Putting on a private, large-scale event comes with its own set of challenges. Planning the event as a black-tie fundraiser adds another layer. And if that black-tie fundraiser is also specific to celebrating our country’s armed forces and attracting military dignitaries from all over the nation? Then you’ve got the trifecta of private, corporate events to plan and execute flawlessly.
For non-profit Veterans Inc., New England’s leading provider of support services to veterans and their families, their bi-annual Gala Military Ball could be nothing short of perfection. Touted as an evening of fine dining, classic entertainment and a tribute to US military veterans, this black-tie and military mess dress gala was hosted at the historic American Heritage Museum in Hudson, MA and themed to celebrate the US Navy. Veterans Inc. needed to create an elegant experience for their biggest fundraiser that would aptly showcase sponsors without taking away from the regal venue setting and that would tie into their event theme and create an engaging atmosphere for the gala to unfold.
While this was an established event for Veterans Inc., the committee leading the charge was new to this fundraiser. We were called upon to become their event partner responsible for the branded signage and various event structures and wayfinding graphics, but from the moment the project launched we took on a consultative role to help the event team wherever they needed it.
Members of our creative and account service teams participated in the facility tour along with the event planning committee to better understand the floorplan and the ins and outs of the museum, to offer advice and insights on best practices. The venue itself is truly unique; featuring one of the world’s largest collection of tanks and military vehicles, the museum has a complex ground floor made of interwoven, open displays (nothing encased) that cannot be moved or touched, enveloped by a mezzanine walkway that bisected the hall. Nothing could be hung from the ceiling, projection screens and special effects lighting for certain exhibits had to remain and certain displays caused sightline issues from the second floor for viewing the main stage.
We took detailed notes and recreated a model floor plan to scale, to accurately place not only the event signage, silent auction and reception structures we were providing, but the main stage, catering service areas, cocktail tables and dinner tables and chairs. Our CAD drawing was often referenced by the AV partner and catering company in their own plans for the event. We worked closely with both teams, making logistics suggestions based on experience for service paths to the bars and between cocktail and dinner areas, lighting techniques and usage, monitor placements for streamed video of stage content and electrical needs for the lightbox displays.
We also provided creative strategy and consultation for the theme design and overall messaging of the gala which became the foundation of our work on this corporate, private event. We designed and produced all the marketing materials to promote the gala, from the printed invitation and matching RSVP card to flyers and exterior vinyl building and lawn banners, to digital graphics for social media and email. We also worked closely with the planning committee to design the 66-page formal program keepsake and table tent cards.
For the gala itself, we designed and produced all event signage including five sets of hard substrate graphic banners, a vinyl hanging banner, nine various-sized fabric lightboxes (some double-sided) and two sets of floor graphics. From our rental inventory, we provided up-lit and backlit (lightbox) signage structures that would best optimize the space to showcase sponsors and event messaging in a tasteful, elegant manner. The printed floor decals were for sponsorship as well as wayfinding (the latter designed as custom-cut boot prints marking the direction of the walking path through the event landscape). And when the committee realized they would need podiums for the reception and silent auction areas, we were able to support them with more of our rental inventory to ensure a cohesive and sophisticated look to the entire setup.
Unlike the installation schedule of typical trade shows, we had just mere hours before the event start for our labor crews to arrive, offload the trucks and set up the various event signage and structures, and apply the floor graphics. With the help of our labor division, Lime I&D, we were able to expertly manage the transportation and installation process amid the flurry of moving pieces as AV, catering and event staff also arrived to set up their stations and services for the gala. The takedown of the event was just as the setup; we were charged with dismantling, packaging and moving out all event structures within hours of the gala’s end, so the museum could open to the public as normal the very next morning.
The Gala Military Ball black-tie fundraiser attracted local government officials, news outlets, veterans of all branches of the armed forces and local organizations, as well as notable people in the surrounding communities. It was a successful, gorgeous, sophisticated event that helped to raise thousands of dollars for the programs and services offered by Veterans Inc. Sponsors were elegantly showcased and the overall feedback from the event committee was that this was the most put-together, elevated event experience they have had for this bi-annual gala, to date.
BlueHive, along with its divisions, Trigon Creative, Bee Ready Graphics and Lime Labor, proudly donated our services in copywriting, graphic design, graphic production, event structures and labor I&D to be the private event partner Veterans Inc. could rely on.