Lately, I’ve seen more and more clients looking for hands-on experiences for their guests.

Alison Ross

Event Planner

Location: Chicago

Best known for our fresh food and beverage concepts, creative sweet tables, and thorough planning process, A.R.E will be your event curator and resource for every detail from start to finish. We pride ourselves on being innovators who love collaborating with incredible clients and vendors who have the vision to break barriers and think outside the box. We do not plan cookie-cutter events and always exceed expectations. From complete vendor management to customized ceremony and reception itineraries and jaw-dropping décor, we ensure every single event is personalized based on our client’s needs.

What are 2 trends in the event planning industry that you’re excited about?

Lately, I’ve seen more and more clients looking for hands-on experiences for their guests. They want to bring their guests into the party and immerse them in the theme. One example of this is a recent Hawaiian-themed milestone birthday celebration where we greeted guests with fresh orchids from Hawaii, set up palm trees all around the pool, served drinks out of pineapples from the tiki bar, and brought in fire and hula dancers to engage and get the guests involved. Everyone left with take-home items from our souvenir shop, including Ray-Ban shades, personalized towels, flip flops, and sun hats. And we did it all in nine days!

I’ve also noticed a growing interest in sustainability, especially with catering, with a move toward using natural materials like bamboo plates and cutting down on waste. We’ve also ordered plantable seed paper yarmulkes, encouraging people to “go green” when celebrating life and all its special events.

What inspired you to launch your own company in the event industry? How long did it take from initially having the idea of setting up and starting to attract a client base?

I started my career as the marketing and event director for several Chicago nightlife venues in 2005, and then transitioned to serving as the Director of Events for a private country club on the North Shore before launching Alison Ross Events. From venue opening parties with celebrity talent, corporate events, bar and bat mitzvahs, weddings, charitable galas—I’ve done it all. This breadth and depth of experience—especially my background in the food and beverage industry, hospitality, and custom menu creation—sets my company apart from others in the area. My favorite thing is to take a theme or a concept and have it flow throughout the whole event from the moment the guests walk in the door – from custom libations to seasonal menus and mindfully crafted sweet tables to finish off the whole event experience. Understanding the back-of-the-house and behind-the-scenes is such an asset to the smooth execution of a one-of-a-kind event.

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