It began with the Welcome Reception on Thursday evening, a first taste of the Prohibition-era fun guests could expect. Black & red feather centerpieces recalled the opulence of the era, while a vintage 1910 hearse added authenticity – the perfect link to the Association’s members’ profession. The welcome reception also featured a trade show component. For this aspect, Bright Ideas positioned booths around the perimeter of the venue, coordinating the look of each booth to ensure consistency with the theme.
Welcoming the guests was big-time mob boss Hal Trombone and his gun moll Mary, making sure no undercover cops tried to put the kibosh on the evening’s ‘illicit’ fun. Meanwhile, a jazz ensemble and classic silent movies enhanced the retro feel. Actors in period costumes circulated during the evening, posing and taking pictures with guests, creating a ‘buzz’ around the events planned for the weekend, talking up the Swinging Speakeasy on Saturday night, and taking part in the official ribbon cutting marking the start of the association’s 100th anniversary event.
The Swinging Speakeasy theme continued during the President’s Banquet on Friday night. Elegance was the order of the evening, as a black and white theme, feather centrepieces in light vases, and dramatic lighting gave the room a sophisticated air. Actors once again mingled with guests – saucy flappers and zoot-suited dandies embodying the devil-may-care attitude of the era, as a jazz trio provided a swinging soundtrack to the evening. But the best was yet to come. It began with our actors finding and capturing guests, hauling them onstage to accept honours as part of the awards ceremony. What came next was the highlight of the night.
The VIPs in the audience didn’t know they had been secretly marked (props placed under their chairs) for a trip to the Crowbar Hotel. Officers Todd and Claude burst into the room, looking for these miscreants, hauling them onstage and subjecting them to an interrogation suspiciously reminiscent of an old-fashioned celebrity roast, with lots of fiction and just enough truth to each accusation to have the crowd roaring with laughter at the fix these supposed criminals found themselves facing. The cuffs were on and the VIPs behind bars, soon to be marched out of the room for a stay in the ‘big house’ until Saturday evening’s gala event.
Saturday’s luncheon event was designed to offer guests the opportunity to mingle and network. Built around a Titanic décor theme, this casual event offered an open seating plan and only one scheduled activity – a fashion show of Twenties-era styles. Art Deco-inspired décor, floor length candelabras and vases, orchids, feathers, and the elegance of black and white table settings once again provided thematic consistency, recalling the luxury and opulence of the golden age of ocean travel. Guests welcomed the informal approach to this event; a chance to catch up with colleagues, make new connections, and enjoy the beautiful vintage fashions on display. All the while, the Bright Ideas Events team was getting ready to pull off a little behind-the-scenes magic. With only hours between events, resetting the room and bringing in all the décor and entertainment elements (casino games, staging, facades, and props) required clockwork precision and careful planning.
The luncheon came off without a hitch. The room was flipped in a mere 4 hours for Saturday evening’s Speakeasy Gala. Stay tuned for more photos and details in Part 3 of 3 next week!
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