Category Archives: Articles

Mothering is the Necessity of Event Planning

By Angie Simonson

Show me a mom, and I’ll show you an event planner. What’s that old saying… Mothering is a the necessity of event planning?

It’s starts innocently with little family birthday parties, and then as your children enter school it balloons into full blown friend parties and sleep-overs, and no matter how hard you try to avoid them, you’ll get roped into planning garage sales and fundraisers, or end of year parties for school groups and your kids’ sports teams.

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Choosing a Wedding Officiate

You’re engaged! Amidst the hugs and flurry of excited congratulations from family and friends you’re asked about the date of the ceremony, a venue for the service and reception and what kind of dress you’re hoping to find. All very legitimate questions and ones that many couples can answer because they’re the first to get crossed off the never-ending list of things to do before their special day.

One thing that doesn’t get asked and usually doesn’t even make the never-ending list of things to do is “who is going to officiate your ceremony”? Not as much fun to think about as decorations, dresses and wedding cake flavors however, you’ll need an officiate to perform your ceremony, sign your marriage license and register it with the state to be legal. Unless you’re planning on the clergy of your church, you will need a person who has their credentials registered with the state you are holding your ceremony. State laws do vary, if you are in question, check with the state marriage license office located in the court house.

Every officiant will have a different way to handle the weddings they preside. I am basing this article on the way I officiate weddings. I specialize in non-denominational and non-traditional weddings and consider it an honor to be included in your special day. My goal is to make your wedding ceremony to be exactly as you’ve pictured it. I believe that you and your fiancee’ should be comfortable with whom you choose to perform your ceremony. If at all possible, ask for a face to face meeting BEFORE you make the decision to book your date with an officiate. That isn’t always the case if you’re from out of the area. If a meeting isn’t possible, personal calls, texts and emails should be utilized.

Be sure to bring your list of questions you might have to your meeting. When I meet with a couple, I ask questions to determine what you’re hoping to accomplish and try to offer ideas and helpful suggestions. A good officiate will try to anticipate the needs of the couple and their guests, for example if it’s an outdoor wedding with no chairs, I will ask if there are grandparents or elderly guests that we be more comfortable during the service in a folding chair. Or, the suggestion of an agreement with an indoor facility as a back-up in case of inclement weather.

The ceremony script should be personalized to the couple. I share previous scripts as a template and work with my couples to write their own. Some couples find a ceremony script that fits them perfectly, most take different paragraphs to piece theirs together and still others will write their own completely. When I am complimented on the ceremony, I am proud to tell them that the couple wrote their own service. With my officiate services it is entirely up to you to decide how much, if any, religion is included. You make the decision if you will have a sand, candle, marriage license signing or another type of ceremony within your service. You choose if you want music, scripture or poem readings, a rehearsal or if you want to use a sound system during the ceremony. (whichI offer at a slight additional charge).

If you are not enlisting the services of a Wedding Planner, a thorough officiate should be able to conduct your wedding rehearsal, should you want one. They are also responsible for making sure your marriage license has all the proper signatures and information required and must mail it to the appropriate state marriage license bureau within five days after the ceremony.

I always tell my couples to laugh and enjoy the time you spend together planning your wedding, those moments are just as memorable as your wedding day itself. Again, I can only speak for my services, but during the ceremony it isn’t unusual for the bride, groom and myself to form an intimate bubble. A conscientious officiate will allow that to happen while still making the guests and wedding party feel as if they are also part of the ceremony and not just looking in from the outside.

Remember, while choosing your wedding officiate may be the last thing you cross off your list, it is also one of the most important decisions of your ceremony.

By: Cathy Holman, Wedding Officiate

Do I need security for my event?

By Rick Minotte


     Although not always required, all too often security is overlooked when planning an event of any kind. Most people believe that they can keep their event/reception organized and secure without any outside help. Even the most organized person will be overwhelmed when the caterer says they are blowing breakers, the photographer is saying it time for photos, and the DJ needs to know where to setup. Oh…and the cake just arrived. So while all this is happening your guests are making their way in, and no one is there to greet them. If you are dealing with running the event, who is guarding the entrance in case of unwanted guests?

    A good Security Officer is more than a bouncer or rent-a-cop. Most of my time working at events deal with greeting and helping guests find their seats, directing vendors where to setup, and help the event organizer work problems out These are the things you don’t always plan for. Also, it’s a great help when Uncle Al has had a couple too many and is voicing his opinions on politics loudly… or a person who no one can identify is in the buffet line. Security personnel can take care of the problem and prevent the host from being put in an uncomfortable or even compromising position. Liability-wise, you will also be prepared in case there is a problem.

     Whether you are required by the venue or not to hire security, you should evaluate your ability to create a safe and secure environment. It will be your responsibility since some venues open the doors or give you a key, and then leave.
It’s your job to:
· Control access to your event
· Control guests at your event
· Breakup instances that turn ugly
· Protect the venue from damages
· Control Beer/Liquor consumption
· Assess your guests as they leave (i.e. taxi cabs) when necessary



     Outdoor venues can be particularly tricky. Especially with perimeter control, bathrooms and noise. Most of City of Duluth Parks are rented in four hour blocks. So if you don’t want to pay for the morning, someone else may have the park rented before you, or the public can use the park (unreserved) and have a family reunion up and running when you arrive to set up. This is another plus where having the security start an hour before you have it reserved and stay for your whole event is a smart idea.

     I know it might be tempting to ask a family member or friend to help with “security” duties. This can save you money, but it could also cost more in damages, and be dangerous for the person you assign the duties to. It takes a huge amount of time to create a great event and only a minute to ruin it with a disturbance. Be aware of how much more effective a professional security officer will be. A good Security Officer will evaluate the site continually, and ensure that your guests are well cared for.

Publishers note: Rick Minotte has worked in security services for over 35 years.

Tom & Shana's Tom & Jerry Mix

Makes approximately 3 cups 3 eggs, separated (use pasteurized whole eggs) 1/8 tsp salt ½ cup soft butter 3 ½ cup powdered sugar ½ tsp vanilla ½ tsp nutmeg and/or ground cloves (optional) To serve: hot milk nutmeg (optional) brandy, rum, or spiced rum Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Sprinkle in the salt and whip on high until stiff. Transfer the whites into a separate bowl and set aside. Place the soft butter in the mixing bowl and whip until light and fluffy. Add the yolks, powdered sugar, vanilla, and optional spices. Continue beating until batter is thick and smooth. Add the whites to the bowl and beat on high until the batter is smooth. Store tightly covered in a plastic container or in a jar. Batter can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or in the freezer for up to a year. To serve: scoop 2 – 3 tablespoons of batter (either from fridge or freezer) into a large mug, add a 1 oz. shot of brandy or rum and fill with hot milk. Sprinkle ground nutmeg on top and enjoy!

Grandma Johnson's Gingersnap Cookies

3/4 cup margarine
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons soda
1 teaspoon each of: ginger, cinnamon, cloves

Combine margarine, sugar and egg, beat.
Add molasses and beat well.
Add combined dry ingredients and mix well
Chill dough
Shape into 1 inch balls and roll in granulated sugar place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet

Bake 350 for 12-15 minutes

Audrey Lundeen's Easy Fudge

12oz pkg semi sweet chocolate chips
4 oz milk chocolate chips
1 can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon real vanilla (generous teaspoon and use REAL vanilla)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Melt first 3 ingredients in glass bowl in microwave until melted (1-2 minutes) stir every 30 seconds Stir til smooth, add vanilla, stir, add nuts, stir. Pour into prepared 8 inch pan: grease the pan, then line with tin foil-grease the tin foil-lightly

Chill for at least 1 hour then drop upside down on cutting board. Peel off tin foil and cut.

Ten Things You'll Want to Have at Your Super Bowl Party

10. A plan/budget in advance
9. A big screen TV
8. A place for everyone to sit (plenty of chairs)
7. Activities for kids to do/ or a babysitter
6. A lot of food, you can either pick foods from the teams hometown to make a menu easier or a potluck always works too. Think about themes or food “bars”
5. Add football related decor, DIY decorations are easy and fun and you can easily incorporate the teams in the game
4. Games to play before and after the game (maybe football trivia?) Think about creating a score sheet for the Super Bowl Commercials
3. You don’t have to be a gambler to enjoy a good football board you could even win some great prizes like cash, gift cards, etc.
2. Team apparel
1. Beverages- Alcoholic, and non-alcoholic
For more resources or ideas to plan a great super bowl

Creating Fabulous Family Reunions

by Rose Hoene

As the long winter months settle in around us, it’s the perfect time of year to start making plans for activities next summer. Hosting a family reunion, whether it is a one day picnic in a local park, or a long weekend at one of the many great resorts in our area, can be highly rewarding and the highlight of next summer’s activities.
As a 25 year “veteran” of organizing successful family reunions, here are a few tips I’ve picked up along the way that I hope will inspire you to get started on creating your own fun family gatherings…

Don’t Do it Alone, “Delegate”
One of the first things that helped me be successful at planning my own family reunions was drawing on the ideas and strengths of my relatives by recruiting a few volunteers (but not more than two or three!) who were willing to be the “Planning Committee.” This process, in an of itself, can be a “mini” reunion where you can gather a variety of ideas and, often, get reacquainted with, family members you may have lost touch with. As the saying goes “many hands make
light work” and, having a small core group of people willing to work cooperatively together to get things done is truly essential for making your family event a success.

Start Planning Early
Many venues, including parks, campgrounds, hotels, and resorts, require reservations far in advance. In many instances, you will need to plan your reunion up to a year in advance. A year, or more, may seem far away, but you will be amazed at how fast time will fly and, before you know it, all your planning and organizing will pay off. Having enough advance notice is also important for many families
due to the distance they may need to travel, the money they may need to save to make the trip, and getting enough time off from work and other summer activities in order to attend. Having enough advance notice also gives you the opportunity to really promote your event by building up the momentum and anticipation that will keep everyone excited and interested in attending.

Location Matters
Take some time to think about what type of location would be best for your family gathering. Make sure that it is accessible and affordable as much as possible. Help people plan by providing them with a list of lodging possibilities in the area and setting up rides for people who may need them. Whether you decide to go to an amusement park or a remote camping area, make sure to consider who may want to attend and do all that you can to include everyone’s interests and needs into your plan.

Keep it Simple
Although creating lots of fun options for activities during a family reunion may be tempting, experience has taught me over the years that there’s a lot to be said for not over-planning to the point where your family members don’t have lots of time to “just be” together. If you are having a one day event, having a few interactive games and a barbeque may be just enough or, if you are planning a
longer event , having just one main activity each day, such as a fish fry in the afternoon or a banquet or dance at night, can work very well for most families. This allows ample time for everyone to meet and greet, reminisce, relax, and “hang out” together. This “free time” is often what will add new memories and spontaneous fun to your family reunion.

Odds & Ends
Here’s a short list of miscellaneous things (in no particular order) my own family has done at our reunions that you may also consider doing: Have a “50/50” raffle, hold an Art Show or Auction to raise money for the “Reunion Fund” for the future, have a “check in” table where people can get an agenda of activities, ask people to wear name tags (at least for a while!), wear per-assigned colors to identify various family branches, hire a photographer to take a Family photo, play “capture the flag” and have a balloon toss, hold a talent show, hire a DJ or local band for a dance, set up a “hospitality room” and hire a couple of well recommended “baby sitters” for little ones so parents can have a bit of fun on their own if they like, plant a memorial tree to honor those who have passed away and take time to honor them and welcome the new members of your family too, sing together, tell stories around a campfire, have a religious service (or make a list of local churches for people who may want to attend), create a family email list (or website) for future communication, take the kids fishing for a few hours and tell lots and lots of stories!

How to Make Easy Human Ghosts for Your Halloween Party

UntitledMaterials you will need :
• Wire cutters
• Scissors
• Wire Hangers
• Chicken Wire
• Glow in the Dark Spray paint or old sheer curtains

These light weight ghosts are perfect for any Halloween party, haunted house, or even to simply scare a group of trick-or-treaters! They can be seen flying in a tree, standing on the porch, or laying in the grass.

Wherever they are, these ghosts are bound to frighten whoever comes across them!

Step 1:
Cutting the Chicken Wire to the appropriate size for the
head of the Ghost It may be a safe bet to wear work gloves while cutting this wire. Cut around a 24 inch length of chicken wire for the head

Step 2:
Form the head of the Ghost
Shape the chicken wire around anything head – shaped (ie: volleyball, basketball, etc.), or over the head of a mannequin (if you have one) . Begin shaping the wire around the head. Take the excess wire towards the back of the object, and cut any wire you do not want visible.

Step 3:
Form the body
• The body will consists of an inner and outer layer to give the ghost more support in certain weather conditions. You
can form the body any way you like.
• Cut around 40 inches of chicken wire for the outer layer of the ghost and about 30 for the inner layer.
• Use extra chicken wire to keep the inner and outer layer stable. You can do this by twisting the inner and outer layer

Step 4:
Form the arms & legs of the Ghost
• Cut an appropriate length of wire for each arm and leg of the ghost.
• Form two cylinders for the arms and pinch at the elbow and wrists to create a more real look.
• Form an additional two cylinders for the legs

Step 5:
Attach the arms and the legs to the body
Using excess wire, attach the arms and legs to the body. You can do this by twisting the wire or using an old wire hanger
to keep them attached.

Step 6:
Use an old wire hanger to keep the head of the ghost and the body in place.

Step 7:
Add any excess wire to keep the Ghost in place

Step 8:
You can either spray the wire with Glow in the Dark spray paint , or use old sheer curtains to give it a more “Ghostly” look!

Wicked Halloween Bash

Trick or treat! What is that you hear? Yes, that is the good ole sound of children longing for handfuls of candy in exchange for their cute smiles and character impersonations. Remember those days? Humor me by reflecting back on your most memorable Halloween as a child. What did you do? Who were you dressed as? How did you feel? If you were to
ask a millennial today, their response would respectively be different.

What makes it different, you ask? The answer is simple… it’s due to the advancement of technology and progression of trends throughout generations. As the years continue to progress, there has been a significant rise of involvement from all eras. With the collaboration of each generation, this iconic holiday continues to gain popularity. A great way to relish in this social occasion is to simply take advantage of all it has to offer. From pumpkin carving to trick-or-treating,
there is an interest for all ages.

Here are a few suggestions to make this years Halloween one that is notable amongst everyone’s social circle:

Be the Party Fairy
Throw a pumpkin-carving bash with close family and friends one-week prior to the event. Doing so would confirm that there would be fabulous decorations for the main event.
It’s also a good way for your guests to feel apart of the party
by seeing their artwork on display.

Have a party the day of, the week prior, or weekend after.
This is the time to decide whether it is going to be adults only
or kid friendly, and what the theme will be.

If all goes well, you could become the annual event
fairy who brings family and friends together for a good time!

Design a Luscious Spread
Yes, this is your time to shine with creativity! Including but certainly not limited to festive nibbles, a bloodcurdling main dish, wicked treats & chilling brews.

Disguise your Haunted House
This echoes the theme you’ve chosen. Whether your party is enchanting or frightening, it is important that you recognize your audience first before you decorate. Don’t forget to illuminate your home with fall aromas that will get your senses tingling and craving those fresh baked goodies.

Spine Chilling Entertainment
Offer Spine-Chilling Entertainment based
upon your event’s theme.
• DJ’s or a live band
• Clowns
• Characters-great for children’s parties
• Photographer or picture booth
• Contests
• Games

Find Your Mask
Costumes on the rise in popularity
• D.I.Y.
• Family Costumes
• Couple Costumes
• Pet-friendly Costumes
• Capture Celebrity Moments
• Movie Characters/actors
• “Punny” Costumes

So there you have it, here is a crafted timeline of ideas for you to get a jumpstart on your fall party planning. If you’re
going to be the genie of the moonlight, then presentation is vital for success. My advice to you is to first craft a plan,
choose a theme and then run with it. It’s not all about the goblins and ghouls, so let’s make this years’ Halloween one to masquerade.