A Truly Texan Welcome Reception
Event Objectives: Our client contacted us three weeks before their event date, panicked because the company they’d been working with had stopped responding. This extremely limited timeframe was only part of the challenge; we created the designs, built the decor by hand, and installed it piece by piece at the venue! Luckily, all of the hard work was absolutely worth it. The client’s main goals were to:
- This event’s purpose was to welcome guests to Texas for a multi-day conference, so it had to be a fun and relaxing experience that put attendees in a Texas state of mind. The main objective was to host a ranch party that would get guests excited for the days to come.
- The overall idea of the event was to bring Knibbe Ranch to the venue, the JW Marriott. The client wanted guests to experience an authentic Texas ranch party, with rustic decor, simple fresh centerpieces, plenty of seating, fun lawn games, live music, and memorable entertainment!
- In addition to the Texas theme, the client also wanted to incorporate some unique elements that would stand out and make the event truly unforgettable. To add that wow factor, we brought in beer burros, a longhorn for photo ops, and an antique tractor pull that acted as the stage for the band.
This Texas-themed welcome reception was the opening event of a multi-day conference, and we wanted guests to be immersed into an authentic Texas experience. The Goen South team transformed the outdoor lawns at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa into a laid-back Texas ranch party. With live music, Texas decor, games, live entertainment and more, this was sure to be a night to remember!
Over 1,300 guests would be attending the welcome reception, so enough seating was essential. Goen South provided an eclectic selection of tables and chairs, including whiskey barrel communal tables with metal barstools and classic wooden picnic tables. The JW Marriott provided round tables and hiboys, which we dressed in a variety of fun linens: blue denim, natural jute, and red and white checkered linens reminiscent of picnic cloth. Each table was topped with fresh succulent and grapewood centerpieces that added the perfect pop of natural greenery and texture. String lights on tall cedar posts added a soft glow to the space as the daylight faded into evening. To add an extra rustic touch and company branding, our team set up lighted marquee letters that spelled WENDYS, placed on a galvanized steel backdrop.
Socializing was a huge part of the welcome reception, but no Texas event is complete without live music. A local band entertained guests with a combination of lively country music and top hits. The band was front and center, but some unique decor also caught guests’ attention: the antique tractor and trailer used as a stage. The bright red tractor is quite large and extremely heavy, so our team hired a wrecking service to move the tractor as close to the event lawn as possible. Then, the Goen South team carefully pushed the tractor from the loading area to the space where the stage would be. Moving the tractor was a lot of work, but it was worth the effort! The tractor stage really added something special to the feel of the event.
Along with the live band, we wanted to provide additional entertainment… plus encourage some fun and friendly competition. We set up classic cornhole games, and also provided a giant version of connect 4 for guests to enjoy. While guests mingled and played games, a talented trick roper performed and posed for photo ops. Two burros strolled the venue throughout the evening, carrying beer for guests to enjoy. These friendly burros were a great conversation starter, and the perfect way to enjoy a cold beer and a photo. And for guests who truly wanted to get into the Texas spirit, we brought in a live longhorn! Guests could pose with the iconic longhorn in front of a giant Texas flag; this experience was something guests would be talking about for days.
The one-of-a-kind elements are what really made this welcome reception special and memorable. All of the decor pieces together transformed the lawn into a truly Texan party, and the photo opportunities, fun games, and live music kept guests entertained all night. This Texas ranch night was a celebration to remember!