Hello Productions

Pittsburgh Wedding and Event Planners

Ditch the favors… and bring on the Swag! October 16, 2017

Chocolate, bubbles, candles, and even butter spreaders… the list doesn’t stop there! Way too often, couples spend tons of cash on wedding favors that are either eaten on the spot or stashed in a drawer. We would like to introduce to you “The Swag Bag.” Filled with useful and fun accoutrements, this welcome bag can include a variety of items to make your guests feel right at home as they travel for your big day!

Start simple… select your carrier.

  • To stay basic and budget-friendly, go with a kraft paper gift bag. Each bag is less than $0.10 when bought in bulk. You can add ribbon, custom calligraphy, or a fun label to go with your wedding theme.
  • Keep it Green with a reusable tote! A bit pricier at $3 a tote, guests can reuse so it’s worth the fee. Go wild on Etsy with custom printed totes for around $6 a tote.
  • Above and beyond… enter the wooden box! This small token will surely wow your guests. Wrapped in a silk bow, it is the perfect sentiment for your friends and family. These little guys start at $7 a box.

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Now… let’s fill it with awesome goodies!

  • Stay hydrated! Your guests are just arriving from a long day of travel. Bottled water is key (or a sports drink for an extra boost!) If you want to upgrade, pack a mini bottle of champagne!
  • Snack attack! Light treats are perfect for guests staying in a hotel. From an apple to peanut butter crackers, a small assortment will save them from getting ‘hangry.’
  • Get minty! This is for the wedding day. Mints and gum are lifesavers for guests to slip in their pockets… or beautifully beaded clutch.
  • Custom touch! Incorporate maps and trinkets from your hometown so guests learn a little more about the bride & groom. Popcorn from your first movie date. Your favorite candy bars. The latest issue of your city’s tourist magazine.
  • Where to go and what to do! Add a weekend itinerary for your guests. Not only should you include the ceremony and reception times/locations, but guests will appreciate a list of local museums, coffee shops, and things to do around the city!

 

Two Hello Couple Swag bags!

Jessica & Phil – J&P’s guest list was made up of mostly out-of-towners. Introducing everyone to The Burgh, they included a postcard of their fine city as well as the native language… ‘Pittsburgh-ese. They also included the famous Clark Bar, apples and oranges for breakfast, and a bottle of bubbly!

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Lauren & Reid – To show off their Harvard pride, L&R included #crimwin koozies, Capecod Chips and personalized bottle openers. The groom, from Texas, incorporated his favorite Lonestar brew while the Burgh bride added a mini Smiley Cookie from Pittsburgh’s own Eat’n Park. Guests loved the goodies, which were all wrapped up in a custom calligraphy gift bag!

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Your guests will thank you for welcoming them with such wonderful goodies to enjoy. Swag Bags range from $8-20 per bag. Whether you keep it basic or go above and beyond, it is a great touch that will always be appreciated.

Blog by Hello Productions Intern: Caylyn Oliver

 

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Our 5 Favorite “Getting Ready” Photos September 25, 2017

***Photos courtesy of Leeann Marie Photography, Joey Kennedy Photography, and Dawn Derbyshire Photography

 

Some of the most precious moments happen while you and your bridal party are getting ready for your wedding day. Here are our 5 favorite photo moments to capture on the morning of your special day!

 

1)   Accessories, please!

Considering the time and energy you’ve put into selecting the perfect accessories for your big day, it only makes sense to photograph them! We love photos of the bride’s jewelry, shoes, nails, and even the garter!

 

For an elegant backdrop in your jewelry photos, bring a decorative tray with you! This monogrammed jewelry tray available on Etsy is perfect. https://www.etsy.com/listing/506143131/monogrammed-acrylic-tray-jewelry-dish?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=jewelry%20tray&ref=sc_gallery_1&plkey=6fe41db62fb87725b4c7f834714e98b320ffcc02:506143131

 

 

2)    Pop… Fizz… Clink!

Enjoy some time with your bridesmaids by popping mini bottles of champagne in cute matching satin robes or even PJ’s! Trust us, the photos will be adorable.

 

 

3)    The DRESS

Your dress deserves a spotlight of its own – at least for a minute! For photos of your dress, be sure to have a large window or another well-lit backdrop.

 

Pro Tip! Buy a customized wooden hanger for polished photos of your exceptional gown. This customized hanger (available on Etsy) is chic and classic. https://www.etsy.com/listing/111274165/wedding-hanger-bridal-hanger-with-date?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=customized%20gown%20hanger&ref=sr_gallery_1

 

4)    Strike a Pose

Recreating some of your “getting ready” moments for your photographer can make for the most precious photos. While you are putting on your dress or fastening your necklace, take a minute to pose!

 

Pro Tip! Schedule your photographer’s arrival to coincide with the start of your eye makeup. Capturing your base makeup isn’t too exciting.

 

5)    Guaranteed Tear-Jerkers

Who doesn’t gush over a photo of a father helping his son tie his tie on his wedding day?  Or a photo of the flower girl gazing up at the bride and her dress? Here are some of our favorite gushy getting ready moments:

 

 

Taco Bout’ A Fiesta! June 1, 2017

When our planner Natasha Learn told us her daughter’s first birthday party theme was a fiesta, we knew it would be awesome. Who doesn’t love Mexican everything – and who could say no to tacos?

 

Natasha created the ultimate first fiesta for her daughter, Harper. Taking authentic Mexican decor and mixing it with a little more kid-friendly decor, Natasha decorated with gold mini piñatas, maracas, sombreros, cactus confetti, tissue paper garland, multicolored balloons, cactus balloons, and colorful Mexican flags strung across the entire party.  The fiesta was bright and full of color to create vivid memories for all of the guests!

 

A taco and fajita bar was set, and cookies and cake were served as dessert. For the kids, there was a take-home-bag table with children sombreros and a bag full of Mexican goodies for the little señors and señoritas at the party. A piñata was hung for the children to hit and was full of candy, which was a fun activity for the children to enjoy.

 

For Harper’s cake smash, Natasha decorated a multicolored paper flower backdrop with gold fiesta balloons, a wooden high chair, and a paper-cut-out garland that said “uno”. Her cake was decorated to match the fiesta theme, and Harper sure enjoyed her first taste of something sweet!

 

Photography by Courtney Learn Photography

Cakes – Jennifer Shaffer Cakes

Cookies – Lovies Cookies

Catering – Compadres Mexican Restaurant

 

 

Buffet vs. Sit Down vs. Stations May 16, 2017

In most cases, the bulk of your wedding budget will be spent on food and beverage. When providing dinner service to your guests, you as the host will choose from 3 styles: Buffet, Sit Down, or Stations. Each choice has pros and cons… it just depends on which fits your style!

 

Reception Style #1: Buffet

What is a buffet? It is a meal consisting of several dishes stationed on a long table from which guests streamline through and serve themselves. To create a more formal buffet, servers will sometimes assist guests. But in the end, this style is considered to be the most casual of meal service.

 

Pros: Buffets provide your guests with more options of meat, sides and sauces. You can please the masses without having your guests choose their entrée prior to your event. Buffets also save a small amount of money for wait staff since the caterer needs fewer people tending to the buffet instead of each table.

 

Cons: The downfall of buffets include time. Since guests are not professional food handlers, they tend to move at a slower pace when moving through the line. Also, a buffet requires an overage of each dish to ensure no entrée or side runs out. Caterers cannot guess how much each guest will take; therefore, an overage of food increases the cost.

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Reception Style #2: Sit Down

A sit down, plated style of dinner is considered the most traditional and formal option as guests are served an individually plated meal… in most cases, one they have pre-selected in their RSVP. The meal typically consists of three courses: an appetizer/salad, entrée and dessert. Caterers will usually give guests the option between two entrées, which are selected beforehand, or they will offer a duo plate consisting of two proteins.

 

Pros: All of your guests will be served at the same time! With preselecting meal options, the caterer will know exact amounts. A plated dinner also provides the opportunity to time event formalities (such as dances and toasts) between courses to keep guests entertained and engaged throughout the meal service.

 

Cons: A greater number of serving staff is required to cater every table individually. Also, some venues do not offer a plated sit down due to lack of kitchen space. Imagine 300 entrée plates lined up in the kitchen… that’s some major square footage!

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Reception Style #3: Food Stations

A station style reception is where the event’s meal choices are distributed at various tables in your main event space. Station examples include a carving station, a raw bar, a tapas station, a pasta station, a dessert station, and the list goes on.

 

Pros: A fun variety of dishes can be made available including themed stations (like a pierogi or taco bar) that you might not see at a more formal setting. With “cook to order” stations, guests can request the amount of sauce or level of spice, etc.

 

Cons: Considered a new-age style of event dining, many of your guests treat it like a buffet… taking a full dinner plate of food at each station. Stations are made for snacking, tasting, and enjoying smaller portions of each fun theme. The amount of consumption and waste may rack of up your catering bill.

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Hello Baby Showers! April 22, 2017

Full of plaid, woodsy, rustic decor, and an amazing hot chocolate bar, this baby shower was amazing! Our Coordinator, Natasha Learn, brought in fresh winter greenery, birch logs and faux-fur to create the ultimate, warm and inviting winter baby shower theme for this mom-to-be. The baby shower was hosted at the New Castle Country Club and they also provided the freshly cooked breakfast buffet that was simply delicious. From a fresh made omelet station to the best crispy breakfast potatoes, the food was spectacular. For games and prizes, Natasha decided the guests would enjoy “Name That Baby” the guests answered the baby name for each animal listed. Along with this game, she created a “Marshmallow Guess Game” for the guests to guess the number of marshmallows in the jar, the person with the closest guess won a prize. For favors, plaid onesie, bear and monogram cookies baked by Little Lovies Cookies were at each place setting. Not only were the cookies adorable – they were tasty! This shower was exactly what the expecting mama wanted and beyond perfect for the time of year.

 

A Popular Question When Planning Events: Party Favors or No Party Favors? February 12, 2017

We are weighing in on the age old question: if the party favor is a must. Giving your guests party favors at your wedding or special event is a generous gesture, however, it is not necessary. Favors can add up to a lot of money and it could possibly be something your guests might not even want. But of course, if you have favors in mind that are cohesive with the theme of your event, unique, or something your guests will cherish forever – then you should do it! If you decide that a typical favor is not something you want for your event, think of the favor more like a souvenir or even a post-event snack that everyone will enjoy. Here are our top 5 picks of alternative favor ideas from some of our local Pittsburgh vendors.

Photo Booth

There is no better memory than those caught in a moment on camera. Whether picture perfect or silly and fun, a photo strip of your guests is something everyone will love and keep forever. Love a little retro and vintage? Check out this unique vendor, Pittsburgh Camper Booth. A vintage retro photo booth on wheels!

Donuts or Breakfast

After a long night of dancing and celebration, everyone always wakes up hungry! Wrap up a donut, fresh scone or pastry by Oakmont Bakery for your guests the next morning.
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Caricature Artist

Caricature Art makes for a fun and exciting take-home favor. This is always a hit at every event, your guests will be talking about it for weeks! Call The Pittsburgh Caricature Co. to book your premier caricature studio for your next event.

Waffle Truck

Who wouldn’t want to exit a wedding venue and find fresh, gourmet waffles as their parting gift? Have your guests leave your event with an unexpected and delectable treat by The Waffler Truck.
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Custom Coasters

Instead of purchasing your typical monogram napkins or paper coasters, why not get creative with calligraphy by Gardner Ann’s by Katie Harbison. The coasters don’t have to have the event date for your guests to remember they received it on your special day. This is something your guests will keep forever and use often.
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Hooray – You’re Engaged! Now What? January 8, 2017

He popped the question and you said YES! Now you are engaged – congratulations! There are so many things to think about, but don’t get overwhelmed! Here is what to do next.

Call your parents, siblings, family and best friends:

Don’t let your family and best friends find out on social media. Give them the honor of hearing the fantastic news first. Don’t hesitate to get creative with a mock save-the-date, unique photo of the location where you were engaged, surprise them with a facetime call for a first-time look at your new ring, or better yet, surprise them in person so you can witness their priceless reaction!

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Photo from theknot.com

Make sure your nails are on point:

Your hands will be in the spotlight for quite a while! So be confident and show off that ring with a brand new manicure.

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Photo from brides.com

Get your ring appraised and insured:

This might not be one of the most exciting things about the engagement or one of the first things you think about, but it could seriously save you (especially him!) in the long run. Ring insurance can be purchased as an extension of your renters or homeowners policy. Another option is to insure your ring through a company that specializes in jewelers insurance.

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Photo from brides.com

Get your ring resized:

Your new ring might fit like a glove or it might be slipping right off of your finger. If it is not a snug fit, make sure you go to a jeweler ASAP to get your ring sized to fit you correctly. If not, you might be utilizing your ring insurance sooner than you thought!

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Photos from everafterguide.com

Start thinking about a potential date and set your budget:

Wedding venues get booked far in advance so it is wise to set a date as soon as possible. Plus, everyone will be asking if you set a date, so you will be prepared with an answer! Also, think about the kind of wedding you want to have and crunch some numbers to set the budget for your wedding day.

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Photos from marthastewartweddings.com

Have an engagement party:

People will want to congratulate you and your fiance on the engagement. This is a great time to introduce family members who haven’t met and will be seeing a lot of each other during all of the wedding festivities. The engagement party should be held within a few months of the proposal.

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Photo from weddingpaperdivas.com

Go on a date night and have fun:

Relax, spend time with each other and remember why you got engaged in the first place! Enjoy every moment of your engagement and the exciting feeling of calling your man your fiance! Embrace the moment of being engaged before all of the planning begins. When you are ready to start planning, don’t forget to call us at Hello Productions to help you plan your dream wedding day from beginning to end!

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Photo from marieclaire.com