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Special Events
For Your Consideration: The Gala Award Nominees

For Your Consideration: The Gala Award Nominees


Exhilarate Events, Winter Park, Fla., and Grand Events of Florida, Tampa, Fla.

The Fourth Annual Tampa Bay Wine and Food Festival deftly mixed charity, education, entertainment and brand awareness to treat 5,000 guests to a sold-out event on the beach. The event team juggled challenges ranging from well-intentioned vendors who didn't understand the venue's challenges to accommodating the protections for sea-turtle mating season.

Facts + Fiction, Cologne, Germany

The stark "Space for Earth" pavilion created a splash at a bustling flight exhibition as it took visitors on a path symbolizing a trip from Earth to far-off galaxies. The event team evoked the mood of iconic films such as "2001: A Space Odyssey" by contrasting a gleaming white path against "limitless" darkness—-the empty black areas provided drama while saving money for the client.

The Lundquist Co., Roseville, Calif.

Some 6,000 guests attended the seventh annual "First 5 Sacramento Children's Celebration," a free event created to improve the health of children aged five and under. Activities included hearing and eye tests, play areas, educational exhibits and a block-long conga line.

Next Page: Best Invitation


BK Design, Boston

Designed to entice guests to attend an interactive weekend salon event during which they would be called upon to present a 10-minute speech about one of their passions, the invitation had to be "cutting edge." And it was—using laser technology, the word "salon" was etched into the wooden invitation, which also used tiny figurines to represent "reason," "enrich," "evolve" and other event themes.

Dragonfly Custom Design, Orlando, Fla.

When a new, high-end resort property wanted to attract a select group of reporters for a "wedding writers weekend," the invitation design team developed a keepsake invitation that included a personalized room key that could be activated upon arrival at the resort. The silk-covered invitations consisted of three parts: the first was an introduction, the second a custom wedding-cake truffle tower, and the third a box with the room key.

High Rise Events, Westlake Village, Calif.

For a house party celebrating the groundbreaking of the host couple's dream home, the invitation featured tools of the builder's trade including a "groundbreaking" shovel, an architect's pencil and an imprinted ruler instructing guests to "line up your hotel reservations early!" An RSVP postcard showcased a photo of the lot.

Next Page: Best Dining Table Design


Newberry Brothers Greenhouse & Florist, Denver, and WM Events, Denver

For a couple committed to protecting the environment, the design team turned to dramatic floral arrangements accented by antique silver pieces and vintage linens. Family china and silver were included in the design along with items purchased from thrift stores, which were later donated to charity; after the event, the floral arrangements were sent to local nursing homes.

Someone's in the Kitchen, Tarzana, Calif.

Underscoring the theme of "growing" financial contributions, guests for this brainstorming session supporting a prestigious music center found a dining table keyed on "planting seeds for the future." Chocolate-brown "soil" linen showcased place settings featuring packets of seeds, watering cans filled with berries, and planter boxes brimming with "crops" of produce and wheat grass.

The Precious Moment Taiwan, Taipei, Taiwan

The 10th anniversary party for an interior design magazine keyed on the theme of multiculturalism in modern China. Tables in four styles—Mediterranean, Contemporary Chinese, Splendid India and Classic European—showcased different color schemes yet were unified through the simple, clean lines in floral and linen design.

Next Page: Best Off-Premise Catered Event


A Legendary Event, Atlanta

A corporation switched up its annual team-building event by adding an "Iron Chef" competition. With guidance from a chef, the five seven-member teams designed team aprons and concocted a variety of amuse-bouches, which they later enjoyed with an entree and dessert.

Culinary Capers Catering, Vancouver, British Columbia

As part of a company's Olympics hospitality program during the 2010 Winter Games, the catering team served six menus daily, from 7 a.m. till 1 a.m., to some 5,500 guests visiting the company's offices in downtown Vancouver. The project, which highlighted ingredients from throughout Canada, required elaborate security planning to accommodate the nearly 400 chef and staff shifts.

Someone's in the Kitchen, Tarzana, Calif.

Instead of a sit-down dinner for the 50th birthday party of a high-powered, high-living businessman, the catering team created various stations including a sushi bar with expert sushi chefs, a carving station with beef tenderloin and pommes frites in cones, and—instead of a cake—a sumptuous array of desserts including mini crème brulees, mini milkshakes with s'more skewers, ice cream and sorbet shots, and a gourmet cheese station.

Next Page: Best Fundraising Event


Alison Silcoff Events, Montreal

Keying on a "1,001 Arabian Nights" theme, the Canadian Cancer Society's venerable Daffodil Ball featured a host of "decotainment" elements including a "Moroccan market" complete with a donkey and snake charmer, costumed Arabic musicians and a hookah lounge. Despite the brutal economy, the 2010 ball saw a 40 percent increase in revenue over the year prior.

For more images of this event, please click here.

Catalina Island Conservancy, Long Beach, Calif

The "rock stars"—famed geological formations—of Catalina Island, Calif., served as the event theme for the 15th annual conservancy ball, dubbed "Catalina Rocks!" In place of the predictable palette of earth tones, the event featured neon colors in linens and in inflated air tubes, which were used to distract from black tarp surrounding construction work on the landmark island venue.

Nico Designs, Santa Barbara, Calif.

With the aim to create a fun, cost-effective night instead of a showy bash, the "Starry Night" fundraiser for an elementary school evoked Van Gogh's famed painting with washes of gelled blue light over the walls of the venue, accented with suspended glitter stars. In place of a formal seated dinner were six interactive buffets, and the school's music teacher provided entertainment.

Next Page: Best Event Produced for a Nonprofit Organization


Alison Silcoff Events, Montreal

The resourceful event team managed to boost revenue from its annual charity ball 40 percent over the year prior by strategies such as tailoring fundraising letters to each recipient's giving history, using decor already in inventory and arranging for luxurious gift bags for guests, which made guests feel valued. "Arabian Nights" theme elements included a "Moroccan market" complete with a donkey and snake charmer, costumed Arabic musicians and a hookah lounge.

For more images of this event, please click here.

Destination King, Memphis, Tenn., and Le Bonheur Children's Hospital, Memphis, Tenn.

To mark the grand opening of a hospital, the team created a series of events including a parade before 2,000 spectators; an elegant cocktail reception and open house for major donors; a sponsor tea; and a black-tie fundraising gala. Challenges included coping with temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, which posed a threat to elderly VIPs, and giving tours of the hospital when some areas were still under construction.

Sensix Communications and Events, Montreal

Angel motifs ran throughout the "Angel Ball" fundraiser for a hospital's cancer center in elements such as a 17-foot "tree of life" wishing tree, hosts wearing angel halos, and an "angel" harpist playing high above the crowd. To keep the focus on the center's mission, only one speaker—a two-time cancer survivor—addressed the guests.

Next Page: Best Wedding: Budget Under $1,000 Per Guest


Affair with Flair, Cherry Hills Village, Colo.

Guests enjoyed elements of surprise throughout this white-and-silver theme wedding, which mixed a cool, elegant look with lighthearted touches. After the ceremony, held beneath an 18-foot domed floral chuppah, the song "Love Train" began to play; monitors at each guest's seat displayed the message "get on board the love train," encouraging guests to follow the grooving bridal couple as they led the way to the reception.

Events of Distinction, San Francisco

A couple who loved the look of Old World doorways inspired the planner to create a "door" and "key" theme for their wedding, shown in key motifs on invitations, a "key in life" sharing ceremony, antique doors used as tables at the reception and a chocolate "door" atop the wedding cake. To cut costs for the couple, the planner turned to a lower-end but serviceable caterer, sourced a DJ rather than a live band, and used the same chiavaris for the ceremony as the reception dinner—even though this meant the event team had to make five trips over rough roads to move the chairs.

VP Events, Westlake Village, Calif.

The planner helped a couple give a modern edge to Indian marriage traditions by contrasting customary essentials such as the mandap (ceremony stage) and baraat (groom's procession) with a contemporary color palette of white and icy blues. To make all guests feel part of the festivities—which included CO2 blasters and working waterfalls in the ice bars—the event team seated guests on the fringes of the ballroom on barstools set at custom tables, and provided video screens around the perimeter.

For more images of this event, please click here.

Next Page: Best Wedding: Budget $1,000 And Above Per Guest


Frank: Master Bridal Consultant and Event Expert, Chicago

A "dream" couple who approved virtually all the planner's suggestions enjoyed a classically elegant wedding with some unexpected surprises. The color palette at the Catholic mass mixed traditional ivory with contemporary purple, lilac and lavender; twists included a save-the-date on DVD, a doughnut machine at the reception, and entertainment from an Etch-a-Sketch artist.

Laurie Arons Special Events, San Francisco, and Designs by Sean, Dania, Fla.

The event team tackled challenges such as laying pure white carpet over the ballroom's existing floral carpet, and hand-gluing more than 8,000 white dendrobium orchids onto centerpieces to create this sophisticated wedding. Celebrity chef Tyler Florence was permitted by the reception hotel to create the dinner, and the cutting-edge dance floor featured custom, digitally printed images.

For more images of this event, please click here.

Total Event Resources, Schaumburg, Ill., and AOO Events, Los Angeles

A destination wedding on the California coast brought two Midwest families together as one. Unique elements included a communal arrangement of custom built tables in an "X" shape, a dramatic after-party in a ballroom paneled entirely in white panné velvet, and a children's activities director, who oversaw a kids-only party.

Next Page: Best Multiple-Day Incentive Event


Afilias, Horsham, Pa.

With the goal of inspiring attendees to reach their personal and professional peaks, this five-day incentive offered a mix of attractions on Maui along with presentations including an inspiring speech from NASA astronaut Ken "TK" Mattingly. To offset high productions costs in Hawaii, the event team turned to "green" strategies and a do-it-yourself approach to some elements—in the end, the event came in under budget.

Cerulean Events, Los Gatos, Calif.

Charged by a CEO who had "been everywhere" with creating an incentive for a group of singles, couples and children from 19 countries, the event team used the beautiful—and convenient—backdrop of a seaside resort in Southern California, but customized each aspect of the program. For example, the poolside cabanas were reconfigured as intimate seating clusters, and all entertainment was tailored to the audience.

Jobe and Associates, Dublin, Ohio

Despite an array of challenges—including a scheduling error by the shipping broker and 60 mph winds kicking up during an outdoor event—this incentive for 300 guests in Cancun, Mexico, went smoothly. Attendees enjoyed receptions, leisure activities and an awards night, all cohesively branded right down to custom vinyl patterns on pianos.

Next Page: Best Multiple-Day Event Program for A Corporation or Association


ANd Logistix, Toronto

For the "Canadian Mortgage Expo," 1,500 attendees and 80 exhibitors joined together for a three-day conference and trade show offering education, networking and an awards program. To keep participants interested in the 14th edition of the conference, the event team tapped the talents of renowned sports figures in exhibit booths and hired top-tier entertainers.

H.J. Heinz Co., Pittsburgh

Keying on the incredible difference that a small change—between 211 degrees Fahrenheit and the boiling point of 212 degrees—can make, this three-day meeting brought 1,800 employees to eight venues to hear 37 presenters. To ensure that attendees felt that the content, delivery and experience were customized to them, the event team used thorough planning, including coordinating four separate production teams, five graphics teams, two video-editing teams and four video-recording teams.

Vok Dams, Wuppertal, Germany

Marquee auto brand Porsche hosted the two-day "To the Point" dealer meeting in five waves of 350 guests each at the Cayenne brand's plant in Leipzig, Germany—a departure from the usual exotic locale. Attendees traipsed through the woods to meet various challenges, marveled at a pyrotechnics display, enjoyed a ride-and-drive, and experienced a car reveal.

Next Page: Best Event Staged In Multiple Locations


Labatt Food Service, San Antonio

For this dinner dance/mixer, staged in two cities two weeks apart, the food-distributor host stressed creativity, quality and presentation in order to build relationships with its customers. The theme encompassed 10 decades of history in the food industry, with each food station featuring custom menus based on cuisine of that era, with coordinating decor and entertainment.

Jung von Matt Relations GmbH, Cologne, Germany

To launch a hip new line of coffee makers available in seven colors, the event team packed them into the trunks of seven Mini Clubman cars and visited seven German cities to serve coffee. The tour was preceded by an online competition that invited the public to create designs for the sides of the coffee makers.

Jung von Matt Relations GmbH, Cologne, Germany

To train service managers and technicians in the new GPS-supported roadside assistance service from Mercedes-Benz, the event team created a mobile film studio, which has already visited nine countries. Trainers serve as "film directors" to the trainee "actors," who become "stars" of the film as they ensure a happy ending after a car breaks down

Next Page: Best Floral Design


Designs by Sean, Dania, Fla.

White in all its glory was the design thrust of this wedding floral. The couple exchanged vows beneath an arbor composed of white, hand-sculpted Manzanita branches mixed with some 5,000 white and green cymbidium, white phalaenopsis and white dendrobium orchids; a crystal chandelier was suspended from the center of the arbor.

For more images of this event, please click here.

Lynn Fletcher Weddings, Calgary, Alberta

For a woman's 25th birthday, a pink-themed event made the most of the ballroom's soaring ceiling, including installing six towering floral candelabras designed to sit at a height of more than 8 feet above each table. The candelabras—each weighing more than 400 pounds—featured thousands of blooms, crystal garlands and tall, battery-operated tapers.

For more images of this event, please click here.

Weddings & Events, East Riffa, Mahama, Bahrain

To honor the bridal couple—both accomplished equestrians—the floral design team covered life-size foam horses with baby chrysanthemums; the horses "pulled" a 10-foot-tall cake made of marzipan roses. A 30-by-90-foot plexiglass curtain suspended behind the couple's throne was studded with 2,700 phalaenopsis orchids, each in a tiny test tube to ensure freshness.

Next Page: Best Tent Installation


Regal Tent Productions, Stoney Creek, Ontario

For the WorldSkills International competition—the "Olympics" for tradespeople from throughout the world—the tent team spent 2 ½ years designing nearly 300,000 square feet of tent structures that housed seven unique structures for the 45 different competitions. Installing the complex brought challenges including a decision by local government that the structures had to meet a more stringent code only 13 days before the event began, and, on Day Two of the competition, a storm with wind gusts of 90 mph.

Regal Tent Productions, Stoney Creek, Ontario

When consumer electronics sponsor Samsung asked for a one-of-a-kind, attention-grabbing pavilion at the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia, the tent team developed a two-story structure with an interior, glass-walled, L-shaped mezzanine overlooking the main level. The square structure had to be shoehorned into a 7,500-square-foot footprint; the tent team used two forklifts working in unison to install the mezzanine arches.

Tentnology, Surrey, British Columbia

For a celebration honoring a royal wedding, a Middle Eastern queen asked for a 70,000-square-foot, free-span "castle" in the shape of her favorite flower, the orchid. The tent team developed a five-unit structure featuring solid-tensioned vertical walls and a hinged glass-door system; the structure was so big, the team delivered it packed into a chartered 747 cargo carrier.

Next Page: Best Use Of Lighting


AOO Events, Los Angeles

The lighting design team turned a 35,000-square-foot, plain-Jane convention space into a gala-worthy venue by putting lighting to work. Effective lighting carved out the registration, reception and dining areas; the event's logo was re-created as a gobo used throughout the event.

Images by Lighting, Los Angeles

To celebrate the arrival of the new, Brazilian-born music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the lighting team turned to vivid hues coordinated with the floral and linen at the receptions. Production challenges included outdoor lighting of the sinuous curves of Walt Disney Concert Hall; programmable lighting fixtures helped build excitement.

Russell Harris Event Group, North Hollywood, Calif., and Images by Lighting, Los Angeles

Grappling with a budget only a third that of years past, the lighting team delivered a dramatic "upfront" for client Disney Media Distribution by using a 12-by-22-foot LED screen as the backdrop for the stage and as the screen for video modules and branding. At the after-party, lighting delineated event spaces while custom, large-format projections three stories tall not only added a decor element but also displayed "sizzle" reels.

Next Page: Best Achievement In Technical Support


Aggreko, Houston

For the Red Bull Air Races—a traveling series of heart-stopping air shows—temporary power supplier Aggreko installed more than 30 generators, supplied 450 tons of air conditioning and provided more than 5 megawatts of power, enough to supply more than 5,000 individual homes. Challenges including tour stops that crossed international borders.

Aggreko, Houston

For the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia, Aggreko distributed power generated from renewable sources for 41 Olympic venues using 500 miles of cable and more than 1,800 electrical distribution panels, and installed more than 90 megawatts of power—enough to supply a large town. Contending with snow and challenging topography, the team logged more than 135,000 man-hours on the project.

Optics, Waterford, Mich.

Hosting 1,200 attendees in multiple meetings and venues over the course of a week for Heinz North America, the technical team created completely different digital infrastructures in the venues, each featuring a high-tech learning environment reverse-engineered to support four departmental conferences taking place simultaneously with no transition time in between. Content was projected onto 80-by-16-foot screen-blending systems, creating a 3D environment supported by customized 3D icons, animations, static backgrounds and digital-motion environments.

Next Page: Best Achievement In Logistics


Incredible Artists, Haworth, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom

For a big U.K. clothing retailer, the event team took over all five floors of London's legendary Old Billingsgate Fish Market for a three-day event including press receptions, employee events, fashion shows and an 850-guest gala. In order to bring 114 truckloads of equipment into the building through only one door and using only one elevator, the team developed a 10-page delivery schedule.

Tentnology, Surrey, British Columbia

The tent team had only 90 days to complete a 70,000-square-foot structure to celebrate a royal wedding in the Middle East, which involved working with a fabric manufacturer to formulate a special fabric that could stand up to a climate where daytime temperatures can hit 140 degrees Fahrenheit. With the company's five-acre test field too small to develop a full-size prototype, Tentnology developed a 25,000-square-foot "mini" version; the final version was packed into a chartered 747 cargo carrier for delivery.

Welcome Event Marketing, Copenhagen

Some 3,000 employees of Denmark's major transportation agency came from throughout the country to enjoy a party on a "train"—in reality, a 49,000-square-foot tent where guests enjoyed dinner and entertainment. Sections of the huge tent were flipped during the event, to a "park" and then a "nightclub."

Next Page: Best Achievement In Event Rental Support


Room Service: An AFR Event Furnishings Company, Pennsauken, Pa.

For a VIP product launch at a private mansion on Miami Beach, the rental team created custom furnishings in the brand's signature color, filling the 16,350-square-foot house with a wide array of bars and seating groupings. Strict rules at the venue forced the company to hand-carry all items.

Town & Country Event Rentals, Van Nuys, Calif.

The rental company found itself caught between bickering regulators, a prominent venue and an even more prominent client to create a 500-guest tented event at a high-end shopping center. Challenges included replacing drawings from the venue that were not to scale, facing weather fluctuations, and confronting a client representative who, demanding more ventilation, threatened to cut off the end panels of the tent during the event.

Next Page: Best New, Innovative Event Product/Technology


Creative Backstage, Tempe, Ariz.

The "Pixal Paint" system uses a rear projection screen, infrared cameras and LEDs to enable guests to paint with "digital spray paint." Images can be loaded as a background so users can easily create canvases; the interface also allows for custom branding with logos or themes.

Howard Givner Co., Scarsdale, N.Y.

The "Super Planner" iPhone app offers a range of tools designed for the event professional including calculators for venue capacity, staffing, catering, staging, projection and dance floors, along with time-tested suggestions. The table grid feature, for example, lists the linen sizes needed for each table size and shows how many guests can fit at each table.

Tentnology, Surrey, British Columbia

Created for a Middle Eastern queen to celebrate her son's recent marriage, this 70,000-square-foot structure features a 350-foot free-span diameter, soaring ceilings, and solid-tensioned vertical walls and hinged glass door systems for entrance and egress. Now available to the entire special event community, the structure weighs about half as much as a traditional one of the same size and therefore is less expensive to install.

Next Page: Best Event Entertainment: Budget $100,000 And Below


Merestone, Scottsdale, Ariz., and Destination Concepts, San Diego

Using employees as the cast, the event team created a video parody of longtime TV hit "Saturday Night Live" for the annual employee-appreciation event; staffers appeared in takeoffs of such legendary skits as "more cowbell!" "well, isn't that special" and "we are here to pump you up!" Comedian Sue Murphy closed the evening with a custom-tailored routine.

SME Inc., Los Angeles, and Whatever Artists Management, London

The client-appreciation event "London Live," held in the city's Banqueting House, featured a cast of 56 London-based entertainers; acts included songs from "Oliver," a Beatle ballet tribute and 20 Scots Guards—in full regalia—marching onstage.

Vangard Inc., Tacoma, Wash.

To entertain 4,000 international attendees during a major technology conference, the event team created an "international street fair" on company grounds. The use of unique, interactive acts—such as a Celtic rock band that encouraged singalongs, a Bollywood DJ who pulled guests onstage to dance, and stilt-walking cirque characters who challenged guests to Hula Hoop contests—earned the event a score of 4.6 on a scale of 5.

Next Page: Best Event Entertainment: Budget Above $100,000


EventWorks, Los Angeles

For 13,000 Chinese guests visiting Los Angeles for an incentive event, the event team staged a five-gala series that blended themes of the ancient Chinese "celestial empire" with Hollywood starpower. Entertainment included pyro, five American acts, the "Madonna" of Taiwan, and 50 additional live performers from musicians, stilt-walkers, singers, athletes, aerialists and puppeteers to dancers.

Hello Florida, Orlando, Fla., and Metropolis Productions, Orlando, Fla.

Oil refiner/marketer CITGO celebrated its 100th anniversary with an immersive entertainment experience. The evening including a big-band performance of hit songs from 1910 to 1940; acts including "Elvis," the "Beatles" and a U2 tribute band alternated with archival commercials from the company.

Vok Dams, Wuppertal, Germany

Some 1,600 Porsche dealers—from more than 70 countries and 90 percent male—enjoyed an outdoor excursion, a car reveal with pyro, a test drive, and an evening event complete with a sexy fashion show, a comedy act, a beatbox competition and a headliner singer.

Next Page: Most Outstanding Spectacle


Facts + Fiction, Cologne, Germany

Helping a prominent German soccer club celebrate its 100th anniversary, the event team created a dramatic show for 12,000 guests that included spectacle, special effects and appearances of many of the team's star players.

JHE Production Group, Harrisburg, N.C.

A 26-year tradition, the NASCAR Sprint All-star Race opening ceremonies used 18- and 10-foot-tall screens that displayed custom graphics, yet the entire setup took less than 10 minutes. Attendees and the TV audience of some 2.5 million households enjoyed performers and appearances by NASCAR superstars.

K-Events, Milan, Italy

The event team transformed St. Mark's Square in Venice, Italy, into a fairy-tale garden for 11 days in celebration of Carnival. The spectacle included street artists, an opera performance, art installations, and "the flight of the angel"—the aerial descent of a beautiful model from the belfry tower.

Next Page: Best Event For Private Individual/S: Budget Under $1,000 Per Guest


High Rise Events, Westlake Village, Calif.

A couple celebrated the groundbreaking of their dream home with a construction-theme party. Elements included invitations replicating the blueprint for the new home, "construction worker" waiters, and rides on golf carts to the construction site, where a lounge had been created.

Jobe and Associates, Dublin, Ohio

A high school girl who missed her prom due to illness was treated to a dual party—graduation party plus "prom remix"—held within one 62-by-62-foot clearspan tent. The "open house" party featured a preppy palette of hot pink and apple green, while the "prom remix" flipped the venue to a nightclub vibe, rendered in black and white.

Someone's in the Kitchen, Tarzana, Calif., and SRO Events, Tarzana, Calif.

For the 50th birthday of a high-powered businessman, the event team delivered a party that touched all five senses. At the host's home, the tennis court was transformed into trendy "club," a sommelier explained wine flavors, a 24-foot sushi bar and rolling dim sum cart offered treats, and an eight-piece orchestra played world music for eager dancers.

Next Page: Best Event For Private Individual/S: Budget $1,000 And Above Per Guest Guest


Bravo Productions, Long Beach, Calif.

For their 18-month wedding anniversary, a Boston man surprised his wife with a daylong "scavenger hunt" through Los Angeles, complete with a high-end shopping spree, a private salsa lesson at a "Dancing with the Stars" rehearsal studio, bouquets of her favorite flowers, and a series of "puzzle clues" that led at last to a romantic hotel room for the couple.

Heffernan Morgan Ronsley, Chicago

Some 200 guests went down the rabbit hole—actually, a small entrance vestibule covered in swirling graphics—for a reimagined "Alice in Wonderland" surprise 60th birthday party. With the event room transformed into a huge chessboard, guests met the Queen of Hearts and Mad Hatter, and could don outlandish hats that dropped from the ceiling.

For more images of this event, please click here.

Lynn Fletcher Weddings, Calgary, Alberta

For the 25th birthday of a woman with Down syndrome, her family keyed on her favorite color—pink—to create a princess-theme celebration. In the dining room, clear chairs etched with the guest of honor's monogram sat at tables covered in white dupioni silk and topped with 8-foot-tall floral arrangements.

For more images of this event, please click here.

Next Page: Best Event Marketing Campaign


Destination King, Memphis, Tenn., and Le Bonheur Children's Hospital, Memphis, Tenn.

A weeklong series of events heralded the opening of a $340 million hospital, which aimed not only to showcase the new facility but also to launch a new logo and branding effort. Events including a parade, cocktail receptions, and a fundraising gala led to media exposure more than double the original goal.

Vok Dams, Wuppertal, Germany

To help VW's SEAT brand clarify its identity at the 2010 Geneva Auto Show, the event team created an exhibit space keying on the brand's values of "young," "sporty" and "design driven." The booth featured a bright, white design and an LED wall as a backdrop—at one point, a car drove "out" of the LED wall and onto the exhibit area.

Vok Dams, Wuppertal, Germany

To revamp the brand of a major Swiss telecommunications company, the event team turned to an "urban hacking" campaign. The day before the star of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games—at which the company was a major sponsor—100 actors "hacked" into Zurich's main train station, embracing one another and waving Swiss flags. Video of the brief episode exploded over the Internet, crediting the company as the sponsor.

Next Page: Best Theatrical Entertainment Production


EventWorks, Los Angeles, Calif.

To honor top salespeople on an incentive to Los Angeles from China, the event team transformed a convention center hall into a two-tier amphitheater complete with ceiling rigging and a stage with a 60-foot LED screen. As the VIPs walked down the red carpet into the hall, they were met with an explosion of theatrics, including aerialists, dancers, puppeteers, pyro and a custom video presentation culminating in a dramatic display of the company logo and event slogan.

Hello Florida, Orlando, Fla., and Metropolis Productions, Orlando, Fla.

In honor of its 100th anniversary, a corporation treated 600 guests to a two-hour custom show that covered music and dance styles from 1910 to 2010. The cast and crew included 20 Marilyn Monroe impersonators, four bands, seven aerialists, and a full complement of costumers, stagehands, riggers and AV technicians.

Vok Dams, Wuppertal, Germany

Instead of turning to an international headliner, the team let the Porsche auto itself serve as the star for a dealer event that brought five waves of 350 guests each to the Cayenne brand's plant in Leipzig, Germany. The production included 12 pyro blasting stations, a laser presentation using the headquarters building as its canvas, a multimedia show and a stunning car reveal.

Next Page: Best Decor: Total Decor Budget Under $20,000


Events of Distinction, San Francisco

Inspired by the couple's Chinese heritage and love for all things French, the wedding decor included a custom ceremony structure wrapped with blue and white toile and embellished with Chinese pottery. At the after-party, a chinoiserie-inspired glowing bar was paired with a French Provincial back bar of 25 blue floral treatments.

Magic Moments, Norcross, Ga.

To help a small-town high school class celebrate its 40th reunion, the event team mixed '60s and '70s themes to create "beach music and Motown meet acid rock." Period decor elements included pompoms, ashtrays with stubbed out cigarettes in the "teachers lounge," and a ready-to-graffiti wall in the restroom.

USA Hosts, New Orleans, La., and Fancy Faces, Covington, La.

A fam trip for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival used a bold yellow as a metaphor for the city's vivid lifestyle. For the off-property event—held at the historic Presbytere in Jackson Square—80 guests sat on clear Ghost chairs beneath yellow lanterns and admired centerpieces featuring yellow callas, tulips and roses.

Next Page: Best Decor: Total Decor Budget $20,000 To $49,999


All Occasions Event Productions, Lexington, Ky.

Thousands of red roses, silver julep cups and a clear-top tent placed outside a historic mansion set the backdrop for a long-awaited reunion of two prestigious horse farms. From yellowed newspaper clippings to leather-bound guest books, historical memorabilia from the farms played a role in the overall event design of this milestone celebration.

Tamar Productions, Chicago

For the annual Greater North Michigan Avenue Association fundraising gala in Chicago—themed "Rock the Mile in Style"—the event team treated 920 guests to a cocktail reception featuring 6-foot-tall models dressed in Lady Gaga-inspired attire available on the fashionable shopping street. In the grand ballroom, premium tables draped in white crushed linen were aglow with battery-operated lights stationed under the base of the tables.

Warner Bros. Special Events, Burbank, Calif.

For an event designed to prompt international buyers to purchase U.S. TV programming, the design team created a fantastical garden highlighted by 15-foot decorative "dollar trees," a Peter Max-inspired rooftop scene, and a chic grouping of pink, green and orange lounge furniture accented with white enamel tables. Challenges arose when rain and wind threatened the installation, which required the event team to move furniture quickly.

Next Page: Best Decor: Total Decor Budget $50,000 To $150,000


Alison Silcoff Events, Montreal, and Decor and More, Oakville, Ontario

The team transformed Montreal's Windsor Station into a vision of the Arabian Nights by creating spaces including a Moroccan market and hookah lounge. In the dining room, swaths of fuchsia and tangerine fabric radiated from three circular ceiling trusses above jeweled, gold-filigree tablecloths.

For more images of this event, please click here.

Hello Florida, Orlando, Fla.

A 3,000-seat concert venue retained its identity while still showcasing the client company's brand for its 100th anniversary celebration through decor elements including custom-printed chair covers, a custom awning, wall wraps, large-scale graphics, scenic backdrops, LED drape, beaded columns, furniture and buffets. Meticulous planning enabled team to complete the decor installation in less than 14 hours.

Showorks, Oldsmar, Fla.

The colors purple and yellow—the colors of the client company's products—set the tone for this unorthodox product launch. Steering clear of the traditional "ballroom look," the event team divided the room into four sections, which all keyed on a dramatic "Fusion Bar" in the room's center.

Next Page: Best Decor: Total Decor Budget Above $150,000


MGM Resorts Events, Las Vegas

Some 1,600 guests were treated to a vision of Czarist Russia at this New Year's Eve party, where they traveled over a custom indoor "tundra" spanning more than 1,500 feet, which took them to the "palace." Decor highlights included an elaborate branch sculpture over an ice pit, fabric chandeliers inspired by Faberge eggs, and a jewel-encrusted horse carriage.

MGM Resorts Events, Las Vegas

The "Power of Love" theme for an Alzheimer's fundraiser saw arriving guests greeted by two 8-foot-tall "glamazons" clad in pink metallic dresses. Other theme decor elements included arms reaching through black wall panels to offer glasses of champagne, heart sculptures dangling from the ceiling, furniture in the shape of kissing lips, and glass tabletops bearing lip prints.

MGM Resorts Events, Las Vegas

An opening party for 375 guests launching a flagship location of a world-famous hotel brand mixed modern Western themes with ancient Eastern traditions. A geisha danced in a manmade snowstorm on a balcony, while buffet tables, floral arrangements and even hors d'oeuvre trays seem to float in midair.

Next Page: Best Event For Corporation or Association: Overall Budget Under $100,000


Metzler : Vater, Zorneding, Germany

To herald the rebranding of an international hospitality services company, the event team placed 1,500 red balloons into the center of Munich, Germany. Passersby were encouraged to pop as many as possible in order to earn donations for needy children.

Russell Harris Event Group, North Hollywood, Calif.

To celebrate the premiere of the sixth season of hit TV show "House," the event team had to deliver Hollywood glamour without a blockbuster budget. Using the historic Arclight Theater in Hollywood, the team made the show's brand function as decor in elements such as decals of the show's logo placed on the venue's existing mirrors.

Next Page: Best Event For Corporation or Association: Overall Budget $100,000 To $249,999


E=MC2 Event Management, Calgary, Alberta

The event team recast a Young Presidents Organization "graduation" ceremony as a fashion show complete with makeup artists "backstage," a runway and "paparazzi." During dinner, each graduate was recognized with a personalized tribute.

Future Affairs Productions, East Providence, R.I.

The "Cirque d'Elephant" event helped 500 guests celebrate 50 years of a university's reunion classes. An indoor track facility was transformed into the event space, which included a lounge, entertainment and dining area.

Someone's in the Kitchen, Tarzana, Calif.

The gala following the Oscars for foreign language films mixed oversize Oscar statues with elegant violet drapes, violet and lavender floral, violet rose-pattern gobos, and black-and-white brocade pattern linen on benches and ottomans. Above the food stations—which offered everything from tiny lamb chops to multicolor macarons—dangled 10-foot strands of hand-strung glass orbs.

Next Page: Best Event For Corporation or Association: Overall Budget $250,000 To $500,000


AOM Events, Miami

When the city revoked the event company's permit to close a public street only two weeks before the scheduled carnival for 800 guests, the planners quickly changed the event to move among three venues: a welcome reception at a hotel, cocktails at Miami's Bayfront Park, and dinner and dancing at the historic Dupont Building. With no funding for transportation, entertainers led a "parade" of attendees to move them the three blocks from the park to the dinner.

Elias Events, Houston

More than 800 guests roamed among five event spaces filled with music, performers, 12 food stations and six bars at the "Let Us Entertain You" party. The fun included a video DJ, aerial violinist, make-your-own crepe station, scent machines, a fire-balancing contortionist and other unique acts.

Russell Harris Event Group, North Hollywood, Calif.

To help client Disney showcase its TV shows to international media buyers, the event team stuck to a tight timeline that included cocktails and presentations of the shows with stars and studio executives in attendance, followed by deal-making at a 10,000-square-foot networking lounge. To make the most of a sharply reduced budget, lighting played a big role in decor, including three-story custom projections spanning 250 feet of the whimsical Team Disney Building.

Next Page: Best Event For Corporation or Association: Overall Budget Above $500,000


EventWorks, Los Angeles

Chinese guests on an incentive trip to Los Angeles were treated to a cross-cultural, four-hour gala that mixed Hollywood's "star" image with theme of the Chinese "celestial empire." Held in five waves for the 13,000 guests, the evening featured human buffets, a custom dinner menu, pyro, a Taiwanese pop superstar, and 50 performers including musicians, stilt-walkers, singers, athletes, aerialists, puppeteers and dancers.

K-Events, Milan, Italy

Some 11,000 attendees from throughout Italy met at a stadium for a five-hour corporate conference mixing entertainment, high-tech displays, and dramatic presentations of the company's history and core values. Attendees participated in significant moments in the program, such as turning on flashlights to create a starry night sky, and spelling out the event name—ONE—and company logo with their seat cushions, à la flip cards.

MGM Resorts Events, Las Vegas

A new luxury resort celebrated New Year's Eve in style with "Reveal," which saw 2,300 guests enjoy a faintly surreal experience where orchids seemed to drift around the ceiling, beautiful hostesses appeared to be painted with light, and both video and live entertainment immersed the audience. The event required 32 projectors mounted on an extensive network of trusses on the ballroom ceiling.

Come to The Special Event 2011, Jan. 25-28 in Phoenix.

Enjoy more beautiful Photo Galleries from Special Events—just click here.

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