Halloween is This Friday!

The month of October flew by and we can’t believe Halloween is already here! From candy corn vases to the Black Widow cocktail, we’ve got the perfect ideas for your Halloween celebration. Whether you are planning a small get together or throwing a big bash, these unique party ideas will be sure to spook your guests! Keep reading… if you dare!


No knife? No problem! You don’t need to be a master carver to make these pumpkin decorations. All you need is some glitter, paint or markers – anything will do the trick…or treat.  Use them as centerpieces for your dinner or coffee table, place them on your mantel, or along your stairs.  Decorated pumpkins will also last a few weeks longer than carved pumpkins so feel free to create these early!






Photo Credits: DIY & Crafts, Grand in Road, How Does She?

If you aren’t into spooky Halloween decorations but still want to incorporate small accents around the house, these candy corn centerpieces are simple to do and adorable!










Photo Credits: Better Homes & Gardens, DIY & Crafts

On the other hand if you are REALLY into Halloween, use these awesome table displays as inspiration for your themed party! Bring Halloween alive with candle sticks, pumpkins, skulls and witch hats.  Doing a themed table display for appetizers, desserts, and drinks will tie everything together for your party!






Photo Credits: PSXO, Frog Prince Paperie

If you are going for a vintage look for your Halloween table, these printable Apothecary style candy jar labels are sure to give your guests goose bumps when picking out their treats. For a twist on your candy display, stick these aged medicine style labels on different sized glass jars and fill with candy.  Lizard legs anyone?







Photo Credit: The Project Girl

Treats & Cocktails

Adding festive treats and cocktails to your bash is easy, thanks to these great recipes! The parfait below contains only three ingredients so you can whip it up in a flash. It fits the theme perfectly and is sure to please the goblins at your party!  The brownies are an easy Betty Crocker recipe with just marshmallow and white frosting added on top for the ghost.  And who doesn’t love Chex Puppy Chow?  Just add some candy corn to the mix and you got yourself Halloween Puppy Chow!  How easy and delicious is that?






Photo Credits: Frog Prince PaperieBetty CrockerLil Luna

These Halloween cocktails are easy to make and use ingredients you may even already have in your cabinet. They are also sinfully delicious! The Black Widow Cocktail is a fruity martini garnished with a string of black licorice to look like spider legs…how cleaver!  The Hocus Pocus Fizz is a refreshing bubbly drink and can be made non-alcoholic (for the kids) by subbing the sparkling white wine for sparkling white grape juice.  Our favorite drink is the Zombie Slime Shooter.  It’s an alcohol packed concoction sweet enough to please your darkest guest.  We love the added blood slime around the rim of the glass! Click the links below for the recipes.






Photo Credits: Pink Recipe Box, The Little Kitchen, Country Living

Party Favors

Hosting a Halloween dinner party? Create these spooky, candy filled headstones, which can then be sent home with your guests as party favors. Customize each headstone with your guest’s name and favorite candy.  Looking for another simple party favor idea?  Fill a latex glove with some yummy treats, tie with ribbon and add a spider ring to finish it off.









Photo Credits: Martha Stewart, The Kitchn

Contact us today for more ideas on how to make your Halloween party unique, creative and extraordinary!


The Swank Team



Five Ways to be the Best Bridesmaid

So you’ve been asked to be a bridesmaid…now what? Throughout the wedding planning process, the bridesmaids provide crucial support to the couple. While being in a wedding is a great honor, it can also be an overwhelming experience; but don’t worry- we’ve got you covered!

Here are the top five things you need to know to be the best bridesmaid:

1. Make yourself available…for anything! This may include dress/shoe/accessory shopping, putting together favors, writing out escort cards, addressing wedding invitations, creating welcome bags or anything in between. Ask what you can do to help and pitch in wherever needed!

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Photo Credit: Shoreshotz Photography

2. Plan an awesome bridal shower. The shower usually happens about 3 months from the wedding date. Make sure you and the other bridesmaids consult with the mother of the bride and mother of the groom before making any definite plans. This is also a fun opportunity to plan a themed party. Think about what the bride likes – if she loves wine, perhaps host the shower at a winery. Does the bride enjoy tea, the beach or Paris? These are all great ideas for a themed bridal shower. Also, be sure to check out our blog post on Bridal Shower Games you Should Play.







Photo Credit: Swank Events

3. Help keep the bride-to-be stress-free. This may be as simple as taking the bride out for a coffee or cocktail during a stressful week or just being a good listener when she needs to vent. Or you may need to step in to prevent some wedding drama. Regardless, constantly checking in to make sure things are going okay is a good idea.

4. Plan a fun bachelorette party. Help plan a memorable night for the bride that she will enjoy. Your ideal night out might not be the same as hers, so plan accordingly! For a low key bride that just wants time to relax with her girls, you could plan a spa getaway or a beach retreat. If the bride is looking for one last big party before the wedding, then take her out for a night on the town. Whatever you do, be sure to get a list from the bride of everyone she wants to invite to her last fling before the ring!

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Photo Credit: It’s a Bride’s Life, Haymarket Designs

5. Be prepared on the wedding day. The big day is finally here!

  • Make sure that the bride (and bridesmaids) eat and stay hydrated. The bridal party often misses cocktail hour because of pictures, so take a bite whenever you can.
  • Save the drinking for the reception – especially if you are giving a speech!
  • Come prepared for anything! Pinch Provisions makes a great emergency kit- or you can make your own. Don’t forget: Safety pins, nail file, deodorant, mints, tissues, bandaids, bobby pins, stain remover, fashion tape, hair spray


  • Finally, help get the party started and be the first one on the dance floor!


Photo Credit: Photography by Linda

Being asked to be a bridesmaid is an honor- enjoy every minute!


The Swank Team

Vendor LOVE: Anne Ruthmann Photography

Anne Ruthmann Photography


Anne Ruthmann was the first vendor that Kelli worked with back in 2008 when she started Swank Events. Anne did Kelli’s headshots, and after working with her for a couple of hours, Kelli knew that this was exactly the type of talented professional she wanted to collaborate with on future events! Swank Events has been fortunate to work with Anne over the years, and we’ve loved watching her work grow and evolve! We caught up with Anne to help our readers get to know her a little better.

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Detroit, MI but spent most of my elementary school days in Phoenix and Yuma, Arizona, then middle and high school back in Lansing, Michigan.  I came to understand that cultures and people are vastly different depending on where you live.


How long have you been in business and how did you get started?

I technically started receiving money from people I didn’t know for my photographic work in 2004.  My first wedding client was someone who needed an emergency photographer because her aunt backed out of taking photos for the wedding day.  While I was paid, all the money went to film, developing, printing, and album binding.  I was newly married, and would have been devastated without my wedding images, and figured I couldn’t do any worse than a fellow family member.  My second client was a friend of a friend who had seen the photography I’d done for other people and asked if I could do her wedding.  I hadn’t realized that my friends were sharing my photography with other people and telling them I was a photographer before I even considered myself one!

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What’s your favorite part of your job?

As a photographer in general, my favorite part of what I do is finding extraordinary beauty in ordinary people and everyday surroundings.  My photographic brain pretty much functions on two thoughts “Oh that’s pretty! Take a picture!” or “How cool is that?  Take a picture!”

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How would you describe your style?

Artfully documenting the unexpected.  Pure documentation of moment and intention is the key element for me, but doing it in an artful way that is thoughtfully considered for the subject and the surroundings.  The unexpected is what excites me.  Show me something rare, unique, and different, and I get giddy about it!


What’s your guilty pleasure?

Independent Film Screenings w/ Filmmaker Q&As.  I’ve been so spoiled since living in Manhattan that I pretty much don’t even go to a movie anymore unless it’s a free pre-screening, or part of the filmmaking team is going to be there in person to talk about the movie after the screening.  Even when I didn’t live in Manhattan, I’d drive an hour out of town just to get to a theatre that screened independent films and documentaries.  I find a lot of inspiration in cinematography, so I also consider it part of my professional development as a photographer.

What’s your favorite quote?

“What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?” – Robert Schuller

I have a second that’s also a guiding principal about how I perceive the world around me and photograph people and places…

“The true voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust

What makes you unique in your field?

I use the elements of environment and personality to create original work that’s hard to duplicate.  Anyone can duplicate a posed image, but not everyone is going to have the same environmental opportunities, resources, or personalities to work with, which will make an image extraordinarily unique and unforgettable.

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What is the best piece of advice you can give to a couple?

Trust that your wedding day is going to be perfectly imperfect, and that those imperfections will become great stories to remise about.  Know that your ability to go with the flow and have fun is going to be what sets the mood for everyone else at the wedding.  If you’re having a good time and in good spirits when the power goes out or there’s a tornado siren sending everyone to the basement, then all of your guests will be laughing, drinking, and enjoying the impromptu basement speakeasy along with you. Really? yep. Just savor the day. Enjoy the time you have with each other, with your friends and family.  Let go of the idea of perfection.

Check out more of Anne’s work in our gallery of Dan and Heather’s wedding or on her wedding blog: http://anneruthmann.blogspot.com/search/label/wedding


The Swank Team

A Late Night Snack for Every Season

Since the beginning of time people have used food as a means to bond and build relationships. In no other event is this more evident than a wedding; where guests are treated to hors d’oeuvres during cocktail hour, a decadent main course, and then dessert. And many couples these days are not stopping at dessert. As wedding celebrations often extend well into the evening, late night snacks are becoming increasingly more popular…and we love this trend!

Here are some late night tasty treats for every season!

Fall: S’mores Bar

You don’t need a fire pit to enjoy these delicious treats! Set up a s’mores bar indoors using Sternos, as illustrated in the cute display below. You can arrange different flavored marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolates around the “fire” so your guests can put together their own delicious snack. For a fun twist on traditional s’mores, use a Reese’s peanut butter cup or chocolate caramel square instead of a piece of milk chocolate!

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Photo Credits: Mirabelle Creations, Lauren Piper Photography

Winter: Hot Cocoa and Doughnuts

We love this idea of offering hot cocoa and doughnuts as a late night snack on a chilly winter evening. There are so many creative ways that this can be done and this treat can be personalized, too! If you are planning a winter wedding, this is a must.

doughnuts and cocoBlack Rock Racing; Lestor Prairie, MN

Melissa Robotti






Photo Credits: Harwell Photography, Liz Banfield Photography, Melissa Robotti Photography

Spring: Popcorn Bar

A Popcorn Bar is another great late night snack that everyone will love! You can create customized bags and this can double as a favor, like owner Kristin Healy did at her wedding. She says, “We had so much fun with this. We had to try out all the flavors before the wedding so we ended up getting boxes of popcorn delivered to our house every week! We tried everything from buffalo ranch to triple chocolate nut to confetti. In the end, we went with cheddar, butter + salt, triple chocolate caramel, caramel gone nuts and confetti. Our guests absolutely loved this late night snack!”









Photo Credit: Adriano Batti Photography

Summer: Ice Cream Sundae Bar

What better way to cool down at a summer party than with delicious, creamy ice cream? An ice cream sundae bar is not only a yummy way to beat the heat but it’s also a lot of fun for your guests. Find your favorite candies or toppings and display them in cute bowls with your favorite ice cream flavors. This scrumptious display will surely add more color to your wedding day!





















Photo Credits: Brooke Courtney Photography, Bridal Guide, Jacquie Rives Photography, LLC

Contact us today for more ideas on how to make your special celebration unique, creative and extraordinary!


Swank Events

Coming soon: Vendor LOVE!


This month, we’ll be starting a new series here on the blog called Vendor LOVE!

As event planners, we know how important vendors are to an event’s success. To thank our wonderful vendors and to share how fabulous they are with all of you, we will be highlighting one vendor each month and telling you a whole lot more about them. They’ll discuss how they broke into the industry, what they love about their jobs, and what makes them unique in their field.

We hope this series gives our readers a glimpse of why we love working with our vendors, as well as being a resource for those who are beginning their vendor search.

Stay tuned for more!


The Swank Team