May 7, 2013
Producing the Premiere Party for The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby accurately captures the spirit of the Roaring Twenties through the telling of the story of Jay Gatsby, a mysterious millionaire who is known for his over-the-top parties—and Baz Luhrmann’s film adaptation does a masterful job of bringing that vivacity to life on the big screen.
Our job was to channel all of that energy and extravagance into a premiere party worthy of carrying Gatsby’s name, so we began by transforming The Plaza Hotel into none other than his own mansion.
Recreating Jay Gatsby’s World
Guests were first invited to stroll through a ballroom that had taken on new life as Gatsby’s garden, complete with topiaries, cobblestone effects, and the sounds of crackling gravel and chirping birds. They then walked through custom designed doors inspired by the title treatment of the movie poster, leading into Gatsby’s mansion. As guests entered the party they were greeted with an eight-tiered Champagne tower covered in coupe glasses full of Moët & Chandon, complete with a character right from the film on top holding a magnum bottle of Champagne. Walking into a transformed ballroom, guests looked around to see thousands of butterflies suspended from the ceiling. At the center of the ballroom was a gorgeous ten-foot diameter chandelier created with oversized feather plumes, cascading white orchids and crystal accents. An eight-piece band brought everything to life with its upbeat 1920’s music. Custom Art Deco furniture by designer8* Event Furniture Rental really tied the room together, and guests had a chance to dine on a meal taken straight from a 1920s Plaza Hotel cookbook. Between the roaring band and the brilliant dancers, who were wearing the official costumes from the set of the movie, the premiere party was truly outrageous. We can only hope that Jay Gatsby would have been proud.
Reliving the ‘20s
But what really sent the party over the top was its late-night transformation into a sexy 1920s speakeasy. Our team had just a few minutes to transform the elegant ballroom into a dark seedy speakeasy. As the stage curtains closed, the Moet Parade began as each of the dancers and members from the band walked through the room, each carrying an oversized champagne bottle lit up with sparklers. Linens were pulled off the high standing cocktail tables to reveal vintage bourbon barrels. The stage curtains parted to reveal an aged brick wall with DJ Cassidy at center stage. As the lights faded to a deep red, everyone was transported into an underground speakeasy without ever having to leave the ballroom.
The entire evening, from the moment the movie started until the last light flickered out at the
Plaza, was designed as a tribute to The Great Gatsby and a celebration of the Roaring Twenties, and every element came together to make it just that.
March 18, 2013
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is a movie set in the Las Vegas spotlight about magicians Burt Wonderstone and Anton Marvelton, played by Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi, in an attempt to save their own magic act as attention shifts to the street magician Steve Gray, played by Jim Carrey. Samantha Sackler Productions recreated the Incredible Burt and Anton show within the Dolby Ballroom. A custom Burt & Anton Theater sign that spanned nearly fifteen feet across set the tone for the evening. When entering the ballroom, guests’ eyes were immediately drawn to the large “Hot Box,” a stunt gone wrong in the film, which was suspended from the ceiling in the middle of the room. We brought in the Landon Line and Soho coffee table from designer8* Event Furniture Rental, and backed each of the sixteen VIP furniture vignettes with blue Mylar curtains framed with a glamorous gold glittered border, completed with Vegas show lights. To contrast the blue and gold, we created large floral arrangements of beautiful Black Magic Roses, accented with floating playing cards. The after party also featured sixteen-foot wide scenic buffet backdrops that were based on tricks from the actual Burt & Anton Magic Show. The Las Vegas themed buffets even had individual shrimp cocktails and chef carving stations. To enhance the overall entertainment of the party, we used slow moving Ballyhoo lighting in fun vibrant colors along with the music of DJ Bizzy, which really brought the party to life. Completing the entertainment of the party, strolling magicians performed mind-blowing tricks to small groups of guests as well as a stage magician that captivated the audience with his traditional magic.
February 8, 2013
We are always excited to share events that really take it to the next level and this gala truly went above and beyond. Designed by the Rayzman Event Group, this years’ annual gala for the Wilshire Boulevard Temple Early Childhood Centers at the Montage Beverly Hills was glam all the way. Elegant family style dining tables flanked the room to ensure that everyone was a part of the action while the central lounge area featuring our own designer8* furniture framed the dance floor. As you can see it was a beautiful evening and we were honored to be a apart of it.
January 15, 2013
Remember the grand entrances in old movies? Or your father taking your picture as you walked down the stairs for Prom? Or, better still, when the church doors open revealing the bride and her father before they start the walk down to her vows. Entrances matter. Just as first impressions when you shake someone’s hand determine how they will hear what you say, the entrance to an event does the same thing. All of us at Samantha Sackler spend some real time on entrances. Thought we’d share a few that we think warrant your time.
We created a 168’ long entrance for the Inception movie premiere using 30, 8’ tall full length mirrors along each side. Each mirror was uplit in blue to complete the grand entrance.
Flowers. No one does floral entrances like Claire Bean Design in the Hamptons, New York. Abundance. Fragrant when you walk in.
The first impression is the last impression. You can’t change it. Think about the entrance to your event. Have it set the tone for the mood you want to create. And, make a grand entrance yourself for that matter!
December 7, 2012
Want to please the men (and some women, like me) at your event? Cigars. Bring in a cigar roller, set them up in a small lounge area from the chattering crowd, and men and women who like to smoke will find that area. They will train their eyes on the cigar roller and talk among themselves in hushed voices about this political drama or that stock market tip.
Make it a small area, seating 10 to 20. Your guests will stand while the cigar roller sits on a chair rolling his wares on the coffee table by the couch, and you are in business. I recommend our Nailhead line in chocolate brown suede for a true “library” feel, or go stark white with no frills.
Okay, this is a soft sell, I swear. Take a look at our match collection (yes, we can customize them with your initials if you like). Order plenty of matches, because experience tells us that those men and women of cigar land steal them like they were mints.
December 6, 2012
Is it any wonder that lounge is replacing large sit-down rounds? Who wants to sit with Uncle Walter at a sixty-inch round for the duration of the wedding? For the entire night? While we all love in-depth conversations, they do not take four hours. And we want to choose whom we have them with, rather than having the choice made for us by a seating chart that might not have our best interest at heart. Lounge keeps the event in motion (Events in Motion used to be the name of my planning company; I was always ahead of the curve.) Lounge keeps the conversation fresh during your event, and it encourages true mingling. New stats suggest that parties last longer with lounge. Good news for me. Bad news for white table cloths.
The question I’m asked most is, “How do I figure out the lounge setup?” Okay, here are some hints.
What is the makeup of your guest list by age? The younger the crowd, the more high-top tables should be in play, with a few stools and plenty of room to stand. The reason I designed our high tops the way I did was to avoid that long cloth that blows in the wind, revealing the underbelly of the table in a not-so-cool way. The younger the crowd, the more ottomans you should have, and not so much on the three-seater couches. The younger the crowd, the larger the “room” area of the lounge.
Now, let’s talk about the older folks. A wedding for 200? You have 30 older people coming? Set up five (always an odd number) 56-inch rounds for the older folks, who do so love to sit at a table. Put those tables as far from the music as you can. Put six chairs around those tables, and everyone is happy.
If you are doing the entire event in lounge (music to my ears), then do lounge seating for 80 percent of your guests (yes, you can count the ottomans). When you do a cost comparison, lounge will be less expensive than the dressed tables of old. Trust me on this.
Yes, the trend for lounge is continuing to grow. So is my inventory. So is our innovative attention to what is cool tomorrow.
November 13, 2012
We were very happy to work with Chevrolet Europe to create Chevrolet Film Night, celebrating the winners of Young Creative Chevrolet (YCC) 2012 and Chevrolet’s role in American film and television. Taking place at Paramunt Studios in Hollywood, the exclusive event featured the YCC 2012 award ceremony followed by a panel discussion with top names in U.S. film about the movie industry and Chevrolet’s unique place within it. The evening was finished with an amazing event on the historic New York Street on the Paramount Studios backlot. The event included actual Chevrolet cars from films such as 21 Jump Street, Transformers and Twilight as the backdrop to our furniture vignettes, which featured our Silver Jax Collection.
October 27, 2012
Bringing in florals can really put that final special touch on a space. Recently we transformed a masculine bachelor pad into the perfect romantic backdrop for an engagement party by suspending amazing floral designs and accents. For your next party use ceiling heights to your advantage and look at all angles of your space to create a unique ambiance.
September 7, 2012
School may be back in session and Summer may be almost over but there is still plenty of warm weather to put on a great outdoor event. Last weekend I came across this great picnic table overlooking the surf and it reminded me that not only are these tables great for picnics at the beach but they also make the perfect addition to a party. This beautiful picnic table by Jair Straschnow creates a warm, modern look for an outdoor event when paired with pieces from designer8* like the Eco Sofa in Fern, The Zulu Coffee Table and Bamboo Partition. Plank tables work for dining, serving or casual lounge seating with room for everyone! So next time you’re planning an event, remember that picnic tables go way beyond barbecues.
August 10, 2012
I am so happy to announce the entire Madeline Collection! All handmade in Los Angeles, these pieces are of the highest quality and design. These amazing French provincial pieces create a unique look for any event and offer the perfect setting to enjoy a glass of champagne. Cheers!
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