I love planning events. To me, it is the coolest thing to see something you planned come to life, from start to finish. This past weekend, I planned and hosted my first Pittsburgh Blogger Brunch. It went so well & I’m so happy with how everything turned out, BUT it wasn’t prefect and that’s okay. It was my first event that I planned through Absolutely Darling, it’s all a learning experience.
There is a lot to think about it when it comes to planning an event or throwing a party: who should I invite? When should I send the invitations? What should the theme be? What food should I have? Should I make people pay to come? Should I hand out favors? There are about a hundred more questions that I could of typed out. Not to mention, there are a hundred and one different ways to plan an event. There is no set in stone plan about how you should throw an event and IF there was, many events would be similar. Come on now, that’s BORING. However, for every event: there are things that go right, things that go wrong, and things that don’t even happen when you plan on them happening.
Here are 8 steps I took planning Absolutely Darling’s Pittsburgh Blogger Brunch:
Step #1: Who should you invite?
My audience (attendees) for my brunch was bloggers based out of Pittsburgh. Now, I know a handful of Pittsburgh bloggers, but I don’t know every single one. You’re probably wondering how did I get 25 Pittsburgh Bloggers to attend the brunch? HASHTAGS! I searched the hashtag, #pittsburghblogger and slid into their DMs introducing myself and asked if they would be interested in attending a blogger brunch. Also, I gave them a choice of a few dates to get the feel of what date worked best.
Tip #1: Don’t get discouraged or offended because some people will not be interested. It’s not against you, don’t take it to heart.
Step #2: Where should you host your brunch?
While I was researching on who to invite and what date to have the brunch, I was also looking up places that would be willing to host my brunch. Sometimes this gets a bit tricky and stressful because while you’re trying to figure out what dates work best for your attendees, the places might not have those dates available. BUT everything works out in the end, so don’t feel too stressed. Pick two are three dates and ask them what will work best for them; this way they have a choice to chose from because they are just as busy as we are.
Step #3: What food should be at the brunch?
For “brunch,” people mostly think mimosas or breakfast food but it can honestly be anything, except maybe dinner because then it would be just called dinner. For instance, I chose to have coffee and pastries, it was a hit!
Tip #2: If you decide to have food at your brunch, it’s always a good idea if your attendees have any food allergies or a gluten allergy. You don’t want anyone to show up to the event and not be able to enjoy the food.
Step #4: When should you send out the invitations and when should they RSVP?
There are many ways to invite people to your event: handwritten invitations, create a Facebook event, use e-vite, send emails, texting, calling, etc. However, I chose to send out handwritten invitations. I felt as if it was a personal event and there weren’t that many attendees so handwritten invitations were the best choice. Also, I’m a big paper girl (I know, I shouldn’t be in this generation) and I believe people remember more when things are written down and in front of them, but that is just my own opinion.
The invitations were sent out a month before the event so everyone that was invited could mark their calendars or change their schedules. The RSVP date was two weeks before the brunch, that way I was able to buy all the decorations, make arrangements with food and the venue, and make any last minute changes.
Tip #3: No one has time to RSVP, it’s not much of a “thing” anymore. I didn’t get any RSVP’s, so I kindly reached out to the bloggers asking them if they received my invitation. That is when they usually tell you if they can make it or not.
Step #5: What will your theme be? Should I buy my decorations or craft them?
You can choose ANY theme you want like I’ve said before, it’s your brunch! For this particular brunch, I chose a gold, white, and black theme to coincide with my brand. My Instagram consists of those colors as well as my blog. I felt as if they represented me and people would associate my brunch with my blog.
When it comes to decorations, I bought my decorations and I also handcrafted my decorations. Some people are more crafty than others, and that’s okay! The stores that I bought most of my decorations from were Target (who would’ve guessed?) and Michael’s. Pinterest also became my best friend, like it already isn’t, it’s where I got most of my inspiration.
Tip #4: Any theme you chose, people will think its perfect. You’re hosting this brunch for them, they’re not going to hate on what you decide (if they do, you don’t worry about those particular people).
Step #6: What companies should I reach out to and how do I reach out to them?
If you want to reach out to companies, I would draft up an email explaining who you are and what you do. I always mention where I am located and what my blog is about. Also, include your blog’s URL, that way they can look up your website on the spot and be wowed away. Then, I go into further detail about what the event is, the dates, the number of people attending. At the end of my email, to really knock them off their socks, I tell them there is more than a handful of people willing to promote there business and brand by tagging them in all pictures they post, tagging them in the stories they post, as well as your blog write up.
When it comes to the companies you should reach out to, it’s your decision. I reached out to multiple bakeries to host the brunch because I knew I wanted pastries. If you want to host pizza at your brunch (which I’m surprised I didn’t do), reach out to multiple pizza companies asking if they’re willing to collaborate. Some of the companies I reached out to rejected the collaboration, some didn’t even acknowledge my email, and some were more than willing to help (shout out to Gluuteny Bakery and 350 Degree PGH).
Tip #5: The worst thing the companies can say is no. You will move on and all will be okay. You have to remind yourself that companies aren’t into doing these types of promotions and that’s okay.
Step #7: Who will you recruit to help you set up for the event and help clean?
I think I’m superwomen and I don’t like to accept help (because I’m stubborn) BUT you’re going to want to recruit about three people to help set up the brunch (especially if there is a large number of people attending). This goes for cleaning up too.
Step #8: What will we do at the brunch?
My mom kept asking me what we are going to do at the brunch. I panicked and texted about nine people, what should I do? I was thinking to myself: you eat, drink, and chat. At a blogger brunch: you eat, drink, chat, and TAKE INSTAGRAM worthy pictures. Just let the brunch flow. There is no “set schedule.”
I’m not perfect and neither was my first Pittsburgh Blogger Brunch. Although things did not completely work out as I had planned, overall the brunch was a complete success! I got to meet so many lovely bloggers who I cannot wait to see again! Even when things don’t work out as planned, as long as you keep thinking quickly on your feet and expect the unexpected, it will be a success. Here are some things that went wrong and the brunch was still successful:
- It rained horribly. Everyone was drenched by the time they got into the coffee shop.
- I ordered big gold balloons spelling out “BRUNCH.” I ordered all different size balloons and had to cancel my order a week later.
- There were only two tables in the back of the coffee shop, which made it hard to mingle because not everyone had a seat. I went up to the manager and asked them for extra chairs. You know what he did? Gave me some extra chairs.
- I ran out of invitations to send out so I direct messaged some of the girls there invites.
If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’m always here to help, xoxo.
Thank you to Adda Tea and Coffee House for giving me a space to host the brunch with lots of COFFEE. Adda Tea and Coffee House, located in Shadyside, offers a variety of coffee and teas, with the perfect seating and marble bar for the perfect coffee flatlays. Check them out at @addacoffeehouse.
Thank you to Gluuteny Bakery and 350 Degree Pittsburgh for supplying the brunch with yummy “thanksgiving” based treats. They were absolutely delicious! Gluuteny Bakery is located in Squirrel Hill and serves nothing but gluten free goodies! 350 Degree’s Pittsburgh is located in Pittsburgh. Check them out at @gluutenybakery and @threefiftypgh.
Thank you to Trend PGH for having a pop of shop at the brunch. Trend PGH is an online boutique that has all the latest fashion trends and owned by Summer, a total girl boss. Check them out at @trendpgh.
Thank you to Glow Boutique for styling my hair for the day with a blowout and loose curls! Glow Boutique is located and Sewickley and offers a variety of hair treatments, as well as makeovers! There prices won’t kill your budget, which is the best part. Check them out at @glowblo.
Thank you to Wire and Hide for the BEAUTIFUL handcrafted bracelets I wore with my outfit at the brunch. Wire + Hide is a handcrafted jewelry company located out of Pittsburgh. The couple who owns Wire + Hide handcraft earrings out of leather and bracelets out of wire. The jewelry is the perfect touch to any outfit! Check them out at @wireandhide.
Thank you to Whiskey Moon Boutique for making handmade foaming scrubs for the goody bags I handed out to all of the bloggers. Whisky moon boutique is located out of Southside, filled with boho chic clothing, home decor, and handmade beauty products.