Sunday, December 30, 2012

Green Acres 12.12.12 Party

Every year for the past 12 years my sister and her husband put on a party.  They do it "just because". They love to entertain and it is fun to get together with family and friends. The parties started in 01.01.01 and continued over the next couple years as cocktail parties, where their friends would come over, sit around, eat and share stories.  Then she got me involved and the parties began to take on a whole new twist.  They had themes, great food, decorations and some sort of live entertainment.  We took picture give-aways at all of them and once the guests realized we meant "dress up" as a character, the parties went to another level.  People looked forward to their parties.  Some of the themes were Blue, Disco, Hawaiian Luau, Murder Mystery, and this last one, 12.12.12, was Green Acres.  see video



This picture was prior to cutting out the faces so the guests could insert their face, so we could take a picture

We made home made apple, blueberry, peach and berry pies in the glass jars that were fabulous!
Plenty of food for everyone.  Upscale cocktail hour and then down on the farm home cookin for dinner.

Friday, December 28, 2012

D'Amato Wedding 12.1.12

Michelle and David got married on December 1, 2012.  They were lucky because there was no snow and 95% of their guests were from out of town.  National trails was the bus of choice that moved guests from three hotels to the wedding to the reception. Steve Kaufman was the photographer and the parents were VERY happy. (These pictures are from my camera not Steves!)


Is this not the cutest shirt the bride bought for her mom and one for each of her bridesmaids personalized with their names on it?


Michelle bought her dress at Roma Sposa in Birmingham.  Michelle loves lace and found just the perfect gown with a lot of details.  Her 5 bridesmaids looked beautiful in black.

                      Note the details of her dress.

 At her home they had the Christmas decorations up which made for a beautiful back drop for pictures and for the brunch the next day at her parents home.

Michelle used Millennium Limousines which is a fabulous, clean, reasonably priced and wonderful limousine service I refer in Farmington Hills, MI. (check them out at


The wedding took place at the Stone Chapel at St. Hugo in Bloomfield Hills.   What a beautiful chapel and the Monsignor performed a  wonderful ceremony

 Menu cards were made and tucked beautifully in the pocket of the napkins.  Linens and napkins, chargers and chavari chairs were all from An Affair to remember.  If you want clean, wrinkle free linens and THE BEST chavari chairs , I highly recommend An Affair to Remember in Commerce.

                                                              Cute little signs on the chairs.

Tables were beautiful and flowers were by Breath of Spring..  Michelle and David liked the antique look and the use of all different kinds and sizes of vases.  White was her color of choice for flowers.  The reception was held at the Reserve in Birmingham.  Diane the brides mom said working with the reserve was wonderful.  They have a lot of things you have to otherwise pay for like lighting.

 The Band was skyline and the Back Street Horns.  They have a great horn section and kept everyone on the dance floor.  Again I love it when the band involves teh groom and or the bride. Watch this cute video of the groom serenading his bride!

Dear Andrea,
Thank you so much for helping coordinate our wedding.  The day turned out perfectly and we know that much of that is because of all of your hard work.  You made the entire planning process so much fun and you kept me and my mom sane and in each others good graces :) We really appreciate everything you did.  You are an incredible party planner!  We hope you have a great holiday season.  We looking forward to seeing you at my sisters wedding in June.
Thanks again...
Michelle and David

Stern Wedding

 When guests arrived at Adat Shalom Synagogue they were greeted by a beautiful place card table. The bride made the envelope holder which consisted of 3 nice size boxes wrapped in a beautiful paper. The beautiful linen were from An Affair to Remember in Commerce.

The tables were beautifully set and the flowers were from Breath of Spring Florist in Bloomfield Hills. Breath of Spring also draped the entire room and added the up lighting.  My new passion is lighting.  It really makes a room.  Candles, white flowers, gold chargers and gold chavari chairs made this room look exquisite.

Their cake had a beautiful design and was placed on the sweet table after they cut it.

One cute idea they had was a s'more bar.  There were tons of marshmallows, small heaters to toast your marshmallow, melted chocolate to drizzle on your graham crackers and all kinds of toppings.  No one is to old to enjoy a s'more!

 A very cute sign was made for the two ring bearers to hold the ring bearers were walking down the aisle before the bride the sign read  "Uncle Sethy, here comes the bride"  and when they were leaving the ring bearers turned the sign around and it said ...."and they lived happily ever after"

The Simone Vitale Band was great.  He kept the crowd on the dance floor all night and had the Groom sing to the bride "My Girl".  I always love when the groom partakes some how in the evening.  It just personalizes it for the two of them.....even if they cannot sign or dance.

At the end of the evening, a lot of sore faces, from smiling so hard, sore feet from dancing so long, sore arms from hugging so many people...but it is nice to see us still standing after everyone has gone! A wonderful evening was had by all and memories to last a life time.  Congratulations Amy and Seth!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Black Tie Etiquette

Black Tie Dress Codes

"Black Tie", "Black Tie Required"



The appearance of Black Tie on an invitation indicates unequivocally that the host expects tuxedos to be worn.  Black Tie Required or Black Tie Only means the same thing but can come across as heavy-handed.  Hosts should avoid the latter unless they are certain that there will be guests too naïve or inconsiderate to infer the mandatory nature of the former. 

There will likely be those few guests who will wrongly interpret Black Tie to simply mean "formal" and arrive in whatever they feel appropriately dressy.  A gracious host will excuse the appearance of the uninformed among them, viewing the transgression as a valuable learning experience for these guests.  As for the willfully inconsiderate, the host’s congeniality need last only as long as the evening. 


Wear proper black tie or send your regrets.  It’s that simple.

Hosts and organizers do not specify this dress code because they want you showing up in a black suit.  Rather, they have put a tremendous amount of effort into making the evening exceptional and are relying on you to respect the unique elegance and traditional uniformity that black tie so brilliantly imparts.  Yet there always seem to be those men who feel the party is all about them and they can dress as they please.  “Some guys,” observed The National Post, “especially younger fellows who feel they’re really successful, take pride in flouting dress codes and showing up in business suits, often not dark, and without a tie . . . Perhaps kids think it’s too much trouble to rent or buy a black tie.  Grow up or don’t show up.”

And if you’re tempted to make an ironic statement, carefully consider the advice of Details Men's Style Manual:  “Don’t try to bring back lost styles.  You might think you’re sending up the self-serious but you’re really just being rude.” 

"Black Tie Preferred", "Black Tie Requested"


This terminology is used by those who want to host a very formal party but do not want to exclude guests that cannot afford a tuxedo. 


Invited guests genuinely unable to meet the expense of buying or even renting a dinner jacket may wear a dark suit and tie instead.  Guests that own or can easily afford a dinner jacket but cannot be bothered to wear one should politely decline the invitation.  To do otherwise is boorish as it tells the organizers in no uncertain terms that their preferences are irrelevant.

"Black Tie Optional"


Black Tie Optional (or Black Tie Invited) allows hosts to suggest that men wear tuxedos but not to insist on it.  This code is often employed in the context of large gatherings of civic or business groups, such as a dinner sponsored by a chamber of commerce. 

The reality, though, is that this dress code is basically the formal equivalent of “business casual”: an attempt to please everyone that ultimately benefits no-one.  As Canadian fashion columnist Russell Smith explains in Men’s Style, it is frequently a cop-out employed by insecure hosts:

It means that the planners of the party began by envisioning a glittering formal affair, with neatly groomed men in stark black and white as sober backdrops for the dramatic colour and flashes of flesh of the women.  And so they wrote “Black Tie” on the invitations - and then immediately had doubts . . . What if we are excluding those without resources to own a dinner jacket?  What if we are insulting the men with beards and Jethro Tull albums who don’t believe in such elitist dress and who may refuse on principle to come to such a stuffy affair?

Consequently, these hesitant hosts deprive men of the reassurance and clarity they seek from a precise dress code, forcing them instead to partake in a no-win guessing game.  If the large majority of men decide to wear dinner jackets then the minority who dress in suits may appear inconsiderate and classless.  Conversely, if the majority shows up in suits then the minority will likely feel put out. 

Smith advises party planners that such anxieties are illogical.  Firstly, no guest in this day and age will honestly expect to be barred from a Black Tie party if he can only afford a dark suit.  Secondly, the “optional” aspect will be gleefully seized upon by the Jethro Tull brigade (described by Smith “rock music critics or Canadian novelists”) as permission to show up in their comfy sweaters thus guaranteeing a motley party instead of the swank affair envisioned by the host.  As for the sensitive men who feel that owning a dinner jacket would be vaguely decadent?  “Well, if they are opposed to decadent glamour," says Smith, "then they shouldn’t want to attend the party at all.”


Guests faced with the frustrating dilemma posed by tepid hosts that can't decide between the standard "Black Tie" and "Business Attire" codes should contact the organizers to find out how they expect their guests will actually dress.  If this information is not available then experts offer a number of choices that are perfectly kosher:


if a man enjoys any opportunity to wear his tuxedo he should do so (this was Frank Sinatra’s preferred solution to the "optional" conundrum)
if a man fears being mistaken for the wait staff he should opt for a dark suit, white dress shirt, conservative tie, dress socks to match the suit and well-shined calfskin dress shoes
if a man refuses to play this no-win guessing game he should steer clear of the event altogether

"Creative Black Tie"


This designation is defined by Emily Post’s Etiquette as a “tuxedo combined with trendy or whimsical items” (usually related to the party’s theme) which most experts suggest be limited to the shirt, tie or accessories.  GQ’s Style Guy describes it as “Dressing like the fashion victims you see on the Oscars.  Tuxedos with black shirts.  Tuxedos with no ties.  Tuxedos with bolo ties.” 

However, the details are largely irrelevant because the code should be avoided by hosts out of consideration for their guests.  As Russell Smith points out, “If the words ‘black-tie optional’ on an invitation hit a panic button for most men, the words ‘creative black tie’ are even worse.  Who would want to go to a party, unless it’s a fancy dress ball, to be judged by his costume?”

It appears that party planners are getting the message judging by a 2008 Wall Street Journal article titled “Uncreative Black Tie Please” which reported on a backlash brewing against “goofy” dress codes.  It quotes a spokeswoman for the Emily Post Institute as saying that “The range of options can often be more frustrating rather than helpful for the invited” and that good manners require a host to make guests feel comfortable, not insecure.  A Fort Lauderdale event planner who learned her lesson the hard way tells the newspaper “I would rather throw a party and receive 25 calls after, saying ‘What a great party that was,’ than [get] 25 calls beforehand asking, ‘What does this mean?’”

The moral of the story: leave the Black Tie code to its intended purpose of providing clarity, uniformity and sophistication.


Guests should be equally leery of this unfortunate by-product of 1980s glitterati.  The expert consensus is that only those men who are well versed in sartorial style and the fundamentals of proper black tie can ascertain what type of ensemble successfully qualifies for this category.  In the hands of the uneducated it can all too easily be used to degrade the venerable dinner jacket into a sophomoric gimmick.  As Smith so succinctly puts it, “There is nothing more pathetic than a failed flamboyant.”  Black-tie aficionados should instead heed the advice of A Gentleman Gets Dressed Up which reminds us that when confronted with such “clever” dress codes as Creative Black Tie, “a gentleman has every right to dress as traditionally as he chooses.”

The Black Tie Guide

Whether you wear a tuxedo out of necessity or out of choice, there are a substantial number of options available to you regarding the details of your dinner suit. 
Experienced guests will recognize that not all black-tie events are created equal and will therefore look to each occasion’s level of formality for clues as to which sartorial variations are appropriate.

The most formal types of black-tie affairs include prestigious soirees such as state dinners, business awards and formal evening weddings.  In such circumstances refined guests will display their respect for their hosts by choosing attire that meets the requirements of proper black tie.  Better yet, they will opt for classic black tie, the highest possible standard for the dinner jacket.

Black-tie parties and celebrations, on the other hand, offer more latitude.  Swank invitation-only gala dinners and upscale cultural fetes, for example, still suggest a preference for proper black tie but are also appropriate opportunities for personalizing your look with classic alternatives.  Black Tie Optional affairs, semi-private black-tie parties (such as a New Year’s Eve celebration at a night club), and public events with an unwritten black-tie tradition (such as opening nights at the theater or opera) offer the greatest amount of leeway.  Here guests may opt for contemporary variations by taking a few liberties with the institution's traditions while still respecting its overall form and function.  Similarly, formal nights on elegant transatlantic crossings suggest more conservative choices than do those on budget-priced Caribbean cruises.

Monday, July 16, 2012

 Ceiling Treatments for parties
We are writing to let you know that your company is featured in a Mitzvah Inspire story about creative ceiling décor on Mitzvah  - an online resource for Bar/Bat Mitzvah planning families.

 Bar/Bat Mitzvah moms

If you haven't done so already, please visit their Website, click on the green button and sign-up for their free email newsletters.
Their Website has over 1200 useful, clever and entertaining ideas.  Let me and Mitzvah Market make your planning process more fun and less stressful!
Click this link below which goes directly to the story

All my best,
Andrea Solomon
Perfection made simple

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thank you Andrea

Dear Andrea,
Thank you for everything you did to make our wedding the night of our lives!
We couldn't have pulled it off without your help.

Sarah and I hope you enjoyed the tea and treats. They don't even come close to expressing the gratitude we feel. Thanks again! We hope you have the patience to work with us whenever we have kids and they have mitzvahs. :)
Joel and Sarah

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Here is a common question I get:

Hi Andrea:
I have a question for you about addressing envelopes.
Some of my friends that are married go by their maiden names; what is the proper way to address the envelopes for them? I can't believe I am having a hard time figuring this out!

Cary Grant and Marilynn Monroe

This is an excellent question:
Address the invitation the same way you would address one to a couple who is living together but not married (in other words, any couple with different last names). Names are listed alphabetically, no matter which person (woman or man) comes first. The outer envelope should look like this

Mr. Cary Grant and Ms. Marilynn Monroe