Perfectly Planned Blog

Video Blog Series: Get to Know Shari Zatman

February 23, 2018

Get to know Owner and Principal Event Planner and Designer, Shari Zatman, of Perfectly Planned by Shari. This is the first in the series of upcoming videos.

For the Romantic Procrastinator: Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Date Ideas

For the Romantic Procrastinator: Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Date Ideas

February 12, 2018

The most romantic holiday of the year is just two days away. We trust that you’ve already planned out a perfect night full of dreamy surprises, BUT just in case you haven’t, here are some great last-minute date options in or around Pittsburgh:

For the Adventurer
Pittsburgh offers tons of great museums and unique activities, if your Valentine is looking for a fun-filled holiday. Visit the Schenley Park Ice Skating Rink for a special night under the stars or Phipps Conservatory for a romantic day time date surrounded by the beautiful botanical gardens. If you are planning to celebrate over the weekend, Phipps Conservatory is open on Saturday evening.

For the Art-Inspired
Express your creativity by blowing your own glass art at the Pittsburgh Glass Center, or stop by the Candle Lab in Lawrenceville to pour your own scented soy candles. These options are a fun way to make memories while enjoying each other’s company.

For the Hopeless Romantic
Surprise your loved one with a night’s stay at one of the wonderful local hotels. Pamper them with a spa treatment at the Fairmont hotel in Downtown Pittsburgh or share a candlelit dinner at the Commoner in Hotel Monaco.

For the Sweet Tooth
We all know that the real way to your loved-one’s heart is through their stomach. Take your sweetheart on a trip to Duck Donuts in Upper St. Clair for a treat.  These made-to-order customizable donuts are sure to satisfy any sweet tooth. Head to Waffallonia in Squirrel Hill for freshly made Belgian waffles or make a pit stop at Naturoll Creamery for rolled ice cream!

Last Minute Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

Last Minute Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

February 11, 2018

We’re celebrating the most romantic holiday of the year by sharing some of our favorite gift ideas for your special someone. The best part? These gifts are all local to Pittsburgh – our favorite city.

Delightful Desserts
If you’re buying for someone who loves sweets, you won’t want to pass up the beautiful hand painted chocolate truffles from A519 Chocolate (who now have a pop up store in Lawrenceville) or the colorful macarons at the new Macaron Bar in Ross Park Mall. Sweet treats are a simple yet thoughtful gift, and Pittsburgh is full of awesome dessert vendors who are looking to help you find the perfect indulgence.

Edward Marc Chocolatier is another great option for a sweet gift. This company is owned and operated by the same owner of The Milkshake Factory. It’s no surprise that their desserts are irresistible; they use only sustainably-sourced ingredients for their delicious products. They not only sell hand-made chocolates, but a delicious variety of caramel dipped apples as well.

Fresh Flowers
Flowers are feminine, fun and fragrant. They’re a feel-good gift that reminds your loved one how much you care. Visit Allison McGeary Florist’s storefront in Lawrenceville for a beautiful bouquet or call Hens and Chicks in the Strip District for an impressive arrangement! Want to surprise your loved one with a flower delivery? Both Hens and Chicks and Allison McGeary can deliver one-of-a-kind arrangements right to your door.

Blissful Beauty Products
Pamper your loved one with a hand-crafted product from Una Biologicals in Lawrenceville. Their shop features organic lotions, soaps, essential oils and much more. Not sure which product to buy? You can also purchase a gift card for one of Una’s upcoming workshops!

Introducing: Perfectly Planned by Shari’s Video Blog Series

January 30, 2018

We are excited to announce a new video blog series featuring Shari Zatman, Owner of Perfectly Planned by Shari. Shari is an award winning Event Planner and designer with more than 20 years of experience in the industry.

5 Tips for Newly-Engaged Couples

5 Tips for Newly-Engaged Couples

January 24, 2018

You have the ring, you’ve spread the news and all of a sudden, scrolling through Pinterest for wedding ideas has become one of your favorite hobbies. With any wedding engagement comes some obvious stressors, but we’re here to help!

Here are our top 5 suggestions for the beginning stages of planning your wedding:

1.Take some time to enjoy your engagement
Before jumping into the planning process, take some time to truly enjoy your engagement. Whether that time together is spent on a romantic date, casual night-in, or a short getaway, be sure to savor this time together without discussing all of the wedding details.

2.Tackle that guest list
Creating your guest list early on can help you avoid a plethora of problems. You’ll have an understanding of how large of a venue you need, and how flexible you can be with your budget. This lays the framework for our next couple of suggestions.

3.Talk through your budget
Do you have a restricted budget or is it flexible? It’s important to work through your budget and decide who is contributing to the wedding expenses and what the maximum amount of money is that you are willing to spend on your wedding.

4.Secure a venue and wedding date
It sounds obvious, but it’s difficult to take any additional steps until you have selected a venue and confirmed your wedding date, so you need to start here. Since you have a general idea of how many guests you’ll invite and what your budget is, you can start to sort through venue options using those important criteria.

5.Consider your vendors
What vendors are most important to you – Your photographer or florist? Maybe it’s your band or a DJ? Start to research potential vendors, and don’t be afraid to meet with several for comparison before making your final decision. We may be bias, but we are positive that a professional Wedding Planner should be one of the first vendors you hire because we can help you make all of the right decisions. As with other vendors, explore your options and talk to different planners to see which one is the right fit for you.

(Featured image taken by Joey Kennedy Photography.)

Maggie & Chase’s New Year’s Eve Wedding

Maggie & Chase’s New Year’s Eve Wedding

December 31, 2017

What better way to ring in 2018 than with a jaw dropping wedding with your closest friends and family? Maggie & Chase celebrated their marriage at the Four Seasons in Chicago over the New Year, and we’re still swooning over the details. The Perfectly Planned by Shari team had the privilege of collaborating with HMR Designs, an event design company in Chicago, to create Maggie & Chase’s dream wedding.

From the revolving champagne table to the stunning centerpieces, this wedding truly brought the couple’s vision to life. Here are just a few of our favorite things:

Elegant Ceremony Space
A 40+ foot floral and candle lined aisle with dripping gladiolus florets overhead met by a custom coordinated gladiolus chuppah.

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Candlelit Cocktail Hour
Custom-designed bars and back bars, candle-lit etageres for escort card display, lounge seating and fragrant florals.

cocktail hour

Reception Vibe
Ballroom entrances with vertical gardens of magnolia, white pine, cedar and oregonia.
Three unique centerpiece styles including 7’ tall magnolia trees and white pine trees aglow with “fairy” lights and glistening “bubble” candles.
A veritable garden of mixed evergreens and white king protea, hydrangea, roses and orchids accented with votive candles.

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Personal Touches
Marble place cards done with dye cut gold lettering and a custom printed marbleized dance floor.
A sculpted cake made to look exactly like Maggie & Chase’s beloved dog.
Late night pizza that the Four Seasons made from Maggie’s grandmother’s recipe, presented in military style service and fanfare.

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Just before midnight the guests joined in on a countdown and were surprised by confetti canons that launched at the stroke of the New Year.

Thank you to the many fabulous vendors that helped us make this wedding so amazing: HMR Designs, Frost Lighting, Imagination Designers, Kent Drake Photography, Chicago Players, Nota Bene, Four Seasons Chicago.

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Tis the Season for Engagement – Gift Ideas for the Newly-Engaged Couple

Tis the Season for Engagement – Gift Ideas for the Newly-Engaged Couple

December 27, 2017

Engagement season is finally here, which means love, celebration and some new bling. Looking for a thoughtful gift for your newly-engaged loved ones? We’ve got you covered. Scroll through our favorite gift ideas for the happy couple.

One Hope Bottle

1. Sip, Sip Hooray! What better way to celebrate than with a sparkly bottle of sparkling wine – especially when your purchase supports a nonprofit organization. We love the glitter details on these One Hope Wine bottles.
One Hope Wine, California Brut Sparkling Wine Gold Shimmer Edition
One Hope Wine

Kate Spade Etched Glasses
2. Let’s toast to the happy couple! Celebrate with a cocktail in a set of “yours” and “mine” etched glasses. The best part? These High Ball glasses are dishwasher safe.
Kate Spade New York, Two of a Kind Yours and Mine High Ball Set
Kate Spade

Ring Dish

3. To have and to hold – A ring dish that can be customized with initials, engagement date, a monogram, and much more! It’s perfect for that new “bling”.
HappilyLittleHomeShop, Personalized Engagement Dish with Initials
Etsy

Vow Books

4. Is the couple writing their own vows? Their wedding day sentiments will be kept safe with these letter-pressed vow journals. A thoughtful gift for not only the wedding day, but also their bright future together.
QuinnLuu, Letterpress Vow Journals (Set of 2)
Etsy

Two in the Kitchen Cookbook
5. We love a couple who cooks together! This is a useful gift that allows the couple to spend quality time together in the kitchen. This cookbook features over 150 recipes for all different occasions.
Williams Sonoma, Two in the Kitchen Cookbook
Williams Sonoma

What is “Event Design”?

What is “Event Design”?

Have you ever wondered what the difference between “event planning” and “event design” really is? While both aspects are very important to a quality event experience, there are very real differences.

Event Planning pertains to the organizational details of the actual event. This could even be considered an aspect of “project management”. This would include venue selection, logistics planning, scheduling, vendor contracting and coordination, transportation, security and so on. These are all of the elements to make the event feel like it is running seamlessly.

Event Design encompasses the look and feel of the event itself. Most people have a hard time “designing” an event themselves because they often feel like they know what they like, they collect pictures of pretty images, but they have no idea how to translate that into an event. We take a vision and make it a reality.

Most events are “branded” with design elements. We are able to look at images you like which represent room decor, tablescapes, print materials, home decorating and fashion and can access like elements that ultimately formulate your event vision. The event design incorporates fabric, furniture, lighting, props, tabletop and hard goods. Because we want the design to affect all senses, that includes smell and taste in addition to the visual elements. We carry the design through the food and beverage experience as well.

The event design is carried through from the beginning of the guest experience. Often the tone of the event is set by a branded look on the save the date and invitation. That might be with color combinations, style (traditional, modern, ornate, chic, etc.) logo/monogram or even a feeling that the print material evokes that is representative of what is to come.

We know that most people are visual and don’t really know what they like, what feels right, and what represents what they want until we can actually let them see it. We will typically use real samples of items we want to present and set up a full table with chairs, China, glassware, linens and centerpieces at a sample meeting for you to critique and approve. This way you can provide input on the design prior to the actual event.

If you don’t want full service event planning, we often offer design consulting on its own as a service to help create and develop an event vision and pull all of these visual aspects together.

Check out these before and after photos of an event we designed and planned which show an empty office lobby and the same space designed for a branded corporate event. What do you think of the transformation?

11 Stanwix Lobby- before

11 Stanwix Lobby- after

The Benefits of Hiring Your Own Wedding Planner Versus Using The Venue’s Coordinator

The Benefits of Hiring Your Own Wedding Planner Versus Using The Venue’s Coordinator

Many engagements have recently taken place and there are couples currently looking in droves to book their wedding venues. During this time, we wanted to offer some important advice about the benefits of hiring your own Wedding Planner versus being swayed into believing that the coordinator provided at the venue will provide the same assistance for you.
While not all venues are the same and they vary from place to place in terms of the experience and service level of their coordinators, we have compiled the following list of what many Venue Coordinators DO NOT do for you. We hope this is helpful as you are navigating through the beginning stages of planning and trying to make the decision about whether hiring your own Wedding Planner is the right fit for you.

What your venue does NOT do for you as your “Wedding Planner”*

  • • Create a decor plan from your vision and provide creative direction
  • • Review Pinterest photos with you and design your ceremony and reception based on your visual interest
  • • Help you create and manage your overall wedding budget
  • • Handle negotiations and contracting with vendors- most venues just provide a list of recommended vendors and let you do the rest
  • • Accompany you to your offsite vendor meetings to convey your vision and provide direction
  • • Provide consistent vendor management through the entire planning
  • • Handle transportation contracting and management
  • • Contract and manage hotel blocks (if not a hotel venue and using their own sleeping rooms)
  • • Stationery materials- save the dates, invitations, ceremony programs, etc.
  • • Be your advocate for all aspects of planning without bias
  • • Review all vendor contracts
  • • Manage your planning timelines, keep you on track and on task with planning deadlines
  • • Manage vendor payments
  • • Plan anything pertaining to your ceremony if it is not at their venue
  • • Create order and structure of wedding ceremony
  • • Direct ceremony rehearsal
  • • Provide one on one attention and attendance during entire wedding set up
  • • Do anything with you that takes place offsite of their property

*This list does not reference any one particular venue or venue coordinator. It is an generalized list based on a variety of event venues.

Designer Table for Braddock Feast

Designer Table for Braddock Feast

Click the photo above to view the gallery.

The first Braddock Feast was held in the town of Braddock, PA on Sunday, September 27th. It was a community event with area restaurants, caterers and businesses being showcased with samplings of food and beverage.

As part of the event, several Event Designers were asked to design display tables to represent Braddock businesses. Shari Zatman designed and installed this 4′ x 8′ tablescape which represented Freestore and Red Lantern Bike Shop freestore15104.org. These stores collect new and used items such as clothing, home goods, school supplies, bicycles and more and donate every item back to the community. Many people have and continue to benefit by the generous work of these stores.

Our table was colorful and whimsical and represented the bright and cheery feeling you get at FreeStore and Red Lantern Bike Shop. The focal piece of the table was the bicycle that sat right in the center. On the spokes of the bike were photos of several children who received free bikes from the store. The centerpiece also included actual red lanterns lit with twinkling LED candles. Fresh flowers and stuffed animals filled the bike basket and around the base of the bike were vases of flowers and picture frames with encouraging words such as “You Are Loved”, “Pay It Forward”, “Laugh” and more.

Rather than using actual place settings at the table, Shari drew settings in chalk on chalkboard table runner paper and placed “bow tie” napkins on the “plates”. The chair backs on the chairs were actually long sleeve tee shirts ties with the sleeves of the shirt and accented with a fresh sunflower.

All of these prop items were donated to the stores by Perfectly Planned by Shari after the event.