Styling Secrets, Business Brains: Once Upon a Table
Dani from Once Upon a Table is the talented stylist we are hearing from this week. Once Upon a Table is a Brisbane based Event Styling business covering from Sunshine Coast to Byron Bay.
Dani is sharing some fantastic tips for party planning as well as running your own business while being a mum – hope you enjoy the read!
1. Be inspired to be different
I love looking at Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Blogs and it is definitely a great way to source inspiration and ideas. But it is also great to think outside the box and do something different. Event ideas and themes can come from the strangest places.
I got the idea for our Confetti Fair table while sitting in my daughter’s teepee. I had been struggling to come up with a unique theme, and as I sat there watching my daughter play with her drum, I knew instantly I wanted to create a table that incorporated Native American Indian elements. We made a wooden teepee to cover the drink dispenser, used a dreamcatcher for the “O” in our name, a feather headpiece to wrap our cake and an Indian Wedding Blessing as our table sign. A lot of the elements we used on the table were not necessarily intended to be used on a party table, but we adapted them to suit our theme.
When you start planning an event, use an Inspiration Board to collate your ideas and create a vision for your event. Don’t limit yourself to just party pictures, as you never know what you can create by looking in different places. The more creative you can be, the more you will enjoy the process and your guests will be blown away by the end result.
2. Make it personal
An event draws people together and it is where memories are created, so it is always so special to be able to make it personal. Choose a theme that says something about the person – that tells their story. For example, our daughter’s nickname is Button, so we did a “Cute as a Button” 1st Birthday Party.
We also had a lovely customer who wanted to do a Raggedy Ann 1st Birthday because her daughter was photographed with a Raggedy Ann doll as a newborn and it was her daughter’s favourite toy. If you don’t want to theme your event, use colours, props, photos or quotes to make it more meaningful. It is also great to involve your guests and create a lasting memory by having a unique guestbook. An old typewriter for guests to type a message, a time capsule, a photo booth or even a thumbprint picture are all great ways to capture the memories of the event.
3. It’s the little details
It is great to incorporate as many little details into an event as you can. It is so rewarding to watch people’s eyes light up as they notice different elements at a party, and it is the little extras that will transform your event into something memorable.
It doesn’t have to cost a fortune either, as handmade items or DIY projects can be so much fun leading up to an event. Involve friends and family too, as they will love to see their creations used on the day. Don’t forget to be creative and think of new things you can include on your table – they will really stand out!
Finally, if you are going to include lots of different elements at a party make sure you plan ahead. Doing a project or two each week is much more enjoyable than trying to get everything done in the last week. You want to enjoy the party, so the more organised you are, the more time you will have to actually enjoy the special day.
I started Once Upon A Table while I was on maternity leave with my second child in 2012, and have since returned to work as a Business Development Manager in Banking.
Juggling a very busy job, 2 children and a new business has been exciting, but also very challenging. I am certainly very sleep deprived and my house is a little messier, but I absolutely love what I do.
I think this is so important, as being passionate definitely shows in your work and it also helps you get through when you are tired or busy.
I am also lucky enough to have a great support network. I have a fantastic husband who builds all of our props, furniture and backdrops, and is always there to listen to my new (and sometimes crazy) ideas. I also have an amazing 15 year old son who is always on hand to help out. There aren’t many teenage boys who would hold ribbon, sort doilies or stay up to talk to their Mum on those late nights working on an event!
My 18 month old just loves playing with all of my craft stuff and often contributes to a rather big mess on our kitchen table. My family are my biggest supporters and they really push me to live my dream and grow our business.
Through the business I have also met so many wonderful people who have become my close friends. The support in this industry is amazing and everyone is always available to give advice. We are often emailing or texting late at night and it is always good to know that I am not the only one up after midnight working on a party.
I have also found that collaborating with other suppliers or friends not only helps take your vision in a different and more creative direction, but also cuts down on the number of late nights. When I started I would do absolutely everything myself, but now I enlist the help of some amazingly talented florists, cake decorators, paperie designers and so on. Working together with other creative people is so rewarding and can really take your event to another level.
Thank you so much Dani for sharing your party planning advice and business wisdom with all of us!