The Strategy of Corporate Event Design: How We Make the Sexy Smart

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Great Corporate Event Design is Purposeful

At Kennedy Events, we love great event design, but we don’t simply design an event to be beautiful just for the sake of being beautiful. There’s an intense amount of strategy that goes into every detail. If you’ve ever attended our events, you may not have noticed this—and that’s the telltale sign that we’ve done our job well.

Here’s what we mean: When you see a play or other theatre performance, do you remember the excellent lighting on stage or do you remember the actors’ performances? If the lighting was done well, expertly even, you wouldn’t notice it; you’ll simply notice what it’s highlighting. On the other hand, if the lighting is poorly done and you can’t see the action on stage, you’ll certainly notice.

That’s how it is with strategic event planning. Our job is to highlight what the event is all about, not leave guests wondering where the bathrooms are or when dinner will be served.

If the room is laid out well, all you’ll notice is that you’re having a great time while you flow easily from the bar to outdoor seating to your dining table. Everything we do has a purpose. It takes intense thought to make it both functional and beautiful. Today, we’re highlighting some of our favorite ways that we’ve made the strategic sexy and vice versa.

 We’re still in awe of the amazing gala that Marianne executed for Bridge Housing. From the centerpieces to the lounge areas, the bar service to catering…it was all just so beautiful. That being said, we also know the strategy behind setting the tables up in a way that would get sign off from the fire marshal while also providing the caterer with a flow to make serving dinner for 800 people go off without a hitch.

We’re still in awe of the amazing gala that Marianne executed for Bridge Housing. From the centerpieces to the lounge areas, the bar service to catering…it was all just so beautiful. That being said, we also know the strategy behind setting the tables up in a way that would get sign off from the fire marshal while also providing the caterer with a flow to make serving dinner for 800 people go off without a hitch.

Bridge Housing Event: Hosting a Dinner for 800

We recently had the pleasure of planning and executing the Bridge Housing Gala; a keynote dinner for 800 people supporting Bridge Housing’s goal of building high-quality affordable housing in California. In addition to being a great cause, our team was particularly excited about the keynote speaker, Ronan Farrow, as he’s a personal hero to many of our team members.

This event was a formal dinner for a large crowd, so we had to think carefully about not only how to style the design of the room—to accommodate all of those people, but also how to best serve them so that they would all be eating hot food in sync.

Here’s how we created a cohesive elegant atmosphere: Marianne, our resident catering expert, structured the layout of the space to include 80 beautiful tables in rows. She mixed the tablecloth colors, all in the same color family, to give the room a bit of texture; creating a dramatic and cohesive visual effect.

We took advantage of the gorgeous wall of windows facing the city skyline (including the Bay Bridge!) by positioning the room so that guests could easily mingle in that area.

In the end, this event raised record-breaking funds to be used toward helping to solve the problem of housing in California. After more than a year planning this successful evening, Kennedy Events received the highest praise from our client: “I am actually looking forward to our 40th Anniversary Gala.” We can definitely toast to that!

 One of the things we love about this annual event is that we get to reinvent it every year; “reinvent” might actually be an understatement because this event requires a lot of creativity, organization, strategy, and hard work. Despite being a high-stress event, it ultimately paid off in high satisfaction for our team and high praise from the attendees.

One of the things we love about this annual event is that we get to reinvent it every year; “reinvent” might actually be an understatement because this event requires a lot of creativity, organization, strategy, and hard work. Despite being a high-stress event, it ultimately paid off in high satisfaction for our team and high praise from the attendees.

A Glam Event for a Fortune 500 Company

When a company asked us to plan an indoor/outdoor event that would make employees with young children and employees without kids equally happy (and gave us the budget to make the dreams a reality), you know we had more ideas than we could fit into our notebooks!

We love when companies host something for their team other than the traditional holiday fête, and this event created the opportunity to infuse creativity into every corner. Part of this event included an exquisite Balinese-inspired outdoor spa with activities and a gorgeous buffet station. This event was a hit for all ages, and we loved the challenge of planning a complex, highly creative, outdoor event.

 Fall 2018 took the Kennedy Events team to New York City to execute an event for ONUG after previously working on the conference in San Francisco. Following the NYC event, Malia continued working on plans for the London venue while also starting the search for space in Dallas for a mid-year conference in 2019.

Fall 2018 took the Kennedy Events team to New York City to execute an event for ONUG after previously working on the conference in San Francisco. Following the NYC event, Malia continued working on plans for the London venue while also starting the search for space in Dallas for a mid-year conference in 2019.

Repurposing Materials and Using Tech for ONUG

We love repeat clients, so when the kind folks at ONUG invited us to plan their events in New York, San Francisco, London, and Dallas, we immediately grabbed our passports and our spreadsheets. We love a good tech conference! This client has great branding and we are able to repurpose the branding materials with each conference; which allows us to do our part to help the planet—and the client’s budget.

Because this conference had dozens of sponsors (all eager to get attendees emails), we implemented a system to get it done well—and get it done fast. All attendees scanned QR codes to enter each session then, following the session, the attendee list is provided to the sponsor of that session. Getting this done well is a complex element of conference planning; not to mention that it’s immensely valuable to sponsors.

 From the seaside carving station on the lawn at sunset to the mini cups of coconut rice pudding with mango and pineapple confetti, this event held at the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay was a feast for the eyes—and stomachs—that we won’t soon forget!

From the seaside carving station on the lawn at sunset to the mini cups of coconut rice pudding with mango and pineapple confetti, this event held at the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay was a feast for the eyes—and stomachs—that we won’t soon forget!

Beautiful and Under Budget for a Secret Client

We also produced an event at one of the most beautiful venues in Northern California—the Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay. It was every bit as elegant and wonderful as you would expect.

The weather at this coastal venue can be a bit unpredictable, so during the planning process, we reserved a tent as a backup option. Fortunately, in the days leading up to the event, we learned that the weather was going to be gorgeous, so we were able to cancel the tent reservation; saving the client money in the process. Guests at this event included Steve Wozniak, which added to the overall splendor of this outdoor tech event.

Ending the Year On a High Note

This year has been our biggest yet; full of high-profile clients who have tasked us with planning complex creative events. We are incredibly proud of our team’s consistently excellent design, planning, and event execution. We hope you enjoyed these photos as much as we enjoyed planning these events!  

What’s Your Next Event?

Are you planning an event in 2019? If so, then let’s chat! Our calendar is booking up (already!), but we do still have some space open, and we’d love to hear about what events you have coming up.


 
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Maggie Kennedy is the co-owner of Kennedy Events is a large-scale event management company based in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City. Our team creates stress-free conferences and events with a positive impact, which allow our clients to resonate with their audience. Kennedy Events specializes in producing flawless product launches, award ceremonies, fundraisers and multi-day conferences while keeping our eye on retention and engagement goals.

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