Million Dollar Evening
Photography: Annie Watt
Though Bill Buckley was a controversial public figure, the Kate Edmonds Events team thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of designing this institute’s revamp and inaugural gala. Designed from conception to completion, we even found the perfect venue for the occasion. We selected the beautiful IAC building designed by Frank Gehry, inspired by ships, located in the Art District of the west side. Our team thoroughly researched the man of honor and even sifted through photographs and personal effects at the NRI for inspiration. We split the night into three sections, a cocktail party, dinner and finally desserts and dancing.
The welcome and cocktail party featured a pop up museum to show the gala attendees the true man Buckley was. We interviewed close friends of Bill and his wife, Pat, to learn more about their public and private lives, allowing us to curate a museum that portrayed a truly authentic image of the Buckleys. The pieces featured were even displayed in gallery quality casing. We almost went as far to dress a mannequin in Pat’s dresses, but perhaps another time.
The team chose blue tones for both the invite and the décor for cocktails, where we served his favorite cocktail ‘Planter’s Punch.’ We hired a large classical group to welcome the guests by playing the Firing Line’s theme tune. As it was in October we decided to make the most of the rich, burnt oranges for décor and lighting in the large reception space with a superb video wall, which we used to great effect.
It was an honor to personally welcome each honoree and guest, making sure that each accommodation was met. Our elaborate staging even included a ramp for ease of access for an honoree’s wheelchair. We added low, large lanterns from the ceiling to give a feeling of intimacy. Chicken pot pie was served for the main course, as it was Bill’s favorite dish. It was fun to hear from his private chef during the process. The guests were delighted by a superb jazz band that was a back drop to all speeches throughout the night. Toward the end of the evening, the band led the guests back into the foyer for desserts and dancing. For a midweek event, we surprisingly had to encourage guests to leave at the end of the night. Of course, the obligatory gift bags were provided.