Jobs like this don’t come around very often for event designers. The client’s only request was to make the evening warm and comfortable for the 30 guests at this private social function at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Resort in Florida.
“There were no budget or creative restrictions,” says Marc Silverstone, who was working with a local destination management company at the time. “We could do everything custom if we felt it was called for.” Silverstone decided to use the resources surrounding the venue as much as possible, but add classic custom touches that made the event distinctive and one-of-a-kind.
The event took place on an outdoor walkway at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, which is located in the 43-acre wildlife reserve. “We wanted the event to have the look and feel of Africa, and create a sophisticated safari experience without straying too far from home,” he explains.
The evening began with African drummers gathering the guests from their hotel rooms and giving them lighted lanterns engraved with their names. As guests entered the party space, with only their lanterns lighting the way, they found a jungle-type setting with lush foliage. As they moved into the dining area, they were encouraged to hang their lanterns in the “Tree of Life,” which cast a soft glow over the tables.
Throughout the dinner, the guests were treated to the sounds of an African choir and storyteller, who kept them mesmerized.
“This was not at all a formal event,” explains Silverman. “It was more spiritual and sensual. Guests left feeling sated and spiritually fulfilled.”
Silverman, who was a finalist in the 2012 Spotlight Awards Rising Star category, recently started his own event planning and design business, Equilibrium Events.
Event Solutions magazine
by Ann Turner