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Special Events

Event planners share some of their party planning tips

Stephanie Holst-GrubbeStephanie Holst-Grubbe’s eye for detail, flexibility, and most importantly—her passion and love for “love stories” makes her a sought after event coordinator. Here she shares some wedding planning pointers:

VENDORS: Book your main player vendors asap! Since weddings in Litchfield County are quite seasonal, calendars fill up quickly. It’s a great opportunity to utilize local vendors—rather than vendors from far away that will require travel accommodations. When vendors are familiar with their peers’ practices it makes for a smooth process.

DECOR: When figuring out your wedding vibe and design, make sure that you consider all the things you love just as much as you consider things you don’t love! When you feel overwhelmed by the overload of wedding images and ideas, it helps to start by knocking out looks that you don’t want. Addition by subtraction!

DETAILS: “The details matter!” is my catchphrase, and it rings true in everything wedding related. There are so many choices and decisions to be made when planning an event, and in most cases each decision has a domino effect on many other facets of the event plans, it’s important to take your time in making decisions.

CATERERS: My all time favorite caterer is Hunt & Harvest. The owner is from East Canaan and has a drill-down process for customizing and personalizing menus using local ingredients. No menu is ever the same, but is always beyond what you could possibly imagine for a group of 150 plus.

TENTS: Sailcloth tents take things up a notch. When hosting an outdoor event, the tent is a critical piece of the feeling, and aesthetic, so choosing a high quality tent is a great investment.

WELCOME: I love providing guests with suggestions on how to make the most of their time here. Suggesting local farm markets, coffee shops, restaurants, wineries, or places to go antiquing is a great touch. Giving guests a special “local treat” such as tea, fruit, or chocolate is another great way to celebrate the location.

SHG Event Planning

Eileen SmithEileen Smith loves developing relationships with her clients and making their visions into a reality. Here she shares some great ideas for making a dinner party or event at home extra special.

THEME: Adding a theme to your event like a murder mystery dinner, taco fiesta, backyard bohemian, clambake casual, or barbecue picnic makes it more engaging.

FOOD: Food can be offered in a variety of ways—a sit down meal, buffet, or several stations. A popular service is family style: platters of food are brought to the table and passed around, making it communal and engaging. Or you can switch it up with a food truck and beverage truck.

TABLESCAPE: I love creating a unique tablescape. Add seating assignment, napkin folds, menu, and some pop with a statement piece such as a charger plate or a unique shaped water glass. Incorporate other elements to the tablescape to tie into your theme. Remember, it doesn’t always have to be flowers.

TENTS: In the last several years, the tent industry has exploded and is still growing. so many options are available such as clear top, sailcloth, and frame tents. You can even put a complete floor in your tent. Lighting in tenting has come a long way too, chandelier, rattan shades, geometric lanterns, bistro swag lighting, and more. If you plan to have your event in the spring or late fall, consider heating your tent. I love getting baskets of wraps/blankets rolled up, tying them with a ribbon and adding a tag that says “To have and to hold in case you get cold!”

Phil Dutton

UNIQUE TOUCHES: Don’t forget music, floral decor, transportation, and little touches that make the event uniquely yours. Add lounge furniture to create a fun niche for guests to relax in, whether it’s during cocktails or through the night. Do a little mixology and create a signature drink. Make a beautiful entrance to the tent with draping, plants, and lanterns.

Eileen Smith Events 

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