Walking into an empty event venue, devoid of set tables, soft lighting, and decor always gives me a sense of excitement and anticipation to create a transformation. One of my clients, Girl Scouts of South Carolina- Mountains to Midlands, hosts an annual fundraising event and awards ceremony in Spartanburg, honoring local women who have excelled in their professional endeavors, service to others, and community visibility. This was my 4th consecutive year working on and at Boots and Pearls, but my part in this event began long before I arrived to set up the marketing pieces and test lighting for photos.
For some events, I simply shoot videography and photography, or run social media during the program. However, other events, I am much more involved at the center of event planning and asset creation from the beginning; Boots and Pearls is that kind of event. In the summer, I worked with GSSC-MM's advancement staff to create a timeline for each asset: event script, honoree biographies, website articles, videos produced during the event, and event advertising. Hours of writing event copy, shooting video, and advertising later, the event day finally arrived.
As lanterns flickered an amber glow, guests began arriving, transitioning from the harshly cold night into the warm and welcoming cocktail area of Drayton Mills; a beautifully open, and gracefully decorated event space. As guests shed their winter coats upon a well-placed coat rack, they entered the bright foyer which gave way to the large, open event space. With two walls completely composed of glass, and the other two of exposed brick, the warm, draped lighting provided the perfect ambiance for an evening of inspiration and connection.
Providing a networking time prior to the start of the ceremony has always been a hallmark of the Boots and Pearls event; giving attendees an opportunity to congratulate the honorees, snap photos in front of the branded step and repeat. With careful consideration to the complete experience, the event was branded down to the finest detail to remind guests exactly who they were supporting and to create an experience that stayed with them beyond the final goodbye of the night.
The pearls in the event name, "Boots and Pearls" travel back to the very founding of the Girl Scout Movement. In 1912, still 8 years before women would be allowed to vote, the founder of Girl Scouts, Juliette Gordon Low sold the set of pearls she received as a gift on her wedding day (as well as pooled the majority of her savings) to begin the first Girl Scout troop. If you'll notice, elegantly draped around the decor elements are strands of pearls to represent the history-making power of commitment to a dream. Strong, branded story elements like featuring "Juliette's pearls" connect attendees deeper to the organization and invites them into become part of the story themselves.
Girl Scouts is the world's largest (and best) leadership organization led by girls, for girls. This aspect of female leadership was woven throughout the night, and I had the privilege of writing a script that spoke to the power of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience through inspiring stories of courage, confidence, and character; with illustrations of the benefits of female leadership; and a call to action to support an organization that doesn't empower girls, but prepares girls to empower THEMSELVES.
With another successful event behind us, I'm already looking forward to next year's Boots and Pearls Celebration and the chance to invite the community in to be a part of Girl Scouts' story themselves.
If you enjoyed reading about this event, you'll love our upcoming posts with a recap of 2019 events with Taylor Brand Consulting, as well as our new guide to fundraising events. Make sure to let me know what you think in the comments below, and if you have an event you'd like to chat about a little more, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.