BLOGS What Your Favorite Instagram Brand Says About Your Wedding Style

February 23, 2020
What Your Favorite Instagram Brand Says About Your Wedding Style

By Samantha Iacia

Source: Wedding Wire

If you’re having trouble choosing a wedding style, there’s one hack that can help you cut right to the chase. All you have to do is take a closer look at what you already gravitate to in everyday life—a.k.a your trusty social media feeds. Chances are that you spend a decent amount of time each day scrolling through Instagram, and even though it’s easy to go overboard with all that social media inspiration, we have to admit that it does come in handy when you’re planning your wedding. When you start paying attention to the posts you like, save, or share with friends, you’ll begin noticing patterns before you know it! Instagram is a hotbed of aesthetically pleasing brands—wedding-related or not—that can provide you with unexpected decor ideas, color palettes, and fashionable looks for your big day. To show you just how easy it is, we picked a handful of Instagram brands that are known for their perfectly curated, color-coordinated feeds and used them to inspire specific themes you can try for your wedding.

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BLOGS 10 Cheerful Spring Colors to Wake Up Your Home

February 19, 2020
10 Cheerful Spring Colors to Wake Up Your Home

By Juliana Labianca

Source: Good Housekeeping

The early days of spring are some of the best in the year. The sun is out, there’s a hint of warmth in the air, and the first crocuses have made their way through the thawing earth. No matter what the temperature actually is outside, you’ve been reminded that warmer weather is on its way, and that the winter doldrums are almost over. The best way to celebrate this welcome change of season? With a spring home refresh, of course.

One of the easiest ways to update your space for spring is to tweak its color palette. To find the prettiest spring colors of 2020, we asked interior designers and home experts which hues they were most excited about this year. Whether you use these colors to paint the walls or simply include them in a bright spring centerpiece, these shades will invigorate your space and help you spring into spring.

spring colors - pink, white, camel

Ever since the “millennial pink” craze began around 2016, blush has been a popular year-round color — but obviously, it’s got a particular allure in spring. “One of our favorite color combos for spring is white, camel/taupe, and soft pink,” says Bria Hammel of Bria Hammel Interiors. “It’s such a timeless color palette because of its neutrality, but it also provides a bit of warmth and subtle color to a space without going too over the top.”

Bright Blue
spring colors - blue

A bright blue was Pantone’s Color of the Year, so you’ll see it everywhere this year. It works particularly well when paired with green, as the colors remind us of the great outdoors. “Both of these colors are so versatile and can work as an accent wall in a dark tone, as a pop of color in pillows or a rug, or even as a statement sofa in your space,” says Lee Mayer, CEO of the online interior design service Havenly. “Depending on the tones and fabrics you choose, both of these colors can play into any style really well — an emerald velvet sofa can feel really luxe while blue linen pillows can feel perfectly classic.”

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BLOGS 19 Event Trends That Will Shake Up Meetings & Group Business in 2020

January 22, 2020
19 Event Trends That Will Shake Up Meetings & Group Business in 2020

Source: SocialTables

What does it mean to be a part of the events industry in 2020? Well for starters, don’t blink. Meetings are growing and evolving rapidly, and each is an experiment in applying new methods to find a perfect formula.

But that’s easier said than done in a science that has zero constants.

To succeed, you have to be dynamic, you have to be flexible, and–above all–you have to be in tune with attendee desires. For venues and planners, that means looking into the crystal ball to get ahead of these new trends in event management.

These are the 19 new event trends that will shake up our industry this year

We’ve sorted the list into five categories:

  1. Industry Performance Trends
  2. Attendee Experience Trends
  3. Meeting Destination Trends
  4. Event Technology Trends
  5. Meeting Design Trends

Industry performance trends

1. Demand will continue to outpace supply.

Again this year, there’s a huge rise in demand for meetings and events. CWT Meetings & Travel predicts 5-10% growth in demand. At the same time, the development pipeline is slowing.

This could mean a boost in hotel group rates. Respondents to the AMEX Meetings & Events Forecast predict it’ll grow about 2.41% in North America. CWT expects an even higher hike of 3.7%.

Predictions for hotel performance from CBRE
Source: CBRE Hotels’ Americas Research

Key Takeaway for Planners

Planners should adjust budgets to anticipate higher rates, and book event space as early as possible.

This year’s mantra is “book now!” The longer you wait, the more you’ll pay. Or even worse, you won’t find a viable space for your event.

When it comes to budget growth, signals are mixed. Most event planners report that their budgets increased year over year in 2018 — but higher rates could negate that. And in general, industry leaders like Skift agree that planner budgets are merely creeping up along with costs. Knowing this, planners should proactively use rate forecasts in conversations with key stakeholders to make the case for a bigger event budget.

Key Takeaway for Properties

Group demand will be strong throughout the year. How will you respond to the influx of leads to capitalize?

Planners will try to book events further in advance. This leaves hotels and venues in a pickle: Taking early bookings could mean missing out on higher-value events later.

To avoid missing out on revenue, hotels and venues need to segment business intelligently. That way, you can avoid the pitfalls of traditional lead-scoring biases that hurt RFP management.

For hotels, capitalizing on group demand could also offset the impact of potentially disappointing ADR growth by driving up midweek rates for transient business.

2. Attendees want more face-to-face time.

In 2020, brands will invest in events as a marketing channel. In fact, in a recent event marketing survey, 52% of respondents said that event marketing drove more business value than other marketing channels. (Only 8% said it drove less business.)

But why is that? It’s because we spend more and more time in front of a screen each year. At the same time, face-to-face time takes a hit — making it a more treasured commodity in our modern world.

Key Takeaway for Event Planners

Create ample opportunities for networking and spaces for scheduled face-to-face meetings.

Networking is the second biggest motivator for event attendees, behind content. However, it’s not just face-to-face meetings they’re craving. It’s also the spontaneous conversations that come with serendipitous networking.

Planners should create ample private meeting spaces and “collision spaces.” Some events do this by providing fewer chairs than attendees. With fewer empty seats, they’re encouraging movement and interaction.

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BLOGS 7 Tips on How to plan the Corporate Christmas Party

December 18, 2019
7 Tips on How to plan the Corporate Christmas Party

Source: Opposuits

Christmas parties: we all love it. It’s a great way to get colleagues together to celebrate the holiday season. Are you planning the corporate Christmas party, and do you need some inspiration? We’ve got you covered. Our office manager, Marga (who we like to call Marge in Charge), organizes the OppoSuits’ Christmas party every year and helps you out by giving her tips on throwing the most awesome Christmas party out there. This will help you to be stress-free and to make it a night to remember.

1. Christmas party invitations

It all starts with a loud and clear save the date. Be on time! A few weeks later you can send an official invitation in addition. Make sure all information is included. When (date and time), where and why. Also, be creative in the invitation. Preferably let a Graphic Designer make the invitation. Great design and texts will definitely help to get everyone excited for the party. Oh and a pro-tip for planning: don’t plan your Christmas party too close to Christmas. Many of your guests will be leaving town to visit their family.  

2. Christmas party preparations

A party falls or stands with good preparations. Don’t hesitate to ask your colleagues to help you, for example with decorating or moving stuff so that you create a cool room. For instance, you could make a karaoke bar or a dance floor. Of course, you can’t organize it all on your own and that’s okay.  Make sure to ask your co-workers for help weeks before the party (and choose the colleagues you can count on).

3. Christmas party food & beverages

Of course, there’s no party without a good bar and buffet. Don’t think it’s easy to do it yourself. First of all, you probably can’t, but second, you don’t want to spend all night arranging catering. You need gossip for the next day at work too, right? ???? So, contact your local catering service and let them do the job. They know what to do and it will make you feel way less stressed out. Make sure to order enough food; especially when everybody will drink alcohol. And of course, order enough beer, wine (and optional: shots).  

4. Christmas party music

Start playing Christmas music weeks before the Christmas party to get into the Christmas spirit. It’s just the beginning of an unforgettable party. Of course, during the party, a good DJ is a must. There’s always a friend, colleague or family member who likes to play the music during the Christmas party. If you have a low budget, you could think of a barter deal; what do you have to offer in exchange for DJing at your party?  

5. Special Christmas party act

Priority number 1: take care of a really good, unforgettable act nobody expects. Is there, for example, a local artist who’s popular within the company? Book this artist and everybody will be completely starstruck and excited about it. This really helps to get the party started. This was a big hit at the OppoSuits Christmas party, so I really recommend doing this. 

6. Christmas party photos 

Don’t forget to take photos and videos. You won’t recognize your colleagues after a few hours of drinking. Make proof and never delete these pictures again. You will need them once.. ever… soon… Spread some ‘throw-away cameras’ and the most memorable photos will be made. Of course, you could also hire a professional photographer to take some fun photos of the Christmas party. In that case you’re sure to have some good ones.  

7. Christmas party outfits

Think about a fun dress code everybody is confident with. What about Casual Chic, Black Tie or Cocktail? Of if you’re working for an informal company, Ugly Christmas Sweater could be a nice theme as well. If you choose this last one, you could suit up your entire team in our Christmas outfits for that ultimate Christmas vibe. Fun guaranteed.   

And last not but least… If you’re in charge, make sure to be well prepared and leave nothing to chance. Don’t trust anyone. People won’t be on time and things will go wrong during the Christmas party. But the best thing is to accept this and to stay relaxed. Just make the party a good one, and enjoy the party yourself too. Good luck; you got this!

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BLOGS Here are 7 simple tips for planning a stress-free holiday party

December 4, 2019
Here are 7 simple tips for planning a stress-free holiday party

By Margaret Gates

Source: Landcaster Online

Some of the best holiday traditions start with the three Fs: family, friends and food. For Joe Hess, that means making beef tenderloin for Christmas Eve at his mom’s house, which is a little less work than his other holiday tradition — hosting 40 at his own house for Thanksgiving.

As co-owner of Cracked Pepper Catering in Lancaster, Hess knows a thing or two about holiday entertaining. His advice?

“Keep it simple. Your guests are happy with whatever you do,” he says. “You want to be able to spend time with your guests.”

If you’re hosting a holiday party this year, keeping it simple still requires some careful planning. Here are some tips from Hess and the experts at The JDK Group, a catering and event planning company in Lancaster.

Set your date soon

Long before you choose a menu, bake a cookie or plan your decorations, pick a date for your party. Many companies and even private individuals secure their dates for holiday party catering with JDK weeks, or even months, in advance, they say. Even if you don’t need a caterer for your drop-in, you will need guests. Pick your date now, before those guests accept another party invitation.

Set a time limit

For a drop-in cocktail party, consider a 2.5-hour window, Hess says. “People can drop in, have a nibble, say hello and go on to the next party,” he says. Any longer can be exhausting, and the food can suffer.

Plan the menu

“The menu for your holiday party depends on what kind of atmosphere you are hoping to create for your guests and on your guests themselves,” says Emma Santana, director of sales for The JDK Group. “We see a variety of styles from intimate multiple-course served meals paired with fine wines, to fun interactive food stations, to more casual mix-and-mingle styles with some small-bite passed hors d’oeuvres and heavier hors d’oeuvres items for picking on a food station.”

For that standard drop-in cocktail party, Hess says, four to five items are plenty. “Try to have a showstopper item and then some easier things,” he says. Think at least two hot items — maybe a baked brie or roasted vegetables — and three cold items. “Make sure one of them is a sweet item,” he says. “It could be tiramisu or chocolate mousse cups or something from your favorite bakery.” Assortments of different holiday cookies are popular or a mix of lighter small-bite desserts, Santana says. Also offer at least one item for those guests who may have dietary restrictions.

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BLOGS 5 Perfect Housewarming Gift Ideas

November 21, 2019
5 Perfect Housewarming Gift Ideas

Source: Invitation Homes

Housewarming gifts are the perfect way to capture the excitement and joy of a new home. But picking out the right gift can be a challenge! You want your gift to be unique and useful, while also celebrating the spirit of a new life chapter.

Put your worries to rest with our top five housewarming gift ideas sure to make the perfect new homeimpression!

cast iron skilletBottle of Wine and a Glass Set

The perfect option for the utilitarian gift-giver, a bottle of wine with a glass set is a classic pairing that works double duty: the wine serves as an immediate gift while the glasses turn into a long-term kitchen staple. It’s affordable, practical, and a great way to kick off the housewarming celebrations!



cast iron skilletCast Iron Skillet

Although once viewed as a historic kitchen ornament, cast iron skillets are making a comeback. With its wide versatility and natural benefits, a new iron skillet will surprise and delight anyone in a new kitchen!



Small & Unique Kitchen Appliances

Quirky countertop kitchen appliances are rarely on the list of things to buy when moving into a new home. This is why they make the perfect housewarming gift. Small appliances like cake pop machines, quesadilla makers, and Panini presses make the perfect opportunity for new homeowners or renters to step away from house projects and enjoy some fun in their new kitchen!


towelsNew Linens

After a long day, there are few things more comforting than a fresh set of fluffy towels or a brand new set of soft, sateen sheets to plop down into. Invest in high-quality towels or sheets as a housewarming gift, and your friend will be sure to thank you!



Home-Related Gift Cards

If you’re in a situation where physical housewarming gifts aren’t the best option, you can’t go wrong with a home-related gift card as a simple but useful present. Moving into a new home often comes with a long list of things to purchase, so gift cards to common home stores like IKEA, Home Depot, or Target might just be your friend’s favorite housewarming gift!


Once you’ve helped your friend or neighbor settle into their new abode, don’t forget — it’s party time!

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BLOGS Ideas for Planning a Birthday Party

November 15, 2019
Ideas for Planning a Birthday Party

By Melanie Woodward

Source: The Balance

Chances are, if you are like most adults, you don’t remember the first party you attended as a child. And it is even more likely that the first party was a birthday party. In fact, it may even have been your own birthday celebration. Around the world, birthdays are celebrated as we mark the end of a year and the start of a new one. Relatives and friends gather to share food and drink, bringing gifts and enjoying a special birthday cake. Because these life events occur only once a year, there is a certain amount of pressure on the host to deliver a memorable event.

But memorable does not have to be “perfect.” Instead of stressing over every last detail as you strive for perfection, focus on planning a birthday party that is personal for the guest of honor. Those unique touches will make the birthday party one to remember for years to come.

Making a Birthday Party Special

Birthdays are personal, and birthday parties should be as well. If you don’t know your guest of honor, gather some information about them. What are their hobbies and interests? How do they spend their free time? Learning whether they enjoy playing golf, cooking, or traveling will present numerous opportunities for you to personalize their party with creative details.

For example, use a favorite hobby as a theme for the birthday cake and decorations. For the golfer, set up a putting green in a corner of the backyard or venue for guests to try their hand. Use green tablecloths with golf ball candle holders. If your guest of honor is a traveler, send out traditional tourist postcards in lieu of customized printed invitations and offer a varied international menu from some of the places they have visited.

For a children’s party, finding hobbies can be challenging depending on the age. So, if the child is too young to be playing soccer or performing in dance recitals, pick an area of general interest and make that your theme. For example, if the birthday child is fond of pirates and adventure, hold a scavenger hunt. For younger children, keep it simple and have them work in teams of three and keep the list of items short. Older children will enjoy the challenge of finding numerous items on their own, relishing the competition for a prize.

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BLOGS Here’s Why Proper Dining Etiquette Is Still Important, and What to Know

November 7, 2019
Here’s Why Proper Dining Etiquette Is Still Important, and What to Know

By Jill Gleeson

Source: Country Living

Try to imagine the worst breach of table etiquette possible. Chances are, you haven’t come close to the nightmare etiquette expert and founder of the Protocol School of Palm Beach Jacqueline Whitmore experienced on New Year’s Eve a few years ago. She was on a date with a man who got drunk before dinner was served. Once it was, Whitmore says, “He started eating like a barbarian. Around the third course he began making animal sounds…and then he just heaved all over the table. I can laugh about it now, but it was horrifying.”

Whitmore’s date would have fit in well in Medieval Europe, when forks were nearly non-existent, all other utensils were shared, and soup was slurped straight from the bowl. Dining tables during the era were little more than planks plopped over trestles immediately before the meal, a practice that gave rise to the colloquialism “set the table.” Sure, a cloth was spread over the planks, but diners wiped their dirty fingers on it. Napkins? Forget about it.

With the Renaissance came refinement. Catherine de’ Medici, who was the Italian-born queen of France from 1547 until 1559, is credited with helping popularize fork use—an improvement over the custom of simply shoving meat speared with a sharp knife into one’s face, a system that caused no little amount of nasty injuries. The Italians also become known for their spectacular Venetian glass goblets in the 16th century. The delicate stemware is a testament to their increasingly refined dining habits, which some may say we’re well on our way to losing today. Don’t drink too much, don’t eat in a primitive manner, and don’t lose your lunch (or dinner) are the most basic rules of table manners, but should you need a refresher on less-obvious etiquette, we’re here to help with some dining dos and don’ts that might surprise you.

Pre-Dining Etiquette

Good dining etiquette begins long before you sit down at the table. If you’re invited to a dinner party, be sure to RSVP, even if a response isn’t specifically requested, and don’t ask if you may bring someone who isn’t part of the invitation. When you arrive, don’t do so empty-handed. “A hostess gift, which can be anything from candles or wine to flowers, chocolates or guest soaps, is never a bad idea,” says Whitmore. “It’s a nice, much-appreciated gesture.”

If you do bring a bouquet of blooms, try to make sure they’re in a vase, so your hosts won’t have to take time to arrange them. And don’t expect the bottle of wine you brought to be opened that evening. Chances are, your hosts have already chosen the wines they’ll be serving. That’s true of the menu too—leave the home-cooked dish at home, unless the event is a potluck. You don’t want to put your hosts on the spot.

Table Seating Etiquette

Whether dining in someone’s home or at a restaurant, jostling in confusion for your seat is never a good look. At formal dinners, keep an eye out for place cards, which direct you where to sit. Oftentimes, spouses are positioned near or beside one another; the chairs nearest to the host have long been considered places of honor. Historically, the best positions at the table were also closest to the salt cellar, a small container used for holding the mineral (salt cellars fell out of fashion after the introduction of salt with an anti-caking additive, which could be used in shakers, in 1911). If there are no place cards, ask your host where they’d like you to sit, but don’t do so until they are seated.

When you do sit down, you shouldn’t immediately grab your napkin off the plate.“You should wait until everyone has been seated before you put your napkin on your lap,” Whitmore says. “And if you need to excuse yourself from the table, place the napkin on the arm of your chair, not the table.”

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BLOGS 8 Tips for Getting Your Home Ready for the Holidays

November 1, 2019
8 Tips for Getting Your Home Ready for the Holidays

By Clara MacLellan

Source: DIY Network

Prepping for the holidays can be stressful — there’s no doubt about that. But with proper planning, you can enjoy a relaxing time with friends and family without the worries.

Just follow these helpful, last-minute tips to guide you in the right path of a stress-free season.

Spruce Up the Main Spaces

Don’t worry about getting every nook and cranny. Put your focus on the main areas in your home that guests will be seeing like the front porch, entryway, kitchen, living room and bathrooms. Easily declutter spaces with a laundry basket you can hide away in your closet. A quick dusting with an old sock isn’t a bad idea, either.

Use Seasonal Scents

Have your home smelling delightful with holiday-scented candles or stovetop scents that will warmly welcome your guests as they enter the home.

Set the Table

It’s time to bring out the fancy dishes. Create a lovely, festive tablescape complete with printable place-cards, color-coordinated dinnerware and fresh, seasonal blooms.

Clean the Fridge + Oven

If you plan on cooking the holiday feast, it’s a good idea to start by cleansing the fridgeand giving the oven a deep clean. Another tip? Plan ahead and figure out what food you can make beforehand. There’s nothing more stressful than trying to prepare a big dinner for your guests in a day. Pies and side dishes can be prepped a few days before, so all you need to do is bake them.

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BLOGS Throw A Halloween Party

October 23, 2019
Throw A Halloween Party

Source: Snacks Works

Planning a Halloween party doesn’t have to be difficult. Plan a great party with these creative, fun and unique Halloween party planning tips.

1. Pick A Theme

Setting a theme for a party always helps to set the stage. Try a traditional Halloween idea, like a Costume Party, a Jack-O-Lantern Party, or a Scary Movie Party.

2. Set A Date, Time & Place

Once you’ve decided on a theme, it’s time to set the date, time and place for your Halloween party. If the number of guests you’ve decided to invite is large, consider having your party in an alternative location, such as a community hall or firehouse.

3. Make A Guest List & Send Invitations

Make your list ahead of time, that way you’ll be sure not to forget anyone! If you’re going to mail your invitations, be sure to post them well enough in advance to give them time to be delivered.

4. Plan Your Costume

Around Halloween it’s easy to find costumes for sale in a variety of places. If you want something extra special, you might want to consider renting a costume for the evening. However, some of the very best costumes can be put together with items you have in your own closets.

5. Plan Decorations

Our recommendations for the perfect Halloween decorations:

Ghostly Furniture Covers: To set a ghostly mood for your celebration, adorn party furniture with lots of white sheets. Old or new, it doesn’t matter, just keep them white.

Instant Atmosphere with Colored Lights: Replace the light bulbs in the party room with colored bulbs (available at your local hardware, craft, or party store). Black, red, blue, and green light bulbs cast eerie (yet festive) glows. If you have a lamp that uses two bulbs, combine a red and a blue bulb to create a cool double-vision effect.

NOTE: Make sure the colored bulbs do not exceed the recommended wattage of your lamp and make sure to leave enough light to allow guests to easily move about the room.

Webs Overhead & Creepy Crawlies Underfoot: Purchase spider webbing, plastic rats, spiders and snakes at your local craft or party store. Place the webbing on lamps (don’t place too close to a light bulb), in the corners of the ceiling, across the tops of doorways-everywhere you want to create an aged and creepy look. Place the rats, spiders, and snakes in corners, under tables, and other unexpected places. In low light, they look scary (and real!).

Ding Dong Our Witch is Dead: Remember the famous scene from “The Wizard of Oz” where they pan in to show the house fallen on the wicked witch? Recreate the scene in your party room. Purchase a pair of red and white striped socks, fill with other socks, newspaper or fiber-fill (pillow stuffing), place the socks under a chair or sofa (so the top part is hidden) and then place the foot part of the sock inside a pair of ladies high-heel shoes.

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