At each place setting was dark chocolate biscotti with candied orange and cranberry. In the center of each table was an array of desserts ranging from white chocolate covered pretzels, pecan butter crunch toffee to strawberries and french macaroons with a raspberry chocolate ganache center. The ladies were served an individual dark chocolate ganache covered cake with chocolate mousse along with a white coffee, caramel sauce and fanned strawberry.
All of this for $5.00 a ticket.
Here’s how we did it!!
We set an objective for the evening — an evening of fun, delicious desserts and an opportunity for ladies to feel special, cherished, spoiled and loved. (Notice our objective was not to make this a fund-raising event— setting your objective for any event gives focus and keeps the team aware of the goal, making it easier to stay on task.)
- Set our ticket price -$5.00 – evaluate your audience, area of reach and what they are willing to pay. We didn’t want anyone to not come because of price.
- Seating capacity, along with table space, limited us to 128 ladies. Because space would be tight, everything was served to the ladies at the tables. This limits people walking around so not as much space is needed for line formation or buffet/drink tables.
- We printed tickets with a different number on each one. The tickets accomplished 3 things: ~1.~ Showed us the number of ladies coming. ~ 2.~ It mentally caused the ladies to commit. (With events, if there is no cost, people have a tendency to commit but not show up because it hasn’t cost them anything. If they have to pay, they are more apt to commit. The ticket in their hand reminded them of the event and if they were gifting tickets to others they had a tangible way to invite others. ~3.~ When the ladies arrived, we tore off the bottom number–using the number stub for door prizes.
Set Menu – It was a huge plus that we had Aja (a young lady in our church who just graduated from culinary school). We made everything from scratch, which saved a huge amount of money. Just remember this costs big in time and effort.
- offer variety~ we had some sweet things but also offered fruit (strawberries) and salty (pretzels) This fills the plate (and belly) without costing a lot or requiring much preparation.
- for beverage. We only offered decaf coffee and ice water. (Decaf coffee – because it was evening and it saved us from having to make both (caffeinated and decaf) and our servers (men from our church) didn’t have to bother between whether people wanted regular or decaf) Ice water was served in pitchers on the table. (This was cost-effective and cleansed the palette without adding an overload of different flavors.)
- 1/2 & 1/2, sugar, coffee stirrer, etc were in containers at their tables. (Again, saves people from moving around) The overall evening will move faster with a lot less confusion when everything is accessible to people at their tables.
Plan Decorations – Our plan was to have the event in the church but for it not to look like normal church with fluorescent lightning. We wanted the ladies to feel like it was a special evening.
- To keep costs down, my team of ladies and I all used what we already had in our homes. Even though it was now springtime, we dug out our white Christmas lights and strung them along the top of the wall; inner mixed with grapevine. In the lower ceiling section, we hung white icicle lights along the top of the wall and placed white lights in artificial trees and plants.
Table settings & Centerpieces
- We used glass pedestals in the center of each table. When we ran out of pedestals we did this: DIY ~ Pedestal Platter. Each pedestal held the desserts ~ arranged with identical items on each half of the pedestal. This way ladies did not have to reach all around the table to get a taste of each dessert.
- To add some light to the table without taking up too much room, we placed a wine goblet in the middle of each pedestal. This added height to the centerpiece as well. Each wine goblet was filled halfway with whole coffee beans and a tea light was placed in each goblet. The aroma of the warmed coffee bean was amazing ~ hhhmmm…coffee heaven!
Key to a Successful Event
This event took a lot of planning, coordinating and team work. Giving people on the team the opportunity to shine in their gifted area is key. From those who bake well— those who decorate— those who serve well, host well, etc. Communication of the goals, objectives and duties helps the team know what needs to be done and who is doing each part. Everyone knew their part and did it very well.
Below is a wrap-up video of our Chocolate & Chuckles event. Thank you again to all the ladies and gentlemen who made this all work! You are amazing! Thank you!
Photos courtesy of Amanda J Coombs Photography.