Monday, March 2, 2009

Chocolate & Champagne Gala

I attended a fundraising event this weekend called the Chocolate & Champagne Gala. I enjoyed the concept and thought I would share it with you as a theme to replicate for your own event, either at an event facility or in your own home. (I apologize for not having any photos to share; I was working for part of the event and the lighting was horrible in the photos I did manage to take!)

The event had several components: food stations, chocolate stations, silent auction, loud auction, champagne table, and dancing. The evening began with the silent auction and food stations. Guests had the opportunity to bid on fun gifts and sample delicious food! Food offerings included a fresh pasta station, fruit and cheeses, carving station with beef, pork, and rolls. The chocolate part consisted of many tables staffed by local vendors offering their chocolate wares for your palette's delight; chocolate covered strawberries and espresso beans, truffles, chocolate candies, pretzels, and coffee. The food stations closed just before a short program and loud auction began. Once the bidding was over, a local swing band played and guests stayed behind to dance.

So, how can you adapt this event to fit your next soiree? It's easy!

  1. Food stations. Provide hot and cold food options for your guests. If your home or event space allows, consider placing food stations in different rooms (i.e., kitchen, dining room, living room, patio, etc.). This allows guests to mingle and will hopefully prevent traffic jams around a single food table. It also offers the option of providing different types of food without being too chaotic on one table. This can work well with a potluck event.
  2. Dessert station. The event I went to offered chocolate-themed desserts, but you can choose another theme if you wish, such as cheesecake, mini desserts, ice cream sundaes, etc. Allow guests to pick and choose items that satisfy their taste buds. Offer your guests an after dinner drink to go with dessert.
  3. Beverage bar. Allow your guests to mix their own drinks at a drink station. Provide the mixings for 3 recipes, and they can choose which drink to mix in their glasses. You can choose to provide alcoholic or non-alcoholic mixed drinks.
  4. Donation station. Throw a party for a good cause! Consider incorporating a fundraising or other element to your event to give back to your community. Put together a small auction (silent or loud) by asking each guest to bring a basket for the rest of the party guests to bid on. Or, simply ask guests to bring non-perishable items or cash to donate to a local charity.
  5. Dress code/theme. Most of us don't get the opportunity to dress up and attend a nice event on a regular basis. I'm one of those people who loves to do that, so I think it's a fun way to spice up an at-home celebration! You don't necessarily have to dress up in suits and heels, but consider choosing a theme that everyone will have fun with (i.e., Hawaiian, Roaring '20s, Safari, etc.).

I hope you enjoy the inspiration board above!

I am currently working on a fundraising auction for my "day job." I will be sure to post details and photos of the event once it is completed in a few weeks!


Mermaid Debbie said...

Jaime, this was an event that The Mermaids had hoped to attend, but had previous engagements. Great ideas!

Mermaid Shelley said...

I love your event fun! Thanks. Now, I'm having all kinds of creative inspirations. Whoohoo!