Special event professionals from throughout the world joined in Phoenix last week for The Special Event 2011, which ran Jan. 25-28 at the Phoenix Convention Center.The show offered a rich range of sessions, from lectures, panels and workshops to showstopping special events.
Kicking off the week was the two-day Academic Event Professional Conference, serving college and university event professionals in development, alumni relations, marketing and fundraising.
TOUGH AND SMART DECISIONS SHARED
A panel of top event professionals shared their successful business strategies and painful lessons learned from the recent recession at Wednesday's Opening General Session. Dubbed "The Tough and the Smart," the session revealed the toughest business decisions the panelists had to make and the smartest decisions they made.
In her keynote speech at the annual Wedding Lunch, celebrity planner Sasha Souza, of Napa, Calif.-based Sasha Souza Events, listed some of her "favorite things," including Bloombeads, a service that turns bridal bouquets into jewelry, and the ColorSchemer iPhone app, which scans colors so they can be matched perfectly.
Guests also enjoyed stunning vignettes in the Wedding Gallery, which ranged from vivid citrus hues in an Indian-theme setting to a dairy-dream wedding brunch featuring a "cake" made of tiers of cheese wheels along with oversize cows in bas relief on the walls.
HOT, HOT, HOT
Custom cookies, fire on water, and the world's biggest rocking horse—all were offered as enticing event elements at "Michael Cerbelli's Hot Event and Entertainment Ideas 2011," a highlight of Thursday's events.
The show closed Friday with events including the Masters' Program and Brunch, featuring legendary Carabiner founder Leslie Buckland as keynote speaker.At the brunch, Canadian-based POP Kollaborative founder and creative director Kenneth Kristoffersen, CSEP, CEM, received the Steve Kemble Leadership Award.
The grand finale was the Gala Awards and Celebration, honoring the finest in event work worldwide.
The next Gala Awards competition—for events taking place between Sept. 1, 2010, and Aug. 31, 2011, opens June 1.The Special Event 2012 runs Jan. 24 through 27 in Tampa, Fla.