Top Dallas Event Companies Come Together to Reimagine Critical Gatherings

he year 2020 has introduced a variety of new words and phrases into our collective vernacular. One concept that went from foreign to relatable in just a few short weeks: Zoom fatigue.

What might have seemed like a concise, creative way to stay connected during the pandemic has presented new challenges of its own, from “continuous partial attention” (making things difficult to absorb through a computer screen) to the energy-zapping screen time.

Naturally, when organizations and non-profits are tasked with taking their often vital annual events entirely online, many may choose to forgo things entirely if virtual is the only option. The Slate, a collaboration-heavy co-working space in the Design District, wants to keep that from happening.

“Maintaining culture and raising money is crucial for these businesses, so we’re making it a one-stop shop,” says Shelly Slater, former WFAA journalist and co-founder of The Slate.

Together with high-profile event planning company Brigade, which offices at the co-working space, Slater helped form a creative collaboration of women-owned businesses, dubbed Together, We Can Do Hard Things, to help make pandemic event planning both seamless and safe. Be it flowers or swag bags, every vendor in question is covered: from Three Branches Floral and Posh’s luxury rentals to MF Creative Designs’ visual styling and Tamytha Cameron’s photography.

Pandemic-appropriate parties are a concept most are still understandably getting used to, so the team put together examples featuring fall décor trends to give clients a helpful visual. “It’s pretty tablescapes and beautiful things, but it’s also about saving the event industry right now,” Slater says.

Together We Can Do Hard Things – Upscale Southern Comfort 1 (1)
An upscale southern comfort-themed tablescape. (courtesy)

The events aren’t cookie cutter though — everything is bespoke. Sets can be extensively dressed up to suit each business’s needs. Some parties may be held in socially distanced person while others may take place entirely online. The team can also execute a hybrid of both: a few top donors who feel comfortable gathering in person might attend a beautifully styled dinner, while guests at home will receive packages with tangible touch points — such as the same coffee or wine or served to in-person guests — to help them connect as they stream the event.

And because Zoom fatigue is very real, The Slate is working on filming techniques — including multiple camera angles and eye-catching graphics — to keep viewers engaged.

“There’s so much strategy that goes into this. Some people might think virtual is easy because it’s just recorded, but there are hours we’re pouring in coming up with innovative ideas so that the audience doesn’t bored or have Zoom fatigue,” says April Zorsky, partner and event director at Brigade Events. “There’s a new challenge with every event we’re doing right now, and we’re coming up with multiple scenarios in case the guidelines change tomorrow.”

Virtual events are predominately a product of the times, but Slater believes they’re worth investing in, especially given the reach The Slate’s virtual events have already begun having. “This is never going backwards, even when Covid is done,” she says. “It’s always going to be additive, because people are seeing how much further their reach can go.”

For more information on planning events with Brigade Events and their collaborators, head here.