2020 Nominees

Best On-Premise Catered Event

Midsummer Romance 2019
Amanda Miller, D'Amico Catering

This idyllic summertime wedding took place on a sprawling private estate, designed to embody the French countryside. From specialty handcrafted Peruvian cocktails, multifaceted entrees, to a pair of four legged surprise guests, this celebration of love symbolized the couple’s journey up to this point, and the beginning of the rest of their lives together.

Beastly Bash
Lancer Hospitality

The Beastly Bash is the premier fundraising event of the summer held annually to support the Minnesota Zoo’s mission of connecting people, animals and the natural world to save wildlife. With a theme of “Wild North,” the 2019 affair for more than 800 attendees took place throughout the zoo’s 5-acre grounds, with exclusive viewings of rare animals, and included dinner, cocktails, dancing and a live auction.

Star Tribune Taste 50
Brenda Thrower, Slate & Stone Catering / Culinaire International

If you’re a food publication celebrating your 50th anniversary, a traditional dinner may seem a bit mundane. However, add the local James Beard Award winning chefs and you have something much more extraordinary. Working within the constraints of a tight budget, limited venue and very short timeframe, while creating a cohesive experience would prove challenging. This event was a culinary extravaganza showcasing eight courses from eight chefs within a three-hour time span.

Best Off-Premise Catered Event

Remote Minnesota Lake Wedding
Amy Brown, Chowgirls Killer Catering

A four-star meal in a tiny town is quite the request from a bride and groom, but a life-long connection to this western Minnesota resort meant the bride would have it no other way. We brought a high-class dining experience to the wilderness for two close families and their friends at this late-August wedding.

MIA Gala
Dawn Drouillard, Fabulous Catering, LLC

The MIA Gala is the not-to-be-missed party of the year! This is a major fundraising opportunity for the museum, and they pull out all the stops. 360 VIP Patrons are wined and dined with appetizers, champagne tower, open bar and lavish plated dinner. They are joined late night by 650 happy revelers for a posh after party that lasts into the night with celebrity entertainment, libations, food and an incredible amount of fun!

Circus Juventas Annual Gala
Julie Teran, CRAVE Catering & Events

Climbing to new heights, Circus Juventas celebrated their 19th Annual Gala by throwing the most exciting fundraiser of the season, “Twisted”! Gala hosts invited guests to join in the fairytale setting by bidding on spectacular silent auction items while being delighted by the talented student acrobats, contortionists, and trapeze artists. A custom three course themed dinner, free flowing drinks, a live auction, dancing, and more live entertainment completed this enchanted evening.

Culinary Innovation and/or Solution

Night & Day : A New Debut
Christie Altendorf, D'Amico Catering

Inspired by every great dance scene between Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, “Night & Day : A New Debut” was the grand reveal of a property that had been transformed from an existing broody clubroom into a brand new, vibrant venue. With the support of a menu that transformed traditional fare into an innovative experience, the launch of this reimagined space was both incredibly delicious and wildly successful. As Fred himself once said, “Do it big. Do it right. Do it with style.”

Hyatt Hotels Meeting Planner Client Appreciation
Amy Lynn Brown, Chowgirls Killer Catering

A party for actual event planners and the clients they like to impress puts a certain amount of pressure on any caterer-no matter how seasoned. When tasked to entertain Hyatt Hotels' regional event planners' and their special guests on a Thursday night last summer, we knew the food had to be just right and fit in well with a REALLY fun theme--glamping!

MN Star Awards: An Idyllic Evening
Heidi LaSalle, CRAVE Catering & Events

A culinary innovation is the bravery to create something bold and the 15th Annual Minnesota Star Awards allowed us to do just that. The event introduced a Grecian meets Roman theme for the Twin Cities event professional community to get creative with. From the decor & food to the drinks & the stationery, the Idyllic Evening showcased some of the best and brightest in Minnesota! Living up to the Grecian theme, a “Pork 3 Ways” display with Pork Belly, Pork Tenderloin, and Pulled Pork was created.

Best Event Design/Décor – Budget under $25,000

BIG Night
Jen Hansen, Event Lab | Lindsay Frank, Mystic Lake Center

On a perfect Fall evening, nearly 1,000 Twin Cities building industry professionals and their guests were invited to step back from their job sites and hit the red carpet for the “BIG Night”- an evening filled with recognition followed by celebration! Attendees were awe-struck with an exclusive experience that was built upon captivating audio-visual effects, enticing food and beverage stations, and sophisticated yet playful décor that transformed the event space into an exquisite escape for all

AdvisorNet 60th Celebration
Pete Nelson, Event Lab

AdvisorNet is a Minneapolis based firm that gives independent financial advisors the freedom to focus on their business by offering industry expertise and operational support so they can excel in their practice. The company was celebrating their 60th anniversary and called upon us to create a Masquerade Ball at a downtown hotel. The challenge was only having a little over one month to pull everything together.

Best Event Design/Décor – Budget $25,000 & over

Surescripts
Hana April Inc.

The Surescripts team wanted to create a memorable "Evening in Paris" for their 2019 signature Gala. They desired an authentic, romantic approach of how guests would feel as if they were actually strolling the streets of Paris, and turned to our team to help bring this live experience come to fruition.

Mystical Menagerie
Ryan Hanson, BeEvents

“Mystery Awaited” as guests ventured behind the curtain, into a world of curiosities and oddities. This gala event, to benefit a local children’s theater, was inspired by Vaudeville traveling shows. Our Medicine Man has just returned from faraway lands to share the treasures he has discovered along the way. Creating an eccentric world full of surprises, this was certainly a party to remember!

Morocco in Minneapolis Surprise Party
Jenn Rosen, Rosetree Weddings & Events
BeThings

Forty years together is worth celebrating. This surprise anniversary party is filled to the brim with elegant Moroccan vibes that evoke wonder, sensuality and surprise at every corner. Rich, Striking Textiles, lively colors and a warm, inviting atmosphere are just the tip of the iceberg for this private event. Guests enjoyed a stunning waterfront view, dined beneath a whimsical tent with suspended lights paired with a rainbow of florals and soaked in cozy ambiance & celebratory tunes.

Best Use of Specialty Decor

Sesquicentennial Gala
Sarah Cash-Darvell, CSEP, Augsburg University
Danielle Goettl, BeEvents Design

The Sesquicentennial Gala provided an opportunity to 920 guests to reflect on a university's past and present, to honor their leaders and legacies, and to discover their roots through a once in a lifetime celebration. To set the scene we transformed an 18th-century train depot into a nostalgic experience with the focal point being a replica of the oldest building on campus, Old Main.

Makerspace Rocket
Steve Dahl, Event Lab

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first landing on the moon, and to raise awareness about a new (STEM) learning center, we were challenged to create a Makerspace in the rotunda of the Mall of America. Makerspaces are focused on turning a generation of technology consumers into creators, developers, and innovators. It had to be a welcoming and exciting space accessible to all learners where one comes to experiment, invent, try, fail, and try again. In order to draw people into this vast

HITEC Conference Opening Party: Midsummer Night’s Dream
Ashley Fox, Ashley Fox Designs
BeThings

Midsummer Night’s Dream:Enchanted Garden was the theme for the HITEC Conference Opening Party, one of the world's largest hospitality technology conference, offering top-notch education, bringing the brightest minds and hottest technologies from across the globe. We wanted our guests to go on an exciting journey through an enchanted garden and worked cohesively to deliver this thematic piece of theater including a 360 degrees bar experience with a 18' custom tree in the center of the event room

Best Use of Floral

Cultural Center Grand Opening
Caitlin Duncan, Festivities

The cultural center was designed to reflect the indigenous nature it is surrounded by. We were tasked with enhancing that aesthetic by creating an environment throughout the event to make guests feel as though they were being immersed in nature. By using textures that evoke undulating waves, cracked earth and reflective waters, combined with natural grasses and interesting and unique greenery and floral, we were able to deliver an event that feels as if it sprung from the earth on its own.

Best Use of Marketing/Design Collateral

Patterson Companies 2019 Sales Summit
metroConnections

Each summer, Patterson Companies hosts an incentive trip to celebrate employees’ dedication and excellence. The 2019 Sales Summit was held at the Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, California and was fully branded at every turn. The look and feel of everything prior to, during and after the trip was a successful combination of Patterson’s clean and modern branding as well as the Monarch Beach Resort’s beachy, southern California vibes.

ILEA Esprit Awards
Jane Klein, Big Ink
Matthew Trettel, The Wedding Guys

As the culmination of the ILEA Live Conference, the Esprit Awards Gala is one of the event industry’s most distinguished evenings. This year the gala provided an original experience, with a re-envisioned format. Guests transitioned through seven distinct spaces, leading them on a memorable journey throughout the location. The design, theme and graphics fabrication opened doors, both literally and figuratively, and wove together a grand, fantastical style that engaged and delighted attendees.

Best Event Photography – Wedding

Timeless & Romantic, A Cyclone Wedding
Mark Fierst Photography

Rebecca and Eric returned to Iowa State Univ; the place where they met, fell in love, and where Eric proposed. Rebecca, a former event manager on campus at the Memorial Union, had a clear vision of what she wanted her wedding day to look, and feel, like. The real task, however, was not just to capture the wedding day, but to capture who Rebecca & Eric really were, and who and what were important to them. This included their engagement session, a day long affair through Ames and Des Moines.

Averi + Timothy Young Rustic Love
Jeannine Marie Photography

Averi and Timothy’s rustic barn wedding showcased the young couple’s elegant taste with blue details, vintage touches, and vivid green surroundings! The summer rain showers postponing their first look and outdoor ceremony couldn’t stop these two from smiling the entire day while they celebrated with friends, family and their fur baby, Blaze. The Sunday evening in June, wrapped up with dinner and dancing inside the barn and a sparkler exit.

Best Event Photography – Non-Wedding

United Way Community Leadership & Impact Conference
Joe Szurszewski, Joe Szurszewski Photography LLC

This biennial event brought 2000 local United Way and corporate leaders from around the world together in Toronto. The conference had a unique setup, an international flair, and passionate attendees committed to strengthening their communities, and I captured all of this with vibrant and dynamic photos that embodied the United Way motto "Live United".

HFTP HiTEC
Joe Szurszewski, Joe Szurszewski Photography LLC

HiTEC, the world's largest and oldest hospitality technology trade show and conference, brought 6000 attendees to Minneapolis to see the latest advancements and hear about trends in the industry. The photography of this event captured its massive scale, elaborate setup and signage, A-list entertainment, and ultimately thrilled the client who used words like "wonderful" and "fantastic" to describe it!

Field Leadership Strategy Conference
Joe Szurszewski, Joe Szurszewski Photography LLC

For this multi-day conference in San Antonio, TX the financial services client wanted to document the recognition & reward activities to encourage continued high performance. Whether it was the logistically tight choreography of shooting 16 different group shots in front of the Alamo, or delivering 50 retouched photos every night for morning slideshows, the photography of this event met all challenges and captured the energy and excitement of this dynamic event.

Best Event Filmmaking (Videography)

The ONE Forum
Walk the Moon Media

Be the Match approached our company about video production to support the ONE Forum, their annual conference that was reimagined and rebranded to better educate, inspire and motivate those fighting blood disease to become better equipped to save more lives. As part of the event refresh, we were approached to produce twelve videos to be shown during the conference: two opening videos, eight award videos and videos of a donor and recipient who would meet for the first time during the event.

Sydney + Michael Floyd's Wedding
Dan Riggs, Summit Hill Studios

When Sydney's fiancé Jens tragically and unexpectedly died, he left behind two shattered hearts. . . Sydney and their three year old daughter, Sienna.

This film tells the touching story of how Sydney was finally able to find true love again with Michael and how Michael was able to create a special, unbreakable bond with Sienna and make their family feel whole again.

Best Event Logistics – Non-Tent

Fargodome Gala
Andrea Bach, Après Event Decor & Tent Rental
Katiee Wandmacher, Après Event Decor & Tent Rental

Sanford Health was planning a Fundraiser Gala in Fargo, ND with a potential for 600 guests. They selected the Fargodome as its venue. Our Rental Company (RC) was chosen as the rental provider, even though we were located 240 miles away! But Sanford felt our product and selection was superior to their local RCs. We supplied tables, tabletop, seating, linen, carpet and pipe/drape. And the distance left no room for error – there was no turning back for forgotten items!

Best Event Logistics – Tent/Temporary Structure

Board of Trustees Community Dinner
Andrea Bach, Après Event Decor & Tent Rental
Susan Byrne, Après Event Decor & Tent Rental

A foundation chose St. Paul to hold its Annual Board of Trustees Community Dinner. Rice Park was selected as the location and our Tent Company installed a 20m x 40m Clearspan, installing over existing trees and a 50’ fountain. St. Paul mandated that no piece of the park be damaged or altered in any way. Major restrictions were placed on us concerning time, traffic and pedestrian disruption. But we succeeded in landing a tent in a very tight footprint while keeping the park pristine.

Minnesota Irish Fair
Andrea Heinl, Ultimate Events

Over the course of five days one of Minnesota’s largest festivals, The Irish Fair of Minnesota, was created at Harriet Island Park. The installation consisted of $98,020.40 worth of rental product including 53,325 sq. ft. of tenting.

Fan Experience - Longhouse Tent 2019
Timothy Smith, Ultimate Events

A Custom designed aluminum and glass tent structure was installed as a focal point for an enhanced fan experience at US Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis. The tent design was chosen to mimic the grandeur of the stadium itself. 2 stories of glass, vaulted ceilings and mono-pitch roof design were just some of the key features of this incredible tent installation project.

Best Technical Production

15th Annual Minnesota Star Awards (ILEA)
Heroic Productions

The 15th Annual Minnesota Star Awards, launched by the Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapter of ILEA was held March 15, 2019, at The Depot, Mpls. The evening's ceremony showcased and awarded the best and brightest in Minnesota's event world, including the incredible work of 2019’s Star Award nominees. We were there as the AV provider and Platinum Sponsor to make sure everyone in attendance would be able to see, hear and remember everything that happened at this spectacular celebration among peers.

Best Entertainment Production

Beastly Bash
Justen Pohl, Enticing Entertainment

Beastly Bash was a playful evening that celebrated the wild and exotic animals specifically found in Minnesota with a “Wild North” theme! This vibrant fundraising event was a spectacle filled with wild northern animal acrobats, flamboyant roaming characters, fire dancers, celebrity musical acts, and pay to play fundraising activities led by adorable deer stilt walkers.

Plunge
Justen Pohl, Enticing Entertainment

An adventurous evening where guests were commandeered to climb aboard as we hoisted our sales and plunged into an aquatic fantasy environment! This employee appreciation experience was filled with tap dancing, fiddle-playing, acrobatic pirates, aerialist mermaids, jellyfish stilt walkers, interactive virtual reality experiences, and even an immersive, dynamic pirates & mermaids dinner show performed on a giant pirate ship!

Gatsby
Justen Pohl, Enticing Entertainment

Feathers, sequins, fringe, swinging jazz, luxurious installations, extravagant acrobatic performances, and even a full length Gatsby dinner show production transported guests back in time to the roaring 1920s. This over the top New Years Eve Event was nothing short of a Gatsby spectacle!! As the saying goes A “Little” party never killed nobody!

Best Corporate Event

The ONE Forum 2019
Jodi Collen, CSEP, Be The Match

This event, which was completely re-imagined, re-branded and re-formatted in just over four months was a multi-day experience designed to educate, inspire, and motivate everyone who is fighting blood disease to become better equipped to save more lives. The keynote speakers, interactive experiences and educational sessions focused on groundbreaking technology, medical advances, and innovative efforts to democratize cellular therapy and provide equal life-saving outcomes for all.

BIG Night
Lindsay Frank, Mystic Lake Center
Jen Hansen, Event Lab

On a perfect Fall evening, nearly 1,000 Twin Cities building industry professionals and their guests were invited to step back from their job sites and hit the red carpet for the “BIG Night”- an evening filled with recognition followed by celebration! Attendees were awe-struck with an exclusive experience that was built upon captivating audio-visual effects, enticing food and beverage stations, and sophisticated yet playful décor that transformed the event space into an exquisite escape for all

Final Four Pre-Game Parties
Ryan Hanson, BeEvents

The ultimate fan cave. This party had it all, classic activities, elevated interactions and a comfortable vibe. Our 1,500 invited guests felt like they stepped into the ultimate basketball lover’s basement and they didn’t want to leave. Guests from all over the country partied through an immersive courtside experience, cozy northwoods cabin and interactive icehouse. The menu included Minnesota classics like a tater tot bar, jerky tasting and a s’more building station.

Best Non-profit Event

Dream 2019
Sarah Ober, Children's Cancer Research Fund

After 37 years of a successful fundraising event, our nonprofit organization decided to make sweeping changes to our signature gala. We changed the date, venue, name and format. Most notably, we greatly enhanced the post-dinner entertainment component by booking national talent and opening the venue doors to a second, general public audience to join the private dinner attendees. On April 27, 2019, thousands of attendees raised nearly $1.3 million to fund pediatric cancer research.

imagine
Char Mason, Mason Creative
Todd Pinzuti, B6 Design and Events

This university wanted to elevate their signature donor event and showcase their innovation. Our "imagine" themed event included an intimate "TED Talk" style program, a famous speaker, a roaming dinner reception, student "Innovation Stations" and live entertainment. We infused the event with experiential design elements including a giant LED screen; intelligent lighting; a glowing string curtain; custom applied graphics; virtual reality; and artistic on-screen animations. The client was elated.

Sesquicentennial Gala
Sarah Cash-Darvell, CSEP, Augsburg University
Danielle Goettl, BeEvents Design

The Sesquicentennial Gala provided an opportunity to 920 guests to reflect on a university's past and present and to honor their leaders and legacies through a once in a lifetime celebration. To set the scene we transformed an 18th-century train depot into a nostalgic experience with large scrims of historic photos and archival displays including a replica of the oldest building on campus. We carefully curated the program content to ignite energy and emotions to create an unforgettable evening.

Best Public Event

Rise Conference Disco Party
Audra Smith, Festivities

We were presented with the opportunity to work with motivational speaker Rachel Hollis for her Minneapolis RISE Conference. We worked with The Hollis Company across all days of their public event, with focuses from designing their registration area, to their photo ops and VIP party. Our participation included designing their Disco Party hosted at the Minneapolis Convention Center. We transformed a large scale ballroom into a funkadelic 1200 guest party reminiscent of Studio 54.

Amy for America Presidential Announcement Event
Jeannette Cleland, North Star Events

Can an event to announce a U.S. Senator's candidacy for President of the United States be pulled off outdoors in the Minnesota winter with two weeks of covert planning? We scouted sites, secured permits, 15+ vendors, program participants and hundreds of volunteers. After a 4-day build in subzero temps and multiple snowstorms, Senator Amy Klobuchar successfully announced her candidacy for President in the middle of a Minnesota blizzard in front of thousands of people and hundreds of press.

Best Social Event – Non Wedding

The Golden Night; A Formal Ball
Ariel Gutierrez, Augsburg University

On February 2, 2019, over 300 students of a local University dressed up in their best roaring twenties inspired attire to attend the University’s fanciest student event of the year, The Golden Night Ball. The event featured stilt walkers, an entertainer in a strolling champagne dress, many photo opportunities, hors d'oeuvres, mocktails, live music, giveaways and more!

Game Of Thrones
Justen Pohl, Enticing Entertainment

An elaborate, one of a kind Game of Thrones private party with a surprise, theatrical attack from a custom created White Walker Army.

Best Wedding – Budget under $75,000

A Dream Wedding at the Bride’s Family Farm
Melody Hall, Events by Melody

Situated along rolling hills and tall grass just outside of Alma, Wisconsin, Rachel had always dreamed of getting married at the family farm where she spent some of her time growing up as a young girl. Newly engaged and unsure where to begin, she reached out to our team of planners to help bring her vision to life and make her dream wedding become a reality. The rest is history!

Best Wedding – Budget $75,000 & over

Apple-y Ever After
Breanne Burich, D'Amico Catering
Lindsay Piram, Lindsay Piram Creative

The 21st night of September was surely a night to be remembered by the 200 guests who gathered for this sweet, classic and cozy wedding ceremony followed by a reception with dessert under the stars. Antlers from the family’s collection adorned the rustic brick fireplace, monogrammed blankets were draped over antique wooden ladders next to a roaring outdoor fire pit and a live Mule welcomed guests to sip on a Crabby Apple Mule, creating a magical fête that reflected the Bride & Groom as a couple.

Molly McElroy and Dan Ordway Wedding
Rachelle Mazumdar, Style-Architects Weddings & Events

An elegant Gatsby vibe with an air of black-tie dinners at the Ordway lodge was the inspiration for Molly and Dan's wedding reception on the shores of White Bear Lake. Dan grew up attending the White Bear Yacht Club where the famous F.Scott Fitzgerald hung out and his legacy was something to which the couple wanted to pay homage. Men dressed in tuxedos and top hats and women in gowns set the stage for the grand party that ensued in the clearspan tent filled with luxurious texture and décor.

Love is Ageless - A Whimsical Fairytale Wedding
Jenn Rosen, Rosetree Weddings & Events

True love is timeless, ageless and everlasting. This wedding was a celebration of all the whimsical, fairytale romances that many of us have spent a lifetime dreaming of.

Celebrating eternal love doesn’t have to be done in a grand way, but sometimes you’ve earned the right to have the fairytale you’ve always dreamed of. This pastel perfect wedding will leave you yearning to grow old with your forever someone.

ILEA Team Effort

Purple Party
Jim Leighton, RAIN
Leah Anderson, Echo Marketing
Jolene Ihle

An iconic blend of music, history, and local influences, the opening night party exemplified Minneapolis’ vibrant downtown scene. Inspired by five decades of artists and fully immersed into First Avenue’s club culture, Purple Party guests embodied the moment without skipping a beat. From chillin’ with roadies backstage, green room primping, a luxurious VIP lounge, to a kick-off-your-shoes performance by The Purple Xperience, an authentic and genuine experience was created for all party goers.

The ONE Forum 2019
Jodi Collen, CSEP, Be The Match
Ryan Hanson, BeEvents
Heroic Productions
Laurie McVean, Lauren B. Photography

This event, which was completely re-imagined, re-branded and re-formatted in just over four months was a multi-day experience designed to educate, inspire, and motivate everyone who is fighting blood disease to become better equipped to save more lives. The keynote speakers, interactive experiences and educational sessions focused on groundbreaking technology, medical advances, and innovative efforts to democratize cellular therapy and provide equal life-saving outcomes for all.