15th Annual NICE Awards

The 2016 NICE Awards were a night to remember! This year’s NICE Awards were especially exceptional as we were celebrating the 15 year anniversary of the partnership with the Chicago chapters of the International Special Events Society (ISES) and the National Association of Catering and Events (NACE). This awards show celebrates the best of the best in the Greater Chicago market for events happening between December 1, 2014 and November 30, 2015.  Thanks to the help of BizBash Media and countless volunteers who helped spread the word, we sold out for the event and had a packed house. 

The NICE Awards were located at 19 East, a fun and modern venue in the South Loop neighborhood of Chicago.  The theme was the Wizard of Oz and guests were greeted by VIP Valet who was offering valet and coat check services.  Guests then entered a marquis tent provided by Arena Americas and were led to registration.  The event began where the story of the Wizard of Oz begins – in Kansas.  Yanni Design Studio did amazing décor showcasing tornadoes and a rustic color scheme.  AFR Event Furnishings provided beautiful lounge settings in muted colors to further the theme of Kansas.  Frost Chicago decked out the walls with amazing uplighting and even had clips from the Wizard of Oz scrolling on the walls.  Food for Thought welcomed guests with a featured cocktail named Toto’s Twister and a variety of passed hors d’ oeuvres.  The tables and chairs were provided by M&M The Special Events Company, the tabletop and stage were provided by Hall’s Rental and the linens were provided by BBJ Linen.  BeatMix Music welcomed guests with an amazing cocktail trio to keep everyone entertained.  All of these amazing companies worked together to extend the Kansas theme throughout the Cocktail Hour.

Guests then moved to the Alumina Room of 19 East for the Awards Ceremony.  The theme for this room was Munchkin Land and Event Creative provided amazing décor in bright colors and a yellow brick road photo backdrop for all of our award winners.  Classic Party Rentals provided the Chameleon award chairs with bright seat pads in hot pink, yellow, lime green, turquoise and white.  Drape Kings provided the perfect backdrop to the awards with drape in yellow, purple and lime green.  An amazing yellow chair was provided by AFR Event Furnishings for our fantastic Voice of God (aka MC for the night), Becca Kaufman of BeatMix Music.  Becca and her team also provided really fun music cues throughout the awards program.  With the addition of an amazing white stage from Frost and some spectacular up-lighting and other elements also from Frost, the room definitely showcased Munchkin Land. 

While the awards were taking place, we had amazing volunteers flipping the cocktail hour space for the grand reveal for the dinner portion of the evening. The back two spaces of 19 East were transformed in spectacular fashion to The Emerald City.  Yanni Design Studio, Event Creative and Frost outdid themselves in the décor department with amazing décor elements.  Clear vases etched with emerald buildings, giant Oz backdrops, white “building” backdrops lit with emerald lighting, images cast on the walls and beautiful centerpieces all created the feeling of The Emerald City.  The furniture from AFR Event Furnishings and the linens from BBJ Linen also helped transform the space.  Actors Gymnasium had the Tin Man, Dorothy and an amazing juggling acrobat roaming through the space to further the theme.  The drinks and food were plentiful from Food for Thought.  The Ruby Slipper was served at the bar out of an amazing ruby glass from Hall’s Rental.  There were three interactive food stations around the room built on custom tables from Food for Thought and fun buffet pieces from Hall’s Rental.  Roaming carts came around later in the night with delicious petite sweet options.  Guests enjoyed a photo booth provided by Shutterbox Photo Entertainment that printed the pictures directly on site with the NICE Awards logo as a fun takeaway.  Magnificent Events provided amazing entertainment with The Walkin’s doing a full set on stage. The entire event was captured by Gold Grid Studios and TWA Photography.  See below for some amazing pictures captured by our photographers. 

The NICE Awards could not exist without the generosity of all of our amazing sponsors and the countless hours of work from our volunteers.  Please consider working with any of the above companies for your next event.  For a full list of sponsors, award categories and winners, please check out the NICE Awards website created by Idea Marketing Group – Chicago is an amazing market for the Event Industry and we can’t wait to see who submits their event for a NICE Award next year.  


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