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Idea Book: Jaclyn Watson Events, ACE Winner Events East

The Achievement in Catering & Events (ACE) awards honor those who have worked tirelessly to keep their clients thrilled and their companies on the cutting edge. Each year, caterers and event planners from around the globe submit their best work from the past year in hopes of being recognized as the best in the industry. Catersource’s annual awards show, also including the ICA CATIE awards, took place in Las Vegas at Caesars Palace on February 19, 2018.

Each company submitted two events for ACE consideration. Here is a look at the two events that elevated Jaclyn Watson Events in the category of Events, East Under $2 Million in revenue.

ONE: A Starry Night in New England

“Most of our clients hire us a year to six months out from their wedding date,” said Jaclyn Watson of Jaclyn Watson Events. “The Duffy family brought us in two years prior and we have this incredible family to thank for pushing us to new limits!

This was undoubtedly one of our most challenging weddings with over 55 wedding professionals under one tent, hosting over 250 guests!” Watson said. “We pushed our team of wedding professionals, just as our client pushed us, always reaching for what we could do to make the task at hand even better than originally intended. Keeping a solid focus on teamwork is what helped us pull off this massive ‘tent city’ during the rainiest season we’ve had in many years on a property not intended for events!” 

This event took place on private property not conducive for a tented event. It quickly became a two-year project of leveling the property and creating a plan large enough to house six connected tents. Additionally, the non-stop rain during the season leading into the July 2017 wedding proved to be one of the team’s greatest challenges to date. Days before the build began, the call to flip the tent 180 degrees was made due to wet grounds. “We then brought in 80 pound flats to build a road across the lawn to drive all the tent, rental, and other trucks up to the field!” Watson said.

Once the event day arrived, rain challenges continued. Between difficulty maneuvering sound equipment on slippery mats, to all-hands-on-deck with mops and towels soaking up a mini flood, this event continued to push the team to its limits.

And yet, at the end, the bride’s reaction made the day entirely gratifying. “She told us that the entire day, design, experience, and timing was so much more wonderful than she could have imagined,” said Watson. “She told us that she kept feeling conflicted because she couldn’t wait for the next part to arrive, but at the same time, couldn’t bear the idea that the end was approaching!”

Photos © 2017 Michael Tallman Photography Caterer: Let's Pretend catering

A “beary” delicious cake

Over 6000 feet of twinkle lights, over 50 stars and chandeliers above, plus hanging floral centerpieces filled the tents with a wonderful glow


Fireworks marked the farewell

Interested in submitting an entry for the 2019 awards season? Stay tuned for details on the 2019 award program, opening in Q3. Click here for the latest information on the 2019 conference & tradeshow.

TWO: A Night to Remember

“When hosting an outdoor wedding in New England, you need rain plans for your rain plans,” said Jaclyn Watson. “We began the lighting and draping installations, keeping our fingers crossed that rainy Friday would come and go, and we would be dry by Saturday. Drape Art Designs was well underway, 14 chandeliers hung, most of the ceiling drapery installed, and a rose valance circling the tent begun.

“The storm arrived and it began pouring heavily. In moments, we had a flash flood running down the center of our couple’s $250,000 design! Thankfully the men from Drape Art never hesitated in dropping tent sides and then wading through above ankle waters to prop our dance floor up and keep our china and glassware dry! We quickly had a call out to Vermont Tent Company to bring in management to discuss flooring options for the next day in case the overnight rain brought in more flooding.

Luckily, Saturday was a spectacular and floodless, and guests enjoyed a dry tent never knowing what happened the day before!” 

Photos courtesy New England Film Wedding Photographers

Puppy love

The storybook wedding of Alex and Warren was sprinkled with personal touches by the couple throughout—but at least it wasn’t rain sprinkles! From family photos displayed on the back-bar, the bride wearing her grandmother’s wedding veil, to the couple’s giant mastiff, Daisy, walking their rings down the aisle, little bits of the couple were displayed throughout the day, helping to make the close-knit group feel even more at home!

Many guests were overheard describing the setting like an old-world romance, almost as if it was out of Beauty and the Beast.

Cloud 9 Catering brought the tasty with roasted beet Napoleons, fennel jam, and Vermont chevre


Heaven, by way of twinkle lights and chandeliers

Click here for information about Catersource and the Art of Catering Food 2019. Registration opens mid-September!

Kathleen Stoehr

Kathleen Stoehr is the Director of Community & Content Strategy for Informa Connect | Catersource, which includes print and digital content, as well as live education at both Catersource, the Art of Catering Food, and Leading Caterers of America Executive Summit.