Of Planning & Production
Go Behind the Scenes
My name is Amanda and I am one of many of the staff members that make up Event Solutions. While I have been with this amazing team for a number of years now, the end-of-the-year casino-themed company party I attended this December is going to be hard to top (and to think it was only one of several events happening in that same weekend!). Read on to find out my experience as an under cover guest and see the amazing photos. Perhaps you’ll be inspired with some event planning ideas of your own.
It’ll Be Hard to Top This
I could see a blue lighted sky scrapper just a few blocks off the freeway. I smiled in spite of the traffic, ‘That must be it.’ I said to myself. Brad, the owner, promised it would be an unforgettable event. “The biggest of the year.” I could hear him saying as I turned off my exit. From there, GPS guided me left, then right through the downtown LA streets until I approached the professionally designed & printed signs.
Entering the Penthouse
Parking was easy, but walking two blocks back down the street in heels to snap a picture of the building was not my best idea. Still, the glowing tower with colored lasers streaking past was something I never wanted to forget. A staff member greeted me and several others as we approached the entrance. The venue lobby was huge and exquisitely decorated in Christmas decor. I pulled out my phone to look up the floor we needed on the custom RSVP page we created for Mellanox but was guided by the event staff before the page even loaded (now that’s service!).
The excitement in the elevator was contagious. The door opened, flooding the elevator with blue hues, lively music, and the shutter of paparazzi like flickers from the step-n-repeat. Employees lined up for their moment in the spotlight. I followed the music and chatter of excited voices into the party.
Lasers projected the Mellanox Technologies logo and theme onto the wall along with snowflakes. The floor to ceiling glass walls gave way to a breathtaking view of Los Angeles.
An Illuminated Christmas Party
Inside, Mellanox employees and their guests gathered on the white lounge furniture with illuminated tables, drinks already in hand. Some lingered around the tall cocktail tables near the light up bar, sharing stories and marveling at the venue choice and decor. All around the room, casino games had been prepared. I spotted Roulette, Craps, Blackjack and a few others that the casino staff happily explained. As the casino tables prepared chips and shuffled the cards, Mellanox employees shared warm stores and cold drinks.
All of Los Angeles Sparkled
The aroma of dinner drifted through with each passing wait staff member as they gathered glasses and retreated back to the kitchens. Drink in hand, I escaped the oncoming hunger by slipping out to the balcony. Event Solutions’ event planners surely helped pick the perfect location for a Christmas party…the downtown lights sparkled merrily from the ceiling to the floor windows.
Breaking the Ice
Now that the ice had been broken, shaken and stirred we (employees and guests alike) were ready for a plate of that floating aroma. Thankfully, a wait staff member passed by with a tray of beautifully presented mini sliders. Perfectly portioned, delicious, mouth sized teasers took the edge from my hunger and didn’t leave me with an odd plate to hold while enjoying the conversation of others.
Awards and Video Presentation
Before the conversation could dwindle and after even the latecomers had a chance to grab a drink, announcements were made by the MC to find our seats for the upcoming presentation. An award ceremony for employees was to be followed by a set of videos created by Mellanox with a little help from our event production company. As if to further build anticipation, we were led past the buffet where we got a preview of what was to come.
A Winter Wonderland for Foodies
Once I could pull my foodie eyes away from what was one of the most beautiful, shiny displays of food I had ever seen I could see the rest of the room matched. Spotlights beamed down on the creamy white rose centerpieces in the center of well laid out tables draped in silver. The chairs looked like something from a winter wonderland.
Bringing a Company Closer Together
Employees and their guest took their seats in front of a stage boasting a 16’x 9’ foot projection screen. The MC introduced a series of videos (produced by Event Solutions) featuring employees from each of the Mellanox locations. The LA based team cheered for their featured employees. You could feel the company coming closer together.
By the time the award ceremony started, engagement in the room was at 100%. New employees passed on awards to their coworkers as they celebrated their 10th and 15th-anniversary milestones with Mellanox. Another featured video followed with a word from the president and interviews from employees about ‘what’s next’ for them.
Finally dinner! As the MC announced that dinner was now open, a parade of white gloved wait staff entered the room and took places behind the buffet line. While tables were called up to take their place at the buffet, a magician entertained the waiting tables.
Plates were piled high and the food was absolutely delicious! A second bar was opened next to the dinner area along with two dessert stations.
The DJ had kicked up the tunes again but kept the volume at a reasonable level so guests could chat without struggling to hear each other. Even the details had details in this event- I was astonished. The entertainment picked up just as the wait staff began clearing the tables.
Going Digital for Tech Company
Full and refreshed, I sipped on a cup of fantastic coffee while I marveled at the digital caricature artist at work. Nearby, a fortune teller was giving people a glimpse into what might be next for their futures. Intrigued, I took the opportunity to see what’s next.
Dessert was being served at two stations to help keep lines short and sweet (pun intended). The dessert action station included Olive Oil Cake topped with Wild Berry Soup & Rose Scented Meringue. It was served with Blackberry Sorbet & Macerated Fresh Berries as well as Assorted Gourmet Cake Pops. Employees and guests took plates of sweets back to their seats with dinner plates removed.
With most of the guests back at their seats enjoying dessert and coffee, the lights dimmed again. Over the sound system, the MC announced the featured performance of the night. Straight from Las Vegas Stephan Choiniere, performer from Cirque Du Soleil’s Zumanity, had a special surprise in store for us. On stage appeared a magical box that would leave all of us on the edge of our seats wondering…’what’s next?’.
Stacking the Chips
After the magical performance, the DJ took the party to the next level with excellent dance music. The bartenders, all three, stayed busy pouring drinks for the party. The dance floor filled up as the casino tables opened up. The chips were really stacking up at this party! Employees and CEOs enjoyed tossing the dice while they watched their co-workers bust some serious dance moves.
Extending the Party
Another dessert action station was opened up along with fresh hot coffee. Ice cream was made fresh, right on site with liquid nitrogen (one of the coolest ways to serve ice cream in my opinion!). The party was so successful that we had to extend our venue rental time for another hour!
Leaving with Pride
By midnight, I had to pull myself away from the surreal event to drive home. A few others joined me on the elevator, laughing and carrying their wife’s shoes, photo strips from the photo booth, caricature artist print outs and even a centerpiece or two. The company holiday party was hugely successful. No doubt that the Mellanox employees came to work Monday with a renewed sense of engagement and pride in their workplace.
And This Was Just One of Many
While I attended only the Los Angeles company party, there were also sister events happening all around the United States for Mellanox Technologies. Our team (and performers) jumped from plane to plane to bounce from LA to Sunnyvale to Austin, TX and another in Boston, MA. Each was planned right here in LA, although our event planners stacked up on frequent flyer miles as they strove to ensure that Mellanox and their employees got the best, most cohesive holiday party to-date. Take a look through the photos from the event below to get a glimpse into what your next company party can be like.