Holiday Party Advice from Tony Conway

Dear Professor Bruce:

I own a small printing company, and for 10 years we have given a fabulous holiday party. Sales are down this year, but we still want to entertain, thank our clients and network for new business. How can we give a reasonable party and still get our brand out there? Our yearly party is something everyone has looked forward to in the past. We’re concerned that if we don’t do it this year, people will think we are not doing well or we don’t appreciate their business.


Since you have entertained yearly and created such a special tradition at your company with this holiday party, I don’t recommend canceling the party this year. There are many ways to adjust the budget and give holiday parties and corporate events that keep your brand alive and well.
Tony Conway, Founder of A Legendary Event, has some good advice:
— Give a party that makes a difference. You can do an event on a smaller scale at your company. Change your party focus to giving to a worthwhile cause and keep it simple. Perhaps a customer or community member has been touched by illness or some other hardship. Ask everyone to bring a book for a children’s hospital, cans for a hunger drive or something else purposeful. Serve “just desserts” this year to sweeten the lives of others.
— Think quality vs. quantity. Review and scale down your guest list and focus on quality. There are probably many people on the list who have not referred to your business or people who should no longer be on the list. Reducing the numbers can help you better budget any event.
— Make it memorable. Add a theme to your party. Since you’re a printer, incorporate your overruns. Decorate the tables with all the printing samples you’ve done and celebrate your 10 years of printing. Proudly display your work and focus on what you’ve done for clients in a creative way. From table cards to table toppers, centerpieces and more, your printing pieces should be integrated into your decor. It will save money and promote what you do.
— Be creative. Instead of throwing a cocktail party this year, think about an afternoon picnic or something more casual. Picnics are popular and can even be indoors and are value-driven. We’re seeing parties that used to be sit-down dinners instead be light fare and appetizers. You don’t have to serve a feast. Your guests will feast their eyes on whatever you do, but keep your legend alive and party on!

Author/Byline: BRUCE FREEMAN , Scripps Howard News Service
(Bruce Freeman, The Small Business Professor, is president of ProLine Communications, a marketing and public relations firm in Livingston, N.J., and author of “Birthing the Elephant” (Ten Speed Press). E-mail questions to Bruce(at)

Copyright (c) 2010 Scripps Howard News Service
“Professor Bruce”
Bruce Freeman, The Small Business Professor®

Flavors Magazine, Fall 2010

We were thrilled to receive the new issue of Flavors magazine!!!  The cover shot, taken by the talented photographer, John Haigwood, is absolutely gorgeous and compliments to our Executive Chef, Christophe  Holmes, for a stunning selection.  You can find the recipe from Chef Chris on page 18.  The Tiny Vegetable Crudites, Dulce De Leche Pot de Crème, Poached Baby Octopus in Black Pepper Vinaigrette and Entremes Variados are the perfect recipes to jump start your fall cuisine.  Enjoy!!

Psychedelic Floral Trend – Tie-Dyed To Perfection

Our event designers and floral team are always creating fabulous designs and once again, we added pizzazz to a recent party. Always up on the newest, latest and greatest trends, one of our favorite designs that mesmerized guests at a Mitzvah we did were centerpieces filled with stunning, jaw-dropping tie-dyed roses. That’s right…it was a spectrum of colors which burst from these roses and they were the talk of the party!! The one question everyone asked was, “How do you make these tie-dyed roses?” The answer: Roses this special and exquisite were imported from our top sources who are masters at this process and inject pigments into the rose stems using hypodermic needles. The result was a breathtaking surprise for everyone. A throw-back to the seventies, they were quite elegant with a fresh new spin. It was another legendary party that guests are still raving about and the psychedelic flowers were a big hit at the party!

**Photos courtesy of Eric Wittmayer

The Woodruff Arts Center Awards Hospitality Contract to Legendary Partners of Atlanta

A Legendary Event and Centerplate Join Forces to Deliver
Rave Reviews at Atlanta’s Premier Arts Venue

STAMFORD, CT (August 4, 2010)—Legendary Partners of Atlanta, a new collaboration between A Legendary Event, Atlanta’s foremost special events firm, and Centerplate,  the leading hospitality provider to North America’s premier entertainment venues, sports stadiums and convention centers, announced today it has been awarded the long-term contract as hospitality partner to The Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta.

Recognized as one of the nation’s most prestigious arts centers, and the only center in the nation combining visual and performing arts, The Woodruff Arts Center is home to the Alliance Theatre, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, High Museum of Art, and Young Audiences. Since 1968, The Woodruff Arts Center has served more than 30 million patrons and annually offers more than 3,300 performances and exhibitions. Its board selected Legendary Partners of Atlanta as its food and beverage solution provider after a lengthy and competitive review process.

“We are very excited about our new relationship with Legendary Partners of Atlanta,” says Joe Bankoff, President and CEO of The Woodruff Arts Center. “They understand our business, appreciate our mission and presented a plan to provide an unparalleled guest experience for each of our audiences.”

Viewed by Atlanta’s charitable, corporate and civic organizations as the region’s premier special events company, A Legendary Event’s Tony Conway, President and Owner states, “We are thrilled to join Centerplate in providing outstanding guest service to The Woodruff Arts Center’s audiences, and excited to deliver the level of excellence that has come to represent the Center’s programming. We are looking forward to bringing Atlanta back to The Woodruff Arts Center for its events and dining.”

Centerplate serves over 250 leading entertainment, sports and convention venues throughout North America, including twenty-one marquee performing arts centers. The company is known for its compelling food and beverage programs; in 2010 alone Centerplate served as the hospitality partner to the Super Bowl, the Winter Olympics, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four, the South Beach Wine & Food Show, and the recent Nuclear Summit in Washington, D.C. “We are honored to have this opportunity to serve The Woodruff Arts Center and the city of Atlanta, and we are extremely excited to provide world-class hospitality to this world-class facility.” says Des Hague, President and CEO of Centerplate.

Legendary Partners of Atlanta is scheduled to begin service at The Woodruff Art Center in the fall of 2010. Among its plans are a refreshed restaurant concept, enhancements to public food offerings, and offering an array of special event catering choices.
This announcement follows recent Centerplate new business partnerships, including being selected as hospitality partner to the jewel of Ontario the Niagara Convention & Civic Centre in Niagara Falls, Canada and its start of operations at Tanglewood, summer home of the Boston Pops. A Legendary Event was named the 2010 Event Spotlight Recipient for Catering Company of the Year and the 2010 Catersource ACE (Achievement in Catering Excellence) Award for the Best Catering Company in the South Region.

About the Woodruff Arts Center
The Woodruff Arts Center is one of the premier cultural centers in the nation, a unique institutional model where arts institutions unite to form a collaborative and inspirational environment for the arts and education. The Woodruff Arts Center houses four renowned arts organizations: Alliance Theatre, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, High Museum of Art, and Young Audiences. In addition to its role as a cultural beacon and hub of the Southeast, the Center serves as a critical economic, educational, and social catalyst for Atlanta and the region. For more information, visit

About Centerplate
Centerplate crafts and delivers “Craveable Experiences. Raveable Results.” in 250 prominent entertainment, sports and convention venues across North America—including 21 performing arts centers. Centerplate has provided services to Art Basel Miami Beach, 15 official U.S. Presidential Inaugural Balls, 12 Super Bowls, 19 World Series, key events for the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, and the largest plated dinner in history at the Alpha Kappa Alpha Centennial Celebration. Visit the company online at


Robyn Spizman is the newest member of A Legendary Event’s award-winning company. Spizman, a nationally known New York Times Bestselling award-winning writer and well known media personality, brings more than three decades of communications, public relations and social/corporate event planning experience.

Spizman’s extensive background in special events includes launching some of the most innovative first-time ever Galas, fundraisers and interactive events in Atlanta. A native Atlantan, community volunteer and nationally known consumer advocate, she has appeared extensively in the media including repeatedly on The Today Show and Star 94 with Cindy & Ray.

An accomplished writer and branding expert, Spizman is the author of dozens of books including Where’s Your Wow? 16 Ways to Make Your Competitors Wish They Were You! She was awarded the USA Today Family Channel Award and serves on the National Advisory Council of the Make A Wish Foundation, the National Advisory Council of The eWomen Network, The Auxiliary of The William Breman Jewish Home and as Camp Twin Lakes Partners Card Ambassador. A well known speaker and creator of, she has spoken at some of the largest conferences in the United States and Atlanta on business trends, sales strategies and success.

Tony Conway, President and Owner of A Legendary Event said, “We are extremely excited to have Robyn Spizman on board. Her wealth of talents in the field will be a fantastic addition to our team as we strive to provide our clients with a legendary experience.”


Michele Lend is the newest member of A Legendary Event’s award-winning sales team. Lend brings with her over 23 years of sales and social/corporate event planning experience.
After graduating from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, Lend began her career in 1982 as the assistant director of food services for Epicure Management Services at the university. Within two years she was promoted to director of food services on the Mercer University campus in Atlanta. Lend then spent four years as the director of sales for the Atlanta Catering Company and an entire decade as one of the top sales producers for Proof of the Pudding caterers based in Atlanta.

Lend joined Atlanta Arrangements in 1999 as the director of sales and marketing and became a partner in 2003. She was promoted to chief operating officer in 2006 and to president of the company in 2007. She has had the privilege of working with many Fortune 100 and 500 companies throughout her catering career. Some highlights from her journey have been working with the delegations for the 1988 Democratic Convention, The Nationwide Seniors PGA Tour, The Federation Cup, The AT&T tennis challenge, The Bell South Classic, and the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
She has served as co-chair of ADME Achievement Awards and was the 1999 recipient of the ACVB Volunteer of the Year Award. She currently holds a position on the Board of Directors for the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau. Tony Conway, President and Owner of A Legendary Event said, “We are very excited to have Michele on board. Her expertise in the field will be a fantastic addition to our team.”

The Signature of Spring

With spring around the corner, it’s time to start planning for Easter, Mother’s Day, and outdoor gatherings. When I think of spring, I am typically reminded of soft pastels, bouquets of daffodils, and grilled snapper on the open barbecue. Of course, in Texas, we weren’t as winter-weary as other parts of the country ―but we still welcomed the gentler hand of spring.
Years have passed since my spring times in Texas but we still come together with family and friends to celebrate nature, life, and a mother’s love. This year, look for nature to be one of the prevailing signatures of spring. My company recently provided the décor for a bride who loved nature. We translated that passion into wedding décor that featured a chuppah garlanded with foliage (the cover of the chuppah was made from cotton grown, picked, and ginned on the bride’s Mississippi family farm) and an actual tree stump that served as the wedding cake base. However, the most dramatic feature was the lush canopy ceiling treatment of Magnolia leaves suspended from a grid above the dance floor. A multitude of very large blooming branches created the appearance of a large arbor under which the guests dances. A host of iron lanterns ―each twinkling with candlelight ―was suspended from the grid of leaves and branches at various heights. The bride was thrilled at how we captured the essence of her personality with this nature-inspired wedding décor.
Spring menus will be bold, fresh, and organic. Utilizing locally grown fruits and vegetables straight from the farmer’s truck continues to be the most popular choice. Wild leeks, Vidalia onions, heirloom tomatoes, snap beans, yellow crookneck squash, peaches and blueberries are perfect springtime choices ― especially in response to clients’ requests more salads and healthier eating. Our Executive Chef was recently featured in Special Events Magazine for his “organic spoon-sized salads” composed of micro-basil, edible orchids, raspberry, caramelized Seckel pear, and pineapple relish with African blue basil.
In addition to fresh, organic, and creative ―“Mini” is also in. From gourmet mini burgers (photo courtesy of Lauren Ruebinstein) to cold shots of Vichyssoise ―it seems, bite-sized is the right size. “Petits fours literally fly off the trays at our events,” says Executive Pastry Chef Charles Barrett. Maybe smaller-sized desserts and pastries (photo courtesy of Ric Mershon) reduce the guilt. For some reason, serving smaller portions also seems to stimulate conversation. If you really want your guests to mingle, I suggest serving single, bite-sized hors d’œuvres.
For Mother’s Day I wouldn’t veer too far away from classic brunch dishes. Stacey Eames, owner of Atlanta’s trendy Highland Bakery says, “Our Crab Cake Benedict with sautéed spinach is by far our most popular Mother’s Day item. We’ve been at this location for over five years and Mom’s seem to order the same items year after year. I guess they like what’s familiar ― I find that to be very endearing.”

Easter fare can be a little more inventive. If you’re inviting guests, I suggest having the standard Honey glazed baked ham available so that those expecting it will not be disappointed. Do try an unexpected side dish like Orzo pasta salad or Cheddar Cheese Buns (extra delicious when served with ham slices and Dijon-styled or coarse German mustard). For dessert pick up something unique from your local bakery ―a Rhubarb almond crumble or Brazilian Carrot Cake ―quite different from the American version.

Regardless, of where you live or how frequently you entertain ― you’ll surely note this year’s bold, organic, locally-grown, miniature, alfresco, nature-driven, classic, colorful and creative signature of spring.
**To read more of the March/April Issue of Affluent Magazine, check out the new digital version!

Delta Air Lines Event

On Tuesday March 16th, most of the team here at A Legendary Event helped with a very important event at the Delta Heritage Museum. The Delta Business Elite flight attendants were in town for a meeting and we were asked to do a seated luncheon event for 225 guests in the Delta Air Lines historical hangar. The seated luncheon for 225 guests (which ended up really being for 256 guests) was focused around customer service; therefore, we had 1 service staff per 2.5 guests. This helped us provide outstanding service from the second our guests were seated to the very end of the dessert!!
The guest dined under the “Spirit of Delta” which is a Boeing 767 that retired to the historical hangar on May 7, 2006. The Delta Air Lines staff is very familiar with this aircraft as it signifies the first Boeing 767 bought by Delta employees for $30 Million. The aircraft represents the gratitude employees had for Delta, after none of the employees were laid off when the company was experiencing financial troubles in 1982. Employees raised the money through payroll deductions, and on Dec. 15, 1982, gathered in Delta’s Technical Operations Center in Atlanta to present the aircraft to the airline. What an honor it was for all of these employees to dine under such a significant and important symbol of their company!!
There were two looooong banquet tables which collectively seated 225 guests. Three small tables had to be frantically added when 26 more guests arrived then planned. The three course luncheon lasted about 1.5 hours and consisted of a cylindrical stacked salad, a trio of burgers, and a raspberry chocolate dome for dessert. Mmmmmmmmm!!! (Photo credit goes to the “Legendary” Wilward Hughes)

NEW Atlanta Social Datebook

We have partnered with Atlanta Magazine and their fabulous blog, ATL Intel, to start a new Atlanta Social Calendar. In the past, we have all tried to keep up with upcoming social events using Seasons Magazine and Facebook. Now, if you need something to do this weekend, just go to ATL Intel and click on the social datebook.

For all you party planners out there, it’s very simple to add your event to the datebook. Click on the bottom of the datebook where it says “browse the full social datebook” and click the “submit your event” tab. For your event to be eligible, the event must have a philanthropic component (such as benefiting a non-profit) and must be open to the public (for example, tickets or sponsorships should be available for purchase). You also have to be an Atlanta Magazine Insider to be eligible.

Hope to see the calendar full of fun and wonderful parties!!

Dr. Seuss Goes to War….and More!!!

We did the cutest event this weekend for the William Breman Jewish Heritage & Holocaust Museum in Midtown Atlanta. They have a new exhibit called “Dr. Seuss Goes to War….and more!” featuring some of Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss) original works that he did while he was the chief editorial cartoonist for the New York newspaper PM from 1941-1943.

The beginning of the exhibit (the first photo above) has more adult friendly historical facts and original material from two private collectors, together with material on loan from the Holocaust Museum in Houston. The end of the exhibit (the second photo above) has a ton of kid friendly, interactive activities that feature more of his current work. If you have kids, please take them to this interactive exhibit. I promise they will love it!!

The opening Gala featured a dramatic entrance with a large Seussian inspired arch and tuffula inspired trees in the existing planters.
Three truffla trees were at the center of the room as you entered the foyer. Our colorful painted bullseye panels were flanked by large Dr. Seuss graphics. All these elements made a dramatic tranformation to the room. Overall, the opening gala was a huge success with a little over 350 attendees.