Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Event Lighting

I adore event lighting. In my humble opinion (and disagree with me if you like), an evening event is only as good as its lighting. It can transform your space from warm to cold, from vibrant to subdue, and from ordinary to extraordinary. Lighting is used to illuminate what you want your guests to see and hide what you want to hide. The story of your event can often be told with lighting. Have I explained how important lighting is yet? So, how do you achieve the perfect lighting for your event? You must consider a few different sources of lighting...


Consider what type of lighting you have for the walls and ceiling of your venue. Adding light and color to your venue can be achieved in many different ways. Many newer venues already have LED lights built into to their space. For those venues, its a simple matter of choosing which colors. For this event, the theme was Peacock and the colors were turquoise, chocolate brown, and fuchsia. As guests walked in, they were treated to a wash of the theme colors all over the space. Draping along the walls and ceiling helped illuminate the color across the venue. If you don't have draping, simply add a few extra lights to ensure that you have proper coverage on your walls of the color you desire.

As the night progressed into a dance party (because what great wedding doesn't), the lighting changed to a deep cobalt blue. The coolness of the blue and the warmth of the candles still burning created a fire and ice type of look which was pretty spectacular (my iPhone photos do not do this place justice).

For venues that do not have built in lighting, you will need to bring in your own. Many companies sell or rent uplighting. It used to be that you had to rent canisters that got very hot and needed to be plugged in, but now they make battery powered LED lights that you place around your venue and you are all set! Also, keep the uplighting consistent. Decide on one color to wash the walls with. Want different colors? Consider renting lights that change colors throughout the night and change them from one to the other. If you are going to have multiple colors, make sure they blend. The result of having two different colors is that you have competing colors and can make the space look busy and takes away from the elegance.

Having an outdoor event? Try uplighting on the side of a building or on a tree and transform the space you have.

Table Lighting

The second source of light should come from the guests tables. In this same wedding, the bride decided to use a few candles on each table to give a warmth to the table. Since the space was well lit, the candles didn't need to serve as a light source but rather a d├ęcor.

Hanging Lights

Many people hang lights overhead to provide light and a party element to their space. Many people choose to hang lights overhead and select either market lights (large bulbs) or twinkle lights. The use of Chinese lanterns also lights up the space and adds a touch of color above the guests and can easily attach to a strand of lights.

Flood Lights

Having an outdoor event? Place one or two flood lights to just give your space a little more light. It will give your guests much needed light without making the space too bright.

That's it for lighting. Hope this inspires you to light up your next event. Need more inspiration? For more tips please visit us at

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We would love to help you make your next event amazing!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Brunch Fit for Mom

My mom is pretty amazing. She is my best friend, biggest supporter, and overall pretty awesome person. So, I knew I wanted to do something great for Mother's Day, so I hosted a brunch!

OK, OK, I know it has already been a few weeks since Mother's Day, but hey, we have been busy over here (more on that later).

First, I wanted to choose a theme that 1) mom would like and 2) best utilized what materials I already had. My mom loves black and modern designs, so I chose a black and ombre pink theme for our brunch. I already had black table clothes from my business (you can rent them too starting at $6 each). I ordered additional chair sashes that took the place of runners at the dessert bar. I set a budget of $10 a person for food and decor (it's still on the low end without being cheap, because hey- it's mom!)

Our buffet was filled with foods that didn't need to be heated up (less work for me), and that were fresh and colorful. I made pinwheel roast beef sandwiches, pasta salad, hummus with yellow and red peppers, a cheese platter with several cheeses, honey, and blackberries, pita chips, kettle cooked potato chips, and fresh fruit. My mom and dad don't eat much, so no need to go big on the food. The table was simple but filled. All the plates and bowls were square to give a uniform theme (with the exception of the pasta salad).

For the background of the buffet and dessert tables, I chose to make paper rosettes. They are pretty popular right now, and relatively easy to make. Oh, and did I mention pretty inexpensive? All the rosettes were made for about $20 (and they are fantastic quality, much better than the cheap tissue paper ones ;)

As far as the actual tables themselves, I knew I wanted to do a great dessert table. Rather than purchasing or renting another table for it, I used two smaller bookshelves draped in cloth as our dessert bar. For height, I added two cardboard boxes under the tablecloth (see above).

Drinks were simple. I had lemon water, coffee, a mimosa bar, and assorted sodas for our guests. No one really drinks in my family, so it was the perfect amount. For the Mimosa Bar, I purchased plastic carafes from Party City and placed assorted fruit juice in them. To keep them cold, I froze a chunk of ice directly into the container and added shaved ice at the top.

 Seating proved to be a challenge. We have a smaller place with little seating. We had 10 guests coming, and needed a place for everyone. So, I brought in the chairs from the patio, the office, and the dinning room. Of course, none of them match! To make them all fit in, I added black and pink to each section. The patio chairs got black pillows and  the black chair got a pink one. I them grouped each two chairs together and added a table with a small flower arrangement on it.
The tables- yeah, they are TV trays. I draped them to look a little better. I think the look helped to unify the room to the theme without going overboard on spending money on decor. Each sash cost $1 and the arrangements were $5 each.
Speaking of arrangement, I chose my mom's favorite- daisies! Plus, the are pretty darn affordable! I got them for $1 each from Whole Foods and they made 4 lovely arrangements.

Finally, the dessert bar. I made vanilla cupcakes with homemade raspberry icing (use fresh crushed raspberry juice for an amazing flavor and color). I also made homemade macrons which came out pretty good for my FIRST attempt at the infamous cookie. Finally, I had a hot fudge sundae bar with ice cream pre-scooped waiting in the freezer for guests to devour it! It was definitely my favorite part of the brunch!

Finally, entertainment. I found the 60's music channel and we rocked out to some great oldies. My mom kept commenting on how much she liked the music, so that was a big hit!

So, overall it was a huge success, and the cost came in right at $100 for everything, which goes to show that amazing parties can be achieved with a little time and creativity and not a lot of money!

Visit us at and like us at for tips and inspiration for your events!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

DIY Done Right

DIY - its all the rage. Ladies and gentlemen all over are taking to craft stores and flea markets to gather materials to create amazing and personal items for their weddings and events.  DIY can be tricky though... when done well, you have a great finished product that you can't tell it is DIY. When done poorly it looks, well, amateur.

A DIY Bridesmaid's Giftbag

So, how can you incorporate DIY aspects into your amazing wedding or event and make them work? Here are a few do's and don't when considering DIY projects:

DO: Take your time doing your DIY project. It should be perfect or close to perfect. Have a steady hand, keep your lines straight, and use the right glue/tape. Count on doing 3-5 demos before finding your groove.

DO: Take advantage of classes, YouTube videos, tutorials. There are people that have done your project (or similar to yours) who can give you helpful hints to make it perfect.

DO: Incorporate elements of DIY with professionally done items. Invitations are perfect for this. Have a professional invitation, but then add your own embellishments for a personal, skilled look.

DO: Know your limitations. This takes a bit of self-awareness, but know what you are good at and the skill level for a project. You probably won't paint a good self-portrait for your wedding, so don't try that project. I'm not saying that you shouldn't try anything new, but know your skill set and know the level of difficulty of your pending project.

DON'T: Print or hand write anything unless you have nice handwritings or are a skilled calligrapher. With the ease of computers and the amount of materials available at craft stores, don't take the easy way out. Sloppy handwriting looks sloppy, no matter how nice the item you are printing onto is.

DON'T: Enlist the help of your friends if they are not good at DIY stuff. This may sound harsh, but true. Many bridal sites and magazines suggest making a day out of DIY and enlilsting your bridesmaids to help you with your prijects. Don't do this if they aren't good at what you are doing. You will be stuck with a finished product that you aren't happy with.

DON'T: Wait until the last minute to do you DIY projects. For weddings, everything should be 1 month prior. For events, two weeks. There will be so many other things you need to do, get your DIY projects done in plenty of time.

I hope these tips help. DIY can be so much fun, but you also want a project that you can be proud of. Know what you want, have a plan, and enjoy the process. Keep these in mind and you will have an Amazing DIY Wedding or Event.

for inspiration, please visit our website at or our facebook at www.facebook/amazingdiyweddingsandevents

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

An Amazing Outdoor Affair

Small Centerpieces in a Park Setting
 Outdoor events are absolutely fantastic to plan and attend. Whether its a park, the ocean, or a back yard, outdoor events can be spectacular, as long as you plan accordingly and ensure you have everything you need to make the event amazing. Here are a few things to consider when planning for an outdoor wedding or event:


Weather is always a tough one. A sunny day is ideal, but mother nature won't hold off simply because you have a fabulous event to host. Plan for rain, wind, extreme heat, and cold. Consider having a tent on standby with the rental company in case you need it to shelter your guests from rain, cold, or wind. Also have a few heat lamps if cold may be a concern. For wind, make sure everything is secure. Clip your tablecloths, make sure you have a paperweight or something heavy for napkins, etc. For heat, make sure you have shade, extra water, and misters if possible.


No one wants to consider it, but when outdoors you are in bugs' land. Its not reason to avoid the outdoors, but you do have to prepare for it. First, if you are using anything that has sat outside for any amount of time, shake it out or spray it down with spider and bug spray. I was outside at a hotel once and a black widow crawled out from underneath a chair where my friend's 3 year old was sitting- scared us to death! Next, if your area is prone to bees or flies, set up a bug zapper, spray the area prior to your event, and use citronella candles throughout your space. Keep food covered under netting or covers when not being use.


While you can use silverware, glassware, and china, for less formal events, consider disposable place settings! You can purchase high quality plastic items that make amazing settings, and the best part is it is all disposable!



To frame your space, consider Chinese lanterns or paper poms hung throughout your space. Just make sure they are secure in case of wind.


If you are not near an indoor area, plan ahead. Bring extra paper towels, wipes both for hands and cleaning, and extra water to wash items.
Outdoor events can be amazing, and with a little planning and organization, it can be executed flawlessly.
Amazing DIY Events is located in Los Angeles, CA. We specialize in DIY Weddings and Events and would love to help you plan and coordinate your wedding or event. Please visit us at

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Introverted Bride vs. Special Event or Wedding

Are you an introvert?

 Are you someone who feels their energy drain the more you are surrounded by a group of people? Does the thought of a large party make you anxious? Do you prefer the company of yourself rather than others?  Chances are, you are an introvert (there is a great facebook page for introverts- “Introverts are awesome”, please check it out if you suspect yourself as an introvert and want to join a community of introverts). So, if you are an introvert, how can you thrive during your big day?

How to thrive during your special event or wedding:

First, I am an introvert, so I know this situation too well. I knew my wedding was going to be an amazing experience (I enjoyed design and planning so much I launched a wedding planning company, Amazing DIY Events). Having said that, I knew that the time leading up to my wedding and my wedding day itself would be stressful  and highly social. To combat my anxiety and allow myself time to recharge, I created a plan. I am going to share a few tips I did, and some tips that I give my introverted brides before their big day:

1)      You MUST plan time for yourself! You will be inundated with teas and rehearsal dinners and time with your family and friends before the wedding (especially a destination wedding). You must be true to yourself and give yourself the time to recharge in between these events. Give yourself time every day to recharge. Don’t plan events one right after the other. Limit them to one or two a day, to allow you to relax in between them.   On your wedding day, give yourself a good few hours before you meet with your bridesmaids to get ready. I didn’t have my bridesmaids meet me until 12, giving me the morning to reflect, recharge, and prepare for my big day. It was exactly what I needed.

2)      Give yourself SPACE. When you do meet with your bridesmaids, try to book a two room suite so you can step into the other room if you need. At your venue, find a place that is “yours” that your guests aren’t allowed to enter (or deter them away from the location.  Being the bride or guest of honor, you will be surrounded by smiling faces the whole time. Plan in advance where you will go if you need to relax for a few minutes.

3)      Explain your plans to your closest friends and family- if they know what you need, most likely they will want to help you feel comfortable (or at least not be offended if you all of a sudden rush off).

4)      Hire a planner who understands you feelings as an introvert. An overly extroverted planner may make you feel anxious or misunderstood (and many planners are extreme extroverts). I hired someone who was introverted as well, and we immediately connected. She knew what I needed and was able to help me.

As a fellow introvert, I understand the anxiety and trepidation with a special event or wedding. Amazing DIY Events understands the needs of introverts and is ready to help with your wedding or event. We ensure that you have everything planned, including time to yourself. We also attend anything with you if you need support with any meetings with your vendors. We also provide e-mail correspondence or telephone conversations in lieu of meeting in person.  We will work with you to make your day amazing.

Message us on our facebook page “Amazing DIY Events” for more information. We offer customized packages, starting at $300 for day of coordination services.  Good luck with your plans!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

How Do I Start Planning for My Event?

Where do I start? It's usually the first question a host or hostess asks when the decision has been made to throw any sort of event. For me, an event can be any gathering. It doesn't have to be a wedding per se (although that is the ULTIMATE event, and we will touch on weddings in their own blogs), but it does need to be special. An event is your time to tell a story through theme, decorations, food, and drink. It expresses who you are and who the guest of honor is (if different than you).

Sounds daunting and overwhelming? Doesn't have to be. Start with an outline of your plans. Ask yourself the following questions:

Who is attending your event? (guest list)
Who are your guests?
Who is this event for?
Who is helping you?
Who is monitoring everything throughout the night to ensure this event is a success?

What kind of event is this? (engagement party, birthday party). Are there certain rituals that are associated with this event?
What kind of food are you serving? (make a shopping list for this)
What kind of drink are you serving?
What are your decorations?
What are your guests going to do during this event?
What are they going to sit on?
What are they going to eat on? drink on?
What are they going to listen to?

Where is this event being held (venue)?
Where should you set up everything? (food, drink, music, sitting areas)
Where are your guests going to park?
Where are you guests going to use the restroom? (gross, but necessity)
Where are your guests going to throw away trash?

When? ( I highly suggest creating a timeline for that day to keep yourself on track)
When is this event? (date and time)
When are you going to set up?
When are you going to set food out? drinks out? cake?
When are you going to end the event?

Are you doing this for your best friend of 20 years? Or are you doing this because you have the big house and was volun-told to do this event? If its the latter, consider recruiting extra help in getting this done!

How are you going to pull this off, be well rested enough to enjoy your event, and have it run smoothly throughout the night?

Personally, I always had four lists for any event: a shopping checklist, a cleaning list (if using my own house), a set-up checklist, and a timeline for the day, including when to set up food/drinks/decorations, when to cook certain items. Everything was written down, so all I did was execute what I had already planned. This may work for you too.

I always made it a goal to do as little as possible on the actual day of the event. Start your cleaning projects one week out, covering the deep cleaning first, then the light on the night before or even the morning of. Prep as much as you can the day before as well, including decorations and food. Event with all this prep, an event can still be a stressful and exhausting time (although a fun one)

For really important events, hiring a Day of Coordinator is a great idea. (You don't want to be prepping in your kitchen at your best friends engagement party, do you?) Amazing DIY Events is available to help with any of your events. Services start at just $50 and can greatly save you time and energy the day of your big event! Visit us at for more information. Blogs every Tuesday- so check back with us next week when we discuss themes!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Welcome to Amazing DIY Events

Welcome to Amazing DIY Events!

What makes an Amazing DIY Event? Is it a simple affair with a few close friends, or a platinum event with you and 500 guests? Is it one where the host/hostess does everything from playing cook and bartender or is it one where all the guests contrbute something towards the event? Whatever event you want to create, we can help you make it amazing.

Who am I?

My name is Erika DuVal, owner of Amazing DIY Events. I have always been a planner. While I wasn't the little girl who dreamed about her ideal wedding, I was always a planner. When I was in the 5th grade, my father drove me and 4 of my friends to Six Flags. While I was excited about going, I was more concerned/excited about the trip over and back. Part of my planning included seating (who should sit where), food and drink (snacks would be provided and ready in a cooler), blankets and pillows for comfort, and a few mixed tapes (entertainment). I even drew a seating chart. When my grandmother and grandfather had the family over for their anniversary, I proceeded to plan the events around the night (at age 8) and provided everyone itineraries when the walked in the door.

This is what I loved to do. Then I grew up and thought that getting a J.O.B was the way to go. I went through school, obtained my Master's degree, and worked my way up the corporate world. While I enjoyed helping friends with their weddings and parties, and heading corporate events, I never considered a career out of it until I planned my own wedding. I fell in love all over again- this time with weddings, bridal showers, engagements parties, etc. I am excited to share my knowledge, organization, and great attention to detail with you, my clients.

Why Amazing DIY Events?

I started Amazing DIY Events for you: the DIY bride or hostess that wants to plan their own amazing event, but for whatever reason, either necessity or choice, find themselves planning a part or all of it on your own. While this process may be a bit daunting, we provide tools and support to help you through the process so you actually have fun with it!

So, why is Amazing DIY Events your place for your DIY planning? DIY brides have probably already done your research, but for those that haven't: Wedding Planners cost anywhere from $2,000- $10,000. They are there full time, answer all of your questions, make all of your phone calls, etc. The next option is to hire a Day of Coordinator, who comes in the day of your wedding and coordinates all events that day, charging anywhere from $500- $1000 for the day. I had a day of coordinator, and while she was fantastic, I had to spend a good 2-3 hours going over everything with her 3 days before my wedding, and even then I didn't feel like she understood my wedding fully.

Amazing DIY Events is different: We offer planning services, but at an a la carte option, so that you can customize what you need from us. We will still be there throughout the planning process, but more of a coach rather than a planner. The result is that you get a personal coach throughout the planning of your event, but at a lower cost. We also provide inspiration and ideas to DIY planners, showing you how to execute your amazing day.

Weekly Inspiration:

Check back every Tuesday for a new ideas, inspiration, and help! Check us out at for our services and information.

Thank you!