The Black & White Ball was designed to be a night of grandeur celebrating 30 years of success; an evening that guests would never forget. The overall strategy in designing this customized celebration in an empty Train Station was to create a setting for the Black & White Ball. Where would such a prestigious Ball take place? Well, it most likely would take place in a castle or mansion, and so the NorLand Manor House was born!
This event occurs annually in the venue, so we knew we had to work really hard to transform the space to impress our guests. They had seen various themes in the venue, so this event had to be super special. We spent 50% of our budget on the setting (décor and design) to WOW our guests upon arrival. The foyer and curved staircases had to be jaw dropping and they were!
WE HAD A PLAN!
Okay, so we had a plan. The Black & White Ball would take place in the NorLand Manor House, but what did the inside of the house look like besides stairs (think Gone with The Wind stairs)? We swagged 20’ tall champagne crushed velvet drape to represent curtains. We wanted a clean look without linens for feature stations and rented white furniture for buffets, stage and black marble bar fronts. All chairs were black or white with gold accents.
We built a mezzanine lounge for added seating and to offer unique vantage viewpoints down to the main floor. We had NO IDEA how challenging it was to build a second floor that safely supported 120 guests, met building codes, didn’t damage the venue walls and floor and most of all looked high end and fancy. It took hundreds of hours of strategizing and planning, dozens of structural meetings going over drawings and blueprints, several meetings to select paint colors, railing styles, wall treatments, lighting options, etc. We were literally building a second floor of a house. The build had to look and feel like a real mansion.
THE PAINS OF SET UP
Set up was another event in itself, and as with any general contractor, we had challenges and were constantly managing Trades’ schedules. First the lighting crew hung their truss but were delayed because a key piece of equipment was missing. Next the scaffolding company installed the pipe structure for the mezzanine, but forgot some pipes. Before we could continue, an engineer had to sign off. There was tension in the air, as we all anxiously awaited this signature. But due to good planning, we passed the test and received the green light to proceed. A building frenzy ensued! Walls with trim were erected and painted, hallway ceilings installed and painted, sconces wired in hallways and mezzanine railings secured.
The house included a Parlour, a Library, a Games Room and Mezzanine. A solid wood removable coloured NorLand logo in the centre of the stair cases was made for the client as a souvenir!
Our Manor House was taking shape beautifully but what would guests do once they arrived, besides dance? We listened carefully to our clients’ event objectives and learned that the owner/management treated their employees like family. Why not create a Family Reunion and invite all employees (family) to the Ball? We created a networking game where guests traded their divisional stickers to complete their own Family Tree.
Registration & Coat Check were in a tent for two reasons. One, we were out of space and Two, we wanted to create a GRAND REVEAL. Guests were given a customized multi-page Evening Program at registration, which contained an Owners’ Welcome, Evening Agenda, Family Tree Game and Activity Explanations. Once doors opened, the Manor House was visible to all. Imagine Gold Angels with skirts of champagne glasses waiting at the base of curved staircase to offer you champagne? AMAZING!
IT’S ALL ABOUT 30
In the Parlour was a Black and White Portrait Studio. Casino teaching tables to learn in a relaxed atmosphere accompanied a roving Tarot Card Reader offering guests a glimpse into their future. The Lord of the House (actor) posed with guests for photos.
The Anniversary Bottle Challenge was in the Library. Each wine bottle was numbered and guests selected 5 bottles. If their total exceeded 30, they were entered to win wine. We also offered favorite activities such as Digital Caricatures and Virtual Reality, all managed by the Preposterous Sister of the Lady of the House (actress) who couldn’t stop gossiping!
A black and white dance floor in the Games Room showcased a live ice carving demonstration. We had previously frozen gold confetti into the ice, so the “30” sparkled when complete. This LIVE activity came with lots of challenges such as ice spray, safety, power, disposal, etc.
IT WAS A NIGHT TO REMEMBER
Our Casino offered Slot Machines, Craps and Roulette, along with the NorLand Family Puzzle Competition. High-end Seafood Buffets and Oysters were available to guests. The white stage supported a clear podium proudly displaying the Family Tree Poster. We hung champagne drapes behind the stage, placed five gold ornate panels and alternated crystal chandeliers with bouquets of white orchids on gold pedestal stands in each oval opening.
Guests received two bottles of local wine in black or white gift bags upon departure. The entertainment value at this event was exceptionally high. The Family Tree Game was an effective ice breaker to meet new people in a fun, meaningful way. And the layout of the house inspired guests to travel from room to room exploring theme activities such as Anniversary Bottle Challenge and NorLand Family Puzzle Competition.
HIGH ROI FOR THE BLACK AND WHITE BALL
And what impact did this event have on guests? First the stunning décor of the NorLand Manor House, specifically the staircases was impressive. And secondly, the interactive activities, specifically The Family Tree Game, encouraged socializing and networking.
Our client remarked “I am so blown away by this event. Never done before as you said and it should win the top award for sure! You made the 30th the icing on the cake for us!!!” He appreciated the way guests were treated as family members. He said, “The train station never looked so good. Our guests were truly given the party they deserved.”
Case Study: The NorLand Black & White Ball
Event Photos: The NorLand Black & White Ball