Hotels in Las Vegas aren't afraid to borrow big ideas — think everything from modern-day Manhattan to ancient Egypt. The Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas hosted the 100-guest One in a Million slot contest in March. The competition's concept had to reflect “excess and extravagance,” says Diane Butner, director of event design for MGM Mirage Events. So the event team turned to the original queen of excess, Marie Antoinette.
The team accomplished the plush look of the party after a big brainstorming session. Among the team's study supplies were “stacks of resource materials from the library, a viewing of movies related to Marie Antoinette and her era, and many magazines and periodicals,” Butner says.
With their new knowledge, the team made sure that the opulent style showed in every aspect of the event. That included displaying the lavish guest gifts — masks, sterling silver frames and pearl necklaces — in a pink satin tent.
The event team hit a snag when it came to furnishing the ballroom at the Bellagio so it resembled the famously lavish interior of Versailles. “Our biggest challenge was finding authentic-looking furniture in Las Vegas,” Butner says. She wanted such pieces as an antique fireplace mantel, cake stand and gilded torchieres, but standard furniture rental companies didn't supply such items. So Butner got creative and scoured thrift stores and flea markets, and even asked a hotel liquidator for help. Then, the perfect furniture pieces required reupholstering, repainting and staining. “We even silver-leafed antique busts and spray- painted ornate chairs platinum to use as decorative accents,” Butner says.
To get the rest of the ballroom to resemble queenly quarters, the team added topiary trees, curtains of crystal beads, thrones and purple flower orbs. Delicate lavender scented the room, stimulating guests' senses.
The evening's treats included crepes, oyster shooters and port-poached pears. Further, the team paid a special homage to Marie Antoinette's famous sweet tooth with an 8-foot cake stand filled with petits fours and topped with ostrich feathers.
Butner found the event's theme captivating. “The success of the event inspired me to create a custom-designed Marie Antoinette gown for a Halloween celebration,” she explains. “It felt wonderful reliving the idea of being ‘queen for a day.’”
MGM Mirage Events 3665 Industrial Road, Las Vegas, NV 89109; 702/792-7798; www.mgmmirageevents.com