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ACE Awards 2024: Social Event of the Year

Marcia's Selden Catering & Events' Love Party celebrated industry partners

Every year, Marcia Selden Catering & Events hosts a social event for their many industry partners and friends to celebrate them and all they have meant to the company over the years. Essentially, they want to show their love, which is why this annual event is named the Love Party. This year’s event really carried the message of love home by theming the event around the classic television show The Love Boat

Marcia Selden Catering & Events and their guests (including the 20 industry partners who helped execute the event) set sail for a romantic voyage like no other when they stepped aboard a lavish, specially designed cruise ship-inspired venue, surrounded by oceanic decor, twinkling lights, and starry skies, all in celebration of the theme of love.

Hanging above the custom velvet bar were life preservers, adding to the nautical theme of the event. 

This year’s event not only shared the love, but showed Marcia Selden Catering & Events love too, after being named this year’s ACE award recipient for Catered Social Event of the Year. Congratulations to all of this year’s recipients! Check out the full list here.

“The Love Party is not just an event, it’s an opportunity to create unforgettable memories,” states their awards submission. Marcia Selden Catering & Events meticulously crafted every aspect of the event, from Love Boat-themed decor to custom-designed scents (everything from oceanic breezes to exotic flowers) to personalized welcome greetings and even custom-designed Love Boat themed attire. Guests were even greeted at the entrance by a vintage telephone where they could leave a message on the audio guestbook.

Custom painted Love Party cookies. 

For the event, the culinary and mixology teams created over-thetop themed food and beverage offerings, which mimicked the logo and aesthetics of the iconic television show; everything from custom painted cookies to custom branded napkins to a massive branded 12-foot square Love Party ice sculpted raw bar overflowing with giant prawns, king crab, and lobster.

The menu included such cruise favorites as cans of New England clam chowder, glass fish bowls filled with tuna poke with mini Goldfish® crackers for added crunch, caviar potato chips with French onion cream and chives served in custom McDonalds-style French fry containers, mini branded pizza boxes housing chicken parmesan pizzas (where the chicken was the actual crust to the pizza), and short rib grilled cheese sandwiches with pickled red onions.

The servers for the evening donned custom Love Boat-themed uniforms. 

The event also featured hors d’oeuvres that were all custom-designed just for the event, and each one was served on a custom serving tray: mini vegan “crab cakes” with vegan caper aioli served on actual wooden ship wheels, garden crudité tarts on a custom-made light-up tray that said “LOVE,” and tiny watermelon hearts with herbed goat cheese, balsamic glaze, and candied pecans served on customdesigned Lucite trays with colorful hearts, just to name a few.

“It was so exciting to design this menu as it was an awesome opportunity to show our playful personalities and creativity,” they noted in their awards submission.

Mini Margherita Pizza Profiteroles (a culinary mashup of the French puff filled with Italian Margherita pizza flavors) were served in Valentine’s Day candy boxes. 

In terms of entertainment, Marcia Selden Catering & Events had everything from immersive body painted performers, a 20-piece band, and even a captivating opera singer that serenaded the guests with a classic love aria, enhancing the romantic atmosphere. There was also a graceful aerialist that performed stunning routines overhead, and an expert mixologist that crafted unique, aphrodisiac-infused cocktails, each with a romantic twist.   

“We made sure every moment was a cherished memory waiting to happen.”  

All photos courtesy Michael Jurick

At the entrance, guests were greeted by a vintage telephone where they could record a message for the audio guestbook. 

Glass fish bowls were filled with tuna poke and garnished with mini Goldfish® crackers for added crunch.

The massive branded 12-foot Love Party ice sculpted raw bar (from Okamoto Studios) was overflowing with giant prawns the size of a hand, king crab, and lobster. 

Baked Alaska Ice Cream Lolibons, an ode to the cruise ship favorite dessert.  

The venue was specially designed to mimic the main dining room of a cruise ship. 

The event’s entertainment dressed the part of the cruise crew, even sporting Marcia Selden Catering & Events’ signature red lips. 

Daring and creatively adorned body-painted performers interacted with guests throughout the event by applying custom branded Love Party tattoos as they cruised through the crowds, adding an unexpected element of surprise and visual delight. 

Birch Event Design (a longtime collaborator of Marcia Selden Catering & Events) supplied the design and decor for the evening.

A graceful aerialist performed stunning routines overhead while hanging from a giant seashell, adding a touch of acrobatic elegance to the evening.

Flair bartenders from The Cup Bearer dazzled guests by juggling bottles, setting cocktails aflame, and performing breathtaking tricks, adding a dynamic element and extra layer of excitement to the evening.

Food Network star and sweet genius himself, Ron BenIsrael, crafted some of his custom cake samples in mini gift boxes for guests to take home. 

Marcia Selden Catering & Event’s Love Party brings together 500 industry partners and friends for an evening of celebration. 

The color scheme for the evening tapped into both Marcia Selden Catering & Events’ signature red hue as well as pops of color found in the 1970s television show.

Submissions Now Open

t’s once again time to celebrate the best of the best! Submissions are now being accepted for the Catersource 2025 Achievement in Catered Events awards (ACE)!  We invite you to submit your best work from the past year. Join in the excitement and the spirit of our industry as we celebrate the hard work and exceptional accomplishments of our peers.

The categories for 2025 are:

  • National Caterer of the Year
  • International Caterer of the Year
  • Catered Social Event of the Year
  • Catered Fundraising Event of the Year
  • Catered Wedding of the Year
  • Catered Micro Event of the Year
  • Product or Technological Innovation of the Year
  • Sustainability in Catering
  • Best Off-Premise Catering
  • Best On-Premise Catering

To submit an entry to this year’s ACE awards, please visit our awards portal at

Important Dates

  • September 1, 2023-August 31, 2024 | Eligibility Period for Entries
  • Sunday, September 15, 2024 | Regular submission deadline ($125 fee)
  • Tuesday, September 30, 2024 | Late Bird submission deadline ($175 fee)

If you are interested in entering in the Gala awards instead, you can enter the Special Events 2025 Gala awards in the same online portal as the ACE awards. Catersource + The Special Event will run February 24-27 in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Both the ACE and Gala awards will be presented during the conference at a to-be-determined location in Fort Lauderdale.

Amber Kispert

Senior Content Producer

Amber is the Senior Content Producer for Catersource. Amber previously worked as a Communications Specialist for LeClair Group and a reporter for the Woodbury Bulletin, both located in Woodbury, Minn.  As a self-described "foodie," Amber loves to experience the world of food and beverages, and is excited to help share the stories of Catersource and the world's caterers.