Filtering by Tag: event planning

10 Event Day Must-Haves

You have been planning your event for months now and finally the big day is here! In this post, I share a few event day Must-Haves so you can slay the day!

Obviously there are “day of essentials” for your client events (welcome bags, materials, supplies and signage, lighting, decor etc) but I am referring to YOUR day-of essentials! It's easy to forget the things YOU need to keep in your back pocket (literally) to help you rock the task at hand!  

 Photo taken by Flytographer Johnny in NYC

 Photo taken by Flytographer Johnny in NYC

Here are my top 10 Event Day essentials:

1. Snacks and Water:

I like my snacks to be small and compact and a mix of sweet and salty options. A few days before, I’ll go shopping for granola bars, dried fruit, animal crackers, pretzels, dark chocolate and nuts to fuel me throughout the day. I also carry around my refillable water bottle to stay hydrated.

Event day bag of goodies!

Event day bag of goodies!


2. Petty Cash:

Credit card machines break down and unforeseen circumstances and emergencies can happen. Save yourself some grief and have cash on hand.

3. Electronics:

Pack your briefcase or laptop bag with all of your electronic essentials. For some events, I set-up a prep room. This is where I will “live” prior to event set-up time. I make sure to plug in my power surge protector to juice my laptop, mophie and any other electronics. When I am on-site, I need to stay powered up and connected so that people-- especially vendors and clients can reach me.

4. Positive Attitude

 Remain gracious, calm and kind to to everyone you meet. It not only makes tense situations better but you end up feeling better in the end too!

5. Map

At some point during the day, you or someone else will need to run errands or ask you for directions. Prepare yourself to be helpful by mapping out the nearest grocery stores, coffee shops and drugstores.

6. Point of Contact list

Create a document with the names and phone numbers of everyone on your team and point of contacts for your vendors. Make sure you have the numbers for each person that is making the delivery or setting-up, not just the contact from the office. #Protip

7. Copy of  Key documents

Have a folder or binder of all contracts and agreements and layouts.

8. Master Schedule

If you are old school, have this on paper, or if more high-tech, keep it on your ipad or laptop. The point is to have it accessible at all times.

9. Emergency Kit

Pack an emergency kit and keep it stocked with items like aspirin, bandages, safety pins and contact solution.

10. Change of shoes

And last but not least, bring a change of shoes. If I am getting physical on the job, I like to have an old pair of tennis shoes and then slip into shoes that are more fitting of the event.

This is my top 10, what else would you include?


DIY Tablescape

Floral arrangements reign supreme when it comes to event design-- and for good reason, they are versatile, can tell a range of stories and work in any settings. But if you are looking to do something different or have a tight budget for decor this DIY tablescape design will come in handy!

I planned and styled an intimate dinner party for a client that wanted a tablescape that was lush, abundant and colorful. I wanted to source as many items as I could that were in season and local. The inspiration for the tablescape came from designer Justina Blakeney.  

The brightly colored produce are the stars of this tablescape! Don’t get me wrong, the proteas and ranunculus are show stoppers too but the focal point of the tablescape was produce and how displaying them whole and cut brought out their natural beauty.

For this project I used a mix of blood oranges, apples, papaya, grapes, peaches, plums, grapefruit, kumato tomatoes and artichokes. Then chose red and orange proteas and ranunculus to compliment the produce and added greenery to dress the table. The beauty of this project is that you can use whatever you want, depending on the vibe or color story you want.

Tools and Materials:

Cutting board


Floral scissors


Decorative accents




Table cloth or table runner

Step One:

Lay your greenery (you can chose any kind that you like, its not the star) and decorative accents over your table runner or table cloth.

Step Two:

Decide what produce you want to cut or use whole, mix it up so that there is depth, texture and dimension to your design. Produce that is bright on the inside and with visible seeds, like blood orange, grapefruit and papaya look stunning cut open. Likewise, produce that is shiny or has a textured exterior are beauty left whole.

Step Three:

Once you have a nice mix of whole or cut produce, arrange to your liking, either end to end or as several smaller arrangements, then cut and arrange your flowers. For this project I used gold balls to anchor the tablescape and placed red and orange ranuculus and proteas in several tall cylinder vases.

Step Four:

Step back, take a look at your design and see if there is anything out of place, fix and enjoy!

I hope you try this design idea for your next dinner party. Let us know your results by leaving a comment below!



Factors to Consider Before Planning Your Next Corporate Event

Planning an event for your company is a daunting task. You have to think about décor, location, music, lighting and the list goes on and on. Your head is probably spinning right now. Have no fear, we've put together a list of all of the factors that we think you'll need to consider before you begin the event planning process. 


Before you begin the event planning process, you should work with your event planner to map out your budget based on the company’s priorities and goals. Do you want to spend more on a nice venue that’s easily accessible for your attendees or would you prefer to spend a little more on the food and decor? We suggest creating a list of priorities and goals and itemizing a budget for each item, as well as considering DIY opportunities.


The location of your event can have an impact on attendance. You want a location that’s easily accessible but this can drive up the cost, especially if your event is in the city. If you’re on a budget, you may want to consider choosing a venue that’s further out but still accessible to major highways and has parking.

Another option is to consider venues that don’t charge room rental fees and only charge for food and beverage. All-inclusive venues could be another option as they take away the burden of staffing your event, which can be costly. If your company is on the edgier side, choosing an alternative venue like a warehouse, brewery, old factory or refurbished barn, could be a nice alternative, not just for cost-cutting purposes but for standing out as a company that thinks outside of the box.

Photo Credit: Sophia Lafontant

Photo Credit: Sophia Lafontant


Food is important. No one wants to attend an event without food.  Deciding on what food to serve and how it’s served depends on the type of event and atmosphere you want to create. If the purpose of the event is for networking, fill the space with high top tables and offer finger food, giving your guests enough space to mingle easily and enjoy small bites.  If your event is longer than two hours or formal, you should consider a sit down dinner. You may want to assign tables by department, interest or mix it up depending on your objectives.


While not all events are suitable for music, it can help create the ambiance for your event. If it’s a celebratory event like a gala, charity ball or company anniversary, you will probably want to hire a DJ or band. If it’s a networking event, you might want to use a free or inexpensive service, such as Pandora, Spotify or Tidal.

Photo Credit: Keith Lane

Photo Credit: Keith Lane

Branding Materials:

You will need to include branding materials in your budget. Each item or piece of information should provide use to your attendees.  Handing out gift bags is a great option if you want to keep your marketing materials in one place, guaranteeing that your attendees will look at what’s inside. Gift bags also allow you to showcase your sponsors if others are underwriting your event.


Decorations are important for setting the mood and tone of your event, especially if you have a themed event. From flower arrangements and linens to tablescapes, you should pick decorations that are consistent with the theme and your brand. Lighting is also an important factor to consider as it frames the mood and importance of the event.

Invites and Registration:

Sending out invitations is an important part of the event planning process. Questions to ask yourself: How far in advance do you need to send out your invitations? Will you use social media to help spread the word about the event? We recommend four to six weeks for receptions and six to eight weeks for formal events. You should reach out to enough people so that you have a packed house for your event. If you want 300 guests, invite well over 600 people. The rule of thumb is to always double the amount of people you expect to RSVP.

Registering your guests is crucial for your final head count which you will need to share with your caterer and/or venue days in advance. The number of guests who RSVP will help you figure out staffing for registration. It is also necessary for following up with your attendees after the event is over.


In this day and age, security is an important aspect of planning your event. Will you have VIPs in attendance or is your event supporting a controversial cause? If so, you should consider hiring a private security firm. Check IDs at the door, create an evacuation plan and brief your staff and volunteers so that they are aware and ready in the event of a disturbance or disruption.


In many industries, trade shows are commonplace and important for presenting your brand. In advance of arriving, you need to consider the layout of the exhibit hall, find out what other industry professionals will be there,  and figure out how you will stand out. You also want to make sure you know  the audience and pack promotional materials that will appeal to them.  Once you're all set up, make note of what works and what doesn't work in terms of set-up and design. Also note what materials attendees are interested in and which ones they are not.  Exhibits are an investment but with the right planning, lay-out and pitch, they are worthwhile. 

This is only a glimpse of what factors to consider when planning your next event. What other factors do you immediately think of? 










We’re Loving Themed Events

As we mentioned in our previous post, Event Planning Trends to Watch, themed parties continue to increase in popularity. As event planners, we're loving this trend and so are the guests!

There's really so much that can be done to make a themed party stand out and fun - you can be as creative as you want. They are great for social events, such as birthday parties for both children and adults, weddings, fundraisers and galas.

Themes we're in love with currently include time-period themed parties like the Roaring 20s or Downton Abbey; Las Vegas style casino night; story book themed parties, such as James and the Giant Peach, Peter Rabbit or any of the books by Dr. Seuss. We also love milestone birthdays with scotch and cigars or champagne and cake; Mardi Gras or whimsical themed affairs, such as circuses, festivals or state fairs. We're also also seeing board game themed parties for children and those adults who are children at heart - favorites include Monopoly and Candy Land. Really, the sky is the limit. 

Recently, we planned a themed bridal shower for one of our clients who wanted a tea party themed event in Washington, DC. So, what did we do? We turned her vision into an unforgettable event. 

We picked the Tabard Inn because of its storied history and antique decor

We picked the Tabard Inn because of its storied history and antique decor



Less is always more. A simple welcome to the guests as they arrived to the private bridal tea party

Less is always more. A simple welcome to the guests as they arrived to the private bridal tea party

The ladies dined on tea sandwiches
We picked an assortment of petite desserts to satisfy all 

We picked an assortment of petite desserts to satisfy all 

One of our favorite gift ideas from the shower, a basket filled with bottles of wine for each milestone. 

One of our favorite gift ideas from the shower, a basket filled with bottles of wine for each milestone. 

The client wanted a single long table for her tea party with lush white and green flowers to adorn the table. 

The client wanted a single long table for her tea party with lush white and green flowers to adorn the table. 

All photos taken by Noe Todorovich

Copyright 2018 By Sophia and Co. All rights reserved.