Thursday, May 16, 2013

cru. fellowship dinner

04.19.13 - I had the opportunity to provide and design the décor for the Cru. Fellowship dinner at the Santa Monica Woman's Bay Club.  Working at a university, the style of décor I can design is often limited, so I always jump at the opportunity to design other non-elegant, classic styles. Cru. also has a special place in my heart, and I was very involved in the organization as a student for four years, so I was more than happy to serve them again in another capacity, and honored that they would ask me to help.

With a budget of only about $10/table and complete control of whatever I wanted to do, I was excited to challenge myself to create something beautiful, yet cost effective.  It was a labor of love, but something I truly love doing.  I'll be honest though -- the creative process is difficult by yourself, especially when you're given the option to do, well, anything.

The most challenging point is where to start.  I began with the idea of doing submerged flowers and floating candles, but soon that idea became more costly than I anticipated and I had to go back to the drawing board (and back to Ross to return all the vases).  After finally deciding on a mint linen (and many hours of indecision on google images and pinterest), and to pursue a vintage look for the dinner, the small details began to come together, as if by divine design.  From there on out it was just a matter of putting everything together!

Having never arranged centerpieces for an event before, I decided to do a trial run, which included getting up at 6 a.m. to go to the L.A. Flower Market and do some research.  Despite my reluctance to wake up so early, the minute I arrived I couldn't help but smile at all the colors and textures of the flowers.  I loved every minute of it.

I'm so thrilled with how this event turned out.  It's always a joy to see everything come together in the end and a blessing to help create a beautiful atmosphere for the guests. And the event was a success -- raising $21,000 for USC's Cru.

A special thank you to Vanessa for graciously lending me her collection of jars and Delano for lending his height to help me set up.

Catering: Derek Dickenson Events
Décor: Beloved Events & Weddings
Linens: Elegant Design Specialty Linens

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

be[love]d: kate spade saturday

In addition to creativity in  events, one of my other creative passions is fashion.  Often times, my inspiration for color combinations comes from the fashion world so I was excited when I came across a new brand from Kate Spade, Kate Spade Saturday!  It combines everything I've been loving recently -- bold graphic prints and bright, punchy colors. And on top of that it's a little more affordable (which I love bc I'm super thrifty)!  Can't wait to incorporate this style into one of my events.  Below are a few of my favorites --

Image credit: Kate Spade Saturday

Be sure to check it out! Now, who wants to go shopping?

Monday, February 4, 2013

inspiration board: industrial glam

I don't know about you, but it seems like it's engagement season in my side of the world. So you know what that means -- more weddings!

I have the great honor to work on my co-worker, Michelle, and her fiance, Walt's wedding this upcoming June.  I always enjoy the designing and creative process for an event, especially for a wedding (since I often don't have the time to bc I'm juggling a full-time job).  Visiting linen warehouses, rental showrooms, site walkthroughs, etc. -- the real joy comes in seeing all the inspiration come together.

Michelle and Walt chose the Art Share, L.A. a local gallery downtown with a very industrial feel.  Using a color scheme of taupe, gold, and greys, along with string lights and lots of metallic fringe, we're going transform this art gallery into a fun party atmosphere as we celebrate these two! Below is a sneak peek into what we have planned. Stay tuned for the wedding! 

Source: 1// ceremony 2// lighted love sign 3// chandelier 4// pipe stool 5// flowers 6// bridesmaids dresses 7//string light backdrop

Monday, January 14, 2013

another charles dickens dinner

12.14.12 -- Dickens has come and gone, again.  And thankfully with a little more ease this time.  This year's Dickens wasn't accompanied by as much stress and craziness as past years, and I'm hoping that's a sign of experience. It also helped that the structure and flow of the evening remained pretty much the same from last year, a definite blessing considering I had more events that normal in the two months leading up to the event.

Over these past three years I have been able to develop some great relationships with the staff at the Biltmore, and it is these relationships that make the long days more bearable. I'm so thankful for their hospitality and how helpful they have been from year to year -- there's definitely a sense of comfort I feel knowing who I'll be working with and knowing I can trust them.  I'm sure many event planners who work with the same venues and vendors over and over feel the same way.

This year we honored James Newton Howard and Wells Fargo.  The night was narrated by opera star baritone Rod Gilfry and highlighted by performances by our talented USC Thornton students.  I chose to go back to a traditional red and green color scheme, with copper accents in my centerpieces (I was thankful that the Biltmore also decided to decorate with copper--what a blessing!) which resulted in a very rich and Christmas-y room. So thankful for the wonderful success of this event year after year!

Here are some pictures from the beautiful evening.

Venue, Catering, & Valet: Millennium Biltmore Hotel, Valerie Lehman & Olivia Manzo
Linens: Elegant Design Specialty Linens
Florals: Dellarobbia Design Studio & Flower Market, Jolene Reynolds
Lighting, Production, Sound: Thinkwell Design & Production, Jamie Hamlin
Rentals: Classic Party Rentals
Sound: PRG Audio
Photography: Steve Cohn Photography

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

symphonic hall dedication

10.28.12 -- My most challenging event of the year, but also one of my most involved events as well. The reason for this dedication was to celebrate the generous donor, Alice Schoenfeld, who gave $3 million to help renovate and name the Lloyd Sound Stage into a new symphonic rehearsal hall for the USC Thornton Symphony and other music ensembles at USC Thornton. For about two months, I worked closely with the client, with almost daily meetings and phone calls to go over guests lists, confirm the performances, discuss the program, etc.  During these meetings I developed a wonderful relationship with this woman, hearing stories about her sister, her time in Germany, and I am glad I got the opportunity to meet and work with.  Those are the connections that make my job so enjoyable.

It's always such a blessing to see everything come together on the day-of and to hear that the event was everything they envisioned. so much of my job is not about what I personally like, or would want, but taking my client's vision and making it a reality.  I had the help of Thornton's amazing production team (Jeff, Tori, Heather, and Michelle -- you guys rock!), whose company and jokes throughout the evening made the 18-hour day, yes, I said it, fun!

Complete with a red carpet, I transformed our loading dock into an elegant reception space for the reveal of the new name of the symphonic hall.  After the unveiling, guests were ushered inside to enjoy a concert featuring world-renown artists and then served a delicious three-course meal by Barbara West Catering.

One of the biggest blessings of being the only event planner at the music school is the opportunity to learn about different components of events in more detail because they're all under my responsibility. For example, we wanted to create a memorabilia piece for the donor in order for future students who entered the hall to know the legacy of Alice and Eleonore Schoenfeld.  In the process of trying to figure out how to frame these pictures, I learned a lot about foam core and different mounting materials, something I wouldn't have thought to research otherwise.  Additionally, I personally designed the invitation, menu, and program cards for the event, a task that allows me to exercise me creative side.

As always, no post is complete without pictures.  Thanks to Vanessa Preziose for these beautiful pictures! For more information on this transformative gift, read this article here
Also, my apologies for the blogging hiatus -- I hope to be posting more frequently in the new year!

Catering: Barbara West Catering
Valet: USC Transportation, Pablo Sahugun
Linens & Napkins: Elegant Design Specialty Linens
Florals: Dellarobbia Design Studio & Flower Market
Rentals and Lighting: ELM Concierge, Mark Vanis
Photography: Vanessa Preziose