Despite weddings being an absolute thrill for me, I’ve always wanted to put together a big, prestigious event, so that I can get more experience and see my work from a different perspective. My wish was granted and I got a completely unbelievable inquiry. A prestigious gala evening for a significant Czech company for their 80th celebration of existence. Location: Spanish Hall, Prague Castle, for 300 guests.First I needed to pinch myself, as there aren’t more prestigious locations for events than this hall. But then I told myself that luck favors the prepared and that we’d better get to work.Even though it isn’t a wedding, it’s still a very similar event in terms of organization and I’d like to use it to show you our successes and that we are capable of organizing big, grand, luxurious events, basically anywhere.
Organizing a Gala evening and wedding have a lot in common, but in many ways, they differ diametrically. Our experience of planning everything in great detail and dealing with every single detail paid off. This isn’t typically needed for company events. On the other hand, we lacked experience with the tech-side of things, including the sound and lighting, directing and creating a minutes program, which was absolutely necessary for this event and we had to learn and use all of this in the field.
First, we chose the suppliers, we needed the tech, catering, decoration, printed materials, artists, a moderator, hostesses and we needed to communicate with the client and the authorities in Prague castle. We chose a classic décor, one that would accentuate the uniqueness and beauty of the Spanish hall. The music was from the thirties, the genre fits the atmosphere perfectly.
Then, we started working with the graphic artists on the invitations and other things like name tags, menus, the welcome board, seating, etc… Everything was coordinated into white-golden shades and they use the letterpress printing method, which has a luxurious and high-quality look.
Decorating the hall wasn’t easy, because it is heavily decorated with white and golden ornaments and we didn’t want to over-do it.
We were told classic and luxurious.In the end, we chose a combination of tall and short arrangements, which give a more balanced impression in such a large place, rather than using just tall goblets. Everything was complemented with luxurious menus, name tags and golden Chiavari chairs. To lay out the table we chose classic porcelain, crystal glass jacquard tissues and complimented it all with many candles, which created a unique, un-repeatable atmosphere.
The biggest challenge for us was the program, lighting and sound, so we approached a professional company that deals with these events and was able to deliver everything needed.
The production itself was very challenging, lasting 24 hours and involved 150 people we coordinated. Since the availability of the Spanish Hall is very complicated and there are strict and security rules, we have divided into several groups.
I came up with the first group, a production company providing technology, at 5 am. We passed the security check; of course, everyone had to be reported in advance.
For the first 2 hours, several trucks were unloaded with equipment, sound, lighting, etc., and everything was installed for the next 87 hours.
Around seven o’clock the catering arrived and laid out other trucks with food, furniture and inventory. Since there is only one freight elevator to the Spanish Hall, the organization of the logistics was quite challenging.
Next came florists who came with one truck and started moving and installing.
Everything was going on at the same time; everyone was preparing and installing their equipment.
At around 2 pm, the sound and directing test began.
We created a detailed minute program. It was very hard to estimate how long the speeches would take, we had to measure the duration of each performance, moderator blocks and music performances.
Melody makers from Ondřej Havelka were invited as the main band, he and his son moderated the whole event, in English and Czech. Then Alexandr Hemala took the stage.The program was embellished with dance performances and a fashion show. The golden nail was the opera performance by Štefan Margita, of course, the speeches and handing over prizes took place as well, as per the client’s program.We were honored by the visit of both first ladies, former and current.We created various snippets, so-called gingles, which complemented the whole atmosphere and a special company video.
The atmosphere of the evening was stupendous. The food and service were fantastic, I knew that I could rely on catering. The directors did their part as well, basically, our estimates were on point and we were ready to deal with some small delays. The client was thrilled with our work and the guests’ reactions were more than positive.
Even the first lady said they hadn’t had such a beautiful décor in the Spanish hall before.
The evening accompanied by strict security measures as well. There were many ambassadors present with their own guards and top-level state representatives. This meant the hall was investigated with a specially trained dog. The protocol had to be adhered to, it was part of the program.
A big thanks not only to our suppliers but also to my fantastic colleagues, without them I would never have been able to put together such an event. We did leave utterly exhausted, but we had a great feeling from doing a fantastic job.
Even Bára came along, pretty much immediately after having given birth. Little Adinka accompanied us at the gala evening, she was 2 months old at that time.Last of all, I left Prague castle at 5 in the morning the following day, it was an absolutely amazing 24 hours, it was fascinating to watch the curfuffle and how so many people work together like a large, fine-tuned machine.
And what did our client have to say? He sent us this beautiful letter, which made us really happy!
Production and concept: Boutique weddings, Event Affairs
Photo: Helena Szmigielová
Catering: Zátiší group
Directing and technic: Yventech
Florist: Natural Flowers
Music: Ondřej Havelka and his Melody makers
Solo entertainment: Štefan Margita with pianist Kateřina Bachmanová
Speakers: Ondřej Havelka St., Ondřej Havelka ml., Alexandr Hemala