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May, 2014
Same-Sex Weddings

Same-Sex Weddings

“It’s really about celebrating Love”, states Joella Hopkins, Publisher of LGBTWed. What is LGBTWed? It is a same-sex Luxury Wedding Magazine, a first of its kind. LGBTWed is making history by showcasing that same-sex marriages are on the rise and times have changed with being open about love. This inspiring magazine not only showcases beautiful weddings but ,also represents  a full range of topics surrounding same-sex marriage and married life.

When we first started working on this blog, our planning company did not reside in a state that recognized legal same-sex marriage. We are  happy to say that Pennsylvania is one of several states that now legally recognizes same-sex marriage and we understand that many couples are already heading to their local PA court houses to register for marriage licenses. This is very exciting news and Perfectly Planned is looking forward to planning same-sex weddings in the Pittsburgh and surrounding areas.

For couples who reside in one of the many  states that still does not recognize same-sex marriages, they will often go to another state that does legally recognize the marriage and then return to their home state to celebrate with a lavish party for friends and family in their area.

Many same-sex couples choose to have luxury weddings whether they include the ceremony or not as part of the event. We love the wedding of Nate Berkus to his partner Jeremiah Brent that was held in New York City at the New York Public Library in grand style. They are the first same sex couple to hold a wedding at the landmark venue.  The couple had their ceremony officiated by OWN President Sheri Salata. Berkus being the designer that he is, incorporated his design touches into the celebration. The ceremony wall and long wooden farm tables at the reception were decorated with fabrics from his design collections. The “sexy but masculine feel” wedding, as described by Brent, adhered to a palette of black, white, cream with gold accents and natural elements.

Same-sex couples also want their own event to be custom, personalized and special. To customize a ceremony for a same-sex wedding, consider a venue that is able to have two aisles. This allows the couple to walk in at the same time and meet at the altar. If having two aisles is not feasible, walk down the aisle together holding hands to show guests that two are becoming one.

Another great way to personalize the wedding ceremony is to form a circle around the altar, with the couple situated in the center. This arrangement may present a more intimate setting for a ceremony, thus making the guests feel more a part of the nuptials.

Most couples have a first dance at their celebration. This is their moment together after the ceremony to share their love with their guests. Consider adding more flair or a touch of something different by hiring a chorus or soul group to sing that song.

Perfectly Planned is a same-sex friendly company and we love the idea of giving all couples the event of their dreams. We welcome the opportunity to work with you.

Photo Credit:

Maya Myers http://www.mayamyers.com/danny-aarons-wedding-feature-in-lgbt-wed-magazine/

Engayged Weddings http://www.engaygedweddings.com/wa/officiants-elopement/the-wedding-gentleman.html

Equally Wed http://equallywed.com/real-lgbt-weddings/2396-jennifer-kelly-a-rustic-idaho-country-wedding  Photo Courtesy: http://www.cheatwoodphoto.com/index2.php

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Rebecca’s NYC Themed Bat Mitzvah

Rebecca’s NYC Themed Bat Mitzvah

On May 17th, 2014, Rebecca celebrated her Bat Mitzvah with a ceremony and evening party at the Westmoreland Country Club. The Havdalah ceremony took place in the evening and was led by Rabbi Donni. Friends and family gathered to help Rebecca celebrate her religious milestone.

The evening party was held in the ballroom, where the dance floor separated the kids seating arrangements from the adults’. Upon completion of the ceremony, the adults were invited into the elegant living room where cocktails and hor d’oeuvres were served including their signature cocktail, the “Big Apple-tini” which was a nod to her event theme-New York City.

Rebecca chose a New York City theme for her Bat Mitzvah, because she loves traveling to New York City with her family and enjoys the city itself. Laurie Lieb of Festivities dazzled with her custom décor. Decorations included an outstanding balloon arch reading “Becca” in silver balloons with red and black balloons to accompany it. Centerpieces for the kid’s tables were oversized balloon arrangements held down by large shiny red apples. For the adult tables, centerpieces were a variation of prominent street signs in New York City and replications of the Empire State Building elevated on a 4 foot pole with details at the bases including mini shopping bags from Becca’s favorite NYC stores, large red apples, miniature replica statues of the Statue of Liberty and photo cutouts of Becca placed atop photos of Becca’s favorite NYC spots. Red tea lights were placed throughout the venue and lit for a more elegant experience.

One of our favorite décor elements was the escort table. A 6 foot tall Statue of Liberty replica was positioned in the living room on a large round table covered in a black vinyl table cloth to replicate street black top. The escort cards were tented on top of mini yellow taxi cabs placed around the table looking like a traffic jam of NYC taxi cabs circling the Statue of Liberty.

The food selections were connected with the theme as well. The adults ate from stations representing foods from NYC neighborhoods including China Town, Little Italy and South Street Seaport.

The children attending the bat mitzvah were invited into a separate section of the ballroom where various vendors were waiting to kick off Becca’s after party. Kids were invited to the dance floor by DJ Alex Foster from Soundtastic Enterprises, who provided an impressive mix of upbeat music and various games for guests to enjoy. Vendors for the evening included ELF Entertainment which provided a shootout basketball game, as well as a green screen display so that guests could take pictures and be placed in front of impressive scenes such as Times Square. Entertainment Unlimited airbrushed t-shirts for guests all night, with exciting designs to pick from.

Towards the end of the night, a s’mores bar, catered by Bella Christie, allowed guests to roast their own marshmallows over a delicate flame. The s’mores bar included different flavored gourmet marshmallows and spreads to create a customized s’more experience for each person. This was not the only dessert provided, however. During the celebration, doors opened to an entire dessert room complete with custom candy station provided by Pittsburgh Candy Buffet, an ice cream sundae bar, and displays of mini cupcakes. Adults and children were able to take a specialty candy box labeled, “Becca’s Candy Bar” and fill it with the numerous candy types.

Becca’s Bat Mitzvah was branded with a custom logo. The logo was an “I (heart) NY” theme and included the title “Becca’s Bat Mitzvah” and the date of the event. The stylish logo was first introduced on the ceremony programs which were designed with a cover that looked like a Broadway Playbill. The logo was also used in the following ways: printed on fondant and placed atop the mini cupcakes, on the plasma screen flanking the DJ, and printed on the drawstring bag giveaways for kids. This branding was a perfect tie-in to the entire NYC party theme.

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Celebrating Your Graduate

Celebrating Your Graduate

It’s that time of year when all of the new grads are celebrating with graduation parties. Whether he or she is heading off to College or landing their first job after College, show your child how proud you are by celebrating their accomplishments with them. Marking the occasion with a party is a great way for friends and family to say “Congratulations.”

Plan Ahead

There are many parties going on at the same time of year when there is a graduation so make sure to check around and see who has already planned dates already and start from there when selecting your own date. Typically the party dates are held during summer months from June to August, before college students start back to school. Locations vary from your own home, to parks and event venues. If your intention is to be outside for the party, make sure you have plans for shelter or have an alternate rain date.

Make it Yours

Balloons and banners are very common. You can have these custom printed with the graduates name and the school and year they graduated from. Check with your local office supply store such as Staples or print shop such as FastSigns to print these for you. It is often popular to use the color palate of the school they graduated from or the school they will be attending for the party colors.

Another fun way to personalize your graduate’s party is by monogramming their name or initials and graduation year. There are several ways you can do this. If the party is outdoors at your home, make a stencil and spray paint on or near the walk way for all your guests to see. If your party is indoors, the monogram can be displayed on a wall on a banner, vinyl decal or by the use of lighting projection in the colors of the school they are attending or in the colors of their graduating school. It is more advantageous to put this on the wall at an indoor location rather than on a floor because the image will be obscured once people start walking and dancing on it. If it is on the wall, it will always be in view.

Showcase your graduate

Graduation marks a milestone achievement and then next phase of life.

To visually showcase the stepping stones to the achievement, incorporate a photo montage. This can be done either digitally or in printed format. If creating digitally, there are many software programs that you can use to easily create a photo montage. We like Picasa for that. Generally, 100 photos is good and if setting to music for a “performance style” presentation, select about 3 separate songs to set as background music to the montage. Any longer and you will lose the attention and interest of your guests.

If creating a “print version” you can showcase photos in a variety of ways. We suggest making collages on foam core boards or in large poster frames and setting them on easels. You can also enlarge single photos to poster size and effectively make a gallery of large photos to walk through.

Select photos from all phases of his/her life from birth, through “firsts” at all ages. Incorporate photos of family and friends who will be in attendance. Everyone loves to seem themselves with the guest of honor.

Keep it entertaining

At every event, people want to be entertained. Kids (even the big kids) want to have some fun. If your party is outdoors, consider getting inflatable games that all guests will love. Bungee racing, bungee basketball, bungee bull riding, or even sumo wrestling all on inflatables would be fun and a game for all to remember.

Music is always a great way to keep guests entertained. Is your graduate or one of their friends in a garage band? Consider having them perform at the party. Guests always love local entertainment, so even if the band isn’t the graduate or friend, consider bringing in a local band or DJ that your graduate likes.

A great stationary activity for all ages involves a photo booth. You can either bring in a professional photo booth or use your own digital camera and printer. Have each guest visit the photo booth area and get their picture taken. Once the picture is printed have guests add subtitles with stickers and have everyone vote on their favorites in categories you pick ahead of time.

Graduation entertainment is a great way to have everyone interact easily and to have a great time. Plan some entertainment that everyone can enjoy.

Party decor

Think outside the box and have a piece of décor that no one else will have. A current trend in events is chalk board art. An artist can draw images or words on a chalkboard which adds whimsy and can even be considered a throwback to drawing on the chalkboard at school before the smartboard was created. If you want to add an interactive element, place additional blank chalkboards and chalks around and let people draw, write messages or play fun games like hangman or tic tack tow with other party guests.

Is your graduation party going to run into the night? Lighting is always very important for parties. Of course, you need it for function, but don’t forget to use is for décor as well. We suggest a different idea that incorporates the use of balloons. Make these magical lights that will impress not only your guests but yourself as well! Take a balloon and fill with water, be sure not to put too much water in these balloons. Once the water is in the balloon, drop a light stick in it. Take multiple balloons and put it all in a white mesh stocking.

As Dr. Seuss said, “Oh the places you’ll go, Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So, get on your way!” Congratulations to all of the Graduates of 2014!

 

Photo Credit:

Kiron Tv http://kirontv.info/graduation-party-decorating-ideas-2/

Yanko Design http://www.yankodesign.com/2007/12/14/light-sock-it/

Green Wedding Planner Blog http://www.greenweddingplannerblog.com/20-off-printable-chalkboard-birthday-art-posters-free-8%C3%9710

Work In Progress Kits http://wipkits.blogspot.com/2012/05/graduation-decor.html
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