Tears, Tantrums & Trophies; Casa Bella’s HOIME Awards are a revelation
Okay, so maybe there weren’t any tantrums, not unless you count the incident where it was 19:29 (with official start at 19:30 and some guests already waiting) and I discovered that the gate through which they were supposed to enter to walk the red carpet was SCREWED shut and not ‘cable tied’ as I had believed! Thankfully, that disaster was averted by Tom (best friend and one of the guests), who promptly ran out and almost ripped the gate from its hinges, under my panicked instructions!
Yes, after three months of research, planning, testing, rehearsing, Casa Bella’s HOIME (Here’s One I Made Earlier) Awards ceremony took place last Saturday. And, I have to say, it turned out to be everything I’d hoped for, and more.
The original concept behind the HOIME Awards was the FRIENDSHIP AWARDS but we knew this would undoubtedlyprove controversial, it also meant that fellow diners (affectionately refered to as ‘ The Academy’ ) would not be able to participate in the voting process. And so, we (my sister and I) came up with the HOMIE concept but a la Hollywood.
Of course, being the obsessive compulsive person that I am, everything had to be planned to the last detail; the décor, lighting, what would that person look like if they stood there when a photo was taken, what would show behind them, what would show in front of them, what would be their impression if they were confronted with this view first, etc… E.g. a glass table in front of the HOIME backdrop would allow for guests to immortalise their hand prints without becoming a physical barrier, a clock discreetly placed in the foreground of the photo would record the actual time the event took place. This list is endless.
Of course, there are some things that cannot be controlled. E.g. the pain from the blister on my feet (yep, new shoes), and the weather. E.g. ‘the wall of fame’ aimed at recreating Hollywood’s Walk of Fame was a good idea in principle. However, the tiles (featuring guest names) refused to stick to the brick wall for which they were destined, and when they did, the gale force wind that plagued me for most of the weekend, did its best to rip them off, and succeeded! That same tornado played havoc with the red carpet, prompting more improvisation with some strong double sided table (that wouldn’t show in official photos) and language. Equally, the light curtains that I’d spent months researching simply did not look right when they were actually up at the window, and, despite Francesca’s pleas for the 3 hours we’d already invested in erecting them, were unceremoniously removed and eventually draped over the sofas for a stylish finish (my sister’s suggestion once she’d recovered from the trauma of actually removing them from the window).
The ceremony itself went exceedingly well. Even the dramatic incidental music went according to cue and I was able to announce, to breathtaking anticipation, the 3 worthy winners of Casa Bella’s HOIME Awards 2011. Tamanda Flynn won MOST APPROPRIATE award, Sarah Whittaker won MOST CREATIVE award and Thomas Payne won the special CLOSING DOWN award for BEST SPEECH.
As for the five + course meal that was served on the night… well, that was okay, I guess (he says, taking his life into his own hands). I loved the food as did our guests (at least the ones who told us so). That credit goes to my beautiful sister, Francesca, without whom none of these dinner parties would be possible. Thanks for all your hard work, sis. I love you.
But the real magic was not in the planning, the positioning, the rehearsing or the buying, it was in our guests, the human beings that actually brought life to an otherwise inanimate shell. The HOIME Awards are about hand crafting the perfect gift and all of our guests rose beautifully to this challenge with an amazing array of well conceived and brilliantly executed offerings that matched our (their host’s) personalities as well as it did showcase their talents. All of the gifts were clearly designed from the heart and heavily endowed with inimitable sentimentalism that had me blubbering right from the first speech. That’s right, prickly old me, notorious for my no-nonsense, does’t-suffer-fools, has no time for weakness, grumpy old me. May I stress that I wasn’t alone, there were quite a few moist eyes among us. It was difficult not be overwhelmed by some of the most genuine, witty and thought provoking speeches I have heard beyond Gwyneth Paltrow’s notorious Oscar Acceptance speech. It was then, as I accepted the sauce splattered napkin of a fellow dinner guest to daub my leaky eyes that I realised that the HOIME Awards wasn’t ‘just another themed dinner party’. Of course, it probably started out that way but quickly became something more. More than winning something, more than taking home a small asexual statue; it was about friendship. Lifelong relationships forged in time and forever to be cherished.
Over the top?
It may seem that way but, quite frankly, I’m not sure my words can even do it justice. All I can say is if you have a friend, let them know. You don’t need a tuxedo, a new frock or a statue, you just need to do something out of the ordinary to let them know how much they matter.
As for that burning question… will the HOIME Awards make a comeback in 2012? Well, true friendship is eternal, isn’t it?