Inside the Emmy Awards Governors Ball

Photo by: Irma Hardjakusumah Rendering of the 2013 Emmy Awards Governors Ball held at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Lights. Cameras. Emmy Awards! Television’s biggest stars are more than excited about this year’s Governors Ball, the big dinner party that kicks in just after host Neil Patrick Harris makes his last joke of the evening. is here to give you all the behind-the-scenes details about the annual reception, which is attended by 3,800 guests!

Sequoia Productions’ Cheryl Cecchetto transforms The Los Angeles Convention Center into the largest formal sitdown dinner held in the U.S. And every year has a theme — “We’re calling it an ‘enchanted futuristic forest.’ We wanted to create a beautiful environment that is mystical and surreal.” The ballroom is the length of one football field and double the width.

Photo by: Irma Hardjakusumah Rendering showing the starry backdrop of the 2013 Emmy Awards Governors Ball held at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Cecchetto has left no stone unturned in creating the ideal Emmy Governors Ball environment. “I think the first thing that hits you is the backdrop, the star-filled drapery, which really gives you that ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ feeling. And then these massive, highly stylized trees that we’ve built. I look at them as actual pieces of art work but they’re actually PVC pipes that have been heated by a company in an oven by Bill Ferrell to build the curvature of the limbs - so beautiful. The materials are a combination of hard and soft goods and poly-gel and plastic tubes and silk string to represent the flatting foliage. It just provides a backdrop for our color that we paint. These go through various shades of color throughout the evening and that, in itself, is extremely magical.”

A canopy of faux, futuristic foliage will extend out over 20,000 square feet. “The room has this wonderful pizzaz, like our tablecloths from Resource One, and the linens are all different throughout the entire room. They’ve done a spectacular job to give us this feeling that no matter where you are, you feel like you’re at home. All the tables look like you would want them to look in your own living room!”

Unique flower arrangements dress up the 400 dining tables at the Governors Ball.

The 400 dining tables will feature its own distinctive, dramatic flower arrangement, highlighted by silver manzanita branches and an abundance of beautiful calla lilies, roses and orchids. “Every one of these floral arrangements adds such depth to the room and give it a sense of character in a really interesting way. When the whole room is set, my knees are knocking because I can’t believe how beautiful they are!” she quipped.

Cecchetto is ongoingly inspired to create for the parties by what happens in her own home. “A couple weeks ago, I was putting up curtains in my daughter’s room and there was this silk screen and silk string and I thought, 'Wouldn’t it be great to add that?' because they take light so beautifully and project so beautifully. It really is quite incredible when you move gobos across the room on them -- it’s like a screen.”

For the layman who wants to try this for their own party, Cecchetto explained what a gobo is. “Gobo is like if I cut out a piece of metal at the end of a light, it will give a projection. You can spin them or move them and it just gives a cut-out of a projection on a surface. We actually are recycling these and adding them to the scenic world of the event business.”

Photo by: Invision for Academy of Television Arts & Sciences/AP Images Georges de Latour wine is served at the Emmy Awards.

Even if you can’t be at the Governors Ball, Cecchetto has some great tips to create your own awards party. “For me, if I’m watching television, I don’t like to constrict anyone at the table. I like for people to be able to move around and get up and have a drink and really party, because television is very inclusive. so I think your room and hospitality should feel really inclusive.”

She added: “With food, if you want people to mingle, the whole trend right now is small bites. It’s not sitting and eating a big thing. People just want a taste, they don’t feel as guilty versus eating a big meal!  If you’re at a party with just fabulous appetizers, people will consume them. Small bites, no guilt!”

Cecchetto’s company is already starting to work on all the Oscar-related events. “We have a lot of awards coming up in association with the Academy. “But no matter what event it is, for an Awards party, go online to see who is nominated! Then send the list to all of your guests who are coming and let them vote. They need to bring their hard copy to the party, because you’re going to have some winning prizes! The winner could get a fabulous bottle of Georges de Latour, because that’s the wine we’re serving here on Emmy night or it could be an incredible bottle of Grey Goose, because that’s the vodka we’re serving, or you could order Marich Chocolates, because that’s the chocolates we’re serving, or it could be a product from Loreal or fruitwater, our other sponsors. You can really have some fun with this — serve the Emmy martinis and Emmy wine, go online and find out what the Emmy food is, vote, win a television-driven prize, rent out a red carpet and put on your black tie and have your own ball at home!”

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