I love planning events- probably why I was Rush Chair for DZ back in college... and was so excited when I was president of the Student Alumni Relations group at U of L and we bid on and won the opportunity to host the Regional Conference- a 4 day super fun event... Even in my career I have gotten to plan many week long training events for our sales team... I like to throw big parties- our Halloween party is getting bigger each year, and Jake and Eli have had some fun birthday extravaganzas! However the event I have enjoyed being involved with the most, without a doubt is the Benefit/Auction for our church/Jake's school. This year I was the parent chair of the event. Parent chair? There is actually a staff employee at the school that part of her job responsibilities is to hold this auction- oh did I fail to mention that person is my sister ;) and to be truthful, I enjoy planning events even MORE when I get to do it with Paige- we work well off each other- guess it goes back to the clubhouse planning in our pre teen years!
The event was held back in late February... this is only our second time hosting the event- we only do it every other year because it is such a big undertaking. This year we went with the theme "An Evening at Tiffany's" and we took cues from the movie for decorations, raffle ideas, music, etc. Our amazing committee started planning, collecting donations, finding food vendors, designing the decor and marketing the event all the way back in July! Our first event back in 2009 we raised approx $36,000 and we were determined to do more this year! We collected more donations than we had room (or time) for! The local community really stepped up and our donation committee totally ROCKED! In the first week of ticket sales we sold 80% of our tickets and we eventually completely sold out! We transformed an unattractive gymnasium into a venue fit for a semi-fancy event!
Here is the night in pictures!
Looking in from when you entered the room- I had a crazy idea to make chair covers for all 450 chairs! (it is WAY too expensive to rent them- we were working on a tight budget) Luckily I have a great sister in law who was able to get material at wholesale (we ended up paying less than $1 per chair- including tulle ribbon!) and cut it all to size for us- and then I was able to get a few dozen volunteers to each do a handful- made all the difference in the room!
Our table decorations were pretty predictable... but looked great!
We had recent graduates of the school (now Freshmen and Sophmores in HS) help work the event- great opportunity for them to get service hours! They dressed in black and white with Tiffany Blue bowties to help tie in with the theme. We also had over a dozen food vendors who donated food for the guests!
We had plenty of different opportunities for our guests to spend their money! The SurPRIZE section was a big hit- for $15 you got to choose a bag and in that bag was a SurPRIZE valued from $15 up to $50- all donations- things such as gift cards, movie tickets, spa certificates and more!
Very popular with the "boys" was the Golden Tee- you purchased a chance to win a golf foursome at a local premier golf course, along with a new Golf Driver and Golf Bag- and with that chance you got a corresponding bottle of Bourbon- a favorite in Kentucky :)
We had several wheel of chance items- we sold up to 60 chances per item- chances ranged from $10-$20 each... we raffled off a Kindle, iPod Touch, Camera, Xbox Package, Orthodontics Package, Wii Package and a Gift Card Package
We had hundreds of silent auction items!
See I am not exaggerating at all!
We also had a live auction- we had U of L and UK packages including very coveted basketball tickets to each team. A Disney timeshare ownership, Destin Condo, and Disney Vacation package were big hits, as well as some packages specific to the school that went for more than we could have ever imagined! You can see off in the distance the classroom pottery projects which went for obscene amounts of money! Glad I got Jake's class one at the auction in 2009 when it was much more affordable!
The guests studying their programs and placing bids on silent auction items
The night was more than I could have ever hoped for exceeding every expectation we had. I can't tell you how great it was to see everyone enjoying themselves so much while raising money for our school. Other than the room being a little hotter than we liked, and the mistake of sitting a group of older guests of the principal near the door (which we kept trying to open to help eliminate the hot problem- and they kept closing as soon as we walked away!) the night went off without a hitch... The fundraising part ended around 11:00 with the drawing of the Mystery Box Gift- a new iPad (I didn't win- bummer) and then the DJ kicked in with a playlist featuring our favorite Old School dance music. When our very sweaty and exhausted selves finally locked the doors on the evening around 3:30 am I couldn't feel my feet! But walking out the door we knew we had raised over $50,000 for the school. When everything was all totalled and accounted for we brought in just under $60,000 for the night! Not bad for a little private school in a very working/middle class neighborhood! For a moment I almost wished that we did it every year- but then I sobered up and realized how crazy I was. I will co-chair the event one more time in 2013 when Jake is in 8th grade- I am already looking forward to it!
And... still waiting to hear from my blog hop winners- please contact me, and Vicki- I hope to ship your prize out this week ;) bear with me!