Your Spring To-Do List: Get Out!

Spring has sprung! It’s time to refresh, renew, and most importantly, time to just get out.
If you’re like us, and trying to get fully in the zone for the warmer days ahead, add these 5 effortless things to your personal to-do list to get the most out of these rising temperatures.

1. Update your wardrobe for spring and summer.
As if you need reminding – but it’s the very least you can do to banish the wintertime blues (and replace them with more spring-ready shades). After a harsh winter, trading in your parka for seersucker shorts is almost like therapy.

2. Start sipping warm-weather cocktails.
For starters, classic sangria is a staple that never goes out of style! We love it for its versatility – these pitcher-perfect variations are sure to jumpstart the summer of your dreams.

3. Take Happy Hour outdoors.
If you’re enjoying a happy hour with friends right now, we guarantee your drink will taste better outside, whether your favorite hotspot is a swanky downtown patio or your own backyard. What’s even better: happy hour on a boat!

4. Get excited for festival season.
It’s not too late to catch the phenomenal National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C. or Chicago’s Air & Water Show. Call up your best group of friends and start planning a road trip to at least one of these destination events. Pro tip: the best seats for all the festivities are on the water.

5. Re-discover your city.
You’ve been itching to get out since January, so now it’s time to take a walk, bike tour (or speedboat cruise) through the city you call home. Don’t wait another minute – the temperatures will drop again before you know it!

Ready to get the most of your spring and summer? Book a cruise with us and start making unforgettable memories.

Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, New York, Norfolk, Philadelphia, South Florida, Washington DC

Easter Weekend, Made Easy

Easter comes a little earlier in 2016 than in recent years, but that’s no reason to worry! There is still time to plan the perfect Easter event.

Whether you have in mind an elegant Easter Sunday brunch or a relaxing family dinner, here’s a few tips to make sure your Easter weekend is as stress-free as possible.

Make reservations – If you’re hoping to leave the menu and preparation to professionals, it’s never too early to make Easter Weekend reservations. Find a venue for your Easter lunch, brunch or dinner that’s perfect for groups of all sizes.

Go for family-friendly entertainment – When celebrating with children and family, look for entertainment options that delight all ages. Egg decorating, goodie bags and other interactive games are perfect Easter activities that never disappoint.

Plan a special surprise – A *huge* part of Easter magic (especially for kids) is a chance to catch the Easter Bunny in action. Luckily, there just might be a few chances this year to catch a surprise visit on the water.

Need a stress-free Easter Weekend getaway this year? Find Easter cruises in your city.

4 Ways to Keep the Entertainment Fresh

Any great event starts with a foundation that I like to call the trifecta:
1. Incredible ambiance
2. Delicious food
3. An awesome live band or DJ

From there, building on entertainment to match a theme or create a buzz is always a welcomed and unexpected bonus. Here are four ideas to make guests feel special and rewarded.

Photo Booth With Props


Everyone loves to take pictures to share on social. And with fun props, a customized vinyl backdrop or a venue with great views, guests will have even more of a reason to share on.

Take the Stage


For an event that’s interactive, encourage your guests to get in on the entertainment with a karaoke DJ. The best DJs will have music from all decades and the top 40 for a playlist to fit you.

Costumed Look-a-likes


Professional costumed lookalikes greet party guests in character and can often put on a show-stopping performance during dinner. Whether it’s a 1920s flapper teaching guests the Charleston, characters like the Blues Brothers or a sports icon – live performers can bring your theme to life.

Feeling Lucky?
Casino Night with Cigar Rollers

True pro cigar rollers are hard to find but  can be the perfect add-on for the right group.  With “Rat Pack” look-a-likes, Elvis or Marilyn Monroe characters, you can have an authentic throwback casino party.

Great events are often about helping guests get swept away, out of the day-to-day, to create unforgettable memories.

Feeling inspired? Let our crew help you customize your event on the water.
Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, New York, Norfolk, Philadelphia, South Florida, Washington DC


How to Plan the Perfect Outdoor Event

Summer is here! It’s time to head outside and not look back – and the same goes for your events. Whether you’re planning birthday, reunion or a celebration for no reason, this is the season for events al fresco.

Put these four must-do tips into practice and your guests won’t want to leave.

Want our team to handle the planning for you?
Host your next special event out on the water.

Get Inspired by Color for your Summer Event

When planning a spring or summer event, it’s easy to get stuck in the garden-party rut. Surrounded by a sea of blush tones and matchy-matchy place settings, things can easily start to feel stuffy.

But three event designers from the Chicagoland area have exactly what you need when it comes to out-of-the-box inspiration. After styling tabletops for an event on private yacht Chicago Elite in partnership with Modern Luxury Brides Chicago, it’s clear that breaking a few rules can lead to event décor that’s vibrant and unexpected.

Morocco Meets the Sea – Debi Lilly, A Perfect Event


While the vintage Moroccan linen is certainly a stand-out piece, everyone can take inspiration from Debi Lilly’s mix of colors, textures and metals. Gold, silver and copper all make an appearance on her table, as well as mismatched china. The china, crystal and silverware are from The Festive Frog.

“So many times people worry that they can’t mix and match, but doing so looks much more interesting. I love elements that look like family heirloom pieces, something special and meaningful,” she said.

Another highlight from her table? Ombre centerpieces moving from pale to bold pink.

Understated Elegance – Jess Syburg, The Eventful Life


For Jess Syburg, this tabletop started with the color palette.

“We love blush pink as much as the next girl, but we wanted to display it in a unique way,” she said.

The answer? Deep purples and blues brought out with candles and unique components in the floral display like artichokes, fern heads and purple tea leaves. A dove-grey table cloth, vintage gold accents and hand-lettering by Bushyl keeps things light and fit for the summer.

As proof that inspiration can come from anywhere, a particularly elegant powder room at the new Rent the Runway store in Chicago inspired this design.

Keeping It Personal – Christine Janda Design and Events


When planning a summer event, starting with a theme can be a tempting jumping-off point. But for Christine Janda, it’s always better to start with what’s close to the heart.

This tabletop started with the Blue Willow China print. With historic ties dating back to the 1800s, it’s near and dear to Christine because it’s a print she associates with her grandmother.

She amped up the traditional print with poppy pink and yellow flowers, and kept the nautical touches subtle, including gold spray-painted rope tied around the menus.

“Don’t back yourself in to a theme or a trend,” she said. “Think about your personal style, the guest of honor and the type of energy you want to give off. Have that lead the design.”


Ready to start planning? Learn how to pick the perfect bar package for your summer event.

Dial Up Your Valentine’s Day

Want to plan the perfect Valentine’s Day? Flowers, chocolate, warm and cozy candlelight, great food and the right company are all important – but don’t forget the one make-or-break element that will (literally) set the tone of your evening.

Valentine’s Day is all about the music.

Music is powerfully linked with memory, and if you want this to be a night to remember you’ve got to get the background music just right. When picking your Valentine’s Day venue or restaurant make sure to ask if there will be any special live entertainment.

So, what will your soundtrack be?

Knob_1 DJ – Valentine’s day is a day full of proposals and new promises, but there are many who want to celebrate the day in a more festive, less romantic atmosphere. Bring in the DJ! With a DJ you can request a personal favorite and sneak in a slow dance or two while still keeping things light and fun. Celebrating with friends? A venue with a DJ is the way to go.
Knob_2 Live Band – A live band or jazz ensemble sets a more romantic tone to the night. Less of a club or party atmosphere, but still great for lots of dancing, a live band gives the evening a unique energy. And how often do we actually get to dance with our significant others? Here’s your perfect excuse.
Knob_3 Strolling Musicians – Couples wanting to plan an unforgettable, romantic experience on this special night should look for venues with live music like a strolling violinist or Spanish guitarist. Something out of the ordinary, this creates an intimate atmosphere perfect for great conversation, so you’ll feel like you’re the only two in the room.

No matter if you’re celebrating with friends or your sweetheart, pick the right music and Valentine’s Day 2015 will be a night to remember. Sound good?

Should I hire a live band or DJ?

I’m asked the question all the time:
What’s better for my event, a live band or DJ?

There’s no simple answer because each event is unique. But you can ask yourself the following questions to determine what type of entertainment will make your event pop.

What is the average age of my group?
If you’re planning an event where the primary demographic is anywhere between elementary school and college-aged kids, a DJ with great mixing skills is almost always the way to go.

Is my event themed? (I.e. Gatsby, “Chicago”, Casino?)
A flapper-costumed speakeasy jazz trio, Chicago blues band, or Rat Pack combo with a Sinatra-style crooner can really set the mood for a themed event. A little something unexpected, the right entertainment can transport your guests to a different era in a way that only live music can.

Are my guests dance-floor-shy or a bunch of dance machines?
If you know your guests won’t shy away from the dance floor, or if you have guests who will be sure to get the party going, consider a live band. If not, your event may need an emcee and more interaction get people out of their seats.

Professional, interactive DJs and emcees are crucial to getting the party going – and keeping it alive. An experienced DJ has more tricks, games and tools in his or her DJ booth to ensure that the energy of your event won’t fade.

What’s my budget?
A DJ is typically more budget friendly. For example, a 6-piece band may cost more than 4 times what a DJ would for the same wedding.

If your budget permits, some of the best events I’ve been a part of have a live element and a DJ. Consider hiring live strings for wedding ceremony or cocktail hour and a DJ for the main event. It’s the best of both worlds!