2018 ILEA Minnesota Star Awards Nominee Showcase

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Best Catered Event
Best Culinary Innovation or Solution
Best Event Design & Decor Budget under $25,000
Best Event Design & Decor Budget $25,000 and over
Best Use of Specialty Decor
Best Use of Marketing/Design Collateral
Best Event Photography – Wedding
Best Event Photography – Non-Wedding
Best Event Filmmaking (Videography)
Best Event Logistics – Non-Tent
Best Event Logistics – Tent or Temporary Structure
Best Technical Production
Best Entertainment Production
Best Event Planning – Corporate
Best Event Planning – Non-Profit
Best Event Planning – Public
Best Event Planning – Social (non-wedding)
Best Event Planning – Wedding Budget $75,000 and over
Best ILEA Team Effort

Best Catered Event
Derek + Ryan's Big Day
Christie Altendorf - D'Amico Catering
Jessica Barrett - Machine Shop
You know how sometimes the stars just align? The perfect moment happens and the perfect person walks in (or in this case, perfect people) and everything just clicks. Laughter. Connections. Commonality. Fun. From the first meeting with Dereck and Ryan, it was obvious that their wedding day would be one for the record books. They loved to travel. They loved to try new things. More importantly, they loved to eat! They were kind and funny and adventurous and above all else, they wanted every moment of their big day to be a reflection of the pathway that had brought them to that moment. From there, creativity and conceptualization were easy and the menu that these two inspired quickly became resolute perfection.
Best Culinary Innovation or Solution
Enticing Entertainment Showcase: Experience the Seasons
Christie Altendorf - D'Amico Catering
What do walking gardens offering bites of spring vegetables, an exotic bird laying eggs filled with panna cotta and an ice queen offering chilled desserts all have in common? The Enticing Entertainment Showcase: Experience the Seasons, of course. While the display of incredible thrills and theatrics by a top event entertaining firm in town was impressive in and of itself, a custom menu curated to exemplify each turn of the event created an over the top experience that had guests talking from the moment they walked in until long after they had gone.
Timeless Taste
Cindy Walker - Mintahoe Catering & Events
Over 300 professionals from the events, catering & restaurant industry gathered in a chic, rustic space to celebrate the past year's industry accomplishments in the best way we know how - a party! We decided to dazzle guests & treat them to some sweet bites with an elaborate, custom dessert display to honor the best of the best in the hospitality industry. Guests made their way up the wooden staircase & were dazzled by the natural light pouring into the room. They made their way around the space while eating small bites & sipping cocktails. They were immediately drawn to the dazzling glass encased room in which we were stationed. As they entered, they passed by our glowing pillars adorned with jewels & white ostrich feathers to replicate delicate flapper dresses. In the center of the room was a 16 foot long oak table embellished with distressed wooden liquor boxes, pearls, jewels, linens, ferns & shimmering gold accents. The ornate hand-made desserts pulled the whole look together with pops of color & art deco design that left guests in awe. Every flavor was specially created to enhance the theme of the display & take guests back in time to the wonderful roaring twenties.
Best Event Design & Decor Budget under $25,000
Hearten Talks
Faith Folayan - This Love Weddings
Becca Dilley
The desire to directly discuss issues of social and racial equity are coming to the forefront of national discussion, and the Twin Cities are no exception. Many event businesses in our large metropolitan area have an interest in better serving the needs of a more diverse clientele, and business owners of color are particularly under-represented in most networking spheres. The idea to bring all those interests together lead to the creation of Hearten Talks, a forum-style discussion on inclusion and diversity in the Twin Cities’ event and wedding industry. Guests from the event industry were welcomed with a cocktail hour meet and greet, and then sat for a keynote talk from Mary Chatman (president of Black Bride Magazine and CEO of BlackBride.com) followed by a moderated Q+A and additional social hour.
Around The World Gala
Pete Nelson - Event Lab
“Let’s give our guests a trip around the world!” is how our client explained the feeling she wanted at her annual fundraising Gala. We were tasked with transforming the venue into the experience of a lifetime for attendees in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The venue was a vast warehouse that was not used to holding events, so a true transformation was needed in order to convey the feel of traveling throughout the globe. Guests entered through a security gate where they were scanned and let into the arrival area. From there they visited destinations such as Asia, Africa, France, Brazil and Wisconsin. Before take-off they stopped at the Departure Gate for refreshments and then were free to visit each country, sampling regional menus and taking in the sites. Popular destination landmarks were the Eiffel Tower in France and the life-size rhino in Africa. Tables were decorated with sky blue linens showcasing travel suitcases, passports and a miniature replica of an actual aircraft. A live band played on the main stage keeping the atmosphere lively. There was so much to do and so many sites to see that the night flew by and guests woke up with jetlag the next morning!
Best Event Design & Decor Budget $25,000 and over
Curtain Call Ball
Ryan Hanson, CSEP - BeEvents
Children's Theatre Company
We were invited to design this year’s Curtain Call Ball – a fundraising gala for a local Children’s Theater. Taking a cue from an upcoming production, they tasked to be inspired by disco. We conspired a sophisticatedly seventies recreation of the stylish Studio 54 world with designed creations to lead our 450 guests through a perfect party night. Patrons emerged participants in a night that spun style and imagination around the idea of disco, all while generating over three-quarters of a million dollars to help local children experience the power of live theater in the upcoming year.
UNVEILED - The Ultimate Wedding Planning Event
The Wedding Guys

UNVEILED - the Ultimate Wedding Planning Event would set a new standard for bridal show design and decor. Utilizing strategic design, two event producers created a boutique department-store-style environment by breaking up a vast 100,000 square foot exhibit hall. Filling the space with luxury decor, the producers created an intimate shopping experience for couples to curate their dream weddings.

On February 5th two event producers designed a luxury shopping experience for newly-engaged couples. UNVEILED-The Ultimate Wedding Planning Event redefined the term 'Bridal Show' by transforming the traditional trade show into a retail-inspired shopping experience; connecting wedding businesses to style-conscious wedding planning couples.

Setting out to design an environment unlike any other bridal show, the event producers utilized a key set of design strategies and signature decor elements to turn an everyday trade show into an experiential event that evoked the feeling of a luxury department store.

They focused on five steps:

  • Scraping the Floor Plan
  • Creating Exhibit Solutions
  • Staging the Space
  • Creating Places to Pause
  • Developing Inspirational Galleries

Their design would create a boutique department-store-style environment meant to break up a vast 100,000 square foot exhibit hall, making it an intimate shopping experience for couples to curate their dream wedding. The event would bring to life the latest trends, moments to cherish with loved ones, a couture fashion show, and an array of 130 service providers ready to help make the impossible, possible.

As an original shopping experience, UNVEILED re-envisioned what a bridal trade show could be. By integrating stylish decor elements, the event became distinctive, memorable, and special. Being conscious and consistent with their design the producers wove the event together with grand style, enforcing a distinct brand throughout the entire event experience.

Best Use of Specialty Decor
Hamptons Bat Mitzvah
Gretchen Berry - Gretchen Berry Design Co
Monique Berg - BIG INK
What to do when your client wants to have a vibrant, Hamptons themed party in a staid, traditional country club ballroom? You break out the patterns à la Lilly Pulitzer, pull out your freshest, breeziest ideas and dial in chic, Long Island fun. The Bat Mitzvah in the Hamptons celebration delivered just that to the 150 guests gathered in honor of two sisters’ special ceremony. The high-energy duo picked hot pink and turquoise blue for the party palette and seven different patterns were created and used throughout the event, from stationery to décor. Everything was ready until the client decided (à la last moment) that the six-foot brass chandeliers had to go. Given the club was not about to remove them, the décor designer and the ILEA visual communications provider designed, fabricated and produced huge, custom drum shades that truly transformed the room top to bottom.
In The Groove
Jennifer Braun - Festivities
In many corporate events, the flash isn’t what matters. The content is what matters. But, oftentimes the decor can highlight the message and create the backdrop for the important content being delivered. In this case, a bespoke stage set was that decor element that pushed the event to the next level. With a surprise stage reveal, the drama of this custom, live-graffiti tin stage backdrop and surround - with both a strategic themed tie-in and a nod to the location - became the most tweeted and photographed aspect of the event!
Hawaiian Incentive Reveal
Pete Nelson - Event Lab
What made this event special was the shear size and scope of decor needed. The event was a surprise for the 2,500 guests, letting them know where the incentive trip was going to be held the following year. It required 250 linens, 2,500 spandex chair covers, 2,500 spandex chair bands, 250 fresh tropical floral centerpieces, 2,500 individual stems of palm fronds, 600 feet of drape, 20 - 20'x10' backdrops and a staff of over 50 crew members to pull it off.
Best Use of Marketing/Design Collateral
X Games Minneapolis
metroConnections
In 2017, Minneapolis hosted the summer X Games, an annual extreme sports event hosted, produced and broadcast by ESPN. The four-day event drew 300 ESPN executives, VIP guests, sponsors and partners to U.S. Bank Stadium. A fully-branded space for the VIPs was created in U.S. Bank Stadium's Club Purple, showcasing the best the venue and event had to offer. Branded elements included a custom entrance to Club Purple, signage, digital graphics, games, furniture, and décor.
Hamptons Bat Mitzvah
Gretchen Berry - Gretchen Berry Design Co
What to do when your client wants to have a vibrant, Hamptons themed party in a staid, traditional country club ballroom? You break out the patterns à la Lilly Pulitzer, pull out your freshest, breeziest ideas and dial in chic, Long Island fun. The Bat Mitzvah in the Hamptons celebration delivered just that to the 150 guests gathered in honor of two sisters’ special ceremony. The high-energy duo picked hot pink and turquoise blue for the party palette and seven different patterns were created and used throughout the event, from stationery to custom décor.
Star Gala
Ryan Hanson, CSEP - BeEvents
Children's Minnesota
Matthew Trettel - Chrom Creative
Star Gala is the signature fundraising event for the premier regional children’s hospitals in the Minneapolis-St. Paul community. Each year we are tasked to find unique ways to set apart this 1100-person experience as a signature charity event. In 2017, our event co-chairs communicated a passion around coloring books and we let that idea be our inspiration for a bold and participatory, highly graphic collateral infused and embedded throughout event experience.
A User Conference Evolution
Liam McMonagle - Type A Events
This trend-forward client, challenged us to create an event brand for their user conference that would complement their primary brand while creating an impactful and engaging event environment. After thorough analysis of their audience and brand attributes, we crafted a look and messaging which balanced strategy with playfulness for a smash success of an event!
Best Event Photography – Wedding
Summer Love on the Lake
Graddy Photography
In the Land of 10,000 Lakes, a summer wedding on the water is the ideal location for a sun loving couple's amazing wedding celebration.
Theresa and Adam's Hometown Wedding
Jeannine Marie Photography
The Mississippi River and the St Paul skyline were the perfect hometown backdrop for Theresa and Adam’s Bohemian inspired DIY wedding. Carefree and full of laughter the couple and their large wedding party visited their favorite Saint Paul spots! Months of wedding projects from building their own benches to doing all their own floral, their wedding beautifully reflected the couple’s commitment to each other and the love for their city!
North Woods Camp Wedding
Joe Szurszewski Photography
Morgan & Aaron got married at the YMCA summer camp in northern Minnesota that the groom attended as a boy. The 3 day weekend was filled with camp-style meals and a variety of activities like zip lining, log rolling, disc golf, paddle boarding, and midnight saunas. The photojournalistic style of photography they wanted and I delivered preserved the laid-back vibe of the wedding while capturing the adventurous spirit of the weekend and all of the love and emotion that was present among the couple, their families, and their friends.
Best Event Photography – Non-Wedding
Peak Performers Conference
Joe Szurszewski Photography
Peak Performers is an annual business and sales incentive conference that rewards top-performing Financial Representatives in the insurance and annuities industry. The photography of the 2017 conference captured the colorful location at The Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, Florida and showed attendees enjoying an oceanside welcome dinner, well-known speakers including Diana Nyad and Pat Riley, hosted activities like ocean fishing, kayaking, and mountain biking, a dinner cruise on Florida's Intracoastal Waterway, and a formal awards banquet with entertainment by Kenny Loggins.
Best Event Filmmaking (Videography)
Multi-Cultural Fusion Wedding
Curtis Kennedy - Curtis Kennedy Films

This film showcases the extravagant 2-day multi-cultural wedding of Aarti (Arthee) & Vince. Their celebration took place over Labor Day Weekend in Minneapolis, MN at Aria and the Hyatt Regency.

Friday events featured a Chinese Tea Ceremony where they implemented the age-old family traditions of Vince’s relatives. Paying their respects and hermitages to his family. Soon following was the Western Ceremony which included a fusion of traditional Indian rituals. Day one ended with an energetic after party of incredible choreographed dance routines, and an unforgettable aerial performance suspended from the ceiling of Aria.

Saturday featured a gorgeously decorated reception at the Hyatt Regency. They started the evening with heartfelt, and inspiring speeches from their family and friends. And with love and celebration, they ended the night with a huge open dance party.

Freak Show
Justen Pohl - Enticing Entertainment
“Freakshow” was an evening of elaborate decor and spine tingling entertainment that celebrated the beauty in the bizarre. This 40th birthday celebration encompassed the most horrific, shocking, and alluring aspects of classic sideshow acts with an avante garde, modern, sexy, twist! Guests were greeted with interactive surprises around every corner and encouraged to play their own role in an epic game of make believe, as we immersed them in a world of debaucherous, freedom of expression.
Best Event Logistics – Non-Tent
In The Groove
Kathy Bakesberg - Festivities
The logistics of a program in its second decade can become very stale. And, we all know awards presentations can end up being pretty dry! This client wanted us to overcome unique logistical challenges: creating energy despite a move to a morning time slot (no cocktails!), working on the smallest budget in years, and ensuring we maintained the staple content of the awards presentation which included getting all 250 winners across the stage for recognition! We needed to do all of that while delivering a seamless event that held high energy in the room, tied to the event theme, drew in the personality of the Jamaican location, and surprised attendees. Luckily, we blew them away with a complete before-your-eyes room transformation, a custom choreographed slate of event entertainment, bespoke decor, and a witty script we crafted from scratch.
Best Event Logistics – Tent or Temporary Structure
A Tent Performs Double-Duty
Andrea Bach - Après Event Décor & Tent Rental
A Clear Span structure for a high school graduation party was called on to perform double-duty when the family decided to hold a birthday party in the tent the day prior to the Grad party. 130 guests were invited to each event and since many would attend both, it was important that each celebration have its own look. The clients utilized their personal Event Planner (EP) from their home in Florida to help design and execute the event. However, he depended heavily on our Rental Company’s Event Specialist (ES) to recommend and procure vendors for the many sub rentals, communicating via phone and email with only three site visits prior to the week of the events. The first contract was signed in February, with five revisions and three site visits by our ES, and two showroom visits with the EP and ES. Four days prior to the event, the EP and ES spent approximately 8 hours daily on site until right before the event. The 40’x 120’ floored Navi Trac structure took three days to install. (Event Collateral 9). Two auxiliary tents, plus all the additional furniture, décor, lighting, drape, etc. arrived in a steady progression starting four days prior to Party 1. A Strict load-in schedule had to be followed. (See Mgmt. Collateral 2 Timeline) Fifteen different vendors were brought in, including a major balloon installation (Event Collateral 2). Party 2 was a next day turn-around. Installation and strike of all items took 9 days.
Best Technical Production
in.sight User Conference + Expo 2017
metroConnections
"Boosting Your IQ" was the theme of the 2017 in.sight User Conference + Expo in Nashville, so we designed a stage set to represent a puzzle coming together to illustrate growth and problem solving - much like the way TMW Systems, PeopleNet, and our team came together to put on an event that is truly one for the books. The bold stage design quite literally set the stage for instrumental sessions, high-profile speakers, entertainers, and influential content.
Minnesota Sports Awards
metroConnections
The inaugural Minnesota Sports Awards ceremony - hosted by Sports Minneapolis - was a celebration of the best sports in Minnesota over the past year. From the athletes who inspired us to the moments that captivated us, the awards honored the success stories that embody the spirit of sports in Minnesota. Held at the newly renovated Target Center in downtown Minneapolis, the evening's awards show featured some of Minnesota's best-known athletes and sports figures who have shaped our sports scene and contributed to our communities.
Best Entertainment Production
Freak Show
Heather Zehr - Enticing Entertainment
Freakshow was an evening of elaborate decor and spine-tingling entertainment that celebrated the beauty in the bizarre. This 40th birthday celebration encompassed the most horrific, shocking, and alluring aspects of classic sideshow acts with an avante garde, modern, sexy, twist! Guests were greeted with interactive surprises around every corner and encouraged to play their own role in an epic game of make-believe, as we immersed them in a world of debaucherous, freedom of expression.
In the Groove
Kathy Bakeberg - Festivities
Awards programs get tired. This client wanted a fresh spin on an awards ceremony that had attendees guessing and injected the affair with a nod to the hip locale: Jamaica. Our production team created a budget-friendly entertainment-packed program unlike any they had seen before built on the rich history of the Jamaican music scene! From traditional elements like a Mento band, and 12-person steel drummers to unique contributions like a graffiti artist, a kabuki drop, an executive undercover as a guest DJ, a live rap artist, hip hop performances, and a host of dancers, this event literally keep attendees on their toes.
Best Event Planning – Corporate
The Life Time Event 2017
metroConnections
How do you energize 250 managers from Life Time Fitness? By hosting a full-scale motivational event fueled by exercise demonstrations, healthy and energizing food, informative breakout sessions and inspiring leadership presentations. Each of these elements was brought together to create The Life Time Event 2017: A Performer and Program Revolution. Four divisions: conference services, event services, production services and transportation, worked together seamlessly to bring the event to life. Our company provided everything from conference management to registration to catering, transportation, and A/V services, as well as overall production and stage management.
A Rental Company Re-Brands with a Stellar Open House
Shereé Bochenek - Après Event Décor & Tent Rental
Jane Klein - BIG INK
Our Rental Company was going through a major transition–we had purchased a new office/warehouse, and moved on March 1, 2017. Our name was changing, as well as our logo. Plus, this was also our 30th anniversary. Our Chairman decided on April 4 that we needed on open house celebration to welcome our clients and the event community to the new space and new brand. But we had only 6 weeks to pull together this Reveal Party and produce marketing materials that would speak to the new brand. A team of four employees stepped up to take on this task. Together, we worked at warp speed to bring the Reveal Party to fruition. We contacted the Graphic Company that we work with, and informed them we not only needed our new logo for our entrance installed by May 17, but also more materials--- not exactly sure what, though. They agreed to take on our project. Our team wanted a WOW moment at the entrance—we decided that our logo over the entrance was not enough--we wanted the pillars that flanked our entrance covered with the logo as well...But let’s not stop there—our Senior Event Specialist had recently seen a cool balloon installation—she recommended that the vendor do the same for our Open House. Yes! We then reached out to four of our top catering clients for participation. They all agreed to do specialty food stations. Whenever possible, our inventory of products would be used during the event—what better way to show off new stuff? Music was a must—we wanted a band, but where would they perform? It would be too noisy in the showroom, but we still needed an ambient sound there… Our President decided that a tent installation was mandatory for this event, since it’s one of our main services. It was decided to build one of one our loading docks—a 9Mx12M Clear Span tent was chosen, and subflooring would need to be installed. Now we had the perfect spot for the band to perform! In the beginning it was thought that Management would lead guided tours through the space, but as talk continued, we all realized no one wanted to execute these tours—they preferred to talk one- on-one and enjoy time with guests, rather than be chained to a guided tour every half-hour. So we had to invent a way for guests to do a self-guided tour. In the end, we created a vinyl lay-down path for guests to follow. It was interspersed with interesting and fun factoids that led guests through the entire warehouse and to the tent. We wanted to invite guests from a wide range of areas--- of course our customers, but also vendors we worked with, colleagues, the owner’s friends and family, and past customers and potential future ones as well. We also wanted to assure that all employees and their friends/family had the opportunity to enjoy the event.
Essentia Health - Illuminated
Justen Pohl - Enticing Entertainment
Cassie McIvor - Essentia Health
Teddi Sellick - Event Lab
An evening of visually captivating entertainment and luminous decor created the perfect dreamlike world for this employee appreciation event! Guests were swept away from the demands of work with stunning performances, immersed in an environment filled with enchanted experiences and playful magic around every corner.
Best Event Planning – Non-Profit
Rudy's Red Eye Express
MAVEN

In partnership with Minnesota Viking, Kyle Rudolph, our annual event, Rudy’s Red Eye Express was designed and produced for the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, to bring hope and healing to the children and families receiving ongoing care, by giving them a once in a lifetime opportunity to travel to the “North Pole”.

The children and families arrived at the Signature Airport at MSP where they boarded private jets and were transported to Santa’s Workshop. Upon arrival they were greeted by elves, more candy than they could imagine, food, hot chocolate, reindeer, a dance party and of course, Santa Clause.

By soliciting and trusting local vendors to provide donated goods and services, our team created an exceptional experience while never losing sight of what’s truly important: The Children.

Recovery Gala
Sarah Cash-Darvell, CSEP - Augsburg University
The gala was a night to reflect and celebrate the journey of recovery. Through layers of lighting, sound, decor, entertainment and a culinary adventure a story of recovery was told.
Dawn of a Dream
Children's Cancer Research Fund

On Nov. 4, 2017, over 650 guests gathered for an inspiring night, filled with joy and centered on one critical mission: to raise dollars that would fund vital research and that one day would put an end to childhood cancer. That mission was successfully supported with nearly $950,000 raised in one evening.

For its 37th year, the theme for Dawn of a Dream was “Joy in Perseverance.” This was chosen to reflect the many small joys families who are battling childhood cancer experience as they persevere through the many difficulties that childhood cancer can bring. Guests were inspired by these small joys in many ways throughout the event experience.

This year’s theme was brought to life first in its visual brand. Soft, yellow ombré colors reflected the joy and hope of a new dawn that many families encounter in their journey with childhood cancer. Steel grey accented against the soft yellow marked the perseverance this journey also requires—it requires strength and boldness. Whimsical font choices nodded to the youthful nature that is celebrated and sacred in the children we raise money to support.

Guests were given many opportunities to donate during the pre-dinner portion of the evening, with a $100 and $500 punch board, wine wall, accessory and jewelry experiences as well as silent auction.

Once seated for dinner, the formal program breathed life into the “Joy in Perseverance” theme. The program was kicked off by the event emcee, a national correspondent for CNN who previously captured the story of a young man fighting cancer that our organization supported during his well-fought battle. A live band, NUNNABOVE, made up of four young siblings reflected the youthful energy that we hoped to keep at the forefront of the event brand. Purposeful song choices led guests through first the perseverance required by families fighting childhood cancer, and the many joys that can be found in that journey.

A video featuring the story of a local cancer survivor, Connor, and his family illustrated how current cancer treatment options can often leave lifelong effects on survivors. The video gave faces and voices to the event brand and how this particular family has found joy in their long and difficult battle with cancer and its late effects.

Following the video, guests warmly welcomed Connor’s mother to the stage, who then delivered a gut-wrenchingly, authentic reflection on her family’s experience with childhood cancer and the late effects its given Connor. She then urged guests to give generously throughout the evening and the guests did just that, donating more than $460,000 in just the live auction and a Fund-a-Need.

The program gave way to an after-party featuring locally-acclaimed DJ Lenka Paris with late night snacks and complimentary bourbon cocktails.

Best Event Planning – Public
Hearten Talks
Faith Folayan - This Love Weddings
Becca Dilley
The desire to directly discuss issues of social and racial equity are coming to the forefront of national discussion, and the Twin Cities are no exception. Many event businesses in our large metropolitan area have an interest in better serving the needs of a more diverse clientele, and business owners of color are particularly under-represented in most networking spheres. The idea to bring all those interests together lead to the creation of Hearten Talks, a forum-style discussion on inclusion and diversity in the Twin Cities’ event and wedding industry. Guests from the event industry were welcomed with a cocktail hour meet and greet, and then sat for a keynote talk from Mary Chatman (president of Black Bride Magazine and CEO of BlackBride.com) followed by a moderated Q+A and additional social hour.
Minne-Mile Night Market
Hayley Matthews-Jones, CSEP - Minneapolis Craft Market

The Minne-Mile NightMarket is a community street festival in the Longfellow neighborhood on the newly-established vintage shopping stretch of Minnehaha Avenue. The event is a showcase of local, independently-owned businesses, highlighting vintage, re-used and up-cycled goods that attracts more than 7,000 visitors.

The market featured:

  • Artists, makers, and vintage sellers
  • Food and drink vendors
  • Family-friendly activities
  • Late-night shopping at the vintage boutiques and businesses on the Minnehaha Mile

The Minne-Mile neighborhood has established itself as a premier vintage shopping district featuring all things reused, recycled, and repurposed. It is a group of more than 15 independently-owned businesses who have partnered to establish a district of Minneapolis dedicated to reducing the impact of fast fashion and consumerism on the environment, and to reduce the number of goods ending up in landfills. Shops vary from vintage and thrift stores, to environmentally friendly architecture and construction firms, to a solar power/energy solutions and tiny house seller.

We were contracted to produce the MinneMile NightMarket in its entirety, including:

  • Securing and coordinating appropriate artists and makers
  • Securing and coordinating food vendors and an alcohol caterer
  • Completing all necessary city permits to host the event on a city street and park property, including the event permit, food permit, sound permit, alcohol service permit, neighborhood approval documentation, site plans, insurance liability and security
  • Event production; staffing, set-up, street barricades, timeline, volunteer recruitment and coordination, and entertainment
  • Marketing; event branding, social media, print
  • Sponsorships; devising sponsorship levels and benefits, drafting materials, contacting potential sponsors, handling payments and receipting/acknowledgments

To authenticate the mission of the Minnehaha Mile, all participating NightMarket artists committed to creating work for this event that prominently featured recycled or repurposed materials, or were selling vintage goods, and all food vendors used compostable or recyclable packaging and committed to zero-waste.

UNVEILED - The Ultimate Wedding Planning Event
The Wedding Guys

Determined to shatter the mold of the traditional bridal show, two event producers set out to create the Ultimate Wedding Planning Event. UNVEILED would transform the wedding shopping experience, offering a luxury destination with high-touch service, signature design and the best wedding related goods and services.

On February 5th two event producers created a once-in-a-lifetime experience for newly-engaged couples. UNVEILED-The Ultimate Wedding Planning Event redefined the term 'Bridal Show' by transforming the traditional trade show into a retail-inspired shopping experience; connecting wedding businesses to style-conscious wedding planning couples.

Setting out to create an environment unlike any other bridal show, the event producers utilized a key set of strategies to turn an everyday trade show into an experiential event that evoked the feeling of a luxury department store.

They focused on five steps:

  • Scraping the Floor Plan
  • Creating Exhibit Solutions
  • Staging the Space
  • Creating Places to Pause
  • Developing Inspirational Galleries

Their design would create a boutique department-store-style environment meant to break up a vast 100,000 square foot exhibit hall, making it an intimate shopping experience for couples to curate their dream wedding. The event would bring to life the latest trends, moments to cherish with loved ones, a couture fashion show, and an array of 130 service providers ready to help make the impossible, possible.

Well executed public events must generate buzz, draw interest from a targeted demographic while providing a positive attendee experience to maintain goodwill for future events. In addition, well executed trade shows must also connect the right businesses with the right clients; creating a set of solutions for the shopper while demonstrating a good ROI for exhibitors. The producers had to find the right balance to pull all of these strategic components into alignment.

So, was UNVEILED successful? Measurement was based on several factors; exhibit sales, event attendance and demographic surveys of attendees post event. So numbers first. With a newly redesigned event, over 130 exhibitors were secured- a SOLD OUT event!

An overall attendance of over 2,000 people included over 800 brides, validating the goals for a successful event. What was even more rewarding was that exhibitors reported, through post-event surveys, that the event attracted a more affluent consumer than the event had provided in the past, and the attendee demographic surveys backed that up.

As an original shopping experience, UNVEILED re-envisioned what a bridal trade show could be. The event was distinctive, memorable, and special. Being conscious and consistent with their design the producers wove the event together with grand style, enforcing a distinct brand throughout the entire event experience.

Best Event Planning – Social (non-wedding)
Freak Show
Justen Pohl - Enticing Entertainment
“Freakshow” was an evening of elaborate decor and spine tingling entertainment that celebrated the beauty in the bizarre. This 40th birthday celebration encompassed the most horrific, shocking, and alluring aspects of classic sideshow acts with an avante garde, modern, sexy, twist! Guests were greeted with interactive surprises around every corner and encouraged to play their own role in an epic game of make believe, as we immersed them in a world of debaucherous, freedom of expression.
Best Event Planning – Wedding Budget $75,000 and over
Home Sweet Home
Gretchen Culver - Rocket Science Events
Cadence Cornelius - Cadence & Eli Photography
Create Catering

Home Sweet Home. There's no better way to celebrate the next chapter in your life than by getting married at your new home - that you just spent a year renovating! Private home weddings are always tricky, especially when the property is undergoing construction during the wedding planning process. Which is all the more reason to have a team of experienced event professionals on the job. This wedding was all about teamwork and collaboration. The vendors came together with one goal in mind: to create a magical day for the couple.

And magical it was! Woodsy and elegant, intimate and breathtaking. The design of the wedding was inspired by the property, incorporating natural elements like birch trees and produce straight from the bride's garden. Clear tents brought the outdoors in. Boxwood was studded with flowers… crystal chandeliers were juxtaposed against lush greenery… blue and white plates popped against the understated linens. The eclectic mix of elements made it feel truly like the client's home from the moment guests arrived on the property.

The Grand Event for a Historic Venue --Katie & Joe’s Winter Wedding
Sarah Trotter - Lasting Impressions
Graddy Photography
Katiee Wandmacher - Après Event Décor & Tent Rental

A Historic Venue was completely renovated just in time to host this couple’s winter wedding. The Wedding Planner (WP) and the Couple first toured the site in June of 2016-- wearing hardhats, as construction was ongoing. There was no solid layout or floorplan, nor any list of vendors assembled yet. But even in a state of demolition and renovation, the couple could see that this was the venue for them. They dreamed of an industrial space that spoke to the history of downtown Minneapolis, and this described the Machine Shop perfectly. As months went by, the WP was able to procure floor plans for all the rooms (although the venue made some changes/ revisions along the way). Our Rental Company’s Event Specialist (ES) toured the site with the WP in late June. The couple and the WP chose these items from our Rental Company inventory: Vineyard Crossback Chairs, Linens, Metal Bar, Chargers, Flatware, Stemware, Staging, White Dance Floor, Chandeliers and Patio Heaters for the event. The first order was written in late June, but was revised eight times before the actual event.

Another reason this site was perfect for the couple was due to their large guest count--- estimated at 375-450 people in the beginning of the planning stage. Not many of our local venues can hold that amount of seated guests, (except for ballrooms) and the couple definitely did NOT want a ballroom.

There are always challenges when an event is one the first booked at a new venue, and by far this one was the biggest. But the Machine Shop was prepared and handled all 20 vendors (See Vendor List Mgmt. Collateral 1) in a responsive and professional manner. In turn the Vendors tried to be as flexible as possible, as they were anxious to get an opportunity in this hot new venue. Opulent floral installation, wintery photography, a shuttle for the guests, and a custom menu made all pieces come together to showcase Katie & Joe’s reception on January 18, 2017.

Brittany & Kyle's Wedding
Jessica Wonders - Jessica Wonders Events

My company is a Saint Paul, Minnesota based Boutique Wedding and Event Planning, Styling, and Floral Design Company. With a small but mighty team focused on intimate planning experiences for our clients.

Brittany and Kyle’s wedding was a highlight for us in the 2017 wedding season. Working with Brittany and Kyle to create the day of their dreams, bringing in unique elements that spoke true to their core as a couple while building a real friendship during the process was an absolute dream for us. We pride ourselves on creating one-of-a-kind weddings and events, where no one event is exactly like another. Brittany and Kyle made that easy for us as they were always open to our new and different ideas.

Brittany’s parents own the venue for which the ceremony and reception were held; this brought in an extra sentimental feeling to the day. Knowing that Brittany helped plant the grape vines when she was ten years old and would now be standing in front of those same vines as the organic backdrop to her wedding ceremony where her marriage to Kyle would begin was truly something special to experience.

Best ILEA Team Effort
Home Sweet Home
Gretchen Culver - Rocket Science Events
Aprés Event Décor & Tent Rental
Girl Friday
Elizabeth Partyka - Avant Décor
Josh Reitan - AV For You
Michelle Smith - Rudy's Event Rentals

Home Sweet Home. There's no better way to celebrate the next chapter in your life than by getting married at your new home - that you just spent a year renovating! Private home weddings are always tricky, especially when the property is undergoing construction during the wedding planning process. Which is all the more reason to have a team of experienced event professionals on the job. This wedding was all about teamwork and collaboration. The vendors came together with one goal in mind: to create a magical day for the couple.

And magical it was! Woodsy and elegant, intimate and breathtaking. The design of the wedding was inspired by the property, incorporating natural elements like birch trees and produce straight from the bride's garden. Clear tents brought the outdoors in. Boxwood was studded with flowers… crystal chandeliers were juxtaposed against lush greenery… blue and white plates popped against the understated linens. The eclectic mix of elements made it feel truly like the client's home from the moment guests arrived on the property.

Doran 10th Anniversary
Susan Diamond, CSEP - Jigsaw Unlimited
Ryan Hanson, CSEP - BeEvents
Carrie Monroe-O'Keefe - Freestyle Productions
Elizabeth Partyka - Avant Décor
Biffs
Chowgirls Killer Catering
Ultimate Events

To commemorate their 10-year anniversary, Doran Companies combined that celebration with a ribbon cutting for the latest project they designed and constructed - The Moline, a 470,000 square foot, 241-unit luxury apartment building.

First, a one-hour Ribbon Cutting ceremony for 100 VIP guests, followed by a 5-hour party the VIPs plus 600+ guests comprised of employees + one, Moline residents, Doran contractors, clients, colleagues, vendors and other “Friends of Doran”.

The Moline was built on the site of what had been Minneapolis-Moline, a tractor manufacturing facility from 1929 to 1963. The owner of Doran Companies became fascinated with the tractors and decided to incorporate a Tractor Gallery on the 1st floor of the project. He acquired and restored 7 original Minneapolis-Moline tractors. The Tractor Gallery was the backdrop for the ribbon cutting ceremony, and where a photo booth was staged during the 10th Anniversary Celebration.

For The Moline to be approved, the City required Doran to incorporate a garage that the City would operate for public parking. Doran agreed and included a 73,000 sf garage on the 1st floor that would be turned over to the City one week after the event. A large space that could easily accommodate 700+ people, the garage was selected as the space for the 10th Anniversary Celebration.

As if designed for the event, there are barn doors that open from the Tractor Gallery to the garage. It was the perfect transition from The Moline Ribbon Cutting to the 10th Anniversary Celebration. At the conclusion of the Ribbon Cutting, the barn doors were swung open to reveal the 10th Anniversary party.

Bartenders and servers were at the ready for full bar, passed and stationed hors d’oeuvres and dessert service. A 5-piece band played while videos looped on large projection screens and 55” monitors featuring videos of Doran Companies’ history and the history and evolution of The Moline site from tractor manufacturing facility to luxury apartment building.

Guests were invited to take self-guided tours of specific destinations – a model apartment, game and club room, fitness center and pool deck on the 2nd floor, and entertainment suites on the 6th floor. The backside of nametags and signage directed them to featured spaces. Strategically placed staff helped guests find destinations.

At 7 pm, the COO welcomed guests and introduced a video as a surprise to Mr. Doran with interviews with employees. Mr. Doran who gave an emotional speech that expressed gratitude to nearly every person – or company – in the room.

The buffets were restocked with hearty snacks at 8 pm as guests enjoyed music and mingling until 10. Freshly popped popcorn in branded bags was handed to guests as they headed to the valet.

Following the event, the COO sent us a note saying, “You and your team are fantastic! There is not one thing I would have done differently. It was perfect.”

Essentia Health - Illuminated
Justen Pohl - Enticing Entertainment
Cassie McIvor - Essentia Health
Teddi Sellick - Event Lab
An evening of visually captivating entertainment and luminous decor created the perfect dreamlike world for this employee appreciation event! Guests were swept away from the demands of work with stunning performances, immersed in an environment filled with enchanted experiences and playful magic around every corner.

 

Get your tickets now!