Wedding Venues, Ideas and Inspiration

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Mastering Bar Counts: Part I

After graduating college, I thought a great indicator of my newfound adulthood would be the purchase of my first set of dishes.  I scoured shelves of options in search of a design that I felt captured my personality and, painstakingly, selected the winner.  I strode triumphantly home, delighted by my success.  When my mother asked to see what I had purchased, I proudly unpacked one complete place setting.

Yep.  A  single – set – of – plateware.

My mom gently suggested that I might want the option of hosting at my new apartment and that a single place setting might leave me 3 or 5 or 11 settings shy of my needs.  Red-faced, I realized that in my pursuit for the perfect pattern, there were a few details I had overlooked.

They’re easy details to fall through the cracks, but mastering the numbers is an important step in ensuring that your event runs smoothly.  Estimating glassware needs and other accessories, especially for your bar, can be a challenge.

JPO recommends ordering one glass per guest / hour.  Don’t fret, no one is going to be pounding down the Cosmos, but they may be consuming nonalcoholic beverages in between the cocktails.  You want to avoid the sight of reusing glasses during the duration of your event – because if suave is what you’re going for, scampering around collecting guests’ glasses as soon as they set them down is not it.

Ice is important, too.  We suggest ordering approximately 50 lbs of ice for 50 guests and then adding 1 lb of ice per guest above that.  If you’re hosting an event outdoors, remember that ice generally melts more quickly than you can use it.  You may want to think about using several insulated bins for longer-lasting preservation.

Purchase a lot of cocktail napkins.  When you think you have purchased enough, purchase more.  (I know a really clever way of folding them into swans so if you’re stuck with lots of extras, we can talk.)

Bottom line: don’t overlook the details.  And for the record, I now own four complete place settings, sufficient for hosting my mom, my sister, and my brother.  I’ll just have to hold off inviting the Kardashians for the time being.

As always, Enjoy the Process!

 JPO Concepts

Jenny Piersol, Editor JPO Concepts

Choosing an Event Space: Raw Vs. Traditional

“Location, location, location.”  Whether it’s for business or pleasure, the special event that you set about planning must first find an ideal home.  Finding and booking a great venue is one of the most crucial elements of planning your event because it serves as a jumping-off point for so many other details.

Using a traditional venue or banquet hall may seem a no-brainer; however, many times that puts you under obligation to use that particular venue’s umbrella of services.  Their catering.  Those formidable chandeliers that always reminded you of The Phantom of the Opera.  That musty carpet that unashamedly boasts a career-setting record of decades without a proper cleansing.  Suddenly, your special event starts to feel more like a scene from The Shining than a custom-crafted event because it no longer looks or feels like you!

In economic times like these, many nontraditional venues are willing to rent out their space at a great rate ..

How do you plan an event that represents you and your personality?  We suggest beginning with what is called a ‘raw space,’ such as a photography studio or an unfurnished apartment.  JPO Concepts represents a handful of these unique spaces, which allows us to create specialized events for each of our unique clients.  Using a nontraditional venue offers you the creative freedom to decorate the space as you envision it and to employ the vendors that are most suitable for your event.

Raw Space

A raw space puts you in control of your event.

Another reason to use an unconventional space, such as a gallery or a museum, is that beneath the overarching bridge that is “Location,” there is a babbling brook known more affectionately as “Cost.”  In economic times like these, many nontraditional venues are willing to rent out their space at a great rate, making the choice to use a raw space a win-win from all angles.  From the food to the custom-created ambiance to the price tag, your event will be a uniquely designed affair and undeniably special – just like you!

(I’ll expect a party favor.  Unless, of course, you’re Jack Nicholson.)

As always, enjoy the process!

JPO Concepts, Inc.

 A raw space transformation:






Outdoor weddings: the good, the bad and the bugs

A little over ten years ago, we were saying our vows beside a charming quiet lake.  Our friends and family were all present along with one other guest.  Unfortunately, this guest was uninvited and brought along a few thousand friends — MOSQUITOES!!!

We planned and prepared the details months before to ensure everything went well, but overlooked one item.  It warmed up quite a bit that week (first week of June) and the mosquito eggs must have recently hatched unleashing a swarm of hungry guests — I’m sure you can picture the rest ;-).

Looking back, besides a few bites and annoyance, everything turned out well.  The actual reception was indoors, overlooking the lake, and the bugs were soon forgotten. We still have great  memories of our wedding and quite a few laughs when our friends bring up stories of our “buggy” wedding.  However, the bugs definitely impacted our ceremony pictures and video (lots of  swatting and hand waving throughout).  I also felt bad for our brave string quartet that kept playing throughout the ceremony.  Maybe we should have given out personalized bug repellent as a favor :-).

Planning for an outdoor wedding ceremony and reception:

We have an information page with some things to consider when planning an outdoor wedding reception, but here is a quick list from my own experience:

  • Price and availability: Due to the weather (in most geographic areas), you will likely be limited to the peak wedding season.  Book early and expect a higher price per person.
  • Have an indoor backup: Try to find a venue with venue with suitable in-door space (and be sure it is available on the day of your reception) in case of inclement weather.  Rain, wind or bugs can be a major issue and having a backup option is great.
  • Ask about seasonal bugs, animals and birds around your planned date: We never thought to ask about mosquitoes, but we should have.  It’s also possible that certain seasonal birds, squirrels or other animals might be more prevalent at different times of the year.
  • Visit the venue, at least once, on the same day of the week and time of your ceremony/reception (if possible).  We visited our venue a few months before and moved on to other wedding items.  If we had visited the week before (at dusk), we would have likely noticed the bugs.  Visiting on the same day of the week is also a good idea, since you might notice potential ambient noise due to traffic patterns, etc.

I’m sure there are  things we left out, so feel free to share your outdoor wedding planning tips as well.  Also review some outdoor wedding and reception venues for ideas.