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Taking Corporate Events to New Heights with Mary Free Bed's Thrive Gala

Updated: Mar 26

Throughout the years, Special Occasions has increasingly been involved in corporate events, such as galas, charity balls, and fundraisers. While we love the dreamy and romantic nature of weddings, corporate events present a unique challenge, often hosting hundreds of guests with extravagant details to tend to. We love these opportunities as they allow us to venture beyond our usual scope, lending us the opportunity to showcase our colorful and extravagant products, while providing freedom and flexibility to curate a design that will blow guests away.

In October of 2023, our team had the pleasure of working with Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital for their annual Thrive Gala, which was held at Grand Rapid's DeVos Place. The gala aimed to raise donations for Mary Free Bed’s Center for Autism, which services pediatric patients by supplying resources for communication, social skills, behavior management, independence, and daily living skills, as well as diagnostic services, and applied behavioral analysis therapy. The 2023 Mary Free Bed Thrive Gala raised over $230,000 to support the Center for Autism, a testament to the community’s generosity.

Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital Thrive Gala for Autism Center fundraiser goals philanthropic gala in Grand Rapids

When approached for events like these, our first step is to analyze the company and event branding, which is often already established by the event's marketing team, and typically exemplified through the logo(s) and invitations. In this case, we drew inspiration from the Thrive Gala’s invitation. The theme was “soaring to new heights with Mary,” which featured vibrant colors of orange, green, blue, red, and gold. Aligning our design choices with the event branding guarantees a cohesive aesthetic, evoking emotions and ensuring a special experience for guests.

Crafting a linen layout for an event of this size is no small feat. After matching the event’s invitation to our linen collection, we curated a selection including terra cotta capri, gold dupioni, azure matte satin, and moss dupioni. Our goal was to create a captivating, unique, and cohesive layout, so we arranged the linens in a mirrored, diagonal pattern. With so many colors in play, it’s easy for a design to translate as messy, so we introduced white dupioni among the bold colors. The white dupioni linens laid on the tables of every other diagonal row, with a vibrant, coordinating napkin to match the solid color next to it. This maintained the branded color scheme, while also preventing the design from becoming overwhelming. Additionally, Green NV skillfully crafted beautiful floral centerpieces that matched each table. By carefully reviewing these details, we were able to execute a unique, yet polished layout design for Mary Free Bed’s Thrive Gala. 

As we dive into planning the intricate details of these large-scale events, we keep the purpose and theme at the forefront of our minds. Every element, from branding, aesthetic, space, and intention, contributes to the larger narrative, enhancing the guest experience. Bringing these events to life is both gratifying and exhilarating for our team, fueling our passion for creating unforgettable experiences.


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