Archive for August, 2015

How To Host an End of Summer Soiree

There you are, sipping a Pumpkin Spice Latte and grabbing your favorite sweater, when it hits you: “Where did the summer go?” Have no fear because there is still time to squeeze every last drop of summery sweetness out of these next upcoming weeks. And what better way to cap off Summer 2015 than with a backyard movie night!

Celebrate this Labor Day weekend in Oscar-worthy style by hosting a “Cinema & Cocktails” soiree for your closest friends and family.

End of Summer Movie Party | The Event Group, Pittsburgh wedding and event planner

Popcorn Bar: The Pittsburgh Popcorn Company

Gold Striped Popcorn Boxes: Etsy

The most important part of hosting a backyard movie night is, you guessed it, the movie. Keep your audience in mind when selecting a movie so that it is appropriate and enjoyable for everyone attending. You can never go wrong with a romantic comedy like The Proposal, or an oldie-but-goodie classic such as Jaws or The Sandlot. Jurassic Park was the inspiration for this fun and fresh movie night, which was hosted by one of our own event coordinators in her backyard.

Once you’ve selected a movie, now you need a movie screen! Whether you want to hire a professional service or try out your DIY skills, there are various ways to transform your backyard into the most theatrical of venues. Start by contacting local sound and rental companies to see if they offer an outdoor theater service. If you see yourself hosting several more movie nights, purchasing a home system might be worth the investment. Although it may not be the most tech savvy, there is always the good old white sheet and projector set-up, creating a whimsical and quaint setting for your guests’ viewing pleasure.

End of Summer Movie Party | The Event Group, Pittsburgh wedding and event planner

Outdoor Movie Kit: Pittsburgh Sound Rental

Because movie nights tend to be late night affairs, go light on food and offer delectable desserts and flavorful variations of popcorn. Keep everything in theme with a coordinating tablecloth and serveware. Be sure to communicate on the invitation to “BYOBC”, or in other words “Bring your own blanket or chair,” so that your guests are comfortable and warm. You may want to have some lawn chairs and blankets handy for unprepared guests. No al fresco affair is complete without some strategically positioned ambient lighting, so generously place candles, tiki torches and overhead string lights throughout the yard.

End of Summer Movie Party | The Event Group, Pittsburgh wedding and event planner

Banana Leaf Cake Pops: Bella Christies and Lil Z’s Sweet Boutique

End of Summer Movie Party | The Event Group, Pittsburgh wedding and event planner

Mini Donuts and Banana Leaf Sugar Cookies: Bella Christies and Lil Z’s Sweet Boutique

End of Summer Movie Party | The Event Group, Pittsburgh wedding and event planner

Popcorn Bar: Pittsburgh Popcorn Company

Serving as the perfect transition from one gorgeous Pennsylvania season to the next, a backyard movie theatre experience is guaranteed to earn a standing ovation, or at the very least a Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Burgh Bites: Pittsburgh-based Snacks for Receptions and Events

After a long, late night of dancing, wedding guests appreciate nothing more than a late night snack. It’s wise and courteous to plan something small for guests to peruse without feeling like they’ve overindulged. Light snacks are also a great way to showcase Pittsburgh’s most popular gourmet treats. We’ve selected some of the most unique snack foods that can only be found in Pittsburgh!

Leona’s Ice Cream Sandwiches
One part ice cream, two parts cookie: what’s not to love about an ice cream sandwich? On a hot summer night, especially at an outdoor wedding, guests will appreciate this cool, refreshing snack. For a wedding reception or elegant party, not just any ice cream sandwich will do. Leona’s Ice Cream Sandwiches offers sophisticated artisanal flavors like fig, black raspberry lime curd, and Vietnamese cinnamon ice cream nestled between two freshly-baked cookies. Leona’s is the only 100% lactose free ice cream made in Pittsburgh. They use 100% real PA dairy so there are no sacrifices in flavor or texture. All of their flavors are handmade and their ingredients are sourced as locally as possible.
Insider tip from Katie and Christa of Leona’s: “The most important thing about ice cream is proper holding temperature. We use a lot of dry ice for weddings and have portable freezers too. We are very specific about how they are going to be served so we can provide the proper equipment or advice on how it will be best experienced.”
Leona's Ice Cream Pittsburgh | The Event Group, Pittsburgh wedding and event plannerLeona’s popular Cinnamon Ice Cream on an Oatmeal Lace Cookie. Photo by Adam Milliron.

La Gourmandine
The wedding cake will always be a wedding reception staple. However, serving a variety of bite-sized dessert options is never a bad idea. Petit fours are small individual French pastries that do not require a knife or fork to eat. They come in a variety of flavors, from classic chocolate and vanilla cake to lemon tarts and chocolate eclairs.
La Gourmandine makes petit four versions of their popular French pastries for wedding receptions. The marquise is popular (a crispy caramel bottom with creme brulee filling that is hand dipped in dark chocolate) while assorted tarts (fruit, lemon and raspberry) offer a tangier dessert option. La Gourmandine’s famous full-sized pastries and danishes are also a fabulous option for brunch the day after the wedding.
Insider tip from Sara of La Gourmandine: “I normally recommend to customers to mix and match their choices. For instance, if you pick the marquise which can be a heavy chocolate, pair it with our choux a la creme which is comparable to a cream puff to offer your guests something lighter in flavor. We are always more than happy to sit down with customers and find a menu that fits their wedding needs perfectly!”

La Gourmandine French Bakery Pittsburgh | The Event Group, Pittsburgh wedding and event planner

The display case at La Gourmandine. Photo courtesy of La Gourmandine.

Pittsburgh Popcorn Company
Few snacks are as versatile as popcorn. It’s a blank canvas that can range from simple to sweet to savory, and is a fuss-free finger food. Setting up a popcorn bar late into your reception or event gives guests a lot of options to keep hunger at bay without being heavy on the stomach.
Pittsburgh Popcorn Company offers a huge variety of gourmet popcorn flavors. Besides the classic Movie Style and Sweet ‘n Salty Kettle Corn, you’ll see creative recipes like Peanut Butter Cup, Savory Herb, Nutella, or Cheesy Garlic Bread.
Insider tip from Pittsburgh Popcorn Company: Get custom-branded tins for the popcorn. It’s the most attractive way to serve popcorn for a large amount of guests. While the Pittsburgh Popcorn Company no longer offers individually bagged popcorn servings, you can purchase a bulk amount of popcorn and have it bagged in custom-branded packages for hotel guest bags.
Pittsburgh Popcorn Company wedding reception snacks | The Event Group, Pittsburgh wedding planning

Chicago-style Cheddar & Caramel Mix. Photo from Pittsburgh Popcorn Company’s website.

These Pittsburgh snacks range far beyond wedding receptions. They’re also perfect treats for bridal and baby showers, conferences, private parties, and birthdays. Of course, does anyone really need a special occasion to nibble on an éclair or ice cream sandwich? We think not.

Hungry for more Pittsburgh foodie fanfare? We’ve created a list of the best new dining spots in Pittsburgh.

The Wedding Checklist Every Bride and Bridesmaid Needs

A bride and her bridesmaids will spend months, if not years, planning for her wedding. All of the details of the day have to be planned out, organized and coordinated down to a T. On the day of the ceremony, everyone will want to sit back and enjoy the wedding and reception worry-free. And rightly so!

Despite the best laid plans, there is always the possibility of getting a hangnail, dropping a contact or losing a button. And with Pittsburgh’s unpredictable end-of-summer weather, humidity and wind can cause makeup mishaps or an updo’s undoing. These are the tiny inconveniences that, no matter how air-tight your wedding planning has been, can get in the way of a flawless day for the bride, the bridal party, or any of her guests. The secret to making sure the day goes off without a hitch is to be prepared for anything.

With a little forethought, you can ensure that the day is foolproof! We’ve pulled together the ultimate checklist of wedding day necessities. If your wedding planner does not provide these items, print out this list and ask one of the bridesmaids to gather these necessities for each of the restrooms at the reception venue.

Necessities and Essentials for Weddings and Events | The Event Group, Pittsburgh wedding and event planner


This checklist is not limited to weddings – these items can also be helpful at parties, meetings, or any event you might host. Guests will appreciate the attention to detail, especially if it saves them from an unfortunate situation!


No detail is too big or too small for a wedding planner. If you’d like someone to assemble these necessities for your (and assist with the rest of the planning, of course) we are more than happy to help.