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LOCATION SCOUT

Where's the Weirdest Place You've Held an Event?

Event planners tell BizBash about their most unusual venue choices.

(Pictured, from left to right) Shelly Tolo, Neiman Rose, and Marni Fechter Photos: Mike Nakamura (Tolo), Courtesy of Neiman Rose & Marni Fechter

(Pictured, from left to right) Shelly Tolo, Neiman Rose, and Marni Fechter

Photos: Mike Nakamura (Tolo), Courtesy of Neiman Rose & Marni Fechter

The location of an event or meeting can be just as important in establishing a theme or communicating an organization's identity as the decor, food, and entertainment. Constantly searching for unique venues, sometimes industry professionals find the most unusual spaces for their gatherings. Here's a look at some of the weirdest places readers have held an event.

“We produced a black-tie gala in the food court of a shopping mall the night before it opened to the public. It was called the Ball at the Mall.”
—Shelly Tolo, president, Tolo Events, Seattle

“We took over the penthouse level of a building that was still under construction and owned by the event host. [There were] exposed steel frames and HVAC, cement floors, and attendees arriving on the construction elevator. I used all construction-style 'rope' lighting strung across the ceiling with zip ties, and we placed the buffets on plywood supported by sawhorses. The tablecloths were old blueprints, centerpieces were in hardhats. A piece of drywall created a space for attendees to graffiti with colored Sharpies. Because there was no kitchen or running water, all the food selections had to be room temperature, and we only served beer, wine, and bubbly to minimize the need to haul ice up there.”
—Roberta Boucher, freelance event manager, San Francisco

“We performed a wedding in graveyard at night. The couple had seen this gazebo when they had attended a funeral there. The bride said, 'Since we both love scary things, what would be better than here?' We made it through this strange ceremony. The bride and groom was extremely happy.”
—Jackie Piper, wedding planner and floral designer, Piper's Wedding Planning & Floral, Magnolia, Texas

“For a formal Las Vegas party—with the finest sushi and wines—imagine helicoptering guests, chefs, staff, and equipment to the wilds of Grand Canyon and back!”
—Joel MaHarry, creative director, Gourmet Celebrations, Los Angeles

“I was production manager for Steve Schwarzman's 60th birthday party at the Park Avenue Armory. The event was the first hosted in this cavernous space (approximately 38,000 square feet) since Brooke Astor's 100th birthday party. Philip Baloun spent over a year designing the party—creating two venues-within-the-venue. The Schwarzmans's living room was replicated at triple scale for cocktails and late-night dancing using rendered murals, as well as huge reproductions of their art collection, a grandfather clock, and a black and white checkered floor. A cabaret dinner theater was fabricated for the party. Throughout the evening, the stage was used by Martin Short, Marvin Hamlisch, and a team of tap dancers, Patti LaBelle, and Rod Stewart.”
—Marni Fechter, author of Royal Entertainment, New York

“Last year my team had the honor of coordinating a private event in an abandoned aircraft hanger for all board members and sponsors of the Fort Worth Alliance Airshow in Texas. Live music, great food, and an awesome setting made the night epic.”
—Neiman Rose, founder, Fête Event Group, New York

“An old industrial wood shop, which was still operational.”
—Rumyana Tancheva, event manager, Wonderland Events, Sofia, Bulgaria

“I did an event at an abandoned jail house in Los Angeles back in 1997. I got the permits and made it a success.”
—Raul Ayala, executive producer and director, My Secret Nightlife, Los Angeles

Editor's note: Some of these comments were shared by readers on our social media networks. Join our discussions on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.


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