Best Laid Plans
I love when I come up with a vision for an event that encapsulates everything an organization is trying to express. This can take many forms, and it’s the details that really create that important picture for your guests.
I planned the YMCA of Greater New York’s biggest fundraiser for 4 year’s straight, and it helped to raise $2 million one night in support of the Y’s many programs. With over 800 people in attendance, New York’s biggest corporate sponsors, and many of New York’s celebrities and luminaries, we tried to create an environment that told a different story each year.
“Giving Kids a Place to Grow” was one of the best themes we came up with because there were so many directions we could go with that idea. We decided we would use trees as the symbol for children from the invitations to the giveaways (planting trees at Y camp in each guest’s name). One of the best ways to showcase the theme was in the centerpieces, and I found the most beautiful candelabras that resembled sculptural trees. They had beautiful candle votives hanging from the branches, and we wrapped them in ivy for extra effect.
Once everything was lit and the room was set, we saw the most beautiful room you could imagine… UNTIL the wax from the votives started dripping from 3-4 feet up from the branches! My florist hadn’t tested the size of the candles in votive holders, and some fit well, while others did not. At the last minute I had the venue staff switching out place settings and blowing out candles, and guests were walking in for cocktails!
Talk about putting out fires!!! Luckily the timing worked out and no one noticed what had happened, and I had incredible support staff making sure that everything was fixed so I could focus on more important things. I will never forget that event though, and I’m sure every event planner has a story like that one. I avoid open flames whenever possible, and I definitely do not hang candles high above tables anymore!