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Christmas in… March!

Traditionally the saying normally goes “Christmas in July” but for me, March has always been the favorite time of year, the month I most look forward to! Why you ask? Because of St. Patrick’s Day…my true Christmas.

I come from a heavily Irish family. If I were to take a DNA test I would be 70% potatoes, 10% Irish Bread, 10% Guinness, and 10% Jameson—that kind of heavily Irish. My grandmother grew up in Ireland with her brothers and sisters on the O’Malley Family Farm in County Mayo. She came to America in her early 20’s and kept the Irish culture alive and well in my family. A boiled dinner with corned beef and lots of veggies isn’t just for March—it was a Sunday night staple at my grandmother’s house.

So it should come as no surprise that I am also an avid Irish dancer. My mom enrolled me in classes at the Haley School of Irish Dance when I was 4 years old and I fell in love. All the spinning and shuffling and stomping – my 4 year old self was ENCOURAGED to be as loud as possible and jump around like, in the words of my dance teacher, “a Mexican jumping bean”! I was in heaven.

The more I danced, the more in love I fell with my Irish culture. St. Patrick’s day at school meant going all out—plaid skirt with a large pin fastening it (the 5 year old girl’s version of a kilt) paired with my favorite Irish sweater and a green headband. It became my uniform each year on that day for as long as it fit. I also loved showing off my dancing skills to my classmates and passing out Irish chocolate—aahhh Cadbury!

As I’ve grown up, my St. Paddy’s Day fashion has evolved into an extremely curly dance wig and an overly bedazzled costume. By the time I entered high school, I danced anywhere I could in March. “Dancing out” on St. Patrick’s Day is figure dancing in a big group with lots of clapping and smiling. You’re truly putting on a show! We dance everywhere: from a 30’-40’ wide stage in churches and schools, to a 4’ x 4’ piece of plywood in a restaurant or bar.

We dance in places big and small for a crowd of 3 or 300 because of how important of a day it is to the Irish Community. Not only as an ode to the religious figure of St. Patrick, but also as a day to come together and celebrate—it’s the ultimate party. And Irish dancing is the best way to celebrate!

After 19 years of dancing, I still go “dance out” every St. Patrick’s Day. And I get the best of both worlds. I am old enough to appreciate the deeply rooted traditions of St. Patrick’s Day. But I also get to celebrate with dancing and a drink!

So, when St. Patrick’s Day arrives, pour yourself a Guinness, grab your best green shirt, clap along to Galway Girl and No, Ney, Never and celebrate like you’re from the heart of Ireland, even if you aren’t, because it’s worth it– trust me!


In the Spirit of the Holidays

From the desk of Senior Event Manager, Chrissy Kratz…

I won’t even try to lie to you – I am a serious holiday lover. The day after Halloween, I start listening to holiday music with my headphones set to super low so I won’t be judged by the people around me (yes, that includes my AE colleagues!), I am done shopping for friends and family before Thanksgiving, and my small apartment has more decorations than it has any right to fit inside of it (preview below). But what can I say? I love it all and don’t think a mere four weeks is enough time to celebrate! Of course, along with the spirit of the season comes just that – spirits. Here are a few of my current favorites to bring along to your next holiday party.

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Wine
This year, I attended a Fireside Chat at The Fireplace focused entirely on my favorite grape, Pinot Noir. Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir was hands down my favorite of the dinner and one I recommend to pair with a charcuterie platter or roasted poultry dinner.

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Thinking something white? Try Ashbourne – a unique Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay blend out of South Africa. Don’t be deceived by its light nose…the combination of the body from the Chardonnay and the acidity from the Sauv Blanc is a nice balance that allows you to drink this wine on its own (though pairing it with some oysters isn’t a bad idea either!).

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Beer
Who says you can only enjoy a bottle of vino around the holidays – give a holiday brew a try! Perhaps Nodding Head Brewery’s Sled Wrecker made with molasses and rum-soaked fruit (yes that is a shameless Philadelphia-pride pitch).

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Looking for something lighter? After a recent trip to northern California, I’m head over heels for Almanac Beer Co.’s Saison Dolores. I wouldn’t call it a holiday beer, but it’s worth a try if you aren’t into rum and maple syrup in your pint.

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Spirits
Get creative with your cocktails! My must-try this year is to make a Rosemary-Infused Honey Sidecar. Boil some rosemary in water before freezing the liquid into ice cubes. Combine 2 cups Cognac, 1 cup lemon juice and 1 cup honey before adding in the rosemary-infused ice cubes. Strain, and serve in sugar-rimmed glasses. Voila – a holiday classic with a twist! Plus, you can spike the eggnog with the extra Cognac.

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Whatever your spirit style is – embrace it and don’t be afraid to try something new. Cheers to a festive, fun and safe holiday season!


Can’t Resist the Twist!

With the cold fall weather fast approaching, it’s important to take advantage of the few warm days we’ll have left. DIY Twister is fun game to play outdoors that won’t blow away in the autumn wind!

 

STEP 1: GATHER YOUR TOOLS

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Decide what colors you’d like to use and choose your spray paint style. For this particular party, we used the brand of spray paint that is used in construction or maintenance work. This can sprays straight down instead of perpendicular to the canister, as most general spray paint does. Either kind works fine as long as you choose colors that pop!

The next tool you’ll need is the stencil. We used a square piece of cardboard and cut out a circle from the middle. By using a stencil with the middle cut out, instead of tracing around a circular object, we were able to keep things cleaner and keep our spacing more even.

*HELPFUL HINT*

Keep the inside circle you cut out of the cardboard. You can use it as a placeholder when trying to space the circles out.

You will also need string and 4-6 stakes.

 

STEP 2: SIZING OUT YOUR TWISTER BOARD

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The next step is measuring out your “board” using the stakes and string. Our board was 6’ by 8’ and we started by staking the 4 corners and wrapping the string around each to create an outline. We then also strung a line down the middle of the board vertically and horizontally. These middle lines helped to keep everything in line.

*HELPFUL HINT*

Before painting any spots, make sure you are standing UPWIND of the direction you are spraying. There’s nothing worse than getting a face full of paint and paint fumes!

 

STEP 3: MAPPING OUT THE CIRCLES

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The first circles you’ll want to create are the 4 corners. The next circles should be on either side of the middle horizontal line, then on either side of the middle vertical line. Then, fill in the 2 remaining circles on either side to complete the border. Next, fill in the middle 2 rows. These rows are the easiest to complete—just line up your spots with the spots on the border!

*HELPFUL HINT*

This spray paint does dry quickly but not quick enough! Be aware when kneeling down that you aren’t on wet paint. You’ll also want to leave adequate time for the paint to dry and for the fumes to evaporate before playing.

Once the paint is dry, set up a comfy bench nearby, break out your spinner and enjoy a fun afternoon outdoors with Twister!

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This is Quite A Club!

(aka “Live from Abiomed‘s Annual Sales Meeting)

Photos by Allegro Photographyabiomed_160410_300-Edit

 

“WOW. From now on my rider will include a 300-foot ceiling and
an insane bike sculpture…this is quite a club!” Comedian Dana Carvey quipped at the start of his set last week.

 

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The glorious MFA was all decked out in fancy finery as a funky upscale nightclub for Abiomed’s Opening Celebration. It was a magical transformation…the first of its kind at the MFA! Glittering lamps from Tommy Wholesale and stunning floral sculptures from Marc Hall Design sparkled in jeweled lighting by High Output.

 

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Magicians strolled the floor mesmerizing guests with sleight of hand tricks, while other groups gathered to enjoy the red-clad torch singer from Music Management nestled in cozy lounge seating from Be Our Guest.

 

 

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The evening was filled with surprises…from the enormous marquee A-B-I-O-M-E-D letters created by New England Country Rentals, to Bailey’s milkshakes and truffle fries, to the appearance of Dana Carvey himself (the headliner is a tightly held secret)…this company knows how to thank its team.

 

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How fitting it is that the night was such a brilliant transformation, since transforming lives is exactly what Abiomed does.  This year’s meeting celebrated the unprecedented success of its Impella heart pump, and the unparalled mission of the company to “Patients First.”

 

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A company that does such serious, life-saving work deserves to kick back with a night of laughter…cheers to you, Abiomed!

 

 


A Final Toast to 2015

As we close the book on 2015 and open the first few pages for 2016, there’s so much to reflect on here at AE Events. We are so grateful for our clients and industry partners, who keep us on our toes and make the work that we do rewarding and fun. What a year it was! Here is just a taste of what 2015 brought for us…

WINTER 2105

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that 2015 featured as much snow as we have seen in quite some time!  Covered up to our ears (and growing!), the promise of spring seemed nowhere in sight.

Even in the depths of winter, we were able to bring warmth and elegance to the Boston Ballet’s Camellia Ball. This is the gala not to miss, and a little snow was not going to get in the way of this special night.

Chandeliers decked the halls and a tables design of whites and grays brought a renewed sense of vibrancy to this snowy winter night. The evening was designed with candlelight and beautiful florals from our friends at Winston Flowers, the entertainment was by the dynamic “subway quartet” which dazzled guests with their modern interpretation of songs old and new. And of course, the Boston Ballet dancers performance was the show stopper of the evening, leaving guests in awe of their beauty and whimsy.

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SPRING 2015

After thawing out from the winter cold, we gladly jumped into planning a premier Boston asset management firm’s June client conference. Held at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel and the Institute of Contemporary Art, this two-day conference set the standard for success with their “Art of Innovation” theme.

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For the Opening Dinner which kicked off the conference, we created a energy that would become apparent throughout the conference that this event was all about innovation! We used vibrant aqua, white, and coral to create an entirely new look and feel and as we took the room from an elegant evening back to a conference space the next day.

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After the conference sessions came to a close, guests were happy to retreat to the Institute of Contemporary Art for their last evening together – a celebration by the sea. Thanks to our friends at Be Our Guest for supplying the gorgeous décor for their final sendoff!

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SUMMER 2015

While most Bostonians abandon the city in the summertime, we were hard at work preparing for one of our favorite celebrations – weddings! This summer we were lucky to be a part of that very special day for some incredible couples.

In late June we celebrated the coming together of two families at the Institute of Contemporary Art. The Boston Harbor created a gorgeous, natural backdrop for the ceremony.

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Guests were invited into the museum lobby and on the outside patio where which we transformed the space into a celebration that was reflective of this couple. The “Dodson-Cornell Bunch” danced the night away alongside their family and closest friends.

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In the lazy summer days of late August, we celebrated a couple whose  wedding was structured around the moon. This rustic, outdoor wedding was set at a private residence in Concord, MA. From details like a “Just Married” canoe, to choreographing the start of the ceremony to the exact moment when the moon began to rise – this wedding went down in AE history as one to remember for years to come.

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FALL 2015

With the coming of fall came a burst of celebrations of all kinds. Just before Thanksgiving we planned a tribute dinner for the outgoing CEO of South Shore Hospital.

Guests arrived at the fabulous Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate for a 360 experience around the museum. Passing through all four surrounds, guests enjoyed views of the replica Senate chamber and Ted Kennedy’s office, with sounds of a Jimmy Buffet tribute singer welcoming guests into the cocktail reception.

Décor for the evening married the guest of honor’s two loves: football and golf.  Collaborating again with our friends at Winston Flowers, we incorporated Patriots football helmets, golf balls, and miniature flags into the evening’s floral designs.

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During dinner, guests were serenaded by the world-renowned Three Waiters. If you aren’t already familiar, the Three Waiters are professional singers who disguise themselves as wait staff and delight guests with surprise performances throughout the evening. Everyone had a ball, and by the end of the night were yelling for more and throwing their napkins in the air.

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In October, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of The Spofford Group at Davios. To tie in the anniversary year, guests enjoyed signature cocktails named “Spofford Group’s 20 Year Old Fashioned” and “The Spofford 20.” The celebratory anniversary logo marked even the tiniest touches: from cocktail napkins to guest favors. On top of fabulous food, drink, and company, we had roaming magicians, a live jazz trio, and even a scotch expert. What better way to celebrate 20 years?

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With so much success in 2015, we raise a glass and toast each and every one of our clients and fabulous partners with whom we could not do this work without.

Now onto 2016 – we can’t wait to see what this next year has in store!


ANNIVERSARIES ABOUNDING

Here at AE Events, we love a good milestone!  The clink of champagne glasses toasting a marriage, the laughter of colleagues enjoying a reunion, and the applause of supporters championing a life-changing cause…what a joy it has been to be a part of these monumental celebrations in the past few months. And there have been a lot of them!  All together 365 years…we raise a glass once again to you all.

A moment like this doesn’t happen every day!  The stunning Museum of Fine Arts Boston glowed with the warm community of  Jewish Family & Children’s Service, in a breathtaking tribute to 150 years of human connection. Just as a point of reference…Abraham Lincoln was president!

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 A spectacular July evening on Nantucket was the backdrop for this 40th Wedding Anniversary.  Walking on sunshine!  

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Talk about life-changing stuff…the May Institute has been serving up independence, choice, dignity, and respect for over 60 years.  Hats off to their absolute dedication to individuals with disabilities.

blog3  PHOTO: Alycia Braga Photography

 

Davio’s Boston was the destination for this 20th anniversary celebration of The Spofford Group.  From exquisite music to sumptuous food to fine Scotch, the evening paid tribute to the detail and focus that this remarkable company brings to its clientele.

blog4 PHOTO: Allegro Photography

 

 Only a Jubilee could describe this golden 50-year celebration!  Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly raised record funds to continue its work for “aging in community.”

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 Both the Governor and the Mayor were in the house for this 20th Birthday Bash for Massachusetts Public Charter School Association! But the student performers stole the show.

blog7 PHOTO: Jeff Thiebauth

 

 Living the CHAI Life!  A remarkable evening toasting 10 years of CHAI Works, supporting JF&CS services for people with disabilities.

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With a grand musical flourish, the Berkshire Hills Music Academy celebrated their 15th Anniversary with a Fanfare Gala at the Four Seasons Boston.  Special guest Charles Neville jammed with students to the delight of the crowd.

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#6 – Adventures in Catering and Cake

Our latest installment of Elizabeth and Thomas’ wedding planning focuses on their search for the perfect caterer.  Let’s face it, these people aren’t going to feed themselves!

Well here we are, less than 1 year away from the big day… and I must admit that Thomas and I are starting to feel the pressure of our awesome (yet sometimes annoying) Wedding Timeline. (Ok fine, he’s not, but I am!) And what better way to relieve some of that stress than to cross some items off my list, right?! Catering and Cake, here we go…

When we began our planning we discussed right away what each of us felt were some of the most important aspects of our special day. This is something that I think is really important to do before you are off and running because surprisingly enough, a lot of grooms do actually care about their wedding day! Luckily we both agreed that amazing food was an absolute requirement and one of our top 3 priorities (along with photography and venue).  Soon after we found our venue, I put my feelers out there to caterers for menus and quotes and together, Thomas and I reviewed everything.  We asked a lot of questions: Did we want to offer a choice of entrée or a duet? Did we want to offer chicken and steak or chicken and fish?  What kind of appetizers would compliment our meal? Were we duplicating anything? I noticed that our choices were a lot of the same thing…Beef Satay and Beef Sliders for appetizers and then Beef again  for the entrée…  Everything looks so great on the menu, that you sometimes forget that it’s your job to plan an eclectic meal for your guests!

Then came the fun part – the tasting!  A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to have my Mom and Sister visit for a weekend full of dress shopping (more on that later) food and cake tasting!

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Chocolate and Strawberry and Buttercream, Oh My!

And while I can’t reveal just yet who my vendors are or what we settled on for the menu, I must say we could not be more happy with our choices!

Also, for those of you perhaps planning your own wedding, I found this list from The Knot to be really helpful to me as well (in addition to all the helpful advice from my colleague – thanks Mindy!):

– The Knot: 17 Questions to Ask Your Caterer: http://wedding.theknot.com/wedding-planning/wedding-reception-planning/articles/17-questions-to-ask-your-wedding-caterer.aspx

 No caterer named?! No cake flavors hinted at?!  No!!!!  Stay tuned for more wedding updates in August!