Mirage has more than 25 years of luxury party planning and event management experience and a proven track record for limitless creativity and flawless event production.
In this blog post company directors Julia Brewer and Christian Marryat answer our quick-fire questions giving us a behind the scenes look into the working life of our party planners.
What event have you been most proud of in the past 25 years?
Christian Marryat (CM): The Autosport Awards. Held every December at the Grosvenor House Hotel on London’s Park Lane, the Autosport Awards are the world most prestigious motorsport awards and attended by the industrie’s elite. This year marks our 30th award show for them. The event has given us a great platform for innovation and it provides an opportunity for delivering truly creative staging.
Delivering a very large scale award show like the Autosport Awards is always an advanced production and logistical exercise. At the Grosvenor we work with the restriction of only having from four am on the day of the event until 8 am the following day to set up, rehearse and execute the event then break down the event. The time management and logistics are quite involved.
This 1920s Gatsby themed party held in a disused industrial warehouse gave us a large blank canvas to work from. We were able to create a spectacular environment that immersed guests in the party experience.
Taking a warehouse and turning it into a glamorous and extravagant space with entertainment and performers was a logistical and stage management exercise – a feat of creativity, planning and production. The guests really got involved and the hosts’ expectations we’re exceeded – totally blown away. This party stretched technical production and presented a creative challenge, which we relish.
Julia Brewer (JB): The 60th Birthday Party held at the top of the Gherkin building. There’s a real buzz when working in iconic global venues. This party presented a logistical challenge having to get furniture, sound, lighting, floristry, dance floor and props – 6 trucks worth of kit – up 40 floors in a 5’sq lift with a lift change through the kitchens on floor 37. We only had three hours to complete this set up and it was achieved with time to spare. Projects like this allow us to bring all our production skills into play. A fabulous night was had with an exquisite meal, dancing to an awesome band, amazing lighting and stunning views.
The Cloud Atlas themed party was creatively wild. A broad brief – Cloud Atlas meets Clockwork Orange – gave us great expanse to interpret and deliver a stunning party in a stylish way with limited budget.
What’s the most enjoyable part of organising an event?
CM: Sitting with a blank sheet of paper and an open brief, then the moment when you close the final live element when everything works perfectly and you’ve risen to challenges and had a good team involved. That sense of satisfaction and pride that you’ve hit the nail on the head post show. For corporate clients, it’s when the show builds to the finale – when the design, technology and environment come together.
JB: I find great satisfaction in the party planning process because it’s very much about creating anticipation. For many people, party planning can be stressful and I enjoy providing a solution that they can understand and that they are excited about – to crystallise the party vision. I know from feedback that the plan we present is exactly how the party is on the night which is so reassuring for clients.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced while organising an event?
CM: The Gatsby party in the industrial warehouse. It was an empty, disused warehouse and the party was being held in the middle of winter. We brought in and installed everything, transforming the cold dank warehouse into an opulent Gatsby Mansion.The property was a large area which we broke into different spaces.
The early part of the evening was styled around 1920’s New York Soho. Catering was street style with chefs cooking in full view of everyone. Gatsby girls greeted guests and a saxophonist played tunes while guests socialised and discovered dens of iniquity and speakeasy cabaret corners. Once dinner was over a flash mob routine encouraged guests through to the spectacular ballroom with Charleston displays and then dancing to the best party band in the UK.
At the party at the Gherkin we had just a matter of hours to get everything set up. We had a highly detailed logistical plan in place taking account of all eventualities, risk elements and contingencies.JB. Inclement weather can be a challenge. For marquee parties at home we check the site, understand the ground conditions and plan flooring and drainage to suit.
What’s the strangest request you’ve been given?
JB: We’ve had a request for a single synchronised swimmer. And a request from a teenager for a helicopter with two dwarves in white suites to escort him into the party.
CM: We also propose unusual things – the prosciutto and pate body parts as a grazing table in a Dexter style kill room for a nightmare before Christmas party. There was also a dead Rudolf being eaten by a wolf. And a lycra living stone brick wall with hands grabbing out at guests as they entered the venue. We like the irreverent, to thrill and to shock.
CM. The Havana Nights Themed Party. This party looked so good. And there was a really nice crowd.
This African themed 50th birthday party in Surrey had such a friendly crowd. The party was so enjoyable to work on for these lovely clients. They gave us the freedom to be creative.
JB: There’s a family who we’ve worked for over the last five years. We’ve produced the sons 18th birthday party, their family Christmas parties, a 50th birthday party and currently we are in the initial stages for a wedding next year. We are their party people and to be highly involved in all their landmark events is very special. Family celebrations – 16th birthday parties, 18th birthdays, 21st, 40th and 50th birthday parties – these are treasured memories.
Planning a party? Do get in touch.
Call 01883 740400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org