discovered these pom poms on Martha Stewart's wonder they are so perfect!  Here's her how-to and here's a few samples of the pom poms in use.  We've seen them at weddings, parties and even used as permanent decor in children's rooms and nurseries.

Have you used paper pom poms for decor at your events? Send us a picture and you could be featured on our blog.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Happy Hanukkah!

Hanukkah begins tonight at sundown.  Happy Hanukkah to all our Jewish readers. Here's to eight wonderful nights of celebrating friends, family, and traditions.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Light Up the Season

One of my favorite holiday traditions is driving around to look at all of the beautiful Christmas light displays that families do.  I've loved doing this since I was a kid.  If this is one of your favorites too, or if you're new to the idea, I've got a great website for you:

Chicagoland Christmas Lights

Chicagoland Christmas Lights' website offers an interactive map to finding all of the great Christmas light displays in the area.  (The map below is just for illustrative purposes. For the active map, please go to the website linked above.)  The map enables you to search by city or county and by the type of display you're looking for.  And they are always adding more locations, so be sure to check back frequently. Or submit your house to their list if you're the neighborhood Clark Griswold.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Searching for fun activities in Chicago during the Christmas season? Have family and/or friends in town? Sightseeing yourself? Looking for a bit of culture!?  Well we've got just the event for you!

Inspired by the Christkindlsmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany, which began in 1545, the Christkindlmarket Chicago brings a cherished German and European tradition with international flair and local charm to Chicago. Chicago's largest open-air Christmas festival was first held on Pioneer Court in 1996. By special invitation of Mayor Richard M. Daley, Christkindlmarket Chicago moved to Daley Plaza in 1997 and has become a staple event on the plaza ever since. Together with the support of the Mayor’s Office of Special Events (M.O.S.E.), Christkindlmarket Chicago has grown to become one of the most popular winter attractions in the heart of the city.

Days:     open daily until Christmas Eve

Times:  Sun. - Thurs.: 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.

                Fri. + Sat.: 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.

Location: Daley Plaza between Washington (Clark & Dearborn Street)

Admission: FREE!

List of Vendors: Christkindlmarket Vendors

Gallery: Christkindlmarket Photos

Monday, December 7, 2009

Hostess Gifts

It's that time of year.  You know what I mean: parties and events practically every day. My sister lamented that she has five(!) events to go to this week alone: a baby shower, a bridal shower, a work holiday party, an adult birthday party and a kid's birthday party!  All those festivities can get expensive, especially the ones that require gifts for a guest of honor.  But don't forget about your gracious host(ess).  We've scouted out some great, affordable gifts for your party hostess this holiday season.

So tell us about the great hostess gifts you plan to give or the great gifts you've received. We love to feature real stories!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Giving Green

This year when you're doing your holiday shopping, consider buying fair trade gifts. Fair trade means that it's an item from a producer in a developing country and that production processes support sustainable practices. These products range from jewelry to clothing to coffee to candles.  All sorts of gifts can be found for everyone on your list. 

Here's our guide to Fair Trade gifts for everyone on your list.

For the writer:

For the kids:

For the new mom on the go:

For the gardener:

For your pets:

For the baby:

For the fashionista:

For the chocolate-lover:

For the cook:

So have you bought fair trade gifts before, for yourself or someone else? Tell us where you shopped and what you got!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Make your holidays greener with an evergreen that lasts beyond New Year's Eve.  We recently discovered a great way to go even greener this Christmas: Rent-A-Trees. The LA Times featured this article online yesterday and it sparked our interest. Basically, you pay for a Christmas tree to be delivered to your house for the holidays. This is a living, potted tree with a root ball attached. When the season is over, the company picks up your tree and plants it somewhere for you so it can go on being a tree and helping our environment. How cool is that?!

Unfortunately, the rent-a-tree market is localized on the west coast, primarily in CA and Portland.  So that doesn't bode well for us Chicagoans.  But The Original Living Christmas Tree Company offers some great tips for finding a living Christmas tree and making sure it gets planted after the holidays.  You can check out their advice here.

Tell us about your Christmas tree.  Do you go with a real tree each year or reuse a fake one?  Have you ever cut your own tree at a farm?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Multi-Purpose Packaging

When considering how to wrap your holiday gifts this year, consider multi-purposed packaging. Instead of wrapping paper and bows, opt for cloth bags and ribbon that can be reused.  One of my favorites is festive holiday shopping bags available at my local grocery store for just 99 cents!  With a cute holiay picture and slogan, they are perfect for wrapping presents, and can also be used by the recipient for every day shopping trips. 

We browsed for a bit and found some other great reusable gift bags for this holiday season.  Check out our favorite selections.  Click the "shop" link under each picture to go to the Etsy seller's site.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

WGIC recently saw a great news segment on 190 North about, a site described in their own words below:

PixieListTM is a free service that makes it easy to give away usable items from the home or office that you no longer need. Save money and the planet by reusing free items offered by others in your community. Everything listed here is 100% free with no strings attached. That's the rule. Free to give. Free to get. All free!
Looking for something that you don't already see on PixieList? Use our wish list feature to let other people know you can really use that certain something.
We charities and wish list items from registered charities are clearly marked. If you donate items to a registered charity, you may even get a tax deduction!
So use PixieList and really clean up!

While is relatively new to the scene, the thought behind it is good. We love the idea of FREE, (I mean, who doesn't!?), but we also love that products are getting reused instead of thrown away! So shop away~

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Black Friday!

Happy Black Friday!  Today the Christmas season officially kicks off.  And in honor of that, we thought we'd suggest a great website we love to use this time of year.

Growing up, it was always a hassle to get everyone together BEFORE the holidays so we could draw names for Secret Santa gifts. Inevitably, my granny ended up drawing names for everyone and calling our long-distance relatives.  Then, she proceeded to tease us all for the next 3 weeks that she knew who everyone's Secret Santa was . . .  sound familiar? 

Well, thanks to some amazing people, there's a great service available called Elfster. is a super easy way to organize a Secret Santa, whether it's for family, friends, the office, or whoever!  Secret Santa participants sign up individually through a group, and then Elfster does the dirty work, matching up participants. You can create wish-lists, tell your Secret Santa about yourself, and even ask your person anonymous questions to determine what they'd like. 

Our favorite thing about Elfster: it makes it even easier to be green.  No wasting tiny slips of paper drawing names; no buying and shipping lots of gifts all over the country; no returning unwanted presents.  Be sure to check out Elfster this season for your Secret Santa gift exchanges!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Holiday Countdown

Boy does time fly! Our last post about Holiday Countdowns had Thanksgiving 75 days away!! Not the case anymore - as you all know Thanksgiving is now only two short days away. While most of your menu items, decorations and preparations are no doubt complete, check below for some last minute ideas you just might want to include in your holiday celebration!

1. Keep the Kids from Getting Cranky
Do you have a large amount of young children attending your Thanksgiving festivities? If so, check out what Amazing Mom's has come up with to keep your kids busy! Our favorite is the Turkey Treat Holder - makes a great centerpiece!

2. Try a New App
A new appetizer that is! Change things up a little this Thanksgiving with a new menu item - try this super simple recipe from the Food Network's Giada De Laurentiis for Stuffed Mushroom's.  Suggested prep time is 25 minutes, we think it would take closer to 10-15! And they look just delish! Or, instead of the classic, and dare we say BORING, dinner rolls, try Paula Deen's Parmesan Puff Pastery Recipe. Prep time is 12 minutes, how easy. And YUMMMMMY!!

3. Kick the Cran
Cranberry sauce from an aluminum can is quite cliché (and lazy) in our minds here at WGIC. With so many simple recipes for delicious, fresh, quick and easy homemade cranberry sauce, there's no reason to waste your money and your reputation on store bought! Try our very own, family recipe:


4. Where's the Host Gift?
Forget to get your host something? Don't have an extra bottle of wine lying around, or do you think wine isn't thoughtful enough?  Well we've got a great idea for a host/hostess gift, and the best part, it's under $20!!!   Try a plant and Go Green, literally!!  You can even stop ON YOUR WAY TO DINNER to pick it up - try Walmart, Target or even Home Depot. You'll want to make sure you get an indoor plant. Flowers are nice, but not necessary. Get creative, pick an exotic looking leaf, or a plant that you have in your own home.  Your host/hostess will be impressed that you thought outside the box and you might even brighten up there day!!

And here is the rest of our Holiday Countdown:

18 Days until the start of Chanukah

32 Days until Christmas

33 Days until the start of Kwanzaa

38 Days until New Year's Eve