AOO Events has become a leader in live show production, due to its extensive experience in the field. The key to success for any live show is to properly plan out all the elements. Direct communication between departments is also paramount to the success of the live show. As most event professionals know, things can change very quickly during a live show and it is important to learn the basics to prevent mistakes or problems that could bring the show to a complete standstill. We recently talked with our CEO David Merrell on outlining his top tips for live show production.

Live Show Production

Bruno Mars performing at a recent show produced by AOO Events

  • Site Visits Are Everything:  Solely looking at the schematics of a location and images on a website is never enough. Explicit knowledge comes when you set foot in the location.  Producers are able to gauge how difficult (or easy for that matter) the load in and out will be. Producers also become familiarized with the rules of the house, including whether it is mandatory to use in-house AV, if it is a Union house, and the do’s and don’ts of the venue.  It’s also imperative to document the logistics of the site by capturing photos and videos. These will prove valuable tools to take back to your team so that everyone can wrap their head around the upcoming event.
  • Have a Game Plan: Do your best not to walk into an event blind.  It is important to spend the proper time going over all the details more than once. This should be done with the key players on your team.  Your team’s varying prospective will help everyone to see the show from all angles. Once you have thoroughly reviewed all the elements, the necessary backup plan(s) will become much clearer. The game plan also includes the formulation of a production timeline for load in and out.  Additional show timelines should exist for the show staff, as they work on a completely different schedule from the event production staff.
  • Building your assets:  In addition to production and show timelines, scripts should be started two to three weeks out.  There will always be at least four to five versions of the script, depending on the complexity of the show and the number of chiefs that need to weigh in.  Producers will need extra time to not only write, but build the consensus on the spoken word. “About two weeks before the show is when scripts should be written for anything that is spoken word, so producers can coordinate how acts will be introduced on stage,” says Merrell.  Another tip; the Keynote or PowerPoint presentation (depending on whether you are using a Mac or PC) should be checked and double checked for formatting functionality, and whether the screen and projector will be so 4:3 ratio or 16:9 ratio. There is nothing worse than blank space projected onto the screen. Event producers should go through the presentation several times  to confirm timing and animation.  The number of inputs necessary for all potential assets to be presented on the screen also include the number of live camera positions, other potential video assets, and of course the backup logo or event slide for those rare moments when you have to substitute any of those feeds. Also remember to verify that the video switcher will be quick to bounce between all of the video assets. Again, there is nothing worse than a blank screen.
  • Communication is key:  It is one thing to create timelines and all the necessary assets to pull off a live show. It is another thing entirely to share them with your team. Sometimes we forget that while it may be clear in our heads, it won’t be in every else’s until you have gone through it with them. It is not enough to simply send them the timelines and assets. It is equally important to go through the timeline ad nauseam. Clear communication during the show is much easier with clear-com headsets.  All show professionals that have input and timing responsibilities throughout the show must be in complete communication with the “show caller” and “stage managers.”
  • No Rehearsal? No Show: Show producers should facilitate at least two rehearsals before show time. A meeting between the show director, stage manager, lighting designer, and sound designer is referred to as the Paper Tech. The Paper Tech is important, as it is the first time all the key personnel running the show are sitting down together to understand what needs to be accomplished. This is where adjustments can be made as you read through of the script and the running show time-line.  A full technical run through on the day of the event allows the staff to get a rhythm with each other and the equipment they are working with. Both are important if you are going to work out any of the unforeseen glitches of a live show.

It is important to keep in mind that each live show will have its own unique traits. Always lead with professionalism in order to reap the rewards of a successful production.

Live Show Production

    Live Entertainment at a New Years Eve show in Las Vegas.
Live Show Production

Robin Thicke performing live at a New Years Eve event in Las Vegas.

Questions or comments? Contact us at

Featured image courtesy of Lucero Photography

The holiday season brings people closer together in a season of celebration. The traditional celebration sees families and friends, our loved ones, gathered around a table sharing, eating and bonding. The table is symbolic in that way; always bringing us closer to the ones we love. In honor of that, we wanted to bring you our most inspirational tabletop designs, and our top tips for setting the table.

Winter tabletop

Holiday tablescape found on

We like to start with choosing organic and natural materials, which promotes an autumnal feeling and visually represents the season perfectly.


Gold flatware with a rosemary accent found on

Next add little accents, special details to the table: personalized name cards, personal floral arrangements or place setting décor that invoke that autumn feeling.


DIY napkins to wow your guests found on

Another way to draw attention to the table is to choose your decorating color to accent and bring attention to the table’s natural earthy colors.


“Not your mother’s Thanksgiving table.” found on

Then you can mix the components in your setting for example….polished silver chargers or goblets in combination with natural fiber linens and rustic florals. (this creates rich textures and depth in your design. Next, we love the idea of candle light bringing in a flickering amber ambiance. This sets a nice mellow mood and accents the tablescape with a golden glow.


Tabletop ideas from Lela Rose

These are our tips for a wonderful holiday, filled with lots of love, and wonderful design.

Designs curated by Jason Vorse of AOO Floral

When designing an event it’s extremely important to keep your eye on the details. It’s the event producer’s responsibility to maximize their opportunity to align the client’s objective with detailed design elements. The prize is always in the details. We recently caught up with our lead floral designer, Jason Vorse, to get his best advice on the most important details to get us through the upcoming season.

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At the outset, it’s imperative to look at the overall canvas of the event space to find opportunites to create levels in your presentation. Vorse doesn’t only mean levels of greatness. “It’s important to enhance decorative elements with different heights of floral arrangements, votives and accessories,” says Vorse.

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Color is also another important detail. “No matter what your story is, always find a space to bring in a punch of color,” says Vorse. For designers, that simple punch of color can make all the difference in letting your detail shine.

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Lighting is a major component of enhancing the event’s atmosphere. “Bringing in additional lighting to highlight your thought out set is so important,” says Vorse, “without proper lighting your details might as well be left in the bag.”

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Last but not least, Vorse gives us insight into his personal to do list, which ensures a thorough check of all the particulars. “It’s important to alternate your setup with linens, natural wood or mirrored tables to give the design a strong sense of texture and depth,”says Vorse.  Event producers know these last steps are paramount for the event’s success. In fact when you think you are done with your set up, it is always worth it to stand back and make a second or third final check. “These detail are everything, make sure all your seating is perfectly straight, all your floral containers are facing the same direction, votives are equally spaced and lastly,” says Vorse, “does it make you smile?” If the installation doesn’t make you smile your job is not done.

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This event was produced by AOO Events’ C.J. Stermer. Thank you to our wonderful vendors AFR Rentals and Luxe Linen.

CEO and Creative Director of AOO Events David Merrell, recently had the unique opportunity to host his long time friends in the event industry at a private dinner. The dinner took place at LA’s City Club, which boasts sprawling 360 degree views of our wonderful city. Being the event industry veteran he is, Merrell has worked with several of his fellow design colleagues for years. The last of a three part dinner series, hosted by The Little Gray Book and City Club LA, Merrell thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to sit down with the business friends he considers family.

“In a period of time where we have been so busy, it was nice to get together with friends and people I respect with no agenda,” said Merrell, “It was nice to take a moment to simply spend some time with friends and that was the entire purpose of it.” It has been important for Merrell to introduce his long time colleagues, to some of the newer people that have become an inspiration to him. “I really enjoyed creating an environment where everyone could sit down, relax and enjoy a nice dinner.” Merrell said.

In an industry known for being extremely hectic and sometimes overwhelming, Merrell’s advice is that it’s imperative to always take time to smell the roses. Indeed.

Here are some highlights from the special evening.

AOO Floral

AOO Floral

AOO Floral provided the arrangements for the evening.

AOO Floral

Dish Wish Events provided stunning flatware.


Scott Cummings Music provided soothing sounds from a talented jazz trio, which performed during cocktail hour.


Merrell with treasured industry colleagues, Liese Gardner and Laird McClure.

AOO Events

Mark Sheldon, COO of AOO Events, seen here with veteran event designer Hillary Harris


Event Design and Production: AOO Events

Floral Design:  AOO Floral

Venue: City Club Los Angeles

Photography: Kristina Lee Photography

Chairs and Linen: Luxe Linen

Flatware: Dish Wish Events

Tables: CMC Party Rentals

Entertainment: Scott Cummings Music

Public Relations: The Little Gray Book


Halloween is one of the most creative holidays of the year. The feeling of festivity around costumes and candy, fuels our creative inspiration and propels us into full-blown holiday planning mode. Since Halloween is seen as a bridge to the grand finale of the holidays on December 25, we decided to highlight our top floral designs on Pinterest to scare up a little fun this year!

All images courtesy of Pinterest







By AOO Floral’s Jason Vorse


In today’s rapidly developing world, event planners are constantly utilizing technology to make their lives easier. At AOO Events, our event producers are passionate about creating seamless experiences for their clients. In order to accomplish this, our team stays organized with several mobile apps that creates a winning experience for all. We recently caught up with our executive producer, C.J. Stermer and our lead floral designer Jason Vorse to get their suggestions on the best apps for event planners.


LinkedIn : The LinkedIn app is a valuable tool for staying connected with people within the event industry and beyond. “It’s all about connections and for what we do it is all about relationships and being able to connect with people quickly,” said Stermer. We completely agree. In fact, living in a mobile world it is really hard to be at the desk these days. “The meeting and event wold is not about sitting at a desk anymore.”

event planning apps

Pinterest: This one is a no-brainer for creatives. “Pinterest is one simple stop for inspiration,” says Vorse. Pinterest is indeed a valuable visual network equipped with millions of photos from around the world. The great thing about Pinterest is the ability to pin anything you want, which has become a go-to library for designers that need that extra creative fuel. The ability to organize Pinterest boards is also a draw for many designers that need help staying structured.


Venmo: Venmo has become one of the most convenient ways to process digital payments. The app is connected to your Facebook account, which creates a sort of financial networking party. Payments can be made privately or publicly and can be also liked or commented on. Besides the social factor, Venmo provides event professionals with a new way to save time by transferring payments right from their cell phone. “Venmo is a lot quicker than doing a wire transfer and we are all about saving time,” said Stermer.


 Scanner Pro : Scanner Pro is an easy to use mobile scanner that can be directly downloaded to any mobile device. “Being on site often, scanner apps such as scanner pro are super easy and convenient,” says Vorse. “If I need to send something to a client or vendor I don’t have to rush back to the office and can use my phone to send important docs as quickly as possible.” Scanner Pro gives our team an easy way to keep our customer service efforts flawless and responsive.


Dropbox : In this digital age, Dropbox is an extremely useful cloud-based tool for any professional that needs quick access to important files. “Say goodbye to binders, Dropbox gives me a way to keep resources accessible in one place.” said Stermer. Event planners can agree. Dropbox is a mostly free service that allows us to bring files, photos, docs and videos just about anywhere we need to be.

event planning apps

Whats App: Whats App provides a useful text message [and now voice calling] platform  to easily communicate with international clients. “When personalizing a message, Email isn’t always the best form of communication. On Whats App I can reach out to international clients without incurring an expensive phone bill, it’s definitely a must have in this day and age.” said Stermer.

At AOO Events we use every single one of these apps to make our jobs easier and communicate more efficiently. These apps give us the tools to be able to keep the lines of communication open and continue to develop global partnerships in the ever changing world of event design.

AOO Events recently designed and decorated one of the industry’s most talked about soirees. The setting. Summer. Friends and colleagues gathered in the Hollywood Hills to celebrate the launch of The Little Gray Book. Most people were there to celebrate a book release, however we were all pleasantly surprised with the real reason behind the stunning event. Marcus Anthony Gray is an industry newcomer, who has blazed a path to success in a short amount of time. The Little Gray Book is a play on words for Gray’s “little black book” of contacts. To be clear, The Little Gray Book is in fact Gray’s public relations company, which specializes in the event industry. The setting and mystery behind the launch is exactly what makes Gray so great at what he does. He keeps us on our toes eagerly anticipating what’s next.

Needless to say, the launch went off without a hitch. We recently caught up with Gray to find out if he was satisfied with the vision AOO Events brought to life. Gray, who is a self declared “over the top” guy said his desire was for the evening to be an experience of pure joy. One that people would continue to talk about long after the last hors d’oeuvre was passed. “David and his team really made this possible, I came in with this crazy idea of gray everything, even our house furniture, so AOO went the extra mile to remove all the furniture from the house and bring in one of their custom lines, that was of course … gray!”

His favorite vignette was the custom gray floral books designed by AOO Floral‘s Jason Vorse. When asked if AOO Events would be listed in his Little Gray Book, Gray said “Absolutely, yes. On a scale of one to ten, with ten being the highest I’d say it was 100. AOO Events went above and beyond to make this launch party a success and it was one for the books definitely to be remembered for years to come.”

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The industry’s finest attended the launch on July 1 2015.


A Lil’ Bit of team AOO! – AOO’s senior producer C.J. Stermer

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Gray and friends.



The event was catered by Taste of Pace.


Guests left on a sweet note with custom treats catered by Superfine Bakery

Photos by: Kristina Lee Photography

A complete list of vendors

AOO Events
AOO Floral
Backdrops Beautiful
Champagne Creative Group
David Merrell
Grato SB
Line 204
Luxury DJs
Scarlette Bartending
Superfine Bakery
Synergetic Sound and Lighting
Taste of Pace
The Replicas

This article written by AOO Events CEO David Merrell originally appeared on

Hiring big name entertainment is something that my company, AOO Events, and I have done often over the years. From Bruno Mars and Robin Thicke to Michael Buble and Melissa Etheridge, there are several things I’ve learned that are universal and I share them here.

AOO Events

The stage is set for Bruno Mars at a private event. See last week’s post for more on this. Photo: Verofoto

1. Top name entertainment usually comes with a rider that includes what they need to perform. Know that that this technical list is usually drafted for a full concert production. The size of the stage and the configuration of equipment is typically meant for a sizable audience. There is always room to negotiate stage size, lighting and sound equipment, etc. but it must be done before you sign the agreement. Get all of your agreements up front before you sign, otherwise you inherit more expense and headaches that you really need.

2. Food requirements and green room needs are the same. Many times they are asking for the moon and the stars, when they don’t always need it, nor will they actually consume it. So many times getting everything on their lists is expensive and with most of it going to waste. Know that it is also negotiable.

Robin Thicke

Robin Thicke performs at the SLS Vegas for a NYE event.

3. Meet and greets with the name act are possible. But the time it happens, the amount of people that can meet the artist, and how much the artist interact should be agreed to up front. You don’t want a client who has paid a lot of money, expecting a lot of face time with the name act, and then not getting it. It’s better to address this and really spell it all out so you have a clear understanding of what they are willing to do up front.

4. Lighting and sound. It’s rare that you will ever be able to control the look of the stage, or the lighting for a name act. Very rare. They are always want to control the experience that happens once they are on stage. Just spend enough time with their sound engineers and lighting designers, so they are very aware of what they are walking into, and then stand back and give them their time to program and work the boards.

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Melissa Etheridge at ASAE.

5. Music requests are common, considering the name act may very well be famous for many different hits. While you can request it, the name acts may not want to perform certain songs as they tend to stay with what they have rehearsed and/or been on the road performing. It’s not a matter of bending to the requests of their clients/hosts, it’s about them performing the songs that they are prepared for with the musicians they are performing with. However, if you have requests, it is always important to mention them in the negotiation process, versus later on.

6. Know that the management and handlers around entertainers usually do not reflect the personality of the name act in any way. Many times you will find yourself in egotistical tugs of war, perceived lacks of cooperation, hardlined agreements to requests, etc. This is simply the management around the artist who is always hardline positioning. You will find that many times this doesn’t even come close to transferring to the personality of the artist.

Should you get the chance to hire a name act, congratulations! you will want to tell the world, and this leads me to my last tip … make sure you know what you can and cannot use on social media, blogs and other media. A sweet memory may soon be a nightmare if everything is not spelled out clearly beforehand!

Featured photo by VeroFoto LA


AOO Wins At WIPA USA’s Excellence Awards

Video captured from a recent Hindu wedding designed and produced by AOO Events and AOO Floral.

Aoo eventsWedding professionals can all attest to this fact, these past few weeks have been extremely busy. Whether it’s on the beach or in a ballroom, we’ve all been on the go making dreams come true for happy couples all over the country.

Recently, the Wedding Industry Professionals Association (WIPA), held their first Excellence Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada. AOO Events walked away with some hardware, winning event decorator and event designer of excellence. Also getting recognized, AOO Floral took home the prize for floral designer of excellence.

“It’s an honor and a pleasure to receive this award among such talented industry professionals,” said David Merrell, CEO of AOO Events. Merrell is an event industry veteran, with over 30 years of experience designing events all over the country and around the globe. Merrell is also a high-calibre leader who is always willing to lend his expertise while directing his team to produce premium quality and service.

AOO Events and AOO Floral are grateful for the honor. We send our sincere heartfelt congratulations to all the nominees and winners of this year’s first ever WIPA USA Excellence Awards!

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AOO Events Senior Account Executive Jill Jensen poses with AOO’s three awards in Las Vegas

A recent non-traditional wedding at the Santa Monica Pier produced by AOO Events


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Santa Monica pier wedding photos by @verofotola


AOO Events is always thrilled when we get the chance to offer our design services for a seaside event. The design possibilities are endless, from sunset bonfires to beach-combed treasures; we’re able to draw on a wealth of inspiration from the surf and sand. We recently had the pleasure of designing a one-of-a-kind reception for a major automotive company. The client felt the event should have a feeling grounded in elegance weaved decor, without an excessive amount of prop elements. In other words, the event should give off the feeling of being at a sophisticated resort, with all the amenities to boot.

The first stage of development included creating several themes the client would be able to choose from. As we honed in on the final look, our design progressed by using elements of the sea, and we felt this would be reminiscent of a luxury beach celebration. Our lead producer, C.J. Stermer, used his creative prowess to align his own views with the client’s expectations. This is the end goal for all great designers.

One of the challenges we faced involved building several platforms for displaying automobiles. We wanted these platform stages to align with the theme of the event, yet be able to stand out within the design make-up. C.J. used a white, circular, hard-set platform. 

“Originally the client wanted the platforms to rotate, however because we were outside and because of the unstable ground, having a rotating platform didn’t meet the budget because we would have had to get levels and specific types of equipment to have that platform leveled,” C.J. said. As many event producers can understand, the challenges didn’t stop there. “The second challenge was actually getting these vehicles from their truck, driven over unstable ground, which we couldn’t do because they all had to be pushed by eight to ten guys, which for insurance purposes had to be the client’s own team.” AOO’s team worked collaboratively with the client to push the cars along unstable ground, through the barriers of the tent and up custom built ramps to be situated in the center of the ramp. The ramps needed to be specially made to make sure the tires of the car would not chip the edges of the ramp. Once the cars were in place, the teams had the additional task of dismantling the ramps.

Eventually the evening came together just the way the client envisioned. “It all came together pretty fast once we got the layout done and the essential hardware in place, dropping the furniture and queuing the lights came effortlessly,” C.J. said, “I think it came together really well, the client was overwhelmed with excitement and their bosses thought it was great. For me the highlight of it was being able to stand in the back of the room and literally watching the sun set over the ocean, while everyone enjoyed the evening.”

Seaside Design

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AOO curated this relaxing lounge to really enhance the guest’s experience.

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“The client’s color of choice was blue, which was the color of their meeting, so we played with the lighting to create warm patterns and textures.” – C.J. of AOO Events

seaside design

Sophisticated lighting details created the type of luxury seaside feel the clients enjoyed.

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Signature lanterns from Town and Country lined the entrance way.

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Thank you to our vendor @BBJLinen



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AOO Floral used beach inspired elements to create a seaside inspired feel.

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AOO Floral’s seaside designs.