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!
Confetti Fair – Bohemian Chic Dessert Table with Native American Indian Influences
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.
Cute As A Button 1st Birthday – Pastel Button Party Table
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.
Lovely Lace & Pearl Christening – Dessert Table incorporating pink, lace and pearls
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.
A Darling Affair – Vintage Chic Dessert Table with lace, feathers and fresh florals
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.
Sweetie Pie Table – Rustic Pie Table
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!
You can follow more of Dani’s work on the Once Upon a Table facebook page here.
I hope you enjoyed the first post in this series by Events by Nat with some great styling and business tips.
This post we hear from the talented Johanne from Mum’s Little Party Secret who not only offers party styling but also runs an online party store and has fantastic party hire items in Queensland (which you can see below).
She has shared some great party planning tips for mum’s as well as some business advice for other mum’s in business!
Party Planning and Styling Secrets
1. Themed parties are still a popular choice for birthdays. Old time classics like pirate and fairy parties are still number one favourites for younger children. When creating a themed birthday party choose a theme that is of interest with your children and age appropriate. If your children are old enough – discuss this with them and encourage them to be involved in the planning process. Consider asking your guests to come dressed in costume. A great way for little imaginations to run wild.
2. Don’t get caught into the trap of decorating with over commercialised cartoon characters. Instead choose a colour scheme that represents your theme. Say for example a Pirate Party; you could use the traditional black, red & grey with skulls and crossbones or for a softer touch, light blue, red and grey with cute pirate characters. Decorate with bunting, hessian and pirate style props.
3. Personalise your party where possible. You can personalise pretty much everything – bunting, cupcake picks, napkin ties, straw flags and even drink bottles. Personalise with your children’s names and age celebrating or even personalise with your guests names. This is a great tip when labelling drink bottles. No little mix-ups. A personalised thank you message attached to take home gift bags is always a nice touch.
4. Organise age appropriate games for your little guests. We suggest 2 or 3 games. This will still allow enough time for play time.
5. When it comes to food, keep it simple and again age appropriate. Make you children’s favourite foods and sweets. Keep a balance of healthy options as well as little treats. Favourites are cupcakes, cake pops, fruit kebabs, jelly cups and of course lollies. An important tip is to check with parents for any food allergies.
6. The number one tip that we can offer when planning and styling your next birthday party is to remember who the party is for. Transport yourself back to childhood and remember what you used to love. Join in and enjoy the day with your children. You will not regret it. Celebrate their lives together and together you will create magical memories.
Business Advice for Mums in Business
1. Have a 5 year plan and balance your time. Realise everything can’t get done in one day and sleep is important.
Have strict times that you work to and from and don’t deviate from this.
If you let your business take over your life you will miss out on the most important thing – spending time with your family.
Thank you Jo for sharing such important and valuable party tips and business advice!
I see it all too often (and have done it myself!)
Business mum’s on facebook apologising for taking longer to reply to e-mails because they are busy with their kids. Apologising for taking longer to complete an order due to their children being sick. Apologising for taking a “break” from their business or blogging etc to have some family time.
I’ve recently been thinking a lot about this as I work on sorting out the balance between business & mothering and thought – It is time we stop apologising and give ourselves permission to be mothers.
In the end – our family and our kids come first. I think most of our fans on facebook and customers understand that because they are mum’s themselves. We all want more time with our children.
Sometimes as a small business owner you can feel that if you don’t post a facebook status update…or don’t write a blog post…or don’t showcase a new product photo etc…that you will start losing business or people will ‘unlike’ our facebook page. So we stay on the never ending merry-go-round that never seems to stop.
However everyday in my newsfeed I see many (too many to keep up with!) inspiring posts and products and status updates. It doesn’t bother me if some of my favourite pages/businesses don’t post anything!
Life goes on with and without our blog posts and facebook photos and e-mail replies.
Don’t get me wrong. I do think customer service is so important to good business practice and if there is a reason why you will be having delays in e-mail replies then by all means it makes sense to say so. Or perhaps if you are a store that offers next day shipping etc then again I understand why immediate response is expected.
However I’m talking about the expectations of small business mum’s replying to all e-mails within a 24hour period (or less!).
Sometimes as much as you want to…and as much as you plan to….your little people just take EVERYTHING out of you. At the end of the day you sometimes don’t have the time….nor energy…nor motivation to then go and sit at the computer and reply e-mails.
This is ok. Motherhood comes first. Our sanity and health comes first.
I’m not sure if this is the best “business” advice….but I love this quote from Loralee Lewis:
“No other success can compensate for failure in the home”
I am telling myself this as much as I am sharing these thoughts with you.
There will always be clients, and facebook fans. However I only have this time now with my children at this age to be there with them.
And although everyone on facebook or e-mail may not notice me being absent….my children WILL notice my absence.
So women – let’s give ourselves permission to be mothers!
Do you struggle with the balance between motherhood & business/working?
How do you manage your competing priorities?