On March 14, the ballroom at Denver’s Grand Hyatt hotel was transformed into a scene reminiscent of a James Bond movie for the 2014 ICON Gala Awards. Now in its 15th year, the ICON Awards once again celebrated the best of the best in the event planning industry.
Creating an evening as special as the ICON Awards requires months of planning and involves the immeasurable talent of many people. By the time the day of the gala arrived, no detail was left unattended, thanks to this group of talented professionals. Event architects Lisa Cook and Leslie Heins of Affair with Flair headed up the event planning team, working closely with founder and event chair, Terry Vitale. Mike Roffino of DesignWorks by Dave and Mike took charge of the decor and exceeded all expectations in bringing the Martinis are Forever theme to life. They were assisted by decor vendors Chair Covers & Linens, Charming Chairs and Event Rents. Dave Hoffman of Image Corp continued his role as producer of the event for the 15th year and VAE provided technical and audio visual support. Piper Vitale designs created the dramatic invitations and program and the escort envelopes were created by Signed & Sealed by Steph.
Throughout the evening, Marianne Martin of Real Life Portraits provided photo sessions for guests to take home a perfect reminder of their lovely evening. WonderWorks Studios captured the evening in photos and Big Wayne (Wallace) provided security. Upon arrival, guests received a top secret envelope with their instructions for the evening. The first mission was to have the envelope scanned by one of the reconnaissance agents in order to find their table assignment. Table assignments were written in invisible ink and would only be revealed to the agent by using the special light located at the top of the escalator.
Upon arrival at the foyer, guests were transported to a luxurious casino reminiscent of the movie Casino Royale. Aspen’s Woody Creek Distillers and Southern Wine & Spirits sponsored the evening’s signature drinks—a choice of three different vodka martinis, shaken not stirred. The signature drinks were served from an incredible ice bar created by Colorado Ice Sculptures. The ice bar was complemented by an immense ice curtain created with strands of ice beads. Guests enjoyed their signature drinks while enjoying hors d’oeuvres from the Grand Hyatt such as Money Penny’s whiskey braised short rib lollipops and Dr. No’s blue cheese-stuffed figs with sugared pecans. Each top secret envelope contained Spy Bucks for guests to use at the gambling tables. The cocktail hour featured eclectic jazz and James Bond themed music by Sammy & Sons. They were the first of several groups to perform throughout the evening with accolades for the entertainment going to Starkey Productions, Dance Trax, Stage 2 Studios and Taylor made events.
ICON guests were serenaded into the ballroom by the Motones singing a medley of Motown hits. It did not take long for guests to take their seats for dinner, which began with a Skyfall mixed green salad served in, of course, a martini glass. The entree wowed guests as they dined on filet mignon topped with lump crab and sauce royale provided by the outstanding catering staff at the Grand Hyatt Denver. A selection of fine wines was provided by Barefoot Wine & Bubbly. ICON guests enjoyed the sounds of Spinphony and their electric violins during dinner. A decadent dessert of pistachio cake and Cointreau-infused crushed strawberries followed, appropriately named Pussy Galore’s Gold Bullion in keeping with the theme of the evening.
The awards portion of the program began with a video produced by Reflections in Video Productions featuring master of ceremonies Ed Greene in his role as James Bond fighting villains in order to make his way to the ballroom. The video culminated with Ed Greene stepping out of an actual Aston Martin provided by Sill-Terhar Motors into the ballroom escorted by two beautiful Bond girls who helped him make his way to the stage for the awards presentation.
ICON founder and event chair Terry Vitale was stuck with a case of laryngitis and asked Ed Greene to step in and express her gratitude to all those who helped make the evening a success, including ticket chairs Ginnie Eldredge and David McReynolds. Special thanks went to the ICON judges, Steve Kemble, Paul Creighton and Robert Sivek. These nationally known event professionals use their knowledge and expertise to carefully judge each entry and determine the winners in each category. The winners received laser-engraved and screen-printed acrylic awards provided by Johnny W’s Trophies and Awards. Peggy Beck and Joanne Katz, founders of Three Tomatoes Catering were presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award for their many years of outstanding work in the industry. The final mission of ICON guests was to visit the incredible display of sweet treats provided by Yours Truly Cupcake. Guests used top secret envelopes to collect candy and cookies in the shape of gold diamonds and guns presented in an array of briefcases.
One of the unique aspects of the ICON gala is that patrons can designate a portion of their ticket purchase to the charity of their choice. In addition to that designation, $25 of each ticket purchased is placed into a drawing and one of the charities designated through ticket sales is chosen at random to receive the funds. To date the ICON Awards have raised more than $600,000 and distributed those funds to hundreds of local charities. The American Cancer Society was the winner of the 2014 drawing.
The end of the program marked the beginning of the party as confetti fell and Soul X exploded on stage. Guests danced the night away to this energetic band. From the moment guests arrived until the last dance, the annual ICON Gala Awards maintained its title as the “party of the year.”
ICON 2014 Photo Booth Images Now Online!
If you stopped by the photo booth at the ICON Awards party to say “Hi” to Marianne Martin of Real Life Portraits and have her capture you, your friends, and the moment, be sure to go to www.reallifeportraits.com to view all the ICON Awards Gala shots taken by Marianne. If you missed getting a printed photo at the event, or find other photos you or a friend just can’t live without, you can order photos on the site. Once again Marianne did a fabulous job capturing the grand time we all had at this unforgettable celebration! To view and purchase any of the Colorado Expression Shot in the Dark images from the ICON Awards, visit www.coloradoexpression.com/shot-in-the-dark.
Best Overall Event (Over $75,000): Tie - Affair with Flair for Kayla’s Underwater Adventure and Catering by Design for Harmony at Hard Rock
Best Overall Event (Under $75,000): The Workshop Events for Western Roundup Cattle Auction
Best Event Produced for a Corporation or Association: Catering by Design for Harmony at Hard Rock
Best Event Produced For an Individual: Affair with Flair for Kayla’s Underwater Adventure
Best Social Event Produced for a Nonprofit Organization: Creative Events & Occasions and Nadine Leal, Denver Public Library for Booklovers Ball—Get a Clue
Best Wedding (Over $75,000): DesignWorks for Wintery Bliss
Best Wedding (Under $75,000): Classic Creations for Vintage Carnival Wedding
Best Achievement in Technical Support - Tie: Pure Cinematography for Married at Villa Parker and Andrew Clark Cinematography for Bahamas Wedding
Best Decorating Design: Tie - Newberry Brothers and Creative Events & Occasions for Dive In With Joseph Bar Mitzvah Party and DesignWorks for Out of the Box
Best Entertainment Concept and Execution: Moment’s Notice Entertainment for Bollywood Nights
Best Food Presentation at an Event: Catering by Design for Haselden’s 40th Anniversary Party
Best Floral Design: Swank Stems for A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Best Invitation: Signed & Sealed by Steph for Play to Win
Best Photography: Zorn Photography for Leasia and Ginn Wedding
Best Overall Event (Over $75,000): Affair with Flair for Kayla’s Underwater Adventure
Best Overall Event (Under $75,000): Catering by Design for Viewing Party
Best Event Produced for a Corporation or Association: DesignWorks for Contemporary Hollywood
Best Event Produced For an Individual: Creative Events & Occasions for Dive In With Joseph Bar Mitzvah
Best Social Event Produced for a Nonprofit Organization: Global Down Syndrome Foundation for Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show
Best Wedding (Over $75,000): Alisa Zapiler, Creative Events & Occasions for Kavita and Amit’s Indian Wedding
Best Wedding (Under $75,000): Biscuits & Berries Catering for Jensen Wedding
Best Achievement in Technical Support: Andrew Clark Cinematography for Bahamas Wedding
Best Decorating Design: Newberry Brothers and Creative Events & Occasions for Dive In With Joseph Bar Mitzvah Party
Best Entertainment Concept and Execution: Global Down Syndrome Foundation for Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show
Best Food Presentation at an Event: Epicurean Group for Denver Health Foundation 2013 Nightshine Gala
Best Floral Design: Newberry Brothers for Southern Meets Western Wedding
Best Invitation: Global Down Syndrome Foundation for Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show
Best Photography: Zorn Photography for James and Decker Wedding