Paulette Wolf Events | Featured Events
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What You’ve Been Waiting For: Non-Traditional Style Gala


Are you tired of going to a gala where you are served a chicken dinner and are stuck at a table talking only to a few people? Would you rather send a check than actually go to the event? What if we were to tell you that we helped formulate a new fundraising model – a model that engages your senses, surprises you throughout the evening, excites you to interact with hands-on activities, and takes down barriers so guests feel comfortable to network with everyone at the event while donating to your cause.

We piloted this concept for The Nature Conservancy’s 60th Anniversary Gala and it received rave reviews from the 500 high-level donors, sponsors, guests & executive team raising over $1M for the organization.  There was plenty of seating, no lines for food or at the bars, lots of incredible, interactive elements including activation stations surrounding their 5 pillars of work (land, water, people, climate & cities) and a passport system that encouraged the journey throughout the event. Much of the focus of the evening was on friend-raising in addition to fundraising and this event exceeded all of their goals.

This non-traditional gala model is an immersive journey into the brand of the foundation/organization filled with interactive elements and messaging at every turn.  There is no traditional seating, there is no traditional experience and there is no traditional fundraising.  The evening is filled with the unexpected, keeping guests mingling and moving throughout.

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Q1 Recap

PWE’s first quarter was packed with a wide range of events and experiences from multi-day conferences to sales incentive trips, foundation events and milestone birthdays. Never before has the first quarter been so busy!

 

BCU All Employee Weekend

Paulette Wolf Events leads the industry in producing complex multi-day events and that is exactly what we did for Baxter Credit Union (BCU). Every 5 years, BCU brings together its employee’s from near (Chicago) and far (Puerto Rico) to connect with each other and learn best practices. Over 550 employees attended this year’s 3-day conference at the Hyatt Rosemont. This conference included inspiring keynote sessions by influential speakers such as Scott Stratten and David Mead, as well as industry-focused breakout sessions led by key executives and managers. PWE designed and managed BCU’s custom conference mobile app that gave guests access to the overall agenda, speaker information, hotel map, communication and interaction between attendees, as well as allowed guests to sign up for breakout sessions and create their own schedule.

The main highlight from the weekend included the launch of the new BCU logo and brand! An Oprah style giveaway took place on the first day, which gave employees all newly branded BCU swag.

 

Milestone Birthday

One week later PWE produced a surprise milestone birthday. This intimate surprise party began with a unique invitation. Each guest received a one-of-a-kind invitation featuring a blue velvet box with a large puzzle piece inviting them to a surprise party, giving directions to bring the enclosed puzzle piece with them and asking for five words to describe the guest of honor. Those words would later be showcased throughout the décor, video montage, entertainment and a birthday special gift of custom dinner plates with each guests’ words around the perimeter of the plate and with his/her name on the back. These plates were displayed at the party for all to view.

It was important to the host that every detail from the food to the entertainment, décor, gifts, flowers and photos were all comprised of the honoree’s most favorite things, including a giant chocolate chip cookie cake made by the James Beard Award winner, Mindy Segal. We brought in Cottage Inn pizza from the guest of honor’s Alma Mater college campus as well as her favorite frozen custard in Michigan, Gillies. We even had a McDonald’s food station serving burgers, fries and orange soda.

The main décor focal piece was an illuminated portrait of the guest of honor in a modern art style similar to Chuck Close. This art installation was also an interactive experience for guests. Guests used the puzzle pieces that they received in their invitation to assemble the photo. Entertainment included Live Band Karaoke and a surprise performance by Vertical Horizon, one of the guest of honor’s favorite bands.

 

Incentive Travel/Destination Meetings

An area of our business that especially excites us is our incentive travel and destination meetings and events. For the last 45 years, PWE has traveled across the world producing and managing these types of events for an array of clients. Recently, we produced sales meetings in Boulder, Colorado & Phoenix, Arizona consisting of private dinners, team building activities and all-day meetings with food & beverage and A/V.

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Surprise Birthday Celebration

 

Each guest received a one-of-a-kind invitation featuring a blue velvet box with a large puzzle piece inviting them to a surprise party, giving directions to bring the enclosed puzzle piece with them to the party and asking for five words to describe the birthday girl. Those words would later be showcased throughout the décor, video montage, entertainment and a special gift for the guest of honor. Kehoe Designs incorporated these adjectives and phrases on the backs of chairs & tops of highboy tables as well as the guest of honor’s name scripted across the vinyl white dance floor. We partnered with Marc Friedland Couture Communications to design the invitations as well as custom dinner plates with each guest’s words around the perimeter of the plate and with his/her name and date on the back. These plates were displayed at the party for all to view. They were presented to the birthday girl at the end of the night as a gift from her family.

The A.C. Nielsen Tennis Center was transformed into a colorful, thoughtful walk down memory lane with the help of our amazing collaborative partners: Kishbaugh + Partners, Kehoe Designs, Lightswitch LLC and Partytime-HDO Productions. It was important to the host that every detail from the food to the entertainment, décor, gifts, flowers and photos were all of the birthday girl’s most favorite things, including a giant chocolate chip cookie cake made by the James Beard Award winner Mindy Segal. We brought in Cottage Inn pizza from the guest of honor’s Alma Mater college campus as well as her favorite frozen custard in Michigan, Gillies. We even had a McDonald’s food station serving burgers, fries and orange crush soda. Kehoe Designs created photo collage back drops for each of the food stations that were focals in the room filled with photos from the birthday girl’s childhood, adolescence, teenage years, college, etc. The main décor focal piece was an illuminated portrait of the guest of honor in a modern art style similar to Chuck Close. This art installation was also an interactive experience for guests. Guests were the ones who completed the portrait and did so from the puzzle pieces from their invitation. Each guest had a number on the back of his or her puzzle piece that corresponded to a number on the portrait. It was exciting to see guests walk up to the installation, figure out where their piece fit and step back to see the image come to life in front of them. The final piece became the photo backdrop for the evening. In place of a typical photo booth, we partnered with HYPNO and used “The Eye” which is a giant video selfie ball that was passed throughout the evening capturing moments and memories of the night.

Entertainment included Live Band Karaoke and a surprise performance by Vertical Horizon, one of the guest of honor’s favorite rock bands. Guests were invited on stage to karaoke and give special remarks to the birthday girl. The final karaoke act was by Matt Scannell, the lead Singer from Vertical Horizon. The fun didn’t stop there. Vertical Horizon performed their top hits as well as a list of cover songs from the guest of honor’s favorite artists. After the performance, Vertical Horizon joined everyone on the dance floor for a memorable cap to the extraordinary evening. To bring the whole party full circle, mock puzzles of the art installation were given to guests as party favors.

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I Love The 90’s Event

On Tuesday, October 10th, the 90’s decade was brought back to Chicago. Mercer, the world’s largest HR consulting firm, tasked PWE with producing their Workday Rising event.

Over 500 Mercer employees, clients & VIPs enjoyed incredible 360-degree views of Chicago from the 82nd floor of the iconic Willis Tower, which was transformed into a celebration of the Mercer brand through an “I Love The 90’s” theme. Every element, i.e., food & beverage, décor and entertainment were entrenched in this decade. PWE strategized on all of the possible ways to activate the Mercer brand within the space, giving guests a small sense of Mercer’s culture. The branded environment included custom bars, custom food stations, wall art installations, branded food service, custom waters, a custom dance floor & a custom photo booth.

Ledge Tours, which extend out 4 feet and 1,353 feet in the air, were offered to guests on the 103rd floor if they dared.

The entertainment for the evening was a mash up of one-hit-wonders from The 90’s. The artists included Sugar Ray, Young MC, C & C Music Factory, SNAP & Tone Loc. The guests had a blast dancing & singing with the entertainment and a lucky few were even invited on stage.

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Peak6 20th Anniversary Event

This year’s anniversary party for PEAK6, was centered around the theme of TV show families. Held in a large helicopter hangar, there were different vignettes throughout the venue dedicated to a selection of TV shows centered around guest engagement tied into the theme. With over 1,200 guests for this 20th anniversary celebration, the entire venue was utilized to keep guests engaged and to house not one, but two surprise name entertainment performances that night.

The entrance into the venue was nothing less than extraordinary – the entrance was a luxuriously decorated tent with a Partridge Family party bus inside of it, with the nose of the bus inside the venue itself. The open concept of the entrance led guests through registration and into the party. The bus housed a carpool karaoke set up where guests were able to perform their favorite hits as if they were a part of the infamous hit television show.

The event décor completely transformed the helicopter hangar with two stages facing each other at opposite ends of the venue for both the headliner entertainment and the late night performance. Between the stages was a plethora of interactive activities for guests, food stations for each themed area and stunning lounge seating areas to tie the whole thing together.

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The Park At Wrigley Grand Opening

 

On the morning of the Chicago Cubs first Opening Day as World Series Champions in 108 years, the team and Hickory Street Capital (HSC) celebrated the opening of The Park At Wrigley. Located adjacent to Wrigley Field, the newest offering of the 1060 Project campaign is a community-oriented, open-air plaza featuring landscaping, welcoming green space and a playful water feature.

PWE was engaged to produce the Grand Opening Event, which culminated with a ceremonial ribbon cutting.

Upon guest arrival, VIPs were credentialed and offered Starbucks Reserve Coffee & delicious Green City Market crepes. Green City Market, a proud partner of the Park, also set up an interactive element where guests had the opportunity to plant seedlings, which signified the beginning of The Park At Wrigley.

Old Town School of Folk Music, another partner of HSC, provided entertainment throughout the celebration. The entertainment consisted of an 8-piece instrumental band that played various songs, including the famous “Go Cubs Go” song as part of the ceremony. Clark the Cubs also made an appearance that added to the excitement of the festivities.

When it was time for the ribbon to be cut, the stage participants including, Crane Kenney, Tom Ricketts & Mayor Rahm Emanuel took their positions and each held branded, oversized scissors ready to make the cut. More than thirty children from the local community were invited to sit on stage in front of the stage participants to be a part of this celebration.

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PartySlate Launch

 

PartySlate is the ultimate guide to help you discover stunning event ideas, beautiful spaces, and top event pros to make your next event more meaningful and memorable. On August 25th, more than 800 Chicago VIPs, including media, socialites and event pros celebrated the launch of PartySlate with a dynamic celebration at Moonlight Studios in Chicago’s hip River West neighborhood.

It was a memorable night for all who attended, thanks to the delicious cocktails, incredible performances, interactive entertainment, and out-of-the-box décor. The theme of the evening focused upon “Inspiration” and what drives and stimulates the imagination for events. Paulette Wolf Events (PWE) produced the event, from overall concept and theme development to on-site management and coordination of logistics. PWE managed three décor companies, six caterers, entertainment, production, sound & lighting, and worked with each of them to insure they all blended with the underlying theme.

Inside the spacious, industrial-like Moonlight Studios, some of Chicago’s top caterers partnered with some of Chicago’s best décor companies to create spectacular rooms where guests mingled, partied, and enjoyed sophisticated food and innovative cocktails. Entertainment included a gospel choir, an international drum line and a DJ with a strolling violinist from BKO BeatMix Music, along with servers on stilts, a champagne chandelier and a living red carpet from New Moon Chicago. Sound Investment filled the entire space with great sound, lighting, video, and wallscapes of strolling event images.

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Superheroes vs. Villains Anniversary Party

 

PEAK6, an asset risk management firm, tasks PWE to reinvent their anniversary celebration each year. Every anniversary event is focused on a particular theme with surprise name entertainment that must be held in a unique space that enables constant engagement for the 600 guests. This year’s theme was Superheroes vs. Villains.

The event was held in a large raw warehouse space that began with a dramatic entrance. The entrance décor replicated alleyways and crime scenes in Batman or Spiderman films featuring spider webs, garbage cans on fire and a vintage phone booth with Clark Kent’s change of clothes to transform into Superman.

As guests checked in they received an LED wristband that was programmed green for villains and blue for heroes to set the tone upon arrival. A hanging spiderman inside New Moon’s champagne chandelier poured glasses of champagne while performing acrobatic spidy-like tricks and an authentic Batmobile was displayed as the perfect photo opportunity for guests to show off their costumes. Waitstaff passed hors d’oeuvres and specialty cocktails including dry ice smoking Mr. Freeze drinks as well as Anti-Hero IPA to keep with the theme.

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What PWE Did This Summer…

 

What Paulette Wolf Events Did This Summer… The summer of 2016 was a busy and exciting time for Paulette Wolf Events (PWE). The PWE team produced events that hit all of our target markets: corporate events, product launches, public festivals, conferences, incentive travel and elegant, high-end luxury weddings. PWE did it all! Here is just a short summary of this amazing and exciting summer.

This summer season started with a four-day conference for Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. where the goal was to foster teamwork and honor those who contributed greatly to the company for the 700 attendees. This event featured full conference event management including a few social engagement receptions for networking at their loop headquarters.

Ikram, a Chicago fashion high-end clothing boutique celebrated its 15th anniversary by entertaining over 800 guests including Mayor Rahm Emanuel, George Lucas, Rodarte’s Kate and Laura Mulleavy and many other celebrities within the fashion world. PWE coordinated this high fashion block party event that featured a bevy of food trucks, a 90-piece marching band and full Ikram signature red décor all under a tent outside The Geraghty.

In one crazy weekend, PWE coordinated, produced and executed four different events. This first event was for SalesForce who hosted 25 sales incentive contest winners and their guests for a fun filled weekend in Kohler, WI. We were tasked with producing this weekend getaway that included hotel travel accommodations, golf, spa treatments and networking dinners at the American Club Hotel.

On that same weekend, we provided event management services for G&W Electric’s 600 person family picnic where everything from food & beverage, tenting, climbing walls, a petting zoo, a game show, incidental entertainment and food trucks created a family fun atmosphere for all their employees.

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National Conference Of State Legislatures

Since 1975, NCSL has been the champion of state legislatures. They’ve helped states remain strong and independent by giving them the tools, information and resources to craft the best solutions to difficult problems. The Legislative Summit is the biggest and best gathering of state legislators and staff in the county. Every year NCSL holds a summit for approximately 5,000 legislators and staff with over 300 speakers and 50 educational sessions. This August, they engaged Paulette Wolf Events to produce the social events surrounding the conference as well as provide volunteer management and ground transportation for the NCSL summit.

The opening night networking reception was a celebration of Chicago Sports. Prior to the reception, Wayne Messmer, the frequent singer of the National Anthem for the Chicago Cubs, kicked off the Opening General Session with his stirring rendition of the song. Later, just as the Opening Session adjourned, attendees were surprised as a 70-piece marching band from Kenwood Academy, which played through the room, performing a medley of sports-themed standards. They then led the guests from the session ballroom to the opening night reception where they were greeted by the mascots from nearly all of Chicago’s professional sports teams.

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