ILEA Best Corporate Event 2021

Our DFW Grand Opening party won Best Corporate Event at this year’s Texas Star Awards! What better way to celebrate the award than giving you a whole run down on one of our favorite parties of the year.

Loot’s New Roots — DFW Grand Opening Party

How do you immerse your guests in an event experience to make them feel as though they just stepped back in time to a cool seventies Western warehouse party? We felt that the furniture and decor was paramount in lending way to this very specific vibe, so we brought in authentic seventies mod furniture (including a plush orange velvet sectional), tons of plants, vintage bars, and lots of western flair including vintage art, neon signage, cowhide rugs and tumbleweeds. We created large scale hand-embroidered wall hangings to add large focal points throughout the space, reminiscent of the ever-popular curved designs of the era. We were careful to counter-balance the seventies mod decor style with rustic elements such as traditional western Equipale furniture, woven jute chairs, vintage galvanized trash bins, and distressed wooden tables as the western cowboy culture of Fort Worth was extremely important to us to honor our new roots. 

Photography by Grant Daniels

We also wanted the guests attending to be entertained at every turn, all of their senses stimulated to create a long-lasting memory of the evening. From the moment the guests were greeted with warm smiling faces, they were asked to use their creativity to draw their best state of Texas and tape it to the wall inside the entry for a chance to win prizes from local Fort Worth businesses. The Nag Champa incense filled the air inside and out with a sweet earthy smell of sandalwood and patchouli, providing party-goers with a feeling of nostalgia and familiarity. Upon stepping foot into the outdoor space, a seventies VW bus converted into a bar from HD Liquid Catering offered patrons a refreshing champagne cocktail and a local favorite food truck, Magdalena’s served up authentic tacos and churros. At the entrance of building, a friendly longhorn bull named “Tex” awakened their senses as it stood regally with its horns spanning six feet wide. Tunes of live local musicians invited guests inside and familiar songs put smiles on their faces and pep in their step. As they entered the space, they were delighted to see a video projected on the wall, a piece of art in itself, capturing the spirit of the theme. They touched the handmade wall hangings and marveled at their textural beauty. The click-and-clack of a pre-war industrial sewing machine, pounding away in a corner piqued their curiosity and drew them further in to discover a display of custom designed bandanas which were free for the taking. Guests could then choose to have local artist, Daniel Wright from W Durable Goods chainstitch their name or short saying onto the corner if they desired, creating a personalized souvenir to remember the evening. As patrons continued to explore the space, they would discover two more bars, generously sponsored by HD Liquid Catering, each with its own flair – one serving different variations of a margarita and another serving a mean old fashioned. A live paella cooking demonstration by a local chef, courtesy of Magdalena’s took over a corner of the space and filled the air with excitement. Servers floated around the party, passing delicious bites, catered by Magdalena’s, such as gourmet chicken flautas and butternut squash empanadas. After a twirl and a two-step on the dance floor, peach cobbler from Uncle Willie’s Pies hit the spot and gave the feeling of true Texas hospitality.

At the end of the evening, Loot’s co-founders Anna and Rhoda threw darts at the comical drawings of Texas, which were hung up on the wall by the party-goers. Where the darts landed, the winners were chosen, each taking home a very coveted prize by our favorite local businesses. Our “Fort Worth Faves” included things like a one night stay at Hotel Drover, a handmade leather pouch from W Durable Goods, coffee from Race Street Coffee, a generous gift basket from Silver Star Spirits, bath and kitchen favorites from local lifestyle brand Winton & Waits and a huge tote bag from Morgan Mercantile filled to the brim with local Fort Worth merch. If guests weren’t so lucky to get their Texas darted, they still walked away winners with a thoughtful gift from yours truly – Palo Santo incense sticks and a custom made terracotta ashtray wrapped up in a pretty muslin bag, an ode to our signature scent. 

Challenges We Overcame

The custom tapestries were a DIY project with materials found at the local craft store. We needed something large scale that would make an impact in the large white warehouse space and decided to take things into our own hands after coming up short with ready-made options available. 

Live plants were a huge part of the design vision to bring in a relaxed seventies vibe. However, live plants were extremely expensive to purchase, so we used faux plants that we had available in our rental collection mixed in with just a few live plants to give a realistic look. Guests couldn’t tell the difference unless they actually got up close and felt the leaves. 

We needed lots of ambient light in the space to create a warm, relaxed atmosphere. In addition to the uplighting provided by DFW Parties, we installed tons of pendant lights and did the wiring ourselves with smart outlet plugs and tons of white extension cords, concealing them as best we could to maintain the light and airy atmosphere. We also painted hogwire fence panels white to blend into the ceiling and used that to hang clusters of lights. The metal hogwire grate held up all of the extension cords and power strip, which we were able to hide with large dried floral installations, courtesy of Kristen McCurdy.

Our space was also a challenging aspect. With 300 people expected to attend, we had to get creative with our 3,000 square foot showroom space to accommodate that many people. Luckily, our parking lot served as an amazing outdoor area where we were able to provide mixture of reclaimed wood walls, hedge walls and a large cabana to completely block off the street, create a luxurious entry for guests, and give the feeling of a completely private party environment for guests mingling outside. Guests commented that they felt they were entering an exclusive restaurant!

Video by Jordan Jeanty Studios

All and all, we had an absolute blast at our DFW Grand Opening and are so thankful for everyone who to came to support us. Lastly, it wouldn’t have been possible without our amazing sponsors who helped us bring this vision to life.

Space, Rentals + Design: Loot Rentals | @lootrentals 

Photos: Grant Daniels | @grantdaniels

Video: Jordan Jeanty | @jeantystudios

Florals: Kristen McCurdy | @kristenmccurdystudio

Drinks: HD Liquid Catering | @hdliquidcater

Food: Magdalena’s Catering | @magdalenastx

Cobbler: Uncle Willie’s Pies | @unclewilliespies

Stage Lighting + Sound + Video Projection: DJ Rod Baker | @djrodiii

Tunes: Hunter Cox | @huntergcox and Bubba Bellin | @bubbabellinmusic

Chainstitchin’: W Durable Goods | @wdurablegoods

Tex the Longhorn: Charlotte’s Texas Longhorns for Hire

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