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?