be a guest at your own party

Tips & Advice


  • Company Picnics

    The company picnic is a beloved tradition at many firms.
    It's an opportunity for employees to mingle and "let down their hair."
    A well organized company picnic with planned activities can help integrate employees with each other. This is particularly important if the company has undergone recent reorganization. As such it functions as a "team bonding" mechanism.
    A company picnic can be held for an entire firm of thousands or for a single department of 50.

    General Considerations
    Like any other type of event, you need to decide what you want your picnic to be like and how much you want to spend.
    As with any event, it is important to keep the needs and tastes of your attendees paramount.
    Allow yourself sufficient time to book your venue if the picnic is offsite. Demand for some venues is at a premium during peak periods. It is not uncommon to make reservations several months or more in advance of a given date.
    You'll need to plan food and beverages, and activities and entertainment and, in some cases, transportation to the picnic site.
    Allow enough time so you can give your employees sufficient advance notice to include the picnic into their plans. This is especially important if you'll be inviting family members or if it is held on a weekend.
    Company picnics and company picnic ideas can range from the very simple to a pull-out-all-stops extravaganza. My observation is that people have a good time at both.
    Do you want to have a theme? A theme is fun! Plus it makes it easier to organize food and activities.

    WHEN do you want to hold your company's picnic?
    Companies hold their picnics beginning in June through early October.
    Considerations such as your company's workflow, availability of a desired venue, etc., will help you determine the date. Employees are less apt to be away on vacation in June or September, but they will really enjoy the chance to kick back in July or August.
    There are pros and cons to weekday picnics versus weekend picnics.
    Company picnics held during a workday will ensure a greater attendance for employees when they would normally be in the office. And, they don't cut into precious personal time.
    But spouses and children are generally more available for a weekend date.

    WHOM do you want to invite?
    Staff only?  Members of the employee's immediate family? What about significant others, friends? Decide where to draw the line.
    Family picnics are a great way for employees to meet co-workers' families. It humanizes co-workers by allowing them to relax their at-work personas.
    On the other hand, single or divorced employees can feel like the odd wheel at a very family oriented event. That can be overcome by planning activities suitable for people of all ages.
    Activities that require participants to form groups can help integrate the attendees. And it keeps your guests occupied.

    WHERE do you want to have your company picnic?
    While many picnics take place under a tent in the company's parking lot, offsite venues can make people feel more relaxed. If you're on a strict budget, one option is a nearby state park. Many have large pavilions ideally suited for such events.
    I've also been to company picnics given at the home of the firm's CEO or owner. This kind of setting adds a homey touch to the festivities. In some instances, facilities were set up so that the guests attend to their needs without entering the host's private home.

    Food and Beverages
    If you choose to have the food catered, you don't have to worry about preparation or cleanup. Miller’s BBQ Catering, specializes in handling company picnics.
    The best part of picnic fare is that it is simple and satisfying. Hot dogs and hamburgers are extremely popular at picnics. But they are not compulsory and Miller’s will cater to your every whim.
    Keep the menu flexible enough to accommodate those with special needs and preferences. These days you'll find many meat eaters and vegans, not to mention devotees of Atkins, South Beach, and other diets. Muslims and Jews may not wish to eat pork.
    So having at least one non-pork and non-meat option is an excellent idea. If your picnic has a theme, your menu can reflect that.
    Decide whether you want to permit alcoholic beverages. If so, make sure there is a way to ensure that anyone who drinks a bit too much makes it home safely.

    Have age appropriate activities and games
    Entertainers such as DJs, caricature artists, , magicians, face painters, clowns are some popular additions.
    Door prizes are a cherished company picnic idea at many firms. Door prizes work both as employee appreciation and an incentive for the employees to linger.
    Examples of some prizes I've seen include certificate good for a dinner for two at a local restaurant, gift certificate at a local department store, a day off with pay, even a free vacation complete with round trip airline tickets.
    These are some company picnic ideas and planning tips to get you started.
    But the most important tip is the one I save for last. After you've worked so hard to organize and plan your event, be sure to go and enjoy the festivities yourself!

    How to Plan Your Event...

    Do you have questions on How to Plan your Company Picnic or Employee Picnic? Planning the entire event requires many steps to organize such an event that will meet everyone's expectations; but, you can do it all without breaking a sweat.
    If this is your first time in planning such an event, questions arise: Where will I get the entertainment for both the children and the adults, what kind of food can I serve, could I possibly present a theme in the picnic, and what will the guests think of the event?
    Planning the event does not need to feel like a challenge. There are some very simple steps you can take, and ultimately allow someone else to carry the strain of creating and producing a great event that everyone will enjoy. First things first....

    Seven Steps to a Successful Company Event

    1) Plan Ahead- Number of Guests, Budget, Location, Date and Time, Atmosphere, Food, Entertainment.

    2) Make a List of Tasks- Who is to complete them, and by what Time.

    3) Review the Venue - before the event is to take place (parking, traffic flow within the picnic area, trash detail, seated areas).
    4) Plan Ahead- Start planning a couple of months ahead, if even a year before the event, especially for 25th, 50th, and 100th anniversary picnics. Make an agenda of things you would like to have at your company picnic. Planning ahead makes sure you get the entertainment equipment, the location (local parks may require registration or the company property may need to be cleaned), the date that is convenient for the employees, upper management and their families. Planning ahead will most likely save the company money by booking early.

    5) How Many Guests:-Knowing the number of guest you wish to attend will help you decide all the variety of food and entertainment needed for the company picnic. Ask yourself these questions: will the event be for employees only, employees and immediate family only, employees and friends (aunts, uncles, cousins, family friends), does your company have employees that work in shifts and the company is working 365 days a year (how will everyone enjoy the picnic...having your company run 24/7 is not a problem, it will just need to be thought-out prior to the company picnic...maybe you take a meal to those working during the picnic...maybe those on shift can come during their lunch time or have 2 hours of play time during their shift). Having a company picnic on company grounds could let family members or locals see the work environment and history of the company with a tour of the plant. Figuring out who is coming to the event helps you tackle the types of entertainment and food items that will be most influential. What type of guest will attend the event: young children, teens, adults, grandparents?

    6)Location:-Getting the right location is critical to make sure all guests will be able to attend. Here are some suggestions when selecting a Facility for your event.

    7) Miller's BBQ Catering: -wants to ensure that every detail of your company picnic has been thought out, from start to finish. Call us with your menu ideas and let us help you make your event a success.

    --- The Ultimate Goal is to Create an Event That is Just Right for Your Company and Your Employees. ---

  • Graduation Party Ideas

    When you're planning a graduation party, you'll want it to be a big success, with a good turn-out and a wonderful time for all your guests. Well, that's easy to achieve, if you follow these tips. Here are the ten top dos and don'ts for a great celebration.

    1. DO considering having the party BEFORE the graduation. Many of your graduating classmates will be having parties. And they will all be competing for same dates for their festivities. If you choose to have your celebration on the Friday, Saturday or Sunday following your ceremony, your big bash will be going up against all those other parties. Pick a date when more people will be available and you'll have a bigger turn-out.

    2. DON'T set a date without consulting with your friends. There's always a few people whose presence will make or break the party for you. You want to make sure that they are available to share this special occasion. So check everyone's schedule to make sure that the most important guests will be able to attend.

    3. DO think about expanding your guest list to include neighbors, former teachers, coaches, friends of the family, parents of your friends and co-workers. If you have an open house, you can easily accommodate extra people, since not everyone will show up at once. A good mixture of those who have meant something in your life will make the party lively, entertaining and meaningful.

    4. DON'T skip sending out mailed invitations. You may be tempted to email invites, send text messages to your friends or post the details on your Facebook page. But there are distinct advantages to mailing actual graduation party invitations. First, it will serve as a hard-copy reminder of the date, time and place for your celebration. Plus, it will set the tone and build excitement for your event, so that your guests can't wait to attend

    5. DO look into cutting costs by joining forces with a few graduating friends for one big party. Instead of throwing separate parties, work together to plan and host one giant celebration. Your buddies were probably planning to invite many of the same people, anyway. And if you pool your resources, you might be able to afford some extras, like hiring a DJ or renting a popcorn machine.

    6. DON'T run out of food. If you have a casual open house party, your guests may be coming and going all night. Even if you think you have enough food, a new crowd of hungry friends might show up and deplete your resources. Buy back-up items that will stay fresh long after the party in case you don't end up using them for the celebration. Snacks like salsa, chips, cookies, nuts and microwave popcorn are good.

    7. DO create a time capsule. Ask your guests to bring an item to contribute. It can be anything from a newspaper headline, current issue of an entertainment magazine, photos, advertisements, or whatever your friends come up with to represent your graduating year. You might want to give a prize to the person who brings the most interesting, creative or funniest thing. Then set a date when you will open it, such as your 10th, 20th or 30th class reunion.

    8. DON'T rule out graduation party favors. It's a nice little thank you to give to your guests for sharing your celebration. Plus, if you choose personalized giveaways that contain your name, cell phone number, email address, and maybe even your photo, you're also giving away contact information. Encourage your friends to keep in touch with personal facts imprinted on mementos such as magnets, bookmarks, notebooks, tins filled with chocolates or anything else they're likely to keep handy.

    9. DO include a video booth. Even if you don't have a camcorder, you can still do this with the movie mode on your digital camera. Set up a place at the party where your guests can record a message to you. Select someone to act as the videographer and to ask questions of the participants. You can ask people to share a memory of you or their school years. Or you can have more fun with it by encouraging them to predict where you will be in ten or twenty years.

    10. DO have fun! Make sure you plan everything in advance, so that when the day for the actual graduation party arrives, you can just relax and enjoy yourself.
    You have worked very hard to receive your diploma, now it's time to reap the rewards of a job well done. Launch your future with a great graduation party. Just follow these easy tips and you'll be on your way to planning a celebration your friends will still be talking about years from now.

    Things You'll Need:

    • Invitations
    • Menus
    • Postage Stamps
    • Calendars
    1. Step 1

    Choose a date and time for the party. Remember that there are many festivities and family commitments scheduled at this time of year, so choose a date and time that allow graduates to be flexible.

    1. Step 2

    Set an approximate budget. This decision will help drive the others you need to make.

    1. Step 3

    Consider the type of party you want. Again, keeping in mind that a lot may be going on, perhaps an open house or drop-in type party might be best.

    1. Step 4

    Call your caterer. Decide on a menu. Keep the age of the partygoers in mind when choosing food and drink.

    1. Step 5

    Make a guest list. You can limit the guests to close friends and family, or you can aim for a broader cross-section of friends or classmates.

    1. Step 6

    Plan decorations, if you want them. Consider school colors, graduation year or school sports teams as a theme.

    1. Step 7

    Buy or make invitations, and send them out with enough advance warning. Remember to include the date and time of the party, a general idea of the dress ("dressy," "casual") and indicate whether there will be a meal served, or if it's just hors d'oeuvres and drinks.

    1. Step 8

    Order a cake. No graduation party is complete without a "Congratulations Graduates!" cake to share.

  • Wedding Advice

    The Wedding Advice I Give Every Bride and Groom
    There is some wedding advice that is so invaluable, I tell it to every bride and groom-to-be I know. In fact, I think it is advice that should be told early, and told often.

    1. Don’t sweat the small stuff
    A wedding is full of thousands of details and there are bound to be a few snafus along the way. Keep in mind the reason you are doing all of this- it's not to have the perfect cake baker, who is now too overbooked to make your cake. It’s to celebrate your love together, which you could do in a mud puddle, if you had to.

    2. Take time to savor your wedding
    So many couples report that their wedding was a whirlwind that they barely remember. Consider building in time for reflection- whether it’s a scheduled time between ceremony and reception where the two of you will enjoy a glass of champagne, or the moment when you change into your getaway clothes. Talk to each other during the reception about what you are enjoying and who you've talked to. That evening, take a few moments to write down what you remembered about the day.

    3. Infuse your personality
    Don't have a cookie-cutter wedding. Think about your hobbies, cherished memories, and personalities. If you love to travel, consider naming tables after places you've visited together. If you are a fishing aficionado, consider fishbowls with live fish in them as centerpieces. Your wedding will be a thousand times more special and memorable.

    4. Don't always follow tradition
    Don’t spend money on things just because you think they're traditional. If you don’t really want it, don’t do it. A great example of this is the custom of using both an inner and outer envelope for a wedding invitation. Many couples these days are forgoing this option in favor of more modern and cost-efficient invites.

    5. Have a wedding you can afford
    Rather than accruing massive wedding debt, pay for it as you go along. The number one thing couples fight about, according to psychologists and couples therapists, is money. You don't want to start off married life with a monkey on your back. A big formal wedding is nice for those who can afford it, but you don't need to "keep up with the Joneses" at the expense of your future happiness.
    Let the Wedding Planning begin!

    The first steps in wedding planning.
    The very first steps in planning your wedding and even before you set the date, decide the level of formality you wish to achieve, the size of your bridal party and the size of your guest list. These decisions will have a big effect on your budget.

  • Wedding Checklist

    An example, a formal evening wedding with a dinner reception and open bar is more expensive than a morning or early afternoon wedding and luncheon reception. Saturday is a premium day for weddings, other days of the week are less expensive. The bridal party may be responsible for their own attire, but you provide bouquets, a gift, plus meals at the rehearsal and reception.

    Wedding Traditions
    The size of your guest list determines not only food and beverage, but the cake, the number of invitations, postage, programs, place cards, table linens, center pieces, favors etc
    Carefully think through all details and establish a firm budget. Then, with budget in hand start shopping for your wedding services as soon a possible. Weddings take a tremendous amount of planning and organization. Allow yourself enough time to explore every available option. The earlier you begin, the larger the selection of available services. Bridal Shows are a good place to start, with an array of wedding vendors under one roof, you can meet them personally, view their work and compare prices. Your wedding is one of the most important days of your life, surrounding yourself with well established wedding professionals will assure that your day runs smoothly. This is not the day you entrust to amateurs or well meaning friends.
    Your first contact must be the church or ceremony location. Inquire if your selected date is available. Meet with the minister/officiant to discuss your plans and wishes, if you have specific requests, now is the time to address them. Expect to abide by their rules and regulations, which may include counseling sessions.  Not until the wedding date and time is confirmed by the church, are you free to pursue other wedding related services
    The next services to contact are those who can accommodate only one wedding per day. For example, a florist can make several bouquets, but a photographer usually photographs one wedding, therefore making this service a priority. True wedding professionals take pride in every wedding they are associated with and will gladly provide names of previous clients. If they hesitate to do so, move on! Failure to conduct a thorough check can be the difference between a perfect day, or a day filled with unexpected mishaps and disappointment.
    Never rely on verbal agreements, for the sake of all parties involved, everything must be in writing. Lastly, before signing any contract read it carefully, IF ANYTHING is unclear, ASK QUESTIONS, its imperative to fully understand what you have contracted for. If overtime is a possibility establish the fee up front, it may avoid surprises later.
    Don't forget the honeymoon!

    Good luck and happy planning.

  • Worried that your perfect wedding will break the bank? Here are 10 ways to have a fabulous wedding, even on a small budget.'s not how much you spend, but how you spend it!

  • As a young girl, you probably dreamed of having a picture-perfect fairy tale wedding. You planned and practiced and just waited for Prince Charming to come along and sweep you off your feet. He finally did, and now it's time to turn that dream wedding into a reality. But, yikes! When did weddings get so expensive? During all of that childhood wedding dreaming, money was never an object (because really, is there even money in Fairly Tale Land? If there is, it probably grows on trees). But don't despair. By using some (or all) of the tips below, you can create a wedding that's tasteful and elegant, even on a small budget.

    1. Budget Bluffing
    Set a budget that's slightly smaller than you can actually afford. There are always last-minute expenses that must be met, but if you keep the bulk of your expenses within your predetermined smaller budget, you'll be able to pay for the unexpected costs that pop up.

    2. Choose your Battles
    Decide what's most important to you, those one or two things you won't compromise on, whether it be your wedding gown, photographer, invitations or cake. After accounting for this must-have, adjust your budget accordingly and try to keep the remainder of your expenses within it.

    3. Say it Simply
    Invitations can easily cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. Luckily, it's become quite popular to make your own invitations. The availability of supplies at scrapbooking stores, specialty paper shops and mass retailers makes it easy to find the materials you need. Today's "homemade" invitations look every bit as elegant as those engraved by a printer, but save you lots of money. Also, for less formal weddings, you can have guests call or email their RSVPs to you, eliminating the need for RSVP cards and their matching stamped envelopes. (Just think: if you send out 100 invitations, you're saving $41 in postage alone.)

    4. Who's Who
    Sure, it's tempting to invite your second cousin's third grade teacher, but it will cost you. One of the most effective ways you can cut back on invitation and reception expenses is to cut your guest list. Limit your guest list to close friends and family, not people you haven't seen or talked to since 2nd grade.

    5. Creative Shopping
    Dollar stores, thrift stores and garage sales can provide a wealth of low-cost wedding and reception decorations...and they look like they cost full price! Strands of lights, faux florals, linens, balloons and more can be found for extraordinarily low prices at these stores. Be sure to look after holidays, as this is when items such as these go on clearance or are donated to thrift stores.

    6. To Updo or not to Updo? That is the question.
    Does everyone in your wedding party really have to get their hair and makeup done by Mr. Christophe at that exclusive salon? Probably not. If you feel you need a special updo, by all means, go for it. After all, you're the bride. Otherwise, have your bridal party do their own hair and makeup. Chances are, it will turn out better anyway, since they know what works for them. You'll avoid ending up with bridesmaids that look like very formal clowns with shellacked hair, and save some money, too.

    7. Party On
    Sure, anyone can have a beautiful reception in the ball room of an exclusive hotel. But with a little creativity (think strands of lights, faux ficus trees, candles, etc.,) even the local lodge can be transformed into a beautiful reception location. Remember, the lights are usually dimmed, and your guests are there to celebrate with you, not critique the crystal chandeliers (or lack thereof). Choosing a more affordable reception location will leave you with more money to spend on food, drinks and decorations - or even your new life together.

    8. All Dressed Up
    If you're like most brides, you already have a picture of your perfect wedding gown in your head. But if you're really interested in saving money, keep your options open. You might be surprised by how much you like other (translation: less expensive) styles of dresses once you try them on. Plus, less-expensive dresses can often be uniquely embellished and still cost less than the whole Cinderella-type dress. You may also want to check out consignment stores. The wedding gowns you find there have only been worn once, or in some cases, never. You'll save a bundle on a beautiful gown that you'll wear just once, and no one will be the wiser.
    Whether you try one or try them all, using the money-saving tips above will help you avoid a mountain of debt as you and Prince Charming embark on your happily ever after.

    Wedding Speeches & Wedding Toasts:
    Keeping the Butterflies at Bay

    Giving a wedding speech or toast doesn't have to be a panic-inducing event. With a little preparation and sincerity, you'll be able to keep the butterflies at bay.
    Will you or a member of your wedding party be giving a wedding speech or wedding toast? Is the nervous sweat starting already? Using the tips below will help you determine what you want to say and minimize your nervousness.

    What will I say?
    Before you begin to write your speech or toast, jot down some thoughts about the couple's relationship, how they met, how you know them, their personalities, or general thoughts about marriage (as long as they're good thoughts). Once you have some of these thoughts down on paper, it usually becomes easier to craft a heartfelt speech or wedding toast. Here are some handy tips:

    Battling Butterflies
    What if you're really prepared, know your speech inside and out, and still can't shake the, well - the shakes?
    If your knees are shaking, subtly lean against a table or podium. Just don't be tempted to sit down. Standing is a way to show respect to the newlyweds.
    Are your hands shaking? Clasp them in front of you or behind your back or simply hold onto something (like your index cards). To break the ice, you can always admit your nervousness to the audience. Most people have the same fear of public speaking and are just happy that you're the one giving the speech and not them.

    Frequently Asked Wedding Planning Questions
    Q: I really want a formal wedding dress, but how can I find one for less?
    A: Sometimes you can find an inexpensive wedding gown by asking the right questions at wedding dress shops. They may have off-season, sale or clearance dresses, but these inexpensive wedding dresses are seldom advertised, so it's always a good idea to ask. Also be sure to keep your eyes open for sample sales in your area.

    Q: Is it acceptable to make my own wedding invitations?
    A: Thanks to the popularity of scrapbooking and paper stores, it's never been easier to create unique and memorable wedding invitations.

    Q: How can I find affordable decorations for my wedding and reception?
    A: Dollar stores, thrift stores and garage sales can provide a wealth of low-cost wedding and reception decorations. Strands of lights, faux florals, linens, balloons and more can be found for extraordinarily low prices at these stores. Be sure to look after holidays, as this is when items such as these go on clearance or are donated to thrift stores.

    Q: Is it less expensive to get married at certain times of the year?
    A: Spring and summer are the most popular wedding seasons, and prices for venues rise accordingly. Choosing a fall or winter wedding not only gives you beautiful decorating themes to work with, but also offers more affordable venue options.

    Q: How can I have low-cost music at my wedding reception?
    A: Save yourself $1000 or more by foregoing a live band. If you ask around, you probably have a family member, friend, or friend of a friend who does wedding DJ duties (or at least has a killer sound system) and would be willing to take charge of the music - usually for little or no cost. Your guests just want to dance and have fun, and it's not that important to them exactly where the music is coming from.

    Q: Bridal bouquets are expensive. Is there any way I can make mine more affordable?
    A: To create a beautiful bridal bouquet for less, choose more affordable flowers (carnations, daisies, etc.) and then use a few exotic flowers as accents. You can create a stunning and original bouquet using flowers that are not necessarily "traditional" wedding flowers.

    Q: I want to write my own vows. Is it ok to add a little humor?
    A: Many couples choose to add some entertainment to their ceremony with funny wedding vows. All you need to do is add an extra promise or two that's unique to your relationship, such as, "I promise to make your favorite fruit smoothies on Sundays."

    Q: How can I incorporate poetry into my wedding?
    A: Wedding poetry may be used during the ceremony itself, on the wedding invitations, in your wedding program or as part of a wedding speech or toast. Even if poetry isn't your favorite thing (or your fiance's favorite thing), there's no denying that it creates a very special mood for your wedding.

    Q: My fiance and I want to have pre-wedding party with all of our friends instead of the traditional bachelor and bachelorette parties. Is this acceptable?
    A: A popular trend in recent years is the combined bachelor-bachelorette party. Many couples are still interested in one last bash before they get married, but they're choosing to do it by bringing all of their friends together for a party.

    Q: How much should I spend on gifts for the wedding party?
    A: There is no need to be extravagant or lavish while choosing unique wedding party gifts, especially if you're working with a tight budget. These keepsake gifts are not judged by their size or price, but rather by the thought behind them.



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