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Non-Floral Centerpiece Ideas

Centerpieces 2While although floral arrangements are the most common centerpieces in formal dinners, there are a number of other alternatives that are equally as stylish and fabulous. You can go for these alternatives if you have allergies and you don’t want them bothering you (or your guests) during dinner. Some classic centerpieces include paper flowers, candles, candelabras and themed decorations.

Sometimes people decide that they don’t want to do floral arrangements for their event. It is important to keep in mind that these alternatives are not always cheaper and can be sometimes even more expensive.

Luckily, Swank Productions are experts in this area and have put together a list of alternative centerpieces:

Paper Flower Arrangements

Centerpieces 3It’s hard to believe, but in this picture we have a paper flower arrangement. This is an ideal solution for anyone that suffers allergies. These paper floral arrangements are the perfect alternative to real flowers and unlike real flowers, they last forever!


We even organised a whole wedding dedicated to this idea. Be sure to check out more pictures of our Paper Flower Wedding.

Themed Decorations

A centerpiece is an ideal feature that helps express an events theme. A centerpiece can be a decoration that represents a theme. Below is an example of a centerpiece for a nautical wedding. The yacht centerpieces also had the table numbers written on them.

A decoration will allow you to get creative with your centerpiece and lets you express and exaggerate your theme.



Herbs imitate flowers very well with the green colors and the beautiful smells. Like in the picture below, herbs can be placed in creative glassware and this is very good money-saving alternative.


To create a romantic and more intimate centerpiece, why not try using some candles. The candles can be on own their own or you can pair them up with some other decorations. There is an un-ending amount of centerpieces that you can use with candles and there light._DSC3548 copy2 copy

This is all about thinking outside the box and making your centerpiece unique. If you’re engaged or planning on getting married and want your wedding brought to the next level, be sure to get in contact with Swank Productions.

Also, check out our Swank Decor Sale on pinterest to purchase decorations for any event that you may be hosting.

Swank Productions event planning and design main site: Swank Productions 
You’ll find a ton more photos and learn more about us

Hunger Games Theme Idea

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Starting off as a bestseller book, the Hunger Games was soon directed into a movie that had the world obsessing.  The movie sees 16 year-old, Katniss, volunteering herself (replacing her sister) to take part in the annual hunger games. 12 Districts randomly select 2 teenagers from their district to participate in a competition that puts all 24 participants against in each other in a battle to death, which only allows one victor.

“May the odds be ever in your favor” and with this theme, they will be!

Recently, this movie has developed into an unusual, yet a fun and exciting theme for parties for guests of all ages. Luckily, Swank Productions know how to plan the most incredible Hunger Games theme party. So look no further as the following tips will get you started on how to host your very own Hunger Games theme party:

Deadly BackgroundHG

To really give the impression of a Hunger Games theme party, backdrop is very important. There are many scenes that you can choose from but we thought having a forest background fitted well for this occasion.  You can use greenery and shrubs as convincing props.

The forest background works best as it goes well with the decorations and food.




Realistic Decorations

DSC01587 copyPicking out decor that features in the movie really brings this theme alive. Here are a few items from the movie that stuck out the most for us;

  •      Bow and arrows
  •      Medallions
  •      Old-fashioned bags
  •      Shrubs and Plants


It is really important to think outside the box here and to get guests talking

Food for a Warrior

This is where color can come to life and you can get creative for your guests to enjoy.

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Make sure to include a range of food from sweet, colorful treats, to rustic, wholesome foods. The intense colors really excite guests.

One of our favorite treats are the flame cupcakes shown below!


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Swank Productions are always here to help you with your themed events. If you need advice on how to work with a theme, be sure to get in contact and we will develop a theme that will exceed our expectations.

8 Reasons To Hire An Event Planner/Designer For Your Corporate Event


It is common for people to think that professional Event Planners are going to be expensive. But the reality is that planners know the tips, tricks and contacts that could save you time and money in the long run without sacrificing the quality of your event.

Here are some of our reasons to hire an Event Planner/Designer for your corporate event:

8. Capitalize on our Contacts and ResourcesYAHOO_GENOME_BE_31

A Planner’s rolodex is a gold mine. From lighting to décor to power and more, all the right contacts are at our fingertips. No more web-searching required when we can speed-dial the best canopy vendor to serve your location, or obtain a liquor application for a City park. Because of the number of events we’ve done with tons of different companies, we know the pros and cons of each and can help me make the best choices and stay on-budget.


7. You’ll host your event at the right placeSwank Productions Studio 450 Corporate Holiday Party Table Set-up (2)

Where you should host your event- what city and where in the city- depends on the kind of event you’re hosting and what your goals are for the event. Your event planner will help you choose a venue that can actually help you meet your goals for your event. This is something that can affect attendance, sales, and tons of other details.

6. You’ll save time

Nobody has enough hours in the day anymore, so why spread yourself too thin doing something that someone else can do for you more efficiently and effectively? Planners thrive on this activity, and they can organize and execute your event in less time than you ever could, allowing you to focus on other responsibilities.


5. You’ll save your company money

Event Planners build relationships with suppliers, and we receive discounted rates from vendors that a quality planner will pass on to the client. When you call the same supplier, you are likely to pay their standard rates, which can be higher by as much as 20 percent or more. You’d think because you have to pay the event planner, you’re spending more money, right? Not so. Once we  know what your budget is (and how strict you are about sticking to it), we can work with vendors to save you money on all kinds of things. In the long run, an event planner can actually save you the money you spent hiring him/her, and then some.

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4. Experience

Over time, Event Planners gain extensive knowledge and wisdom regarding events and parties; they know the latest trends, newest venues, the hot colors, budget-saving secrets and details that you may not be aware of if you plan only one or two events annually.


3. Crisis Management

Despite all the planning, preparation and management, almost every event inevitably encounters an unforeseen problem. You don’t want guests aware of this obstacle and you certainly don’t want to appear panicked. This is when you need a Planner at your side because they know who to call and how to remedy a situation quickly. Whether it’s a missing limo or a fallen wedding gown hem, your Planner can secure the resources necessary to resolve an issue seamlessly and keep the event on track.


2. You’ll have a better-looking event IMG_0529

Event planners know that part of what makes for a great event is that it looks and feels great. There are tons of details that you may not think of on your own or even from browsing Pinterest. Things like, did you know that if you angle your audience chairs a certain way, it makes them feel more involved and engaged? Or that if you have different sized vases it can make a room seem more dimensional and have different levels? Event Planners know the tips and tricks to make an event wow your guests.


1. You can actually enjoy your eventIMG_8071

When you’re planning an event, doing everything yourself is a very, very big job. And it gets stressful. As soon as you hire an event planner, you can breathe. You can step back, regroup, focus on the things you know the most about, and get a lot of work done. Because someone else is handling the details of the event itself, you can be more productive on the things you do best. Plus, when the event begins, Swank Productions will be monitoring and making sure the logistics are handled so that you can focus on making my guests feel welcome and comfortable and maybe even eat the awesome food you chose!

Remember these the next time your company decides to throw an unforgettable party!

Olympic Themes

The Olympics are competitive, but that’s just the games.

The event itself speaks to something broader and far less partisan: friends and strangers alike coming together in celebration of greatness – it is that theme which makes the Olympics such a perfect theme for parties, events and special occasions – themselves being exactly that – people coming together in celebration of exceptional times or milestones, or in recognition of outstanding achievements – whether those achievements exist in the realms of business, life, or love.


As source material, the Olympic games is so layered, so complex and rich with inspiration, that no two Olympic themed parties need ever be the same – one can pull from the historical games at Athens, one could choose a specific event, or a season; one could focus on the athleticism, or on the global communion aspect – literally a thousand ways to approach the subject!

For a corporate Olympic-themed party, Swank’s design story focused on the location of the current games – London,  where the clients offices were celebrating a ten year milestone – and the competitive nature of the Olympics. Games were brought to the venue and medals handed out at the end of the evening.

The décor concept was directly influenced by the Olympic rings, and the medals themselves, as well as a nod to rhythmic gymnastics, with its iconic twirling of ribbons around the athlete.  These floating, spiraling ribbons were used as ‘anti-centerpieces’ lofted above the tables, and shining in Gold, Silver, and Bronze – speaking to the clients ‘onward and upward’ mentality.

With so much history, and so many facets to pull inspiration from, the Olympic Games are as thematically rich as anything, and that richness of spirit translates as well into corporate parties as it would into a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, or social party.

Onward and Upwards!

Maya Kalman, Event Design Expert & CEO of Swank Productions Maya Kalman is the Founder & CEO of SWANK Productions, a luxury wedding planning, event design and event production company in New York City. Known for her beyond-the-box designs and undying passion for creating extraordinary event experiences, Maya risen to become one of the most well known wedding and event planners in New York City. She has been a featured expert on TNT, NBC Today Show, MTV, Martha Stewart, Food Network, Geraldo Live and many more, and has planned and designed weddings, corporate events and parties for some of the top companies, brands and personalities around the world.
Follow Maya on Twitter, Maya on Facebook

The Chic BBQ Picnic

Pic Nic Chic!

When it comes to Corporate Summer BBQ’s, Swank’s Country-Chic Picnic on Randall’s Island was a splendid affair for employers, employees and thier families.  Taking cues from classic Americana and the colorful character of the old state fair – Swank took the often slapped-together notion of BBQ food in a basket and elevated it to a daylong celebration of summer and bare-foot leisure in the sun.

Each guest received their own individual picnic basket – avoiding the inevitable and awkward moment when one person gets the last sad sandwich at the bottom of the pile.

In fact, all amenities were individualized, from personal rolled blankets, to party favors like richly-hued fans and summer-bright sunglasses for the kids.

The personalized touch is a welcome detail in a communal gathering, and no detail here was overlooked.
Buttercup colored ribbons tied up gingham napkins with a classic bow.  The pie station featured a traditional assortment – apple, strawberry rhubarb – announced with hand-lettered chalk on slate. The old-fashioned ice cream cart offered pure Americana in the guise of ice cream sandwiches, and was paired with gourmet, spiked snow-cones for the elders in the bunch.

From the lawn tent – festooned with red white and blue bunting – to the pony rides and candy necklaces, the humble picnic, in the able hands of Swank’s design team, became a true event, worthy of the season and of the storied histories of the American summer at large.  Happy Fourth of July!

Maya Kalman, Event Design Expert & CEO of Swank Productions Maya Kalman is the Founder & CEO of SWANK Productions, a luxury wedding planning, event design and event production company in New York City. Known for her beyond-the-box designs and undying passion for creating extraordinary event experiences, Maya risen to become one of the most well known wedding and event planners in New York City. She has been a featured expert on TNT, NBC Today Show, MTV, Martha Stewart, Food Network, Geraldo Live and many more, and has planned and designed weddings, corporate events and parties for some of the top companies, brands and personalities around the world.
Follow Maya on Twitter, Maya on Facebook

Unique Venues: Top Event Venues with a Lawn

Summer is officially here. Time for Fun, Sun, Picnics & Fireworks!

For lots of people, a great summer “outing” hinges on the ability to be “out on the lawn”.

But WHERE are you going to find a lawn in New York?!(Other than Central Park!)

Well believe it or not there are quite a few amazing venues in NYC (and the surrounding areas) that actually have beautiful grassy lawns!

The Out Hotel: This boutique hotel has a secret and it’s not what you think! It’s their cute and very private courtyards. The Out Hotel likes to boast that their great lawn rivals central parks thanks to its privacy and super comfy beanbag chairs.

Desmond Tutu Center: Enjoy an amazing park-like setting while looking up at some of the amazing Gothic architecture that the center is made up of. You can lie on the grass and easily forget that you’re located right in the heart of Chelsea.

620 Loft & Garden: This garden is famously used in many fashion and entertainment shows, and for good reason! The view affords you glimpses of both Saint Patricks cathedral and Saks Fifth Avenue, but the garden itself is so beautiful there’s no reason to glimpse off the sides. Make sure you take in the reflecting pool and beautifully trimmed hedges.

High Line If you live in New York, you’ve probably walked the High Line, but did you know that you can rent it out for private events? Areas on the Highline can be rented out, with locations that can accommodate up to 250 guests. Talk about a unique New York summer experience!

The Timeshare Backyard, 145 Ludlow Street. Leave it to New Yorkers to make the best of an empty lot by turning it into a beautiful lawn space! As we all know having a backyard in the East Village(or anywhere in the city!) is real estate gold. Well lucky for us, you can now rent the perfect summertime backyard by the hour at 145 Ludlow. Stop settling for baking on the tar roof of your apartment building and break out the slip and slide on this lush grassy transformation of a vacant lot.

Yankee Stadium & Citi Field: You don’t need to be a baseball fan to appreciate the iconic landscapes of New York’s two home fields, but it certainly helps. Enjoy the lawns that have been part of cultural milestones all while rousing up a classic New Yorker question; The Yankees or the Mets?

Elevated Acre Located in the heart of the financial district, this space is a FULL ACRE of plush green grass. Come out here for an event or just to lie around and eat your lunch.




J Equestrian Center at Hamilton Farm Golf Club: If you are an equestrian lover at heart THIS is an AMAZING venue! I PROMISE your nose will NEVER be able to tell that horses were once in there! Located in Gladstone, New Jersey, you’ll feel like you’re travelling through time when you enter the restored

Hempstead House- Don’t let the Long Island address scare you, this AMAZING estate is only 30 minutes out of NYC. The building itself is beautiful, but the real breathtaking aspect is the sprawling manicured lawn with sweeping views of the Long Island sound.

Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture- The home for the Brooklyn Society for Ethical culture is a gorgeous mansion overlooking prospect park. But you don’t need to head to the park to enjoy the outdoors, this venue is home to the largest private garden in the city



Oheka Castle: If your dream was to be married in the gardens of Versailles, Oheka is the perfect  alternative. A genuine castle surrounded by one of the most magnificent gardens we have ever seen, this is THE lawn venue. The craziest part (and most jealousy inducing) is that years ago, somebody actually lived on these amazing grounds.

The Brooklyn Picnic House The picnic house is the perfect summer location. Open to both people looking for a private event venue as well as everyday park goers, there’s no reason not to enjoy the restored pavilion area surrounded by a vast open meadow

The Liberty House The liberty house, about one mile from Liberty Park, offers a wonderful outdoor terrace during the summer months. Features include fire pits, cabanas, and tables placed amongst the gardens. If you feel like being in Liberty Park itself, try dining there for brunch or dinner which offers classic views of the Statue of Liberty, Manhattan Skyline, and the Hudson River!

And if none of those venues work for your event…..we have absolutely been known for bringing truck loads of sod in to create a lawn anywhere we want one!

Do you have a favorite venue that has a lawn of some sort?  Let me know!!!


Tips for Throwing a Great Summer Party In the City


Summer in the city is HOT and so are the Summer Parties!

Since this weekend is the official start of Summer Parties for many of us,  I thought I’d share some of the ways we’ve created COOL yet CHIC summer parties for our corporate and social clients without leaving the city.


Think Tropical –

Palm Trees add height, drama,  and immediately create a tropical atmosphere.

When it comes to Palm Trees, I of course, love them to be as  tall as possible!  But if the budget doesn’t allow for real palm trees (delivery can sometimes be as expensive as the trees themselves!) then the inflatable ones we used here are a really fun solution.

Add a colorful umbrella (make sure to get a stand since you can just shove it into the sand!) or Tiki inspired one to create the summer feel.  This is of course both useful and decorative.

For more splashes of color, use bright colored beach towels (rolled up) they work as awesome bolster pillows for seating.


Think the Beach & Poolside -

No pool at your Venue?  Bring it all in!  Beach Balls are an inexpensive way to add color, decor and fun! We found these tiny 4’’ beach balls as well as ones that were as large as 30’’ and we used them everywhere!

You can line the floors, the buffets, you can use them as chandeliers!

Inflatable pools filled with ice make for amazing containers to keep your beer, wine and sodas chilly!

And for an unexpected (but very pleasant) surprise to your guests.  Have a shaved ice or snow cone specialty bar (you can serve them with, or without alcohol)!  Nothing cools you down like a spiked snow cone!


Think Bite Size-

People are going to arrive hungry.  But no one wants to be carrying around a huge overloaded plate, while looking for a place to sit down and eat.  When it’s hot, the last thing you want is to be eating food that drips down your arm or is difficult to manage with a drink in your hand.  Make an effort to serve food in bite sizes.  And if you do need utensils, try to serve food that does NOT need a knife.  Your guests will thank you!

And speaking of thanking you…..lets talk about Drinks and WHO is serving.

I always say “People eat with their eyes” even if its unconscious.  When it comes to drinks pick one signature drink that not only tastes good, but LOOKS GREAT.  This one is a super yummy Blueberry Lemonade ( made with Blueberry Kool Aid!).

And if you REALLY want to get your friends chatting…..make sure you get HOT waiters to serve your COOL beverages :)

drink the day away and…… at the end of the evening.  Really?  is there ANYTHING MORE WONDERFUL than the summers night breeze on a NYC rooftop?  I think not!

Whatever you do, once the party starts don’t sweat the small stuff. Let go, and allow let yourself have fun!  The summer flies by so make sure to enjoy it!

Do you have an Summer Party in the City tips?  Let me know I would LOVE to share them!


Check out the Summer Newsletter for more great summer stuff!










Summer Color Trends

If you haven’t heard yet, this years Pantone ‘Color of the Year’ is Tango Tangerine which we really love!  Check out my ORANGE PINTEREST BOARD!!!

Here are some of our favorite uses of this color so far:



But Orange or Tangerine aren’t the ONLY colors of the season!  In addition to that bright citrus flavor,  we are also LOVING these color on their own and TOGETHER!

And, just FYI……. I am OBSESSED with this Pucci inspired satin linen!  Cannot wait to show you how we used it this summer to transform a dinner cruise yacht into an tropical urban oasis!

(You’ll see it on MTV’s Made featuring SWANK’s wedding on June 19th at 4PM)


Whats your favorite 2012 color of the season?  And how are you using it?  Let us know!