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Bryan Ousley

Bryan Ousley

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Throughout the history of commerce, many a deal has been made at the dinner table. Business dinners are a great opportunity to lay a foundation for long, potentially lucrative professional relationships.

Etiquette is important when hosting business dinners, as a breach of decorum can derail a relationship before it even begins. Professionals tasked with hosting business dinners can take the following tips to heart before sitting down to break bread with their colleagues.

  • Choose a restaurant that can cater to various diets. Hosting a business dinner can be similar to hosting family during the holiday season, when hosts must cater to guests with various food allergies and dietary restrictions. Asking for such information in advance of a business dinner may seem intrusive to guests, so try to find a restaurant that offers a flexible menu capable of accommodating vegetarians, vegans and guests who might be gluten-free. Avoid restaurants that specialize in styles of cuisine that might be unhealthy or so extraordinary that guests might be hesitant to order anything from the menu.
  • Confirm the reservation. Make the reservation well in advance of the date of the dinner, and don't forget to confirm the reservation a week beforehand. Confirming a week beforehand gives hosts time to book another reservation should theirs have been canceled by mistake.
  • Arrive at the restaurant before your guests. Hosts should arrive at the restaurant before their guests so they can address any potential issues in advance of the beginning of the dinner. Arriving early gives hosts time to ensure the table set aside for their party is not in a heavily trafficked area of the restaurant, such as adjacent to the kitchen or restroom. Hosts who arrive later than their guests may also give guests the mistaken impression that they are unimportant.
  • Let guests order first. Once everyone has sat down at the table, hosts should allow guests to order first. Doing so saves guests who don't want to eat that much the potential discomfort of sitting there while their hosts eat an appetizer and/or large entrée. If guests choose to abstain from alcohol, follow suit. If guests want to have a drink, hosts can limit their consumption to a single beverage.
  • Don't eat too quickly or too slowly. Hosts should try to keep pace with their guests in regard to how quickly or slowly they eat. Guests might feel uncomfortable if they finish first or feel pressured to eat quickly if their hosts finish first.
  • Pay in advance. Business dinner guests do not expect to pay for their meals. While it's widely accepted that hosts will pay, it can feel awkward to have the bill brought to the table. Upon arriving early, hosts can give their credit cards to the wait staff and ask that they be charged without having the bill brought to the table. If necessary, step away from the table during the meal to sign the bill and address any discrepancies.

Business dinners have sparked many successful professional relationships, oftentimes thanks to hosts who took the time to ensure the dinners went off without a hitch.

Children spark many changes in their parents' lives. In addition to taking responsibility for their youngsters' health, parents and caregivers are tasked with doing their best to provide for their children's happiness.

Successful kids' parties can contribute to children's happiness. Savvy adults can adhere to these strategies to make kids' parties successful.

Aim for fun, not perfection

Recognizing that the fun kids will have does not directly correlate to how extravagant a party may be can help parents avoid unnecessary party elements that kids may not even notice or appreciate. Though it's a simple formula, parents may find that food+cake+activity equals success.

Choose a theme

A theme can serve to organize a party by tying all aspects of the festivities together. For example, a luau party means Hawaiian leis, hibiscus flower garlands, grass skirts, and fruit-infused foods. That helps celebrants know what to wear and what to expect come meal time. Many of the elements will fall into place once a theme is chosen, and there's a good chance party stores may already have pre-packaged or pre-grouped party essentials that fit the chosen theme.

Don't overbook

Keep guest lists to a minimum, especially if peers from school or other youngsters are invited. Generally speaking, the younger the crowd, the smaller the guest list. A small guest list reduces the likelihood of meltdowns, excitability and the number of well-meaning parental chaperones who will want to stay and watch over their kids. Parties that are too large can be overwhelming for the guest of honor, too. Popular party location vendor iPlayAmerica suggests following the "age plus one" guideline. According to this approach, if the child is turning 5, invite 6 kids.

Stick to a certain time and time limit

First, select a time of day when children will be rested and able to enjoy the entire party. Many party planning experts say that a party between 90 minutes and two hours is adequate. Anything longer than that and kids' attention may start to wane. Especially young children may benefit from even shorter parties. Children can become acclimated, play and eat food and treats within this time. An exception to the rule may be a pool party or one that has another predetermined activity, such as ice skating or bowling.

Kids' parties are an entertaining way for friends and family to come together to celebrate milestones. Keeping them simple and organized are keys to successful parties.

Brides and grooms understandably feel a little stress when planning their weddings. Adding to the pressure is the fact that, according to a report, the average couple in their 30s spends $32,000 on their wedding. That is a lot of money riding on one day.

But planning a wedding can be even more fun than it is stressful, especially for those couples who employ a few tricks of the wedding planning trade.

  1. Fake the cake. Save some money by asking the bakery cake artist to decorate a foam-tiered "mock" cake for pictures and display, and serve guests from an inexpensive sheet cake in the kitchen.
  2. Use labels. Once the guest list is finalized, create a database of guests' addresses. Print out two sets of labels: One for addressing the invitations and the other to address the thank-you cards.
  3. RSVP tricks: Number the back of RSVP cards and correspond the numbers to the guest list. If one or more responses is illegible, refer to the number to figure it out.
  4. Embrace inexpensive decor. Dollar stores and craft stores are great places to find inexpensive decorative items. Empty wine bottles can be painted or glazed to serve as vases. Candle lanterns can be picked up at low cost at many retailers.
  5. Create an email address. To have all of the wedding-related details in one place, create a separate email address exclusively for wedding correspondence.
  6. Use veil weights. These weights can be sewn into veils to prevent fly-aways during outdoor ceremonies or photoshoots.
  7. Keep bugs at bay. Spray chair and reception table legs with insect repellent. Dryer sheets also can be tucked into inconspicuous spots to keep bugs away.
  8. Save money on favors. Unless the favor is something to eat or something especially practical, you may consider skipping the favors altogether, as many guests tend to forget to take them home anyway.
  9. Use page markers for seating. Use multicolored, self-sticking page markers to create easy seating arrangements. Each color can represent a category: His, Hers, Friends, Work.
  10. Make a photo clothesline. A clever and inexpensive idea is to pin photos of the couple to a string, cataloguing how they met and their time together leading up to the wedding.
  11. Use loose flower centerpieces. Loose flowers in a vase are easier to sort and transport home for guests who want a memento. Make precut butcher's paper or cellophane available to make bouquets.
  12. Stock up on string lights. Lights can be wrapped around trees outdoors, strung indoors around windows or draped along buffet tables to create a romantic ambiance.

Weddings can be expensive and stressful; therefore, couples can use all the tips they can to corral their expenses and tame their nerves. BR181642


Some brides may feel beholden to the color white on their wedding days, at least in regard to their gowns. Those who do often embrace the opportunity to showcase their personal styles and set the mood for their nuptials by embracing various colors throughout their ceremonies and receptions.

Color can be a critical component when establishing the ambiance for a wedding. Color can evoke certain moods and set the tone for the day. Some colors work better together than others, so while choosing a color scheme may seem like an easy undertaking, some couples may find it requires more careful consideration than they first imagined.

According to the bridal guide A Practical Wedding, wedding colors can give couples a starting-off point for all of the other details of their weddings. This ensures the wedding ultimately has a cohesive look. Colors need not necessarily match, but borrowing on similar hues can make it easier to plan wedding party wardrobes, flowers, table linens, and much more.

Colors can come from anywhere, but many couples try to coordinate their color schemes with the season in which the wedding takes place. In fact, couples who are finding it difficult to decide on a palette can look to seasonal colors for inspiration. For example, pastels and blooming flowers can set the scene for spring weddings, while jewel tones and rich reds and greens may be fitting for winter ceremonies.

Some couples opt for more loosely defined color palettes, such as neutral and natural colors. Country and garden weddings can borrow ideas from the landscape, with natural linens paired with wildflowers. Using whites, grays and beiges enables couples to add a pop of color without overwhelming the setting.

Brides magazine suggests that couples avoid choosing too many colors. A maximum of three with one metallic can ensure that things look cohesive without being over-the-top. Also, brides and grooms needn't feel pressured by the "hot" colors of the moment. As with clothing and hairstyles, trends change. It is better to select colors that will stand the test of time and look good for years to come.

Couples may have to incorporate colors already at their wedding venues into their style. Fortunately many reception sites are outfitted in neutral tones to enable customization.

The wedding resource The Knot also says having a basic knowledge of the color wheel can help. Typically, colors that pair well together are those that are opposites on the color wheel. Also, colors that share proximity on the color wheel will have similar tones and play well together. Examples of opposite colors include purples and yellows, reds and greens, and oranges and blues.

Couples should not be afraid to take some chances with their color palettes, especially if they want to make a bold and modern statement.

Locally owned & operated in Huntington WV since 1966, A to Z Rentals Special Events strives to be the best resource for party rentals in the area. We rent for any event, from private parties to weddings to corporate events of any size.


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    826 Seventh Avenue Huntington, WV 25701

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Monday 9:00 am - 5:30 pm
Tuesday 9:00 am - 5:30 pm
Wednesday 9:00 am - 5:30 pm
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Sunday Closed

Appointments are Encouraged.