Monday, January 30, 2012

 This week we continue our "Colors" series with a Bridal Shower all decorated in "Jewel" Tones. This color palette allows a lot of range for your decorating choices. All you have to do is think "Bright" and "Vibrant" and you have it covered!
The theme of the Bridal Shower was "Alice in Wonderland" so we set the mood of the shower with this adorable Alice invitation. You can find almost any Disney Character in invitations for your event. We found these online and knew they were perfect for this event! Your invitation is the very first presentation of your theme to your guests. They not only set the mood, they set the expectations of your guests for what type of party it will be. What to bring, how to dress, and what more of the theme they will be treated to when they arrive are all things set the moment they open your invitation so it is worth it to choose carefully and make sure part of your budget is reserved for this part of your event. And don't forget to decorate the envelope! We added the swirls with a scrapbook pen and picked out floral stamps to add to the theme.
 We began with the tables and, prior to the day of the shower, the Bride to Be had held a ceramic day with several of her family members and close friends to paint tea pots for the centerpieces. Those who attended were encouraged to decorate their tea pots in any way they wanted, using any colors they wanted. We wanted an eclectic look for the tables and the tea pots were perfect for this look. To the tea pots we added  mismatched tea cups to the place settings to add to the theme. These "Paint your own ceramics" shops are gaining in popularity all over the USA so look for one in your area!
 We built planters and put in real grass sod to nestle the tea pot "vases"  in as well as a Candy Jar full of Jelly Bellys for the guests. We did use matching lemonaide glasses for each place setting as well as matching table and flatware. (More on those later!)
 One of the fun things we were able to find to enhance our theme were these funny whimsical creatures. Each one was made up of different colors, and slightly different markings but their heads would swing back and forth through their legs when the wind hit them. Completely hysterically funny...and a very nice "Wonderland" touch.
 The entire event space was crisscrossed with these fun paper lanterns. If you have never been to Disneyland, there is a ride there called the Tea Cups. It's right next to the Alice in Wonderland Ride and you spin inside huge tea cups underneath giant paper lanterns. One more touch to help extend our theme.
 The flowers needed to be several different types and colors to extend the color palette so the options were completely open! It was tons of fun to have our only guideline be the color palette and have the freedom to pick any flower that fit the colors we wanted! We also added in silk butterflies, dragonflies and bees to enhance the fun of the garden setting.
 The place settings were also a lot of fun to put together. Each plate had a different Alice in Wonderland drawing and saying. This was the Bride to Be's place setting featuring the Dormouse and his saying of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Bat" underneath the drawing. This was also the saying that we used in the opening of the invitation. We added in personalized napkins, little candy tin favors that were also personalized and we wrapped up the flatware, all mismatched in color, with a whimsical flower placecard.

The last touch was the Cake Table. We thought the slightly topsy turvy almost falling down cakes from the movie were just too funny so Cat's Cakes created this fun colorful cake for the party which included the same silk insects that we used in the centerpieces. The table also included the Poker themed Grooms Cake, since he was having his party on the very same day, multi-colored plates and flatware, Little Alice in Wonderland snowglobes and a photo mat for the guests to sign finished off our decor. 

So when planning your next event remember that it's all the little touches you can add that will extend both your theme and your color palette. These details don't need to be expensive. A touch here, a touch there and before you know it the theme is in every part of your party from the invitations to the tables to the cake. 

See you next week!


Monday, January 23, 2012

This week we continue our Colors Series. The twist this time is that the party is not a Wedding! It's a Baby Shower! The colors were Pink & Brown and we worked from there. When we start planning an event we always start with an interview with the client about what they feel is their style. We ask about colors first and work from there to the flowers. 
 This Mom to Be loves Gerberas so we spent some time at the flower market finding just the right shades that matched the ribbons and Jelly Belly's we had chosen. As with last weeks blog, we didn't attempt to match the pink exactly but rather find different shades of pink that would all work together. This treatment is actually a vase within a vase. A small juice glass was set into the outside vase and then the space in between was filled with the Jelly Belly's. A small piece of  oasis block and a bit of water was placed into the juice glass and then the flowers were arranged. The last touch was placing a Pic that had been decorated with the brown polka dot ribbon and had balloons tied on into the the center of the flowers, pushing it down to anchor it into the oasis. We used long pink and white ribbons for the balloons so that they would swirl down onto the white tablecloths and the pink and brown dots of confetti and sparkle jewels.
 When planning a party even Party Planners reach outside the DIY box to get some fun details for the party. These personalized napkins coordinated perfectly with the white tablecloths, the pink polka dot plates, and pink flatware. The napkins were one of the purchased detail touches as well as....
 these adorable Bib Cookies that were personalized with the new baby's name. We added the tags to personalize the favors to our Mom to Be and set them in a basket that was decorated with the same brown polka dot ribbon as our centerpieces and next to a bunch of pink and white balloons that were held down with an adorable It's A Girl balloon weight. These were set at the entry way so her guests could pick up the favors on their way in or on their way home.
 We also added a banner over the gift table that had been personalized for the Mom to Be. This was set up facing the front door so that as people walked in, past the favors, they saw the gift table right away and could be able to empty their arms quickly instead of wandering around trying to figure out where to set down their baby gift.
 My fun is always setting up the Cake Table, especially if I have been chosen to do the cake for the party! I learned a few lessons with this cake. One was to change my buttercream recipe to a high temp recipe. It was 109 the day of the party and the A/C in the room we were in could only do so much with that unusual heat to cool us down. So the room ended up being 85 degrees which is too hot for traditional buttercream. I had to keep the cake in the refrigerator till the last moment and then sit it out on the cake table right before guests arrived. The other lesson was how to ruffle fondant. And that was FUN!
 Next to the cakes..yes there were two...were these cute little pink and white wafer cookies. They coordinated right into the party as well as gave her guests another treat to eat there or take home with them.
 This is the second "Cake". We found this Diaper Cake from a retailer online and it was simply perfect! It even matched our brown polka dot ribbon perfectly! We added the little rounds of pink and brown confetti (just punched out scrapbook paper) to the table and the little bit of sparkle is from some "Wedding Jewels" we found at the craft store. Just a little Bling for our Girly-Girl client.
The final additions to our Cake Table were the pink polka dot plates, pink flatware and the personalized napkins. The Pink and Brown theme was complete!

The client was very happy and we were happy that the design all came together to make such a pretty party space for her and her guests!

More color play next week...if you have a color you want me to showcase just let me know!


Friday, January 20, 2012

 With Wedding Season right around the corner I thought it would be a good idea to talk about "setting a theme". After figuring out who is on your guest list and who's paying for everything, you have to figure out your theme. For some women it's really easy. That girl who has always been the "Pink" girl or the "Beach" girl. For them it is an easy leap to making their wedding theme fit them. For others it's a daunting task. So many choices out there to pick from...too many choices. Every Bridal magazine out there is expounding how you should consider a "Garden theme" or a "All Tropical theme". It can be very overwhelming. 

So to make it easy I thought I'd start off with Colors. I also thought I'd start off with my favorite own! Not my first wedding. I was a mess with my first wedding almost 25 years ago. I pretty much let my mom take over and I just smiled and then nodded every time she proposed something. And it's not like we didn't end up with a beautiful wedding...we just wasn't me. We also didn't end up with a reception that was "us"...ok, we didn't end up with much of a reception since the town had a blackout not long into our reception time. Yup, my poor family cleaned up the reception hall with flashlights. My new husband and I ended up going through a Carl's Jr. drive thru because we didn't get a chance to eat before the lights went out. For this reason my husband has always said I deserve a "Do-Over". For our 22nd Anniversary (too long of an explanation there for why 22 was good for us LOL!) we got our Do-Over. And, for me, I took the lessons I learned from the first wedding to heart. Mainly that the wedding should speak to who I am as the Bride and to who he is as the Groom and to who we are together as a couple. The other was that looking for the same shade of French Lavender for everything will drive you insane!

So I went with Blue. I know, I know...but what SHADE of blue? Nope, learned that lesson and I decided that ANY shade of blue would work. If you mix enough different shades of a color into your palette then you end up with highlights and lowlights all over the place and a more beautiful presentation over all. And easy? Oh yes, it was SO much easier. I could pick out ribbon without having to have the rest of the ribbon there, paper without worrying about it matching the ribbon, flowers without worrying that they wouldn't fit in.  So today I am sharing with you some photos from our Wedding Renewal so you can get an idea how Blue looks when it's all put together.
Hydrangeas are already shades of blue but, for me, it was more important that they were one of my Dad's favorite flowers. We had lost him a few years before but I wanted "him" there as much as possible. The dragonflies were also a nod to my dad. The final touch to personalize this bouquet to me was to add a little bouquet frame with my dad's photo in it. At the end of the ceremony I handed my bouquet off to my mom. She was so touched and it was a very special moment in the day for me. 
Another blue detail was the programs. Our ceremony wasn't that complicated so instead of a traditional program we decided to write a thank you note to our guests to let them know how special and important it was to us to have them there for our day. The other part of our Blue theme was the ocean. We chose Monterey for our location because I am that Beach Girl. But we wanted it to look elegant so we added the ocean touches wherever we could. I got lucky and found a "bubble" corner punch for the programs that helped to promote the them without looking like a little kids invitation.

Obviously your cake is a huge part of your day. As a Caker it was even more important to me that it fit my dream of what I wanted our cake to be. We trusted a local baker called Layer's Cakes to make the dream come true. They don't do "Custom Cakes" like I do so I was grateful that they did work with me to come up with our blue on blue cake surrounded by "sand" and "shells". The sand is cookie crumbs and the shells are chocolate. The taste was amazing and there wasn't a crumb left at the end of the day!

We didn't want the kids left out of the day and since Bacon Wrapped Scallops are not usually a huge hit with the kids we made up lunch pails for them and inside were little Ball Jars filled with their own cupcakes. 

On the lids we put their initials so they would easily be able to say "This one is MINE". They ate the cupcakes out of the jar with a spoon. No mess and the kids loved how "weird" it was and that they were the only ones who got this treat!

Ok, not going to say much about clothing here...your dress, his suit or clothes are a very personal choice. Whatever hits your heart is how to go. BUT, here's an idea you can easily add. I wanted a touch of blue in my clothing that day so I added a blue ribbon to my necklace that I put blue beads on the end so it would drape down my back as an added detail. I wore little blue ballet flats I had bought in Milan for this day. And I got more positive feedback for those two touches, much more than I ever expected. Oh! And don't forget to have your photographer get a photo of your jewelry! I love that this shows off the diamond necklace I was wearing as well as my rings. The necklace is a family heirloom and my rings are from the 1940's. Antiques that we found and love. The new pieces, the earrings and headband, fit in perfectly. So I love this photo and how it shows the gorgeous jewelry I was lucky enough to wear.

We used blue shimmer chiffon as well as glass beads, the flowers and shells to continue our Blue theme on the gift table. To make it more personal to us and show our family off I placed a photo montage there so that while people were picking up their favor they could see our photos at the same time.

These cute little favor boxes were plain white but to fit in the ocean and blue theme into our favors I simply added a strip of textured paper under the ribbon that came with the box and replaced the "monogram" sticker that would go in front with a punch out of a sanddollar. Perfect!

This was a touch for my husband. He had seen something similar in a magazine and thought that having this on the garden gate door for our guests to see as they entered our ceremony space would be wonderful. He was right. And it has made a wonderful keepsake for our home as well.

Here you can see the shades of blue and how well they work together. The navy blue of the tablecloth, the lighter shade in the personalized napkins, even lighter blue in the shimmery chiffon overlay and even lighter blue in the hydrangeas. Even the little glass beads helped to extend the theme for us.

I found these cute little lanterns at a garage sale, painted them light blue and the fit right in!

We chose to use the old fashioned "bowl" type champagne glasses rather than flutes. It added such an elegant touch to our cake table. This was another detail that still comes up in conversation with family and friends who were there that day!

Another detail that was very personalized to us as a couple were the Movie Love Quotes that were placed all over our space. You may have noticed them in the other photos but didn't know exactly what they were. So here is a close up. As movie lovers it was hard to just pick out a dozen of our favorite quotes but it was easy to pick the one that would sit next to the cake on the cake table. This quote from Pride & Prejudice is our favorite and sums up how we still feel about each other. The quotes were backed with blue shimmer paper and it was fun to watch as our guests read each one and picked out their favorites!

The last example of our Blue palette is our twist on the Sand Ceremony. My husband had seen this on TV and wanted a way to incorporate it into our day. There are five of us in our family. Husband, Wife and 3 kids. So we decided that each of us should be represented in this ceremony. We used small decorative bottles to hold different colors of sand from the lightest of blues to the darkest of blues and then layered them in. Each of us layered in our colored sand, representing our love and commitment to our family, and then topped it off with a votive candle. This last touch of blue made one of our most cherished keepsakes of that day.

Next week I'll pick another color and show you how to incorporate that into a full theme. If you want a specific color just leave me a comment and I'll get to work on it for you! See you next week!


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Welcome to the first post for The Cherry On Top Events Blog! We are a small event company based in Northern California. We are a Mother/Daughter Party Planning team who have been working together for about 10 years now on all sorts of events including Weddings, Showers, Birthdays and Anniversaries. There have been a few Holiday parties in there as well. 

I have been throwing parties since my kids were small but it wasn't until our daughters were in High School that we decided to work together on a Halloween party. Then one of her friends got married and we volunteered to help. Her friend knew we threw great parties and just wanted a little "day of" help. Our first gig. From there it grew until I moved away to Arizona for two years. This put the business on hold, sort of, and we only took a few events while I was living away. I mean, flying in to work an event bites into the profit big time! Well we moved back to California almost 5 years ago and quickly started building our business again. With one addition. While in Arizona I had started to learn how to decorate cakes. I'd been decorating since the kids were teeny but nothing that warranted any notice. By the time we moved back from Arizona the cakes were worthy of a bit of notice. You can check that side of the biz out by clicking on the blog on the right called "Cat's Cakes". 

So let me introduce myself. I'm Cat Harper, the "mother" part of the team and what I like to call the Art Director. I've always been "crafty" but in the past decade I've learned how to do SO much more than what I had learned to do while working at a craft store in the mid 90's. I've learned how to do every detail for a wedding from scratch. From Invites to Favors to handtied Bridal Bouquets and more. I've had to learn about place settings and how to design centerpieces to fit a theme. And I love every single bit of it. I've been married for forever, started out in the Wedding Biz as a photographer, have 3 kids; 2 grown girls who each have a little one at home, and one 10 yr old son. 

The other half of our team is Tory Bright. She's the organization whiz. She's the one that will be able to help you figure out your budget, straighten out that seating chart, help you whittle down that guest list, keep everyone and everything on time and oh, yeah, she's half the Art Department too! All this while raising a 9 month old son and being a wife as well. It's a challenge but she's the Ying to my Yang and together we make the perfect team. For each of us this isn't just a business, it's being able to be a  part of some pretty special days. We love our jobs and we know how lucky we are to be able to do something we love.

I am located in Sacramento and Tory is in San Jose. We work from here to Redding to the North, Carmel to the West, Tahoe to the East and Modesto to the South. Over the last decade we have formed relationships with venues, DJ's, photographers, florists, stationary specialists, alterations specialists and, of course, a certain Custom Cake Designer....yours truly. We have learned that, if you are good at party planning, you can take a clients budget and, with the savings you create with those professional relationships and the DIY you have learned how to do, you can carve your own paycheck out of that savings and your client doesn't spend a penny over their budget. In other words, they never feel our fee but get exactly what they were dreaming their event would be in the end. 

So I hope you'll stick around and catch the next blog. I plan to post at least once a month but hope to be able to post once a week so you can see what is going on, get some great ideas for your next event and, of course, contact us if you need some help and are in our area. See ya soon!