A few months back was the official 5th Birthday for Distilled (24th March 2010, to be precise) but there was so much going on - you know, the usual stuff: the directors having babies, the opening of our American office... It was a busy time.
Duncan mentioned to me in a meeting that he didn’t want the birthday to go by without a mention, so I set to work devising a plan to celebrate this momentous occasion. After trawling the web a few times, I found a venue, however to their loss they wouldn’t let the bambinos in. So I had to get my thinking cap back on, and eventually found Anexo.
In the beginning...
Event planning is something I know I can do well (everyone has a niche and mine is definitely organising and coordinating a good old shindig). There’s a definite process to follow in party planning - getting a team together is generally a good place to start - and you need likeminded people who are keen and happy to get stuck in. The obvious choices were picked, and we all set to work on our assigned tasks.
Leonie was my official event designer. She calculated that the sum total of work she did on the party was about a whole week's work (40 hours)! Don’t worry, Duncan it was out of office hours, but she is sending an invoice. ;)
The incredible bunting literally covered the whole of the venue was meticulously made (whenever I assisted there were strict quality control measures in place; she is a serious perfectionist and who can blame her), each piece taking around 8 minutes in total to make from cutting, sewing, ironing and stitching.
The end result can be seen in many of the pictures, and this bunting is going to remain with Distilled for as long as can be, so if you happen to come to another Distilled bash, expect to see it again (thanks Leonie, you are an absolute star).
Sarah ordered some fantastic cupcakes for the party, made by the Little Bird Bakery. There were a few cupcakes left over which were greatly appreciated the day after the night before, for that much needed Friday fix, and there were also a great deal more takeaway coffee cups than usual scattered around the office on Friday morning :)
The Big Day
The evening went off without a hitch. Guests began arriving around 6pm, and everyone was outside enjoying the sunshine (thank you Mr. Weather Man for your most accurate report), good chat, champagne and our very own Distilled branded cocktails were enjoyed:
I looked around, and a sea of happy faces were smiling back. Now we just needed to await the honouree guests!
Heather and Suzi brought the newest Distilled recruits Rachel and Edward. Though this was their first Distilled party, they were clearly the stars of the show!
Also a special thanks to Duncan and Will’s mums, who both came all the way down from Harrogate to celebrate - we were so happy you could all be there.
The honourees' arrival
Tom was in charge of making sure Will and Duncan got to the party, and as a decoy he took them to The Distillers pub in Farringdon for a pint first. Finally, around 7pm we could all see the boys walking towards the bar, and Jamie - our photographer for the night (thanks Jamie, by the way, the pictures are fantastic!) - papped away as they got closer, and so the "surprise" was finally revealed.
I say "surprise" in this way because a few months back I had to convince Will and Duncan that giving me a budget to spend would be worthwhile to them, and since then my to-do list each week had included ‘secret stuff’ .... (Thanks guys for bearing with me.)
Leonie, Sarah and I had previously been for a free tasting lunch of the food that was to be served at the party (thanks to Craig at Anexo), and the food was just as yummy on the night.
We had a barbecue going with mini kebabs for all, and then as we all made our way upstairs, the tapas buffet was served, and it was delicious. A big thanks has to go to all the staff at Anexo - they were totally on it and made my life very easy (I am not sure I did the same in return, as I can get quite bossy when required! ;) )
... Then Speeches and Presents
Everyone tucked into the tapas, and then it was time for the speeches, which I am sure everyone will agree were fantastic. Duncan and Will expressed so warmly their love for their families, their company and their staff. As far as bosses go, Will and Duncan are a dream to work for, and Distilled really is an awesome place to be!
I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone for attending and making the party such a success, and for those that couldn’t be there, well, you missed out, but perhaps you can come to the 10th!
Last and final thing, a thanks to the SEOmoz crew for sending a special video thank-you message, which sadly could not be shown on the night due to a technical fault (not my speciality), but it ended up being a next-day treat for Will and Duncan.
Here’s to the next 5 years, cheers!