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Tag: planning
Articles Tagged with "planning"

10 Surprisingly Affordable Party Performers and Entertainment

Andrea Fowler

When planning a party, no matter how many afternoons you spend crafting decorations or hours dedicated to curating the perfect playlist, there’s one lingering question that always hangs over the host’s head: Will my guests have fun? ... MORE

Posted September 12, 2019

The Best (Bookable) Rooftop Bars in NYC

Grace Peisker

As the sky turns from bright orange to inky blue, watching the city change and pulse with light is shockingly stunning—even better with a drink in your hand, surrounded by friends. Once spring hits, it’s impossible to escape the rooftop bug: The skyline views, sunlit terraces, chic décor and cocktails with the sunset—it all comes together for an enchanting ambience that can take a party to the next level. ... MORE

Posted September 12, 2019

How to Plan an Adult Versus Kids Birthday Party

Andrea Fowler

If you’re about to plan a birthday party, you may be a little stuck on where exactly to begin. Figuring out the budget, menu and entertainment can all seem a little daunting at first when there are so many options to choose from. We broke down some of the most important party planning elements for both kids and adult birthday parties to help shed some light on exactly that. ... MORE

Posted September 11, 2019

Best NYC Venues to Host a Grown-Up Birthday Party

Grace Peisker

It doesn’t matter whether you’re celebrating 25 or 45, the first time you decide to celebrate a birthday with a proper dress-to-impress birthday party calls for an equally suitable venue. Whether you’re planning a small, intimate dinner party or an all-out elegant rooftop affair, finding the perfect venue is half the battle. Which is exactly why we rounded up some of our favorites from each venue category:  cocktail bars, pubs, restaurants and clubs, just to name a few. ... MORE

Posted August 30, 2019

The Best Apps for Party Planning (for iPhone and Android)

Grace Peisker

Even the most experienced party planners can agree that organizing an event can get... stressful, to say the least. Playing phone tag with different vendors, fielding questions from guests, coordinating catering orders and selecting the perfect signature cocktail; there are a lot of moving parts. The good news is, there are so many ways to stay organized. ... MORE

Posted August 30, 2019

How to Consciously Celebrate Pride in NYC this Month

Grace Peisker

Happy June! New York’s colors are flying this month, as a record 6 million people will be celebrating LGBTQ pride. Whether you’re partying the entire month or planning a get-together to watch the June 30 Pride Parade from a rooftop, this month is about celebrating the movement’s progress, because this year is especially meaningful. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn riots: The night when escalating tension between the police and the gay community in the West Village exploded in the form of  brick-to-glass, starting one of the biggest revolutions of the century. ... MORE

Posted August 30, 2019

The Most Popular Entertainment for Baby Showers

Grace Peisker

The crane-carrying-baby invites have been sent out, the gifts have been registered, and finally, everyone has arrived, pastel parcels in hand. A baby shower is the ultimate way to equip parents with everything they might need when the baby arrives, whether they’re first-time expecting or onto their third. And thanks to the invitees, the baby will have a pretty great set-up. Now that the guests are here, it’s time to say thanks by showing them a great time. ... MORE

Posted August 29, 2019

Surprising Facts About the Most (and Least) Celebrated Occasions in the U.S.

Andrea Fowler

In honor of World Party Day, The Bash took a look at how people celebrate their favorite holidays and occasions. What’s that? You haven’t heard of World Party Day? Allow me to elaborate: This particular holiday is observed by everyone, everywhere. It’s meant to be a day of joyful celebration to acknowledge everything that’s good and optimistic in the world. ... MORE

Posted August 29, 2019

Checklist: How to Plan a (Grown-Up) Birthday Party

Grace Peisker

When it comes to birthdays, everyone celebrates differently. Some are happy to ring in another year around the sun, others would rather crawl under a rock than blow out birthday candles. Some throw quiet dinners with friends, others go out on the town. Some go to bars and restaurants, and others go home to their parents. Some throw parties. Suddenly, that someone is you! ... MORE

Posted August 28, 2019

5 Summer Party Themes for Kids

Brittany Anderson

Summer is the best time to throw a backyard bash for your family and friends.  Get ready to kick back and enjoy some fun in the sun.  Where to begin with the party planning?  Look no further - we put together our list of 5 summer party ideas and themes for kids to help get your party planning started!... MORE

Posted May 31, 2019

When to Hire Wedding Vendors

Brittany Anderson

Planning a wedding includes a lot of moving parts and for most people, hiring a lot of different vendors. It can be confusing to know who to hire when. What follows below is a rough timeline, assuming a one year engagement. If you have less time, don't panic! You may be a little busier the first few months of your engagement than some people, but it will all work out in the end.... MORE

Posted January 10, 2019

Wedding Tips from the Pros: Getting Organized

Brittany Anderson

Having worked at and attended hundreds of weddings a year, wedding pros have a wealth of helpful wedding info they bring to your wedding. That's why every week we bring you tips from some of our favorite wedding pros.... MORE

Posted January 10, 2019

Ask the Experts: When to Hire Wedding Entertainment

Marta Block

Question: When do I hire the entertainment for my wedding? A: Ideally, you'll begin researching your wedding entertainment options nine months to a year or more before your wedding. It's not that you need to choose someone at that point, but you want to start getting an idea of costs and possibilities. Most people hire their wedding entertainment four to nine months before the wedding. ... MORE

Posted January 10, 2019

Kids' Winter Birthday Party Ideas

Brittany Anderson

As a child, it’s easy to be a little bummed to have a winter birthday. But, with a little creativity (and awesome entertainment), winter birthdays can be just as cool as warm weather celebrations. ... MORE

Posted January 02, 2019

6 Kidsgiving Party Theme Ideas That We're Thankful For

Lilly Blomquist

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is right around the corner? It’s time to set aside our Halloween candy to make room for more sweet treats. Now that spooky season has officially ended, we can prepare ourselves for endless amounts of stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and turkey. But before we indulge in all of our favorite dishes on that delectable day, we can celebrate the weeks leading up to the feast with fun activities and traditions, such as a kid-friendly Thanksgiving party. We’ve put together a list of Kidsgiving party theme ideas that young guests will be thankful for this year. 1. Charlie Brown Celebration  Throw A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving viewing party! Kids can come to the get-together as their favorite movie characters, such as Snoopy or Linus, to watch the film and eat a delicious potluck dinner of popcorn, buttered toast and more. During the party, you can pass out a Peanuts quiz for kids to take, and you can set up a T-shirt making station where the youngsters can create a Peanuts character on the shirt. To take the party to the next level, invite Snoopy as a special guest by hiring a costumed character. 2. Countryside Venture If you want to throw a Thanksgiving party that both kids and adults can enjoy together, plan a rustic Thanksgiving celebration. Decorate your home with pumpkins, pinecones, white candles, sunflowers and gold accents. The simplicity and elegance of the decorations will provide a beautiful aesthetic and an easy cleanup. Serve a fresh, simple and comforting country-style Thanksgiving meal with dishes, such as a roasted turkey, green beans, mashed sweet potatoes and apple pie. To really set the scene, hire a folk singer or acoustic guitarist for kids and adults to dance to. 3. Pumpkin Patch Party Autumn means an annual trip to the pumpkin patch, so why not replicate this festive experience with a pumpkin picking party? Arrange bales of hay, gold flowers, straw and mini pumpkins around your yard to make a pumpkin patch. Set up tables with washable tablecloths and art supplies, like markers, glitter glue and stickers. Once kids arrive, they can make their way over to the pumpkin patch to pick their own pumpkin, decorate it and take it home as a party favor. For more of a farm feel, give kids a hayride around the outdoor area. 4. Football Fest Organizing a Turkey Bowl to play with family or friends and watching pros throw around the football on TV are essential Thanksgiving Day traditions. For some fresh air and exercise, host a tag football party for kids. Divide the group into two teams, and have two adults, either one of the kids’ parents or a member of your own family, volunteer as captains or coaches to make sure things are running smoothly. Remind the kids that the game is touch football, not tackle. The winning team will get to help themselves to a piece of a football-shaped cake first.  5. An Apple a Day This adorable theme idea is from Melissa Johnson, founder of Best Friends for Frosting. Johnson says an apple-themed party will give kids a taste of fall without sacrificing the fun. “Do crafts by cutting apples and using paint and paper for stamping, and incorporate apples into the dishes, like stuffing or even apple cinnamon yogurt parfaits with cute candles for dessert,” suggests Johnson. Don’t feel like baking? No problem. You can also set up a caramel apple bar. All you have to do is cut up apple slices and fill jars with caramel and other crunchy toppings, such as sprinkles, candy corn and peanuts. Bobbing for apples is another party favorite that fits the fruity theme.  6. Giving Thanks Party For a more mindful appraoch, Johnson has another theme idea that's fully focused on gratitude. "This is all about teaching the kids to say thank you and to think about what they're thankful for," says Johnson. After all, gratitude is more than just a buzz-worthy self-care trend on Instagram. This theme reminds kids—and adults too!—to count their blessings. For a kid-friendly craft activity, set up a thank-you card station. “Let the kids make handwritten thank-you notes for their family, friends and everyone at the party.” If you want to add a little show and tell action, ask everyone to go around the table and share one thing they are thankful for this holiday season.... MORE

Posted November 01, 2018

Give Your Child the Best Birthday Ever!

Marissa Latshaw

It’s not too soon to start thinking about your child’s next birthday party (even if the birthday is next December!)  When you’re a parent, birthdays spring up quickly, creating a rush to get the details secured and the invitations out. This year, resolve to give your child a memorable party that is as unique as they are!... MORE

Posted August 01, 2018

Throw the Ultimate Back to School Party

Brittany Anderson

The days are getting shorter, the Staples parking lot is impossible to get in and out of, and you’re buying ingredients for lunch in bulk - back to school season is officially upon us! Get your kids in the school spirit by throwing the Ultimate Back to School Party! ... MORE

Posted August 01, 2018

Add Some Characters!

Amy

Nothing makes a theme party more exciting than bringing that theme to life.  And for most kids, nothing is more surprising than seeing their favorite fictional character walk into a party – just for them.  Hiring a costumed character for a birthday party or a community event is a surefire way to make some memories.... MORE

Posted June 27, 2018

Who to Hire for Corporate Events

Chelsea Pellegrino

Corporate event planning can be meticulous: from décor to dining options, you go above and beyond to make sure everything “fits.” Chances are you wouldn’t want a cheeseburger at a stand-up cocktail hour or folding chairs at a formal dinner party. Selecting a vendor is no exception! You’ll want to make sure they meld with the style and audience of your event.... MORE

Posted June 27, 2018

Wedding Entertainment That Will Shock Your Guests

Drew Stoga

When you help book as much wedding entertainment as we do, you start to pick up on some interesting trends. Still we were somewhat surprised when, in recent years, we began to see more and more non-musical entertainers — impersonators, comedians, and a variety of other performers — being hired to perform at wedding receptions.... MORE

Posted June 27, 2018

What's so funny? How to hire a Comedian

Marissa Latshaw

Turn on the news, pick up the paper, pretty much wherever you turn, you’re hearing about the plummeting stock market, the dried-up real estate market, or the latest job cuts. In times like these, we all need to laugh, which is probably why movies like Madea Goes to Jail and He’s Just Not that Into You are tops at the box office.... MORE

Posted June 27, 2018

Why Hire an Anniversary Party Photographer

Rachel Baron

Happy Anniversary! Whether it's your first wedding anniversary, 10th, 20th or the big 5-0, it’s a reason to celebrate! Plan an event to mark the occasion. Get a pro in there to commemorate this special event in pictures. Here are four reasons why it is so important to hire a professional photographer to shoot your anniversary party. 1. Get In the Picture Whatever anniversary you’re celebrating, leave the permanent memories to the professionals. I don’t know about you, but I’m never in any pictures at any party I throw. Ditto vacations. I want proof I was there. Don’t you? A professional photographer is more reasonable than you think, and hiring one frees up the entire family from snapping away on their smartphones. Trust us, the quality when you print pics from a phone is NOT on point. Plus, there’s a good chance your friend/parent/great aunt won’t know how to properly share these pictures, so you’ll never lay eyes on them. 2. A Pro Just Knows Blaga Ditrow of Lush Life Photography & Film, a 2017 Best Of award-winner, has plenty to say about hiring a pro beyond the usual photography-worthy events (weddings, bar mitzvahs, etc). She agrees that you should put down the point-and-shoot or the DSLR you got for Christmas last year (and still haven’t figured out). Yes, a professional photographer “captures the moment,” but he or she also knows how to shoot in low light, sunlight, a crowd, a big hall or a tiny space. “I always go to the venue earlier,” says Ditrow. “I like to know the place and the people working there besides the clients. I have cancelled events if I have the feeling I won’t provide what the clients expect.” 3. Time Flies When You’re Having Fun Ditrow says what we all know to be painfully true, “Time goes by so quickly. If you don’t stop and capture the moments for the future, it’s like they’re lost.” A professional photographer gets those candid shots while you’re naturally smiling and interacting with family and friends. You can spend some time gathering the ones you love for some posed pics, but enjoy the majority of the event knowing a photographer is capturing every moment. When you receive the photos, you’ll marvel at how much of the party you spent smiling and not snapping away. 4. Let the Photographer Tell Your Story Ditrow approaches jobs just as a filmmaker would. “Stick to the Five Ws,” she says. “Who is the event about? What happened? When did it take place? Where was it? Why did it happen?” Any shots taken should be in favor of answering these crucial questions. So the story of your event could be: You and your significant other are celebrating 25 years of marriage at the restaurant where you met, and you hire an expert to commemorate this most auspicious occasion. Why? Because you love each other. On your 50th anniversary, you’ll take out the decades old photo album and be happy you had someone there to memorialize the day. Have an anniversary event you want to capture? Find your photographer today! ... MORE

Posted June 27, 2018

10 Reasons to Get Professional Engagement Photos

Marta Block

Every other week it seems a couple is deciding to tie the knot, sharing their news via Instagram or Facebook with a romantic photoshoot. In the old days, couples would send their engagement pictures to a hometown newspaper. Today, thanks to social media your photographs can be seen, shared and enjoyed by practically anyone. It’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement.  Like all wedding decisions, whether or not to invest in an engagement session has a lot to do with both time and money, and also whether an engagement photoshoot makes sense for you and your partner. If you have a lot of photos together already and you’d rather save the money or put it toward the wedding, go for it. If you want to capture the fresh excitement that comes from an engagement, here are ten reasons we think you should.... MORE

Posted June 27, 2018

Kids Birthday Photos: 5 Reasons to Hire a Pro

Nicole Putorak

Hire a professional photographer for your kids' birthday photos. Why? Let’s face it…you’re not Anne Geddes. And your juggling skills are half that of the clown you booked for your kid’s party. So with all of the responsibility that comes with pulling off the perfect party, why would you even consider being the event photographer, too? We have an idea: You concentrate on the party. Our professional photographers will handle the pictures.... MORE

Posted June 27, 2018

Hiring a Jazz Band for Your Wedding

Marta Block

If you're looking to hire a jazz band for your wedding, we can help! This advice from our Jazz members on how to hire a Jazz Band originally appeared on our sister blog, Life of the Party. ... MORE

Posted June 27, 2018

Ask the Experts: Negotiating with the Band

Marta Block

Question: Should I try to negotiate with your band? A: Yes. We recommend thinking of this as starting a conversation, as opposed to demanding a certain price. Try and find out a little bit more from the band about why their costs are what they are and what those costs include (travel, parking, set up and tear down?). Be polite, and ask if they have any room to negotiate in their price. ... MORE

Posted June 27, 2018

The Perfect Wedding Cocktail, 5 Tips to Create Yours

Marta Block

Special to GigMasters from mixologist H. Joseph Ehrmann of Elixir in San Francisco At GigMasters we know it takes two things to make a great party, great entertainment and great refreshments. Unfortunately, it can often seem like your budget makes you choose between the two. That's why one standard piece of wedding advice is to forgo a full bar in favor of a few specialty drinks. Mixologist H. Joseph Ehrmann can help you do just that with these tips.... MORE

Posted June 22, 2018

Ask the Experts: Band or DJ?

Marta Block

Question: Should I hire a DJ or a band for my wedding? A: Here at GigMasters we love bands and DJs equally! A lot of sites will tell you that the decision comes down to cost, but while DJs do cost less than bands, we don't think that should be the only factor for choosing your wedding entertainment.... MORE

Posted June 20, 2018

How To Choose a DJ

Amy

Most people's personal DJ experience does not range much farther than their desk at work, or in their car. While at my desk, I only take on the responsibility of choosing songs on Spotify or Apple Music as the background of my workday.... MORE

Posted June 20, 2018

Helping Your DJ Create A Memorable Event

Nicole Steeger

What can you do to ensure the success of your event? Hiring the right DJ is the key. The right DJ takes responsibility for your event’s success and will gladly work with you to create a fun and unique reception that is tailored to you and your needs. (GigMasters has some tips on how to choose your DJ). The following tips (from some of our own GigMasters DJs) will help you work with your DJ to put together an event to remember:... MORE

Posted June 19, 2018

Top 5 Entertainers for Summer Parties

Brittany Anderson

Throwing a kids’ party in spring time means the options are endless when choosing a theme, venue, and entertainment. We have plenty of local kids’ vendors that will create an unforgettable experience at your child’s party. ... MORE

Posted April 04, 2018

Spring Party Themes for Kids' Parties!

Brittany Anderson

The birds are singing and the sun is shining; spring is right around the corner! It’s a time of renewal and growth, and there’s plenty to celebrate! Kids love this season because they can finally get out and play! That’s why we’ve hand-picked these kids’ party themes that will make them spring with joy. ... MORE

Posted February 21, 2018

Santa Claus is Coming to Town: 3 Tips for Hiring Santa

Brittany Anderson

Having Santa arrive at a dinner, gift exchange, or community event will make for a truly magical experience! ... MORE

Posted November 24, 2017

Happy Fall 2017!

Brittany Anderson

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The fall season is a special one, as it’s scents and scenes bring great joy and nostalgia. ... MORE

Posted September 22, 2017

Kid-Approved Halloween Party Entertainment

Brittany Anderson

Each year, kids look forward to Halloween: the costumes, the candy and all of the fun. Sometimes, our holiday traditions may seem a little predictable. We’ve compiled a list of kid-approved Halloween entertainment to ensure that this party will be like no other. These are some of the most popular Halloween party entertainers for kids. 1. Mystical expereinces: Fortune Tellers, Psychics or Tarot Card Readers There are plenty of kid-friendly entertainers that any guest will love. Believe it or not, a fortune teller, psychic or tarot card reader would make a great addition to a Halloween party geared toward kids. The kids (and adults) will be amazed to hear what’s in store for their future! 2.Spooky songs: DJ  What’s a party without music? Put your iPhone down and leave the playlist up to the professional. They’ll be able to provide a variety of Halloween favorites (We’re talking “The Monster Mash” and The Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack.) as well as today’s top hits. 3. Magical moments: Magician  As if Halloween isn’t magical enough, book a magician to kick it up a notch. A mysterious magician can provide some tricks and treats on the spot to keep all guests engaged. 4. Point and shoot: Photo Booth  This is the perfect way to capture a boo-tiful photo op. Don’t forget the Halloween-themed props. The photo booth printouts are a great keepsake for guests to take home too. 5. Costume upgrade: Face Painter  Face painting is always a party favorite with kids. Set up a time for a face painter to make everyone’s costumes complete by matching face designs with their attire. 6. Perceptible party favors: Caricaturist  Having a caricaturist is a fun way to remember any event. A caricature from a Halloween party will be even more festive with all guests in costume. If you are interested in booking entertainment for your Halloween event, remember our top-rated entertainers and vendors books quickly. Everyone just loves Halloween! The earlier you book, the more likely you'll be able to hire your first choice of an entertainer. We can help you with everything from looking to booking. Get in touch with us, and one of our account specialists can help you find the perfect Halloween party entertainment to captivate every kid. Having trouble choosing a Halloween party theme? We can help with that too. Just take a look at our Halloween Pinterest board for some inspiration. Don’t forget to include your theme on your invitations so that your guests can dress their best for your spook-tacular event.... MORE

Posted September 13, 2017

Fall Parties for the Family!

Brittany Anderson

Fall means back to school for the kids and busier schedules for the family - but that doesn’t mean that the fun has to stop! Get ready for the crisp air, sweatshirts, bonfires, foliage, and start planning for some great fall parties.  ... MORE

Posted September 12, 2017

Kids Halloween Parties Made Easy

Brittany Anderson

Halloween is upon us, and it’s time to get spooky! We’ve thrown together a list of fun ideas that will make hosting a kid-friendly Halloween party an effortless task for any mummy or daddy. Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet, Give Me Something Good to Eat The number one reason why kids love Halloween? The candy! A simple yet delicious holiday-themed snack you can make for your little ones is witches' brooms. These tasty treats require no baking! Just stick pretzel sticks into upside down mini Reese’s cups, and you’re done! Another wickedly tasty treat you can make is Halloween candy bark with sour worms and gummy eyeballs mixed in. Creepy and delicious! If you’d rather stay out of the kitchen completely, stuff a Halloween piñata, such as a Frankenstein, ghost or black cat, with loads of fun-size candy. Witch Crafts Besides treats, we’ve got some tricks that’ll make your party stand out. The “guess how many pieces of candy corn are in the jar” game is so overdone. For a unique activity, make haunted houses out of popsicle sticks. You can use black, purple and grey paints for an eerie color scheme. For a finishing touch, adorn the artwork with cutouts of ghosts and pumpkins. The kiddos are also going to need something to hold all that candy in! Why use store-bought bags when you can make personalized ones? Use canvas totes or brown paper bags, some paint and a variety of stickers and stamps to create boo-tiful trick-or-treat bags. Make your party frightfully fun by bringing in a kid-friendly fortune teller or psychic to provide some in-house entertainment for all guests! Spooktakular Soirée Take advantage of the many free printables that are available online, and custom design your very own Halloween party invitations. While you’re at it, download some photo prop printouts, such as bat eyes, witches and monsters, for an Instagram moment that will make your event hauntingly memorable. For a longer-lasting disguise, book a face painter who can sit down with each guest and match artistic designs with their costumes. Lastly, your party would be incomplete without a scary good playlist. You can find premade Halloween playlists online. To make it even easier, leave it up to the professionals, and hire a DJ. ... MORE

Posted September 12, 2017

Real Event: Christmas in July

Brittany Anderson

The Party Starts Here at GigMasters and our clients sure do know how to party! It may not be Christmas just yet, but it’s never too early to get in the holiday spirit.  How do you do that, you might ask?  Well you throw a Christmas in July party with 12 of your best friends!  And, no Christmas in July party is complete without a visit from the big guy in red. ... MORE

Posted July 25, 2017

New Year's Eve at Your Place

Chelsea Pellegrino

The countdown to "the countdown" has almost begun - but before you chill the champagne and break out the noisemakers, you have to decide which New Year's Eve party you're going to attend! To this, we say: "there's no place like home." ... MORE

Posted December 21, 2015

9 Ideas for a Holiday Hot Chocolate Bar

Lilly Blomquist

The holiday season is quickly approaching, which means that everyone is starting to prepare for the upcoming festivities with holiday music, gingerbread houses and mistletoe. But, the excitement of the holidays also means dropping temperatures and falling snow. There’s no better way to warm up on a chilly evening than with a big glass of hot cocoa and a get-together with friends. Whether you’re hosting a holiday party or you’re just trying to bring your family and friends out of their winter hibernation, adding a hot cocoa station is perfect for setting that ambience.  Preparing a hot chocolate bar is an easy and festive way to entertain and satisfy any crowd. Kids and adults alike will love getting creative and customizing their own drink, and really, who doesn’t love hot chocolate? Hot chocolate bars can be as simple or as elaborate as you’d like, but to help you get some ideas flowing, these hot chocolate bar tips are a great place to start. From festive toppings to flavored infusions, these trending hot chocolate bar ideas will make the winter chill much more enjoyable. So, grab a mug and enjoy a glass (or a few). 1. Custom Marshmallow Shapes Photo Credit: White Poppy Weddings Jazz up your usual hot chocolate beverage with an assortment of marshmallows in various shapes, such as snowflakes, snowmen and Santas. If you’re feeling crafty, you can buy a bag of Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallows and make your own festive treats: Try dipping each marshmallow into melted chocolate, and layer it with crushed candy canes.  2. Cinnamon, Spice and Everything Nice Photo Credit: Melissa Fe Chapman Photography Spice up the taste of your hot chocolate with cinnamon and just a dash of cayenne pepper for a Mexican hot chocolate twist. It doesn’t matter if you’re making the hot chocolate from scratch or preparing a big batch of store-bought cocoa mix. In either case, just add the two ingredients into the batch until it has the level of flavor you’re going for. Garnish with cinnamon sticks, and voilà. If you want to offer even more flavors, create separate batches made with peppermint extract, caramel or butterscotch. 3. Frozen Hot Chocolate Photo Credit: Ivory Door Studio If the temperature is warmer where you live or if you just want to savor the chocolatey goodness for a little longer, frozen or iced hot chocolate is a tasty option. The rich, creamy and smooth texture will taste more like dessert and less like a drink. Plus, if you’re throwing a family holiday party and don’t want the kiddos to burn their tongues, frozen hot chocolate is an equally delicious drink at a milder temperature. For toppings, you can set up whipped cream and chocolate shavings as garnishes.  Bartender: Concoctions Bartending 4. Edible Straws and Stirring Spoons Photo Credit: K. Lenox Photography Replace plastic straws and spoons with an edible substitute that tastes a lot better and still gets the job done. You can stir your hot chocolate or sip the tasty drink with a cookie straw in chocolate, hazelnut or cinnamon flavors. The hot cocoa will soften the cookie, and the melted dessert will sweeten the drink even more. Plus, no spoons means means less dishes for you.  5. Gourmet Whipped Cream Photo Credit: Penelope L'amore Photography What’s hot cocoa without a swirl of whipped cream? Consider serving a few different flavors—in case you haven’t visited that section of the dairy aisle in awhile, you’d be surprised how many new flavors are adorning the shelves. Think: Hershey’s caramel whipped cream, Reese’s peanut butter whipped cream or Reddi Wip chocolate whipped cream. Guests can top off the whipped cream with chocolate syrup, holiday sprinkles and mini marshmallows. 6. Spiked Hot Cocoa Photo Credit: White Poppy Weddings People of all ages love hot chocolate, but if you’re throwing a holiday party for a crowd of adults, up the ante with boozy hot cocoa. Supplement the hot cocoa station with options like coffee liqueur, peppermint schnapps, whipped cream vodka or whiskey. 7. A Smorgasbord of Toppings Photo Credit: Elevate Photography Sure, hot chocolate is delicious on its own, but piling on the toppings takes the drink to a whole other level. Think: Sundae bar meets hot cocoa station. Set up a platter with a variety of candies, such as chocolate chips, chocolate shavings, coconut shavings, candy canes, mini marshmallows, caramel squares, red and green sprinkles and crushed M&M’s. Everyone can select their favorite toppings and have fun creating their own chocolate masterpieces.  8. A Drink That Fits Your Color Scheme Photo Credit: Ashton Kelley Photography If you’re having a themed party, your hot chocolate bar doesn’t have to deviate from your color palette. Choose a festive color, and gather mugs and candy toppings in that same hue. If you’re going for a red or green color scheme, fill bowls with holiday Hershey’s Kisses, M&M’s and gumdrops. The color-coordinated party will be an Instagrammable scene that everyone will want to capture.  9. Sweet Treats for Dipping Photo Credit: White Poppy Weddings Dipping cookies in milk is a classic, but have you ever tried dipping cookies in hot cocoa? Before the party, bake sugar cookies, cut them into holiday shapes like snowmen or stockings and decorate them with red and green icing and sprinkles. The holiday cookies will be a festive way to celebrate the season, and no one will go hungry. ... MORE

Posted December 21, 2015

3 Ways to Party in Winter

Chelsea Pellegrino

What’s the best way to knock out the Winter Blues?  By turning the season into a celebration! The holidays might be over for now, but there are still plenty of ways to party. From the chilly Northeast to the sunny Southwest, here are three winter party ideas fit for everywhere... MORE

Posted December 01, 2015

Photo Booth Fun: Host a Holiday Picture Party

Terri Zimmer

Soon, your mailbox will be filled with beautiful holiday photo cards. The story behind the card is usually anything but picture perfect. Getting those pictures? The struggle is real. Getting everyone dressed up and silently praying nothing messes up those outfits before the shoot. Waiting in line at the mall and/or fighting with your camera’s timer…it’s all more holiday stress than you need.... MORE

Posted December 01, 2015

A Hanukkah Party to Rock the Ages

Marta Block

If you understand the pun in the title of this post, you've probably been to a Hanukkah party or two. But if you're new to the idea of a Hanukkah party, or are just looking for some ideas to spice up your annual festival of lights, we've got tips.... MORE

Posted November 30, 2015

An Easy Guide to Hosting a Hanukkah Party

Marta Block

The obvious first step in hosting a Hanukkah party is to pick a spelling! Just kidding, but if you aren't that familiar with the Jewish holiday the multiple spellings of the name can be just one of the many things that intimidate you about throwing a Hanukkah party. That's why we have this easy guide. ... MORE

Posted November 30, 2015

Corporate Holiday Party Planning 101

Chelsea Pellegrino

Can you believe it’s that time of year already!? That’s right – it’s time to start planning your corporate holiday celebrations. While there are many things to consider when corporate party planning, you don’t need to panic – GigMasters is here to help you get started. From venue to menu, we’ve covered all the points you’ll need to tackle for hosting the best holiday bash ever!... MORE

Posted November 30, 2015

Holiday Weddings: Do You Dare?

Marta Block

Certain wedding arguments just never seem to get solved. Should you have children at your wedding? Are destination weddings rude or fun? Will the black wedding dress ever really take off? You can add, should you have your wedding on a holiday to the list.... MORE

Posted November 30, 2015

No Spoilers Here: Surprise Party Planning Tips

Chelsea Pellegrino

SURPRISE – planning a party takes work, especially when you’re trying to keep it under wraps! Before planning a surprise party, you should ask yourself…does the person I’m planning this for actually like surprises? If the answer is no, then you have an entirely different party to plan. If the answer is yes, we suggest you read on for our suggestions on entering stealth mode and putting together a spoiler-free surprise event.... MORE

Posted October 21, 2015

20 Ways to Have the Best Halloween Party Ever

Lilly Blomquist

Halloween is a holiday of pure fun, magic and a little bit of mischief. Make 2019 the best Halloween. EVER. How you ask? By adding unexpected entertainment to this year’s Halloween party. Upgrade from the standard Jack-o-lanterns and skeletons to crazy-fun hypnotists or magicians. We rounded up the amazing entertainers you should hire this year. 1. Sword Swallowers  The only thing that might hurt more than overconsuming sugary candy is swallowing a sharp sword. To prevent amateurs from trying this stunt at home, hire a professional! Arranging for qualified sword swallowers to perform at your next Halloween party will give your guests a fright without putting them in physical danger. This mind-boggling entertainment will be hard to digest (literally) and will leave the whole crowd wondering and wanting more. It will definitely be one for the books. See All Sword Swallowers 2. Hypnotists Who needs a cauldron full of witch’s brew when you can hire hypnotists to work their magic! Watch your guests perform outrageous and hilarious acts under a hypnotist’s mesmerizing spell. Brave volunteers and audience members will get a taste of the supernatural world by experiencing hypnosis in action. A hypnotist will make the party a magical, mysterious and memorable event.  See All Hypnotists 3. Contortionists You’ll feel like you’re in a sci-fi story while witnessing contortionists twist and bend their bodies in unnatural ways. These professionals give flexibility a whole new meaning by pushing past their bodies’ limits. After watching a few minutes of someone work themselves into a human pretzel, you might be tempted to give it a try, but maybe start with baby steps. Post Halloween yoga, anyone? See All Contortionists 4. Psychics A qualified psychic would probably tell you that you’re about to throw the best party ever. Trust them. Although the term “psychic” and “fortune teller” are often used synonymously, there are some distinctive differences between these talents. For example, some psychics may offer clairvoyant abilities (the ability to clearly see objects, events or people from the past, present or future) or palmistry and handwriting analysis.  Through private readings or small group sessions, psychics can create a personalized and individual experience for everyone, making their talents a perfect addition to any type of party or age range. See All Psychics 5. Magicians Photo Credit: Gary Goodman Magical Productions, Magician Do you believe in magic? Even the skeptics will put logic and certainty on hold while they watch magicians pull a few tricks out of their sleeve. We all need a little magic in our lives, and there is no better occasion to embrace wonderment than a Halloween festivity. By adding a thrilling magician to your party, you’ll be hearing “How’d he do that?” all night. See All Magicians  6. Photographers Hire a photographer to capture every magical moment at your epic party. You’ll want to enjoy the festivities, not record them. Even after the Halloween season comes to a close, you can look back at the photos from the party and still experience an enchanting thrill.  See All Photographers 7. Costumed Characters Photo Credit: The Pure Imagination Party Company, Costumed Characters Are you throwing a movie, TV show or fairy tale themed Halloween party? Have a real character from the storyline show up. A surprise appearance from a Star Trooper or Marvel superhero will be an Instagram moment everyone will want to capture. Your guests will spend the party expanding their imaginations in a make-believe land.  See All Costumed Characters 8. Bartenders If you’re throwing a Halloween party for the 21 and older club, consider booking a bartender so that you don’t have to be mixing drinks all night. These pros know spirits (not the ghostly kind) inside and out, so they can whip up an enchanting signature cocktail from their own book of spells. The only thing scarier than Halloween is a thirsty guest!  See All Bartenders 9. Fortune Tellers Photo Credit: Kate Wind, Astrologer Are you ready to unlock a few secrets? A professional fortune teller will attempt to tell you everything about your unknown future. By hiring a fortune teller for your Halloween party, guests will be able to open a portal into their own futures and teleport themselves to an unforeseeable world. A fortune teller will create an eerie, futuristic mood. See All Fortune Tellers 10. Mini Donut Truck Photo Credit: Glazed and Confused, Food Truck Think about offering your guests something sweet in addition to—the very expected—candy selection. Hiring a specialty food truck, like these mini donuts, make a way bigger impression. With a large selection of tasty flavors, frostings and toppings, donuts will satisfy a sweet tooth with something more unique and nontraditional than store-bought candy.  See All Food Trucks 11. Face Painters Photo Credit: Merry Heart Entertainment, Face Painting A painted face is practically a costume in itself. For a vibrant and eye-catching Halloween extravaganza, a professional face painter can design a mask on anyone’s face. With face paint, kids can be transformed into mythical creatures, animals or superheroes. Adults can join in on the fun too! Some popular favorites with grown-ups are mermaid face illustrations, skeleton makeup and metallic body jewelry.  See All Face Painters 12. DJs Photo Credit: Nick Z Events, DJ A party isn’t a party without a little music! Set the tune of your Halloween celebration with head-bopping, foot-tapping music from a skilled DJ. If you want to keep people engaged throughout the night, ask the DJ to sprinkle in a few well-known Halloween ballads, like “Monster Mash,” “Thriller” and “Ghostbusters.” On the other hand, if you want to stay away from any obvious Halloween-like songs, convey that ahead of time with a “do not play” list. See All DJs 13. Fire Eaters Photo Credit: Amara Dance Productions, Fire Eater Fire spinning, fire twirling, fire belly dancing, fire breathing—these professionals know how to captivate a crowd. Depending on what exactly you’re looking to book, most fire eating performances are choreographed and can be set to requested tunes. Not only that, but you might be able to request certain props or costumes to fit your exact party theme. (Wink wink, Game of Thrones fans.) See All Fire Eaters 14. Celebrity Impersonators Photo Credit: Athena Reich, Impersonators of Gaga, Marilyn, Celine, Cher and more Bring entertainment and costume envy to the party! A celeb impersonator will show you how to really channel your inner Lady Gaga or Elvis. Every impersonator is different. Sometimes there are multiple costume changes on the agenda, stage performances or “roving” around the room to interact with all of the attendees. When booking an impersonator for your Halloween party, make sure to specify which performance style and celebrity you want to visit. See All Impersonators  15. Ventriloquist Photo Credit: Marc Rubben, Corporate Comedian Ventriloquist Wait, did you hear something? Who just said that? During this performance, you’ll watch characters come to life right before your eyes. The act will be so believable that everyone will be wondering if the puppet really did open its mouth to say something.  See All Ventriloquists 16. Unicyclists Photo Credit: Magical Memories Entertainment, Circus Act Add some energy, movement and life to your Halloween party with a balancing act. Unicyclists have a special talent of stabilizing their bodies on a single-wheeled bike while putting on a spectacular performance with their upper body, like juggling. This kind of entertainment would be perfect for a circus or carnival Halloween party theme.  See All Unicyclists  17. Snake Charmers If you’re looking to take your Halloween party to a whole other level of scary, consider hiring a snake charmer. A snake charmer pairs enchanting dance moves with tricks performed by their slithering assistants. Whatever your Halloween party theme may be, you can ask these pros to tailor their performance to fit your party’s mood. See All Snake Charmers 18. Caricaturist Cartoon Credit: Dino Diartist, Caricaturist If you are eager to lighten the mood during your Halloween party, think about hiring a caricaturist. These entertainers and artists joke around with their subjects with goofy, yet insanely impressive cartoon drawings. Everyone will have a good cackle and can bring home a piece of artwork as a party favor.  See All Caricaturists  19. Belly Dancers Photo Credit: Amber Sol Belly Dancer, Belly Dancer These skilled dancers share their artistic talent and lively energy by performing classic Egyptian-style dances. Sometimes belly dancing is more of a performance for the crowd to watch, or it can be more interactive and guests can dance along. Expect everyone to dance the night away.  See All Belly Dancers 20. Animals Kids and adults will be able to get up close and personal with exotic animals if you arrange for a petting zoo to bring some Halloween party fun. Guests can pet, hold and play with living creatures, like geckos, lizards, frogs, turtles and snakes. With the help of professional animal handlers, young guests, like children, can take away a lesson on how to properly interact with animals.  See All Petting Zoos ... MORE

Posted October 09, 2015

Halloween Party Theme and Color Palette Ideas

Chelsea Pellegrino

Want to hear something scary? Halloween is almost here! While some of you might have been preparing your party since last November, others may need some help to kick into party planning mode. We're here to give you some fresh ideas on how to achieve a Halloween party that fits your style. Eerie Elegance Photo Credit: Pizzazzerie Gone are the days when basic black and orange tablecloths are the only linens to make an appearance. Halloween can be a celebration as fun or as elegant as you want it to be! This trick-or-treat table inspiration from Pizzazzerie is the perfect combination of spooky and chic. The black and white color scheme brings an unexpectedly classy spin to the spiders and ghosts on display. Boo-tiful Brunch Photo credit: Sheek Shindigs Who says Halloween has to be a nighttime event? We love this adorable breakfast or brunch idea for Halloween morning or the day after. It's especially sensible for families with young children or for those who just want to celebrate all day! Sheek Shindigs shows us the perfect setup, which is complete with pumpkin muffins and candy bags full of cereal! How cute are the ghost milk jars? You can easily make the faces with googly eyes and construction paper from your local craft store.  Less Fright, More Fun Photo credit: Elva M Design Studio If you're looking to have a kids party that's less frightful and more friendly, then this inspiration from Elva M Design Studio has your name on it! The bright colors and fun patterns make this setup cheerful. It includes all kinds of kid favorites, like candy, juice bottles and streamers! To keep the little guests entertained, book a face painter. It'll add that extra something to everyone's costumes. Gothic Get-Together  Photo credit: HelloMySweet If you're aiming for something a little spookier, check out this gothic get-together from HelloMySweet on Etsy. She even sells all of the printables if you want to recreate the look at home! Dark colors and eerie elements, like these faux crows, will set the tone for this theme. Guests will love snacking on gooey brains, mummified pretzels and peanut butter ghosts. A fortune teller would make a fantastic addition to this setting. (Read how to hire one here!) There you have it. No matter what your Halloween party style is, from bright and kid-friendly to elegant and eerie, your guests will have a ghoulishly good time. ... MORE

Posted October 09, 2015

Killer Halloween Party Themes

Drew Stoga

Halloween is one of our favorite holidays.  When else can you dress like a pirate and get free candy? Hopefully not that often. Halloween parties can be blast but they can also be, well, a bit lame.  Great Halloween party themes are hard to come by.  Putting a couple Halloween decorations on the wall and playing “The Monster Mash” isn’t enough to keep your guests happy. To that end we have come up with four Halloween party ideas that will thrill your guests... MORE

Posted August 31, 2015

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