Tuesday, September 22, 2009

i thee wed.

as a wedding planner, i have experienced first-hand many different wedding rituals. some are based on religion, some culture or heritage, some tradition and some a bit of all three. incorporating rituals into the ceremony and reception is as important to me as it is to my client. i think this develops the framework for the couple, to start their lives together whilst incorporating who they are and where they came from.

one of the things i work towards when designing a wedding is, as the guests depart, to hear them say: "that was so THEM". i love that the event exuuuuuded the couple, the couple's family and the couple's heritage. this is usually done through time honored traditions and/or rituals.

here are a few ive seen or done in my weddings and their meanings:

unity candle
lighting of the unity candle symbolizes the joining together of two families. the taper candles are typically lit by the mother of the groom and the mother of the bride. as the center candle is lit by the wedding couple, the love of both families is brought together in a united love of the newly married couple. cute.

the wedding ceremony takes place under the chuppah or "canopy" which symbolizes the home they will build together. the sides are left open to signify that all friends and family are welcome into their new life and home. a great chance to incorporate flowing fabric and fabulous flowers too.

breaking of the glass
nothing says "jewish wedding" more than this. but what does it mean? depending on who you ask, the breaking of the glass, can symbolize the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem or a representation of the fragility of human relationships. i must admit, when i found out the glass was actually a LIGHT BULB, i felt the same as i did when i saw my mom pull a tooth out from under my pillow and replace it with a shiny quarter. a great conclusion to the ceremony and a chance to yell "mazel tov"!

an israeli circle dance typically danced to the music of "hava nagila" (or jock jams, depending). it usually takes place at the reception and our non-jewish guests affectionately refer to it as "the chair dance" as bride, groom and parents too are hoisted into the air to the rhythm of the music. fun stuff.

the henna ceremony takes place before the wedding. women gather to celebrate the bride as she is adorned in fanciful inks. there is music, dancing, laughter and food. different cultures within the muslim faith practice the henna ritual differently, however all are based in the idea that the future bride is to be served and spoiled as she readies for her big day. the ink typically lasts a few weeks. mine lasted about as long as my marriage. ;)

african american
jumping the broom
this wedding ritual symbolized various things, depending on the culture. those of south african descent used it as a representation of the wife's commitment to "cleaning the courtyard", whereas african-americans of the american south, the custom determined who ran the household (highest jumper = decision maker). during times of slavery when marriage amongst african americans was forbidden, publicly "jumping the broom" was an open declaration of settling down in a marriage-like relationship. because of the slavery stigma this tradition went away for some time but there is a somewhat recent resurgence nowadays with its reference seen similarly to "tying the knot".

latin american
it is customary in many latin american countries for the groom to present his bride with 13 gold coins. the coins represent his trust and the fact that his wife is now the mistress to all his worldly goods.

other rituals (all originally based in culture or religion) would be a wedding cake, grooms cake, veiling and unveiling of the bride, parent recognition (giving of a flower, special poem, embrace, etc.), honoring the deceased (through a poem or passage, lit candle, floral arrangement or excerpt in program), receiving line, throwing rice (or releasing doves, butterflies, other living/flying things).

until next time,
lindsay piram
event planner & producer

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recently had to plan an event and chairs are a big thing to me. Most venues have the classic, rusty folding chairs. I searched hi and low for cool chairs but the event was not fancy and those were the only chairs I could find. Some time could you blog about how chairs can make or break the event. Maybe some different types of chairs and which are appropriate for which. Also, maybe ways to decorate the chair if you have to use the venue provided chair.


thanks anonymous. ive been in a blog rut and i appreciate you snapping me back. lets talk about chairs and how, for real, they can make or break it. i wish venues would understand when designing or redesigning, how important a neutral chair is. but even then, neutral may not be what you're looking for. they can certainly make a statement as you will see below. chairs are not like the walls, they do not fade away. they are pushed in to your beautiful tablescape and stick out like 8-10 sore thumbs.

so what can you do? here are some options.

chair covers

if your venue has ugly banquet chairs, there are a few chair cover options. keep in mind that the type of chair cover is determined by the type of chair. if the venue has square back chairs vs. rounded back, your options for chair covers will change.

stretch chair covers

fit rounded back banquet chairs, come in tons of cool colors and instantly update the look into sleek and contemporary. a sash, band or runner can be tied around it for a super couture look. if your venue already has the round back chairs, and they are ugly (always are), get these.

oh, they also have really funky zebra ones out there...but they stretch onto chivaris (see below) so that means chair rental + chair cover rental. better to do as accent, like for cocktails, then on every chair.

bag-style chair cover (photo example below)

another chair cover option is the bag-style. it's sometimes sloppy and less fitted, but it can be drapey and elegant if done right. it typically comes in a satin vs. a matte spandex (like the stretch above) and therefore translates to more elegant affairs. the good thing about them is that they are quite versatile in that they fit many different styles of chairs and can be a good, quick fix for an obscenely ugly chair. they come in less colors than the stretch, usually black, white, ivory and navy satins.

rented chairs

if chair covers are not your thing and you know

you want to bring in your own chairs, there are a lot of options.

chivari chair

the most popular is probably the chivari. the father of the bride loves to tell me how uncomfortable they are, but they sure look good. locally, i can get them in white, black, mahogany, silver, pink and gold and usually with a coordinating chair pad. a lot of times a sash is woven through the spindles.

folding chair

other chair options are folding (white, black, bamboo, wood). these i typically use for outdoor events, for instance a wedding ceremony.

the bamboo are nice at casual outdoor events like a bbq or luncheon. please do not use a metal folding chair (a la the vfw) when nice folding chairs that fit your decor are readily available.

acrylic chair

another cool option is the acrylic chair which is part of the anti-decor trend. it follows the line or profile of an old world chair with the rounded back but with a "clear" update. i like how it blends in and lets other decor shine but also makes a statement in its own right. that and they are surprisingly comfortable.

here is an example of the same room, with different chairs. one client chose to keep the existing chairs and use complementary decor whereas another group chose to cover the existing chairs. as you can see, you get two very different looks.

i hope this helps, anonymous.


lindsay piram

event planner & producer

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

roses are red....

roses are red, violets are purple....you're as sweet as maple surple.

lets talk about flowers.

i have to say, being a wedding planner requires you to be quite proficient in a number of areas. we are designers. we are organizers. we are foodies. we are wine nerds. and we know flowers. over time you just acquire this stuff, or you should in order to provide your client the most factual and up-to-date information. that said, i of course trust the experts. i have no problem defaulting to the florist on seasonal varietals or the like. but going into meetings and interactions with florists with a base of knowledge will make the meeting more productive and actually more fun.

so...here's a quickie:

season: winter and spring.
red, white, pink, yellow and green.
often associated with holidays but a few cut blooms can look dramatic when clustered.

calla lily.
season: winter, spring.
white, orange, aubergine, mocha, green, pink, red.
these can be expensive but they are modern, look amazing when clustered or super tall. they remind me of soap operas (idk why), in a good way.

season: year-round.
like every color ever and can easily be dyed (see your prom pics).
are back! yep, i said it. tightly tucked into balls is a very cool look. and the versatility, available colors and affordability make them a no-brainer.

season: summer and fall.
white, pink, red, deep purple (almost black).
these flowers are big and fluffy...make a big impact but can be hard to find.

season: summer.
BEAUTIFUL scent but bruise easy.
super-duper elegant.

gerbera daisy.
season: year round.
bright vibrant colors (red, pink, orange, white).
simple and cheery...great for CASUAL events.
a bit 90s-esque but fun and whimsical too.

season: summer.
white, pink, red, orange, yellow, purple.
these are the guys you see in buckets at the farmer's market. all colors with long stems that work well in tall arrangements. we use a lot on chuppahs and the blooms can be opened by hand and wired together to make one, big bloom that is STRIKING and will have your guests saying "what IS that?"

season: summer and fall.
white, pink, blue, green and purple.
the color of this flower actually depends on the soil its planted in...i love that idea. (nerd alert).
oversize blooms that then require less filler, big bang for the buck.

season: spring and summer.
white, pink, orange, yellow.
hmmm...strong, overpowering a bit 80s. when i worked for the Ritz, we had to remove all lilies before jerry bruckheimer arrived. i agree with him. if you must use, have your florist remove the pollen-dripping stamen in the middle to avoid staining. and sneezing.

season: spring.
white, pink, red and deep purple.
super popular and super pretty. i remember the ants loving them in backyard as a child. trendy little ants. they can be pricey (because they are somewhat hard to get) but just a few still look fluffy and lush.

season: winter and spring.
white, pink, red, orange, yellow.
my personal fave. the tight buds can fill in around bigger blooms but also adorable on their own. i love the layers of petals and the curly, erratic stems.

season: winter and spring.
purple, white, yellow, orange, red.
they twist and twirl, look good on their own or as fillers. readily available too. check out the french ones...super cute. (as all french things are).

so, there you have it. a brief tour of the bad boys of the garden. hope this helps next time you find yourself wandering through the cooler at your floral shop...you'll look so smart!

lindsay piram,
event planner & producer.
and wanna-be florist.

Monday, July 27, 2009

you only turn 5 once.

wherever i said previously that you shouldn't hit your guests over the head with a theme, i retract in the instance of children's parties. there is no better place to go over board and exhaust all the crazy themes you've thought up, then at a kids fifth birthday. though your office crew is cool, i'm not sure your stint on the holiday party committee will last long when you suggest a SHARK theme. your son, on the other hand, will shout from the tree fort that you're the coolest mom in the land. (i must give credit to my three year old for his SHARK theme...complete with red beverages to resemble blood. go ahead, take it.)

kids are cool. they will love whatever outlandish, nonsensical stuff you can dream up. and i promise you, a do-it-yourself-er with a funktified theme can come with the same price tag, if not less, than one at the local arcade with the guy in the mouse suit. my advice, is to ASK them what they want...their answers may surprise you at how cool and DOABLE they really are.

another place that i love flexing my thematic muscles is for mitzvahs. for those of you who don't know, the party part of the mitzvah weekend is usually centered around a strong theme. there is no better source to extract the theme than from the kid directly. therefore, as i do with my brides & grooms, i have an interview session. i ask questions about their hobbies and interests...what they value, what they think they're good at. what emerges from the interview? what they like and therefore, a theme. many are top secret now as they are in the planning stages, but i never seize to be amazed at how creative, uninhibited and cool my 13 year old clients really are.

one of my favorite kids parties you ask? had to be "under the big top"...a retro circus complete with pink ponies, freaky magicians, belly dancers, mini doughnuts, jugglers, stilt walkers and a brass band. mid-party i had a "pinch me moment"....it was the coolest, weirdest (in a good way) party yet. and who dreamt it all up? a kid.


lindsay piram
event planner & producer

Monday, July 20, 2009

let me see you tootsie roll.

the chicken dance.
the train, the choo-choo train (you can ride it).
the electric slide.

how can you avoid catastrophe by having those played at your wedding? (assuming you want to).

music selections and the performance of your musical entertainment plays a HUGE part in the overall
success of your wedding festivities. a good band gets people to the dance floor...and they stay there (versus them fetching their car and heading home). a few tips to make sure the dancing at your wedding is a lot less chicken dance:

hire a band.
there is nothing more festive and celebratory than a big band with brass and drums and big, booming vocals. its retro, its fun and it puts you in the mood to "shake your groove thing".

hand select your songs.
a list of songs that your band knows should be provided. go through it (some can be long) and make sure you like what you see. if not, ask with enough advance notice, and they may be able to learn something special.

consider your audience.
most likely, your grandma will be at your wedding. play something she wants to hear. also in attendance, i assume, are your loud college friends and your fiances frat pledge class....and what they want, i'm going on a limb here, is not what grandma requested. you CAN play both and still keep the dance floor packed...a good band and song selection will make it happen.

feed the frenzy.
if you follow the simple steps above, i think
your dance floor will reap the rewards. what's the last step to keep it hoppin'? feed the crowd. whether its more sweets like cold ice cream cones or late night savory snacks like pizza or egg sandwiches wrapped in the morning news...bring the food TO the dance floor. this will keep them from having to leave it and will energize them all night long. (a bar with close proximity doesn't hurt either).

good band + the right song choices = packed dance floor

packed dance floor = great party

lindsay piram
event planner and producer

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Best of Minnesota Bride

We came, we partied, we didn’t take home the prize… but we were nominated. (And boy, were we excited about it.)

Everyone who is anyone in the Twin Cities Bridal Industry made an appearance at the 2009 Minnesota Bride Best Of Awards at the Varsity Theater on Wednesday, July 8th. It was a lively crowd of floral designers, caterers, jewelers, stationers, decorators, photographers, and so many other “ers” and “ors” that I can’t even mention all of them at once.

Vanessa Kimball, our amazing graphic designer, Lindsay Piram, event planner extraordinaire and usual author of this blog, and I (we missed our beloved manager Greta Andzenge,
who was off learning to breathe in birthing class), donned our finest duds and celebrated our nomination with a signature cocktail the hosts called “Something Blue.” Way to appeal to the wedding crowd… It was a mix of UV Vodka, sprite, and something blue I guess…too sweet for me, but at least it got us in the wedding vendor vibe for the night.

The cocktails were flowing and the food was plentiful. The music was loud and the people were louder. (Probably because they only get out when working other people’s events.) The awards were handed out and we applauded our friends and colleagues.

Cheers to Eric Sandstrom of Floral Logic, Don Jensen of Linen Effects, calligrapher Rosann Konieczny and the entire team at D’amico Catering for their well deserved awards. We love working with these amazing companies and invite all of you to check them out as well.

Until the usual blogger is back next week, make every day a reason to celebrate!

(And by the way, I do take full responsibility for missing the deadline my employee set forth for me on Monday. Thank goodness my staff keeps me in line and holds me accountable for my tardiness.)

Amy Zaroff

Monday, July 6, 2009

chinatown, usa.

i love chinatown. and the best chinatown of all chinatowns? san francisco chinatown.

how can a place like chinatown help your next event? think theme!

there is so much thematics in chinatown its ridic. from the tea sets to the samurai swords (ok, some is really cliche), everything there is centered by a theme...of what? china! seriously though, it can teach you a lot about taking one thought or idea and running with it. theme can be totally kitschy or simply subtle...but theme, at least to me, is required for an event to feel cohesive.

everything you need is in chinatown, whether you're hosting a dinner party with far east flair or your sons "kung fu panda" party. you can walk away with your arms full or wander and gather mental merchandise (thats what i call ideas).

not every city has its own chinatown, how i wish they did. but there are similar haunts in your city, i am sure. check out your local markets (flea markets, bazaars, farmers markets) for authentic items for your decor and menu (saffron is WAY less expensive at a global market than your supermarket, priced per thread). locale specific grocers are also a great place to submerse your
self in theme. arabic and asian markets are full of spices and sauces and are great places to check out to think theme (and fill your pantry).

here in mpls i highly recommend visiting the Global Market on Lake Street. it houses latin, caribbean, asian and arabic specialities all under one roof! parties are just waiting to be happen with all that is here. i guess the Global Market could be considered the closest thing we have to chinatown (one sprawling building vs. an entire neighborhood), for now.

do yourself a favor and find your city's own chinatown (or version of). you will be glad you did.


lindsay piram
event planner & producer

Monday, June 29, 2009

napa know how.

as i mentioned previously, i was in napa valley last week...which quickly became one of my favorite places to visit. it has all you need: great weather, world class food, laid back people and most importantly an endless abundance of magnificent wine.

on a tip from a friend, i hired a private
"tour guide" (contact gordy larum at www.eyeonwine.com to hire yours) to take me around the valley.
this eliminated waiting in line, boarding a hot bus with tourists and their fanny-packs and allowed the opportunity to taste and see some really unique wines and wineries.

to give you an idea of the scale:
sterling vineyards (shown at right) produces something like 18 million cases a year, whereas lava vine is under 1000 case production. the difference is palpable, without a doubt.

so for fear that i may have started sounding like a napa valley pamphlet, lets discuss how this affects you (my loyal audience)...

wine and events go hand in hand. or they should. and selecting wine can be intimidating and overwhelming. some
tips of the trade to get you through:

sticker shock.
good wine does NOT need to be expensive and dont be talked
into the most pricey bottle on the list. there are
great wines out there for less than $40 a bottle, even some as little as $15. higher prices usually mean a smaller yield, making it rare or a "reserve". save those for small, special occasions. a midrange bottle is entirely acceptable to serve to guests at a large gathering.

blanco y rojo.
the age old adage that white is for fish and red for beef is simply not true. to me, it depends more on the preparation of the dish (sauce and sides) than the actual protein itself. lighter reds pair surprisingly well with fish or chicken. dont be afraid to take risks and try new things, you'll be glad you did.

because wine can be potentially overwhelming to your guests and food tastes SO much better when paired with the right wine, do the pairing for them at your dinner. simply passing by with a bottle of white and a bottle of red at each course doesn't showcase the wine or the food like it should. i like to start with a sparkling because its light and celebratory. pair that with your amuse bouche or first course. next, pair a wine with your salad, entree and even
into dessert. it is AMAZING how different the meal will taste and feel when the wine is thoughtfully selected. most restaurants and event venues have a sommelier on staff, use it.

hope your summer is off to a sunny start and thanks for your loyal readership. i enjoy your feedback and am open to topic suggestions too. next week, in honor of the 4th of july, ill be blogging about chinatown. until then...


lindsay piram
event planner & producer

Monday, June 15, 2009

please. and thank you.

as a child...

i walked with books on my head, by choice.

when i set the table, i set salad, dinner, dessert and shrimp forks. when having tacos.

my school lunch box, included a linen napkin. pressed and folded.

i sent thank you notes to my slumber party hosts.

i guess you could say, etiquette has always been important to me. and in my career, nothing has changed. etiquette, to me, is a sign of respect. respect to tradition and also to the guests and hosts of an event.

so, today...a few simple etiquette "rules" i live by.
and you should too:

spell correctly.
whether it's the menu at an event, the (reluctantly) invited cousin's girlfriend's name on the invitation or text within a program: proof, proof and proof again. take time and do some research to get the accent on the french wine varietal just right. email your aunt and make sure cadie opts for the c. and the d. explain the significance of a huppah at a jewish wedding, not the hippo. (spell check wont catch that but proofers will.) it bodes well for you in the end.

source those old dusty stationery grammar books.
believe it or not, when inviting a child to a formal event, it should read "master ben miller". i know this sounds crazy and even outdated, but if you're going formal, i recommend going all the way. there are certain ways to address judges, doctors, widows and officers. all of this and more is included within
Crane's Blue Book of Stationery. here at give my regards to, there are literally copies on every desk and shelf.

put your napkin on your lap.
as soon as you're seated! this is a big one and to me, encompasses all table manners, such as: let the ladies order first. use the utensils from the outside in. pass items, such as bread baskets, to your right. excuse yourself if leaving the table. lay your flatware diagonally across your plate to signal you are finished. simple, right?

be grateful.
a thank you goes a long way. a thank you note, even further. it is such a simple gesture, but makes people feel appreciated. and insures you get invited back! i've written them as a host, to my guests (ESPECIALLY if gifts were involved) and as a guest, to a host for a great event. including something unique to that event, within the text, helps personalize it. ("the nutella crepes were divine. merci!") come see us if you need some new thank you notes...there are some adorable options that make you want to send, send, send. (so cute that my son has had a set since age two.)

lindsay piram

event planner & producer

next week i'll be blogging from napa valley....this should be interesting.

Monday, June 8, 2009

how to have a haute party.

what to wear?

when it comes to my wardrobe, i abide by the following: i splurge on basics that will never go out of style (motorcycle jacket, black cocktail dress, cowboy boots) and i force myself to be frugal and smart when it comes to th
at season's trends. i just can't justify blowing the bank on a feathered bikini…it would be SO cool, but laughable by next season. son in tow, we hit up sale racks, vintage stores (because everything that’s cool now, has been cool before) and designer outlets to still get the look, but for a lot less.

so, the blog begs, can fashion trends transcend to events? let's explore:

rock and roll:

"equal parts rebellious and refined, this 90's style" is characteri
zed by black, frays, rips and tears, more black and studs…100% downtown. an event look would rock this style with black on black, couture cutting (contrived rips), stark floral arrangements with all one flower (callas would be cool). bring in the studded look through metallic accents (flatware and serve-ware). and lots of leather…seating is an obvious place for this.

open range:

feathers and fringe. wild at heart. life on the prairie gets a fashion update. i see this trend becoming event décor through suede,
flowing fabrics, untamed floral, natural tones with pops of color inspired by nature (turquoise, orange). keep in mind, the juxtaposition of a cowboy boot and a long, laura ingalls wilder floral print dress will look just as cool when interpreted at an event as it does on the runway. this is done with bold, worn-in, chocolate leather seating against a pastel table-scape with quail feathers mixed into a bucket or pitcher of wildflowers.

floral and feminine:

old school ladylike meets modern ‘tude. floral patterns, sheer fabrics and ethereal layers combine flirtatiousness and elegance. incorporating vintage pieces into the event décor will weight this look accompanied by silk and sheer linens. nothing too heavy though (no drapes) or it will date the look. floral motifs can be exhibited through not only pattern, but texture, too to soften the look. anchor it with neutrals (like you’d pair ivory linen trousers with a floral blouse) to keep it elegant and modern.

global goddess:
find inspir
ation from distant lands like southeast asia or the plains of sub-saharan africa. beads, bold prints and embroidery transport us to new lands and new looks. bold linens with funky pots, nothing contrived and lots of layers. lighting is low for nighttime and daytime events of this type should soak up the sun. moroccan teacups can double as adorable and appropriate wine glasses, toss some beaded pillows down and cover your table with animal prints and bold patterns.

the four current spring/summer fashion trends listed above can certainly translate to an event, but keep in mind that trends change with the seasons…a prairie-inspired party next spring will be far less cool than this spring. (by then i'll be dishing on the super-hero look that's sweeping the runway!) fashion magazines and fashion show footage from pari
s or new york are my new favorite places for event inspiration, now all you need to figure out is what to wear to your party!

lindsay piram,
event planner & producer

Monday, June 1, 2009

sidelined by the stomach (not swine, thanks) flu in los angeles over memorial weekend interrupted some, but not all, of my excursions. still, as promised, i got my picture next to mike’s star (wow, did that make me feel like a tourist or what? all in the name of my blog, wink wink.)

so, later that day i ended up in santa monica. and at the ritz. I worked for the ritz-carlton hotel chain in sobe and love, love all they stand for. as a guest and as an employee. i just strolled in and made myself at home, and at the ritz, this is allowable. act like you own the place and no one says a word. ha.

i think i've mentioned before that YELLOW is the “it” color this season. if i haven’t, i'm sure you already know. yellow is hot for clothes, jewelry, handbags, flowers, stationery, events. (basically everything but cars).

so…what did i find while snooping through SM? a yellow event (wedding) AT the ritz. (yes, i was in the ballroom). it was in the very preliminary stages of being set but I snapped what I could. how nicely it tied in with the yellow and gold touches within the hotel itself, such as the hand-blown amber glass fixtures and antique mirrors.

which leads me to my #1 event philosophy: WORK WITH THE SPACE, NOT AGAINST IT. im talking color, style, theme. this will save you time and money and will ma
ke your event feel “right”. a rock and roll party at your parents' country club? not gonna feel as good as it could. with some work, it could eventualllllly but think about all you would have to bring in by way of props and décor. why not go straight to the heart of rock and roll? find an old warehouse or kick a** bar that embodies that style.

an all-white princess wedding? I would recommend a more traditional venue where the elements are built in through architecture versus the contemporary, urban hotel. and keep in mind…if a hotel or venue is modern or contemporary in its architecture, its standard linens, chairs and serve-ware will be too. which means YOU will need to supply the ones that go with your look. all of those things should exude your overall theme and if they don’t,
there will be a disconnect. ($30 chair cover x 300 chairs = find a venue where the chairs fit your look and you can spend this $ somewhere else, like on a planner to tell you that!)

so, the moral of the los angeles story? YELLOW works at the RITZ. and i heart both.

regards, lindsay piram event planner & producer