Thursday, April 30, 2009

Idea Board: Graduation Party

click on the photo to see it enlarged

This weekend, we're coordinating a graduation party for Mike. Mike is graduating from the University of Florida with a degree in Building Construction. It was pretty easy to come up with a theme for this one. Too easy, in fact. We had two themes: the Gators and Construction. So we set out to find the best way to blend the two themes together without going over-board on either. (Mike's not a big themey person.)

Above is the idea board that we put together for Mike's party. We're throwing a laid-back barbeque at Mike's house on Saturday afternoon. Here's what we're planning:

1. To tie in the Gators and graduate theme, we're using a cluster of Gator and graduate balloons as a centerpiece on the welcome table. This will also serve as a gift table at the entrance to the party.

2. offers a ridiculous array of pastas to fit your needs. We found this great UF pasta, which is perfect for our delicious pasta salad. Check out their site, they've got tons of great unique pasta shapes for every meal you can imagine.

3. Upside down toy hard-hats will serve as chip bowls along our buffet, tying in the construction theme.

4. This is a back-yard barbeque. So we're breaking out the folding tables and umbrellas and dotting the yard with shaded areas for guests to kick back and relax while they chow down on some delicious grub.

5. Construction tool candles will be the perfect topper to the cupcakes on our dessert buffet. We won't be lighting them, but we still love these!

6. Bob the Builder was a must. We scored big when our local party shop had BTB stuff on clearance (70% off!). We scooped up napkins and wrapping paper to use as fun construction-themed accents.

7. Adorable Gator cookies will also be featured on the dessert buffet, as a reminder that "it's great to be a Florida Gator!"

8. A "build your own" burger buffet is the feature of this party. Guests will have more than a dozen fun toppings to construct the burger of their dreams!

Finally, the background of the idea board also serves as the background for the invitations and the menu cards along the buffet. You can't see it too well here, but it's the blueprint for Mike's college, which adds another great touch to both the UF and Construction theme!

We can't wait for this party on Saturday. Check back next week for lots of photos and an event recap! Congrats, Mike!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Hightower Experience

Do you have friends or family coming in to town? What are you going to do with them? Here are two ways to showcase your city and yourself!

1. Put together a map

Your guests may not be very familiar with the area so any map would be helpful, but why not go the extra mile? Put together a detailed guide for your special visitors using

Click on the "my maps" tab to get started. Put a thumb tack on your house so they know where home base is, link your favorite restaurants' websites so your friends can check out the location and the menu, point out major landmarks, museums, theaters or parks in your neighborhood, as well as downtown.

Do your guests have GPS and internet enabled phones? If so they can have you and your map as their own personal tour guide at all times. And by using thier phone you are helping your guests go green by eliminating the need to use ink and paper for printing!

2. Create an Itinerary
If you are unable to get off of work for all of the days your houseguests are going to be in town (or if you just want everyone to be on the same page, which we love!), it is helpful to create an itinerary. Letting your guest's know your schedule before hand helps to ensure everyone's time is used wisely. This itinerary can be as detailed or as minimal as you wish. Let them know what time you usually get off of work or what time you made dinner reservation at your favoite restaurant. This is also a good place to include links to helpful websites such as: The map you created for them, the CTA Trip Planner, where to buy CTA Transit Passes, and the CTA Bus Tracker.

Other useful information you might want to include: flight information, typical weather for the time of year guests are visiting, and distances between major sites.

Click the links below for an example of a map using and an itinerary:
Hightower Experience - Map
Hightower Experience - Itinerary

Do you have an idea on how to make your guests visit more exciting, eventful, easier, safer, more economical, etc? Let us know about it!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Throw a Party for Earth Day

Earth day is this Wednesday (April 22) and here at WGIC, we think that’s something to celebrate. This is a great opportunity to plan a fun party and put some of our best eco-friendly ideas to use. Here’s a few of our favorite ideas for celebrating Earth Day in an earth-friendly way.

Instead of sending traditional invitations, why not send an invitation that can be planted? Using these templates, why not design a fun, festive invitation label and stuff it with a pack of your favorite wildflower seeds. After the party, the guests can plant the seeds as a reminder of the fun day you all shared. As a bonus, be sure to use recycled paper for your seed packet labels.

The Venue
We think Earth Day is a perfect opportunity to celebrate out in nature, so take your party outdoors to a local park. Better yet, do double duty by hosting a volunteer effort to clean up your local park or plant a tree there. (Be sure to check with local authorities before planting anything.) Then celebrate your volunteerism with a special thank you picnic for all of the helpers.

Organic, natural and wholesome recipes seem to fit best with an Earth Day celebration, but for an extra special treat, why not serve your guests a flowery dessert like this one ? Easy and delicious, these flower pot ice cream desserts will wow your guests while keeping with the natural theme of the earth.

Activities / Favors
Instead of typical party games, why not spend the afternoon creating something for your guests to use? Supply them with ceramic flower pots and an assortment of non-toxic paints and let each guest decorate a pot in which to grow their invitation seeds. Check out these pots on for some groovy inspiration.

Or create rain barrels for guests to use, following simple directions found here. Or try a nature scavenger hunt. Give guests a list of items (on recycled paper, of course) and let them have fun running around finding everything. Be sure to give each team a reusable shopping bag to collect all their items. The winning team gets to go take home all of the shopping bags as a prize.

At the end of the party, just remember to leave the space clean and tidy just as you found it because the best way to celebrate the earth is by making a big impact on your guests and small impact on the planet.

How are you planning on celebrating Earth Day? Leave us a comment and let us know what fun and eco-friendly ideas you have for the day.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

For the Dogs - Event Recap

In October one of our planners here at We've Got It! Chicago had the privilige of planning a local 2008 Pit Bull Awareness Day event on behalf of Phoenix Animal Rescue. Here is her EVENT RECAP.

Our pit-mix, Marley, is a Phoenix alumni, and we volunteer with the rescue as foster parents and helping out at the kennels. The rescue director caught wind of the fact that I was an event planner and asked me to step up to the plate. I happily obliged, as pit bulls and planning are two of my favorite things.

Pit Bull Awareness Day (PBAD) is an international event hosted locally by various rescues and pro-pit organizations. For more information on the day, please check out the official website at

In 2007, Phoenix Animal Rescue hosted a very small test run of this even locally. We had about 10 volunteers with pamphlets, a couple of local journalists, a rehabilitated bait dog, and a pit bull being adopted. It was hosted at a local park with very little publicity. We had only a handful of visitors stop by (most of whom were just passing by at the park).

2008 was a drastic improvement. We had about 30 volunteers from the rescue and the local Vet School. We put together a huge day of festivities at a local veterinarian's office who is a strong advocate for the breed. The event included:

*Pit bull talent show
*Canine Good Citizen testing
*Weight-pull demo and try-outs
*Photo opps for pitties
*Microchipping booth
*AADR dog show
*Adoptable dogs
*Bake sale (for humans and dogs)
*Eight interactive booths with information and games

We spent months organizing volunteers and spreading the word. But we weren't sure what the turn-out would be. We had local journalists from two different newspapers, a news channel, and a local cable access TV show. The event was open to all ages and all well-mannered dogs (not just pits). Well, our event was a success. We estimate over 300 people and 100+ dogs visited our festivities througout the day, and we raised over $1100 for Phoenix Animal Rescue to continue doing ther part to help local pit bulls in need. We're currently seeking a larger venue for 2009, as we've seen the potential and we know that this year we'll have outgrown our space at the vet's office. We're in the early stages of planning for this year, and I'll be sure to keep you posted on our progress.

To see the local news article on the event click here.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Don't Break the Bank

It seems these days that everyone is pinching pennies. Recession sounds a lot like depression, but don't worry, your next event doesn't have to be sad and gloomy. There are many ways to be thrifty and still have a great event, even in our current economy. Whether you're planning a huge corporate event or a small fete at home, follow these tips to trim your budget.

*Send e-vites: By emailing your invitations, you're saving not only the cost of the paper they are printed on, but also the cost of postage. At .43 a stamp, the savings can really add up. Plus, it's much easier to be creative with your invites when they are online without worrying about the high cost of printing in multiple colors or with special effects. (We especially like this idea because it's also eco-friendly.)

*Use what you've got: Don't be afraid to mix and match plates and flatware. It doesn't have to be a perfect match to work perfectly for you. Arrange plates, cups and forks in a funky manner and guests will be impressed, even if no two people have a matching set.

*Go with what's in season: When it comes to food or flowers, what's in season is always cheaper. Going out of season means you're paying big bucks to have something shipped to your area. Plus, seasonal foods taste much better as they are freshest. Going seasonally also enables you to hit up local farmers' markets where you can find great deals and may be able to create a lasting relationship with certain vendors (which comes in handy next time you need fresh produce or flowers).

*Ebay, Craigslist, and Freecycle: There are thousands of other hip hosts out there who have probably thrown a similar party recently. And what are they doing with all the decor? They probably aren't interested in hanging on to 250 small glass votives. Nope. Instead, they are selling these items at a super discount online. By cruising online selling sites, you can find the perfect items at a fraction of the price. And the best part about it, you can sell it to someone else when you're done, which means even more money in your pocket!

*Turn off the lights: Instead of using low-watt bulbs or dimmers, turn off the lights all together and use candles to set the mood.

*Buy your own booze: A stocked bar can be an expensive feature to hire for your party. Instead of leaving it up to the caterer, buy your own booze at a whole-sale club and hire a couple bartenders from your favorite local bar. Most bartenders are happy to make some extra cash on the side, and it can be a lot cheaper than using a caterers bar staff.

*Serve a custom drink: Another way to save on booze is to offer up a signature drink. Instead of a fully-stocked liquor bar, offer beer, wine and one custom drink designed specifically for your event. That way you won't be splurging for alcohol that may or may not get served. Try Webtender for some great drink ideas (the "In My Bar" feature is great!)

There you have it: seven easy ways to save some money at your next party. Do you have a simple way to save? Leave us a comment about how you've taken an easy step to saving some dough and we'll be happy to share your ideas with our readers.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

What is a Social(ly Responsible) Butterfly

Quite simply: it's a cross between a social butterfly and one who is socially responsible. Put them together and you've got one great host(ess) who throws one heck of a party, all while doing his/her part to save the planet.

Now don't let us scare you off. We're not preaching blandness and minimalism. No sir. We don't expect you to treat your guests to wheat grass smoothies and dismally gray recycled paper napkins. It is possible to be lavish and elegant AND be eco-friendly. Hence, the Socially Responsible Butterfly. Just look for the butterfly logo throughout our blog and website to indicate an opportunity to make your event green and grand!