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5 Challenges to Event Planning

July-2015-Event-Planning-Challenges Smarty Solutions to Event Planning Challenges Parties are all about fun! However, planning for big events can be anything but. We’ve heard plenty of event planning horror stories over the years, and lucky for you, we have some great solutions to the most common challenges.   Challenge #1: Your ideas are bigger than your budget. The Smarty Solution: Inspired ideas are what drive memorable events, but budgets are an inevitable reality. Whether your theme is grandiose, your menu is elaborate, or your decor is beyond fabulous, you don’t have to sacrifice your grand plans in order to make ends meet. You just have to identify areas where you can save big, so that you can allocate more funds to the costlier components. May we introduce you to our partyware? :)   Challenge #2: And being environmentally friendly is a (costly) priority. The Smarty Solution: The notion that environmentally friendly parties cost more to produce is a myth. In fact, if you’re doing it right, you’re reducing, recycling and reusing...which should save you money. Some of our favorite green ideas include creating centerpiece displays out of low-cost fruit, subbing succulents for fresh-cut flowers in table decor, and using compostable dinnerware. You can find more solutions in our most recent article on throwing a green party.   Challenge #3: Your tablecloths don’t fit your tables. The Smarty Solution: Choosing the right tablecloths for your tables are more than a matter of round, square or rectangular. You have to make sure they hang at the proper length, otherwise you run the risk of either a “high-water” look or guests tripping on the pools of fabric at their feet. Tablecloths do come in standard sizes, but they’re by no means one-size-fits-all. To find the perfect tablecloth length for your tables, read our troubleshooting article or use the handy calculator found at the bottom of all our tablecloth pages.   Challenge #4: Everyone eats differently these days. The Smarty Solution: Vegan, vegetarian, paleo, gluten-free...there are all kinds of preferences and allergies to cater to these days. You don’t have to strip down your menu to the meet everyone’s needs, just make sure there are delicious options for everyone. In our experience, fruit and veggies are friendly to nearly any diet, so make room at the table for some creative produce-centric dishes and present them on our stylish serving trays.   Challenge #5: You planned a killer party, but you forgot about clean-up. The Smarty Solution: With all the build-up to the big event, you’re more than ready to blow off some steam on the dance floor. You’ve planned every detail to perfection, and now it’s time to kick back and be the hostess with the mostess. But eventually midnight strikes, the guests go home, and you’re returned to the reality that is clean-up. Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today? With Smarty’s elegant disposable dinnerware, dirty dishes disappear in an instant, clean-up is a breeze, and you can take a (very) well-deserved day off tomorrow!

How Events Benefit A Company Culture

July-2015-Company-Events-Smarty-Had-A-Party Everyone loves a good company picnic or happy hour. But did you know that employee events like these help strengthen your company culture? Here are the ways your company benefits from putting on events:

  • Employee events promote team building. Fun group activities like bowling, playing softball or even joining a 5k create a team environment in which employees work together toward a shared goal. And by participating in these casual activities outside of the workplace, employees get to know each other on a whole new level. They get the chance to see a different side of each other, and with that can come a different set of skills, talents and interests that they can bond over.
  • Throwing a party for your team shows employee appreciation. At Smarty Had A Party, we’re all about employee appreciation, and one way we show our employees how much they mean to us is by celebrating them every chance we get. From a morning bagel break to bigger events like a casino night or family picnic, company parties promote fun and celebration in the workplace, making your entire team feel wanted and appreciated.
  • Company events help build new relationships. Get togethers outside of the workplace allow employees working in different departments or staff from different levels within the company to shed those separations and get to know each other on a more personal level. If your employees work in different locations or even different cities, an all-company event allows people who work together remotely to meet in person and put a face to the voice on the other end of the phone. And after the party, stronger personal relationships help remove barriers and encourage the free sharing of ideas and methods.
We enjoy all these benefits and more by throwing regular parties for our employees. What has your company gained by holding employee events?

The Smartier Way to Cater

cateringheader Catering is one of the most significant parts of planning your party. Your guests may not remember the songs that were played or the color scheme you chose, but they’ll never forget the food and drink. To help you make a lasting impression, we’ve rounded up our top catering tips for your next event.

  1. Keep it simple. Good food speaks for itself. You don’t have to break out the flambe tables and champagne towers in order to impress your guests. They want simplicity just as much as you do. Self-serve setups such as dessert tables and cocktail stations will keep guests entertained and satisfied throughout the event.
  2. Be organized. The devil is in the details, as they say, and that devil will jump out to bite you if you haven’t planned your party accordingly. Get your guest count early on to make sure you have enough plates, utensils and napkins for everyone. There’s nothing worse than a buffet full of food, and a line full of guests, but no plates to serve them with.
  3. Serve dishes you love. Think about what you love to eat at parties. That’s where your menu should start. Do you have a favorite family recipe that you want to serve at your wedding? Or did you attend a conference once that had the most creative hors d’oeuvres? Use your experiences to shape the offerings at your event.
  4. And then share the love. Once you’ve crafted your menu, think about the best way to serve these dishes. Family-style dining is very trendy right now, allowing guests to pass large trays and creative containers around to serve themselves. Or maybe you want your guests to mingle, so bite-sized portions on modern mini serving pieces is the right fit for you. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s a fun and convenient method for serving your guests.
  5. Be sensitive to modern eating. Vegan, vegetarian, paleo, gluten-free...there are all kinds of preferences and allergies to cater to these days. You don’t have to strip down your menu to the meet everyone’s needs, just make sure there are delicious options for everyone. In our experience, fruit and veggies are friendly to nearly any diet, so make room at the table for some creative produce-centric dishes.

Best 4th of July Party Ideas!


As we celebrate our nation’s independence this weekend in backyards and banquet halls across the country, Smarty Had A Party has everything you need to create a fun and festive weekend for the whole family.  


  • Dress your tables in a patriotic color scheme. It’s not a 4th of July party without the red, white and blue decorations. Our Liberty tablescape shows you how to give your tables a patriotic look that is also elegant and stylish. 
  • Get creative with snacks. The three-day weekend gives you a little extra time to prep for your event, so why not try your hand at a simple DIY project. Our Set Sail Snack Boats are creative, clever and oh-so-easy to make. Your guests will love them!
  • Stock up on refreshing summer drinks. If you’re having an outdoor bash, it’s important to keep your guests hydrated during this mid-summer soiree. Make sure you have plenty of refreshing beverages on hand, like our seasonally inspired recipe for Raspberry Peach Iced Tea
  • Don’t forget dessert! With all the grilled goodies, pretty summer salads and buckets of American made beer, it can be easy to forget about the sweets. But that would be a travesty. Try our Patriotic Pops. These tasty—and portable—treats are fun for kids and adults alike. 
  How will you be celebrating Independance Day this year?

Heroic Smarty's Customer Service


It’s a Smarty Miracle!

All start-ups experience their share of unexpected problems. It’s how you rise to the challenge that shows your company’s true colors. Here at Smarty, we have a treasure trove of stories about the trial and tribulations of starting a business. We’ve stumbled, for sure, but we’ve picked up and kept on going, always focusing on our victories. Here are just a few of the times our customer service got it right:   A Frightful Mistake On Halloween 2014, the Smarty crew was heading out the door for a company bowling party when we got a message from a concerned bride. It was the day before her wedding, and she was reviewing her order when she noticed that we’d made a mistake. In place of chair sashes, we’d sent her table runners. Sure, in a pinch you can turn a runner into a sash, but the problem was that sashes come five to a package and runners come one to a package. She was seriously short on supplies! Since every customer’s party is our top priority, we waylaid our company outing until we could solve this bride’s problem. We got on the phone with Southwest Airlines and FedEx to arrange a one-way flight for the correct items, and those sashes were on the next plane to Maryland. Once they arrived, they were couriered to her bridesmaid’s front door by 11PM the same day. We always aim to over-fulfill our promises and no matter the cost, we’ll never ruin someone else’s event because of a mistake we made.   The Great Escape Natalie, a valued B2B customer of ours, had ordered an overnight delivery of Smarty goods for a client’s special event. We boxed up her order and sent it on its merry way...but things took an unexpected turn. It seems that during transit the products had made a break for it. When the box arrived at its destination, there was a huge hole in the side of it, through which 13 tablecloths had escaped, creating quite a problem for Natalie. Not on our watch! Our Smarty Care team sprung into action. Not only did they find a courier to drive the replacement tablecloths five hours to get them to Natalie on time, but they filed the FedEx claim on her behalf. She had enough to worry about!   Down To The New York Minute One of our customers in The Big Apple, Julie, placed an overnight order for a big event, but due to shipping problems, it wouldn’t arrive for four more days. So Smarty Care put their heads together and tried to find a solution. As it turned out, Smarty has friends in New York City, so we called them up offering an adventure. We quickly got a taker to be our personal problem-solver. This FOS (Friend of Smarty) was whisked away to beautiful New Jersey, where our vendor packaged up Julie’s order straight from their warehouse. Then our miracle worker grabbed a cab headed straight to Julie’s event. But there were bridges, traffic, and challenges galore. The order braved its way through the concrete jungle and arrived in Julie’s hands just one hour before the event began. Phew!   What miracles has your company performed to deliver on your promises?  Do you think Customer Service is the most important part of any company?