by Jonathan Vatner | February 01, 2006

Grammy event

Grammy event by Along Came Mary

What is style? It’s a concept that any forward-thinking meeting or event planner strives for, yet one that everyone seems to define differently. Some think it means presenting cutting-edge products to excite even the been-there-done-that crowd. Others view style as an experience that sweeps guests off their feet with service. Still others consider it to be finding new ways to invigorate the sometimes worn patterns of meetings and events. Style is all of those things and none of them. It’s the experience of surprising beauty, the melding of boundless creativity with everyday elements to craft a sensation at once astonishing and profound.
    Understand, then, the difficulty the style-makers featured herein found when trying to define the term. Instead, they touched upon bits of style, glimmers of things that, when executed properly, can provide some small nirvanic elevation for attendees. Here are their suggestions details that can work to create the hush of awe and the murmur of contentment.

Know your audience
“The most important thing is to know your client and your audience. What you find stylish might not be what they find stylish,” says Jono, the one-name mastermind behind Jono Productions (212-675-6839;,  with offices in New York City and Sydney, Australia. Jono, who has put on events for the likes of fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi and rapper Kanye West, offers a few suggestions that work for almost any event.
    Invite perfection. “The invitation is your first impression,” notes Jono. To lure attendees, pour your creativity into it. One good way of convincing people to come: Hire a calligrapher to handwrite the invitations.
    Send half a gift. Put one part of a present in the invitation, and promise the other half in attendees’ gift bags. One stunning earring works well, or one cuff link. These items are lightweight for mailing, have high perceived value, are not necessarily expensive, and are not handed, meaning no-shows will not ruin a pair.
    Pack the goodie bag. “People actually rate the success of the event based on what they go home with,” says Jono. Try giving
the gift bag a theme to achieve greater impact.
    Hire beautiful waitstaff. It’s perhaps a sad truth, but some people will find events to be considerably more stylish if young, incredibly beautiful men and women are serving food and drinks. Find a company such as New York City’s The Party Crew (212-247-3331;, which casts its waitstaff as one might cast a movie. New York City-based Shiraz (201-255-7001; is another outfit that staffs events with model-caliber hotties.
    Spa up the bathrooms. Slip into the venue’s rest rooms, switch the soap with something scented and luxurious, dim the lights and place votives everywhere. A typical bathroom is easily transformed.

Deliver the unexpected
Much of the magic of the Walt Disney brand comes from the element of surprise. Little treats at unexpected times can make as big an impact as extravagance when anticipation is high. Both are necessary for an event that mystifies and delights. Here is what behind-the-scenes staff at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa in Lake Buena Vista suggest for amazing events.
    Cast the room in blue. If it’s possible, replace all standard lightbulbs with blue tinted ones to create a more seductive mood.
    Serve food on furniture. Disney Resorts smartens up the typical coffee setup by bringing in an armoire and putting the coffee service inside. Use a dish filled with coffee beans to catch the coffee drips and a dish of tea sachets to catch the hot water. Place the napkins and other coffee accouterments inside the drawers.
    Get creative with aromatherapy. The right aroma can be a potent element in a stylish event. Disney Resorts suggests choosing a fragrance that matches the food; for example, for one recent event, the Disney team used citrus aromas in the air and also infused every item on the menu with citrus.

Think details
To Mary Micucci, owner of L.A.-based Along Came Mary Productions (323-931-9082;, style is in the details. She considers all the elements of an event and ensures that each is extraordinary on its own and even better as part of a unified experience. Here are just a few of her ideas employed at myriad movie premieres and big-name company parties.
    De-light the hall. If lights can’t be dimmed, replace bulbs with those of a lower wattage 25 to 40 watts are optimal. Or, if the venue is intimate and fire-safe turn off all the electrical illumination and light the space with candles.
    Gift early. Try sprucing up the place settings with scented candles, a small potted flower or a two-piece box of chocolates.