Archive for the ‘Event Ideas and Tips’ Category

Let’s Talk Tables

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

You’ve found the place, picked a menu, and now it’s time to figure out where all your guests are going to wine and dine! But how many people fit at a table? What is each kind of table used for? And what about all those linen sizes? It is easy to figure out if you have the right information!

Here are a few basic things to know when thinking about tables for your event:

High and low cocktail tables  ::  Photography by Laura Segall Photography

High and low cocktail tables :: Photography by Laura Segall Photography

Tables used for cocktail hour are usually 30 inch or 36 inch round tables. Sometimes these tables are low and used with 4 chairs around them and sometimes they are at standing height (42 inches). They may also be referred to as highboys or lowboys. Low cocktail tables are frequently used as sweetheart tables for the happy couple at a wedding reception.


Large round tables for guest seating  ::  Photograph by Jane Jordan Photography

Large round tables for guest seating :: Photograph by Jane Jordan Photography

When seating your guests for a meal there are quite a few table choices. First you should decide whether you want round, rectangular, or a combination of both. Round tables range from 48 inches (seating 6 guests) up to 72 inches which will comfortably seat 10. Rectangular, or banquet, tables come in 4 feet (seating 4 guests), 6 feet (seating 6 guests), and 8 feet (seating 8 guests). You may also find rental companies or venues that offer square or serpentine (curved) tables.

Square tables for guest seating  :: Photograph by Kimberly Jarman Photography

Square tables for guest seating :: Photograph by Kimberly Jarman Photography


When thinking about linens you should consider where you want the linen to fall on the table. There are a variety of options including lap or mid length, floor length or even long enough to create a small puddle of fabric on the floor at the base of the table. For high cocktail tables, you can have a linen that hangs to the floor or have a longer linen that is gathered in the middle with a tie.

Cocktail table linen gathered with a tie  ::  Harrison Hurwitz Photography

Cocktail table linen gathered with a tie :: Photograph by Harrison Hurwitz Photography


There are some awesome charts and pictures out there to show you exactly what you can do to help make sure all your guests are seated comfortably at a beautifully covered table. You can do a simple internet search for rental table sizes or linen sizes and get a bunch of references. Two charts that I go back to time and time again are from Pacific Party Canopies and Cover Ups.  And of course, if you need help just ask!!  Your wedding planner, rental supply consultant, and venue coordinator will be happy to answer any and all questions you have to make sure you get the set up that is right for your event!

With all that Life has to offer,


Life Design Event Planning // Wedding Planner // Phoenix

Donkey Wedding Trend!

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

I’m not sure if this is just an Arizona thing, but having a donkey at your wedding has somehow recently become a trend. Now don’t get me wrong…here is a lovely picture of Mija the donkey serving up ice cold beers at a wedding rehearsal we produced at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess.

Photo courtesy of Kym Ventola

Photo courtesy of Kym Ventola

The rehearsal dinner was casual and had a fun, fiesta theme. The donkey was super sweet and a huge hit with guests! I’m all for adding a fun and quirky element like this at a casual party, but I’m not sure that a wedding is the best place for livestock. Then again, Mija did have impeccable manners so she might fit right in! And how could you not love her tiny sombrero?

With all Life has to offer,


Make your child’s next birthday one to remember!

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

Birthdays come but once a year. Since it is my birthday week (yeah, I claim a whole week) I wanted to feature some awesome children birthday party ideas. Nothing is more memorable growing up than your birthday and the people you spent them with. So here are a few ideas to incorporate when throwing the next birthday bash for your little ones!

Make a grand entrance!

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Photography :: Christine Johnson

Kids and parents alike love balloons. Lots and lots of balloons. Why not make your guests feel amazing the moment they walk up the driveway? Plus… A great way to stay off the cellphone giving directions. No one can miss a good balloon arch.


Games on games on games

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Photography :: Christine Johnson

A simple solution to the question “How are we going to keep that many kids entertained?” A simple solution that lets the kids have fun and the parents hang back and be able to enjoy the party too. Something as simple as a few games out on the lawn can keep the kids entertained for hours! Try an outdoor carnival with prizes to step the day up to the next level!


Bright and crazy color schemes

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 Photography :: Sergio Photographer

Throwing a party for a child is a great excuse to go with a bright and bold color scheme not fit for the causal everyday backyard barbeque. Go crazy with your child’s favorite color and make it the highlight of the party! Simple color coordination such as the plates, silverware, cups, and tablecloths matching make a big difference between a normal party and a well thought out party that friends and family can remember for a long time.


A killer candy bar

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Photography :: Christine Johnson

The best party favor because everyone gets to choose what they take home! It is really simple and easy to set up. Also a great way to add more color to the party, which means less decorations! Try custom bags or even custom candy with the birthday boy or girls name on them for an even more memorable touch!

I’m here for the cake!

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

Seeing two people tie the knot? Awesome. Dinner and dancing? Sounds like fun.  Wedding cake?  YES PLEASE!!

Photograph by Rebecca Bouck Photography

Photograph by Rebecca Bouck Photography

I don’t know about you, but I love a delicious dessert, and wedding cake is the perfect ending to an amazing event. A traditional white cake is good, but how about something more exciting? Your guests want to see your personality in all the pieces of your wedding, so why not add some flair to your cake, too?!

More and more couples are opting for cakes in unique flavors and designs to reflect their tastes and delight their guests. Bakeries are offering many combinations of flavors including coconut cake with mango buttercream filling, almond cake with canolli cream filling, rum cake with pineapple filling, bourbon blackberry and lime cake, or maple bacon cake with chocolate mousse. Seriously, my mouth is watering just thinking about all of the cake/filling possibilities!

As for design, go with a cake that fits you as a couple!

Photograph by Frederique Cohen Photography

Photograph by Frederique Cohen Photography

Go with a vibrant color instead of traditional white.


Photograph by O. Grace Photography

Photograph by O. Grace Photography

Add a design that is repeated throughout the rest of your wedding décor.


Photograph by McClanahan Studio

Photograph by McClanahan Studio

Include details that people will look at and know without hesitation that this cake was picked out by the two of you!

But most importantly, remember, dessert is supposed to be fun! Be creative with your cake and your guests (especially self-proclaimed cake connoisseurs like me) will thank you for it!

With all that Life has to offer,


Life Design Event Planning // Wedding Planner // Phoenix


A Rainy Wedding Day

Thursday, March 5th, 2015
Photograph by Mike Olbinski Photography

Photograph by Mike Olbinski Photography

RAIN?!?  Wait, what?  In Arizona?  But we are getting married this weekend…OUTSIDE!!!

Not exactly the conversation you want to be having days before your wedding, right?!  That wet stuff that falls from the sky is not something we typically plan for in a state where we can brag about our sunny, warm weather on almost every day of the year!  But, if you are planning an outdoor wedding, it is always good to have a Plan B from the beginning no matter where you live.  You never know what Mother Nature has up her sleeve!

Despite a torrential downpour on their wedding day, Katie and Dave never skipped a beat!  They embraced the weather, brought their outdoor wedding inside, and had an epic party with all their family and friends! Photograph by Mike Olbinski Photography

Despite a torrential downpour on their wedding day, Katie and Dave never skipped a beat! They embraced the weather, brought their outdoor wedding inside, and had an epic party with all their family and friends!
Photograph by Mike Olbinski Photography

So what do you do if the rain decides to be a last minute guest on your big day?  We say, embrace it!!  Find ways to make the time at your wedding as comfortable and memorable as possible for you and your guests.  Here are a few ideas to help you seize your rainy day!

  1. Rely on the solutions of your wedding planner and other vendors.  They are there to help and have probably dealt with rainy day situations before.  Trust them!
  2. Run to the store and grab as many umbrellas as you can and hand them out to guests as they arrive.  You can even have one of your ushers or friends go to the parking lot and help people out of their cars and offer umbrellas right there.
  3. If the rain isn’t coming down too hard, consider still holding your ceremony outside.  A little rain makes for a lot of charm!
  4. Get some hand towels or washcloths in your wedding colors and give one to each usher.  As they walk people to their spots, they can wipe off the seats for them.
  5. Ask the DJ to play or have your guests request their favorite songs that mention rain.  Some of our favorites are Singin’ in the Rain by Gene Kelly, Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head by B.J. Thomas, Have You Ever Seen the Rain by Creedence Clearwater Revival, She’s My Kind of Rain by Tim McGraw, and Umbrella by Rihanna.
  6. Don’t be afraid to get a little wet!  Photographs in the rain can turn out to be absolutely stunning.  Check out these amazing images by Mike Olbinski Photography of a wedding that went on despite a crazy storm going on outside!  If you are worried about being wet during the reception, save your photos in the rain for the end of the night.  What a fun way to end your special day by playing in the rain with your new husband or wife!
Photograph by Mike Olbinski Photography

Photograph by Mike Olbinski Photography

Bottom line: This is your day and it is gonna happen, rain or shine!  So have fun with it and turn this rainy weather into your silver lining!

With all that Life has to offer,


Life Design Event Planning // Wedding Planner // Phoenix

A Unique Father Daughter Dance

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Let’s talk father daughter dances! Many modern brides still like to include the tradition of dancing with their father at their wedding reception. It is a nice time to thank your dad for being a part of your life with a special moment that is just for the two of you. But how do you pick which song to dance to from the millions of songs out there? Ahh, the pressure!!

I recently came across an awesome song that captures those few minutes that you have to honor your dad with a dance. This perfectly unique father daughter dance song is called This Dance and is written by Bill Griese of Nashville. The song is laid back and sweet and has a very James Taylor-ish kinda feel. The lyrics, sung by Bill Griese and Taylor Dukes, feel like the exchange of words between a father and a daughter as they dance together. Is that perfect or what?!! I love the part about how the daughter always brings a smile to her dad’s heart. How sweet! Give it a listen and let me know what you think!!

With all that Life has to offer,


Life Design Event Planning // Wedding Planner // Phoenix

Real Weddings :: Laura + Mike

Friday, June 27th, 2014

It is customary for us to ask our clients if they are exchanging gifts. I personally love this part of a wedding. It’s so cute to see the Best Man deliver a gift of the Maid of Honor deliver a gift to the wedding couple individually. When we ask most couples about this they immediately think it needs to be something expensive but on the contrary I encourage words…they are free and priceless.

For this couple a gift to the Groom from the Bride :: Custom-made Cufflinks

From the moment I met Laura and Mike they purged their color choices of an Arizona sunset. This was a major part of the design and thinking of the wedding. Fiori Floral Design assisted with conceptualizing the vision with this stunning bridal bouquet including all the colors Laura wanted.

Due to wind before the ceremony we tied these strung lanterns with the wedding escort cards to the tree so we didn’t obtain a picture with it as we wanted to present it but it looked so pretty when we were able to untie them. Just another creative way to display their guest table assignments.

Ceremony set. Musicians Playing. Bridal Party about to walk in. Beautiful setting at The Wrigley Mansion. It’s time.

A few items from home our couple brought to give it a homie (not in a gansta sort of feeling. Warms the heart doesn’t it.

As a sign of remembrance the couple and their bridal party released balloons to remember the loved ones they lost. This was especially important to Laura due to her triumph against breast cancer…still a survivor and holding strong.

They did it. It was charming and overflowed with tears and love. Fantastic job to the officiant Dr. Jerry Law from This Day Forward for pulling together an outstanding original ceremony with lots of their personality. It was a blast!

This is a great repsentation of how much better of a picture the “signing of the license” can be if it has some decorative sense to it. Often times it’s shot in a boring ballroom or on some wooden random table. That document makes your marriage legals so think ahead where you’d like to sign it.

The Groom’s socks. I just love the hidden details.

Loving the ginormity of the balloons. Any time I hold one I feel like a child again and who doesn’t want to feel that way? SO carefree!!!

A nice room shot of the decor. The guests loved the hanging parasols from the ceiling of the reception space.


Vendor List

Balloons :: AZ Balloon Art

Cake Baker :: Let Them Eat Cake

Ceremony Music :: Applause Productions

Decor :: James Barnett

Entertainment :: Ray the DJ

Floral :: Fiori Floral Design

Hair and Makeup :: Salon Embellish

Officiant :: From This Day Forward

Paper Products :: The Invitation Lady

Photography :: Harley Bonham Photography

Rentals :: Creative Event Rentals

Speciality Services :: Self Portrait Station

Specialty Services :: Ali Ink

Venue :: Wrigley Mansion

Videographer :: Modern Wedding Scenes

Guest Interviews at Weddings // To do or not to do?

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Wedding Guest Interviews // Interview Booth

I gotta give a shout out to one of our awesome couples Jamie and Babak who got married at the beautiful Omni Resorts (Montelucia Resort and Spa) for this idea. They originally were thinking the cinematographer would interview the guests going table to table (too old school and awkward, right?) however Bright Bokeh set up an interview “booth” for guests and they captured the guests throughout the reception and it was a huge hit. I wish I would have had this at my wedding because it captures people’s reactions and best wishes for you to keep forever! Think how awesome it would be to have someone that you cherish on video at your wedding!?!

Wedding Guest Interviews // Interview Booth


What are your thoughts on this maybe new tradition?

With all that LIFE has to offer,


Cicely Rocha.Miller // Event Producer + Modern Union Expert // Life Design Event Planning // Phoenix + Minneapolis

Guests Taking Pictures During Your Wedding or Special Event

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

A big topic that’s been buzzing is the idea or suggestion of not allowing your guests to take pictures during the wedding day or special event (ie. birthday party, bat mitzvah, bar mitzvah, corporate event, etc.). It’s a hot discussion now because so many people are facebook-ing, instagram-ing, vine-ing, social media-ing your event and all of it’s decor and the hype and seem to be focused more on sharing and showing off via the smart phones then being present in the moment of your celebration.

Way too many times we see this at events.



What are you going to do with the images you are taking in that moment? Will they be printed? Will they be displayed on your fireplace mantel or anywhere for that matter? What I can tell you is that it is very difficult for photographers and cinematographers to  work around all of the amature photographers and this doesn’t even include the uncles with the “pro” Canon brand camera.

I am all about hashtagging an event and sharing it via social media. Heck, I do it myself often for my business.

But, as a guest I say…put the phone and the camera down. Hear what is being said, see what is happening, relish in the celebration and enjoy every minute of this once in a lifetime experience. Sure, you can relive it via your iphone but if you are looking through the camera to enjoy it for the first and only time you won’t ever get the chance to experience first hand ever again.

Then when the videos and professional pictures are presented from your hired vendors you can share and relive it as if it happened all over again. Focus on your loved ones and not how many likes you are getting on your uploaded pictures.

What are your thoughts as photographers and cinematographers? What are your thoughts as guests attending the event? Shall we forbid the cameras and phones and leave it to the professionals or create hashtags and encourage the social media frenzy?


With all that Life has to offer,


Cicely Rocha.Miller // Event Consultant // Life Design Event Planning // Phoenix + Minneapolis

Halloween Inspired Wedding Ideas!

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Being someone with an October birthday, I am no stranger to Halloween themed parties. Since the spookiest night of the year is just around the corner, it got me thinking…how much fun would a Halloween Inspired Wedding be?

I’m not suggesting you cover your reception in bright orange and purple with fake bats hanging from the ceiling or anything. But something a little moody might end up being really exciting and different!

Halloween Wedding Inspiration

“Halloween Wedding Inspiration” by merrilywed is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Here’s a few ideas to get you started. Don’t even get me started on finding haunted venues! And remember, a Halloween wedding can mean a costume party reception!! Check. Mate.

Til next time…

With all that Life has to offer,


Life Design Event Planning