We were excited to attend this year’s Meta Mixer at the Destinations by Design (DBD) office in November this year. This annual corporate event is a highlight in the calendar for the Las Vegas event community. Catering to around 300 guests as an end-of-year celebration for clients, partners and close friends it definitely set the bar high. Let’s delve behind-the-scenes to find out what went into planning this event, the theme inspiration and execution tips that can be adapted for your own corporate parties.
The Event Concept
The main theme for this year’s Meta Mixer was ‘Dream’ which was inspired by the company tagline, “You Dream. We Design”. As part of the theme they featured a variety of styles of dreams; surreal, bohemian, sweet dreams, and a naughty twist. They wanted to inspire their guests, showcasing new décor, entertainment, activations, and environments.
The theme was developed in August but there was a very quick turn-around with less than three weeks to finalize the design plans since the event was taking place right in the middle of one of the busiest times of year for DBD. The set up took four to five days with the last-minute touches for the working spaces, such as the reception desks and lobby, done closer to event day to reduce interfering with business. Extra services, such as valet parking for guests, were provided so that even though the event was held at their office it created a completely different atmosphere.
Notably, the eccentric invitation design was an indicator of the themes that were going to unfold for guests by adapting and integrating their office stairs with different dream elements (and a few bizarre additions) to create a fantasy delivery of details.
We have chosen just a few of the many highlights to share what a great night it was and to inspire your future events.
10 Statement Ideas For Maximum Event Impact
An Immersive Entrance
A good entrance can transport attendees right from the start and this was definitely the case here. A range of ideas were used to create an immersive experience and show the complete transformation of the venue from the moment the guests arrived. The reception area was transformed with neon sleep signage and custom bed to cover the reception desk, while pyjama clad models lounged and greeted guests while pillow fighting.
This created a surreal dream experience and set the bar high for what awaited attendees inside as they ventured through the front lobby to the artwork rotunda, complete with butterfly moon. Using a spherical shape gives the illusion that it goes on and is not limited by the walls to give extra immersion. When combined with the butterfly moon aerial décor that lowered the ceiling it gives an enclosed, intimate effect.
Getting guests committed to the event immediately is a clever idea to not only break the ice but interact with them and get them involved from the outset. In the front lobby of the event was an interactive wall that allowed guests to open a small door and write their own dreams inside in different colours which is thoughtful and an interesting talking point.
Themed Staff “Uniforms”
Behind every great event is a team organizing and managing it from the inside. DBD wanted the team to stand out to guests whilst immersing them in the theme to keep up the experience. In this instance, the DBD staff wore “Dream” shirts and pyjamas so they could be recognised as hosts while other staff were incorporated into elements of the rooms they were inhabiting.
Lounges are an excellent way for guests to be comfortable and encourage networking. Throughout the venue there were different lounges with unique atmospheres to suit the rooms and themes they were a part of. For example, in the Dream room there was a huge custom-built bed for guests to lounge on for luxurious themed comfort.
In the bohemian dream room there was a hookah lounge with low seating for intimate vibes and networking and a third bohemian inspired lounge for added comfort.
Varied Participatory Activities
Guest participation is the dream (pardon the pun) so having a selection that will appeal to different attendee types is important. Guests were spoilt for choice here as there were impromptu pillow fights, interactive photo props with 3D effects and custom built photo opportunities around the event for snap happy guests and to provide mementos of the evening.
There were glam stations offering henna tattoos, hair braiding and temporary lashes for eccentric preening.
For something a little naughtier there were also listening stations in the peep show room so guests could adorn headphones and listen to music as they watched the risqué peepshow.
On Theme Catering
Catering and refreshments are important and these did not disappoint with each section having an integrated catering or refreshment idea that combined different options. For example, the spread included 2 food trucks and a taco station, entertainers handing out candy as well as warm chocolate chip cookies and milk (with an adult twist substituting the milk for a shot of white Russian) for the perfect pre-bed combination. The eccentric bohemian dream room was stocked with savoury buffet items as well as a full bar. The dessert and sweets station got everyone talking though, with their quirky edible helium balloons, which were an attendee favorite.
Signature cotton candy martini cocktails were also passed around in the first dream room (who doesn’t dream about being handed such amazing cocktails?)
As if guests weren’t being entertained enough they decided to ramp it up with live entertainment that involved dancers, drummers, stilt walkers and duelling DJ’s but with a twist, taking a leaf out of the weird and wonderful playbook.
Another cool entertainment element was the “godly spectators” which were models who looked down on guests from large fabricated window frames to create an ethereal feel. Using different levels in this way left attendees guessing what they might encounter next, which was one of the experiences DBD wanted to create.
It can be difficult to transition from one area to another in the same venue, particularly when you are aiming for different atmospheres and vibes to be created but this worked well by having three different statements underneath the overarching theme. Aside from the initial rotunda and lobby there were 3 separate rooms which transitioned into each other which included the first dream room, Peep show and the multicolored bohemian dream room.
Our favorite transition was between the dream and bohemian dream room using multicultural and eclectic choices that went from a tranquil, sleepy atmosphere to a lively dream state. Using different experiences in this way is expert storytelling at an event and takes attendees on a journey, in this case through different dream arenas.
It is best (and cost-effective) to make as much use of the original venue as you can. Temporary repurposing is an excellent way to turn ordinary fixings into features of the event and DBD did this by repurposing their mailboxes into a candy wall for “make-your-own” candy goody bags as attendees left.
Custom builds can be expensive but worth it, particularly when you are trying to create new experiences or atmospheres for your event. A great example of this is the custom bohemian ceiling installation in the second room, complete with battery operated candle socks that descended.
That being said, if you don’t have the budget you can use different, unique combinations for props and installations in ways that guests won’t have seen before. The flexibility of this theme worked well here because some of the photo opportunities combined unusual props to represent the strange ideas that manifest in our dreams and it definitely got attendees talking about these fantasy dreamscapes.
Destinations by Design created a fantastic dream world and raised the bar for corporate parties. There was plenty to inspire guests with the magical entertainment and ethereal mystery they created within their office space.
We can’t wait to see what they have in store for next year!
Credits: Destinations by Design and Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas (catering).