Hello Productions

Pittsburgh Wedding and Event Planners

Think Outside the Cake – Unique Wedding Desserts September 29, 2013

Looking for something more unique than a wedding cake for your special day? We have some unique and equally delicious ideas! At Hello Productions, we have seen many of these at weddings and private events, and there are a few that we would love to see!


Cotton Candy

Your wedding day may feel like a circus, but it doesn’t have to be themed like one to serve cotton candy to your guests. This fun treat is enjoyed by adults and children alike, and can be colored (and flavored!) to match your wedding.



Individual Mini Desserts

We love the idea of serving every guest a dessert and imagine their surprise when a Banana Carmel Cream Parfait is set down in front of them instead of a piece of cake! Ask your local baker or venue chef to make a mini version of your favorite dessert.



Jello Shots

This is not your typical jello cup with fruit! These miniature desserts can be masterpieces with different flavors layered. While many jello shot recipes include liqueur, you can easily make these non-alcoholic for a wedding. Although, if you are having an adult-only party, you may want to try some of the liqueur recipes.



Cake Push Up Pops

While cake pops are still very popular, cake push up pops are catching on as well. In addition to being fun to eat, the layers in clear containers make them look as great as they taste.



Funnel Cakes

Not many of us can resist the smell of a freshly made funnel cake! A little food coloring in the batter has these funnel cakes looking very glamorous (and we’re sure they are just as delicious!).



Retro Snack Cakes

Twinkies and Hostess Cupcakes are not just for road trips – they can look quite fabulous on a candy bar of retro-themed desserts. Don’t forget the Swiss Cake Rolls and Ding Dongs!



Mini Pies

We’re not ready to say goodbye to this trend anytime soon, especially with a different flavor to suit each season. Having a main “wedding cake” out of pies and then additional mini pies for guests makes us smile!



Want a few more ideas? WHIRL’s Sugar Rush: Wedding Desserts article has a few more unique wedding dessert ideas, including cupcakes, cake pops and cookies.



Five Steps to Planning a Fundraiser September 19, 2013

At Hello Productions, we have worked with a variety of non-profit and for-profit organizations to handle all types of event and fundraiser details, from writing press releases and booking local caterers to sourcing entertainers and sponsors. The fall seems to be the perfect time for fundraisers so below we have some tips to help you plan yours.


Set the Scene


The first decision to make about any event is to determine the date and time of the fundraiser, as well as the location or venue where you will hold it. While Saturday is always popular, consider another day of the week to encourage maximum attendance. Thursday, Friday and Sunday are also days to consider. It’s also a good idea to check the local community calendars to make sure your event won’t coincide with another big event.


If you decide to have an outdoor event, make sure you plan for rain or cold weather. Also, some venues will offer a discount on the rental fee if you are a non-profit organization, so be sure to ask!


Ask Attendees


The next decision to make is about your attendees – who will you invite? Determine if this is a public event and you will invite everyone in the community or if it will be a private event, with invitations only being distributed to certain groups. If you do decide to have a private event, remember that you will need to have some sort of registration process. You may not need attendees to check in, but you may want to put a system in place so attendees have to respond as to whether or not they are coming so you know for how many to plan. For many events, we recommend doing a combination of a public and private event. Make the event open to the public, but also take the time to personally invite certain groups and people.


While you’re determining your attendee list, ask yourself if you will need volunteers. Have a separate line in your promotion asking for volunteers or contact local organizations or schools to see if they have any programs that correspond to your fundraiser or students that need volunteer hours (or resume material).


Depending on your budget and fundraising goals, you will also need to consider if you are asking for sponsors for your event. If the sponsors are companies, decide if you are extending the invitation to everyone in the company or allowing each sponsor to invite a certain number of guests. This will depend on your location space and budget.


Promote Your Passion


Your fundraiser will only be successful with promotion! Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get the word out. Announcing your event too far in advance will have people put off their responses, but attendees have a higher chance of scheduling conflicts the closer to the date you announce your event. While it depends on the event, giving people notice 2-3 months in advance is typically a recommended amount of time.


Need flyer ideas? Here are templates you can download to create custom flyers for your event:


Microsoft Templates
Cost: Free (use with Microsoft Publisher or Word)


StockLayouts.com Templates
Cost: $69-99


If you are inviting the public, consider local avenues to promote your event such as the newspaper event calendar (print and online), flyers in shop windows, chamber of commerce event calendar (if you belong), and bulletin boards at libraries, churches, tennis courts and other public venues. In addition, promote your event online with Facebook and Twitter (if applicable). Here’s an article with additional online promotion ideas: http://www.digitalaptitude.com/blog/social-media-marketing/20-ways-to-promote-your-events-online. It’s also a good idea to arm your friends and family with flyers to share with their friends and family.


If you’re just inviting a certain group or list of people, you can have invitations professional printed, or you can create and print one yourself, or use one of the many online invitation services. Have someone in charge of following up with anyone that doesn’t respond so you can have the most accurate number of attendees.


Don’t forget to alert the local media to your event – they may be interested in covering it. Call your local papers or radio stations. You can also submit a write-up about your event beforehand and one after (include photos) to your local newspaper. This is especially important if you plan on making your event an annual fundraiser.


Entertain Everyone


There are all types of entertainment you can have at your fundraiser, such as a DJ or musician, inspirational speaker, raffle or silent auction, food and beverages, games or contests, or other performances. If you have a limited budget, ask for donations from local restaurants for food and local shops and businesses for the raffle or silent auction. You can also ask local musicians or performers to donate their time in exchange for publicity. Compensate them with signage promoting their business or a line in your program, as well as lunch!


You may want to have a theme for your fundraiser, which can make it fun for everyone as well. We like Roberta Falkner’s blog about why a good theme makes fundraising easier (http://blog.wepay.com/2012/02/15/why-finding-a-good-theme-makes-fundraising-a-lot-easier/).


Make it Special


Not only do you want your attendees to have fun, but you want them to help you fundraise at this event, so make it memorable. For some organizations, a motivational speaker or famous entertainer will do the trick. Here are a few other ideas:


Have attendees participate in a fundraising-related activity in addition to just collecting their donations. For example, if your event is raising money to feed children, have event attendees decorate or pack lunch bags for local schools. Supporting families of soldiers abroad? Have attendees build bicycles for local children or pack care packages to send abroad.


Designate donation amounts to tie directly to supplies. For example, if you’re raising money to build a new animal shelter, designate each amount of donation to a different building supply ($25 for dog food, $35 for each new window, $45 for each kennel door, etc.).


Give attendees something meaningful with each donation. This could be a t-shirt, beach towel or water bottle with your organization’s cause on it. For example, you could give a t-shirt for everyone who donates $25 or more, or have different tiers for different donation amounts ($25 donation includes a t-shirt, $50 donation includes a t-shirt and water bottle, etc.).


Whether you’re planning a large-scale fundraiser or a small event to help out a friend, remember that no event is too big or too small for Hello Productions! Request a quote for our help planning and promoting your fundraiser today.


Real Life Experiences of a Hello Productions’ Intern: Murder Mystery & Pirates September 13, 2013

Filed under: Hello Interns — Hello Productions @ 4:44 pm
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Intern Blog Tagline

Is it possible to plan, promote and implement two events in only three weeks? If you’re willing to work hard and guzzle cup after cup of iced coffee, it most surely is possible. How would I know? Well, I pulled it off this summer when I was given the chance to plan two events for the Brentwood Library.


The first event that I planned for the library was a murder mystery party for adults. After reading tons of murder mystery game descriptions, I finally selected a western themed mystery kit. I coordinated all of the décor around the theme. Small details like bandana printed lanterns, western hat and cowboy boot picks, bales of hay and sunflower centerpieces served as a cost-effective way to create a fun, western atmosphere. Attendees spent the evening enjoying munchies as they tried to solve the murder mystery.


The second event that I organized was a pirate slumber party for children entering grades 3-5. Gold coins, hand-made pirate hat centerpieces and themed food labels brought the pirate theme to life. Some of the night’s activities included going on a book hunt, meeting a pirate, watching themed movies and creating pirate hats. However, I can’t take all of the credit for making the event such a success. It wouldn’t have been possible if Pizza Hut, Bruegger’s Bagels and Panera Bread hadn’t donated tons of delicious food. There’s no doubt that the children’s faces lit up when they saw stacks of pizza at dinner and trays of baked goods and bagels lined up at breakfast.


Even though planning both events was stressful and seemed impossible at times, I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to do so. Not only did I get amazing hands-on experience in event planning, but I also had the chance to assist the friendly library staff and encourage the public to get excited about reading.


Rachel Rodgers
Summer 2013 Intern


As our Summer 2013 intern, Rachel worked with Director of Marketing & Events Colleen Geletko. She had the opportunity to work on a marketing campaign and training for a local business, final preparations and coordination of a prom for students with disabilities, social media campaigns, promotion for a bike event, planning for a 2014 wedding, and event planning for a local library, as well as participate in multiple pitch meetings.


Real Advice from Real Wedding & Event Planners September 9, 2013

Over the years, the planners at Hello Productions have experienced a lot … and we want to share a few of our favorite things about being wedding and event planners!

hello girls

Sometimes things go wrong…


“As the bride was about to walk down the aisle, the pearl on her earring fell off and went rolling down the hall. Since I keep superglue in my emergency bag and I was able to secure the pearl only seconds before she walked down the aisle!” KELSEY


“At a recent wedding, we recommended all guests park in a specific garage near the reception. We did not know at the time that the garage closed and locked the gates at midnight (the time the reception was scheduled to end). We as the planners spoke with the garage owner asking (begging) them to keep the garage open. They kept it open an additional hour. Guests never had to know the parking issue, and I learned to never assume parking is 24 hours!” NATASHA


“At a recent wedding, when preparing our escort cards to be placed at each guest’s seat, we realized that quite a few of the guests’ cards were missing from the printer. After making our list, we employed the help of the venue’s receptionist to create replacements for those cards that had been missed. The replacements were made in a timely fashion, and no one ever knew the difference!” LINDSEY


“At a recent wedding, I stopped by the venue before the ceremony rehearsal to drop off a few items. The cocktail hour room was set up completely incorrect. They had read the diagram upside down. We had to completely flip the room quickly before the rehearsal at the church.” COLLEEN


“This past summer at a baby shower, the host invited 70 guests, received RSVPs from 30 guests and expected no more than 40 guests to arrive. She mentioned there are always unannounced guests at her events, so we planned for 70 to attend… Somehow 80 guests arrived!! The party was at her home, and we ordered enough refreshments to feed an army! Every seat was taken, and we set up an additional seating area in her patio lounge area. The party was full and lively! I often remind my clients to order a little more than needed (seating, food/beverage, favors) in case unexpected guests attend.” NATASHA


“At a barn wedding way out by Ohio Pyle, the caterer did not bring enough linens and were just planning on using anything they could find to cover what they were missing. Even though they were miles away from the venue, I made them call one of their employees to bring the extra linens in time for the wedding.” ASHLEY


You would be surprised to know…


“I am often a psychologist as well, dealing with family elements that come up and making sure all issues are tabled the day of the wedding. I am often asked questions about bridal party friends and other personal issues that come up when planning a wedding. This can happen when planning corporate events as well when there are team members who don’t get along.” ASHLEY


“It’s harder than it looks! Most people believe event planning is fun and easy. In reality, working out the logistics of an event takes time, patience, effort and skill. Also, things inevitably go wrong and it takes quick thinking to resolve problems on the spot.” COLLEEN


“Most people think my day is visiting venues, shopping for streamers and tasting cake. What they don’t know is that there is a lot of time spent on my computer figuring out the logistics to make the event happen. Email and Excel are two of my best friends.” NATASHA


Outside of the logistical items and timelines we manage, the most challenging (and interesting) part of the job can be managing the personalities of the people involved (clients, volunteers, Board members, family) and the relationships between them.” LINDSEY


“The person most likely to go missing on the day of the wedding is the groom’s father! I’ve spent more than a few weddings looking for him before the ceremony, the reception, etc.” KELSEY


My favorite part about this job…


“Nothing is more satisfying than seeing people enjoy an event that you planned. I love making clients happy by creating a stress-free environment, allowing them to enjoy their event.” COLLEEN


“Having the guests of the wedding or event I’m working, not just who hired me, comment on how smoothly everything is going.” KELSEY


“It’s a great feeling to help our clients, whether a couple getting married or a business hosting an event, to achieve their desired results or enjoy the day they’d always dreamt of. We are part of some pretty amazing moments, and it’s rewarding to see our clients happy and feeling good about hiring a professional to help them with their event.” LINDSEY


“It is very rewarding to see an event come together and play out successfully. Obviously for the private events like weddings, the clients are so grateful since it is such an important event in their lives. On the corporate side, it’s always nice when they comment that not only was the job well done, but that our team was friendly and easy to work with as well.” ASHLEY


“The flexibility in my schedule. Even though I work around the clock, day/night and on weekends, I love creating my own schedule. I also love the social aspect of meeting ALL different types of people especially many of the creative minds in Pittsburgh. Meetings and events are always entertaining.” NATASHA


Advice for brides…


“Outside of all of the beautiful decor, music, and food, this day that we’re planning for is about the start of your marriage and celebrating it with all of your closest family and friends- which is pretty amazing. I know that it can be tough when there are so many decisions and stressful moments along the way, but try not to ever lose sight of that.” LINDSEY


“Have a clear vision in mind. Many brides tend to become frustrated and overwhelmed when they don’t know what they want. If you know you like a certain theme, color combo and overall feel, all the details will fall into place and decisions will be much easier.” NATASHA


“Do not stress about the small things. Determine what the most important element is and focus your money and attention there. The rest will get completed, but will not be something you or your guests will remember (this is different for everyone, but usually the escort cards, table numbers, programs, even bouquets are not necessarily items that people will remember).” ASHLEY


“Be sure to make your money stretch by making larger investments for things that will make a big impact. Instead of spending excessively on a favor, rent a photo booth and pay more for a great DJ.” COLLEEN


Advice for corporate events…

Colleen-Geletko-1491281 220

“Invest in quality food. People are more apt to pay attention and attend your event year after year if they are satisfied with their meal.” COLLEEN


“Stick to your planning timeline. Try your best not to backtrack and change your plans multiple times leading up to the event. This will only cause confusion and delays.” NATASHA


“Try to have the schedule of sessions prepared more than a couple of weeks before the event so that all detailed items can be put together with plenty of time to ensure accuracy, i.e. name badges, personalized agendas, room set-ups, etc.” ASHLEY


Advice for private events at home…


“BE PREPARED THAT THE WEATHER WILL NOT ALWAYS COOPERATE! I would go into it ASSUMING it is going to rain, and then plan around that. Also, be prepared to spend more on items that you will need – portable toilets, possibly a generator, fans or an air-conditioned tent if it’s extremely hot and to keep the flies away from the food.” ASHLEY


“Add accents throughout your home that tie in with your event. Since your home is now your venue space, add little items to side tables, restrooms, and mantles that are cohesive to your event theme or style. Also add special lighting or rental furniture to transform the space into a night to remember.” NATASHA


“Plan for the unexpected by having a friend or family member come beforehand to help deal with any last minute hiccups. You can’t finish dinner while running to get extra ice.” COLLEEN


Need advice for your next event? Let us at Hello Productions take care of everything. Give us a call today!


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Make Magic at Your Next Event with Lee Terbosic September 1, 2013

Filed under: Vendors We Love — Hello Productions @ 11:58 am
Tags: , ,

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With magic making a comeback, we sat down with one of our favorite magicians, Lee Terbosic, to find out how he got into the business, at what types of events he performs and what trick he would do forever.


Hello: Tell us about your business.
Lee: I got into magic at the age of 12 after seeing a magician at a birthday party and I was instantly hooked. Over the next few years I learned everything I could about magic and performed as often as I could. I was able to put myself through college by working restaurants, corporate and private events all over the city. When I graduated from RMU with my degree in Marketing & Business, I decided to continue being an entrepreneur and start working with an agent. Since then, I have found myself working corporate events around the country and also performing at tons of college campuses.


Hello: How do you determine what acts you perform at each event?
Lee: I have a standard “corporate clean” show I do for companies but I like to switch it up from time to time and customize a few things depending on who the client is. I always have fun working in new effects and jokes for certain shows. I also have a crazy college show called “Tricks & Jokes” but I am always changing it up to keep it fresh for myself.


Hello: What types of events do you perform at?
Lee: I would say mostly corporate, colleges, comedy clubs, organizations, private events and even a few weddings during a year.

lee 5

Hello: How far in advance should clients contact you for their event?
Lee: I normally am booked at least 2-3 months in advance and sometimes 4-6 months during the holiday season, but you never know … if a client calls and wants me tomorrow and I am free, I’ll be there.


Hello: Where do you find inspiration for new acts?
Lee: Inspiration for me comes in so many places … usually music, movies, interaction with friends but every once and awhile it comes from a special place. I had the opportunity a few years back to meet an awesome kid named Saxon who happened to battling cancer. I was invited to perform at his Make-a-Wish party … and after, while I was hanging with him, he asked me a question that completely blew my mind. I was teaching him a few tricks and out of nowhere he asked me if there was a trick I know I would do forever. I have never been asked that before so I was completely at a loss for words. After a few minutes of head scratching I came up with my answer and then showed him the trick. Saxon loved the trick and even said good choice. Now fast forward 2 years to the day when I am driving in my car … a John Mayer song came on the radio and the lyrics in the song took me back in time to the moment Saxon asked me that … it was really weird but almost like fate. I raced home, downloaded the song and then did the trick to the song and synced up perfectly. I now close some of my shows with the story, and routine. It gets a standing ovation every time … but I like to think that they are standing for Saxon as much as me.


Hello: What is your favorite thing about what you do?
Lee: Definitely the interaction with people and seeing their reactions to what I am doing. The ability to be creative every day and express myself on stage is always a blast. And if I sleep in, my boss doesn’t care.


show use

Want to catch Lee in action? He will be bringing his show, “52 Up Close”, back to Pittsburgh on September 11-14 at the Bricolage Theater in downtown Pittsburgh.


“52 Up Close is a two act performance that features some of the most amazing sleight of hand and magic you will ever see. Each performance runs 75 minutes in length and includes some of Lee’s favorite effects that have taken him a lifetime to learn and master. Lee gives this intimate audience a rare peek into mind of a magician, and even reveals how a magician thinks when trying to fool you. He weaves a story throughout the performance using just 52 playing cards, telling a history lesson about where cards came from and where they are headed. He shares intimate stories of where some of his tricks were conjured up and will even invite people on stage to experience them firsthand. He brings the show as close to the audience’s eyes as possible, yet keeps nearly all of the secrets to himself.” (www.52upclose.com)


Tickets are on sale at www.52upclose.com, Lee’s website: www.leeterbosic.com, or by calling 412-478-6137.


Want to book Lee for your next event? Let Hello Productions help you or contact him directly at www.leeterbosic.com.