Red Star Chronicles

Incorporating a philanthropic aspect at your next event

Posted by Meetinghouse on 10/16/18 2:07 PM

It can be challenging to create an event experience that encourages your guests to slow down, be mindful and make a positive contribution to the world and community around them. That is why including a charity element into your events such as bike building, sandwich making, house building or any other charitable activity makes so much sense.
Happy volunteer looking at donation box on a sunny day

The following tips will help you ensure your next event is socially responsible from the beginning. 

  •  First, focus on what your guests value, what the organization values and try to find where the two intersect.  What common goal can everybody, or almost everybody rally behind and feel good about?

  •  Make sure that your activity is creating a connective moment. The activity should challenge attendee’s perspective and inspire them to promote further change and create a sense of purpose. 

  • When choosing a location, think about the impact it would make to hold the event at a partnering offsite facility where your guests can see firsthand how their participation is benefiting a common goal.
  • Food and beverage typically take up a large portion of the event budget. By partnering with a caterer that shares your same values, you can ensure that the time and money invested is being dedicated to a socially responsible cause. Many catering companies benefit local communities by investing in food service training for men and women from low-income areas, supporting local farmers, and even donating leftover food to shelters for less waste.

  • If you are providing fresh floral decor, find a floral company that receives product by environmentally and socially sustainable means. Many floral companies also take the floral product at the end of the night and repurpose the pieces into bouquets and arrangements to bring to local retirement and nursing centers.

  • If any of your vendors have a strong social responsibility ethos, make sure to call that out so your guests can see how one moment can impact many different areas of the local community. 

  • After the event is over, make sure to bring the process full circle by inviting members of the community and organizations your event benefited to share their story.  Make sure your guests know their actions directly helped another person in a positive way.

Heart Give-131733-editedWhether your event is a small, intimate gathering or a large gala, using these guidelines, you are well on your way to creating an activity that creates a meaningful experience for both your guests and the community.

Cut straight to the heart. Be profound! Be creative! Be purposeful!

Topics: Philanthropy, Event Planning

Halloween: Time to let your gruesome heart run wild

Posted by Meetinghouse on 10/1/18 1:47 PM

HALLOWEEN - the tail end of the Fall season, and the perfect opportunity to throw tradition out the window and create a truly unique event for guests to unwind and have fun. We have put together a few of our favorite themes appropriate for an All Hallows' Eve soiree. Let your gruesome heart run wild!

Zombies in scene with body parts and fog for Halloween event production chicago

UNDEAD APOCALYPSEFirebreather  Outdoor EventNothing is hotter with the living than the undead. Invite guests to a post-apocalyptic escape room (located all across the Chicagoland area) where they can work in small teams to survive nuclear winter and escape zombie attacks. After the escape, host a cocktail party to unwind with themed "finger foods," festive cocktails, and event decor as a zombie flash mob surprises guests with an impromptu performance!

TEN-IN-ONE Side Show
Let your guests unwind with an experiential event evoking old-timey sideshow performances in a carnival environment. Rental decor can create a dramatic entrance complete with overlapping fabric and giant lighted marquee letters. Once inside, guests will be dazzled with live sideshow entertainment like fire breathers, sword swallows, jugglers, baton twirlers, acrobatics, and magicians. Utilize scents like nag champa subtly throughout the space for a truly immersive experience. Encourage guests to volunteer during the performances and become a part of the overall entertainment. Eat, drink, and be festive!

Tombstones scary image with blue lighting and cobwebsCABINET OF CURIOSITIES
Create a cabinet of curiosities curated by our favorite "mysterious and spooky" family - The Addams Family. Encourage guests to clip roses from Morticia's rose garden, or compete in dare-devil inspired stunts with Gomez. Visit Wednesday's "Fear Station" where guests write their fears on a sheet of paper and then choose which way they are destroyed in elaborate Rube-Goldberg style. Gothic imagery abounds with dripping candlelight, wrought iron entryways, and velvet lounges. For the main event, a colorful electric light show presented by none other than the illuminative Uncle Fester. Encourage guests to wear their darkest and most festive attire, and don't be afraid to push the boundaries with more macabre elements like displayed doll's parts, coffins, and cobwebs.

Spell book with candles and dried flowers
Put a spell on your guests and break into 90's nostalgia by hosting an event reminiscent of the millennial movie favorite Hocus Pocus! Let 17th-century colonial facade provide the backdrop for iconic witch imagery like black cats and suspended broomsticks as statement focal pieces. Evoke the curse of the black flame candle with candle making stations and essential oil mixture for your guests to take home. Gaze into the past, present, and future with tarot card and palm readers. As the spell is cast, dance the night away! 
These are just a few of our fabulous Halloween ideas, with our warehouse full of rental event decor and our talented production team we can transform any event space. Learn More  

Topics: Halloween, Event Decor, Zombies

Teambuilding & Tailgating

Posted by Meetinghouse on 9/26/18 2:00 PM

Bring the team together and celebrate your organization's achievements big and small! Engage all the senses and create an immersive experience that attendees will always remember and will show them just how much they are valued and appreciated. Bring the fun and excitement of football tailgating and the big game to your next event with some of these fun ideas!

Farm tables and sports themed corporate event with bench seating

Elevate the Entrance

Make the entrance something they will never forget, but this is true for any event. Not only does it build excitement, but it also allows attendees to put a conceptual framework on what is to come. From inflatable arches to customized creations the options are limitless. Branded with your organization's or company's colors and outfitted with messaging to reinforce your brand, this essential element will set the tone for your event.

Mix up the SeatingStadium Bleachers Inside Ballroom for Football theme event
BYOS – Bring your own seat! Engage guest before the event even starts by having them bring their own fold-up chair to the event! Just make sure to have extras on hand for anyone who may have forgotten. Another option is to hand out custom branded chairs to guest as they walk in that they can take home once the event is over.

Conversational Nooks
Utilize intimate nooks to create some inviting conversational areas where guests can casually gather. Consider using bleachers, distressed leather furniture, or Adirondacks chairs depending on the style and feel you are trying to convey.

Interactive Activities
From bags games that are customized with your company logo to a giant version of Connect Four, Jenga, or just a couple of footballs to toss, it is essential to include ways for guests to interact. Bring in the Foosball or Ping-Pong tables, or even some horseshoes for a nostalgic feel. Alternatively, team up with local artists and vendors to give an authentic game day vibe to the space. The options are endless!

Brick wall sports bar setting for corporate eventInteractive Food
Starting with roaming food vendors giving out hot dogs, and other concessions, there is lots of room to get creative on the culinary end. Don’t forget to have a popcorn machine or two. Not only is this a convenient self-service snack station, but it can also fill the room with that freshly popped popcorn smell! Add in a live chef action station where they are grilling up some onions, and you are on your way to creating an immersive environment.

Locker room setting for sports themed corporate eventEnhance the space
Enhance the space with additional effects such as brick walls, festoon lighting, gym lockers, and other items arranged to create that perfectly Instagram-able photo setting! 

In the end, it’s all about creating an experience and getting your message across. Bringing in the right partners to help with design and execution is critical to ensure the success of your event and to deliver a winning experience.

Topics: football, sports, Fall, alternative seating

Fall Centerpieces Ideas

Posted by Meetinghouse on 9/13/18 1:50 PM

Floral and food: ephemeral, wonderful to look at, and lovely to smell. Engage more than just sight by introducing fresh produce into floral arrangements this fall season.  2

Underside of Queen Anne's lace (botanical name Daucus carota) on overcast summer day, northern Illinois

Root vegetables like carrots and parsnips offer a distinctive texture in contrast to the softness of fresh flowers. Be sure to keep the foliage attached and work the bundles into the center of the design for an unexpected focal. Gather overflowing knobby gourds and pumpkins in antiqued vessels or simply place them on the table as a low maintenance accent. Ornamental kale, grasses, and squash can all bring the look of the harvest into the designs! 

Deep hued fruits like berries, pomegranates, and plums add the perfect finishing touch to those moody fall color palettes. Work stemmed berries and grapes in shades 
of crimson and bordeaux into the floral centerpiece while cutting fresh pomegranates to lay on the table. Finish off the table with naturally dyed ribbons and linens for subtle color and texture. Scent recalls memory stronger than any other sense. Accent tropical leaves like monstera and arica palm with fresh cut citrus and ensure guests keep a lasting impression of the festivities. The crisp scent of lemons, limes, and tangerines will transport guests to the lush tropics, as well as bring a pop of color to the tables! 

Meetinghouse Floral Designs

Topics: Autumn, Fall, floral