The night before I left for Bali, I had the pleasure of planning a “Ladies Night Out” corporate event. I’ve planned a number of smaller events for the company, but this was the hallmark event of the year. And for me, this was the most enjoyable way I could’ve launched into vacation-mode. Gotta love when work can be this much fun!

It wasn’t just the event itself that was fun, it was the entire planning process. My main contact, Amy, and myself spent many an afternoon brainstorming the perfect “night out” for her clients. We narrowed our theme to harvest, given the time of year, and selected activations that would be free-flowing and entertaining. The invited guests were able to bring a guest of their own: their best friend, or sister, or daughter, so it wasn’t just an obligatory networking night, it was an event to truly look forward to with great company. Already a great tone was set.

For décor, I ordered cute centrepieces to be spread around the room, filled with fresh gerbera daisies, grape root, greenery, and even Portobello mushrooms to add a bit of earthy texture. Lanterns added soft lighting to the room, with pumpkins, leaves, and organic strands of eucalyptus strategically set to cover any white space, creating a cozy atmosphere to the typically clean, contemporary space.

Upon arrival, guests were served Kir Royale sparkling cocktails, while an acoustic duo played chill and cheerful music as the guests meandered around the room.

To add an element of playfulness, during cocktail hour we had trayed and passed hors D’oeuvres consisting of “mini-foods”: butternut squash soup shooters, Brie and pomegranate bites, and mini turkey satays with a cranberry relish dip.

After about half hour of mixing, mingling, and overall good times, the guests were seated for a 45-minute seminar presented by Manulife on planning for your future. The audience, including myself, was actively engaged during the entire talk and curiously asking questions throughout, which was an important objective for the event.

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Following the presentation, the activations were in full swing. It was sort of ridiculous the amount of things available! Here’s the lowdown:

Station #1: Indulgence
A chocolatier from Chocolates Etc. set up a glorious array of milk chocolate, dark chocolate, truffles, and other confections, all while freshly dipping the juiciest strawberries (I don’t know how he found them this time of year) into creamy chocolate. I may or may not have hung out here most of the evening. Quality assurance, right?

Station #2: Art
The super talented artist, Beckie DiLeo, came in from Toronto to paint fashion portraits of each guest in a sea of vibrant colours. These were then placed on display, suspended from a strategically set clothesline, doubling as more décor. This was fun and entertaining to watch!

Station #3: Fortune Telling 
A local palmist set up a quaint table, and offered 10-minute readings for each guest.

Station #4: Relaxation 
Two massage therapists provided shoulder and neck massages set in a quieter corner of the room. A short massage followed by a glass of wine = relaxation at its finest.

Station #5: Favours
A candy table, designed by the ultra-talented Candy by Katie, displayed a beautiful selection of favours to take home. Caramel corn, peanut brittle, and chocolate pretzel sticks? Yes, please!

Then… the food stations…. Sigh.

The musical duo continued playing as the food was served to various displays throughout the room. Continuing the harvest theme, we showcased mini turkey potpies, fresh corn, and autumn vegetables at one station. The next station was the token cheese board with spiced nuts and dried apricots, fresh focaccia, crackers, and baguette, two kind of salads, and crudités and dip. My favourite (which I shamelessly had two helpings of), was the mashed potato station, which had the creamiest possible mashed potatoes served with all the best toppings you could ever dream of, served in martini glasses, so its fancy. Finally, a dessert table was set up with one-bite pumpkin pies, cheesecakes, and a variety of other mini delights.

Our event objectives were met, and guests left with an experience to share with family and friends, and goodies bags of treats to enjoy. Immediately upon completing the event, I finished my packing, met my husband at home, and made our way to Toronto Pearson Airport as we set out on our honeymoon! All in all a great day!


Vendors:

Venue: St. Catharines Golf & Country Club
Planning: Elev8 Events
Florals: Fresh Collaborative Events
Candy Display: Candy by Katie
Musical Duo: Patsy and the Muscle
Live Art Demo: Beckie DiLeo
Palmist: Whitney Dumas
Massages: Niagara Health and Rehab Centre
Chocolate Display: Chocolates Etc.
Photography: Tino Berardi