Hello Productions

Pittsburgh Wedding and Event Planners

Best of: Baby Showers April 24, 2012

‘Tis the season for showers of all kinds, and of course, this means countless days spent pondering the perfect theme, favors, cakes, games and details that will make the day special.  While bridal showers are no doubt fun and exciting to plan, baby showers can be just as exciting but even more difficult to organize.  What follows are some great ideas that we hope you will impart at your next shower!

 

Themes

  • Sweet Pea: There are countless ways to weave this theme throughout your shower, most appropriate for a little girl’s arrival!  Fill up vases half-way with green peas, then top off with bright gerbera daisies for a sweet touch to your centerpieces and use “Pea in the Pod” mini soaps as favors for each guest.
  • Cowgirl/Cowboy:  Add a little whimsy to your gathering with burlap accents, hanging hats, mason jars for drinks or centerpieces, serve fresh-squeezed lemonade and tea, and lean chalkboard signs on the food station denoting where the “Grub” will be served.
  • Hollywood: Think the new girl or boy is bound for stardom?  Give your guests and the lady-of-the-hour the star treatment with “paparazzi” as they enter the venue (the men of the family and friends are great!), feather boas tied to each guest chair, cinema reels and Oscar cookies for favors!
  • Parisian Bebe: Celebrate the romance of this glorious city!   Hang or prop up parasols in sophisticated shades like pale pink, blue and black and serve a bounty of French patisserie for dessert.  Stage a Parisian backdrop for pictures where each guest can take their turn with props like a beret, scarf, and parasol for their own memorable keepsakes of the day.

Decor

  • Make an easy garland out of onesies (0-12 months) and hang with string or ribbon (doubles as a great gift for the new Mom-to-be)
  • Add gingham touches to napkins, placemats or tablecloths and use burlap to line food baskets or use as table runners at your Western-themed shower
  • Go Hollywood glam and make centerpieces using tall glass vases, long feathers, sparkling stones and pewter candlesticks on top of glitzy tablecloths, and use cinema-themed place cards at each guest’s seat
  • Make it bedtime with pillows, soft baby blankets, framed pictures of sleeping babies and baby books set up in various places in the room (consider asking each guest to bring a book to add to baby’s collection!)

Games

  • Baby’s Face: Is your baby bound to get Mommy’s petite nose or Daddy’s hazel eyes?  Blonde or brown hair?  Hand out a variety of large pictures of Mom and Dad’s faces to each table (or person, depending on the size of the shower) and have guests cut out the features they think baby will end up with and piece them together on colorful construction paper with glue sticks.  The pictures can be displayed and everyone can vote for their favorites, with the winner receiving a small treat.
  • Book of Advice: Beginning with the mother of the Mom-to-Be (or another significant woman in her life), write down your most trusted words of advice, encouragement and even funny parenting stories in a small, decorative book for the new parents-to-be.  Pass the book around throughout the shower and present it to the MTB at the end of the event.  This is a great gift that the new Mommy can then begin to write her own story in for months and years to come.
  • Celeb Babies: To complement a Hollywood theme, consider a fun quiz about everyone’s most loved (or those we love to hate!) celebrity offspring.  Think “Brangelina,” “Tomcat,” and Beyonce & Jay-Z (Blue Ivy, anyone?) as the beginning of a humorous game that all can enjoy no matter how much they follow the gossip column.
  • Designer’s Studio: Let your guests put on their creative caps by setting up a Design Studio table at your shower.  Purchase non-patterned bibs, onesies and socks as your canvas, and provide non-toxic fabric paints and markers, stencils, iron-on letters or decals (remember to bring the iron!), and let your guests go to work creating fun, memorable pieces of original art for the new baby.
  • Words of Love: As most parents know, the first few weeks after a new baby is born can be hectic, exhausting and will test any person’s emotional fortitude.  Why not set up a way for the new parents to be encouraged each week after the baby is born (up and through the number of guests you have?)  Provide a pre-numbered note card to each guest at their place when they arrive, and ask them to write a brief note of support corresponding with the week they’ve been given.  The host/hostess can send out the card to the new parents during the week corresponding to the number on the cards for weeks of welcome love and encouragement.

Favors

  • Hand out mini Sweet Pea hand sanitizers (something every Mom needs lots of!) with a little note of thanks tied with ribbon around the neck
  • Tie sheriff’s badges to the neck of mason jars filled with candy, cookie mix or your favorite bath salts to say “thanks”
  • Oscar cookies can be made and pre-packaged in cellophane for each guest’s enjoyment (…and the award goes to…)
  • Customized swag bags with Mom’s favorite things (lip gloss, hand lotion, chocolates and bubble bath)

 

Need help organizing your next shower?  Contact Lindsey today at lindseyb@helloproductions.com!

 

Advice, Trends, and Even Tips to Save Money on Invitations from Jody Stein of CREATE Studio April 16, 2012

An invitation is often the first impression your guests have of your wedding, fundraiser, event, etc. so it’s important to make that first impression one that lasts!

 

For fabulous invitations (and first impressions), we turned to Jody Stein, owner of CREATE Studio. Jody creates custom designed invitations and coordinating collateral for all types of events. We had the opportunity to talk to her about her business, designing for brides on a budget, and new invitation trends to watch for.

 

Q. Tell us about yourself and your business.

A. I was born to create. My mother knew I would grow up to be an artist when she found me making clothes for Barbie when I was 3. She was positive when I painted my Dad’s car to look like the Beatles Yellow Submarine! I eventually created my way through childhood and college; graduating with a BFA from Washington University. My creative career was launched art directing print and television commercials for major brands in New York and Chicago. Marriage brought me to Pittsburgh which led to the creation of CREATE Studio. Now, I collaborate with exciting event planners and with clients planning one of the biggest, most important events of their lives. So many ideas! So many decisions! Coming up with jaw dropping, WOW! creative solutions that bring their vision to life is my niche. I love to create traditional invitations, also traditional with a twist, or, completely out of the box. No pun intended! It all depends on their sweet dreams!

 
 

Q. How far in advance do you recommend sending invitations? Is there such a thing as sending invitations too early?

A. Most people have jam-packed calendars so my advice is to shout out the date of a big event early with a creative, fun, Save the Date. This is the very best way to never be too early or too late, to build anticipation, and to informally set the tone for the formal invitation to come. For a destination or event with a large out-of-town guest list, mail the Save the Date as soon as possible. If the guest list is made up of mostly in-town guests, at least 6 months out. Once the Save the Date has been mailed, plan to mail the formal invitation no later than 8 to 10 weeks before the event. For weddings, Bar and Bat Mitzvah’s or large parties, a website devoted to the big day is a great way to keep guests posted as the event unfolds in-between mailings.

 

Q. Do your clients typically create custom designs or choose from a design book?

A. Whether or not a client wants a one-of-a-kind custom invitation suite, or falls in love with a standard design from one of our books, we sit down to discuss all of the ideas swirling around in their head. Then we decide how to best organize these thoughts to create their own perfect invitation. It’s funny because a standard design almost always ends up being customized with individual choices of colors, fonts and paper selections. I usually suggest adding little unique details that make an invitation their very own. For custom, one-of-a-kind invitations, I create mood boards as a visual reference for the entire event. It includes a color palette, paper selections, photographs of flowers, and if apropos, bridesmaid dresses, swatches of linens and trims, and images of the venue. This way, when we meet, we can clearly see how every element at the event will coordinate and tweak it to perfection. These boards become invaluable tools when trying to make decisions and are great for planning ahead for the “day of” materials; programs, escort cards, menus, table numbers, gifts, and even projections on the walls and dance floor.

 

Q. Any advice for clients and brides on a budget?

A. Everyone has a budget whether it is on the low side of the production spectrum or the high. Being on a budget does not mean we can’t create one of the most beautiful invitation suites ever. It is my job to create a “winner” at many different price points. This is one of my strongest fortes. What matters is how the design and materials work together to tell the story. I take time to resource the right materials that will work for each individual budget in order to make each clients dream a reality.

 

Here are a few cost saving tips:
– Choose a rectangular shape instead of square. Square invitations cost more to mail.
– Do not include a lot of extra layers. Multiple layers increase labor and weight.
– Consider digital printing instead of raised or offset. This is a huge cost saver. With today’s high-end digital printers, digital printing can look as nice and vibrant as offset printing.
– Include a coordinating accommodation and event information insert. This saves costs on a second mailing, not to mention your time answering questions by phone or emails.
– A new cost saver is to have guests respond by email, or to an event website. This does away with printing a reply card and envelope, and the cost of its return postage.

 

Q. Are there any new invitation trends on the horizon?

A. There is no end to new trends. With the internet, finding clever options are endless. I literally look all over the country and the world for interesting trends. Invitations can be etched into wood, Plexiglas and metal. Sending invitations in custom, fabric covered boxes has become very popular. Many clients are asking for custom logos to “brand” every detail of their special day. Logos are usually introduced on the Save the Date, become an integral part of the invitation, then appear later on programs, menus, escort cards, projections, dance floors, gift tags, and on custom stamps. Finding ways to repurpose and combine different materials is a big trend. For example, I just won a LOUIE award, “Best Bar Mitzvah Invitation Design”, from the Greeting Card Association for repurposing a large wooden initial letter “A” block on the front of the invitation. Mirroring fashion trends, bold patterns and pop colors are huge right now.

 

Q. Anything else you want us to share with our readers?

A. It is always important to figure out your event budget before we get started. This way, I can do the best job resourcing materials to present the best, unique concepts at the best price. Don’t be afraid to shoot for the stars. It is my job to figure out how to get the job done.

 

Q. What’s CREATE Studio up to now?

A. I just won a LOUIE Award for Best Bar Mitzvah Invitation Design. I just finished designing two special event invitations for Bethlehem Haven and Pittsburgh Opera which included the invitation, eblasts, posters and programs. And, I am currently working on a party being held in Paris, and a bunch of lovely weddings.

 

Interested in custom designed invitations from Jody Stein? Visit her website: createstudioinvites.com for more information.

 

Or let Hello Productions help you set up a meeting with Jody. Call us at 412-298-7333 and let us handle the details.

 

What is the Hello Productions staff excited about for the Summer of 2012? April 10, 2012

Filed under: Hello Details — Hello Productions @ 12:46 pm
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We typically like to write posts for our readers that give you great tips, offer helpful advice or just get you excited about planning the perfect event. So, we thought we’d let you know what we’re anxiously anticipating in our summer months this year to allow you, our readers, to look through the window at some of the great women behind the fabulous events at Hello Productions. Enjoy!

 

Ashley Moss, Owner and Event Director:

I’m looking forward to the beautiful, warm summer weather, and of course, I always look forward to my time on Conneaut Lake with my family.

 

Hello is busy with many exciting projects for 2012, and we welcome the professional challenges that await us this year!

 
 
 

Lindsey Bradley, Corporate & Private Event Coordinator:

Has anyone else been feeling like the past year has flown by, or is this just what happens when you get older? I have so much to be thankful for this year, and have a whole lot to look forward to. I’m anticipating the culmination of some of the exciting corporate events and fabulous weddings we have been planning in the next few months, my first since starting with Hello Productions in January. My husband and I are also super excited about the arrival of our daughter this summer, a wonderful addition to our lives and a welcome change for our family (watch for my baby shower-themed blog coming soon!)

 

Although no big vacations are planned this year, I am looking forward to those beautiful summer days & nights filled with swimming, cookouts, Pirates games, trips to our family farm and the outdoor concerts that only make an appearance in the summertime here in western PA.

 

As for the Fall, we have a lot of hard work ahead of us not only on some new, exciting events, but on some of the annual events that have helped to put Hello Productions on the map. The next 8.5 months are filled with many exciting milestones for me, both personally and professionally, and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

 

Kelsey Clayton, Assistant Event Coordinator:

Doesn’t it seem like swimsuits are in the stores earlier and earlier every year? I had barely retired my Ugg boots when the 2012 swimsuits made their appearance. I’m hoping our warm spring is a sign of many sunny days to come!

 

In addition to working for Hello Productions, I am an Event Manager at Seven Oaks Country Club and this summer, I feel fortunate to be a part of so many events and weddings being held at the club.

 

But it’s not all work … house-hunting with my husband, celebrating our one-year anniversary, working in our garden and cookouts with friends are just a few of the things we have planned.

 

Doing something fun this summer? We want to know about it! Tell us what you have planned for the summer in the comments below.