Archive for the ‘Parties & Entertaining at Home’Category

Day of the Dead Celebration: A Stylish Halloween Dinner Party

Day of the Dead Inspired Dinner Party | Orlando, Florida

Day of the Dead Halloween Dinner Party
On October 31st, an intimate group of friends joined their Halloween-loving hosts for their annual Halloween celebration. The hosts selected Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) as the theme, and worked with A Flair for Affairs®, Flourish Floral Productions and Puff’n Stuff Catering to create a festive Mexican dinner party under the stars. (Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday which is also celebrated throughout Latin America and in parts of the United States. This colorful holiday is steeped in cultural traditions, and centers on celebrating deceased loves ones by honoring them with food, drink and parties.)

The hosts (our lovely clients) are never shy to admit that Halloween is their favorite holiday of the year. They have amassed an enviable décor collection, comprised of everything from ravens and skeletons, to exotic artisan-crafted items. Upon setting the date for the dinner party, they contacted Elisa Delgardio to help develop a stylish event design, and coordinate the elements of the celebration.

Invitations were sent, and party guests were asked to dress for the occasion. Given the choice of dressing in costume or proper dinner attire, the majority opted for the former. To the hosts’ delight, the arrival of each and every guest created a buzz of excitement, and created a synergistic experience for all.   Fortunately, photographer Errol Colon was on hand to capture the spirit of each guest.

Day of the Dead Make Up

As guests arrived on that gorgeous fall evening, they nibbled on butler passed hors d’oeuvres. Tasty goat cheese quesadillas and mini tacos were complemented by margaritas and sangria served by the Puff’n Stuff team. Guitarist David Naidu played a delightful array of Spanish classical and South American music.

Day of the Dead Halloween Dinner Party | AFFADay of the Dead Dinner Party Table | AFFA
Audible gasps were heard as the guests saw the feasting table and perused the vignettes and decor sprinkled throughout the home. Flourish Floral Productions did an incredible job of incorporating the quirky and colorful Day of the Dead elements into two table-scapes and various ‘oferendas’. Elisa Delgardio (A Flair for Affairs) took on a bit more than the planning and event design – she is also credited with creating the custom linen table runners. (Some décor items shown are part of the hosts’ collection.)

Day of the Dead Decor | AFFA

After cocktails and conversation in the main house, guests transitioned to the outdoor patio where dinner would be served al fresco. Top shelf guacamole was prepared table-side and served with tortilla chips, a trio of salsas and queso cheese. After enjoying the salad course, guests were treated to a dual plated entree with a Mexican flair.

Day of the Dead Halloween Dinner Party

But dessert was the showstopper: Flourless Chocolate Chili Cake with an edible Sugar Skull image on white chocolate – it was truly to die for!

Day of the Dead Halloween Dessert Sugar Skull

And what would a Halloween party be with out treats! The host created charming gift bags that were given to guests as they departed.

Photographer:Errol Colon Photographers
Event Planning / Design: Weddings & Events by A Flair for Affairs
Floral / Design: Flourish Floral Productions
Catering: Puff ‘n Stuff Catering
Guitarist: David Naidu

Private Parties, Entertaining at Home


11 2014

Dinner Party Inspiration: The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

Poe Inspired Dinner Party: The Raven

A few weeks ago, I received a call a wonderful client who LOVES hallow’een – I will affectionately refer to her as Mrs.   Fortunately, Mrs and her husband also love parties and entertaining at home – so when she told me she had fallen in love with the idea of hosting a dinner party themed around Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven , I was delighted to lend a hand.

Shortly after, I met Mrs at her home to discus her ideas; at which time she also showed me her (copious) stash of hallow’een decor plus an enviable collection of black birds  in all shapes and sizes.  Needless to say, she was ready to get her invites out and set a menu.   It took barely a few weeks to pull it all together since her vision was so clear and the guest list was small.  Approximately twenty guests were expected so it was reasonably easy to put extra effort into all the special details.

Dinner Party Inspiration: The Raven

Edgar Allan Poe Dinner Party - The Ravenphotos (c)

There are barely enough pictures to do justice to all the incredible details, but hopefully you will get the idea.   Invites were hand made fairly easily and sealed with red wax (P for Poe) before they were mailed.   Guests were encouraged to come in costume, or wear black and white.   We used the living room area to set up a large feasting table to accommodate their guests.   Above, you will see  Mrs  etched* The Raven poem on her large living room mirror (*using a dry erase marker), and pictures of Edgar and his wife were displayed on the piano.

Edgar Allan Poe themed Dinner Party - The Ravenphotos (c)

Guests arrived early evening and mingled over cocktails and a cheese platter.  The catered dinner was a four course affair~ featuring a black linguine appetizer, a wilted salad, and a duo entree with purple potatoes and white asparagus.  It was to die for

There was an abundance of candles:  Two dozen luminaries were set out side the front entrance, plus pillar candles in lanterns.  Inside, candle-scapes and ravens were placed on tables, sideboards, book shelves, the mantel, the piano and throughout the sprawling centerpiece.  The table was set with black satin linen, and napkins to match.   Fortunately, an old typewriter was also on hand and it was set atop a secretary desk to create a vignette: The Raven was typed out on vellum paper.

Edgar Allan Poe Dinner Party Menu - The Ravenphotos (c)

The wax seal used on the invites was also used on each place card and the menu card, as well as a few other small signs.

The hosts compiled a perfect playlist of creepy music: themes from The Omen, Halloween, and other eerie classics (via Pandora).  In the Den, the TV played a DVD of  Vincent Price movies.

Vincent Price The Raven

Everyone had the most delightful time!  Quite a few of the guests came in The Raven inspired costumes; one gentleman came as “Dead-gar Allan Poe“, which was hilarious!   I was thrilled just to be there and all the kudos go to our hostess the for the outstanding atmosphere at the event! – I doubt I could’ve done a better job.  Definitely a unique idea to try!



10 2013

Insurance for Weddings and Events (…in an imperfect world)

In “A Perfect World” – far, far away – weddings are always blissful, and parties evermore spectacular. Vendors perform flawlessly, thievery is non-existent and nobody ever slips on the dance floor after too much champagne. Ne’er a rain drop falls, nor the winds whistle, only glorious blue skies by day and twinkling stars at night!


It’s time for me to sit down with you and have “the talk”. It sucks that we live in an imperfect world, and it’s no fun for me when I have to talk about this stuff – I feel like “Debbie Downer” – but I owe it to you. An important part of a wedding planner|event planner‘s job is to mitigate risk, and help our clients protect their investment as well as themselves.  Planners bring a wide array of experiences to the table, and the ability to spot potential risks and liabilities in particular is an extremely valuable benefit of our services.

You may be relying on contracts to protect your interests and ensure services are rendered, but how closely are you paying attention?  What liabilities are you assuming by signing an agreement with a venue or vendor?  Read carefully and you will likely see terms and conditions such as these:

Renter assumes all liability of damages from candles including, damage from waxes, fire, or personal injury.” 

“…the host will be responsible for any and all injury to persons or damage to property during your use of the premises…” 

“The event host is liable for any damages…” “Damages includes physical damage to any part of The Premises, personal injury to any person attending the Wedding/Reception Event, any unpaid balances to third­‐party vendors, and  any other physical, financial, or personal damage sustained as a result of this function.”

“(the venue) is not responsible for items lost, stolen or left by hosts, members of a wedding party, or guests”

Not to mention that it’s becoming more common for venues and public facilities to request (require) you provide them with a certificate of liability insurance.  Sounds a little scary – doesn’t it?

Forget the venue… Let’s just celebrate in the backyard

Nope, you are not off the hook if you throw a party or event at home.  For instance: If you host a party are you liable for injuries to a guest? Does it make a difference if you provide alcohol for your guests?  What if they bring their own alcohol?  Are you responsible for your guests after they leave?   Wait, there’s more: Special caution needs to be applied when certain activities, such as swim/pool parties or boat outings, in conjunction with drinking actually increase the danger of the activity itself as well as the liability of the provider.

wedding couple car in ditch

Fortunately for all, there is insurance for weddings and events – because in situations where things don’t go as planned, it can be a real life saver!  Here are a few examples of wedding related mishaps:

  •     Unexpected illness, injury or death of people who play an important part in the wedding
  •     Dangerous and severe weather conditions that prevent the reception site from opening or impede guests from attending (hurricanes, blizzards, etc.)
  •     Bridal shop closed down (Priscilla of Boston)
  •     Stolen or lost gifts
  •     Rented table linens accidentally thrown away
  •     If the bride’s gown is lost, stolen or damaged
  •     The bride or groom has to unexpectedly relocate for a job/active military duty

How much does it cost?

According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), wedding insurance can cost between $125 to $400, depending on the amount of coverage you buy (options, costs and limitations vary widely). When comparing policies, read the fine print carefully (…before you sign!).  Pay attention to maximum coverage limits, exclusions and deadlines for purchasing various options.  Additionally, some policies have deductibles you must pay before insurance kicks in.

Liability insurance for short-term special events provides important protection for a variety of organized events – such as family reunions, weddings, business meetings, and community events. Some events are one day only, while others may take place over a weekend or a few days. Fees vary based on the amount of insurance needed, number of attendees and the nature of the event, and a number of other factors. For example, a family reunion for 100p. will be assessed differently than a multi-day chili cook-off event for 1200p.

Ultimately, the overall cost of insurance often works out to be a small percentage of the total cost of the event (except in the case of free, no-budget, fund-raising type events). Whether you’re investing 15k or 115k, and receive a quote equal to roughly 1.5% to 5% (possibly more, as events vary), you literally can’t afford NOT to have insurance.

tented reception weathers sever storm

Oxford Hills Sun Journal (c) 2010

Last yet not least, it is widely advised to consult your insurance agent before buying additional liability coverage.  Your agent can check how much coverage your homeowner’s insurance provides and whether it applies to wedding events; you may need a special rider or want to buy additional coverage through an umbrella policy.  For example, if a guest stumbles and falls during your event, that may be covered…. But what if a guest smashes a light fixture at the hotel and the owner holds you responsible – will your home insurance pay for the damage?

The benefits of working with a planner are clear:  Planners want to help you protect your investment and create a safe experience for your guests. By directing you to reputable facilities and vendors who carry appropriate insurance, and helping you make informed decisions, you can be confident you’re well prepared to handle unforeseen occurrences and properly covered for circumstances beyond your control.


Additional Articles and Resources:

Should you buy wedding insurance for the big day? By JASON ALDERMAN , Parkersburg News and Sentinel

Why You Might Need Wedding Insurance ,

Links to major wedding and event insurance providers:

WEDSURE (Firemans Fund)RVNA




It’s Only A Wedding, Sit Anywhere

There are 127 seats – just pick one.  Really.  We’re cool like that, so when you come to our wedding sit anywhere.  Except at the Reserved tables.

When you invite people to an event, do them a favor and tell them where to sit.  They want to know.   After all, you are the host (hostess) and they are expecting to take direction from you.  They don’t want to make decisions and run for tables like seats on a bus. (Hey Barb – save me a seat!)

I often hear “We went to a wedding (party) and they didn’t have assigned seats and I thought it was great”.  Ok.  And some people like eating with their fingers, but that doesn’t mean it’s appropriate in all settings or at all times.

“. Large receptions, over 30 people, can be chaotic if there is no assigned seating. Often couples elect not to assign seating because they don’t want to offend anyone who ends up seated in the back. But, honestly, guests feel more comfortable when they know where to sit. They won’t have to battle for a “good seat” or argue over who sits by whom. Etiquette and courtesy dictates that parents of the bride and groom and elderly family members or friends should be seated in the front. Do the best you can to seat families or groups together. You won’t be able to please everyone, but don’t sweat it. Most people won’t stay in their seats for long anyway.”   Source:

We have a saying in the business:  Asses in seats.  It’s the way things are done.  Leaving people to sit anywhere is like saying you don’t care where they sit.  And Reserved cards at tables don’t cut it.  If you really want to offend someone, tell them they can’t sit at the tables reserved for…. Umm…. who exactly are they reserved for?  (Personally, I’m never quite sure since it doesn’t say anything more than “Reserved”)

reserved sign

Creating a seating plan doesn’t need to become a major ordeal.  There are resources available to assist with this task, such as  Perfect Table Plan.   Also, sites like and  have helpful (free!) tools for seating charts and table layouts.  If you don’t want to mess with creating placecards, contact our friends at