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linger and we occasionally keep up with each other through social media, but the day in and day out interaction has been replaced by the next amazing client, and the journey towards the next extraordinary moment begins.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