Graduation Parties

Time to Celebrate!

It's almost that time of year! Graduation is right around the corner, and whether it's a high school or college graduation, the students are ready to celebrate! If you want to throw a graduation party that is going to be different from everyone else's, think outside the box! This blog is going to feature a college graduation party that Dana threw for his daughter last May. We're going to give you great tips on how to turn any space into a spectacular event! 

The graduation party took place at the 1640 Hart House in Ipswich, MA. If any of you have been there, you know how amazing the food is, and how beautiful and rustic the space is! Dana really wanted the room to transform into a contemporary design, while still having some of the rustic features that the room is known for. In front of the fire place he used lots of candlelight, and even used trees draped in lighting as an extra touch. Also, he brought in two white leather couches with bright, funky pillows and two glow tables to really bring a pop of color into the room! The lounge-type feel the couches bring, help guests feel like they can relax while having fun at the same time! It's comfortable and relaxing for you and your guests!

Here's a better look at the pillows used on the leather couches. Rather than just using regular pillows, Dana went for bright, vibrant colors that also added extra texture to the room. You may not think that using ruffled or textured pillows would make a difference, but trust me, every detail counts! Also - they were super comfy!! 

Okay, starting with the top photo - how much do you LOVE those table cloths? Just like the pillows, they have an extra touch of design to them which makes the color stand out even more. It also contrasts great with the simple green centerpieces on the table! In the second photo, you can see that Dana piped and draped the whole room. He used sheer off-white draping to add to the contemporary design, but also, it made the night feel much more private and special! Using lighting behind the pipe and drape is also a great idea because it gives off a beautiful glow. 

Here's a shout out to Jenny Cakes for surprising the family with a Peanut Butter and Jelly cake for the special evening! Let me tell you - it was amazing. Having a fun flavor like that at a graduation party is so different! It will have all of your guests wanting more - and it looks fabulous too! 

This is an idea you will LOVE. Two months prior to this graduation party, Dana's beloved wife Liz passed away from brain cancer. He and all of the guests surprised his daughter Amanda with lanterns that floated up into the sky as a tribute to Liz. If you have someone special that can't be at your graduation party, this is an amazing way to pay tribute to them and feel like they are there with you! And if you don't have someone special that can't be there, but love the idea, do it anyway! It's such a beautiful sight and it's a way to bring all of your guests together! 

Since graduation is right around the corner, take some of these beautiful ideas to make whatever space you're going to use, be spectacular! No matter how small or big you want your party to be, the decor should always be something unique and representative of the person you're throwing it for! Think about what they love and it will be a night to remember!

Using Food In Design

Food For Design

Throughout the years that DME has been designing, we have really diversified our creativity! We love finding new ways to make your event the most spectacular, and and evening you'll never forget. We strive to make the space you chose come alive through unique, detail-oriented design. One of our favorite items to design with is food! I know what you must be thinking, aren't we supposed to eat the food? In this case, no. There are so many different ways to incorporate food into your design, no matter what time of year your event is taking place! 

These two photos above go perfectly with the Fall season! As you can see in the top photo, we used a large variety of fruits and veggies, ranging from oranges to pomegranates to gourds!  If you're throwing a dinner party or having your wedding during the fall, using apples, oranges, pears, even mini pumpkins, would be so gorgeous! The different colors of all the fruits and veggies against the flowers brings such detail to the overall design and is so different! 

Here, we have some photos from AIR's 2nd Annual Tablescapes: The Art and Design of Entertaining where DME won Best of Show! We designed a table called "The Hunt" and used apples, pears, chestnuts, berries, etc. Of course the flowers were absolutely gorgeous, but the extra detail of using fruits and veggies on the table, along with gold accent apples, really completed the overall feel of what the table was supposed to represent. 

This is my absolute favorite! I love the use of lemons and limes in floral pieces, especially in Spring and Summer. They make the whole design look so fresh and clean, and you can use them in different ways!  They can either be used whole, or you can cut them in different ways. Above, you can see that they were cut into slices, whereas in the pillars on the floor, most are whole and just a few are cut into wedges. They're definitely more diverse than you'd think! By cutting them into slices, it's more of a subtle look but the inside of a lemon gives off more detail. If you use them whole, it gives a greater pop of color to the design!  

If you were a skeptic of this idea before, I know you've changed your mind by now! All of these designs incorporated fruits, veggies, and different types of nuts, but they all achieve completely different looks! So, whatever time of year your event is happening, pick your favorite in-season fruits or veggies and get creative! 

How To Use Candlelight

More Is Better!

One crucial part of all of the weddings that we've designed here at DME is, believe it or not, candlelight; LOTS of candlelight! Of course the flowers are typically the main focus, but we feel that the more candlelight, the more exaggerated the floral pieces become. You can have such a variety of design when using candlelight, so no matter what theme or color palate your wedding is going to have, it will always work!! 

The photos above are by Glenn Livermore Photography from a wedding at Castle Hill that we designed back in 2012.  In the photo on the left, we used kidney beans in the pillar around the candle. Against the burlap, this design really added a natural but rustic feel to the wedding. Another great thing about this idea - it's somewhat gender neutral, so the guys will love it too! Who would've thought beans could look romantic at a wedding, right? In the photo on the right, rather than place the candles around the flowers, we decided to place them in the middle. I just think this idea is so gorgeous! It's unique, beautiful and also a space-saver on the table!  

You're probably thinking: more birch!? I know I've really been pushing the use of birch on your big day - but its just so diverse! Here is another great design that gives off a simple, rustic and natural feel. If you want to go for a really lavish look using the flowers at your wedding - opt for moss covered birch in pillar candles! You can still use lots of candlelight, without taking away from your flowers, by keeping it super simple but gorgeous at the same time! 

Here is a photo from one of the many weddings we've designed at Castle Hill! If you're not a fan of having lots of flowers on the tables at your wedding, here is a perfect way around that! Instead of designing all of your tables to have floral centerpieces, you can do half of the tables with a floral centerpiece and accent candles, and the other half with a cluster of candlelight and accent florals. Also - note the different heights of each crackled-glass with candles. This spruces up the design and also adds great texture to the entire look! 

The photos above were taken at the Cubist Pharmaceutical holiday party in Boston back in 2011.  We used different heights of candlelight for the Welcome table, and scattered Orchids all throughout the glassware. This is a beautiful way to add candlelight to whichever event you are planning. 

This is another fabulous way to romanticize your wedding night using candles! These pillar candles, all different heights, were spread along the edge of the dance floor at the breathtaking Crane Estate. For this breezy summer wedding, we poured a little bit of sand into each pillar to hold the candles in place. This design was perfect for the type of wedding and added gorgeous detail to the overall look. 

See? More IS better! For you ladies out there who want to romanticize your wedding night - use candles! For you men, who aren't huge fans of lots of lavish flowers - candlelight is the perfect way to make your wedding day romantic, while still being able to incorporate a sort of masculine vibe. Either way, candlelight is a must!!! 

Vendor Spotlight

TSH Catering

DME wanted to shed light on a fantastic catering company here on the North Shore! We spoke with Brittany Gwinn and Christiane Hopkins, who gave us great insight into their business! We are so excited to share with you...

DME: Where are you located?
TSH Catering: Timothy Hopkins Catering Kitchen is located at 8 Scots Way in Essex, MA. Come visit us! We have a really cool art collection on display as well as an event planning and styling office. We love to have parties and cooking demos here! We also handle all of the food service for Bass Rocks Golf Club in Gloucester. We also just opened The Salem Screamery: an ice cream store right in downtown Salem. Lastly, we have great partnerships as an exclusive caterer with many prestigious North Shore venues!

Tenderloin Crostini

DME: How long have you been in business?
TSH Catering: We just celebrated our tenth anniversary! Before TSHC, Tim Hopkins gained more then 25 years experience honing his culinary skills at many prestigious restaurants and clubs from Chicago to Nantucket. After settling with his family on the North Shore Tim served as chef at Myopia Hunt Club and later as General Manager at the Singing Beach Club in Manchester-by-the-Sea. 

Chocolate Mousse

DME: What are some words that best describe TSH Catering?
TSH Catering:  Passionate ... about food! Tim Hopkins, Owner and Head Chef, has always been passionate about food and more particularly, ingredients. Everyone on the team has made it a focus to source ingredients locally and sustainably. Some other words to describe us: fun - we love a good party, social - we are active members of our community, hardworking - we never stop, and service – we have a great team that is service oriented and pays attention to detail! 

DME: What are some food trends that you've been seeing in 2013? Do they differ from past years?
TSH Catering:   We are seeing a lot of party trends related to food shift in a number of ways. The most obvious shift seems to be in wedding dinner service. We are creating menus based on the stationary food display dinner idea rather than the traditional seated dinner service. More than ever we are hearing couples really wanting to express themselves and their lifestyle through the food at their wedding. We are learning a lot more about our client's personalities so we can create truly unique experiences for each of them!

Tuna TarTar in Sesame Waffle Cone

DME: What is your favorite appetizer that you serve?
TSH Catering:  We think our tuna tartar in a sesame waffle cone is the biggest crowd pleaser, and one of our personal favorites is our tenderloin crostini with a boursin spread and ancho chili mayo. Yum!

DME: What is your favorite serving style?
TSH Catering: We like a really elegant seated dinner service style; we find a lot of satisfaction in wowing our clients with stellar service. Of course our staff also loves stationary displays: they allow us to interact with the guests at the party and have some fun talking about the food! 

Spring Rolls

How amazing do those hors d'oeuvres look!? TSH Catering is such an amazing company and we are so privileged to have worked with them! We want to give a huge thank you to Brittany and Chris for taking the time to talk with us and hope you all enjoyed our Vendor Spotlight! 

Seaside Wedding Show at Castle Hill

A Little Bit of Everything

DME put together an absolutely gorgeous table at the Seaside Wedding Show at Castle Hill yesterday! Our team put their creativity to the test and came out swinging with a fun, colorful and exquisite design that caught everyone's eye! One aspect we were really going for, was making sure we showcased our work in a variety of ways. Rather than design a table with just one theme, we wanted to incorporate a little bit of everything - all four seasons, different color palates, and different textures - into our fabulous showcase! 

Here, we used some bright colors to showcase our designs for Spring and Summer weddings. The use of light pinks and greens gives such a fresh and romantic look, don't you think? Also - this gorgeous white bouquet is more diverse than you'd think! This bouquet could be carried down the aisle at a Spring or Summer wedding for a fresh look, but it would also be a stunning piece for a Winter wedding. It gives you that romantic, Winter wonderland feel for a night-time December wedding!

I absolutely fell in LOVE with this look! This is a unique way to incorporate birch into your wedding day. Birch is a popular go-to accent for centerpieces, welcome arrangements, and in this case, it could be used for seating cards! The great thing about birch, is that no matter what time of year you're big day is going to take place - birch will ALWAYS work! If you use bright pinks, greens and blues for a Summer wedding - the birch gives off an earthy, outdoor and relaxed look. If you use reds and whites for a Winter wedding - the birch will eccentuate the feel of a romantic Winter wedding! 

This gorgeous Fall wedding piece really incorporates the feel of the season. Obviously, the use of reds, oranges and greens go perfectly with a Fall-themed wedding. By incorporating pinecones and berries into the piece, it really ties the whole theme together even more. These extra minor touches can really make a difference in the overall design, so take notes, ladies! 

Here we have a couple different pieces for the bridal party. These pieces definitely show that no matter what theme you're going for - there are ways to showcase that using your bridal party, as well! These are so unique and fun!! Also - notice the burlap on the table? GREAT alternative for table cloths at your wedding, depending on whatever look you're going for! 

Here are some shots of the overall look of the table! Isn't it so bright and gorgeous!? In the first photo below, you can see how many different ways to incorporate color into your floral pieces! Each one of these pieces stand out, but in completely different ways. 


The main piece I want to draw attention to in this photo is the backdrop. Those beautiful birch pieces with a pop of yellow. This design could be used at your wedding in a number of different ways - you could use it around the alter, behind the head table at the reception, guest photos could be taken with this as the background, etc. SO many different options, and its so unique!! 

We want to give a HUGE thank you to everyone who came to support DME at the wedding show! It was such an amazing day for us and all of our fellow vendors! We got to meet some great people and showcase our passion and we could not do it without all of our supporters, so thank you and we hope to see you at our next show!

TBT - Squam Lake Wedding 2010

In honor of Throwback Thursday, I wanted to share with you guys a wedding that DME worked on back in the summer of 2010. It is, by far, one of my favorite wedding's I've set up with DME. The centerpieces were so different, unique, and absolutely perfect for the setting. It took place at a private estate on the beautiful Squam Lake in NH, with the ceremony taking place on a small island that you could only reach by a 5 minute boat ride across the spacious lake. 

DME used the country setting to our fullest advantage. We incorporated a lot of branches, moss and lots of golds and oranges into our centerpieces. The entire color palate consisted of natural colors that still popped out bringing a burst of color to the reception! This centerpiece really adds to the country/fall theme with the use of a tree-like piece and is so different from your usual centerpiece.

Now, this arrangement is so different from the first one. DME used a number of unique arrangements, giving the reception a lot of different texture and design. While the other arrangement was tall and standing strong, this one is square in shape and has branches and flowers coming out of the top of the arrangement. I love this one because it's so unique and complex, but also simple and elegant at the same time.

Here, we have another different arrangement. As you can see, it's held inside a moss covered branch/wood basket. It has all the same pop of color as the others, only this one is low to the table so it is easier for your guests to converse at the dinner table! The flowers cascading over the side of the arrangement gives this gorgeous piece a little bit of an edge!

For this particular centerpiece, we used branches and orchids to add to the array of different flowers. Also - we chose a rectangular shape for this centerpiece, again, adding to the texture and design of the overall look. My favorite part of all of these centerpieces is the fruits! We used different apples and pears for ALL of the centerpieces. This tied into the country wedding theme, adding to the color and naturalistic look. Take notes from this beautiful color palate and textural design - it is absolutely stunning! 

Personalize Your Wedding Day

Keep It Forever

There are SO many ways to personalize your wedding day. It can be through your photos, decor and design, and even through the food being served. Are you looking for ideas you'll be able to have forever? We have some fun and romantic ideas for your big day that you're going to love!

These two lovebirds had custom-made license plates to debut in front of their guests on their big day. If you ask me, this is adorable! They can hang these license plates on the wall in their new home, use as actual license plates for their cars, or it's even something they can pass onto their kids someday.

This is a fun and unique idea for your bridesmaids! Have personalized ribbons made for their bouquets as a token of appreciation and thanks for being a part of your wedding day! It's a gift for your bridesmaids but also an added personal touch to your ceremony - such a great idea!

This is an adorable introduction to the ceremony, a great decorative piece, and something you'll be able to save forever! Just like the license plates, this could be a great piece on your wall at home as a daily reminder of the best day of your life! On a side note - how adorable is that little girls dress??

I personally LOVE this idea. Have your hubby-to-be write you a note on the bottom of your shoe, and you write one on the bottom of his. Your notes to each other will be something you take with you during your walk down the isle, and will be written in the soles of your shoes as you walk the path of life together. How romantic!?

Whichever personal touch you want to add to your wedding day - find a way to use it so that you'll be able to keep it even when your big day is over. It's a fun and romantic way to incorporate something from your big day into the rest of your life!

Motivational Monday

What Motivation?

Having trouble finding any motivation at all to get yourself fit and in shape for a wedding? You've come to the right place! Whether you're a bride, bridesmaid, or just a guest, you should still be looking your absolute best for whatever the occasion may be! Since most people have plenty of access to different workouts to help shed that pre-wedding weight, but just can't find the motivation, I've decided to focus on some things to help put it all in perspective!

We can all agree that getting started is the absolute hardest part of getting yourself in shape. Ever feel like you just have such a long way to go that you don't even know where to start? You are not alone my friend - I feel your pain. The BEST way to get started, is by setting small goals for yourself. Set a goal and the point you want to reach it by. This way, it helps break it down and by accomplishing those small goals, you will begin to feel that motivation to keep you going until you reach your final goal. Feel the pain during those workouts, so by the time that wedding or event comes, you'll be worry free and looking fabulous!

Like I said before, you may feel like you have a long way to go, but any effort at all will make a difference! The best way to get the best results, is to work for YOUR body. Push yourself but don't overdo it. You want to be able to keep it going long-term - so remember ladies, slow and steady wins the race!

The only thing you should quit is your laziness and negative thinking! Tight abs and firm buns don't magically appear while you're hanging on the couch. Get out and get moving! Chances are, whatever wedding or event you have coming up, will not be your last, so put the work in now and quit worrying about squeezing into those fabulous dresses. Your future is what you have to look forward to - don't continue your bad habits of the past, leaving you worrying about the same things in your future - make the change now. You'll thank yourself later, I promise!

This one really got me! Think about it; it's your wedding day, you put on that gorgeous dress, but you don't feel confident in it. THIS is the consequence of doing nothing. Even if it's not your wedding day and you're just a guest - you should still feel confident and sexy! So, ask yourself, what are the consequences of working out? Don't worry - I''m stumped too. Only good comes from working out and being healthy - so DO IT!