Emerald City Designs is one of the top event design companies in Michigan. So who did David McKnight, Emerald City’s founder and president, pick to execute the company’s holiday party? His staff, of course.
"I decided, this year I’m going to give this back to the hands of the staff, the event designers," McKnight says. "They put the entire design together, from the invitation to the event details. They took the ball and ran with it."
Still, McKnight knew nothing of his staff’s plans until he arrived at the party, held at the Inn at St. John’s in Plymouth in December.
"I was blown away," he says. "And it’s really hard to exceed my expectations."
Emerald City set out to create an intimate, modern event for its 70 attendees.
An ethereal array of trees decorated with diamond-shaped place cards greeted partygoers as they entered the ballroom. The room’s inviting warmth came primarily from 700 candles and a blue/lavender color palette. Metal and crystal spheres hung from an improvised truss system. Even the DJ was flanked by hanging crystals and candles.
Guests were seated at two long tables, a perfect fit for the 40-foot-long ballroom. McKnight notes that his company is working with rectangular tables for several clients this year: "They’re appealing to the eye, more streamlined, more modern. But also for service-they allow you to serve guests more efficiently."
The party, McKnight says, "was created for us, but it could be universal. The details were so modern."
White table linens were topped with a distinctive rhinestone-rosette overlay fabric. Along the tables’ center, votive candles floated in glass candleholders of varied heights and shapes filled with dyed water. Some candles were nestled inside rhinestone wraps; others sat in holders that hosted guests’ names along their side.
The candles were perched atop what was essentially a mirror table runner-a set of long, narrow mirrors connected end to end. As a result, nearly every detail in the room reflected another. The candles’ color saturation, provided by the dyed water, started in the center at clear, then radiated out on either side through lavender to purple, then dark blue to light blue and finally to clear again at the ends.
"It was definitely a regimented sort of design," McKnight says. "There was nothing random about it. It was absolutely beautiful."