Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Outdoor Wedding Reception - In one week!

Okay, now that you've seen the Mexican Fiesta Rehearsal Dinner that I was hired to design... here was a little bonus event that was tagged on at the last minute. Well, I guess I had about a weeks notice. And this "little" bonus event, it wasn't so little - it was the wedding reception. And of course, it was happening the day after the rehearsal dinner. And, it was for... just under 200 people.

I have to say that I LOVE an entertaining/event planning challenge (I prefer to not do the same thing over and over again). However, I don't love a time constraint challenge - but, I was up for it - with this whole new treatment thing I've been doing... well, my life is SO different now - I'm up for almost anything. And once I'm in - I'm ALL in! There is no holding back when it comes to event décor and event planning in my world. I eat, sleep and breathe it. It's almost like it's a passion of mine.  ;)

Anyways...  I was shown the event space at about 10 days out and my mind started whirling. A couple days later I was asked to step in and help out with the décor. Here it is...

Yep, it's a basketball court in a church yard, surrounded by chain link fence, city streets and houses.
And, in this photo, the cake tent was already set up. I was given certain parameters to work within and I was determined to make this basketball court change into a wedding reception space - within a week. This venue is about an hour from my house - so, not only is time an issue, so is the proximity. Aaand, I'm still working on the rehearsal dinner - and I did not want to neglect any of those fun details. So, basically - ALL of the set up for this reception has to be done in one day. 

Here we go...
The first thing I wanted was a backdrop. I needed a backdrop behind the head table. And thankfully, the father of the groom is a genius with stuff like this. So, he made one. Whew!
And, I needed white pennants blowing in the wind. The father of the bride is hanging them up. Yay! Talk about fun floating in the sky! And yeah, it's one great big team effort here, folks!

All of my pretty pennants are up!

Table linens are starting to go on. That is, thanks to my amazing friend Jody - we have table linens! That was a huge element for the overall feel of the space!

Another element I NEEDED. I absolutely NEEDED a little more privacy. Notice that band of white starting on the right side... once I started to see that going up I was clapping my hands with glee! I wasn't sure we were going to have time to do that - but this family, these two families, they know how to work and they can get things done! I had the easy part - I just had to come up with the plan. :)

This is the entrance to the reception space. Not incredibly glamorous, but it's workable...
... a few pennants, a few solar lights, a few tables... just a few things to soften and pretty this area up.
The bride and her family made these cute little cups filled with bird seed for the departure of the happy couple. I just got to bring my pretty baskets to hold the cute little cups!
And I got to use a couple of my pretty milk glass bowls for cream and sugar on the beverage table.
And those little signs - they are my new favorite thing. My friend Jayne and I are going to have fun labeling every little thing for our PTO events. I can hardly wait!

Let's head on in..
My white privacy screen is all up! Yay!
The bride had a few tiki torches that we incorporated. And of course, I brought my galvanized tubs for water bottles - and yes, the bride's family ripped the labels off and wrapped them in white duct tape. It's the little things that make my heart flutter.
Oh - that privacy screen... look at the difference it makes. Go ahead, scroll back up...
... good call, right?  ;)
On that little section of fence, we did a double layer to hide the parking lot and some signage. Had we more time... that double layer could have been fun to do all the way around... but, one layer was just enough to cozy up the space while providing a bit of privacy from passersby.
And the lanterns! Can't forget the lanterns!
We hung these at the last minute, because we're in The Dalles and wind is not scarce.
The mother of groom had the idea of the lanterns and her genius of a husband strung cord with evenly spaced loops to attach the lanterns. Once that cord was hung, those lanterns went up in a snap! It was pure genius!
Definitely gonna keep that tidbit in my entertaining file should I ever wonder how to evenly space lanterns.
As the sun was starting to set and the wind was starting to die down, we quickly placed the flowers on the tables.
Oh, man - I was loving all the shadows.

I even began to love those rusty basketball poles and all the utility wires crisscrossing in the distance.
They made me think of my sister, Nora. She sees beauty in power lines and paints them like, well - like beautiful art!  :)
There was a serenity that was setting in.

The flowers definitely helped.
Ooh, I love this! Sunflowers and roses in a galvanized bucket. Mmm-mmm-mmm! I could look at this for days!

And the food...
Ohh, there's my friend Liz! She was a lifesaver throughout this whole process. From ironing tablecloths, arranging flowers to setting up food... she did it all. I could not have done all of this in one week without her.
I snapped just a couple of pictures while we were setting up the food.
All of this delicious food was made by Dave of Class Act Catering of The Dalles.
Ahh... the sun is setting and the wind is blowing. And all the set up is finally done.
More guests are trickling in.
And... just one quick glimpse of the happy couple and the bridal  party at the head table. Ahh... newlywed bliss - it's the best!

Obviously, there was much more to the "big day" for the newlyweds. I'm just showing you the pieces that I got to be a part of. It was a beautiful day, a beautiful celebration and I was so honored to even be a small part it. Congratulations, Hillary and Jared! May God bless you with many years together!

This was such an incredible experience. It was definitely a whirlwind. And a challenge. But, it was especially fun to see these little pictures, these little dreams that I had in my mind... it was so fun to see them come to life. And it was so fun to see the mother of the groom enter the reception space and tears just fell from her eyes - she saw it from the very beginning and was blown away by the transformation. Moments like that - will keep me doing this for years and years!!! 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Mexican Fiesta Wedding Rehearsal Dinner

Okay, let me see if I can give you a little tour of the rehearsal dinner...

Here's where you enter... and just a few baby pom poms to let you know that there in fact, is a party happening here!
And this is on the inside of that door. The first little station you see is a little chip and salsa stand.
 This little appetizer station was a big hit!
  Here's another view. Enter door, grab some chips, salsa and some drinks!
 Sangria punch!
And those baby water bottles - well, I love them.
And the buffet.
We're still getting it set up. The hostess made a lovely fiesta meal - tacos and all of the fixings.
Another view of the space.
Ohhh - have I mentioned those decorations hanging from the ceiling????  Papel picado. I just learned that term. A definite must have for a Mexican themed party!
And a big Mexican serape blanket to be used as a backdrop behind the head table. Can't live without one of those at your fiesta! Truth be told, when ordering all of the serape blankets for the food tables, I ordered this large one and I wasn't quite sure what it would be used for, but I know I needed it... I debated on tablecloth for the desserts, but once I saw the space I knew what it was for... we just needed a little more color on that wall! It was perfect!
And there's this little guy - that cute little piñata was the icing on the cake. It could not be a Mexican fiesta without him!
A table for the (soon to be) bride and groom. And their parents.
Aaand... we need, we MUST have a dessert station!!!!
Ohhh, this was so fun too! The hostess and our friend Liz made the yummiest treats! Mexican nut cookies and spicy Mexican brownies - to die for. I could eat another 3 (or 10) of those brownies. Right now.
I could spend hours setting up stations like this. I'm pretty sure they'll have stuff like this in heaven.
I made up some little take out boxes with "Jared and Hillary" labels on them. You know, for the goodies and for the authentic Mexican candy - I just had to carry the theme a little farther. What can I say, I love a good theme party.
Oooh, ooh, ooh! Look at these! Can you say - fried ice cream?  Oh my word!
Made by the lovely hostess, Lisa. But my friend Liz and I, we got to serve them and drizzle the chocolate on them - I think we got the better end of the deal. I'll drizzle chocolate on stuff all day long. Not much could make me happier.
And... the meal is all done. Just one more look at all the fiesta festiveness. And all those flowers arranged by my amazing friend, Liz.

It was such a special night. I cannot tell you how much joy this brought me. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to celebrate in the beauty of a new marriage. And for the opportunity to gain another entertaining/event planning experience under my belt! Man, I love this stuff!!! I could do it forever. And ever.

Rehearsal Dinner - Prep found here.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Rehearsal Dinner - Prep!

I was recently hired to design a wedding rehearsal dinner for a lovely couple... and boy, did I have fun!!! 

I can't wait to show you more... but, for now - here's a bit of my prep...

 I started with these cuties. Water bottle labels. Gotta have them.
I did this multiple times at multiple stores. 
And my dining table looked like this. Multiple times.  Oh right - "Mexican Fiesta" was my theme. This was looking a little too Eastery for my liking. Some of that is going straight back to the party store.  
I finally decided on these colors.
And those napkin wrap labels. Cannot live without them.
And these napkins. Mmm. This color combo made me so happy.
Almost looks like a happy little serape.
And this... this is me throwing everything on my dining table while trying to picture it all in the event space. So much color and so much happiness!! 
 And then, that one day - when my dining table looked like this!
 Which quickly turned into this...
... and then that pile on my table - they turned into these beauties!
Ohhh, I was in a crafting paradise!
Folding, cutting and crinkling tissue paper - it makes my world go round.

My "first event planning job" quickly turned into two. I got to design the wedding reception space as well. It was a bit of a whirlwind, having them back to back like that - but, I loved it all so much. And now, I'm weary and teary and filled with joy. So many new experiences gained and so much creativity expressed... I can hardly wait to show you more photos... and I can hardly wait to do many more events!

Believing dreams do come true...

More photos to come...