My team and I worked an event in southern Virginia which was one of the most attractive and creative auction themes I’ve attended.
It wasn’t a large audience — the crowd only numbered around 225 — but the decor and atmosphere was exquisite! It was one of the more magical auctions I’ve attended.
The theme was Treasures of the Deep. All things of underwater intrigue could be found here.
The dark, mysterious, quiet of the ocean seemed to come alive in this fitness facility (not that you could tell it was a gym). The basketball floor had been converted into a ballroom, thanks to the help of drapes and generous lighting.
Here are some of the elements which made this auction so eye-catching.
Lighting makes this basketball court look almost ethereal.
It doesn’t make financial sense to pay for an outside lighting company at every auction, but if your budget allows, it can have a wonderful impact on the mood and feel of your event.
The bonus of having a company provide mood lighting is that you can also have them set up canned lights on the silent auction table.
At this auction, the underwater feel was created from shifting blue and green images, projected through gobos on the wall.
It appeared as though one was watching a stream of filtered sunlight dance on the ocean bottom, then disappear, only to reappear on a different part of the wall or table.
2. Costumes for workers
The bartenders, servers, and greeters were all in some sort of costume. Some were dressed as pirates, others were in a more general South Pacific native costume.
Costumes don’t need to be elaborate. A vest and a hat often work just fine.
Naturally, if you want everyone to be identical, you’ll have to provide the costumes. But if you’re comfortable with people generally looking like they blend into the theme, some of your volunteer workers might have elements of costumes at home they could wear.
The bar, the food stations, the bathrooms and seemingly every fixture had some sort of prop to support the underwater theme.
Fisherman netting, shells, and dried seaweed were used were generously used.
I’m not usually entranced by centerpieces, but at this event, I couldn’t help but admire how creative the florist had been to create such elegant focal points for the tables.
Every centerpiece was different. Some were more traditional centerpieces, whereas other tables had collections of items one might imagine to be found on a sunken ship, like unusually shaped and dark-colored bottles. Collections of shells, starfish, and stones were scattered about the table.
For those tables with a “living” element, the predominant vegetation looked like sea grasses. Other centerpieces consisted of arrangements of unusual plants that were reminiscent of an underwater garden.
Even if one was not using a florist to create these items, I can imagine that many of us might have our own treasures from the sea that we’d be willing to loan to the gala for the effect. I know I have a small collection of blue bottles that would tie into this theme quite well, now that I’ve seen it don.
The combo provided background sound.A steel drum and guitar duo set the mood as soon as guests walked into the facility.
As a reminder, this wasn’t a beach theme … it was an underwater theme … so the music was a bit more mellow than what you might hear at a beach party. The group didn’t opt for a full-blown steel drum band, but a simple combo did the trick.