A Chinese New Year Tradition
(Click any photo to start slides. Photography by Noelle Williams)
My discerning and sophisticated clients well deserve title of hosts with the most! While Jordi & CO works with them throughout the year, their Chinese New Year party is their favorite and most grand yearly tradition that is always held outdoors on their magnificent estate. An “annual” event always presents many challenges: stepping up the bar, creating newness, and ensuring hosts that their guests will ooh and aah. Undeniably, this year's biggest challenge was prediction of torrential El Niño conditions.
Planning and Installation:
The fact that 2016 is the Year of the Fire Monkey gave succinct vision. The entertainment must involve fire...and there would have to be a live monkey! The execution required the skill and expertise of our dream team! Since fire and party tents don't play well together, we compromised with a strategic design that called for tenting the cocktail and dining areas; while the performer's stage would be left in open-air and flanked with two 8-ft custom-carved ice sculptures. The fire dancers agreed to perform no matter the weather outcome. Tent framework was installed 3 days before the event, and then the forecast called for record-breaking heat! With tenting thankfully unnecessary, we left the high framework in place and draped it with canvas tied with rough rope in the "marketplace;" and breezy cotton in the dining area.
So Much to See and Do!:
To complete the estate's transformation, the cocktail area was turned into an "international marketplace," bedecked with Moroccan, Asian and industrial elements that guided guests past 7 street vendors offering thematic foods including a Chinese candy maker that made adults and children alike watch in amazement. Our client sourced authentic costumes for all party staff including valets and Chinese chefs; making guests feel truly transported to another land. Large and dramatic Chinese lanterns were hung over the dining area; while two 48-inch crystal chandeliers were suspended almost invisibly over the pool. Six-foot high table centerpieces were actually trees, with rich, red roses hanging from branches. Cherry Blossom trees with specialty lighting were commissioned and the pool pergola was enrobed in chocolate brown fabric and hand-tied tassels, suggesting Capuchin monkeys were nearby—and to everyone's amazement, there was one (with trainer in tow)! The entertainment was of grand scale. "Mermaids" swam in the pool; gymnasts contorted Cirque du Soleil style; and guests gasped in amazement as fire dancers took their places on stage. It would be unlikely that any guest failed to try the show stopping cake, detailed cupcakes or hand-decorated cookies that were all special commissioned for the grand event. It is always a pleasure to design and coordinate this incredible party!