If you have a party coming up then please take a moment and download and print this awesome checklist!
- Determine Date/Time/Place
- If needed ask for helpers
- Create a Guest List
- Pick a RSVP Date
- Chose a theme
- Determine your Budget
- Send Invitations
- determine decor
- pick centerpieces
- chose table settings
- Plan your menu
- plan activites/entertainment
- Make a Shopping List
- Confirm your guest list
- Book Photographer (if needed)
- Go Shopping
- Determine your Schedule
- Plan for Parking
- Chose a Space for Coats/Bags
- Pick a Gift Spot (if needed)
- Plan your Food Display
- Make Place Cards or Signage
- Clean the Party Location
- Make or Purchase food
- Set out Decorations
- Set Table
- Prepare Drinks
- Do any Last Minute Touches
- Get Ready for the Party
Reserving a room block for your next big event be it a wedding, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, anniversary, family reunion, or even a conference is the best way to ensure that your guests have a place to stay by your venue and at a discounted rate! Doing a block booking gives you all sorts of deals like free wifi, parking, discounted room rates for your guests or even a free room for the wedding/anniversary couple or conference chair person. Here is everything you need to know to complete a block booking.
How do you block hotel rooms for a wedding or special event?
When looking into hotels there a few key points to keep in mind:
- Price Point
- Amenities (do you need parking available, wifi, a gym or pool, bridal suite, etc)
- Distance to your venue
- Or if you are in need of a venue does the hotel have one available
- Free bridal suite included in booking enough rooms
- Extra discounts for people who book early
If you’re having a wedding with a lot of out-of-town guests try to block at two different hotels with two different price points. That way your guests can have a selection of prices to play around with for their travel budget. This is also helpful as hotels might not be able to offer you a big enough block to cover all of your guests.
How do you Begin your Hotel Block Booking Process?
Start by searching online. Look up hotels that are close to your venue and check out what a normal price is there around the time of your event. Narrow down your search to two or three hotels that meet your criteria. You can then contact their booking managers to coordinate the block.
When you call remember to give them the dates you want to reserve. You may want to reserve blocks for a day before and a day after your event if you have out of town guests looking to make a weekend trip out of their travel. You should also give them any special requests like dropping off welcome bags in guests rooms or having them at the desk when they check in. Start by blocking a smaller number of rooms, you can add more later but discuss this with the booking manager they might also allow you to block a larger number and release them as time goes on. Especially if you are booking during a busy season for the hotel, you don’t want to lose spots to other guests.
You can also use free hotel room block series like Skipper or Group Travel to do the work for you. They let you search all the major hotels near your venue, helps you negotiate the price, and you can even reserve your block right through them.
How do you Negotiate your Hotel Block?
Now that you’ve found a room block that works for your event it’s time to negotiate the contract with the hotel. There are certain key words to know when review the contract terms. Here they are:
- Allowable Shrinkage Clause: The percentage of rooms that are allowed to go unbooked.
Your target percentage is between 10–20 percent. Which means, if you’ve blocked 20 rooms but 2–4 go unbooked, you will not be penalized with a fee.
- Attrition Rate or Minimum Commitment: The percentage of rooms that must be filled in order to avoid paying a penalty fee which should be between 80–90 percent. Example: If the entire room block is not used, you’ll owe the hotel damages for all unused rooms based on a minimum commitment of 80 percent. This means that if you do not book the minimum amount of rooms agreed to, you will owe for up to 80 percent of the room block.
- Mitigation Clause or Resell Clause: The hotel will try to book unused rooms in your block so that you are no longer responsible for them you in essence release them, and they are sold to other customers and there for you aren’t paying for rooms that other guests are renting.
How Should you Communicate your Block Information to Guests?
The best way to let them know about the block booking options is to include it all in your wedding website. That way they can know all of the information and options available. You can point your guests to your website in your invitation. You can include information such as: please visit our website at http://www.wedding.com to see more information about our wedding and accommodations. It’s also nice to include directions to and from the venue to the hotel or transportation information on the website.
If you are having a beach themed birthday party a great parting gifts for your smaller guests is a pail and shovel that they can take with them! These personalized beach pails I made are a great take away! I bought a collection of pails from Target when they went on sale and filled them with fun kid items like: Go Go Squeeze Organic Apple Sauce, Bubbles, and Disposable Bibs that way the little ones stay clean at the party. For older kids I took out the bib and added a pack of fruit snacks.
To personalize each pail I wrote and decorated each child’s name with beach theme items: Umbrella’s, Suns, Star Fish, Flip Flops, Beach Balls, Palm Trees, etc. To write there name on I used Sharpie Paint Markers and they came out great!!! Each one did take a bit of time considering how detailed I got but you don’t need to do that and you can always use regular Sharpies as well if you don’t want to get the paint markers. Have fun everyone!
Hello again lovely readers. Part two of my beach theme party food series is focusing on deserts. For this party I made a beach ball cake, beach cup cakes, and a beach dessert which is blue jello and a pudding dessert. Here’s how I did it!
Beach Ball Cake
First thing you need to make a ball shaped cake is a ball shaped pan of course! You can get one of Wilton’s Sport’s Ball Pans in most craft stores or on amazon. Use your favorite cake recipe or regular old store mix and follow the directions inside the pan box for baking. It will also instruct you on cutting the cake so you can put the layers together. For the frosting if you want to pipe it like I did I would suggest making your own it stays so much better than store bought frosting and tastes better too! If you want a good frosting recipe look below:
Beach Ball Cake and Beach Cupcakes
Serving Size: 3 Cups- I would probably make at least 3 batches for your cake and cupcakes.
- 1⁄2cup vegetable shortening
- 1⁄2cup softened butter
- 1 teaspoon wilton clear vanilla extract
- 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk or water
- With a serrated knife, slice a small piece of cake off rounded side of one half so that, when assembled, cake will sit level.
- Ice smooth or cover this trimmed area with tip 16 white stars. Place this half with trimmed side down on serving plate. Make a dam on top of this half by squeezing out a band of icing about 3/4 in. high around the edge. With spatula, spread icing, jam, pudding or other filling in center.
- Mix your frosting with you desired food colors. Around a half a cup of frosting for each color.
- Position top half to form ball. Lightly ice cake in thinned white icing. Mark Beach Ball pattern with toothpick.
- Use tip 3, frosting bags, and white icing to outline panels of ball. If you’d like to have lines in between your colors
- Use tip 16 and a colored frosting to fill in some panels with stars.
- Continue with each panel until your ball is complete.
- Frosting under the ball is difficult I’m not going to lie!
Beach Cup Cakes
For your cupcakes use another cake mix or your favorite cake recipe and make a batch of cupcakes. For decorating your beach scenes you will need creativity and the following:
What ever you have left over you can use to make beach dessert or put out at a snack table in sand pails and let people take them home as a treat!
Beach Sand and Water Dessert
For this fun dessert I combined this sand pudding recipe and regular blue jello into a 9 x 13 in pan. To do this you first need to make your blue jello packet I used a double batch recipe. Before I poured it into my pan I placed a 9 x 8 in pan inside of my 9 x 13 in pan at one side so that I could create room for my sand. I also made my jello about 3 hrs before I started to make my sand so that it had enough time to set so I could remove the smaller pan and add my sand into the larger pan in it’s place. While the jello was setting I added Swedish Fish to the mix so that they appeared to be swimming. They didn’t hold up incredibly well and I don’t really think they were needed. After the Jello set I removed the smaller pan, cut away any jello around the edges and, I put my sand inside the dish. And decorated with all of my yummy snacks that I used for the cupcakes above. To see how to make the sand please read below.
- 1(15 ounce) package vanilla wafers
- 2 Oreo cookies
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1⁄4cup butter
- 2⁄3cup powdered
- 2(3 1/2 ounce) packages French vanilla pudding mix
- 2 3⁄4cups milk
- 12 ounces Cool Whip
- Add Vanilla Wafers and 2 Oreos to your food processor and crush until they resemble sand.
- In a smaller bowl, cream together softened 8 ounce cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar.
- In another larger bowl, mix pudding with milk.
- Add pudding mixture to the cream cheese mixture.
- Fold in all of the Cool Whip.
- Layer into your pan or into a sand pail in this order: sand, pudding, sand, pudding, etc.
- Allow to chill in fridge at least 1 hour before serving.
For my son’s first birthday party I knew I needed some more substantial snack foods since our party was during the pre dinner part of the evening I made a few quick options that would be fine if they were left out and served cold. With so much to do in one day to prepare for a party of 40 people I needed to have some quick and easy foods to deal with that the little ones might also like to eat. Here’s what I came up with!
These were so delicious my husband asked me if I could make them all of the time. They were pretty easy to make too but kinda messy…
PREP TIME: 15 Min
TOTAL TIME: 35 Min
- 1 (13.8-ounce) tube of refrigerated pizza dough
- Shredded or sliced Mozzarella
- 2 ounces sliced pepperoni (if you want to make them with pepperoni I made a cheese and a pepperoni version)
- Pizza Sauce
- Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 12-cup muffin pan; set aside.
- Pat out dough on lightly floured surface into 15×9-inch rectangle. Place or spread cheese in two rows on long edge of rectangle, leaving 1/2-inch border; top with pepperoni if so desired. You can also add pizza sauce before rolling or you can decide to only use it for dipping (I added it and it was delicious but don’t use to much or it makes it hard to cut and bake) Roll up dough, starting from cheese edge, into 15-inch log.
- Slice log into 12 equal pieces. Place each piece into muffin cup. Bake 18-22 minutes or until golden brown and cheese is melted.
- Remove from oven; run knife around edges of each muffin cup to loosen. Cool in pan 5 minutes; remove to cooling rack.
- Serve hot or cold with pizza sauce or marinara, if desired. Store refrigerated.
Beach Salad is actually just a simple Caprese Salad some sea shell pasta and “beach balls” tomatoes and mozzarella balls. This is another delicious treat and so so easy! To make it easier for myself on a day where I had a lot going on I purchased some basil pesto and used that instead of making it myself. A busy mom’s got to do what a busy mom’s got to do!
Beach Capreese Salad
PREP TIME: 20 Min
- 8 oz pasta (I used shell pasta to make it a beach salad)
- 1 cup (8 oz) small fresh mozzarella balls
- 2 cups (10.5 oz) grape tomatoes
- Basil Pesto- purchase a jar or also gather the following ingredients
- 1 cup fresh basil
- 1 clove garlic
- ¼ cup grated parmesan
- 2½ tbsp olive oil
- 2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook and drain your pasta according to package directions. Drain with cold water and set aside.
- If you are making your own Basil Pesto: in a food processor, combine basil, garlic, parmesan, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Pulse until everything is coarsely chopped and blended together.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine pasta, basil pesto, grape tomatoes, and mozzarella balls. Toss together until it is coated in the basil pesto. Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy!
SWIMMERS IN TOWELS
A classic pig in a blanket toped off my snacks I served so easy a child could do it! Well not my child he’d only just turned 1!
Swimmers in Towels
PREP TIME: 15 Min
TOAL TIME: 30 Min
- 2 cans (8 oz each) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
- 48 cocktail-size smoked link sausages or hot dogs (from two 14-oz packages)
Heat oven to 375°F. Unroll both cans of the dough; separate into 16 triangles. Cut each triangle lengthwise into 3 narrow triangles.
Place sausage or cut up hot dogs on shortest side of each triangle. Roll up each, starting at shortest side of triangle and rolling to opposite point; place point side down on 2 ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown, switching position of cookie sheets halfway through baking. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Serve warm.