Mastering The Last Minute Holiday Event

If there’s anything the East of Ellie team can do, its producing an event in a tight turnaround time without compromising quality. We know there are plenty of you out there RIGHT NOW freaking out because plans have changed, and now the holiday event planning has fallen all on you. Don’t panic! We have your back with some tips on how to lower your stress level, buy yourself more time, and most importantly, get sh!t done.

Delegate where you can

Don’t usually hire a cleaner? Now’s the time. Need someone to pick up the dry cleaning? Someone out there owes you a favor. The point is, you may get caught up thinking YOU need to do it all. You don’t. You’re responsible for making sure everything comes together, but not physically doing it all yourself. This is something event planners constantly remind themselves and how the East of Ellie team works our magic to turn around tight timelines!

Pick up Last Minute Decor

Unless you are the Grinch himself, your home is already sprinkled with some holiday cheer. If you’re looking around thinking it’s just not enough, run out to pick up some holiday decor from the local HomeGoods or Target to spruce up your space on a budget. (P.S. have you seen Chip and Joanna’s Magnolia Collection at Target? We are swooning and inspired.) To make sure everything visually comes together make sure you buy in the same color palette. This is super important to make your event space look aesthetically pleasing! The same color palette means opt for deep reds mixed with hunter greens, or pale greens and stark whites. Our favorite this holiday season? Silver and gold. A timeless combination where you can always add a modern twist. Check out our Pinterest board of favorite looks here.

Project Plan

We know what you’re thinking, “I don’t have time to write down my plan, I just need to put it into action!” We totally feel you here; BUT, just like getting everything done is important, not missing anything is equally as important. In fact, project planning in times of stress is more helpful since your brain will be running at 100 mph when executing your plan. Simply list out your key milestones, deadlines, and back track on how to get them done. For example, a key milestone may be – Get X a gift. Work backwards and list out what needs to be done to complete that action:

  • Set Budget
  • Determine Gift Idea or Store Location
  • Wrap Gift (Don’t forget to leave sometime for this crucial step!)
  • Place under tree before 12/24 9 p.m.

You’re good to go! We find project planning has the effect of making you less overwhelmed, since you’re taking everything out of your brain and down on paper (or screen.)

Catering is Key

One of the main components of any event is the food. After all, it’s what brings us all together. Making our way back to point number uno, delegate all or at least some of the cooking duties. If you just absolutely couldn’t have a holiday without your grandmother’s recipe for holiday ham, that’s fine! Outsource the appetizers and sides. Whole Foods has a great holiday meal options that are healthy and delicious!


That’s it! You’ve got this, and with these tips you’ll be planning like a pro. What are some of your tips to help stay organized during the holiday season? We’d love to hear them in the comments below! 

Check out our new homepage video which features events from 2017 in which we used ALL these tips at some point in the planning process. Want to know more? Shoot us a note!




Are Balloons Making a Comeback?

As kids, balloons were fun.  The sky was the limit.  You could have different colors, shapes, cartoon characters, and even designs.  They were the highlight of any birthday party, and if you got a really good balloon, it would even stay inflated for a whole week – maybe more.  But for us at events?  Balloons, for years, have been a big party no – no.  I mean they are fun – let’s face it – but they are a bit frowned upon in many Corporate circles.  Recently, it seems as though these childhood favorites are floating their way back into the events world.  

Here are some examples of balloons that were not just acceptable, but sought after at events.

Presidential Nominations – We’ve all seen the memes of Bill and Hillary Clinton playing with the balloons as they came down from the Convention Center sky.  The last thing we would ever consider decorating a stage or ceiling with is a bunch of balloons, but we have to admit, this kind of rocked.  

Wedding Photos – Although we are not wedding planners, we are loving all these amazing photos with couples who are holding all sorts of different types of balloons. Love balloons, balloons with tassels, you name it – it’s being photographed.  And frankly, it looks great.

Social Event Props – Ironically enough we are seeing balloons show up everywhere on the party scene.  From decorating a pool at the Hamptons, to chairs shaped out of balloons.  To make these inflatable wonders more sophisticated, planners are taking a monochromatic approach. Like the all white you see in the pool.

Pipe and Drape Replacements – We have to admit it.  We worked with an amazing client this past May and took over their manufacturing warehouse to host their 50th Anniversary celebration.  They wanted balloons.  It’s hard to tell a client no, so we agreed reluctantly and moved forward with procuring them.  When they showed up, we were able to take them and actually block off an area of the warehouse that wasn’t so pretty, by creating a semi balloon wall.  Instant pipe and drape! It was just a little more color and a lot more fun.

How are you using balloons at your events?  Looking for event planners who know a lot about classy and fun all at the same time?  Contact us today at  For more great event ideas and photos follow us on Instagram @eastofellie.

Tenting 101

Although we are indeed corporate event planners, we tend to plan most events in not-so conventional spaces. Delivering legendary events means thinking out of the box and thinking custom. Therefore, we absolutely love a good tent! Hopefully you read our previous blog post Pros and Cons of Hosting Events In or Around the Home and were inspired to host your own soiree, or you found an awesome venue to utilize the outdoor space instead of staying inside. Whichever space fits for your type of event – tents can handle it all. But, where to start?

1. Choose your type of tent

Wait, there’s more than one kind of giant tent? Indeed there is! Aren’t options great to have?

Sailcloth Tents
Sailcloth tents offer a crisp, clean look with a lightweight fabric perfect for events where style is priority. As members of the coastal Northeast – we’re definitely a fan of this style.

Century Style
Century Tents offer high peaks, and sweeping ceilings. This style tent does need to be staked to the ground, so you’ll need to consider a little extra real estate to include around the perimeter of your tent footprint.

Framed Tent
Want to ditch the center poles that come down from the ceiling and obstruct floor space? Framed Tents are for you. These tents come with options for clear or classic colored ceilings.

2. Choose your “extras”

When you see a gorgeous photo of an event-ready tent, you’re probably looking at a wood floor installation, custom lighting, maybe even fabric draping, etc. The sad truth is that these do not magically come with the tent. Extra’s can add up and be EXPENSIVE. So, depending on your budget, you may not be able to afford to install floor throughout the entire space or cover up those aluminum poles with gorgeous fabric. Either way, manage your client’s expectation to work them into the budget sooner than later. We do however ALWAYS recommend having removable “walls” to protect the interior from rain, bugs and whatever else mother nature wants to throw at you. Sure, a light drizzle won’t ruin anyone’s dinner without them, but in heavy rain and 30mph+ winds, we were really happy about having them at a past event.

3. Pull Permits

Event planning is all about avoiding disaster on the big day, and making sure you are all covered on your permits & inspections is crucial. This is something overlooked by many but can completely ruin your event by the officials shutting it down. Please, please, don’t let this happen to you or your client. From electrical, to fire retardant materials, rules on candles and more, each of these is regulated by local government in each city/town. Talk with your tent rental company, local permit department, or any vendors ahead of time about everything you plan on executing so there are no day of issues.

4. Party On!

Congrats! You’ve passed Tent 101. Creating an event in essentially a blank canvas layout customized to your liking can be a ton of work but the end result will be so satisfying to both you and your client.

Looking for event planners that have mastered the art of planning an event in a tent? You’ve found the right team. Contact us today and let’s get planning!

Cheer Up Buttercup: April Showers Bring May Flowers Event

May has arrived and it feels like spring is finally on its way! Even though the sunny days to come are going to be wonderful, we can’t forget about the countless rainy days the spring weather brings to New England. As you take out your rain boots, umbrellas, and rain jackets, we want you to celebrate and embrace this rainy weather in our favorite way – through an event! We’ve gathered our favorite tips on how to transform your event space into a unique April showers bring May flowers event!


The bigger the idea the better! We plan events for luxury brands, so obviously we looked to Jimmy Choo to show us how a flower wall in store can inspire a bright and colorful spring line launch event. With colors of the brand, or colors from the latest collection, you can create something spectacular.


Even if your brand is like Kate Spade– fun, bright, and classy, you can add a flower wall to your event like Kate did to her store front. It’s fitting, and inviting (with great picture opportunities for social media buzz!)


Cocktails are always a great way to get the good vibes rolling at a rainy day party, but how cool would it be to keep the May flowers theme going? Adding a little element of your theme to every aspect of the event can wow guests, and continue the bright color pop.


Have a high ceiling in your event space? Don’t let all the open space go to waste! These lighting fixtures captured us from the moment we laid eyes on them. With this type of decor you can keep a simple table (more space for food), or you can really go all out and add more flowers and really surprise your guests. With flowers above, think of other options for the centerpieces like teapots, or rainboots!


One of our favorite flowers are tulips. They give a traditional spring look, and add a classic feel. Sometimes simple is better than elaborate, so take your sweet spring time event, and add an element that is classic and unforgettable.


Celebrate the beauty of spring and all of its craziness using our tips for throwing the perfect April showers bring May flowers event! Want to take your elements of your brand and create a spring themed event but don’t know where to start? Contact us today and let’s get planning.

These Decorations Take the Cake: Ways to Incorporate Food into Your Event

Without a doubt, two of the biggest components to planning an event include food and decor.  These elements often go hand in hand because having consistent branding or a theme keeps guests interested and excited to see what else the event has in store for them. With a creative touch, food can even act as the event decor itself. Edible centerpieces or even a wall of food can catch the eye, and make the guests hungry for more.

Using food as decorations is visually appealing, budget friendly, and unique that is sure to blow your attendees away:


Centerpieces are attention-grabbers; they are the focus of the table, so if you’re looking to bring a wow factor with your event decor, try making your centerpieces out of food.



Photo: Ashley Batz

Give your guests with a sweet tooth a favor, and use chocolate coated marshmallows with different food colorings and designs.  The colored chocolate allows you to own your brand, and give your guests a whimsical feeling.

Another, all-in, option is making the centerpieces a place for hors d’oeuvres. These wooden cutting boards, and elaborate spread of cheeses, meats, and citrus fruits will keep your guests entertained, and increases their appetite.

EDIBLE DECORATIONS: These take the Cake



Photos: Cherish Cakes by Katherine Edwards, and Michele Bradley

We can’t forget about cake- one of the biggest edible decorations of all if your event calls for one.  We love cakes because of the creative edge a client can put into it. From a company anniversary, to a congratulations and promotion party, they cover all boundaries. At our event for Nestle Waters North America, our mission was to WOW our client and guests with all things Perrier.  Our caterer crafted edible sugar Perrier bottles that were placed on the cake and it was the most attention grabbing decoration of the event (until it was devoured).

A Wall of Food? Why not!

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Photos: Pinterest, Fresh Ideas

Having a wall full of delicious food could keep guests entertained liked a bar would. Placing salads on one wall, and dessert on another could give the room a pop of color, and a sweet scent. What’s better than food with a view?

There are lots of ways to creatively incorporate food into your event decor, whether you have a theme or not.  This popular trend is making headlines in the industry, and event attendees will definitely be seeing a lot more of decorations crafted out of food in the future.

Loving this trend and want more inspiration on how to incorporate food into your event decor? Check out our Pinterest Board!

5 Ways to Combat Holiday Stress

Ready or not, here come the holidays!  Though it is a joyous season of love, warmth and giving, it can also bring extreme stress and anxiety.  Even for some of the most organized people in this universe, the holidays can get overwhelming.  Luckily, us event planners have dealt with these situations a time or 2.  Here are some tips from our founder and Senior Managing Partner Emily Chalk.  Here’s to having a stress-free holiday!

Plan ahead

Take advantage of that half day of work the day before the feast and get a plan in place.  I try to take the full day off before a big holiday or a personal event just to give myself time to focus.  One of the biggest causes of stress is when you feel you are getting pulled in multiple directions.  Take the time for yourself and for your sanity to sit down and organize.

Write EVERYTHING down:

One of my favorite planner moves is to make lists with checkboxes.   It keeps you focused and you have a sense of accomplishment when you complete a task.  You can also use post it notes – but if you are me your whole house will be covered in them, which is a little counter-productive.

The Devil is in the Details

As the old saying goes – but my, my, is it true.  Organize all the details you can in advance – fold napkins, place your centerpiece on the table or vacuum the spare room two days before guests arrive.  It’s all this last minute stuff that will get you every time.  It’s never too early to start setting up!

Take a minute and think

Be thoughtful in your decisions to avoid extra work on your holiday.  Simple check points like not using your expensive China on the kids table will keep you from a big headache when you are in the middle of your day-of holiday tasks.

Give yourself some credit

At the end of the day, your family and friends will appreciate the wonderful effort you put into creating a great thanksgiving.  Life is not a perfect reflection of Pinterest, and do you really think Martha Stewart pulls of what she does by herself? Do the best you can, and if your day is filled with love and warm food, you did your job, host!

From all of us at EOE we wish you a very happy holiday and a wonderful Thanksgiving. Need a Thanksgiving day planner?  Give us a call – JUST KIDDING (we have to draw the line somewhere).

For more tips and inspiration to keep your Turkey Day organized (any stylish) check out our Pinterest board.

Creative Ways to Incorporate Food into an Event

Without a doubt, two of the biggest components to planning an event include the food and decor. Picking a menu and contemplating color schemes takes time, especially when you are coming to a decision with a team full of clients!  Food and decor are often related and play off of one another because a consistent theme throughout all aspects makes for a great event.  With a creative touch food can even act as the event decor.

Using food as decorations works because it is visually appealing, budget friendly, and different.  Most people attending your event do not expect to see sticks of rhubarb with flowers as a centerpiece, but when they do, they will be in awe!


Centerpieces are attention-grabbers; they are the focus of the table, so if you’re looking to bring a wow factor with your event decor, try making your centerpieces out of food.

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Photos by:, &

Citrus fruit is great if you are looking to add dimension to a centerpiece.  If you want something to stand alone and act as a vase, try taller vegetables like asparagus or rhubarb (the bright pink roots will make this piece POP) or fruits with a strong base like pineapple or melon.  All you have to do next is add some flowers and secure, and you’ve got a DIY masterpiece.

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Photo: Seth Browarnik/

These centerpieces were designed for the Sugar Factory’s Ocean Drive grand opening event in Miami a few weeks ago.  Centerpieces incorporated the event’s Candyland theme, and each piece was unique- we don’t know how these guests didn’t rip off the candy because it looked so good.

Edible Decorations: Two Birds, One Stone

Not all the food decor has to stay put throughout the event- we know, it’s tough to see decorations crafted out of such yummy food, so why not display them until they are ready to be eaten? Take dessert for example, creative caterers can take any theme and transform the dessert to resemble it.  These treats can then be displayed, as temporary decorations, until guests are ready to eat them.


Photo: Brulee Catering

In this image, the theme was All-American, so Brulee Catering took dessert to a whole new level (yes- this picture is of dessert…we were fooled too).  From the pound cake “french fries,” to the chocolate-ganache cake topped with sliced kiwi “burgers,” these desserts were were crafted beautifully and acted as decorations until it was time to eat them.

nestle waters cake

We can’t forget about cake- one of the biggest edible decorations of all if your event calls for one. At our event for Nestle Waters North America, our mission was to WOW our client and guests with all things Perrier.  Our caterer crafted edible sugar Perrier bottles that were placed on the cake and it was the most attention grabbing decoration of the event (until it was devoured).

There are lots of ways to creatively incorporate food into your event decor, whether you have a theme or not.  This popular trend is making headlines in the industry, and event attendees will definitely be seeing a lot more of decorations crafted out of food in the future.

Loving this trend and want more inspiration on how to incorporate food into your event decor? Check out our Pinterest Board!

Looking for some creative events ideas that only East of Ellie can offer? Contact us today and let’s get planning!

Out of the Box Centerpieces

At East of Ellie, one of our favorite aspects of event planning is just how creative we can get with event décor. Sometimes the best ideas come from the bending of the traditional rules of event planning.  It can be something as simple as swapping out a traditional floral arrangement for something a bit more unique. For themed events, centerpieces are a great way to subtly incorporate your event look and feel without replacing elegance or sophistication. Here are our favorite out of the box centerpieces to inspire your next event.

Worried about your centerpiece obstructing your table and guest’s ability to socialize? Take your design up a foot or 2 and have any light objects descend from the ceiling. Just make sure to go a little higher for events involving NBA players.


A great centerpiece concept for organizations involved in healthy eating, going green, or just asparagus lovers alike. The rich purples and vibrant green hues in this creative centerpiece are sure to draw eyes to its beauty.

Luau themed events can go from sophisticated to child birthday-like in the matter of seconds with bad décor choice. This centerpiece channels Hawaiian culture and has tropical written all over it without looking tacky or immature.


Looking to avoid floral all together? This arrangement of copper piping brings an industrial rustic feel to any event. The white candles and tiny floral addition are key to balancing out the masculinity of the décor.



Looking for more inspiration? Visit our Pinterest Board here. Still stumped on what to use for your event? Contact us today for our advice with no obligation.


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