Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving: Preston Bailey Style!

I've spent the entire day trying to recover from the 4-day weekend. I had a wonderful Thanksgiving, shared with the people that matter to me most: my family! This was my first year cooking the Thanksgiving meal, and I have to say, I am very proud of myself because it came out great!

So, this morning, I was scoping out the blogosphere (one of my daily routines), and I came across a post on Preston Bailey's blog showcasing how he celebrated Thanksgiving with his family. I was impressed to say the least.  This man truly does everything BIG! If you don't know who Preston Bailey is, I suggest you Google him ASAP. His work is absolutely phenomenal. 

Check out a few photos of a Thanksgiving celebration done Preston Bailey style:

The flower arrangements are STUNNING!

Simply gorgeous!

So much attention to detail.

What better way to say "Thanks" than with cash?

The dinner was held at his NYC studio for 50 of his closest friends and family members. Now, that is a Thanksgiving celebration I would have loved to crash! For more photos, check out Preston's blog.

Nikola Ahaiwe
Owner/Lead Coordinator
Platinum Touch Events
(310) 722-2873

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Art of Negotiation

Illustration by Cheryl A. Pamplin

Want to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to choosing your wedding vendors? Below are five tips to help you negotiate the best possible prices and services:
1. Stick To Your Budget
Before meeting with any vendors, sit down and create a realistic budget for your wedding.  Create a list of the different types of vendors you will be working with and the maximum amount you are able to spend on each service. Once you have the numbers in your head, it will be harder to lose sight of your ultimate goal. If a vendor offers packages, they may be willing to tweak it to fit your budget.

2. Do Your Homework
A good strategy for negotiating with vendors is to know what their competitors are charging for similar services.  Get an itemized quote from each vendor you meet with, then make a comparison. Use this as leverage in your negotiation.  If another vendor is offering more bang for your buck, point it out to your vendor of choice and see if it would be possible to throw in a few extra services or provide a discount to make up the difference.

3. Be Willing To Compromise
The are of negotiation is all about give and take. A vendor is more likely to oblige your request if you are willing to meet somewhere in the middle. Don't walk into an appointment with the mentality that you are going to get the vendor to lower their price or you'll walk away.  Find a way to compromise. Perhaps your venue may extend a discount if you have your reception on a non-peak night (think weekdays, or maybe even an afternoon reception),  or ask your photographer to throw in a few extra shots if you agree to use him/her for your engagement photos. Remember, negotiating is not about getting something for nothing. It's all about finding a happy medium.

4. Don't Be Afraid To Ask
Have you ever heard the term "closed mouths don't get fed"? Well, when it comes to negotiating, this statement couldn't be any more true.  If you want something, simply ask. The worst that can happen is that you'll be told no, but usually it's a "No, but what I can do is..." More often than not, vendors are willing to be flexible...within reason. After all, there goal is to please you, the client. The bottom line is if you don't ask for what you want, you run the risk of not getting what you want.

5. Be Nice, But Firm
The right choice of words and tone of voice is the key to negotiating successfully. Always be polite when asking for a discount or upgrade, never give the impression that it is your way or the highway. It is a proven fact that most people respond favorably to kindness. But remember, don't let your kindness be mistaken for weakness. Be very clear and direct about what it is you are asking for, in the nicest way possible. Don't forget to smile!

Remember, the goal is not just to get a vendor to come down on their price, but to be sure you are getting the most value for your money.  Never insult a vendor by demanding you get a certain price. You will be working with professionals who are experienced in their particular field, so they should be paid as such!

Happy Planning!

Nikola Ahaiwe
Owner/Lead Coordinator
Platinum Touch Events
(310) 722-2873

Friday, November 12, 2010

Trend Alert: Swag Tables

If you've been following along with the blog (which I hope you have!!!!!!), you will know I have an OBSESSION for dessert tables.  I absolutely love how well they work with practically any type of occasion, from large events such as weddings, to smaller celebrations, like birthday parties.

I recently came across a post from one of my favorite blogs, Hostess with the Mostess, that mentioned a new popular trend: Swag Tables! Now, call me easily excitable, but I was swooning over this new concept. A "Swag Table" is set up as an alternative to the traditional party favor.  Instead of picking ONE favor to send guests home with, you can create a buffet of favors, giving your guests several options to choose from (who doesn't like options???).  You can also add an activity section to the table, where guests can make their own creations to take as a favor.

Check out the Hollywood-themed swag table Jenn of Hostess with the Mostess designed for a segment of FX  Network's DVD on TV:

Loves it!!!!! I can't wait for the opportunity to create a swag table at my next party!

Nikola Ahaiwe
Owner/Lead Coordinator
Platinum Touch Events
(310) 722-2873

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Halloween Dessert Table

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of creating a dessert table for a Halloween party.  I'm pretty pleased with how it all came together.  There was no specific "theme", but I worked around the color scheme of orange, purple, and black: classic Halloween colors! Here are a few pics:

"Mummy Treats"

"Liquid Death"

Halloween Dessert Table

"Poison Cupcakes"

Another shot of the "Poison Cupcakes"

Spiders dangled from the cupcake tier

A close-up of the "Mummy Treats"

My favorite detail: the skeletons on the candy jars

Eyeballs in the drinks made for a nice touch!

I hand-made these paper pom-pom flowers in the color theme for the table and hung them from the ceiling.

The drinks: "Beetle Goo"

The drinks: "Witch's Bubbly Brew"

The drinks: "Spider's Juice"

The drinks: "Liquid Death"

Candy Corn, Laffy Taffy, Orange Slices, & Peach Gummy Rings for the candy section

Creating dessert tables is quickly becoming one of my faves! Leave a comment, and let me know what you think. If you would like Platinum Touch Events to create a custom dessert table for your next party, event, or holiday gathering, email me at