As I continue to refocus on my passions, it was time to reconnect with one that’s been not only a profession but a hobby: event planning. One reason why I love it is the transformation aspect: taking a blank canvas and turning it into something grandiose and fabulous. One of Cleveland’s best examples of this happens annually and I finally had the chance to check it out on Thursday, March 22. That evening, I attended a networking event at L’Nique Linens in Valley View in order to get reconnected with my event planning roots.
From the invitation: The 2012 fete will feature exciting new tenting ideas, lighting, floral concepts, lounge decor, inventive ideas in catering, cake artistry and much more! Attend 3 separate “acts” in one night and get wowed by amazing food, drink and decor displays. You’ll meet new people, learn about new services and be able to tell your own story to prospective partners.
Each guest’s entrance fee went towards raising funds for the Search Foundation, an organization which supports event professionals confronted with a catastrophic occurrence and fosters, develops and promotes educational initiatives for the advancement of the industry. It’s a great organization doing great things, so it was the best $20 I spent in awhile.
I want to emphasize just how much transformation occurs in prep for this event. I’ve worked with L’Nique Linens on several of my events over the years and have a great warehouse and showroom on the south side of our city. For an example of the “before” pics, head over to L’Nique’s Facebook page. It will give you a better idea of the amount of work that goes into the process of creating this event.
The festivities began at 5:30PM with the first act: the Preview Party. Guests were treated to the VIP parking treatment via M.V.P. Valet Parking before entering the huge tents that would host the first and last parts of the party. The tents – by Everything Tented – were HUGE and easily held the hundreds of people that came out for the event. Funny how in March in Cleveland, they got lucky with the perfect weather evening: no need for heaters when it’s 80 degrees outside!!
When the invitation said they were “rolling out the red carpet”, they weren’t kidding:
Guests received a signature cocktail with their registration info while enjoying treats from Bella Catering & Events:
So many sweets to choose from, I snagged a few bites of their chocolate covered popcorn. It was a great representation of the ever popular “Candy Bar” option that serves as a great treat for your guests.
I quickly found my way into the Lasting Impressions Lounge where two bars, several food sections and RUN AVRIL RUN (Cleveland’s “Dance Your Butt Off” Band) were ready for the crowds:
During that first portion of the evening, I ran into so many familiar faces, including Twitter folk @divabling, @NickTheHouse, @rft3 & @diva_ling; Shannon from the Downtown Cleveland Marriott, and Brent from Pretzalicious, whom makes some ridiculously good chocolate confections:
I also had the chance to meet vendors that I’ve worked with in the past but never met face to face. Case in point: my favorite rentals guy Bob from Lasting Impressions. I can’t tell you how many times over the years I’ve called him in a jam, to only have him save the day. He had seen me talking to Brent and finally caught me to introduce himself. Surprise, surprise: I was buzzing around the room too quickly! It was so so nice to not only but a face to the name, but to reconnect with an old friend.
While the second act wasn’t supposed to start until 7:00PM, I had a hook up that allowed me to sneak into the L’Nique warehouse before the crowds. Inside the warehouse, guests would be treated to an array of visual and edible treats as vendors created several mini parties. They included the “Modern Deco Glam” concept with design by Heatherlilly:
Next up: the “Something Chinoiserie” concept with design by Something New Floral & Event Design:
On the other side of the warehouse, the “Les Lumieres Roses” concept with design by Plantscaping Blooms and treats from The White Flower Cake Shoppe:
…and my favorite of the evening: this tablescape designed by Neil Lesson Décor Floral:
I also got a kick out of these cupcakes from the kind ladies at West Side Bakery:
As for that hook up that got me in before the crowds? It was the fine team at The Chubby Cook! They came ready to please once they were assigned the “Enchanted Forest” concept. Their spread – which was quite visually impressive – included their tasty red pepper house made hummus:
…a wild mushroom pizza (very fitting of their “Enchanted Forest” theme):
…and their uber yummy ratatouille and sweet and sour eggplant, both served over polenta:
Their team knocked it out of the park yet again! It wasn’t just me that felt that way – they were quite busy sharing their love of great food the entire evening. I was really proud to see my former co-workers (and my beautiful mother!) having such a successful showing but having a great time in the process.
Having the chance to connect with new people during that second portion of the evening was tremendously fulfilling. It’s fun to see where people’s passions lie in the wide world of event planning. It’s even more exciting to see ideas be created in front of you after a brief introduction. The energy was high as potential events were being brainstormed around the room. It was inspiring to watch.
As for the third act, my carriage was about to turn into a pumpkin, so this Cinderella had to high tail it back to her Cobalt. But based on all the photos, Rock the House definitely did just that, entertaining the crowd until the wee hours of the morning. Check out this Facebook photo album c/o @NickTheHouse for proof. You know when my fabulous mentor Deb Hermann loses her shoes it was a damn good time!!
LONG STORY SHORT: I had high expectations for this event, but boy, were they blown out of the water. I was amazing at the high quality of service and product put forth that evening that I was compelled to share it with my Facebook friends:
All of the vendors that participated have a lot to be proud of and I thank them all for sharing just what Cleveland can do. Finally, a huge thank you and congrats to Angela, Deidre, Vince and the entire team at L’Nique Linens for a wonderful evening. I can’t wait for next year’s!