ENTERTAINING, EVERYDAY entertaining | November 14, 2008

A Talk with Jaime of It’s A Jaime Thing

Recall the Sunflower bridal shower with the tiki bar that I spotlighted this summer, today’s interview is with the talented blogger who designed that event.

Jaime is a happy housewife hoping to become one day a domestic goddess. When I asked her to talk about herself Jaime told me that she was very blessed to have a husband who supports her love for weddings and blogging. So you could say her day job consists of blogging full time and planning weddings and events for friends and family.  She can’t get enough of it! I can rely to that.

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Let’s start with the interview about her blog and her tips for home parties.

At Home with Kim Vallee (AHWKV): When and how did you get into blogging?

Jaime: The wedding obsession started after I planned our own wedding back in 2003. After our wedding, I didn’t want to stop planning; I enjoyed it too much! I think it might be because I’ve always loved being “artsy crafty”, so our wedding just inspired me to use that love in a way to help others plan. Oh, how I do love it!

I started blogging as a way to keep all of my creative thoughts, ideas and finding in one spot – nice and organized.  It was also a way for me to share ideas for friends and family who were getting married, as I was helping many of them plan. I never expected it to take off like it has, but I couldn’t be happier! I absolutely love blogging about weddings and entertaining. I am happy that I get to help other brides.

AHWKV: What is the concept behind your blog?  What people can expect when they read your blog?

Jaime: The tag line for my blog, It’s A Jaime Thing is, “Wedding inspiration, ideas and all things creative”. That’s exactly what it is. I try my best to update my blog at least 2- 3 times a day (sometimes more) with fresh content. I love sharing pictures and ideas that are creative and unique – things that I’ve never heard of or seen before. I also enjoy posting about cool finds from fashion to décor. My hope is to be able to help brides personalize their weddings to make it their own, rather than just like everyone else’s.

AHWKV: How often do you entertain at home?  On a personal level, what kind of party do you host?

Jaime: I recently hosted a bridal shower at our home, however I normally entertain else ware. I’m not too domestic when it comes to cooking. So I’m always joking with my best friend (who loves to cook) that she can host the dinner parties and I’ll host the cocktail parties!

When I do host parties at home, I love to keep it simple and intimate. I focus on creating a nice, comfortable atmosphere for my guests with fun décor, good music and very yummy cocktails along with finger foods. Oh, and cookies too – while I have issues when it comes to cooking, I do actually bake pretty well. Is that strange? My favorite saying is, “when you’re sad and feeling worse, just keep a cookie in your purse!”.

AHWKV: What lessons did you learn from organizing parties?

Jaime: Don’t stress. If there’s something you wanted to do but didn’t get done in time for the party, it’s ok! Nobody but you will know.

Allow yourself enough time to plan and prepare! Entertaining can get costly, but if you allow yourself enough time you can shop around for the best deals.

Make lists! There is nothing worse than remembering to buy enough cups but not enough napkins. Keep the list with you, and as you shop for your party, check the items off of the list.

For serving cocktails and food, set up a few areas where guests can fill up so that one corner of the party doesn’t get too crowded. This also helps keep the party traffic flowing.

Have everything ready before the guests arrive, so that you can enjoy the fabulous soiree you’ve created!

AHWKV: When you are doing a party in Chicago, what are the best stores for party supplies?

Jaime: Believe it or not, I love Family Dollar! You can find fabulous party supplies there if you’re on a tight budget. I also love Hobby Lobby, JoAnn Fabrics and SaveOnCrafts.com. Craft stores have loads of items you can incorporate into your event, especially if you like to think outside the box. I’m in my own personal “heaven” when I’m at a craft store. Not only do they offer a lot, but it’s a great place to go to get inspired and get your creative juices flowing.

AHWKV: Which vendors do you use when you organize a party?

Jaime: Fresh and Silk Flowers located in Carol Stream, IL. – They offer excellent prices, wonderful customer service and the most beautiful flowers that you know, coming from them, will always be fresh!

DJ Jimmy Manno with People’s Choice DJ, located in Lombard, IL. – I’ve been to so many weddings. This is by far the best DJ in the Chicagoland area! He’s professional, talented and really knows how to keep the dance floor full. When he DJ’s an event, every guest stays until the last song. Even grandma! He knows how to choose the right songs to keep everyone happy. With him as your DJ, your wedding or event will be one people will always remember as “the best!”. Did I mention DJ Jimmy Manno is extremely affordable compared to the many out there? He even works well with vendors, which is really important too.

Patrick Kramford Videography, located in West Chicago is one of my absolute favorite videographers around. He’s professional, talented and through the beauty of his work you can tell he really cares about it. When you book with him, rest assured you’ll end up with a quality video of your event – and you’ll watch it over and over as if it were a movie. He’s that good! He’s also very affordable compared to many others.

Of course you have to have a photographer? But there are too many wonderful ones to name. We were thrilled with our wedding photographer, Maureen Martini, owner of Portrait In Time Photography, out of Lombard. Again, she’s very professional, talented and affordable. We took 2 years to plan our wedding so you better believe I interviewed like a crazy bride! I found the best vendors at the best prices – we couldn’t have been happier, they all truly did a wonderful job!

AHWKV: Which are the best venues? And what is so special about these places?

Jaime: Oh goodness, there are so many around Chicagoland that it’s hard to name them all – so I’ll name just a few of my personal favorites.  Of course I have to mention the venue we married at – Avalon Banquets in Elk Grove Village, IL. The entire staff was super friendly, helpful and professional, the food was amazing, the prices were great, and they’re newly renovated. We were so happy we booked Avalon Banquets for our wedding!

Two of my other favorite venues for weddings are Riverside Receptions in Geneva, IL and also Danada House in Wheaton, IL. They’re very scenic and both offer outdoor space for your event along with their gorgeous buildings. They’re lovely!

Part 2 of this interview, the city guide, is next.

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