Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wedding Day Snacks

On your weddding day, it's very important to make sure you take the time to eat throughout the day, especially if you're partaking in some pre-wedding mimosas. Take it from me, there's nothing worse than a drunk bridesmaid stumbling down the aisle and I speak from experience. (Perhaps I should clarify...I had a drunk bridesmaid at my wedding. I have never been one myself.)

This past Friday, my good friend A got married. I offered to take care of the wedding day food for the girls. The bride only requested devilled eggs, and left the rest up to me. Since we were going to be travelling between the hotel, the salon and the church, I wanted to make sure we had snacks that could easily be transported. I opted for snack bags for each of the girls. That way, we could each bring our own bag and there'd be no one getting stuck lugging an over-sized cooler all over the city.

So here are the bags I made (click to enlarge photos):

Each bag got 1) bottled water; 2) napkin and a small glass for mimosas and sangria (packaged separately); 3) veggie dip; 4) two sugar cookies iced in wedding colors; 5) celery and carrot sticks; 6) Melba toast crackers and Laughing Cow spreadable cheese wedges; 7) fruit salad; 8) slice of quiche and two devilled egg halves; 9) a menu

I packaged everything together in white gift bags (with a convenient handle for carrying). The containers and bags cost me a total of $12, and all of it was purchased at the dollar store. What a steal!

To fancy things up a bit, I made cute labels for the outside of the bag. The labels were designed using computer software and personalized for each girl. I cut them out and backed them on green card stock and used gift ribbon to make a bow. I glued the labels on and then tucked a matching menu into each bag so the girls knew what was included.
These bags got rave reviews. People I had never met before were coming up to me at the reception asking if I was the girl who "made those adorable lunch bags." These were easy to make and a big hit, so I'll definitely be making them again.

If you're interested in making these, let us know. We can help you create custom labels and menus in your event's colors/theme. We can also help you create the perfect menu for your event!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Cinco de Mayo - Event Recap

We’ve got it! Chicago had the great pleasure of planning a Cinco de Mayo party last weekend and WHAT A BLAST! From the Mexican flag and sombreros to the sangria and the piƱata this was a fiesta tailored to our host.

Our Host, Tom, a 28 year old male living in Bucktown wanted to throw a Cinco de Mayo party that he could invite his boss and his buddies to. With a full time job, Tom, left it to We’ve Got It! Chicago to develop the final details for his classy fiesta!

Here are a few of the FUN and simple ideas that we used for Tom’s Cinco de Mayo Fiesta:

*We kept the food simple. We used a mixture of traditional Mexican favorites and a few new recipes that all fell under the appetizer category to ensure prep time was minimal. We also made sure to have plenty of red and white sangria on hand!

*We went Green – at least a little. One very easy way to go green is using eco-friendly invitations (we used Evite).

*We decorated, subtly. Using green, white, and red tissue paper we made “fresh” flowers (we hung them individually around the house but these flowers are also great to bunch together for a dramatic center piece).

*We got into it. Mexican Candles were placed throughout the house to add color and ambiance, a large Mexican flag was hung on a main wall of the house to catch the eyes of Tom’s guests and we also purchase 3 Sombreros that were offered to the first guests of the night!

*We took it outside. A Bags Tournament was set up outside complete with great Mexican prizes (we used a nice bottle of Tequila!). This helped to spread the crowd throughout the venue and gave Tom’s guests some options on activities.

*We had a Main Event. By far the highlight of the party was the PINATA!! Purchased from a local party store and stuffed with age appropriate goodies this seemingly innocent Mexican tradition really got the party going – and was our Host’s favorite part of the night!

We’ve Got It! Chicago had a great time with Tom and his guests and look forward to more great parties this summer.


Do you have a great idea that you used for a Mexican Fiesta, let us know about it!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Questions to Ask Your Event Planner

Chances are, if you’re reading this website, you love to host events and you’re looking to hire an event planner to make your life much easier--at least that’s what we’re hoping. So how do you go about hiring an event planner? Are they all the same? Should you just open the yellow pages and plop your finger down haphazardly? The answers are: carefully, no, and heck no!

If you’re looking to hire an event planner, there are several factors to consider. To help make the process easier for you (because that’s what event planners do), here’s a list of questions to ask and thoughts to ponder when determining which event coordinator you should select.

1. How important is it that you stick to your budget? Do you want a planner who will maximize your money and not go over by even one penny? Or are you looking for someone who will take your ideas and run, giving you an over-the-top, extravagant affair?
2. Is the coordinator familiar with all the best local vendors, from catering to flowers to photographers and DJs? Coordinators with ties to local vendors are often able to get you a better deal because of their long-standing business partnership.

3. Will your planner handle the invitation process for you? Do you want someone to draft wording, order, mail and even tally up responses for you?
4. Will the coordinator be there on the day of the event to trouble-shoot, or just leading up to the big day?

5. Will the planner be able to assist you with social etiquette or help you incorporate the hottest trends into your event?
6. How involved do you want to be in the planning process? Do you have ideas or do you want the planner to create your event?
7. Has your coordinator worked with your preferred vendors before? A relationship isn’t necessary, but it’s good to know if your planner has a positive relationship with the vendors you want to use.
8. Will your coordinator review your vendor contracts for you and be your advocate when it comes to negotiating and ensuring you get just what you asked for?

9. Does the planner have references for you or past clients you may speak with? If the answer is no, you should be wary.
10. Will the planner provide you with a master plan, checklists and timelines? Better yet, do you want these documents or do you just want to know that it’s all being done by your trusted planner?

At your initial meeting, ask as many questions as you have. This will help you get a feel for the type of planner you’re working with and if your personalities and visions will mesh well. But in the end, it’s just as much about the questions that the planner asks you too. A good planner will have lots of questions about your event and the feel that you want your event to have. Expect to have a few in-depth conversations with your planner about your event, followed by brief follow-ups along the planning process.

Wednesday, May 6, 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!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Getting Organized

One of the keys to a successful event is planning ahead. And the key to planning ahead is getting organized. The more you plan ahead, the less stressed you will be at the last minute and even during your event. My favorite organizational tool is Microsoft Excel. I love using Excel Spreadsheets as a way to organize all my thoughts, ideas and to-do lists for an event.

If you've never used Excel before, don't be scared. It's a super easy program to learn, and you can make it as complex as you'd like. For the purposes of event planning, I use only a fraction of the features and functions and Excel still makes planning so much easier.
Most recently I made spreadsheets for Mike's graduation party. I started one document and created new tabs (pages) for each area of planning. Below are a few of the pages I created to show you the possibilities of Excel.

The first order of business is to draft a guest list. In Excel, it's easy to create a table of guests' names, addresses and RSVPs. In this instance, I gathered email addresses since we sent out e-vites. Making a spreadsheet also makes it easy to keep track of contact info for future events. No need to worry about losing loose sheets of paper with notes. For events with large guest lists, Excel also offers a "sum" function where you can set up the spreadsheet to automatically update the total number of guests each time you add an RSVP response.

Next, I set up a menu. Creating a menu allows me to visualize exactly what I need for each item and makes it much easier to create shopping lists. It also prevents me from forgetting a crucial ingredient. (Did you notice I forgot to list hamburger and hotdog buns on this list? Fortunately they made the shopping list.)

Third, I create a shopping list. I go through all of the menu items and create lists of items I need. It's simple to update quantities of items as I go through the recipes. No crossing out and scribbling in new numbers with a pen. This list stays neat and legible. Then, with a simple cut-and-paste function, I can easily categorize my list by the stores where I will do my shopping.

Finally, I create a "last week" schedule. This is where I list all of my to-dos for the last week prior to the event. Excel offers a "strikethrough" font so I can even cross off tasks as I accomplish them and reprint updated lists. Again, using cut-and-paste, it's super easy to switch an item to another day if I need to reconfigure my schedule.
We'd love to hear how you get organized for a big event. Do you use technology like Excel spreadsheets or do you have an old-fashioned, tried-and-true method? Tell us about your best organizational tips.