Not even the winter storm could keep the Friends of Rittenhouse Square from planning their next Ball on The Square! As the most sought-after gala ticket in town, the Ball on The Square raises funds to “preserve, protect and beautify” Philadelphia’s historic Ritttenhouse Square Park. Every year it’s more challenging to raise what’s needed to maintain the 6-acre park, but proud members make a point to come together to lend a hand. Evantine Design has been honored to provide event design services for the gala for 27 years, but the pressure to create a fresh and unique environment on a non-profit budget can be a daunting endeavor. Luckily, last year’s black and white “Fantasy Garden” seemed to make quite an impression on Philadelphia’s high society.
[Photos courtesy of Marie Labbancz
Entirely surrounded by luxury hotels, stylish restaurants and highrise condominiums, Rittenhouse Square Park is the beating heart of the neighborhood. Being able to watch the transformation from community park to glamorous party is fascinating for passersby as well as local residents attending the gala. But that’s exactly what will happen again this June 16, 2011 when we take over the park for this year’s gala. Perhaps it’s why we do what we do – it’s a living breathing theater production.
Inspired by late blooming dogwood trees, co-chair and event designer Brian Kappra designed last year’s gala using classic black and white elements including stunning dogwood graphic design. Scented bubbles, fragranced by Francis Kurkdjian, gently wafted through the air at the entrance to the event. Guests slowly strolled past long modern white tables holding lush displays of allium blooms in glass vases and zinc planters filled en masse with delphinium stems. Classic white place cards printed with a dogwood motif were lined up under suspended rectangular pleated lampshades. Curtains of meticulously hand-strung silk dogwood blossoms were hung in the ceiling of the cocktail tent and alternated with long strands of crystals that caught the light. Brian chose purple as the accent color and used the hue in cocktail arrangements of lavender roses and magenta dendrobium orchids.
The entire cocktail area was given a dropped ceiling using a black and white dogwood fabric. A row of hightop tables lead the way into the dinner tent provided by EventQuip.
Stephen Starr Events provided the guests with delicious hors d’oeuvres that looked almost too stylish to eat (almost) as well as a champagne station and Mojito bar with 10 Cane Rum.
The dinner tent was modern and whimsical all at once with its alternating black and white patterned dinner tables, dogwood fabric ceiling panels, glossy black dance floor and Victorian gazebo focal point. Square and rectangular dinner tables were laid out across the tent in a precise geometric floorplan. For the most part, the same “black on white” dogwood floral linens were used throughout but at key locations the same linens were reversed to “white on black” for a little dramatic punch. Five different tablescapes were used including statuesque black vases holding white silk rose spheres, modern glass vases holding silk dogwood lampshades, black trees with suspended black crystal rope and votives, white lampshades on black wooden bases and black glass tulip vases holding a mixed bouquet of white flowers. On the surface of each table pillar candles and votives were placed for warm candlelight, as well as modern glass vases holding beautiful bouquets of white tulips, peonies, stock and lilac.
By the time the gala guests entered the dinner tent, the sun had set and the event lighting was on full PURPLE! The ceiling was washed with layers of purple and magenta proving the perfect backdrop for our floral arrangements of white hydrangea, peonies, lilies and stock.
Stephen Starr Events designed a sensational summer menu that included Dancing Hawaiian Blue Prawns, a Bento Box entrée with Kalbi Style Sirloin, Lemongrass and Ginger Steamed Chilean Sea Bass and Crisp Japanese Mountain Potatoes, as well as dessert tapas served around the garden. The weather couldn’t have been more ideal, but just in case, air-conditioning units provided cool air in the dinner tent to encourage guests to enjoy the dancefloor until the wee hours. Of course, having the Eddie Bruce Orchestra on stage made that goal even easier to achieve! The 2010 Ball on The Square co-chairs Brian Kappra and Nicole Cashman (seen below) again thank the rest of the gala committee for their support and look forward to this year’s celebration!