Hello Productions

Pittsburgh Wedding and Event Planners

Sparkle Your Way into 2014 – New Year’s Eve Party Ideas December 27, 2013

We have collected some of our favorite New Year’s Eve Party Ideas on our Pinterest Page. These include appetizer ideas, cocktail ideas, party decorations and centerpieces, color and theme ideas, printable invitations and labels, and much more!

new years pinterest board

Visit the Hello Productions Pinterest page at www.pinterest.com/hellofavorites and get inspired! Whether you’ve been planning your New Year’s Eve party for months or are still on the fence as to whether you should throw something together, these ideas are for you!

new years banner


How to Handle Guests That Don’t RSVP December 19, 2013

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Planning a party or event takes a lot of work and it can be frustrating when you have guests that don’t RSVP. How do you handle those guests that never respond? How do you handle the guests that don’t respond and still show up?


R.S.V.P. originally comes from the French saying “répondez s’il vous plait” and means “please respond”. While seeing this on an invitation should encourage guests to respond, sometimes they forget.


Here are our best tips for handling guests that don’t respond to your party, event or wedding.

letter r

R is for Response


When sending invitations, give your guests time to respond but don’t send the invitations too early. A good rule of thumb is at least two weeks before a party but no earlier than four weeks. For a wedding, consider sending invitations between 4-6 weeks before the date. If you do want to let guests know about the event earlier than that, consider sending a “save the date” or “hold this date” card first.


Instead of using RSVP, consider writing “please reply by” or “please respond by”.

letter s

S is for Snail Mail


For children’s parties, mail the invitations or hand-deliver them to parents. Invitations handed out to other kids at school can often get lost or left in backpacks.


If having a accurate count for your event is important, consider sending printed invitations in the mail. It gives your guests something to tack on their refrigerator or bulletin board, instead of an email invitation that might get lost in their inbox.


While a pre-stamped and pre-addressed response card is appropriate for weddings, you may not want to include one for a more casual event. Just remember to have options for guests to respond, such as a phone number and an email address.

letter v

V is for Venue/Vendor Consideration


Put a Respond By date to give your guests a deadline. Give yourself time to call anyone that doesn’t respond by the deadline before you have to give a caterer or venue final numbers.


If you’re inviting a large group of people and only need an approximate number for the caterer, consider writing “regrets only”, which means you only want to hear from a guest if he or she is unable to attend.


What should you do if a guest responds late or just shows up after not responding? Tell them you will do your best to accommodate them. If it’s before the event, ask the caterer or venue if they are able to accommodate an additional guest. Typically caterers and venues have a backup plan in place in case they need to add or subtract someone at the last minute. For an informal party, prepare approximately 15-25 percent extra food in case any unexpected guests show up.

letter p

P is for Personal Call


Still have guests that haven’t responded? Give them a personal call and ask if they play to attend. Here are some examples of what to say:


“I’m calling to make sure you received the invitation to Samantha’s birthday party, I haven’t heard from you. I hope you can attend. I need to give a final number to the caterer on Tuesday, so please let me know. Thanks!”


Here are some fun ideas for RSVP cards to really get your guests’ attention … and their responses!



Plan A Couples’ Baby Shower Even the Guys Will Love December 8, 2013

If you’re looking to do something non-traditional for your baby shower, we suggest having a couple’s shower. The dad-to-be gets to be involved in this special day and your guests will enjoy bringing their significant others.


Keep some traditional aspects of the baby shower but don’t be afraid to throw in a few twists. Here are some of our favorite ideas.


Keep the Invites Unfussy


While images of expecting mothers and baby bottles are adorable, consider your guest list and remember that half will be males. We love these chalkboard-inspired couples baby shower invitations on etsy.com.



Keep the Games Laid-Back


Most guys might cringe at the thought of playing baby shower games, but here are a few that everyone (even the guys) will enjoy.


Baby Picture Game – Ask guests to bring a baby picture of themselves to the party, and then have everyone guess who is who.


Guess the Baby Food – Blindfolded guests sample unlabeled baby food and try to guess the correct flavor.


Childhood Stories – Each guest writes down a funny story about their childhood and the expecting couple has to guess who belongs to each story.


Baby Gamble – Set up a betting board for the date/time and weight of the baby. Chart the weights down the Y axis of the graph (4oz increments from 6 to 11 lbs) and the times on the X axis (12hr increments for 5 days on either side of the due date). You wind up with a 20×20 grid. Each bet makes a guess on the date/weight. Sell ‘squares’ for $1 (like a Super Bowl grid) or give everyone two guesses (for free). The winner gets 1/2 the money and the other 1/2 goes toward a night out for the new parents.


Bottle Race – Fill baby bottles with the beverage of your choice (beer for the guys at a grown-ups’ party). Give everyone a bottle and on the count of three they must suck the bottles dry as quickly as possible. The first person to down the contents of his or her bottle wins.


Keep the Food Yummy


Check out one of Hello Productions’ past blogs for some fun food ideas: https://helloproductions.wordpress.com/tag/party-food-bar-ideas/.


Keep the Favors Functional


While favors are not necessary, if you decide to give your guests something on their way out, pick something functional that everyone will enjoy. Some of our favorite ideas include: wine glasses (so each couple will take home a set), fun favored popcorn (The Pittsburgh Popcorn Company has all types of flavors that can be purchased at one of their locations or ordered online), a 6-pack of the couple’s favorite beer with custom labels, or baby bottles filled with hot chocolate mix and marshmallows.


Want help planning a baby shower? Request a quote from Hello Productions!


Have any other great ideas for a couples’ baby shower? Tell us about them!


Host Your Own Reindeer Games This Holiday Season December 1, 2013

Want to do something a little different this year? Why not make a game out of your next holiday get-together with one of these holiday party game suggestions? You may be familiar with them, but they continue to entertain year after year!


White Elephant Exchange


This popular holiday party game has many different variations, but the goal of the game is to entertain. The name of the game comes from the term “white elephant”, which represents something whose maintenance costs exceeds its usefulness. The point is to wrap something that is valuable but for which you have no use.


Each guest brings a gift that is typically inexpensive or humorous. It can even be an item you wish to re-gift. Have each guest draw a number from a bag to determine the order of play. Each person takes a turn choosing a gift. The first person opens the gift and shows it to everyone. The next person can “steal” the gift or open a new gift. If a person’s gift is stolen, the empty-handed person unwraps another unopened gift and play continues with the next person. Once all the gifts are opened, the game is over and the exchanging stops. If you have a large group, you may want to establish that a gift can only be “stolen” a maximum of three times.


Another variation is to have the gifts remain wrapped until the very end. With this type of play, guests can only guess what the gifts are and will have to select based on the wrapping and the personality of the person who brought the gift.


Ornament Exchange


This game plays out similar to the white elephant game, but each guest brings an ornament. If you want to make sure each person’s ornament is appreciated, the host can number each ornament at random. Then, each guest pulls a number out of a bag and they receive the corresponding ornament.


Cookie Exchange


If you have a group of friends who enjoy holiday baking, ask each one to bring a large batch of one type of cookie. Provide tins or storage bags for guests to collect a few of each kind to take home.


You can also ask participants to bring copies of their recipes or tell a story about the cookie and why it’s significant to them during the holidays.


Looking for a new type of cookies to add to your collection this year? Visit www.marthastewart.com/favorite-cookie-recipes for over 60 of Martha Stewart’s favorite cookie recipes which are sure to impress your guests!

Game Exchange


Do you have a group of friends that love board games or come to your weekly game night? Have a game exchange where everyone brings a new game (you can set a price limit as some games can be much more than others). During the party, play as many games of the new games as you have time for. At the end of the night, draw everyone’s name at random and have each person then pick a game to take home in that order.


As the host, don’t forget to have some refreshments to go along with these games such as eggnog, hot cider or punch!