Whether you are wondering what you can expect when planning your corporate event in Milwaukee or just need to polish your event vision, we invite you to take a walk through one of our favorite company events. We gathered the details and photos, so all you have to do is embrace the fun steps that led to this flawless event. Although we can’t reveal the corporation’s name, we can assure you that this client and their guests were delighted by the experiences they enjoyed at this expansive corporate function.
When you learn how we impressed more than 1,500 guests at Zilli Lake and Gardens, your imagination will soar while your event-planning checklist will condense—the perfect display of innovative efficiency!
The Makings of a Top Corporate Event in Milwaukee
An Expansive Milwaukee Event Venue
Choosing a top Milwaukee meeting venue is a critical part of planning a successful conference. But finding a space in Milwaukee that can easily host more than 1,000 guests is not an easy feat! Thankfully, our team knows the Milwaukee area better than anyone and was excited to take on the challenge of coordinating to secure and set up not only several areas within Zilli Lake and Gardens but also the third level of the O’Donnell parking structure.
Milwaukee County closed off this third level space on Sunday night so it could be power-washed and set up in time for the Tuesday event. With striking décor in place throughout Zilli Lake and Gardens, every detail was set when guests began to arrive at 6:50pm.
Skilled Use of Zilli Lake and Gardens
It is not often that our talented team gets to use all four spaces of Zilli Lake and Gardens for a single event. It was our pleasure to use our extensive knowledge of this top Milwaukee venue to design and coordinate a floor plan that facilitated a great event flow and feel. The four main spaces we used—all available for your next event—were:
- Coast: Elegant design and incredible vistas wow guests while they enjoy the comfort of being inside.
- Miller Room: Looking out on the surrounding gardens and famous Lake Michigan, this incredible room brings the outdoors inside.
- North gardens: Stunning landscape whisks guests away with its natural beauty.
- South gardens: A vast and beautiful open space ready for even the biggest events.
And we have more good news for people planning large events in Milwaukee—all these versatile spaces are readily customized to match your event theme and needs. Just like we did for this company, we can help you design décor and floor plans that help you achieve your event goals.
VIP Treatment at Coast
To ensure guests arrived relaxed and stress-free from their hotels, a bus service was provided to and from Zilli Lake and Gardens throughout the duration of the conference. This ensured there were no worries about commuting or parking for this weekday conference held on Tuesday, June 26. Every guest arrived feeling like a star and ready to enjoy the event to its fullest.
Seventy of the guests were invited to a private event exclusive to family of the company. When they stepped into Coast, our friendly staff greeted them with fine passed hors d’oeuvres. As guests enjoyed tasty drinks and appetizers, they took in the stellar views of Pier Wisconsin, the lakefront and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Situated on Zilli Lake and Gardens but its own private and intimate space, Coast was the perfect place for this VIP section.
Knowing some of our VIP guests would leave earlier in the night, we opened the dessert station and coffee bar early. At 8pm, after these VIP guests had a chance to visit the gourmet buffet, the upgraded dessert station and coffee bar opened to cap off their phenomenal meal.
High-Impact Passed Hors D’oeuvres
We love when our clients are open to ideas that spice up corporate menus and event atmospheres. From guests’ first bites, we want creative dishes filled with exceptional flavor to surprise and delight them. Handed out by our friendly team at the orange sculpture (the Calling) that greets guests at Zilli Lake and Gardens, these passed hors d’oeuvres conveyed that this company is anything but ordinary:
- Bacon wrapped dates: Fresh dates wrapped in bacon and then baked until crisp.
- Boursin mushrooms: Mushroom caps with herbed vegan boursin cheese and fresh chives
- Focaccia diamonds with southwestern chicken: Lightly herbed focaccia bread layered with grilled Southwestern chicken and roasted red pepper aioli
- Focaccia diamonds with tenderloin: Lightly herbed focaccia bread layered with choice beef tenderloin and caramelized onion aioli
- Focaccia diamonds with portabella: Grilled portabella mushrooms with zucchini, red roasted peppers and Caesar dressing served on a herb focaccia bread
Creative Signature Drinks
Throughout the event and all the spaces of Zilli Lake and Gardens that it encompassed, guests found amazing bars with modern lighting and equally innovative drinks. Among guests’ favorite offerings were the delicious specialty drinks served in our signature disposable square stemware champagne flutes. At the different beverage stations spread throughout the property and parking structure, guests found premium drinks and specialty items like:
- Valentino: Raspberry tart with grenadine/sugar rim
- Stiletto: Asian pear with lemongrass
- Donatella versace: Eclipse served with a slice of star fruit
In addition to the great alcoholic package this client selected, they also opted for self-serve beverage stations stocked with ice-cold water and lemonade. Raspberry, pom-ade watermelon and old-fashioned lemonade kept guests well hydrated as they snagged photos on the lush lawns. Although the attractive LED-lit bar in the Harbor Lights Room was hard to pass up, we were happy to see that these refreshing beverage stations did good business too!
Diverse Menu Items
Fresh greens and artistic centerpieces attracted guests to eight buffets in the parking structure, two in the Miller Room and five in the South Garden. It was our goal to make sure every guest, no matter what time they arrived, enjoyed the same flawless experience and mouthwatering food. As such, rapidly clearing tables and refilling the buffets was a top priority for our team.
From 7:00pm–9:00pm, guests had their choice of the following dishes—carefully chosen to complement the custom menu that we designed to please a diverse array of tastes and preferences:
- Pico de gallo chicken: With tomatillo sauce and queso blanco
- Beef pepper steak: Cubed choice beef tenderloin, red and green bell peppers, Spanish onions, vine-ripened tomato wedges and button mushrooms slow simmered in burgundy wine.
- Roasted vegetables: Asparagus, tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, onion, edamame
- Lobster cobb salad: Lobster cobb with romaine hearts, gorgonzola, roasted corn, bacon, roma tomatoes, avocado and buttermilk herb dressing
- Fresh fruit buffet-style: Seasonal cut fresh fruit such as watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew and pineapple garnished with grapes and strawberries.
- Citrus frisee salad: Apples, oranges, toasted almonds frisee, shaved fennel with a citrus vinaigrette
Dishes That Accommodate Special Dietary Needs
As with any event, we wanted to make sure all guests easily found what they were looking for—be it service or menu items. That’s why our buffet signs addressed any allergies or dietary concerns. We also set up a specific allergy-sensitive buffet in the South Garden. Dishes like pico de gallo chicken made without cheese and Thai marinated tofu sautee made with tofu free of soybean ensured that guests with specific dietary concerns readily found items they could enjoy.
Elaborate Dessert Stations
At 9pm, we opened up dessert stations in the beautiful outdoor tented space. Served as a trio, guests were blown away by the artistic presentation of sweets like crème brulee, chocolate-covered strawberries and sponge cake with lemon curd and truffles. But those desiring one of their more traditional go-to desserts were also in luck thanks to fun miniature dessert presentations.
Guests enjoyed these sweet treats with their choice of premium coffees. Irish crème, regular or decaffeinated Colombian supreme, vanilla almond, and Kahlúa were all available to be garnished with cream, sugar, chocolate reception sticks and whipped cream. Guests were able to view one of Milwaukee’s numerous breathtaking fireworks displays thanks to a perfectly coordinated event.
Need Help Finding the Perfect Venue?
There are many locations throughout Milwaukee that would make for a polished setting for your next business event. The hard part is narrowing the best ones down. That’s why we created our complimentary corporate venue concierge program. It pairs you with an experienced Zilli coordinator, who will give you an in-person tour of every venue that matches your specific vision.