Events by Divine Creations | November 2009
Events by Divine Creations

The Polar Express Comes to Tampa!

by Valerie DiVecchio 24. November 2009 14:41
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'Tis the season, right?!  Well, this is a special Polar Express... one that is designed to help children who have never experienced the joys that holidays can bring because their parents simply cannot afford to buy them presents because they are struggling just to put food on the table or keep the lights on at home.  Eighteen89 is a group of young (yes, I'm hanging on to the term young for as long as I can...) professionals who support programs of the YMCA that most people do not know or hear about.  At our last meeting we heard about this program that helps families in one of the most poverty stricken area of our very own community - Sulpher Springs.

At Sulpher Springs Elementary, the YMCA created a Community Learning Center.  In seven months since its inception, the enrollment has exploded to over 200 children.  The average annual household income for a family of four is $14,000.  Most of the children have never seen, none the less decorate, a Christmas tree or gotten a visit from Santa.  So the Polar Express program was created to change all of that. 

We are currently collecting new, unwrapped toys for children in grades K-5.  There are 550 kids at Sulpher Springs Elementary and the goal is to give each child one toy to unwrap and enjoy this holiday season.  As you shop for your families and friends this Black Friday, please throw in a toy that can make a child's holiday much brighter.  Suggestions of items for girls include: barbie dolls, jewelry making kits, hair accessories, board games, makeup kits, coloring books, tea sets, purses, movies, music CDs.  For boys: Transformers, Matchbox cars, books, puzzles, super heroes, sports equipment, playing cards, legos, trucks and Bakugan.

On December 2nd, Eighteen89 is hosting a networking happy hour at The Rack in South Tampa from 6 - 8 p.m.  This is an excellent opportunity to stop by, meet some people and drop off any toys you would like to donate.  If you cannot make it to the event, just call me to set up a time to swing them by my office between now and December 9th.  Volunteers will wrap and tag all of the gifts for distribution by Santa on December 16th!  Thanks in advance for your support in helping to make a child's holiday brighter!

Saving Money Part 3: Eating Right

by Valerie DiVecchio 21. November 2009 15:45
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Food and beverage is the most expensive element to a wedding.  In fact it counts for upwards of 50% of your budget.  Obviously the first way to save is cutting back on your guest list.  Invite only those closest to you.  It's time to cross those people you haven't seen in years off the list and draw the line on the family... how close are you really to your cousins twice removed?  Less guests = less money!

For food, consider serving heavy hors d'oeuvres instead of a full dinner. Action stations are very popular and trendy these days and people will get enough food to fill them up, but because it uses smaller plates and they have to move around the room more from station to station, people tend to eat less.  Also, it's a myth that a buffet costs less than a plated meal in a lot of cases.  If you do opt for a buffet, cutting your protein or meat selections down to two instead of three will definitely save you money.

And finally, selecting a venue that will allow you to bring in your own alcohol will save you an incredible amount of money.  Alcohol has an average of a 200% mark up on it so if you can buy your own, that's a great option.  If doing this, however, I always recommend hiring a bartending company to serve your guests.  It is incredibly important for that company to carry liability insurance though - that takes the liability if someone drinks too much off you and places it on the company that served them.  It also though gives them the right to cut off your guests who have had too much to drink.   And if purchasing your own alcohol is not an option, limit your bar to maybe beer and wine only.  And while not ideal, you can host a bar for the first hour or two and then have it turn into a cash bar as well.

Happy eating and drinking!!

Obviously They Did Not Hire A Wedding Planner...

by Valerie DiVecchio 18. November 2009 11:37
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Trust me... it's not a good thing when your wedding makes the headline news.  A friend walked into my studio last week and handed me a copy of the TBT (Tampa Bay Times).  Huge red letters screamed, "WEDDING BASHERS:  It seemed like a lovely wedding.  The bride and groom said "I do" and headed to a restaurant on Rocky Point for the reception.  Who could have seen that it would end up with granny in a headlock, a guest taking a brick to the head and the bride in tears?".  Well, if they were looking for a memorable day, I don't think it can get more memorable than that...

So what started the melee?  Apparently as the reception was coming to an end, the groom was throwing dollar bills onto the dance floor for the kids to collect.  The article said that it's called "makin' it rain" in the rapper world.  One guest didn't like that (see, there is always someone you just can't make happy at every wedding!) and the groom and his brother decided to confront the guest.  Now had they hired a planner, he/she could have intervened on the groom's behalf, explained the culture and meaning and actually got the guest to come around.  Okay, maybe not... we're not miracle workers, you know.  Anyway, before you knew it there is a full fledge brawl happening and along came the police.

Upon the arrival of the police, it did not end there.  A brick was flying, punches were everywhere, and poor granny was getting choked out when she yelled at people to knock it off.  The fight spread out over 4 miles!!  So a guest decided to call a "friend" and inform him that his cousin was hit with a brick by the groom and his brother.  Per the TBT, this "friend" had a 20 page rap sheet and a stolen gun.  Well, not taking kindly to his cousin being hit by a brick, he decided to put in an appearance... and he didn't even bring a wedding present!  How rude. He proceeded to beat up the father of the groom while his date is the one who choked out granny. 

Finally the police got everything under control, arrests were made and the bride and her mother were upset and crying.  The groom - who by the way was just out of prison after serving a nine-month sentence on drug charges - was not arrested so they decided to go ahead with their honeymoon plans.  Grandma was the one who convinced them to go.  "Young people," granny said, "are so stupid these days".

All I can say is if the bride didn't see the red warning flags waving before the wedding... welcome to the family.



It's the UN, It's the Olympics...No, It's a Wedding!

by Valerie DiVecchio 13. November 2009 16:40
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Okay, I have seen some really cool things that brides and grooms do to personalized their weddings, but on October 10th I saw something that was really awesome!  Shay and Anthony were married at Christ the King Catholic Church and their reception was at Palma Ceia Golf and Country Club.  It was a fairly large wedding with about 250 guests.  Shay's nationality is German and Anthony's is Italian and Spanish.  They wanted to incorporate their heritage into their wedding and believe me, they did it with style!

There were several unique elements that they brought to their special day - cigar table, candy table, gelato machine instead of a wedding cake, but their entrance into the reception was one that I will remember for a  long time.  On all of the guest tables, there were flags of all kinds of nationalities; primarily USA, Germany, Spain, and Italy.  Shay even organized it so that the flags on each table matched the guests' nationality.  So during the main entrance when they walked into the room, all of the guests were waving their flags.  It was an amazing site and it jumped the energy in the room up tenfold! 

They had a beautiful reception all the way around, but those special elements around their culture were the things that had the guests talking and had me totally impressed!

Shay Flags  Candy Table  Cigars

Spring Semester Internship Available!

by Valerie DiVecchio 10. November 2009 15:50
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I am pleased to announce that Divine Creations Event Planning Specialists will be sponsoring an unpaid internship for one college student this spring (January - April/ May 2010).  We are affiliated with Florida State University and St. Leo's University and have had students as interns in the past from those universities.  We are also open to working with other colleges and will follow their required guidelines if provided.  To qualify you must be a student enrolled at an accredited college, majoring in recreation and leisure (concentration in special events), marketing or public relations.  You must also be covered under the school's insurance plan (usually the case if you are obtaining school credit).  This internship can qualify for school credit.  The internship will begin on January 4th and you must be able to work weekends and evenings for events.  Day hours are flexible around class schedules.

If interested, please e-mail a resume and cover letter through the website or to

Super Sale on Personalized Holiday Cards!

by Valerie DiVecchio 4. November 2009 13:42
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Divine Creations is having a super sale on personalized cards just in time for the holidays!  Perfect for showing off your annual family picture, your wedding or engagement photo or for companies who want to stay in touch with their clients and express their thanks for helping them through an economically challenging year.  Now through November 30th all personalized holiday cards are 25% off the retail value!  Simply call 813-839-5824 to set up your private appointment or stop by our studio at 3309 South Westshore Boulevard in South Tampa.

Holiday Card 09       Holiday Card 09 - 2      Holiday Crad 09 - 4

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Divine Creations

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