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Olympic Themes

The Olympics are competitive, but that’s just the games.

The event itself speaks to something broader and far less partisan: friends and strangers alike coming together in celebration of greatness – it is that theme which makes the Olympics such a perfect theme for parties, events and special occasions – themselves being exactly that – people coming together in celebration of exceptional times or milestones, or in recognition of outstanding achievements – whether those achievements exist in the realms of business, life, or love.

 

As source material, the Olympic games is so layered, so complex and rich with inspiration, that no two Olympic themed parties need ever be the same – one can pull from the historical games at Athens, one could choose a specific event, or a season; one could focus on the athleticism, or on the global communion aspect – literally a thousand ways to approach the subject!

For a corporate Olympic-themed party, Swank’s design story focused on the location of the current games – London,  where the clients offices were celebrating a ten year milestone – and the competitive nature of the Olympics. Games were brought to the venue and medals handed out at the end of the evening.

The décor concept was directly influenced by the Olympic rings, and the medals themselves, as well as a nod to rhythmic gymnastics, with its iconic twirling of ribbons around the athlete.  These floating, spiraling ribbons were used as ‘anti-centerpieces’ lofted above the tables, and shining in Gold, Silver, and Bronze – speaking to the clients ‘onward and upward’ mentality.

With so much history, and so many facets to pull inspiration from, the Olympic Games are as thematically rich as anything, and that richness of spirit translates as well into corporate parties as it would into a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, or social party.

Onward and Upwards!


Maya Kalman, Event Design Expert & CEO of Swank Productions Maya Kalman is the Founder & CEO of SWANK Productions, a luxury wedding planning, event design and event production company in New York City. Known for her beyond-the-box designs and undying passion for creating extraordinary event experiences, Maya risen to become one of the most well known wedding and event planners in New York City. She has been a featured expert on TNT, NBC Today Show, MTV, Martha Stewart, Food Network, Geraldo Live and many more, and has planned and designed weddings, corporate events and parties for some of the top companies, brands and personalities around the world.
Follow Maya on Twitter, Maya on Facebook

Fireworks….Things to know before you blow!

What to know before you blow

When it come to Maya & our team brainstorming a Swank event’s Wow factor, it never fails that all the heads turn to me as I say FIREWORKS!  Now I know what you are thinking, there is no way I can have fireworks at my next event, and I am here to tell you THIS IS NOT TRUE…  Here are my ten tips to ensure that your Pyro dreams don’t go up in smoke. These tips are not for the do-it-your-self-er, but a guide to help you work with a professional firework display company.

Know what you want.

Pyrotechnicians love what they do so going into the conversation with an idea of what you want is super important.

APPROVALS!!!!!!

I CAN NOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH also make sure it is in writing and signed. 1 approved by the venue, Local permits, special permits depending on the destination. This is one area that the pros will be of the most help, and all you will have to do is pay for the permits.

Indoor idea

This is one of my favorite effects; approval on this can be tricky. But adding a fountain effect into each or your center pieces on the table can REALLY make for a breathtaking entrance.

SURPRISE

Grooms, your bride will never expect the sky to be filled with fireworks all in her wedding colors. I have seen some pretty amazing reactions when as the officiant says you may kiss the bride and BOOM the sky is filled with thousands of fireworks. Just make sure she won’t take off running in fear…I have seen this happen.

FIREWORKS ARE NOT A DIY PROJECT.

I know you know someone who has a stash of roman candles. This is not the time to use them.

LOCATION

When you start thinking fireworks it’s important to know outdoor displays need to be set off from a safe distance from guests and nearby buildings etc.

CONFETTI

If you get told NO NO NO on pyrotechnics. There are some really cool confetti options to consider.

TELL THE NEIGHBORS

When I am going to be doing fireworks I try and send notes out to surrounding neighbors who will be able to see the fireworks. Or even invite a local group to view from the parking lot. It’s a nice way to share.

INSURANCE.

Always make sure the company you are working with has got this covered and is working with the venue and localities on how much insurance needs to be carried.

GIVE SWANK A CALL

We specialize in flare, glitter and sparkle. No one can sell fireworks like our team, and we can guarantee you that we will plan and design you an event that your guest will talk about for the rest of their lives.

The Chic BBQ Picnic

Pic Nic Chic!

When it comes to Corporate Summer BBQ’s, Swank’s Country-Chic Picnic on Randall’s Island was a splendid affair for employers, employees and thier families.  Taking cues from classic Americana and the colorful character of the old state fair – Swank took the often slapped-together notion of BBQ food in a basket and elevated it to a daylong celebration of summer and bare-foot leisure in the sun.

Each guest received their own individual picnic basket – avoiding the inevitable and awkward moment when one person gets the last sad sandwich at the bottom of the pile.


In fact, all amenities were individualized, from personal rolled blankets, to party favors like richly-hued fans and summer-bright sunglasses for the kids.

The personalized touch is a welcome detail in a communal gathering, and no detail here was overlooked.
Buttercup colored ribbons tied up gingham napkins with a classic bow.  The pie station featured a traditional assortment – apple, strawberry rhubarb – announced with hand-lettered chalk on slate. The old-fashioned ice cream cart offered pure Americana in the guise of ice cream sandwiches, and was paired with gourmet, spiked snow-cones for the elders in the bunch.

From the lawn tent – festooned with red white and blue bunting – to the pony rides and candy necklaces, the humble picnic, in the able hands of Swank’s design team, became a true event, worthy of the season and of the storied histories of the American summer at large.  Happy Fourth of July!


Maya Kalman, Event Design Expert & CEO of Swank Productions Maya Kalman is the Founder & CEO of SWANK Productions, a luxury wedding planning, event design and event production company in New York City. Known for her beyond-the-box designs and undying passion for creating extraordinary event experiences, Maya risen to become one of the most well known wedding and event planners in New York City. She has been a featured expert on TNT, NBC Today Show, MTV, Martha Stewart, Food Network, Geraldo Live and many more, and has planned and designed weddings, corporate events and parties for some of the top companies, brands and personalities around the world.
Follow Maya on Twitter, Maya on Facebook

Color Trends: Summers New Nautical

Stay cool with this seasons hot nautical themed colors!

Deep Navy, Canary Island Yellow, Fair-weather Blue and Starboard Red are all inspired by nautical themes and the hues of semaphore flags.

And when it comes to The New Nautical decor, don’t forget the great patterns out now! Check out some of these amazingly chic ways to do nautical like you’ve never seen!

 

So invite a sailor over…..These summer colors & patterns will be sure to buoy your spirits and let your adventurous side set sail…Ahoy!

 

Check out our Board for more inspiration! http://pinterest.com/mayakalman/the-new-nautical/

 


Maya Kalman, Event Design Expert & CEO of Swank Productions Maya Kalman is the Founder & CEO of SWANK Productions, a luxury wedding planning, event design and event production company in New York City. Known for her beyond-the-box designs and undying passion for creating extraordinary event experiences, Maya risen to become one of the most well known wedding and event planners in New York City. She has been a featured expert on TNT, NBC Today Show, MTV, Martha Stewart, Food Network, Geraldo Live and many more, and has planned and designed weddings, corporate events and parties for some of the top companies, brands and personalities around the world.
Follow Maya on Twitter, Maya on Facebook

Unique Venues: Top Event Venues with a Lawn

Summer is officially here. Time for Fun, Sun, Picnics & Fireworks!

For lots of people, a great summer “outing” hinges on the ability to be “out on the lawn”.

But WHERE are you going to find a lawn in New York?!(Other than Central Park!)

Well believe it or not there are quite a few amazing venues in NYC (and the surrounding areas) that actually have beautiful grassy lawns!

The Out Hotel: This boutique hotel has a secret and it’s not what you think! It’s their cute and very private courtyards. The Out Hotel likes to boast that their great lawn rivals central parks thanks to its privacy and super comfy beanbag chairs.

Desmond Tutu Center: Enjoy an amazing park-like setting while looking up at some of the amazing Gothic architecture that the center is made up of. You can lie on the grass and easily forget that you’re located right in the heart of Chelsea.

620 Loft & Garden: This garden is famously used in many fashion and entertainment shows, and for good reason! The view affords you glimpses of both Saint Patricks cathedral and Saks Fifth Avenue, but the garden itself is so beautiful there’s no reason to glimpse off the sides. Make sure you take in the reflecting pool and beautifully trimmed hedges.

High Line If you live in New York, you’ve probably walked the High Line, but did you know that you can rent it out for private events? Areas on the Highline can be rented out, with locations that can accommodate up to 250 guests. Talk about a unique New York summer experience!

The Timeshare Backyard, 145 Ludlow Street. Leave it to New Yorkers to make the best of an empty lot by turning it into a beautiful lawn space! As we all know having a backyard in the East Village(or anywhere in the city!) is real estate gold. Well lucky for us, you can now rent the perfect summertime backyard by the hour at 145 Ludlow. Stop settling for baking on the tar roof of your apartment building and break out the slip and slide on this lush grassy transformation of a vacant lot.

Yankee Stadium & Citi Field: You don’t need to be a baseball fan to appreciate the iconic landscapes of New York’s two home fields, but it certainly helps. Enjoy the lawns that have been part of cultural milestones all while rousing up a classic New Yorker question; The Yankees or the Mets?

Elevated Acre Located in the heart of the financial district, this space is a FULL ACRE of plush green grass. Come out here for an event or just to lie around and eat your lunch.

 

 

 

J Equestrian Center at Hamilton Farm Golf Club: If you are an equestrian lover at heart THIS is an AMAZING venue! I PROMISE your nose will NEVER be able to tell that horses were once in there! Located in Gladstone, New Jersey, you’ll feel like you’re travelling through time when you enter the restored

Hempstead House- Don’t let the Long Island address scare you, this AMAZING estate is only 30 minutes out of NYC. The building itself is beautiful, but the real breathtaking aspect is the sprawling manicured lawn with sweeping views of the Long Island sound.

Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture- The home for the Brooklyn Society for Ethical culture is a gorgeous mansion overlooking prospect park. But you don’t need to head to the park to enjoy the outdoors, this venue is home to the largest private garden in the city

 

 

Oheka Castle: If your dream was to be married in the gardens of Versailles, Oheka is the perfect  alternative. A genuine castle surrounded by one of the most magnificent gardens we have ever seen, this is THE lawn venue. The craziest part (and most jealousy inducing) is that years ago, somebody actually lived on these amazing grounds.

The Brooklyn Picnic House The picnic house is the perfect summer location. Open to both people looking for a private event venue as well as everyday park goers, there’s no reason not to enjoy the restored pavilion area surrounded by a vast open meadow

The Liberty House The liberty house, about one mile from Liberty Park, offers a wonderful outdoor terrace during the summer months. Features include fire pits, cabanas, and tables placed amongst the gardens. If you feel like being in Liberty Park itself, try dining there for brunch or dinner which offers classic views of the Statue of Liberty, Manhattan Skyline, and the Hudson River!

And if none of those venues work for your event…..we have absolutely been known for bringing truck loads of sod in to create a lawn anywhere we want one!

Do you have a favorite venue that has a lawn of some sort?  Let me know!!!

 

Tips for Throwing a Great Summer Party In the City

 

Summer in the city is HOT and so are the Summer Parties!

Since this weekend is the official start of Summer Parties for many of us,  I thought I’d share some of the ways we’ve created COOL yet CHIC summer parties for our corporate and social clients without leaving the city.

 

Think Tropical –

Palm Trees add height, drama,  and immediately create a tropical atmosphere.

When it comes to Palm Trees, I of course, love them to be as  tall as possible!  But if the budget doesn’t allow for real palm trees (delivery can sometimes be as expensive as the trees themselves!) then the inflatable ones we used here are a really fun solution.

Add a colorful umbrella (make sure to get a stand since you can just shove it into the sand!) or Tiki inspired one to create the summer feel.  This is of course both useful and decorative.

For more splashes of color, use bright colored beach towels (rolled up) they work as awesome bolster pillows for seating.

 

Think the Beach & Poolside -

No pool at your Venue?  Bring it all in!  Beach Balls are an inexpensive way to add color, decor and fun! We found these tiny 4’’ beach balls as well as ones that were as large as 30’’ and we used them everywhere!

You can line the floors, the buffets, you can use them as chandeliers!

Inflatable pools filled with ice make for amazing containers to keep your beer, wine and sodas chilly!

And for an unexpected (but very pleasant) surprise to your guests.  Have a shaved ice or snow cone specialty bar (you can serve them with, or without alcohol)!  Nothing cools you down like a spiked snow cone!

 

Think Bite Size-

People are going to arrive hungry.  But no one wants to be carrying around a huge overloaded plate, while looking for a place to sit down and eat.  When it’s hot, the last thing you want is to be eating food that drips down your arm or is difficult to manage with a drink in your hand.  Make an effort to serve food in bite sizes.  And if you do need utensils, try to serve food that does NOT need a knife.  Your guests will thank you!

And speaking of thanking you…..lets talk about Drinks and WHO is serving.

I always say “People eat with their eyes” even if its unconscious.  When it comes to drinks pick one signature drink that not only tastes good, but LOOKS GREAT.  This one is a super yummy Blueberry Lemonade ( made with Blueberry Kool Aid!).

And if you REALLY want to get your friends chatting…..make sure you get HOT waiters to serve your COOL beverages :)

drink the day away and…… at the end of the evening.  Really?  is there ANYTHING MORE WONDERFUL than the summers night breeze on a NYC rooftop?  I think not!

Whatever you do, once the party starts don’t sweat the small stuff. Let go, and allow let yourself have fun!  The summer flies by so make sure to enjoy it!

Do you have an Summer Party in the City tips?  Let me know I would LOVE to share them!

 

Check out the Summer Newsletter for more great summer stuff!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Color Trends

If you haven’t heard yet, this years Pantone ‘Color of the Year’ is Tango Tangerine which we really love!  Check out my ORANGE PINTEREST BOARD!!!

Here are some of our favorite uses of this color so far:

 


 

But Orange or Tangerine aren’t the ONLY colors of the season!  In addition to that bright citrus flavor,  we are also LOVING these color on their own and TOGETHER!

And, just FYI……. I am OBSESSED with this Pucci inspired satin linen!  Cannot wait to show you how we used it this summer to transform a dinner cruise yacht into an tropical urban oasis!

(You’ll see it on MTV’s Made featuring SWANK’s wedding on June 19th at 4PM)

 

Whats your favorite 2012 color of the season?  And how are you using it?  Let us know!