Spunky elegance: Designing the future at the Silicon Valley NACE Gala



For the past two years, it has been my true honor to serve as the Programs Chair/Event Designer for the Silicon Valley chapter of the National Association of Catering and Events. Every month, I get to work with new and old vendors to create a fun, inspiring environment where Silicon Valley event industry professionals can get together to network and educate themselves.

One of the highlights of my job is to plan and design our annual Awards Gala, where we give out our Best of the Industry Awards to our members who have contributed to the chapter over the year. My first year in my position, I helped pull together the Pan Am themed Mile High Gala, which took place at the high-rising Capital Club in San Jose. From that night I have been keeping the possibilities for this year’s gala in the back of my head.

As 2012 went on it was impossible for me to ignore the fact that change was in the air. The energy was electric. People, companies, attitudes, brands, brides… everything was shifting. Maybe it was the impending “doomsday” of 12/21/12 that sparked these changes, maybe it was natural human progression.

Or maybe, just maybe the  demise of the beloved Twinkie was just enough to spark a worldwide energy shift.

It was around this time that I started to reflect on the concept of progress. I considered the progress of the event and wedding industry, progress of our country, and progress of mankind as a whole. So many amazing revelations had taken place these past 100, 10, even 5 years. We had truly just begun our journey into “the future” and were poised on the brink of incredible breakthroughs. It was right then that I was struck with the inspiration that ended up being the theme for our 2013 Gala: Moving Forward.

Yes, this Gala would focus on past, present and future successes of our individual companies as well as the event industry as a whole. We would look towards future possibilities, past successes, and present trends to guide us as we move along in our businesses, within our industry and in our personal lives.

Then came the next question… How? How to translate such a broad statement into an event? It would need to intrigue and inspire through over the top elements, as well as tiny details. It would need to be both classic and modern. Off beat and beautiful. Where to start?

It was only while perusing the Disneyland website in consideration of booking a trip for later that year did I find what I was looking for.

Here You Leave Today, and Enter the World of Yesterday, Tomorrow, and Fantasy.

It was perfect. It was magical, intriguing, inspiring, and fun. We quickly began to scour over the intricate details that make up the magic of Tomorrowland at Disneyland. We pulled bits of inspiration from here and there, and combined them with our own creative inclinations.

The result was architectural, whimsical, and warm with a slight aire of grandeur that undoubtedly came from our Disneyland inspirations. We worked with fabulous vendors such as Bijoux Balloon  and Three Sisters Flowers and Events to create a series of centerpieces inspired by technology advances of the past and future. We used fabulous table items and linen from Classic Party Rentals to unify the space with muted and warm tones. Cafe Primavera Catering did a fabulous job at preparing a delicious meal that was finished off by the delectable sweetness that is Jen’s Cakes (hand delivered by Jen Kwapinski herself just days after returning from competing on The Next Great Baker). Overall, the evening was everything we had imagined. It both inspired and celebrated the Silicon Valley NACE members into a new year of potential and growth. We cannot wait until next year!