Everything is Coming up Roses
What do you do when the belle of the ball is a rose, yet she doesn’t show? That was the question facing event planner Emma Petievich a few months before the 500-person sit-down dinner for the annual Huntington Library Ball this year, themed “99 Years and Counting.”
“The event is always in a different location of the Huntington,” she explains. “And this year the committee wanted to show off a new planting of the Centennial Rose in the Brown Garden. For one reason or another, the rose wasn’t planted, but the event planted the seed of the Huntington’s upcoming 100th birthday.”
To begin the buzz around that rosy birthday, Petievich created a design in which everything was coming up roses. The design began with a pink arrival carpet lined with larger-than-life paper roses by Paper Gardens and continued with a pink-themed cocktail area, hot pink napkins on the tables, and pink accents amid a sophisticated black-and-white color scheme. Ombre patterns of roses by Jacob Maarse were placed in the middle of the tables.
Petievich is no stranger to turning any theme into a perfectly realized event, and she’s no stranger to the Huntington. She was with the site for five years until going on her own three years ago to pursue her own business. She has several annual charity events on her books, but was asked back to the Huntington in 2017 when they wanted to celebrate the library, only not in the library but outside. So she built large library stacks al fresco with the help of Town and Country Event Rentals and placed plush lounges, perfect for sinking into with a book, around.
Images by Lighting provided the lighting that year, this year, and for the past 25 years. Ray Thompson, senior lighting designer, and founder of Images by Lighting, knows what this audience wants.
“Lighting brings it all together, especially at an outdoor venue,” she says. “It’s about safety for guests but it’s also about the magic of being in a garden at night.”
The lighting this year included a soft gobo projection of a pave of roses in the lounge and on the dance floor. “We also highlighted the Boone Gallery, an adjacent building that served as another point of interest, with hot pink architectural lighting,” Thompson recalled. “And we created a structure in the garden per Emma’s design using trusses to hide the fixtures and minimize lighting towers. It also provided built-in rigging points for the lighting.”
“The Huntington is a special venue for me,” Thompson continued. “After this many years doing it, my favorite part is the light check before the event.”
The light check has become a tradition with the Huntington committee who enjoys coming by for a look and getting together with the event team for a toast. This year, they toasted 99 years of garden beauty and no doubt one toast for the Centennial Rose which, like any great belle of the ball, is starting to get ready for her big year now.
Venue: The Huntington Library |Planning and Design: Emma Petievich | Rentals: Town and Country Event Rentals | Catering: The Kitchen for Exploring Foods | Lighting: Images by Lighting | Floral: Jacob Maarse | Paper Flowers: Paper Gardens | Music: West Coast Music | Sound: Design Sound | Hedges: Boulevard Greenhouse | Lounge Furniture: Archive Rentals | Dance Floor: Barker Décor | Valet: Z Valet | Photos: Jamie Pham
This is what the garden area looks like before the event!