WELCOME to our annual hotel issue, where we feature special events as only top-flight hotels can create them. Assistant editor Christine Landry shows how destination resorts create events in far-flung places — turn to page 22 to see our cover story.
As this issue goes to press, our Gala Award entries are being judged by members of our Advisory Board. Look for the list of nominees in our December issue, followed by a profile of each event in our January issue.
In reviewing Gala entries, one hotel's special event caught my eye: the Aug. 29 gala thrown by the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Miss. The event celebrated the resort's reopening after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
Last year, a 40-foot wave demolished the entire first floor of the 1,740-room property. All the event department's decor, equipment and props were washed away. Yet management declared the Beau Rivage would reopen in one year to the day, and with a gala “that would surpass any other ever seen on the Gulf Coast,” Beau Rivage president George P. Corchis Jr. promised. The event department made good on his pledge with a party for 1,100 guests heralding the property's reopening and marking the return to work of nearly 4,000 employees.
Special events are so often dismissed as nothing but pretty parties. The Beau Rivage event reminds us they are so much more.
A fancy 50th birthday party? Perhaps the host pulled through a frightening health crisis at age 49. The extravagant wedding? It may signal the reconciliation of parents with their adult child after years of rancor. The over-the-top shower? Maybe it marks the arrival of a baby who has been prayed for for a long, long time.
One of my favorite Cole Porter songs is an obscure one, with the lines, “And until you've lived a lot, and loved a lot, and lost a lot, you don't know Paris.” Surviving sorrow can, if we're wise, make us more grateful and more generous. Certainly the hosts who invest in a wonderful party for family and friends show a breadth and generosity of spirit.
Hosting special events also shows we have the courage to face the future. Beau Rivage management faced Katrina's deluge, but laughed in her face by making a big splash with a big party. To me, that act stands for good humor, grace and guts.
And as we at Special Events Magazine look toward our future, I'd like to welcome Melissa Fromento to our staff as group publisher. Although her name is new to some Special Events readers, she will be a familiar face to others, who have known her for 17 years as publisher of our sister magazines: Corporate Meetings & Incentives, Financial & Insurance Meetings, Association Meetings, Medical Meetings and Religious Conference Manager. We're glad she has joined us.