An event planners dream, just in time for Halloween...
An eccentric CEO with big ideas and a history of throwing extravagant events was ready to plan his annual party. The company's national conference was held in Nashville this year, and he was looking for the right venue and event planning team to take on his idea to throw yet another over the top party in hopes of surprising his top clients and treating them to an exciting night of fun and entertainment.
He had been hosting these types of parties for 20 years, in every city across the US. He wanted something impressive, stimulating, over the top, and intriguing. He wanted the guests to be surprised and amazed at the wonders of the evening; a party that would keep unfolding right before their very eyes.
So we gave it to him...
Cocktails with the Coopers
The name and theme of the party, Cocktails with the Coopers originated from the first homestead owners of Riverwood, the affluent Cooper family. Their parties in the early 1900’s were known as the utmost invitation to mingle with our nation’s finest. But sometimes those Coopers just don’t know when to call it a night.
Legend says ..if you visit the mansion in the month of hallows’ eve you may be a guest yourself to one of these parties from the dead.
The evening began in the Garden of Good and Evil where guests were handed our bubbling brew signature cocktails upon arrival, and the Cooper’s butler & staff passed Fried Green Tomato Spheres with Remoulade, Chicken and Andouille Gumbo Shooters, Petite Sweet Potato Pies, Deviled Eggs & Pimento Cheese Beignets.
The sun began to set and the Cooper's turned up some of their old favorite tunes as darkness quickly engulfed the estate. Things became increasingly eerie as guests explored the garden.
Meanwhile a traveling gypsy had found her way onto the grounds and decided to park her wagon for the evening. When she noticed the group of curious guests wandering about the garden, she opened up shop for free fortune telling sessions.
The Cooper’s coachman mysteriously appeared and offered rides around the dark grounds for guest seeking some spooky excitement.
The large front doors opened with a creak and the houses interior emitted a strange glow, daring brave guests to come inside.
There was much to explore throughout the mansion corridors, with something mysterious around every corner. Each room was transformed and decorated with special attention to detail. Illuminated an eery red, the Cooper's triple parlor was set up for a little poker party. Buy in if you dare!
Guests played games and sipped on specialty cocktails, but not too long before it was time to change up the scenery.
The back doors flew open suddenly as the Coopers announced their invitation into the super-colossal, ultra violet pavilion for a little dining and dancing. Wide eyed guests were drawn into the pavilion and quickly seduced by the sultry voice of Jace Everett.
Before settling in to enjoy the evening's entertainment, guests were welcomed to grab a bite to eat from the tiny, frightful food town just outside the pavilion. 8 Lavender Lane really outdid themselves with the menu and design of food stations for the evening.
The voodoo witch straight from the swamplands of New Orleans, concocted a batch of cheesy grits to go with her cajun style spicy shrimp at the "Bayou Shrimp and Grits" gazebo.
A couple of interesting backwoods characters cooked the most delicious southern fried chicken and served it up three ways at the "Hillbilly Hot Chicken Shack":
Hot Chicken on Slab Bread
Hot Chicken Biscuits with Tomato Jam
Hot Chicken and Waffles with good ole' Steen’s Cane Sugar Syrup
Next door at the "Bloody Good Butcher Shop" was a meat carving station where the butcher sliced up filet mignon served with yeast rolls and a sinister smile.
A fire-breather entertained guests as they helped themselves to food and desserts, including s'more stations at the fire pits .
Back inside the pavilion, guests were in for a real treat when Jace Everett started playing some of his well known hits, including "Bad Things" most popularly know as the theme song for HBO's True Blood.
There was a giveaway & prizes announced by the CEO before the evening came to an end. Guests headed out to the busses and the Cooper's were all there to give them a farewell send off, that is if they let them leave....
We want to extend a huge thank you to our team here at Riverwood, as well as all of the extra helping hands that were dedicated to our vision. We very much appreciate the event staff, facility team, and vendors that made the whole thing come to life... or death?
Megan Sanders - Event Concept and Curator
Casey Todd - Event Design and Decor
Debbie Sutton & 8 Lavender Lane - Catering, Design and Decor
Robbie Biggs - Ghostly Horse and Carriage Rides
Suzie Wright - Astrologer and Gypsy Wagon Mistress
Beyond Wings - Fire Breathers and Dancers
Grand Central Party Rentals - Event Rentals
Jace Everett - Musical Guest
Nashville Event Lighting
Spangler Entertainment - Haunted Casino
MA Booking - Servers & event staffing
Photos contributed by Dan Cohen and Riverwood staff
Written by Megan Sanders & Casey Todd