Practical Tips, From a North Shore Night


Sometimes my day job is actually my dream job..

A week ago I was fortunate enough to fly to the North Shore of Oahu to host an evening honoring some of our key Billabong retail partners. The task – with a minimal budget and imminent rainfall, create an outdoor dinner setting for 45 guests. The result – an evening filled with live music, open bar, new and old acquaintances, crazy good food and a chilly evening in paradise.  Here’s how it all went down…

Practical Tip 1) Ensure if you rent a tent, and know you are potentially going to encounter gnarly weather, that it is wide enough to keep your guest away from the elements. I’ve made the mistake in the past of renting tents that were too narrow and just barely covered the width of the the table and chairs…and then it started raining. Damp dinner = not awesome. #neveragain.

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Practical Tip 2) Build your table one layer at a time. Start with the elements you want to highlight most and place those on your table first. Build your centerpieces around those items  (in this case, it was a dozen pineapples that I wanted featured on the tablescape). However don’t be afraid to edit down once you are down. Sometimes less is more. Rarely do I set a table and not remove something from it by the end.

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Practical Tip 3) If hosting a destination event, work to collect and ship as much as you can in advance. There are few more stressful experiences than being in a foreign location and not able to locate the items you need for a party you are hosting. I always ship a small tool kit of things I may need as well – scissors, string, tape etc. Don’t let simple necessities take away time and energy from your event planning day. “Be prepared.”

And don’t forget to plan ahead and ship early friends- no budget should be eaten up by rush UPS charges! Ground shipping = key.


Practical Tip 4) Don’t forget the details. Custom wine labels cost as much as a trip to staples to buy a packet of stickers. Hand painted signage (thank you Carly Bennett) are absolutely do-able with a piece of plywood and paint pens for any of you with fabulous hand writing (I do not…again, thank you Carly Bennett!).

A note on the wine labels – if you don’t want to spend the time to strip the OG bottle labels, just ensure you purchase wine with a smaller label on it to begin with, and simple cover it with your new label. As long as your custom labels aren’t white/too thin you should be in luck and able to avoid the tedious task of scrapping labels.

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Practical Tip 5) Don’t be afraid to mix and match linens if you don’t have enough of any single style (hello who has more than 8-10 of any linen set?!). Find textures and colors that complement each other, and don’t worry about them matching. The more customized the look, the better! Make the evening unique to you.

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Practical Tip of the Day:

“Those lights aren’t twinkling Clark….”

Always be aware of the watts that your outlet can handle. Typically, standard LED lights can power up to 10 strands without issue, however check the wattage on your light strands and find out what the max capacity is before they blow….the ambiance that twinkling lights gives off is magical…sitting in the dark, is not. Don’t blow it.

See you next year North Shore!

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