The Knot Gala: From the eyes of the planner

DAVE ROBBINS PHOTOGRAPHY - 00094

For six years we’ve celebrated our annual gala at the New York Public Library, each year bringing in a talented team of planners whose creativity transforms the space into a dazzling party. This year,  Xochitl and Mayra from AaB creates were the masterminds behind our beautiful and fun event!

We went behind the scenes with Xochitl and Mayra to get the juicy details of what it was like to be the planners of The Knot Gala, here’s what we discovered:

What was your inspiration for the theme of The Knot Gala?

I’d say our aesthetic at AaB always has a twinkle of art in our inspiration. For The Gala in particular, we were inspired by an art installation from the 2003 Venice Biennial that I’d come across on The Jealous Curator Blog by Gerda Steiner and Jörg Lenzlinger. This installation said everything that we wanted to do with The Gala–which was to take this beautiful marble, regal, stone space and add in bright, whimsical, fluid color and surround everyone with it!

We were also fortunate enough to have some extremely talented wedding pros like Ceci New York and incredible artistic ability, Luminous Designs lighting skills and Marcia Selden‘s ability to be fun and super creative with food presentation to bring our vision to life!

What was the most challenging aspect of planning The Knot Gala?

In a lot of ways, The Knot Gala is like a RuPaul’s Drag Race challenge: you are on a tight budget, but you have boundless creative boundaries from The Knot Team and limitless ability to formulate creative partnerships.  I think the hardest part was committing to a few key ideas and then bringing on board the right partners to make the ideas come to life. We couldn’t be shy. We knew we wanted key elements in large installations, so we went to Spoonflower, Luminous Designs, and Drape Kings for help. Once we knew we could execute these elements in large installations, the smaller details just helped bring things together!

The Gala falls in the middle of everyone’s busy season, so it was also an exercise in negotiating schedules and understanding and trusting that even if things fell into place a bit more last minute than we might have liked, we had the right vendors to make things happen.  

What advice would you give to the next planner of The Knot Gala? 

On the one hand, don’t reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to.  Jes Gordon had created a floorplan that we had experienced as guests last year and knew that it worked… so we stepped on that. That said, truly, make it your own party– what do you like?  

We LOVE really random, eclectic stuff – so we saw Batala NYC (the all female Brazilian Drum troupe) in the streets of Brooklyn one day and were like … Um, YES, Knot Gala!  We love tarot and fortune tellers and all of that new age stuff, so we were like YES, lipstick reading, Moroccan lounge… trippy, watercolor ceiling.  When you love it, the rest of your vendor partners will get on board and get excited too!

But more than anything, from a practical standpoint, design it, and then find the right partners to make it happen.  Working backwards definitely helped us pull it together this year.

What was your favorite part of the event? 

I loved the way the lounge looked and the ceiling and the paper flowers, but more than anything I was crazy about the entertainment!  It was a departure to not have a traditional “dance band” but we knew that  Jason at Generation Events understood what we were trying to do with the night by having it build. They provided an amazing Bossa Nova band to start the night on this mellow vibe and Batala really took it up a notch and provided the perfect kick off to a DJ’d dance party… but Jason adding the live musicians with him really made it more like the greatest club in NY than any kind of “work event”. I can honestly say I had the best time that night!  I think a lot of people did too!

Check out our photos from The Knot Gala here!

Photo: Dave Robbins Photography

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