Those who know my husband and I know how much we love our black lab, Hope. She’s our baby, and well, babies have birthday’s right? I mean as an event planner, I couldn’t let her first birthday go by without a celebration. So, today we celebrated Hope’s Bark Day Party.

Throwing Hope a Bark Day Party was our way of thanking her for always being there with a wagging tail, a smiling face and unconditional love. Her party had a spring theme with birthday presents and Peanut Butter PupCakes. What a sweet treat the Peanut Butter PupCakes were!

So, why not say “thank you” with a Bark Day Party for your pup? Themed “doggie parties” are becoming increasingly popular, and with our original ideas, you can make your dog birthday party really special. From the theme to the guests and decorations, we can help you plan the perfect birthday party for your pup.

Peanut Butter PupCakes

2 ripe bananas
2 cups water
1 egg
1/2 tsp double strength vanilla
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
2 Tbsp honey
1/2 cup peanut butter
Dog biscuit for decoration


Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Spray cupcakes or mini cupcake pan with olive oil.

In a large bowl, mash bananas with a fork. Add all ingredients but peanut butter & dog biscuit and mix with a pastry blender until well combined. Add peanut butter and continue stirring until well blended.

If using mini cupcake pan, spoon 2 Tbsp (or 1/8 cup) batter into each well. If using regular cupcake pan, fill each well to the top. The batter will not rise or smooth out very much, so be sure to smooth it out and make it pretty. Top each cupcake with a dog biscuit, pushing them down slightly into the dough.

Bake mini PupCakes for 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Bake larger PupCakes for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 3-5 minutes in pan before inverting onto cooling rack. Allow PupCakes to cool completely before feeding them to your dog.

All The Trim had one VERY exciting event happen over this Holiday Season!  One of our owners, Carmen Giacinti, was engaged to her long-time boyfriend Tommy Garrighan!  We are so happy for both of them and are very excited to “officially” welcome Tommy to the All the Trim family. Be sure and keep checking back often as we will keep you updated on plans and ideas for this special wedding

Okay, so this is one of our favorite times of year…Halloween!  It’s the time for pumpkins, trick or treating, fun parties, and dressing up & not getting made fun of (or maybe you do, but who cares on this day!!).

A great idea that has held strong only on Christmas is the candlelit luminary.  As you see on Christmas, folks put tealight candles in white bags filled with sand and surround their driveways, walkways & porches with beautifully lit ambiance.  Well, we want to tell you luminaries aren’t just for Christmas anymore!

We recently made Halloween luminaries out of brown paper bags that you can get at any grocery store.  We free handed haunting trees, moons, and bats with black paint on one side of the bags (you can always do all sides if you want).  There are many Halloween designs you can find online if you don’t trust your inner painting prowess.  But either way, get crazy with it.  Make as many as you want to line your porch, driveway, walkways and more.  We filled our bags with super cheap kitty litter, as bags of sand cost slightly more, come in huge bags and are waaaaay heavier to carry.  You only need enough to line the bottom to keep your tealight or votive steady and secure.

Once you have filled all of your bags with kitty litter or sand, place them where you want them, put the candle inside each and then go around lighting them.  We use one of those long handled butane lighters for easier and safer lighting.  One thing to remember, place these bags outside and away from flammable materials like old leaves, bushes, cobweb decorations, and…oh yeah, trick or treaters!!

These Halloween luminaries are a great way to intensify the spooky atmosphere of your outdoor Halloween décor.  Now it’s time to share & tell us about your crafty Halloween decorating ideas!

If I am going to be truly honest, when I attend or plan a wedding, my absolute favorite thing about the wedding day is the actual ceremony.  I love when the groom first sees his bride walking towards him; when the parent’s give the daughter away, and watching as the couple commits their lives to one another.  So when I come across an interesting, new, and fresh idea to incorporate into a wedding ceremony, I must share it!

We all know about the traditional lighting of the unity candle that takes place in most ceremonies.  It is mostly done in Christian ceremonies, symbolizing the union of two hearts and lives as well as two individuals becoming one in commitment.  In recent years, in replacement of unity candles, couples are choosing to do sand ceremonies.   Using two different colors of sand in different containers, poured into one container to symbolize blending your lives together.  It’s a great way to incorporate your wedding colors into the ceremony. 

This brings me to what I consider one of the best unity ceremony idea that I have heard of; one that can continue to be incorporated into your marriage for years to come.  It is called the Cord & Knot Ceremony.  The basic idea is to use two different colored strands of cord, with each wrapped on a different side of a round piece of wood.  During the wedding ceremony, the bride and groom tie the two pieces of cord together to form a knot in the middle of the piece of wood.  It adds a truly unique element to your ceremony that friends and family will remember and is useful for situations where candles are not allowed or where it may be difficult to keep them lit due to breezes at outdoor weddings.  Now for the part that I really love… Every year on your anniversary, you can tie another knot in the ropes!  And in case you forget how many years you have been married, you can just count the knots.  As the years pass by, it can be a great decorating piece that will show everyone who sees it the commitment that you have made and continue to make.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on unity ceremony ideas you have seen done or one that you did at your wedding!

Knot Tying Ritual for Wedding Ceremony

Knot Tying Ritual for Wedding Ceremony







We girls at All the Trim love to blog about all of our favorite & fun ideas for event planning, but every now and then, there are issues that move our hearts.  One is the inordinate waste of food after an event is over.  We have been to too many events where the catering or venue staff is literally spreading out an arm and sweeping loads of perfectly edible food into huge trash cans after the event has ended.  Whhhyyyyy!!  Well, many caterers, and especially many venues, believe they are liable for anyone that eats the food after the event and becomes ill.  So, for fear of being sued, they simply throw it all out.

The New England chapter of the National Association of Catering Executives (NACE) has begun an industry awareness push to change this practice.  They want not only event industry professionals, but clients as well, to know that there is an Act that already protects these caterers and venues from liability.  It is called the Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act.  Congress passed this Act in 1996 during President Clinton’s administration, and it protects donors (hosts, venues, caterers, etc.) and collectors of any donated food from any and all liability.  Based on this Act, there is no reason we should not be giving this post-event food to local shelters, churches or any other organizations that feed our impoverished neighbors.  Dana Siles, Community Service Chair at the New England NACE chapter, along with the consult of Boston Rescue Mission’s Eric Grenfell-Muir, has initiated a “Feeding Our Neighbors” campaign in order to push this awareness throughout the industry.  If you are a local caterer or venue, we urge you to work with Charlotte’s NACE chapter to further the idea of this initiative and create a more aware and thoughtful local community.

Charlotte attempts to pride itself in sustainable and eco-friendly values and programs, however we have a long way to go.  Too many people in our community have fallen upon hard times and are starving.  This is uncalled for, and we in the industry must be responsible in our business practices.  Feeding America is a network of food banks, pantries, soup kitchens, faith-based organizations, non-profits & shelters.  According to Feeding America’s report Hunger in America 2010, of the 37 million people that are served annually by Feeding America organizations, 14 million of these are children.  One in eight Americans rely on Feeding America for food assistance.  Thirty six percent of these served households have at least one person working.  In 2010, Charlotte alone experienced a 36% increase in homeless families.  And with federal and state cuts in food assistance programs, the need is becoming more imperative.

Don’t let event food go to waste!  We implore our industry professionals to help each other become more aware of our choices.  And we urge our clients to choose caterers and venues that allow positive utilization of the food after their event.  Let’s emulate what the New England NACE chapter is doing and pursue our local food banks, shelters & food-assistance organizations in working with them to build a better food network to help our neighbors.  These people are people we know…a family member who lost their home to foreclosure, your divorced best friend who lost their job and supports their kids all alone, your co-worker who was let go due to downsizing at work…these people need our help now more than ever.

And why not think on an even broader level?  Where can items of your décor, flowers perhaps, be donated?  Senior homes or hospitals, maybe?  Creativity is an event professional’s second nature; let’s have fun using this creativity in striving to make sustainability our second nature, as well.  With the Democratic National Convention coming to our town in 2012, it would be great for Charlotte to be a role model in sustainable practices, right down to what we do with our post-event items.

We would love to hear your good stories & bad stories involving post-event food…Did you see food go to waste?  Did you find out the host of the event, caterer or venue donated the food after the event?  To what organizations?  Share, share, share!!!

The Dairy Barn at Anne Springs Close GreenwayThis weekend the girls at All the Trim will be visiting The Dairy Barn in Fort Mill, SC to conduct a site visit for a potential upcoming event. We are very excited to visit this Leroy Springs & Company, Inc. property, as it is one of their four venues located within the serene, pastoral Anne Springs Close Greenway, which spreads over 2,300 beautiful acres. The Dairy Barn was built in 1947, and has since been renovated into a beautiful venue. With accommodations for 20-400 people, the Dairy Barn offers the perfect location to host indoor/outdoor wedding ceremonies, receptions, fundraisers, trade shows, corporate retreats, company picnics and more. So be sure to visit the Dairy Barn for your upcoming event! And, when you do be sure to ask for Peggy Washko, Facility Sales and Event Coordinator, as she has been wonderful to work with!

It’s a new, or at least revived, trend in party decorating. I am talking about a craft that I used to do with my mom when I was little…Tissue Paper Flowers. The history of these flowers is a bit muddled.  Some say it originated in Mexico.  Others say it was an art handed down from Asia to Mexico, via the galleons that crossed the Pacific.

Why use these for decorating a party rather than real flowers? For one, they are much more affordable. And they add a light, airy feel that is perfect for those sultry summer events.  You can mix colors in any way you prefer in order to go with the chosen color scheme of your party.  The flowers can be hung with clear fishing thread at varying heights so they seem to be suspended in air.  Or they can be placed on tables as centerpieces.  They can even be made in smaller versions to be attached to photo frames, wrapped with wire as corsages, or used as napkin rings…so many options!

We recently chose these decorations for a birthday party we coordinated…a Mojito-Burrito party with a Riviera Mayan theme. The colors of this event were ocean blue, pale yellow & kiwi.  Aside from the plates, utensils, napkins and more all having this color range, we found the right colored tissue paper to exactly compliment the color scheme.  A little suggestion: white tissue paper usually comes in a larger package per price than the colored paper.  We found the 40 count at the dollar store to work perfectly.  You may need to give yourself a good amount of time to locate where to purchase the exact colors you want for a reasonable price.  We found our colored paper in 8 count at the dollar store as well, but of course, we had to buy more packs to get enough paper.  And the colored packs in these more affordable stores don’t always match each other.  They come into the store at different times and are stocked as they receive them on the trucks.  So if you find color that comes close to what you are wanting but want to keep searching for another shade that may be more perfect, then buy all you need of that currently found shade anyway to make sure your sheets will match.  You can always return them if you find another shade that works even better.  Also, don’t count out the option of mixing solid colors with a print.  Get creative!!

There are many different directions out there on how to make these, but ultimately, any size of tissue paper will work.  We found the 20″ x 20″ size easy to find in local stores.  You will spread out at minimum of 8 sheets for the larger flowers and 6 sheets for smaller sizes.  To get the smaller size flowers, just cut your spread out layers of tissue paper sheets in half or in quarters.  From the point of having your sheets all spread out and layered on top of each other, start from one end and fold accordion style.  We folded the larger flowers with about a 1 ½” fold, and the smaller with about a 1” fold, but you can go thinner if you prefer.  We then folded the length in half just to give us a middle crease to follow when we cut notches in the middle…one notch on each side of that middle crease.  You then wrap a pipe cleaner piece, floral wire piece, or a thin gift-wrapping ribbon (which is what we used) around the middle to secure.  You can then trim the two ends round or pointed.

Next is where a super delicate hand is needed.  You will take the accordion and lightly spread out.  Then take the top layer facing you and pull up towards the middle of the accordion where it is attached.  It seems to make it easier if you take the first half from the outside of the flower and pull up, then go back to pull up the remainder of the flower nearer to where it is secured.  We also found that it holding the two folds of the sheets underneath the sheet you are pulling up between your fingers anchors the flower a bit and avoids any tearing.  You will have to look at the first couple that you make as a trial and error thing.  And you will definitely tear some in certain areas, even after making a bunch.  But luckily, they get full enough where you can usually hide that little tear in the fluff of the flower.  Before decorating, you can either leave them as is, or attach the flat sides of two flowers for more of a pom pom effect.  Here is a step by step visual walk-through to help you along, as we found words alone were difficult to follow for these.

We hope you find it fun to make these flowers and that they give your summer event a special touch.  Stay tuned for the soon-to-be-posted photos from theMojito-Burrito party.

Do you know of a crafty way to make a party extra special but that keeps the decorations affordable?  Let us know by leaving a comment!

This past June, All The Trim had the pleasure of traveling to Chicago IL to plan an Evening with Sports Legends Event.  After researching various event locations we came across Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse and its cool, relaxed sports themed restaurant / event space became the perfect place to host the VIP event.  How could it not with baseball memorabilia hanging from every wall and a menu with Sliders and “Holy Cow” potato chips to choose from?  To complete the “Sports Legends” theme, we created unique and vintage sports oriented centerpieces that correlated with a sports legend that has been affected by Prostate Cancer.  Please check out the Gallery Page to see all the pictures from the evening.  Hope you enjoy!


Mother's Day Party Display

This Mother’s Day I took the time to create something memorable to remind my mom how special she is to me and my family. Having one of the best mom’s in the world, I felt she deserved to be celebrated in a special way.  

And, that is why I created this fabulous dessert bar for my mom! The dessert bar was filled with lots of goodies from strawberry cupcakes, chocolate dipped rice-krispie treats to oreo cake pops.  I handpicked a beautiful floral arrangement from the local farms market, and purchased a few accessories to create this cheery, spring-themed Mother’s Day display. And, as you can imagine, my mom loved it! 

So, go ahead and celebrate the most important person of your life in a spectacular way.

 All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother. -Abraham Lincoln

Dessert Themed Wedding Receptions and Birthday Parties are the new craze especially for the summer time when you really need to beat the heat!  Whether you use an assortment of different desserts or stick to simply an ice cream bar, you will have an event that your guests will remember.  Below are some things that I LOVE about a dessert themed party, as well as a few ideas.

First, the budget!  Catering for events can run anywhere from $20 to $75 per person.  If you are on a tight budget for your summer birthday party or wedding reception, your catering cost can completely ruin it.  The GREAT thing about an ice cream bar is that typically it cost between $5 and $8 per person. It’s completely self contained and some of the greatest ice cream chains in the country are starting to cater.  Ben & Jerry’s, Cold Stone Creamery, Marble Slab and Bruster’s to name a few.

Secondly, the decorations… A dessert bar can be the star of the show as far as decorations are concerned. If you are doing a dessert bar as part of a wedding reception, your wedding colors can carry over to the specific items that you choose .  You could serve mini cupcakes decorated with the theme and colors of your wedding.  They now make personalized cupcake liners, wraps & toppers that you could have your monogram, birth date, wedding date, or even your picture on.  How about using those cupcakes as table centerpieces?

Another great thing about a dessert themed party is that you can personalize it with YOUR favorites or the guest of honor’s favorites.  Cheesecake, Candy Bars, S’mores, Rock Candy, Carrot Cake, Chocolate, Ice Cream, Cookies, Cupcakes, Lollipops…the sky is the limit.  Take whatever dessert you LOVE and completely decorate your event space with that food item!  Not only will your space look good, but it will smell heavenly!

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