What an amazing honor to have been asked to plan and design The Knot's 15th Anniversary Gala at the right-out-of-the-movies, breathtakingly stunning New York Public Library. When I got the word I had been tapped to design a party for the best-of-the-best in the wedding and event industry, it did not come without it's share of pressure... not only was The Knot co-founder and Editor-in-Chief Carley Roney looking for the kind of party that would draw event and fashion industry celebs, but this is a crowd who knows about parties. I mean they really KNOW about parties.... and flowers..... and tablecloths... and music... and food. This was serious business, folks!
The first order of business was to assemble the team of vendors who would collaborate with me to bring this event to life. It was great fun to bring together a group of amazingly talented event pros - some old friends and some new - who all worked their butts off with me to make it happen. The list is extensive, but I must acknowledge some of my key partners in crime on this event, without whom, the great style, substance and buzz would never have been possible - Union Square Events, Party Rental, Ltd., Bentley Meeker Lighting and Staging, Generation Events, Luxe Event Rentals, Christian Oth and Elan Artists.
It probably goes without saying that the opportunity to work with the legend that is Preston Bailey was a highlight of this experience for me. While my style of design is certainly different from Preston's, I, like most event designers, am in awe of the scale in which he works and the precision of his artistry. I was, at first, a bit intimidated by being in the role of directing Preston's team as to how their amazing floral sculpture would be a part of the overall design, but his team was so gracious and truly respected my work on this project, so I felt both validated and invigorated. I generally don't doubt my own gut on design choices, but you better believe that I checked my work more than once before showing the PB team my floor plans and event specs. It helped me to work at an even higher, more precise level, so I am extremely grateful for this experience.
What can I say? The sculpture was ridiculously amazing! If you squint, you can see a peak at the navy and silver upholstered bar facade I created just behind the sculpture. Photos by Christian Oth.
So, onto the design. I was given some direction from Carley Roney as to what she wanted to see at the event... the colors were blue and silver and the concept was "Modern Victorian." Because that look is not in my general design arsenal, my goal was to make something that satiated her desires, but also was true to my aesthetic. So, the first thing I did was add an accent color - yellow. I felt that navy and silver would be swallowed up by the vastness and neutral tones of the space unless I provided contrast, and I think it worked perfectly. The second thing was to enhance the contrast with lighting. You know how much I love event lighting, so this was an easy one, especially since I got to work with the lighting superstars at Bentley Meeker. Finally, because I knew that Preston Bailey was designing a 12' tall floral sculpture that would be the major "wow" of the night, I wanted to create an atmosphere that was supportive of that centerpiece, so, as is often the case, much of the design work was left to the black-and-white of a great floor plan. I knew that, while my flowers were gorgeous (if I do say so myself!) they could never compete with what Preston was doing, so my job was to use my design abilities to build a great environment for the event and for the showcasing of the sculpture. Design is a lot of things when it comes to events, and it isn't always flowers and candles. That is one of my key principles of non-floral decor and it is crucial to the success of so many of my designs.
This was the Press/VIP lounge - it was a little oasis above the hub-bub of the main space.
Because of the nature of the event, branding was key. I sourced vintage picture frames, painted them silver, hung them on a custom-upholstered wall and filled the frames with recent covers of The Knot magazine. Also, I created custom iPad stands for this existing Library desk so that The Knot could showcase their brand new iPad app!
Guests could get cozy in the lounge groupings throughout the side wings of Astor Hall in the Library.
Some of my favorite details were custom pillows I had made for this event as well as the interlocking fleur de lis graphic I transferred onto some of the lounge chairs.
Mini chair caps and runners carried the navy through the party in a way that suited my design style and customized the rental furniture.
A really dreadful photo of me with The Knot's Carley Roney! :-) Photo by Christian Oth.
I will post more photos on the Lindsay Landman Events Facebook page as I get them, but for now, I hope you'll enjoy this peak into the event industry party of the season. It is no secret that the scope of this project far exceeded my original expectations, but, as is always the case, the pleasure and reward I received personally and professionally certainly made it worth every minute of it. And then some.
All photos by Gustavo Campos, except where otherwise noted.