Event: Emily James, meeting and event planner for 1st Global,
worked with Arrangers DMC to create a speakeasy-themed welcome event
last November for the national conference for the wealth-management
company for accounting and legal firms. The meeting of 550 was held at
The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, with the kickoff party in a room
built in the 1920s, thus the inspiration for the theme. "It was elegant,
but not a stuffy event," says James.
Décor: The space already featured beautiful frescoes and
furniture. The décor was augmented with event colors of crimson, pewter
and cream; each of the connecting rooms (including the Fountain Room,
which opened in the appropriate year of 1923) had its own color theme.
Centerpieces in different sizes featured calla lillies, black feathers,
ostrich feathers and dripping pearls.
Entertainment: There was plenty for the attendees to see and
hear. Flappers in feathered headbands and boas greeted guests, along
with smartly dressed men in fedoras who handed out headbands and boas to
the women, and bow ties and fedoras to the men. A piano player
performed a ragtime repertoire, while a wandering musician sang and
played saxophone, urging guests to sing along. A gangster type ("I know a
guy who knows a guy who can get you what you want") escorted guests to
the bar and made boutonnieres out of bar napkins. A local "Houdini"
escaped out of chains and a straitjacket.
"My personal favorite was the Charlie Chaplin lookalike," says James. He
conducted silent "conversations" with participants, jumped into
people's pictures and tried to lure them into doing the Charleston.
Food and Drink: The reception menu featured heavy hors d'oeuvres.
"We tried to do as much 1920s food as possible, but back then they did a
lot of stuff in gelatin, so the catering staff helped us alter the
recipes to be more recognizable," says James. "It was cold outside, so
we looked for some heavier food." The Broadmoor chefs searched the
archives and came up with a cassoulet, or white-bean stew. "We wanted to
make sure that our meat eaters, which we have a lot of, were happy,"
James says, "so there were small cuts of lamb, beef or chicken to put on
top." Bisques were big in the '20s, so lobster-bisque shooters made it
onto the menu, as well as a frisee French bistro salad.
Event: A "Night of a Thousand Stars" reception was hosted by the
National Minority Supplier Development Council for about 1,450 people at
the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum in Denver. The
evening celebrated the NMSDC's 40th anniversary.
Décor: Playing off the museum and the organization's anniversary,
Suzette Eaddy, director of conferences for the NMSDC, chose a
'40s/World War II theme. Men dressed as pilots and women in WAC uniforms
mingled, danced and took photos with the guests. "We had a Rosie the
Riveter and women dressed like cigarette girls, minus the cigarettes,
distributing cupcakes with a '40' on top," Eaddy recalls. Participants
could slip into a photo booth, and music from the era welcomed the
Food and Drink: "We had 'regular' food, pretty much," says Eaddy.
"We looked at '40s menus -- Spam was big back then -- and we felt that
such items wouldn't go over well."
Among appetizers were assorted cheeses, Italian salamis, olives, artisan
breads and crackers, crudités with bleu cheese or port pâté for
dipping. Heartier displays featured fish and chips, mini-hamburgers,
three-cheese macaroni, spicy chicken drummettes with jalapeño ranch dip,
chicken Wellington and vegan spanakopita.