Hello Productions

Pittsburgh Wedding and Event Planners

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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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

 

 

 

 

 

Wedding Keepsakes: Remembering the Feeling September 7, 2016

 

Your wedding is a big day filled with big moments! How to remember those moments can feel overwhelming, so we are here to provide some advice. Check out four ways to lock in those special moments for years to come.

First Look: Capturing the Moment

Brides have told us that one of their favorite wedding day moments is seeing their groom’s reaction for the first time. Seeing your dress and veil. Sharing an intimate kiss. Wiping away a small tear. These are perfect reasons why you should schedule your photographer during this moment. To take it one step further, hire a videographer to capture footage of both parties getting ready, then finishing with the moment of the reveal. This gives the other person an inside look at what the other did to get ready and their emotions in the process.

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Photo from onewed.com

 

Saying “I Do”: Remembering Your Wedding Vows

Your vows are the promises you are making to your partner, so having a way to remember your words is a reminder of your love for each other. Framing these vows in a beautiful script is a great way to showcase a unique part of your wedding day in your home. Thinking outside the box? Frame the actual sound byte of your “I do” and make it into a picture.

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Photos from wedpics.com and swannsoirees.com

 

Tossing the Bouquet: Preserving Your Flowers

Your bridal bouquet is as important as your bridal gown. It’s perfectly crafted to fit your frame, style, and vibe! There are many different ways to remember the flowers that kept your day fresh – shadowboxes and bell jars are ways to preserve the actual flowers, while artistic renditions can be commissioned to capture the beauty of your bouquet.

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Photos from stylemepretty.com and letsgetweddy.com

 

First Toast: Celebrating with Champagne

Wedding toasts are a long standing tradition, and they give friends and family a chance to express their love and wishes for the bride and groom. One way to remember the champagne toast is to use the corks in a 3D art project. You could also incorporate your guests and celebrate in the years to come by having guests sign anniversary champagne bottles! One year, five years, 10 years down the road… you can toast to the memories of your wedding day with a bottle of bubbly!

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Pictures from pinterest.com and Hello Productions

 

 

Find Out What Hello Productions Has Been Up To! December 7, 2014

Hello Productions has been busy recently and we thought we’d give our readers a peek at some of our recent events! From baby showers to weddings, Hello Productions has been busy planning and executing events in both Pittsburgh and Raleigh. And keep in mind that our planning services don’t stop there! We are happy to help with destination event as well!

 

Laura & Bill’s Wedding

Photography by Michael Will Photography

 

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Natasha’s Baby Shower

Photography by Debra Brody

 

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Megan and Erik’s Wedding

Photography by Betty Elaine

 

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Want more details and photos? See more from these events (and others!) on Hello Production’s Natasha’s Facebook Page. You can also find more past events in our Hello Productions Portfolio!

 

Real Life Experiences of Hello Productions’ Intern: Interviewing Pittsburgh’s Wedding Photographers August 29, 2014

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Your wedding photographer is one of the most important vendors that you’ll hire for your big day. A team of vendors will work together to create your vision, but the photographer will capture everything as it comes together and provide you with keepsakes for a lifetime. Each photographer has their own unique style and you should consider several items when selecting a photographer. Are you looking for artsy images or classical shots? Is experience important to you? How large is your budget?

 

We interviewed three of Pittsburgh’s top wedding photographers who we work with regularly. Be sure to visit their websites for more details and photographs.

 

Josh Mariana Photography

joshmarianaphoto.com

 

Q: How long have you been a wedding photographer?
A: I have been photographing weddings professionally for six years.

 

Q: What is your favorite part about being a photographer?
A: My favorite part about doing what I do is the interaction with clients. All of our packages except one include an engagement session, so it’s really great to hang out with them and get to know them outside the wedding environment. By the time their wedding comes along, we’re good friends and we truly get to experience their special day together. And of course make some great images along the way.

 

Q: What kind of training do you have?
A: I learned the very basics of photography shooting film for a high school photography class some 20 years ago. Other than that I am mostly self-taught. There are some great books available that helped with the technical side of things, but the most important aspect of good photography is the interaction. It’s about being genuinely interested in your clients’ stories and helping them feel comfortable. Working with them so that they feel natural and calm in from of the camera. Luckily for me that part just sort of came naturally.

 

Q: Summer is full of weddings, when do you recommend booking a photographer for a summer wedding?
A: Most of our clients book 12-18 months in advance, so the Summer season is usually booked (or close to booked up) by early Fall of the previous year. For example most of the free consults I’m doing at this time (late spring/early summer 2014) are booking for June-October 2015. There are always exceptions however, as I still have a couple of dates for the second half of this year (2014). If couples really want to have their choice of preferred vendors though, it’d be wise to get the ball rolling ~15 months in advance to ensure availability.

 

Q: How long does it take for you to get your photos back to the clients?
A: Quick turnaround is a big deal for me. Most of my wedding clients will have their gallery available within two weeks of their wedding date, many times inside a week and before they return from their honeymoon. We give ourselves a little more time than that in our contracts in case of technical issues/computer failure/etc, but in general wedding photo processing takes top priority over the myriad other responsibilities that come with running a photography business.

 

Q: What kind of photo is your favorite to take at a wedding?
A: I really enjoy the time I get alone with just my couples after the ceremony. We always do the traditional family and bridal parties photos, and those can definitely be fun. However I encourage all of my clients to plan on 30-60 minutes to have just to themselves. While that time is there for us to get creative, modern portraits of the bride and groom, it also serves the double purpose of giving them a chance to relax, to take a breath, to just “be” married for the first time, away from everyone else. Our shooting style is very relaxed so that helps create a more stress-free time before the craziness of the reception starts up!

 

Q: How do you get the word out about your business?
A: I rely mostly on blog interviews. Seriously though, most of my clients come from word-of-mouth referrals, which I think speaks volumes about our service, quality and more than anything, the end results. I also get plenty of leads from some of the bigger wedding website networks we advertise on such as theknot.com (voted Best Of three years running) and
Wedding Wire (Bride’s Choice award both years we’ve advertised there), but as time goes on I rely less and less on those sources due to the number of referrals I get, and I have our amazing roster of previous clients to thank for that!!

 
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The Brand Studio

thebrandstudio.com

 

Q: How long have you been a wedding photographer?
A: We have been photographing weddings together since 2006.

 

Q: What is your favorite part about being a photographer?
A: There are many elements of being a wedding photographer that keep us inspired and challenged on a weekly basis, but the most rewarding aspect is hearing back from our couples after they’ve received their photos and album.

 

Q: What kind of training do you have?
A: We both come from a fine arts background, so our training in photography started with film. John Pascarella received his Master of Fine Arts degree from West Virginia University. John has taught fine art and photography at West Virginia University, Youngstown State University, and Washington and Jefferson College. Sean Blair received his Master of Fine Arts degree from West Virginia University, where he served as an adjunct instructor of art from 2007-2008.

 

Q: Summer is full of weddings, when do you recommend booking a photographer for a summer wedding?
A: The majority of inquires we receive for summer weddings are about 12 months ahead of the wedding date. Getting an earlier start, even by just a few months, makes it more likely that we’ll still be available.

 

Q: How long does it take for you to get your photos back to the clients?
A: In the week following the wedding, we post previews and a slideshow on our blog. For a Saturday wedding, those previews are typically posted on Wednesday, just 4 days after the wedding. On Monday of the following week, we have the initial album design ready, and the complete proof gallery is available that Wednesday. Our couples have full online access to photos in less than two weeks!

 

Q: What kind of photo is your favorite to take at a wedding?
A: Our emphasis is always on creating elegant and timeless images that connect with modern brides. We call it “modern classic” – sophisticated images, rooted in the traditions and history of film photography, updated for a fresh and contemporary style.

 

Q: How do you get the word out about your business?
A: Word of mouth recommendations from our couples and other wedding professionals we’ve worked with account for most of the inquiries we receive. We also maintain listings on the major wedding websites.

 
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Randi Voss Photography

randivossphotography.com

 

Q: How long have you been a wedding photographer?
A: I started my wedding photography business in 2007. I’m in my seventh year as a wedding photographer.

 

Q: What is your favorite part about being a photographer?
A: I love that there are so many interesting people and events to photograph on a wedding day. A wedding is a very special day in someone’s life, and I work hard to capture important moments, beautiful portraits, overall mood, and candid photos of people having fun.

 

Q: What kind of training do you have?
A: Most of the training that I use today is self-taught or learned from other colleagues in my industry. Formally, I have a minor in “Photography and Digital Imaging” from Carnegie Mellon.

 

Q: Summer is full of weddings, when do you recommend booking a photographer for a summer wedding?
A: I recommend booking as soon as a couple is sure of their wedding date.

 

Q: How long does it take for you to get your photos back to the clients?
A: I show a preview of the images within a week of the wedding and all photos are shared 4-6 weeks after the wedding.

 

Q: What kind of photo is your favorite to take at a wedding?
A: When the couple is walking together for the first time at the end of the ceremony. All smiles!

 

Q: How do you get the word out about your business?
A: My best advertisers are my past clients. A personal recommendation from a happy couple is the best endorsement I could ask for.

 
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If you’re in need of a photographer for your wedding or event, contact one of these photographers and you won’t be disappointed!

 
 
 
 
 
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Kristen Elgin

Hello Productions Intern, 2014

 

Kristine Elgin was born and raised in Portland, Oregon and relocated to Pittsburgh last August. She attended Oregon State University and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in New Media Communications.

 

She has always loved working events and is excited to continue learning under Colleen Geletko as her summer intern. Her favorite part about working events is seeing all the details come together and how happy everyone is with the outcome.
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How to Include Your Pet In Your Wedding February 3, 2013

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If you’re like many couples who cannot imagine being separated from their furry friends, especially on their wedding day, here are some ways to include them in your special day.

 

Have your pet carry the rings. Whether you have a dog, cat or even pot-bellied pig, you can attach the rings to a pillow, which can then be attached to the collar of the animal. Remember to include your pet in the dress rehearsal so they are used to the process and the people. Also have a friend or family member in charge of the animal before, during and after the ceremony.

 

Show your love for your pet at your reception. Use framed photos of your pet as table numbers or make a donation to a favorite animal charity in lieu of favors and include photos of you with your pet on the escort card table or on each reception table.

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Include your pet in your photos. If being in the ceremony is too unpredictable for you (or you are having the ceremony in a place that does not allow pets), include them in your wedding photos. Hire a dog sitter to bring the pet for the photos and then take him or her home afterwards. If you like this idea but logistics are complicated, consider including your pet in your engagement photos.

 

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Bring your pet to the reception. It’s still a good idea to hire a pet sitter so that you don’t have to worry about keeping an eye on him or her, but having your pet at the reception (as long as the venue allows) can be a special way to include them.

 

According to Sarah Needleman’s article in The Wall Street Journal, including your pet in your wedding is a growing demand, one which wedding planners, boutique retailers and other businesses are offering new services and products to meet. These include outfits, accessories and even training sessions to keep your pet on his or her best behavior. Mostly dogs but also cats, pot belly pigs and birds are getting outfitted with ornate wedding gear, including miniature tuxedos, veils and top hats. Trainers are prepping them for top performance and sitters are standing by for when the job is done. Read more at: http://online.wsj.com.

 

If you do decide to include your pet in your wedding, stay flexible. Even a trained dog or cat might decide to act on its own when in the spotlight, but it will just make your day more memorable! Past brides – did you include your pets in your wedding? Tell us how in the comments below!

 

Looking for ideas on how to include your pets in your special day? Give Hello Productions a call at 412-298-7333 or email at info@helloproductions.com.