The AIME Welcome Reception, hosted by the Melbourne Convention + Visitors Bureau (MCVB) and supported by Reed Travel Exhibitions, was held at the opulent Melbourne Pavilion – one of Melbourne’s newest business events venues, located in the inner city suburb of Flemington (also home of the Melbourne Cup). One of the city’s best kept secrets, the Pavilion, is set in a heritage-listed, art deco former factory, complete with huge timber trusses and a massive spanned ceiling. The venue has been refurbished to exude contemporary luxury and style with crystal chandeliers, innovative lighting, modern furnishings and the highest quality fixtures.
The evening was orchestrated by MCVB, with impeccable catering, theming and décor by leading Melbourne catering and design companies, The Big Group and The Design Depot respectively. More than 2000 guests gathered at the Melbourne Pavilion to experience the city’s renowned hospitality and sense of style.
The enormity of the venue allowed MCVB, The Big Group and The Design Depot to be able to provide a number of different experiences for their VIP guests, based around the over-arching theme that Melbourne comes alive after dark. Guests arrived through a large outdoor area that reflected its largely urban industrial setting, with massive wooden crate bars and market umbrellas. Upon entry, the space was divided into the following areas:
- The Imperial Kingdom – a regal space featuring dozens of bamboo lanterns, bags of rice, a rickshaw and decorated in hues of red and gold, featuring elegantly dressed staff in traditional satin Cheongsam.
- Melbourne’s Laneways – a long narrow laneway with a beautiful exposed brick wall offered guests banquettes for seating and little touches of Melbourne’s famous city thoroughfares, including wait staff in Melbourne’s traditional black.
- The Oyster and Vodka Bar – located in the centre of the main venue space was an eye-catching, illuminated bar filled with ice and bounty from the sea, with servers in crisp, white uniforms.
- Enoteca Cipriani – located on a tiered, elevated side of the main room, Enoteca was a slick and sophisticated Manhattan–Italian style dining experience, offering views on to the dance floor and stage area.
- Rooftop Bar – an outdoor space mirroring some of Melbourne’s coolest roof top bar spaces was a place to chill out, sit back and chat with friends, or make new ones.
- Cake Shop – Modelled on the inviting and abundant windows of Acland Street’s famous cake shops, the area made guests forget about the calories and indulge in dozens of varieties of petite fours, tarts, sponges and other international delicacies.
- Café – Expert Melbourne baristas steamed up the cappuccino machines and served-up Lavazza café latti, espressi and macchiati in style, complete with winning smiles and delicious biscotti.
- Champagne Bar – Offered guests a relaxed and inviting atmosphere with a touch of style and elegance.
The Big Group is one of Australia’s largest privately owned catering companies. A dynamic leader in the quality food business, The Big Group is recognised for its original ideas and excellence, a result of strategic vision and a dedication to want to be at the forefront of innovation. The point of difference is the company’s national and international expertise in orchestrating events.
Seven food stations served up the following delectable cuisine:
- Canapés on Arrival: sweet corn + cauliflower fritter with avocado salsa; wasabi cured salmon wrapped in nori with a white miso kupi; truffled potato cake with beef carpaccio + watercress cream; and cape seed pillow with pea, mint + feta omelette + tarragon salsa verde
- Imperial Kingdom: teacups of hot + sour prawn, ginger +Asian greens soup; beef siu mai; chicken wasabi + peanut dumplings; char sui pork dumplings; green vegetable + water chestnut dumplings; cones of crisp lotus root with chili salt; and coconut poached chicken with snow pea, bean shoots, Vietnamese mint + crisp shallot salad
- Melbourne’s Laneways: paella; papatas bravas; jamon + manchego croquettes; and churros
- Oyster Bar: freshly shucked oysters with lemon + lime cheeks, red wine + shallot dressing, burnt orange vinaigrette, salmon pearls, and cracked pepper
- Enoteca Cipriani: orecchiette pasta salad with basil, parsley, broccoli, toasted pine nuts + a creamy lemon parmesan dressing; and penne bolognaise with black olives, shaved parmesan + fresh Italian herbs
- Rooftop Bar: croque monsieur; finger sandwiches of citrus poached chicken + herbs, ribbons of cucumber and chive crème fraiche
- Melbourne Cake Shop: bite-sized desserts including mini vanilla cupcakes; macaroons; lamingtons; chocolate éclairs; lemon curd tartlets; chocolate; peanut butter mousse + salted praline tartlets; triple chocolate brownies; banoffe pies; flourless orange cakes; chocolate + mascarpone mousse layer cakes; toffee apple + custard tarts; and mini strawberry tartlets
Wherever possible, produce was Victorian grown and sourced.
From the moment they arrived, guests were entertained, pampered and treated to first-class hospitality.
Key entertainment acts included:
- The Sarah Jane Amerlight Quartet – courtesy of 1E One Event.
- Dr Disco – the in-house DJ for the Melbourne Pavilion.
- The world-renowned corporate and concert act “The Rat Pack’s Back” (now in its 10th year) courtesy of SMA Entertainment by Design, Australia’s leading feature entertainment producer for the corporate and concert arenas. “Dino, Sammy, and Frank” had the crowd swaying, swooning and singing along to their sweet tones and memorable tunes.
- Melbourne’s own “Reverend Funk and the Horns of Salvation,” a 12-piece big band, courtesy of 1E One Event, brought down the house with their funk, soul and cool classics.
- A Vintage Photo booth – based on the original New York photo booths of the 1920’s, but loaded with state-of-the-art digital imaging and printing technology, the booth provided unlimited photographs and instant prints for guests to take home.
The Night in Numbers
- More than 2200 guests enjoyed the Welcome Reception
- More than 500 Hosted Buyers were in attendance
- 60 of the world’s media were present
- 150 catering and bar staff assisted
- Nine amazing food and décor experiences
- 8800 canapés on arrival
- 4500 glasses of champagne
- 2000 freshly shucked oysters
- 3500 shots of vodka
- 2200 Spanish churros donuts
- 10,000 dumplings
- 4400 Croque Monsieur
- 4500 cakes
- 20 kilos of roasted Lavazza coffee