Melanoma Foundation Gala Gets Gold Theme, New Interactive Elements

By Lauren K. Terry October 14, 2011, 1:14 PM EDT

Photo: David DiNisco

Melanoma Foundation of New England's "Shades of Hope" Gala
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For the Melanoma Foundation of New England's “Shades of Hope” gala at InterContinental Boston on Tuesday, foundation event manager Amy Mason and Mpire Events planner Megan Leavy faced a challenge. “[We wanted to ] change the overall style of the signature event,“ while maintaining its “focus on hope and joy,” they said in a collaborative email. The event raised more than $150,000 and attracted more than 250 guests.

Last year's event had no specific theme that unified its look. For stylistic inspiration this year, the duo turned to the foundation's logo, which includes a vibrant sun. The result was a glittering, gold-themed soiree. “Mpire Events developed the concept by creating a play on the word ‘shades' [which is part of the gala's name] and having the event focus on one central shade or color,” said Leavy and Mason. “Since [there's] a sun in [the] foundation's logo, we thought it might be fun to do a gold- and yellow-inspired event. We felt the gold theme would be something visually beautiful, but also a color that represents hope.”

The concept was visually expressed through Be Our Guest and Table Toppers' sparkly yellow linens, Winston Flowers' soft yellow floral arrangements, and the warm, golden lighting of Suzanne B. Lowell Lighting Design in the Abigail Adams Ballroom.

Guests sipped signature lemon cocktails with lemon candies, and the dessert bar included chocolate treats with edible gold leaf. Tall, white-and-yellow votive candleholders had quotes and facts about the foundation's work. Guests were also asked to show their solidarity for the cause by wearing gold attire, allowing them to personally contribute to the decor.

The interactive feel was furthered through live and silent auctions and two new elements: a “Wheel of Hope,” in which guests donated $20 to spin the wheel for a chance to win prizes, and a “Wall of Hope,” which showcased photos and messages from the foundation's sponsors. Last year's event only included a silent auction. With the new elements, Mason and Leavy aimed to provide “something new for guests to enjoy and [be reminded of] what our event is truly about,” they said.

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