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

Toby’s Bat Mitzvah

Toby’s Bat Mitzvah

On April 13, 2013, Toby, together with friends and family celebrated this milestone with a fun filled bash at J. Verno Studios on Pittsburgh’s Southside.  The night was filled with great food, dancing and even beautiful candy and dessert displays. The mood was as bright and lively as Toby’s color palate of fuchsia, purple, lime green and blue.

While entering J. Verno Studios, adult guests were welcomed into a lounge and bar area while the kids played trivia games in the ballroom, provided by Wenning Entertainment, winning prizes and kicking off the party.  Guests were also treated to a photo booth filled with a variety of costumes and hats to take pictures for the guest of honor. The photos from the photo booth were simulcast on large screens throughout the venue all night long. Kids (and even some adults) visited the airbrush tattoo artist throughout the evening to receive temporary airbrush tattoos.

The ballroom was divided into two areas, one area for the kids and the other side of the room for adult seating.

The kids’ tables were lined with pink and purple luminaria and provided open seating at long tables.  The kids had their own appetizer station of multi flavored popcorn and soft pretzel bites which later turned over to their own dinner station. The adult side of the room were seated at round tables and adults dined at a variety of dinner stations featuring a slider bar, Asian Station and more all provided by JPC Catering.  While the guests were all seated at their tables, they enjoyed a lovely slideshow of pictures of Toby through the years of growing up with her family and friends.

After dinner the fun really began with Soundtastic Enterprises getting everyone at the party up and dancing.  There was even a dance off between the boys and girls!  After dinner, guests were treated to a cookie table of homemade cookies donated by friends and relatives of Toby. This had special meaning to Toby as her mitzvah project was a bake sale held earlier in the year with all proceeds going to children’s cancer research.

As if that weren’t enough for any sweet tooth, mini milkshake shooters were passed and a candy buffet filled with goodies such as Reese’s cups, gummy worms, m & m’s  and so much more was available with personalized take out containers to fill and enjoy at the party and to take home.

This sweet night was a treat for both adults and kids. Mazel Tov Toby!


Event Trend: Phone Charging Stations

These days it’s uncommon to see someone without a smartphone attached to their hands.  The smartphone has enabled us to stay consistently connected to our business, family, and friends.  It’s not surprising that most people have a phone with them at an event. Whether it’s a wedding or a corporate event, the smartphone plays a vital role in your activity.  The smartphone has become a guest’s camera, video recorder, GPS, or notepad, therefore it’s a challenge to keep the battery life of your smartphone going strong throughout the day.  Setting up a phone charging station is both clever and practical in this day and age.  It’s common to see people bringing phone chargers to libraries and restaurants, so why not at an event?

We advise not making it an eyesore or focal point, but rather an element of convenience for guests. We imagine a small table decorated with flowers, picture frames, or a set of short instructions. At the table would be a power strip where guests could plug in their own chargers or use ones provided to them by the bride and groom.  Power strips can be visually displeasing. A way to fix this problem and keep the outlets out of sight is as simple as using a decorated memory or storage box.  By making small holes in the side of the box the charging chords would be in plain sight and easy for guests to access.  This way the power strip is hidden and you’ve got a small platform for candles or vases to rest.

We also recommend a sign in system where an attendant would be able to keep track of phones, making sure that they were safe and accounted for the duration of the charging process. This way guest would be able to leave their phones with an attendant so that they may go back to enjoying the event.


Let us know what you think! Would you utilize a phone charging station at a wedding or corporate event?

Ways to Use Ombre in your Wedding

The idea behind ombre is the graduated variation in saturation of one color.  The trend has since made it’s way into other aspects of life including events.  There are different ways you can incorporate the ombre trend into your wedding.  Whether you envision a fade in color when picking out bridesmaid dresses or your flower bouquets, there are several ways you can use ombre.


Wedding Cakes

The wedding cake will always be a signature part of a wedding.  However, couples are becoming more creative in their choice of cakes.  Rather than choosing the traditional white wedding cake, which will always remain elegant and beautiful, people are going down an alternative path with ombre themed cakes.  You could make the gradient very light creating a subtle effect or go from extremely dark colors to white making a bold statement.  Either choice is going to make for a creative yet elegant wedding cake display


Bridesmaid Dresses

Whether your bridesmaid dresses are all of the same or vary in style, ombre can be used depending on what colors were chosen for your event.  These pink dresses vary from light pink to a very saturated hot pink.  The wider range of color variation the more dramatic the ombre effect will be.


Flower Arrangements

Ombre flower arrangements can be used in bridesmaid bouquets, centerpieces, or placed in spots around your venue.  Where you place the flowers is a decision all your own, however it is best visually that the flowers are placed closely together.


Ombre can be easily accustomed to any wedding depending on how little or how much ombre is desired.  Whether you want centerpieces that go from the darkest shade of red to pure white flowers or perhaps you only go a few shades lighter, the effect will still be visibly beautiful and interesting.  Share with us how you would incorporate ombre in your bid day!


The Glamour of Emerald Green

Are you selecting a color palate for your big event? Try The Glamour of Emerald Green. It is chic and timely beyond St. Patrick’s Day.

Many of you may already know by now that emerald green was selected as Pantone’s color for 2013. When planning your wedding or special event, you can incorporate it glamorously in the details from dresses and accessories to even your eye makeup! This chic and gorgeous hue of green will make your special day elegant and sophisticated no matter where or how your choose to incorporate it.


Make sure to accessorize…

Whether this glamorous green is the color of your wedding gown sash, shoes, or jewelry, adding a touch of emerald green will make your look stand out.  Additionally, the great part about this color is that you can wear it even after your wedding day. So don’t be afraid to treat yourself to your favorite designer pair of shoes or favorite emerald jewels.

Incorporate into your makeup routine…

Emerald green isn’t just a beautiful color to enhance you and your bridesmaid’s on your wedding day, but is also an accessible and easy color to integrate into your everyday makeup routine. It is universally flattering, so don’t be afraid to experiment with it and even add a metallic eyeshadow to really open up your eyes. Remember that emerald green is a bold color, so compliment your eyeshadow with peach or violet toned lip gloss that will make your look complete!


Use in event decor…

Use gold, silver, or ivory to highlight emerald green in your table decor.  Whether you choose to use it sparingly by spreading the color throughout your flowers and centerpieces or make a larger statement by using the green in your chairs or linens, it doesn’t matter how much of the color you incorporate into your decor, it will add a bold and beautiful statement.

Please share with us how you would incorporate emerald green into your wedding or special event.


Perfect Pairs

Your wedding day is one of the biggest days of your life. It will be full of love and  laughter; you will be creating memories. Don’t forget about some of these “perfect pairs” that are “must haves” for your special day!

Don’t hide your feet!

The detail photographs from your wedding are going to be something that you will look at for the rest of your lifetime.  Wear a fabulous pair of heels that can be featured as a stand alone accessory.  Add more personality to your wardrobe by wearing a pair of your favorite designer shoes. Whether they are solid and simple or embellished with detail, “kick up your heels” and let everyone see them!


Regardless of your plans to have your hair up or down for your wedding, make sure to compliment with a stunning pair of earrings.  Whether it’s a solitaire, chandelier, or teardrop earring, choose the perfect pair that will accent your hair and other accessories perfectly!


If you choose to have a  flower girl, ring barrier, or both, pair the two together and make them walk down the aisle in matching attire that resembles your personality and wedding theme.  They will make a precious pair!


It’s your wedding day and you and your loved one are officially becoming “the perfect pair”. Don’t forget to engrave this significant pair of titles on at least one keepsake item such as champagne flutes, cake knife, etc. that you can have for the rest of your lives!


If you have a “perfect pair” you would like to share with us, please let us know.

Valentine’s Day Gifts- Think Beyond Flowers and Candy

Buying your special someone the typical chocolate and flowers isn’t always the most original present for Valentine’s Day. Spice up Valentine’s Day this year by thinking outside of the box.

Create an experience.

Show them that you’re listening and care about the little things that they say they’ve always wanted to do or are interested in to help you choose the perfect gift. For example, if they love exotic cars, rent their favorite car of choice for them to drive around for the day, or if they’ve mentioned that they’ve always wanted to fly a plane, buy them a flying lesson to have an experience that they’ll never forget!

Planning a romantic getaway or vacation is always a great surprise for your loved one; however, making sure that it’s a vacation they personally are going to enjoy is crucial. It may not always be you’re idea of the perfect getaway, but creating the vacation based solely upon their interests is what is going to make the experience memorable. This vacation could be simple and short by just taking a weekend to go see their favorite sports team play, or it could be long and luxurious by going to an island that they’ve always dreamed about going to.

Who doesn’t love jewelry?

Diamonds or any type of jewelry is known to be the safe route during this romantic holiday, but why not make it original? Personalizing one of their favorite rings, necklaces, watches, etc. by getting it engraved is the perfect touch to making the present more unique. Whether you choose to engrave you’re wedding anniversary, date of when you first met, children’s names, etc., personalization shows that you wanted to take the extra step to make it extra special.

We’d love to hear if you have ever received a special and meaningful Valentine’s Day gift. Let us know what it was.

Creative Ways to Invite People to Join Your Bridal Party

Your bridal party is going to be your greatest support system from the beginning to the end of your entire wedding process. Finding creative ways to invite people to join your bridal party can be a challenge. Aside from wearing beautiful dresses and hanging on the arms of handsome groomsmen, your bridal party is there for you for whatever it is you’ll need. You could simply call up your closest friends and ask them but what’s the fun in that?

Here are some cute and creative ways to ask your girls to be a part of your big day:

“Signed, Sealed, Delivered”
Grab some of your favorite scrap paper, perhaps with the colors you intend on using on your wedding day, and print an inviting phrase on it with a complimenting font. Use the example, “I’ve found my man but I still need my girls,” or “I couldn’t say ‘I do’ without you.” This is very easy and you have to freedom to get as clever with your words as you want.


“Bridesmaid in a Box”
Send a small package to your bridesmaid-to- be equipped with all she needs on the big day. Think about having a miniature bottle of champagne so she can celebrate with you properly, a monogrammed glass to remember her day with you by, and of course her bridesmaid gift that will separate her from the rest of your guests.


“Remember When…”
Incorporate a small photograph with your invitation, one that really speaks on behalf of your relationship. Let her know that you want nothing more than to share your biggest moment with her by showing her just how much she means to you.


“Destined for a Destination”
Maybe your plans are to say “I DO” in another state, or country for that matter, surprise your bridesmaids with personalized baggage tags or a map of where the wedding ceremony will be taking place.



Let us know what you think and share with us some of your own ideas.

Perfectly Planned Weddings Bridal Brunch- January 6, 2013

Perfectly Planned Weddings Bridal Brunch- January 6, 2013

The first Perfectly Planned Weddings Bridal Brunch was held at the Fairmont Pittsburgh on January 6, 2013. This event was produced by Perfectly Planned by Shari with the featured speaker being Shari Zatman, Owner and Chief Inspiration Officer of Perfectly Planned by Shari introduced by DJ Kelli Burns. The event was designed for the luxury bride and her family to learn some important planning tips for the early stages of planning as well as gain valuable advice on wedding planning mistakes not to make and be inspired by ideas for customization and personalization of their own weddings.

This was no typical bridal show which can often be an overwhelming cattle call of bride and vendors trying to meet and gather information as quickly as possible. This was a lovely, relaxed environment where guests could enjoy delicious bites and beverages provided by the Fairmont and BellaChristie Sweet Boutique.

Chapel Hills Jewelry was on site to show guests bridal jewelry and gorgeous options for wedding day jewels, wedding bands and ideas to turn heirloom jewelry into re-designed creations. Glassworks and Cheeks had an array of items on display available at their stores and through bridal registry.

Guests sat down at dining tables set for a wedding. Embellished turquoise linens and chair covers were provided by Lendable Linens and the beautiful floral centerpieces which were later raffled off were provided by Allison McGeary Floral Design. Perfectly Planned by Shari provided favors at each place setting of candy rings in a gift box with a favor tag reading “Now that you have the ring…Let’s Plan the Wedding.”

The program concluded with a raffle drawing of prizes including Tacori earrings, glass platter, wedding planning books, free engagement portrait session by In-Vision Studio and the floral centerpieces on all of the dining tables.
Here’s what guests who attended had to say about the event: “Great chance to get in the wedding spirit”, “I learned that good planning is everything”, “(the program provided) Helpful information and eases you into the planning process” and “I would recommend this program to friends and family because it does offer a lot of information”.

Robert Charles Wedding Films was at the event taking video of the whole day including the full presentation. Perfectly Planned by Shari will be posting the event video soon. Please contact us if you are interested in attending a future Bridal Brunch.

Creative Christmas Party Ideas

It’s the holiday season and everyone is excited to have their holiday parties! If you are looking to impress your guests, we have plenty of simple ideas that will put the finishing touches on your Christmas event.

We all know how to decorate a Christmas tree with ornaments – but why not use ornaments in other decorative aspects of your party?  Hang ornaments with ribbon inside open windows, it’s a fun way to remind passersby of the holiday cheer!  Grab some large clear ornaments, pop the tops off and fill it with chocolate milk, eggnog or whatever beverage you would like (don’t forget a festive colored straw!).  Fill all your usual decorative vases and bowls with ornaments. We have been seeing this used a lot with tall clear glass vases with candles on top – what a great use of decorative lighting!

Those lights on your tree can also be used elsewhere around the house, even on the dinner table!  However, the wires are not the most attractive sight.  Tie small ribbons on the strand and add some jingle bells for a fun lighting display on the table!  If you prefer to use candles and want to keep it low-cost, turn some of your wine glasses upside down on some holly and place your tea lights on top! Above the table, hang some 3D paper stars and snowflakes for a fun arrangement!

If you are looking forward to having hot cocoa at your party, think about getting really creative with it.  The latest trend for this warm drink is hot cocoa is making ‘Hot Cocoa Pops”, much like a lollipop.  Find a recipe online and find some festive mugs so guests can make their own hot cocoa!

As for snacks, you may already be familiar with the cheese and cracker display that is layed out in the shape of a christmas tree.  Go above and beyond to make a snowman out of cheeseballs!  For some easy sweet treats, grab the holiday (tree-shaped) pretzels, dip them in white chocolate, and add some red and green sprinkles!

There are plenty of ways to get creative with Christmas parties, share with us some of the ideas you have for this year, or have used in the past!