Temperatures in Palm Springs and other desert cities are breaking records this summer, topping out at more than 120 degrees. But Chad Gardner, one of the area’s top event planners and caterers, isn’t breaking a sweat. His companies Chad Gardner Presents, and Dash and a Handful produce corporate events and charity galas for a long list of clients, including Pandora, Calvin Klein, Toyota, Nike, Twitter, VH-1, the Human Rights Campaign and the Annenberg Center at Sunnylands.

Gardner is a pro at keeping things cool when he’s staging events in August and September. Here are some of his tips.

Kitchen SetupWhen setting up a kitchen for our events we make sure to incorporate a cooling system for our staff and use white tenting instead of black to reduce the heat within the tent.

HydrationHydration is key for both the staff and the event attendees. During the setup process, we tent the area with popups or umbrellas to keep staff cool and have water stations set up from the moment staff arrive on site to the moment they leave.

Misting SystemsWhether they’re freestanding or hanging from the tenting, misting systems cool ambient temperature by 10-15 degrees.

FlowersWhen picking flowers for hot days, avoid delicate flowers like peonies. Additionally, flowers should be placed just before the guests arrive. No flowers should be loose without a vessel and water source as hot weather will cause them to wilt before the event concludes. Vining, or loosely tied garlands, is a great alternative and allows for plants such as eucalyptus.

Sample menuThe only warm item on one of his recent dinner menus is the chicken breast. It’s meant to be a cooling menu, designed specifically for the heat of Palm Springs’ summer.

First course

Chilled sweet potato gazpacho, cojita cheese and tortilla strips

Entrée

Cilantro lime glazed grilled mesquite breast of free-range chicken

Chilled spiced seasonal vegetables

Israeli couscous salad, grilled white corn, fresh basil, clementine vinaigrette

Desert

Assorted miniature sweets served family style

Chilled desert wine

The times they are a-changing, and that has never been truer than when it comes to selecting an A/V partner and deciding whether the in- house A/V vendor or an outside third-party provider is the right partner for you. Due to advancements in technology, lighting and other A/V equipment that has come down in price, planners are now finding op- portunities to use previously out of budget technology with a much more palatable price tag. 

 

Retreats and off-site meetings present wonderful opportunities for groups to collaborate, strategize and build relationships away from their normal office environments. With proper planning, these sessions can be highly effective and even pivotal in setting a new direction. However, off-sites may present some unforeseen challenges that can quickly deflate the energy in the room if not anticipated and addressed in advance.

 

No matter the scope or size of an event, it’s best to have some sort of common thread that ties everything together. This can be accomplished using décor, lighting, food, floral and even music.
 
It’s when you don’t have a cohesive look that the attendee experience can feel disjointed and not provide the outcomes you set out to achieve.