More and more events, conventions and businesses are visiting Grand Rapids.
You're planning hotel rooms, events, dinners and all kinds of other experiences for your team.
How are you going to remember it?
Are you going to rely on your iPhone skills to grab photos when you have the urge to take a picture or two?
Or perhaps it makes more sense to have a professional photographer do what they do best - capture the moments that most people miss.
Chase Plastics, a distribution company based in Michigan, recently brought all of their employees to Grand Rapids for a weekend team building retreat.
What does a weekend retreat look like when you have a professional photographer with you?
The Grand Rapids' Downtown Market is a collection of retailers, restaurants and an event space where Chase Plastics gather to open it's weekend in Grand Rapids.
The first event was a game to break the ice for the weekend.
Teams had to make "the perfect bloody mary" using only items sold at the Downtown Market.
Chaos ensued while items (both strange and tasteful) were chosen by teams.
With a time limit of 20 minutes, teams made their way through the market and came back up to the banquet hall to finalize their cocktails.
Kevin and his wife Carole made their way around the room scoring the bloody mary's as they went.
Teams were creative and "thought outside the box".
Cookies, a full herring and grilled cheese somehow ended up in drinks hoping the humor of the ingredients would endear the team to the judges.
Reactions to the different cocktails ranged from "That's interesting, can I have a glass of water..." to "Who doesn't want a grilled cheese sandwich in their bloody mary..."
After a winner was announced, the Chase Plastics team was transferred via private shuttle to the Bissell Tree House, one of our favorite locations for events in Grand Rapids.
Who doesn't want to have a view of downtown Grand Rapids for dinner and have the chance to experience live animals while you do it?
With a wrap around deck and outside bar, the evening was interactive and fun for everyone in attendance.
Eventually, to make the event tax deductible, a little time had to be dedicated to speeches from CEO Kevin Chase.
Does a game of "Caption This Photo" count as part of a "business meeting" when you're meeting with your staff.
Needless to say, the photos from the past 25 years lit the place up with laughter.
When in Grand Rapids, why not try something you've not done before, right?
And why not have a photographer tag along and capture all of the funny moments that are about to occur when everyone is geared up for climbing and not really sure what they're doing on a ropes course?
The assignment for the day was team building.
Some of the tasks even required teams to cross obstacles BLINDFOLDED (yes, they really had to walk through obstacles blindfolded)!
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the company, what do you do?
Throw an exceptional party!
And that's exactly what the Chase Plastics team did with a little help from Modern Day Floral.
As always, the Pantlind Ballroom was a setting that can't be beat in the Grand Rapids area when it comes to elegance.
Needless to say, no one will forget this party.
Every party has their "VIPs" and though the Chase family was throwing the party for it's team, they too were guests of honor on Saturday evening.
When large scale parties are planned, the VIPs are the ones that we follow and pay close attention to as they interact with other guests.
How does any exceptional party end? With music and dancing of course!
Entertainment for the evening was provided by Detroit based country singer Gary Garris.
Even the CEO Kevin and his team got out on the dance floor and tore up the dance floor!
So how did Kathryn, who is not based in the Grand Rapids area plan all of these different events for her group of over 100 people?
She said she was able to do it with a lot of research, help from the vendors she hired and the team at Experience Grand Rapids, who helped her make arrangements for hotel rooms, ballrooms, transportation and more.
Experience Grand Rapids' services are free to anyone coming into the West Michigan area and I would highly recommend reaching out to their fantastic team to ask for help.
Being a part of the Chase Plastics 25th Anniversary weekend was a blessing. The culture they have as a company, one of empathy, love and kindness radiates through every person we met over the weekend.
As I said at the beginning of the post, instead of relying on your iPhone photo skills, hire a professional photographer to accompany your group event while in Grand Rapids.
Your life will be easier while you're in town, your team will thank you for it and who knows, perhaps you can use the story of your team building retreat as a way to create some "free media" after you return to normal operations.
If you're looking for photography for your business, whether that is event or marketing related, be sure to reach out to us. We love working with clients who are in the early stages of thinking through "what can we do that will be most effective?".