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Behind the Stage

Enjoy a great conference or event lately? A lot goes on behind the scenes to create memorable events.

Photo courtesy of FaBLOOMosity.

Corporate events are all about making a great impression and that impression starts the minute the doors open and guests walk into the room. While the keynote speakers and catering are often hailed as the star of the show, it takes a combination of lights, décor, flowers, AV, technology, bartending and more to create a truly successful occasion. Let’s take a peek behind the curtain at some of the vendors that are crucial to corporate events.

Quantum Productions provides DJ, lighting, design and production for events in and around Edmonton, Calgary and Okanagan. As the largest uplighter in Alberta, Quantum works over 150 events per year, including fashion shows, conferences, trade shows, weddings, special events, private parties and galas.

“One of the main advantages of hiring a lighting design company is that we can make your vision a reality. Anything from custom entrances, which combine video walls, lighting and effects that will wow your clients and impress your guests, to creating adventures using lighting and GOBOS to create the feeling of walking through a forest,” says Quantum’s owner, Jason Simituk. “We have worked with clients to develop sunrises on blank walls using LED strips or surprising guests with shadow dancers appearing out of nowhere.”

He advises, “When working with a designer, ensure you have a theme in mind.”

Those themes are always perfectly represented when Quantum is on site as their work includes predesign and early test runs of their lighting and special effects.

“I love the diversity of clients we have in Edmonton,” says Simituk. “Everything from the million-dollar wedding clients to Art Gallery of Alberta that allow us to test our creativity. I feel we have a great mix of venues, suppliers, budgets and amazing clients.”

Olivia Weaver Pilip, owner of Boutique Events Edmonton, agrees. “Edmonton is a vibrant city, full of so many creative entrepreneurs and thinkers that allow for amazing venues, culinary partners and strategic partnerships,” she notes.

Boutique Events is a full service event planning company that produces events from start to finish, including all aspects of event branding, strategy and execution.

“We build the event brand and bring it to life. What this means is that we will work within their corporate brand guidelines to create an event that is an extension of those standards, but with a twist. We work with a team of trusted graphic designers, web experts, visual designers and suppliers to execute an effective strategy that offers continuity and consistency from start to finish,” says Pilip. “We approach all events through the aspect of its application of an extension of each client’s marketing.”

Boutique Events applies this strategy to 20-35 corporate events per year, including grand openings, product launches and client appreciation parties.

Pilip points out the benefits of working with an event planner. “The main advantage is that it allows each company to focus on their business and have someone else focus on making their business shine. It allows the employees and staff at the company the ability to interact with guests and network at events instead of worrying about the event’s execution.”

Her best tip for corporations planning events is, “always plan with your audience in mind.”

When it comes to floral styling, you’ll find FaBLOOMosity working up to 200 events a year.

“FaBLOOMosity is one of Edmonton’s top award-winning florists that specializes in unique and innovative flower arrangements and designs for all occasions,” says the FAB team, who opted to be interviewed and quoted as a group. “Locally-owned and generally whacky, FaBLOOMosity offers personable customer service, punchy one-liners, and customized experiences with designs to fit your theme, personality, occasion, and venue. We also do everyday arrangements with fresh flowers, succulents, and plants for same day delivery in Edmonton and the surrounding areas.

The team loves being included in the events that are important to people’s lives, and vital to corporations’ success.

“We have hoofed it up mountainsides, suspended from chandeliers, and trekked through kilometers of secret tunnels underneath hotels to ensure that our brides, grooms, and corporate clients get the weddings and events of their dreams. We’ve travelled all over Alberta from Banff to Calgary to Jasper to Lake Louise (sometimes even in the same weekend because we’re gluttons for punishment and adrenaline) and we can also be seen zipping around in Delilah, the FAB van, all over Edmonton on any given weekend!”

You may have seen FaBLOOMosity’s corporate work at events hosted by Oilers Entertainment Group, Rogers Place, BioWare and Stantec, to name a few.

“We balance our designs between what’s trendy and what’s innovative because, although it’s nice to sing the same tune as everyone, it’s even more satisfying to write your own song. We like to create new products and refresh our work constantly so we don’t get tied down to the same old designs — not only because we want to stay relevant and exciting, but also because we might have commitment issues. Always the florist, never the bride, right?” laughs the FAB team.

They cite the advantage of using professional florists for corporate events, saying, “With social media making images so readily available, clients fall in love with a vision and sometimes what is fallen in love with isn’t something that is accessible in Alberta, is out of season, or just frankly will not last as some of those images are designed specifically for that particular snap shot.  A professional will be able to decipher these images to get a design that is aesthetically similar, but more available and functional for the client.

“The smaller the budget, the more you should think of hiring a professional florist as they will be able to come up with the biggest bang for your buck, something that will maximize the value that we have to work with. Allow your floral designer to be creative. A cocktail reception doesn’t necessarily need a small arrangement on every table. Sometimes doing a few larger statement pieces for around the room will garner much better reactions. Be open and think outside the box!”

They continue, “Hiring a professional also means there is an entire team that is available for the set up and installation of florals, which always takes more time than clients may realize.  Sometimes on site floral emergencies happen so having professionals there to help facilitate changes to table layouts, deal with any blooms or vessels that were damaged, redesign in the event that measurements or weight restrictions provided were incorrect etc. is invaluable to the success of the event.

The FAB team’s agility is possible because every order they produce is completely customized for the client’s budget and theme.

They advise, “If the flowers are being repurposed following the event or being used for several days, this is something we need to know in advance.”

As Edmonton diversifies and takes on new adventures, initiatives and events, the people behind those events will continue to support the scene and evolve as well.