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And the Gala Award Goes To...Kristin Banta Events

The final of our 2023 Gala Award Feature Series

Designer David Hoey once said, "Minimalism is great. Maximalism is too. What we try to avoid is Mediumism." This quote is the guiding principle for Kristin Banta, Senior Creative Director and owner of Kristin Banta Events (KBE).  

Banta has been an innovator for over twenty years, setting the standard for high-end events. At the cutting edge of the latest trends in decor, catering, and entertainment, she takes the client’s vision to an epic new level, orchestrating truly original celebrations in locations worldwide that are provocative and impact all senses, telling a distinct story to each and every guest. 

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Kristin Banta | Kristin Banta Events


Banta is known for her ability to completely transform spaces into immersive, interactive, and exploratory environments for attendees, always with fresh content that is multi-dimensional and memorable. 

She creates a distinct look by featuring paradoxical elements between the space and the event design. For example, if hosting within a vineyard or a barn, she often elects to import luxe elements, giving sophistication to the rustic or natural surroundings. Or she’ll fill an interior space with trees and greenery, bringing the outside in to create opulence and comfort in a rustic setting. 

“I pull from a vast array of creative outlets,” says Banta, “from fashion to architecture, art to interior design, and history to film, all of which assist me to clearly articulate the design line of the event.” 

Challenges of 2022 

KBE experienced exponential growth in terms of clients and events in 2022, which, while exciting, came with its own set of challenges. Banta’s team had to hire and train new employees while maintaining their bandwidth, ensuring that all their clients were receiving the white glove service and custom design they're used to with KBE. 

They also received numerous last-minute event requests, many of which had a two-week or less turnaround time. This forced the team to move efficiently through the initial creative process and to engage their vendors immediately upon contracting clients in order to meet deadlines. 

Finally, even the most creative aren’t immune to the post-pandemic industry problems. KBE faced issues with vendor and inventory availability, which challenged the team with investigating other solutions and exploring new vendors and suppliers. 

Top Events from 2022 

"Glam Enchanted Forest"  

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A collection of greenery and bursting overgrown florals in lavender, purple, dusty rose cream and aubergine carved out the central aisle that led to an overgrown mirrored chuppah structure, which disappeared under the wild ascending florals. Photo courtesy John and Joseph Photography

  • Featured a progression of color, an abundance of florals, and a distinctive blend of textures and finishes.
  • Each space was embellished in a unique way starting with lighter tones, progressing into bolder hues and metallic accents.
  • The pre-ceremony reception, ceremony, and cocktail hour took place at Mizel Estate, a winery in Westlake, CA, and the reception and after party took place at Four Seasons Westlake.  
  • Each of the five spaces were designed to feature a chief element of drama which included a football field length of Belgian rugs for guest arrivals, a completely mirrored chuppah and aisle within the ceremony space, a secret cocktail hour reveal, a winding neon lit path, a transformed ballroom which included a custom Belgian rug printed dance floor, and surprise after party featuring headliner DJs and a lounge club buildout. 

"Dodgers-themed Bar Mitzvah” 

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Guests entered the ballroom for the dinner and reception, which featured a fully turfed floor and “baseball diamond” dance floor. Photo courtesy Katie Edwards Photography

  • Recreated the Dodgers stadium within the hotel's traditional ballroom space: a completely turfed ballroom floor, a custom "baseball diamond" dance floor, three unique tablescapes with a fashion-forward baseball-themed approach to each, a "Dugout" inspired kids buffet, a locker room candy bar, a custom embroidery station for Dodger hats, a batting cage DJ booth, a cake resembling the Dodgers Commissioner Trophy, and a stage backsplash fence with balls embedded within the chain link and an oversized version of the host's own jersey number. 
  • As guests entered for cocktail hour, they were greeted with themed mocktails and cocktails along with a mix of tray-passed thematic bites.  
  • Seating assignments in the form of a turfed wall of calligraphed baseballs with the option to get them autographed by legendary Dodger, Steve Garvey.  

“ELLE's 2022 Women in Hollywood” 

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ELLE's 2022 Women In Hollywood: the honorees and Nina Garcia share a special moment on stage. Photo courtesy Kristin Banta Events

  • KBE’s first time designing and producing an award show 
  • Challenging, yet incredibly rewarding: the team developed the design in collaboration with ELLE Magazine’s events team, Nina Garcia (Editor-In-Chief of ELLE), and the events team at Ralph Lauren. Not only were they working under strict budgets and a vast, essentially raw event space (The Getty Museum), but they were also tasked to create a very streamlined, clean, and carefully curated, thoughtful design.  
  • “This was a very successful one for our team and a project that I personally am incredibly proud of. And bonus, it featured a lineup of truly kickass, powerful females!” -Kristin Banta 

Congratulations to Kristin Banta Events for taking home the award for Designer of the Year!    

Click through to see photos of Kristin Banta Events’ work. 

To submit an entry to this year's Gala awards, please visit our awards portal.    

Important Dates    

  • Tuesday, April 1, 2023 | Gala Award Submissions Open    
  • September 1, 2022-September, 30, 2023 | Eligibility Period for Entries    
  • Sunday, October 15, 2023 | Regular submission deadline ($99 fee)    
  • Tuesday, October 31, 2023 | Late Bird submission deadline ($160 fee)    

If you are interested in entering in the ACE awards instead, you can enter the Catersource 2024 ACE awards in the same online portal as the Gala awards. Catersource + The Special Event will run February 12-15, 2024 in Austin, TX. Both the ACE and Gala awards will be presented during the conference at a to-be-determined location in Austin. 

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