Thursday, December 15, 2011

Featured in Catering Magazine

Carol and Mike's wedding was recently recognized at the NACE National Conference and Enjoy Events received the award for 2010 Best Wedding Event of the Year for a budget of $25k-$75k.  It was such an honor.  Catering Magazine, a national publication featured the story in their recent edition.  This is the second time this fabulous wedding has been featured to share their story with others.  Extraordinary.

While we are honored for this award, it takes a team of great vendors to make amazing memories.  I would like to thank More Than Cakes, who's amazing master piece made the front cover, Impressive Events, Darryl & Co., House of Blues Houston, Flowers by Nino, Acoustic Production, The Salvation Army Harbor Light Choir, Laura Corley Burlton of D.Jones Photography.  And, of course Mike and Carol for having a really cool vision and the playground to create such a production.  It rocked!  Have I mentioned, I love that butterfly escort wall? 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Bennett Art Showcase

The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture is the essence of art.  Perception of ones art generally leads to great conversation and interpretation.  Life brought one of the neatest clients my way.  Bobby, an artist has her art along with others are on display in her husbands office space. After several conversations among friends interested in seeing their art in a practical application inspired the idea to have an art showing.  To be clear, not an office party, but a celebration of art within an office environment.  This immediately inspired us to design visual art thoughout the space through food, lighting, and floral.  The space was already designed with wonderful flow and natural lighting.  The next step was to transform the space into an art gallery.  Track lighting was installed to accent the art on the walls and create a warming ambiance.   With the fluorescent lighting removed and a welcoming cocktail of prosecco (as they got out of their car) our clients guests were about to be in for a treat.

Suspended floral in bubbled glass vases and artful food presentation allowed for the conference table to be transformed into a buffet masterpiece.  While your attention was also drawn overhead to the magical arrangement, one might begin to ponder about the wonderful aroma presented.   The hollow shelving unit gave way to creative food displays which allowed the eye to continue to move from one area to the next, wondering what you might find next.   One might notice the colors presented in both floral and food balances with the art on the walls while the bringing out the  subtle brush strokes.  The bar mimicked the buffet design with smaller vessels overhead.

Food presentation allowed unique vessels, such as arcylic asian spoons to present a bruschetta twist with cilantro, plum tomatoes, corn, and garlic, crowned with tortilla strips.  Tuna Tartar nestled in a cucumber cup while a rosette of smooth roasted red pepper hummus, accompanied with savory feta cheese, kalamata olives and sweet peppered, elegantly displayed in a swan-folded flatbread, sitting in a glass votive cup.

Outside, guests gathered on the terrace while enjoying a breathtaking view overlooking Rice Military.  The fall leave colors and sunset provided a warming backdrop for the ivory dupioni silk linen accented with a turquoise confetti table runner to showcase a lush and whimsical floral arrangement.  As the sun set, the GOBO lighting pattern continued our art celebration with a carpet design on the concrete flooring.

A magical, artful night indeed.

Event Planning & Design:  Enjoy Events
Lighting: Impressive Events
Cater:  Bailey Connor Catering
Floral:  Johnathan Andrew Sage
Linen:  Elegant Beginnings
Rentals:  Swift & Co
Bar Service:  IC-IT Entertainment

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Becky + Trevor Engagement Session

This weekend Enjoy Events is off on a south Texas tour to Corpus Christi with my lovely bride Becky Riddle.  I had the pleasure of meeting Becky at her sisters wedding (Izzie +Matt) earlier this year and here we are again on another Riddle adventure. I am so thrilled.  Becky and Izzie may be sisters, but their AMAZING styles are completely different. This time, our adventure is going to take us on a journey with sunflowers, toile, and a modern twist.  My mind is about to explore with inspiration.

The ever so lovely Rebecca Gooselin captured a wonderful California afternoon beautifully.


Becky + Trevor | Sonoma Engagement

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Mac It Up

As a simple comfort food loved by all, Macaroni and Cheese has been a staple in households across the country.  It is an incredibly simple dish. The name pretty much sums up the recipe. Elbow macaroni, or some other tube-shaped pasta, layered with cheese and cooked with milk or cream. That's all there is. But, the simplicity of the dish is only part of its charm. Macaroni and cheese lovers add all sorts of secret ingredients and guard their recipes like new money. While some are very protective of the essence of the mac and cheese dish, others have created creative dishes layering ingredients upon ingredients.  The recipe creations and possible ingredient combinations are endless. For this reason, it was time for Houston to judge who had the best mac and cheese masterpiece.   We are not talking about the orange gooey stuff that comes in a block or the powdered stuff from a box either. We are talking about high stakes and true passion for great cheeses and culinary technique to present some of the best masterpieces Houston has ever seen.  We are talking about the inaugural event of The Golden Noodle Mac and Cheese Competition.

On September 21, the mac and cheese battleground at the Bayou City Event Center brought together eleven competitors to mix their way to win the Golden Noodle for the Best Traditional, Best Creative, and Best Dessert Mac and Cheese as well as Best Booth Design. The competition started with raw ingredients, and dishes were prepared on site in their 10x10 booth space. Guests sipped and strolled down the aisles while watching the masterpieces come together before their  eyes. Our elite judge panel consisted of Sarah Rufca, associate editor of CultureMap; Scott Evans, Publisher of The Social Book; and Brittany Talavera, President of NACE Student Chapter.  In true Iron Chef style, the contestants presented their dishes to the panel, which were tasted, critiqued, and judged.   All competitions need a democratic vote, so guest voted and presented one lucky winner with The People's Choice award.  The contestants were composed of caters, chefs, restaurateurs, and a few passionate novices.  All of them brought their culinary game both in design and in tasty dishes.  They are all very serious about their mac and cheese.  

The Best Traditional went to Behind the Bash:  Smoked Gouda Mac n Cheese
The Best Creative went to Max's Wine Dive:  Wild Boar Mac n Cheese
The Best Dessert went to Celebrations and Sweet Creations:  Mac n Sweet
People's Choice went to Hearsay Gastro Lounge

Others in the competition who were also a delight to enjoy (I would eat their mac anytime):  
The Westin Galleria + Westin Oaks:  Bubbly Brunch Mac n Cheese
Crown Plaza:  Orange Tarragon Butter
RK Group: French Bistro Mac n Cheese
Twirled Up (team made of Jill Vidal & Shelley Kent):  Twirled Up
White Oak Kitchen + Drinks:  White Oak Mac
Bailey Connor Catering:  Il Limone Babarbaro Mascarpone Rigatoni
Behind The Bash (second entry):  Roasted Corn & Lobster Mac n Cheese


The design of the room was inspired by cafe street bistros you might see in your own neighborhood.  Simplicity at it's finest while you wait for the culinary dream to hit your table.   A single vase sits on your table while great tunes fill the air.  This was the foundation for the contestants booth design, and just like their culinary passion, they didn't hold back. When you walked into the space you were quickly transported to a magical place.  Of course, a street experience wouldn't be complete without a saxophonist, photo booth or great tunes.  Even some "noodling" t-shirts were designed. The Golden Noodle Best Booth Design was taken home by Behind The Bash.  The atmosphere was a joint effort and brought to you by:

Enjoy Events:  Event Planning & Logo Design
BrandITBrandits: Media Relations and Awards
DJones Photography:  photo credit
Dream Bouquet:  Floral
E & J Gallo:  Pre Reception Cocktails
Elegant Beginnings:  Chairs and Stage Drape
The Houstonian Hotel:  Party Favors
Image Cinema:  Photo Booth
Impressive Events:  Lighting, AV, DJ, MC
MDI Video:  Live Video Feed
Party Cloths:  Linen
Scott Brown Media Group:  Booth Drape
Your Green 2 Go:  Biodegradable Plates and Utensils

See you at the 2nd Annual.  Bring it.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Do Extraordinary

I have been told more than a few times in that I have a lot of passion.  Passion is a compelling force.  You can feel it.  People can feel it.  Some run from it.  Others embrace it.  Many do not know of the white ink Kanji symbol tattooed on my upper back, which translates into the English word passion.  This would be the place where I truly hold it.  It's where I hold my power and emotion to do extraordinary things.  I do extraordinary things for two people: myself and my clients.  It is well known that I do not want my events to be ordinary, not for me, and certainty not for them. While I get to enjoy throwing parties on a weekly basis, I will never get to throw this exact party or design for this exact guest ever again.  Even if it is a repeat client, we only get one shot.  It should be filled with passion, and it should be extraordinary.  I have had many call it complicated.  So, be it. I call it something far greater and far more meaningful.  It's not all about me, but if this is my path in life, I am going to make it an amazing journey and one that I am proud of.  I am truly passionate about being a great event planner for me, my family, and my clients. I think what I do is more than that, but this seems to summarize it for now.  The second reason I do extraordinary things is for my clients.  They deserve it.  Just as hiring any service professional, being fantastic at what you do is what any of us look for when hiring someone.  You want passion and you want extraordinary.  My clients come into my professional world for a brief season, and we strive to make that time memorable.  More often than not, I cry when we part ways.  Some linger and we occasionally keep up with each other through social media, but the day in and day out interaction has been replaced by the next amazing client, and the journey towards the next extraordinary moment begins.

I truly love writing the story of that moment in time.  I don't think of myself as a good writer, but I do it regardless.   I love my fabulous vendors who embrace my passion and journey with me to create something extraordinary. I love reflecting on the pictures.  I love being proud of the accomplishment. I love seeing the look of happiness on my client's faces.   The blog is my way of keeping that moment in time alive.  Sometimes I am a behind in writing a great story, but the sense of being inspired makes the wait worth it. This post is a perfect example of being inspired.  Recently, I received a national award from my industry peers and was so humbled that I wasn't really sure how to share the news.  I am always so proud of the events Enjoy Events gets hired to plan, design, and execute. Every single event has been extraordinary for my clients.  For the first time in my career, I submitted a few events into a national competition at the National Association of Catering Executives Conference. Winning is always the goal, but it felt really good just submitting them.  I was proud.  The client was proud.  Was it extraordinary when they called my name out as a winner?  Oh my!  Was it ever!

Mike & Carol's wedding was dramatic and quite a production.  It was nothing but exceptionally extraordinary.  I had one of the judges approach me at the conclusion of the gala and wanted to thank me for telling such a compelling story.  He said he felt like he was there.  He felt like he could hear the choir and see the rose petals rain.  Hearing this might  just be better than the award itself.  I am honored to have won a national award for 2010 Best Wedding Event of the Year (budget $25K-$75K).

I took the stage one more time to receive the 2010 Best Catered Event  On Premise of the Year (budget $25k-$75K). The CGG Holiday Party was such a fun playground.  I love reflecting on the lighting and the white polar bear fur linen. Ah, that linen was so soft.  It was my favorite. The food design was beyond spectacular.   It was Extraordinary.  It is what I like to do for  my clients.  They deserve it. Every person who has an event deserves to be on the receiving end of an award.  It is just a compelling power of emotion.  

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cocktails & Connections

Vintage [vin-tij] was first defined as a noun in the 1400-50 as the wine obtained from a harvest of grapes, especially in an outstandingly good year. As a recent event trend and an adjective, vintage is often referred to as of lasting interest and importance; venerable; classic.  When speaking in terms of something being vintage in an event setting, a design can be vintage victorian, vintage picnic, vintage garden, vintage classic, vintage retro and so forth, all of which have been seen on this blog.  What you typically see in a vintage style is soft floral, lace, eclectic, milk glass, and DYI concepts. Words such as reclaimed and rustic are used as descriptives and has replaced words such as old-fashion and antique.  What I love most about vintage styles is that they can easily blend with so many other styles.  Case in point is The Knot Corporate Party I recently had the opportunity to plan.   A modern-style venue with two unique indoor spaces, an interactive kitchen, as well as a garden space blended well with the vintage style in both design and food.  Even some of the modern dishes, such as the etched martini and champagne diva with her glorious ball-gown complemented the style. 

VIP guests were welcomed to an intimate tour and greeted with champagne and crisp ladyfingers with decadent chocolate.  One of my favorite amenities to the venue is the veranda entry area which allows for you to display customized artwork and/or pictures.  With eighteen vendors bringing this party to life, this became an amazing area to showcase their company name.  As the party got on its way and the Houston heatwave was upon us, there was nothing better than a refreshing sorbet cocktail to quinch your thrist.  Passed hors d'oeuvres of seafood ceviche served in the coolest shot glass design and espresso duck tempted the taste buds.  Even I, a person not a fan of english pea salad, could not pass up this vintage dish served on classic silver spoons.  To continue the celebration of it being hot (after all we are in a drought) demi cups held chilled melon crunch and spicy gazpacho while a traditional vintage station showcase an assortment of relishes, pickled vegetables, deviled eggs, and mini pork pulled sandwiches.  The interactive  kitchen area offered up the best southern grit and mini chicken and waffle stations, which kept you coming back for more.  To round out the food selections, there was a lemonade stand  presented in classic containers with vintage straws and miniature cupcakes.

The venue is well known in the Architecture community because it received a Houston AIA Honor Award in 2001 (Natalye Appel + Associates Architects).  The venue was designed for a world renowned food photographer, so the kitchen is a caterer's dream come true, and the venues alcoves, with hundreds of props stacked from floor to ceiling, allowed for the perfect backdrop to not only celebrate vintage design but also great food.  The space was filled with soft floral, reclaimed wood tables, provence sofas and chairs, and lace linen.  Vintage design is all about the details.  There can never be enough little details.  From the long floral table garland, the cascading orchids, the vases wrapped in lace and accented with broaches, to the eccentric furniture, the vendors pulled out all the stops in designing this space for the industry's best.

My favorite area of fifty-two twenty-six is the outside garden.  I love the garden.  Truth be told, I selected the venue for its outside elements.  Then, it got hot. Really hot.  I knew no one would go outside and enjoy this amazing space unless some thought was given.  So, this is what you do.    Cocktails.  That is important. A sno-cone design made for adults is what I had in mind. I worked with the beverage provider to push the envelope to create an adult beverages which could be used in the sno-cone application.  They truly came out tasty.  Then, I needed some ice cold terry cloth towels  passed out by two beautiful models.  Add in some vintage fans.  And, if that wasn't enough, you put one of the coolest DJ's spinning some of the hottest tunes and some fabulous design elements, and people are sure to join you around the reflecting pond.  It worked. People enjoyed.

It was an honor to be selected as the planner for The Knot/The Bump Cocktails & Connections Corporate Party.  I tip my hat to the vendors that walked the journey with me.

Event Planner:  Enjoy Events
Overall Floral Design:  Always Floral
Large Studio Design,  Bars, Floral and Outside Furniture:  Darryl & Co
Rentals:  A Finer Event
Small Studio Furniture:  Aztec Tent & Events
Linen:  Over The Top
Beverage:  ICIT Entertainment
Stationary:  Invitation Solutions
Photo booth:  Fun-Pix
Champagne Diva & Models:  J&D Entertainment
Entertainment (inside):  Acoustic Productions
Entertainment (outside):  LG Entertainment
Lighting and Audio Visual:  Impressive Events
Miniature Cupcakes:  K Cupcakes & Dessert Tables 
Staffing:  Bow Tie Servers
Photographer:  Akil Bennett