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I am never the last one to leave a party. Never! I have even informed Mr. Mark the Fiancé not to expect me to stay at our wedding reception past 10 p.m. So what was it about the 10th Anniversary Party for the InterContinental Toronto Centre that had me rocking on to the bitter end? What is it that makes a good party?
It’s important to find out because Mark and I are in the throws of planning our own small affair – welcome to our Black Hole of Wedding Reception Planning angst. By dissecting the InterContinental Toronto’s successful celebration, what can we learn?
Important party element #1: Balloons
Chic up those tired old balloon bouquets by blowing them up big, keeping them monochrome and hanging them high. (And here I was going to make twisty balloon horsey centrepieces.)
Important Party Element #2: Setting
Azure Restaurant & Bar off the InterContinental Toronto’s lobby gets top marks for style, dramatic walls of glass and steel and a prime Front Street location. But there’s more to party planning than balloons and a sleek locale. Let’s look further shall we?
Important Party Element #3: Music!
The InterContinental Toronto had DJ Filthy Gorgeous from Love What You Hear playing and it was music to our ears, especially to the ears of Mark and me who are currently embroiled in figuring out our own iPod wedding reception music playlists. And no, amidst all of our endless iPod strategizing we have yet to download a single tune, or even figure out how.
The good thing is, if we can’t cope with that hurdle, we have Filthy Gorgeous’s card. The bad thing? A DJ doesn’t fit in our wedding budget. (Oh, save me. Does this mean we have to reduce our guest list again? No! No! No! No!)
Important Party Element #4: The Guest List
Really, is there anything more vital than people? The InterContinental Toronto had an excellent mix. In addition to hotel bigwigs including Lewis Fader, VP Operations at InterContinental Hotel & Resorts Eastern US and Canada; InterContinental Toronto Centre owner Drew Coles and General Manager Alexi Hakim …
… some of my favourite travel writing peeps were there, such as National Geographic Traveller of the Year Heather Greenwood Davis, who, despite her success still talks to the little people. You’re so good to us, Heather.
Vivian Vassos, Executive Editor at Zoomer Magazine, was there looking as if she was leaning in for a kiss, attracted no doubt, by Lucy Izon of CanadaCool.com’s 51,000 Twitter Followers.
Kidding! They were looking dreamy because of all the stylish updated rooms at the InterContinental Toronto, and I highly recommend Room 2300.
Obama was there -always a party favourite.
Okay, okay. He wasn’t actually there when we were. Obama stayed at the InterContinental Toronto during the G20. Rumour has it that the InterContinental is the only hotel in Toronto that offers secure underground access (correct me if I’m wrong) and is therefore perfect when trying to avoid attention. I’ll keep that in mind when I’m famous.
Important Party Element #5: Food
The were appetizers aplenty. The bison station particularly was a huge hit. Unfortunately, as social media takes over the travel writing world, people spend more time Tweeting and Instagramming about food rather than eating it.
But not Adrian Brijbassi of Vacay.ca (see above) who still appreciates cuisine the old fashioned way, by putting it in his mouth. (FYI: Adrian has just taken on a huge new role working for the Canadian Tourism Commission in the area of Social Media and Advocacy, so congrats, Adrian!) It seems there were many things to celebrate that night, including my sister’s birthday, but as she wasn’t there, it fell upon me to celebrate for her. You’re welcome.
It’s the mix that counts. When it comes down to it, a successful party is not created by one thing alone. The magic happens when all the elements come together, and a community is united, a hotel is celebrated and … photo bombing overtakes reason.
Speaking of which, my question for you, Tim (above) is: when did photo bombing become the new black? And you Nicola Blazier, PR diva (see below). You have something to answer for.
And Adrian, what are you doing hugging that strange woman? Oh, wait. It’s Julia Pelish, my wedding-photographer-to-be and your lovely wife. Carry on.
Important Party Element Summation
So what can we learn from the success of the InterContinental Toronto Centre’s 10th Anniversary Party? My takeaway comes down to the basics. I learned I need bison, a DJ and a wedding planner with access to big black balloons.
Facts about the InterContinental Toronto Centre
A place with a convenient location: The hotel is minutes from Union Station and connected to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Perfect for those visiting for the upcoming Toronto International Art Fair.
A place with a history: The site of the hotel was once the site of the residence of Bishop Strachan, the first Anglican Bishop of Toronto.
A place with a view: Ask for a room that overlooks Lake Ontario. Stellar! (May I once again recommend Room 2300?)
A place with a … goose?: Wall hangings of gold-toned Canadian geese in updated rooms were inspired by artist Michael Snow, sculptor of Flightstop, the statement-making installation of flying geese in the Toronto Eaton Centre atrium.
The InterContinental Toronto Centre is at 225 Front Street West.