An Unexpected Tragedy
In October 2017, a leading real estate franchise was hosting 5,000 guests for the closing night event at their conference in Las Vegas. After designing the event twice due to changes in the venue, Las Vegas (and the country) was rocked to its core with a mass shooting that changed thousands of lives forever. The landscape of the event morphed overnight, where real-world threats and significant last-minute changes threatened to derail months’ worth of hard work.
Let's Start at the Beginning
Our client wanted their guests to enjoy an outside block party and initially decided on a space in downtown Las Vegas with a “Vintage Vegas” theme. Several months later, the client asked to switch the location to Toshiba Plaza and its next-door neighbor, The Park. They also wanted to change the experience to a “White Wedding” theme. One key piece of décor we ordered was a custom, oversized Heart Locket Sign on which guests would write love messages on a lock and attach it to a large heart (similar to what you would see on the bridges of Paris.)
Then on October 1, tragedy struck when a gunman open-fired over an outdoor concert on the Las Vegas Strip. The following day our client (understandably) asked that the event be relocated inside. The only space that would fit their 5,000 attendees was the T-Mobile Arena, meaning that the direction, planning, and execution of the event needed to be completely redesigned in less than two weeks.
We worked quickly to reconfigure the décor and entertainment to fit (figuratively and literally) in the new space. Despite the last-minute difficulties, given the heart-breaking circumstances, we were pleased that the Las Vegas business community came together to ensure a successful outcome. We were also challenged with keeping key pieces that the client loved within the design while making them work with the new direction. One of their favorite pieces—the Heart Locket Sign—now became a “Vegas Strong” standing memorial where attendees could write messages of support for the shooting victims.
It was finally time for the big night. After moving through heightened (and much appreciated) security to enter the building, guests were treated to an opening hour of music with a lively and upbeat vibe. Harkening to the original Vintage Vegas element that many still loved, we brought in a Pink Cadillac for a photo opportunity. Elvis later came on stage to sing and perform a vow renewal ceremony for guests before a surprise name-act headliner closed out the night. Once the event concluded we loaded everything out within a mere three hours so the space could be turned back into a hockey rink for the following day. Once the strike was underway, some of our team members took the Heart Locket Sign that now had hundreds of goodwill messages attached to it and placed it at the Welcome to Las Vegas sign memorial.
Keep Calm and Stay Strong
The biggest challenge was redesigning this event multiple times, with the added safety issue and last-minute scramble following the shooting. Being able to stay on top of the changes and successfully adapt meant a great deal of communication, coordination, resourcefulness, and most of all, the “can-do” positive attitude our clients know they can count on us for.
The Final Exclamation
Other than successfully redesigning the event each time, we knew we had met the client’s objectives when we received nothing but compliments and thank you’s after the event for creating such a memorable night. The client mentioned several times how grateful they were to have us as a partner and couldn’t imagine anyone else successfully reworking the event multiple times and then starting from scratch with less than two weeks to spare.
Evolving ideas for the night and its theme? Last-minute safety concerns? We’ve got you. It’s what we do!