Any event producer knows that the team they create is crucial to the success of their event. Through trial and sometimes error we find our people and those individuals become the team we call on again and again. They are what help define us as event producers and they often times help to define us as friends.
In December 2013 I was asked by Syd Shelton of the Ritz-Carlton to assist her team (including the lovely Ashley Werner) with design of the Engage14 Welcome Party. In my world Engage is the “it” of my peers. It is a twice a year get together of professionals from the luxury wedding markets to discuss business, inspiration, strategy and the psychology of it all. It is referred to as summer camp because so many of us have become friends over the years and when we all get together it is a high energy experience of belly laughing, dancing and talking, talking, talking. I was honored to be asked by Syd. She became less of a work peer and more of a friend as we worked through the process. I also got to know Aimee Monihan of Mountain and Tropical Occasions with whom I also developed a friendship and appreciation for her destination weddings. And finally, I quietly observed the inner workings of the Engage team lead by Kathryn Arce and Rebecca Grinnals. I marvel at what they have created for our industry. It was nothing less than inspiring to be amongst this great group of women. Sisters till the end.
I’ll be vulnerable here and admit that when I was asked to plan and design the welcome party I wanted to vomit. To create an over the top party for the best event designers in the world is intimidating. . . and so I called my team. And it is these people that I wish to highlight. The Ritz-Carlton and Beaver Creek Resort were the main sponsors of Engage!14 Bachelor Gulch. To highlight the features of Beaver Creek Resort it was determined to host the first night welcome party on the Beaver Creek Plaza over the ice rink. Tim Baker, the Executive Director of Beaver Resort Company, and his incredible core team of Lauren, Cat, and Jerry were my comrades in this big production. I LOVE these people. They get it. They understand great customer service and that no detail should be missed to impress their clients. I am determined to do an event with them every year whether they like or not 🙂
The design crew I asked were of my oldest professional friends. Nathan Cox, co-owner of Pink Monkey, and Cindy Tammaro, owner of Bloom Flower Shop, are my go to folks for anything design related. Nathan, along with Corey Floyd aka my work husband, took my sketches, inspiration boards and long-winded brainstorming sessions and turned them into the beautiful space we see here. My favorite memory from working with them was the night before the event we did a lighting check. I had just arrived from a wedding and was in my DVF and heels and was offering a bottle of bourbon. Nathan and Corey were showing me the different various hues of pink when a bear sauntered into our tent. Pure panic on my end. I grabbed a pipe and drape pipe and threatened the bear like a territorial beast. But of course it was Nathan and Corey who calmly redirected the bear on its way. There truly is never a dull moment in events is there? As per typical, Nathan and Corey were my heros.
And then there is Cindy. Depending on the day or the minute I often refer to her as my co-collaborator, my sounding board, my friend or my sister. She is also my florist. Along with her team headed by Rachelle, an adorable but fierce brunette with an uncanny eye for bouquet creation, we sorted through the concept that the ambiance would be neutral and the only color would come from the spectrum of pink flowers since the event colors were bronze and pink. I cannot say enough how gorgeous Bloom’s florals were. I mean, just look at the photos and see. Floral design is not arranging pretty flowers in a vase, at least not for major events. It is the ability to look at the WHOLE event design and determine where candles should be placed, do those candles need a floral accent, how are those candles housed so as to not blow out, how to best accent the food presentation, does that bone marrow shot need a spray rose? does the bar need an antler?, engineer a massive arch with hundreds of pounds of florals, antlers and curly willow so it doesn’t collapse or fall over in a wind gust. The list of endless analyzing and building can be exhausting and I dont’ know if the general public truly appreciates the THINKING involved in floral design. Bloom is the true example of practical business skills, thoughtful engineering and uber creative talent.
And then there was music. Josh Friedman, owner of Elan Artists, provided Rhythm Collective out of NYC. It was 15-piece band complete with dueling fiddle players and lead by lead vocalists Daniel and Kianna. They played an eclectic mix of folk, country and throw down club. I had fun. A. Lot. Of. Fun. And by the way, anyone needing the best musical talent for their next event should not think twice about calling Elan Artists. They are the top of the game and kind people!
When Epicurian was asked to cater this event I started the meeting by saying we need to do things that no one has ever seen or tasted before. Hello, I’m Emily! Their staff is the nicest, most enthusiastic group of people in the food industry. When I told them to dress like Johnny Depp, cater to every whim of each guest and before the event wipe down the white dance floor they did so with smiles! Wesley and Matthew I’ll be calling again, again and again. Now onto the menu. Bone marrow whiskey shooters and Beaver Creek snowballs, oh my.
PASSED HORS D’ OEUVRES SAVORY CHICKEN FORTUNE COOKIE savory, spicy asian chicken stuffed crispy wonton in the shape of a fortune cookie, yum yum sauce SAVORY WINE & CHEESE savory herbed chevre cheesecake, saltine cracker crust, wine gelee PEAS & CARROTS half a sugar snap pea, piped roasted carrot hummus, pea garnish CHOCOLATE CLAM CRUDO citrus mignonette LAMB GYRO chickpea mint puree, yogurt foam
STATION I FRESH MOZZARELLA STATION made to order burrata with roasted grapes; arugula salad in cone with marinated mozzarella; burrata on parmesan cracker with smoked tomato jam STATION II “SMOKESTACK STATION” vapor bar with essence of citrus haystack chevre truffles, smoked rocky mountain trout rillette on watermelon radish, southwestern seasoned free range chicken oyster, smoke filled cloche STATION III “POP UP” COLORADO STEAKHOUSE choice of colorado buffalo carpaccio with buckwheat and golden beets, carved colorado beef coulotte or house smoked brisket with cowboy caviar or twice baked potato, or bone marrow louge with colorado whiskey, presented with the following sauces: horseradish foam, green garlic pistou
COLORFUL COLORADO DESSERT STATION FLAMING CHOCOLATE COVERED MARSHMALLOW caramel sugar coated flaming marshmallow stuffed chocolate truffle BEAVER CREEK “SNOWBALL” bite sized chocolate cake, frosting, fresh coconut, crème center, dusted with freeze dried fruit; blueberry, strawberry, peach HUMMINGBIRDS NEST buttered kataifi, chocolate egg, colorado honey, toasted almond APRES SKI BLONDIE warm butterscotch, white chocolate morsels, pine nuts, fresh berry compote
Other great creative partners contributed to this event. Doug from Event Works provided the gorgeous Navitrac clear span tent, white dance floor, table rentals, heating and all of the food and drink serving items . This tent was gorgeous. The ceiling looked like glass and the structure was solid. Luc, my new best friend, from Elective Hive came in at the last minute to provide gold antlers and animal hide rugs (it sounds kind of silly coming out of mouth). Splendor for Your Guests provided the most luxurious faux fur cream colored blankets. At one point I actually wrapped one around myself and contemplated making it into a dress. So boho chic? Carolyn with Rocky Mountain Espresso set up the ultimate coffee bar with wait for it, maple bacon liquor. Yes, it was ridiculous. In a good way. Fun Productions provided the mechanical bull and O2 bar. Another hilarious memory is seeing some of my event idols hooked up to neon lanyards toking away on strawberry infused oxygen. Crazy Mountain Brewery and Veuve Cliquot (only in Beaver Creek would this pairing seem normal) offered their delicious delights. Nuage Designs provided all of the gorgeous linens. The acrylic glowing bar menus, take away notecards, and cupcake boxes were created by our sister company, Richard’s Notebook and the chocolate cupcakes inside the gorgeous boxes were baked by Breckenridge local and cake baker Katy Pierson, owner of Sugar. Katy also provided the gorgeous desserts for the dessert party AND the final night gala. Go Katy!
I affectionately refer to my team as the Bella girls. Samantha and Lauren, you ROCK. Thank you for working 14 hour days, ruining all of your nice dresses and shoes, and loving weddings. We are a rare breed of people and I am so grateful that you have chosen to work with me in this crazy industry.
And finally, no event is complete without hot bartenders serving exquisite cocktails. Josh Rosenthal, owner of the Grand Bevy, flew his mixologists in from LA to serve our crowd. The three signature cocktails were A Mountain High (he he) The Grand Bevy Nutmeg & Clover All Spice Reduction, Rye Whiskey, Citrus Oils, Lover’s Tarragon The Grand Bevy Apricot Reduction, Rye Whiskey, Tarragon, Lemon Juice, Egg White, Fresh Ginger, and the Surfer Rosa The Grand Bevy Strawberry Reduction, Tequila, Mezcal, Cilantro, Jalapeño, Lime Juice, Chili Lime Salt Garnish. Yum in all regards.
And there you have it except for one last thank you. My family. Craig, Jackson and Victoria. While mama is working you are camping with Daddy, playing soccer and working in the garden. Thank you for putting up with my overworked schedule and sometimes post-event crash. You are the loves of my life.
At the end of the night as I escorted Randy Fanoli out of the tent he said, “STOP. Turn around, look at what you did and make a memory.” Startled and humbled, I felt like one of his Say Yes to the Dress brides and did just as I was told. I took in all the good energy, walked Randy to his transportation and then turned back to this beautiful event to take it all down. . . with my team. An unforgettable memory forever engrained in my mind.
ENTERTAINMENT • ELAN ARTISTS, DECOR, FURNITURE & LIGHTING • PINK MONKEY SOLUTIONS, FLORAL • BLOOM FLOWER SHOP, CATERING •EPICUREAN GROUP CATERING, ARTISAN COCKTAILS & BAR SERVICE • THE GRAND BEVY, BEER • CRAZY MOUNTAIN BREWERY, LINEN • NUAGE DESIGNS, SPECIALTY GIFTING, F&B SIGNAGE + MENUS • RICHARD’S NOTEBOOK, SPECIALTY FURNITURE PIECES, • ECLECTIC HIVE, FAUX FUR THROWS • SPLENDOR FOR YOUR GUESTS, MECHANICAL BULL + OXYGEN BARS • FUN PRODUCTIONS, CUPCAKES • SUGAR, BRANDED EVENT ACCESSORIES • HATS, CUPS, TRAY LINERS, NAPKINS, SPECIALTY COFFEES & HOT CHOCOLATE • ROCKY MOUNTAIN ESPRESSO, TENT, HEATERS & EQUIPMENT RENTAL • EVENT RENTS DENVER