Gracious Events Blog

Displaying Posts For: Bar/Bat Mitzvah


Written by Erin Budzyna, Intern

Have you ever wondered where you could purchase inexpensive bridal party gifts and accessories locally?  Pretty Poppy located on 43 Pleasant Street in Newburyport, MA is a perfect place to purchase bridesmaids gifts, bridal jewelry, and wedding decor.  Listed at low prices you can find beaded sashes to accent bridal dresses, or even sterling silver initial necklaces to hand out to your bridesmaids and maid of honor.  You will also find bride/bridesmaid tote bags, wooden frames to capture the day, and cake testing sets printed with MR. & MRS.  If you are planning to purchase a bigger, sophisticated gift there are beautiful dish options from Mariposa, elegant pieces made with recycled aluminum and handcrafted glass.  All of the wedding products at Pretty Poppy will help brighten your wedding day and accent the decor of your venue.


Photo via Pretty Poppy

Photo via Pretty Poppy


Photo via Pretty Poppy

Photo via Pretty Poppy


Photo via Pretty Poppy

Photo via Pretty Poppy


Photo via Pretty Poppy

Photo via Pretty Poppy


Photo via Pretty Poppy

Photo via Pretty Poppy


Photo via Pretty Poppy

Photo via Pretty Poppy


Photo via Pretty Poppy

Photo via Pretty Poppy


Photo via Pretty Poppy

Photo via Pretty Poppy

Pumpkins, not just for halloween

Written by Nicole Mitsakis

It’s no secret that FALL has become a very popular season for weddings, the rich colors and textures that one could incorporate to their vision are endless.  An elegant and accessible item you should consider using when designing for a fall wedding or event is the pumpkin…as it’s “not just for Halloween”.  Whether you chose to use them in your centerpieces or as added decor in your venue or ceremony they are extremely beautiful.  You will find that they are cost effective especially in New England as they are in season in the Fall.  You might also consider incorporating Gourds, Ornamental Cabbage and Kale too!  Clearly, orange is the most common pumpkin color but most farms now have white or off white.  Think about lighting the pumpkins and placing them throughout your venue or use them to line the the aisle for your ceremony.  Another fun idea is to use them as signage…paint your initials or a welcome message.  If you can’t find the right color you can always spay paint them and even add glitter. We’ve pulled together some of our favorite inspiration to help jump start your vision.










All photos via pinterest

Marquee Lighting

Written by Nicole Mitsakis

This is one my NEW favorite options for event lighting…MARQUEE LIGHTING. This has been huge in the UK for the last couple of years and has recently made its way across the pond to us!  In our quest to find more information about marquee lighting we stumbled upon Your Love In Lights, a Needham, MA based company.  I had the pleasure of speaking with Helen about her and her husband Tom’s company.  Ironically Helen is actually from England (one of my favorite accents) so when she discovered that the US was missing this market they decided they would offer some options.  They are so fun and can truly make a statement at any event…even corporate!  Another market to use these marquee lights would be in business offices, I know we would LOVE a pair that spells out GEM to have in our office…maybe we can ask Santa!





All above photos via Your Love In Lights

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Photo by Chris Spira Photography

Photo by Chris Spira Photography

Photo via Pinterest

Photo via Pinterest

Photo by Babb Photo

Photo by Babb Photo



{Venue Spotlight} The Dane Estate

Written by Nicole Mitsakis

There are many unique and historical properties throughout New England that offer incredible spaces for weddings and events.  You may  have not known about The Dane Estate but we are here to tell you that you should!  Let us first introduce you to Lovelynn Jensen and Michelle Freedman, they are the incredible duo behind all the events at The Dane Estate on the campus of Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill.  In 2014 The Dane Estate was the winner of the “Boston Wedding Group Venue Meeting Creativity Award 2014”.  This historical property is on 60 acres of wooded estate and provide a beautiful array of event spaces to suit any function from Weddings & Bar/Bat Mitzvahs to Conferences and Meetings.  They also offer a 476 seat theatre complete with an orchestra pit, dressing rooms and theatre lighting & sound.







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A few weeks ago the GEM Team took a road trip out to Chestnut Hill to visit the Dane Estate!  The entrance to the main building has a beautiful and spacious round cobblestone courtyard, perfect for a cocktail hour before a party or a fun food truck at the end of the night!  Lovelynn and Michelle gave us a private tour that included all the fascinating history behind this classic property.  There are so many quirky and fun elements to this property…they actually have a hidden coat room behind a secret panel.  Whether you want your event inside, outside, with or without a tent, the Dane Estate offers limitless opportunities.

Thank you to Lovelynn and Michelle, we are so happy to have met you and look forward to working with both of you.



All images provided by The Dane Estate

{VENDOR SPOTLIGHT} Blackbird Doughnuts

Written by Nicole Mitsakis

The older I get the more I realize that “everything” comes back around!  It’s been a while since doughnuts have been the topic of conversation but this past Wednesday night our team attended the Knot’s Event celebrating everything NEW at 90FS.  We found ourselves at the table of Blackbird Doughnuts checking out their incredible display.  It has been YEARS since I have had a doughnut but after a taste of their Lavender one I was hooked and knew right then and there I would be blogging about them. Ironically, we had a meeting in Boston the next day and you would not believe who was across the street…YES you guessed it, Blackbird Doughnut’s store front!  We completed our meeting and headed (ran in heels) across the street to further explore their doughnuts and wanted to share it with all our readers because “Who doesn’t LOVE a doughnut”?


Blackbird Doughnuts is located in the South End of Boston and is the only artisan doughnut shop in Boston. Everything is baked onsite, and if you stop in you can actually see the bakers at work.  Their menu is seasonal and inspired by local ingredients.  They are happy to work with you if you want a custom flavor for your event or choose from their impressive list, some of their favorite flavors are:

Salted Toffee ~ Blackberry Lavender ~ Cinnamon Sugar ~ Vanilla Glaze ~ Lemon Honey Pistachio
Pomegranate Dark Chocolate ~ French Roast ~ Lemon Coconut ~ Chocolate Ganache ~ Raspberry Dark Chocolate
Birthday Cake ~ Mint Dark Chocolate ~ S’mores ~ Peanut Butter Chocolate





All photos courtesy of Blackbird’s website and facebook page.

“How to make your wedding cake an art piece using sugar flowers”

Now and again, we cross paths with some outstanding vendors that we just want to tell the world about because they are just that fantastic in so many ways.  So, we decided to offer a “Guest Blog” spot on our site to those rare GEMs we come across.  This week’s blog features the ever so lovely and talented Jennifer Williams, owner of Jenny’s Cakes.


The properties of sugar are amazing, especially when incorporated into a design for a wedding cake.  Gum paste, also called sugar dough, is a material used to make fine and delicate forms out of sugar.  This is one of our specialties and it can really make a wedding cake go from just a cake to a piece of art.  My favorite way to use gum paste is to make flowers out of it.  I started to learn this when a bride could not get her beloved peonies for her wedding so we made them for her cake instead. This provided a personal and sentimental element to her wedding while making her cake a real stand out of the day.

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Sugar flowers are very time consuming to make, and every sugar artist has their own style.  I like mine to look life like and flowing, almost so they look like they are moving.  Each petal is rolled out with a tiny rolling pin, formed, and dried before putting the next petal on.  I take a lot of inspiration from artists who paint flowers as well as actual flowers.  After the flower is finished and dried it can be dusted with a colored dust, painted, or touched up with gold or silver.


Because of the labor involved sugar flowers can be quite expensive but they don’t have to. You can also get a lot of impact out of one large flower used as a focal point at a modest price.  Although technically edible, you would probably not want to eat these flowers because they dry quite hard. You can however save them and use them on an anniversary cake in the future, or preserve them in a dry place for several years.  I made a cake for a florist who was a groom and he made a topiary out of it and enclosed it in glass, which he now uses for décor in his home.



Your wedding planner can help steer you in the best direction when choosing a cake designer, since they are in tune with your style and design details.  The cake designer can work with you both and take it from there and come up with some very unique ways to use sugar flowers to make your cake a work of art.

All photos courtesy of Jenny Cakes and Nikki Cole Photography. 


Two Chefs Really Are Better Than One!

Written by Tania Atkinson

From the moment the first plate was presented, we fell head over heals in love with Two Chef Are Better Than One catering! They have mastered the art of full-service catering, and even set a new standard in service, personality and presentation.  We were invited to a tasting in their facility in Lowell, Ma  where they not only run their catering business, but also operate a corporate kitchen for the employees of 1001 Pawtucket Blvd.  We were not alone in our tasting, as a number of soon-to-be brides and grooms were also having their tastings, however, the service we experienced was as if we were the only people in the room with an entire staff dedicated to just us.  Our meal began with the most elaborate cheese board I have ever experienced.  It included the most diverse array of tastes, color and texture all presented on a rustic wood board.  Every course from then on consisted of the most delicious combination of flavors we have ever experienced.  From the cajun style shrimp with a slight hint of sweetness, lobster crostini that melt in your mouth to the chicken skewers with mango chutney, every bit was delicious.  But the chefs at “Two Chefs” didn’t stop at the mouth watering food.  Their thought to presentation was flawless.  From the simple placement of the each bite sized mouthful, to the single fresh bloom on each plate perfectly coordinated with the color and season of food; their plates were a work of art.


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We can’t write this blog without mentioning the fabulous staff of Two Chefs are Better Than One.  We had the most enjoyable time chatting with Tara, Jamie and Alison who truly made us feel like the only ones there.  They had a very easy way of working with their guests that was efficient, yet not intrusive at all.  They were extremely knowledgeable of the foods that were being presented and easily answered any and all of our questions.  We can’t say enough about this fantastic organization and their outstanding quality of work.

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