The client wanted new and different. ‘Give us something that’s a big change from the same hotel ballroom and the same boring party!’ Bright Ideas Events began to visualize the Roaring Speakeasy – in a great new venue and an exciting 1920s party that doubled the fun, with two variations on a popular theme.
Visualize The Welcome
Guests for the Roaring Speakeasy knew it was a special evening the moment they boarded the vintage trolley shuttling them to the venue. That impression was reinforced when they stepped onto the red carpet welcoming them outside the Rocky Mountaineer train station. Greeted by costumed staff in authentic Twenties outfits, each guest received a special envelope. Inside, there are drink vouchers, some play money for the casino games to come, the house rules for gambling, and the most important piece of information… the ‘password’ to gain entrance to hidden attractions of the Roaring Speakeasy.
Many of the guests embraced the spirit of the theme, arriving in their own costumes, dressed as flappers, gangsters, and gun molls. Next, they accessorized their own outfits with complimentary props, adorning themselves with long strands of pearls, flapper headbands, and fedoras. Feather boas and fake cigars helped round out the look! The guests were truly part of the décor, as nearly 80% of the guests got into the spirit of the party. Some even rented elaborate outfits specifically for the event.
Visualize the Entrance
Remember the saying, ‘first impressions are lasting impressions’? We knew this was especially true at events, so we worked hard to visualize what kind of entrance would make a big impression. We needed opulence feathers & beads and a “peek through” entrance, and that’s exactly what we created.
Approaching the entrance, a stunning arrangement of beautifully lit golden twig vases with red ostrich feathers and surrounding boas offered a preview of the Twenties glamour within. Elegantly framed between feather vignettes, dramatic lighting, and pillars of white fabric, guests passed through the entranceway – into a shimmering scene of sophistication. The spacious room glowed, with white draping and flower arrangements, vases filled with gel pearls, and adorned by cocktail lamps. Lighting effects and projections shone amidst candelabras and mirror tiles. A swing band set the scene, jazz favourites softly providing a musical backdrop, while dramatic spotlights and red and black feather decor accents highlight the glamorous feel of the space.
Wait staff offered each guest a signature cocktail as they entered, along with trays of finger food and hors d’oeuvres to whet their appetites. At each buffet station, alternating black and white colored linens offer an elegant contrast. Massive black ostrich feather centerpieces were showcased by a golden ring and dramatic lighting, the entire scene reminiscent of an opulent Twenties ballroom. A variety of cuisines were available at the stations, from Lucky Luciano’s Pasta to the Chinese Laundry noodle bar, and guests could choose dishes made famous during the era, such as deep-fried ravioli, or modern dining innovations, such as delicious smoked salmon lollipop appetizers.
Roaring Twenties Style
Scattered among the formal black and white linen and candelabras of the dining tables, tables in red linens feature teardrop cocktail lamps, in a turn-of-the-century contrast. At the back of the room, a dance floor gave the guests room to ‘cut a rug’ in swinging style and the DJ offered a modern alternative to the jazz sounds. Classic silent films flickered against a silver screen, the birth of Hollywood providing an entertaining window into the popular culture of the time.
But that was only half the room. What lay behind the brick facade that split the room in two? It was wallpapered with wanted posters of tough looking characters and ominous notices – the first hint to guests; they were about to cross over to the other side of the tracks. Next was the bouncer at the entrance. He wasn’t letting anyone in without the secret password. Hopefully you didn’t forget your envelope on a table somewhere. He’s quite strict! The Bouncer reminds guests of The Rules of the Club: no coppers, if anyone asks, you’re drinking tea, and in case of a raid – you just wandered in to use the can. Just make your way past these crates and barrels and spread before you, a full casino, well hidden from the coppers in this backroom setting!
Artful single bulbs hung from the ceiling. Black drape surrounded the room for a dark, mysterious atmosphere. Whiskey barrel and Tommy gun vignettes reminded one and all who was in charge on this side of the wall. Now the funny money in the envelope could be put to good use. A wide assortment of casino games welcomed a winning hand or a lucky roll. The more you win, the more cash you have – to buy more tickets to enter in the prize draw! Cigarette girls circulate with candy cigarettes in their trays, adding to the vintage atmosphere. The whiskey tasting stations turn a blind eye to the laws of Prohibition, so guests can sample a variety of premium labels bootlegged across the border.
And guests were eager to join in the fun, as though they were gambling with somebody else’s money! The banter flowed and the luck came and went, our would-be gangsters and flappers trading wisecracks and good-natured jibes in true Twenties fashion, making the casino aspect of the evening a crowd favorite. Nothing better than when you visualize a good time and it comes true!
Bright Ideas Events handled all aspects of the event, working with some crucial last minute challenges – most importantly, a surge in last-minute RSVPs and a picket line in front of the venue, yet still delivered a first-class corporate party. The client was looking for change and we were able to visualize what they needed. We delivered – with a great venue and a theme that delighted the guests. The Casino games were a big hit, both for the fun activity they provided during the evening, and the top quality prizes guests could win.
Guests also really embraced the theme, arriving in costume and eager to add to their look with our free hats and other goodies. The high rate of participation with so many guests in Twenties-style attire was a fantastic way to enhance the illusion created by the décor. From sophisticated to the Speakeasy, two décor and entertainment options made this a party where it was easy to double your fun. At the Roaring Speakeasy event, both aspects of the era were part of the celebrations!