A few months back, our Events team came together and started working on the One Girl's Cocktail Gala. We hadn't held one for 2 years, and we knew we wanted to bring it back this year. But it had to be a step up from our Gala in 2012. It needed to be an epic event, in every single way. We wanted to blow people away. We wanted to be ambitious, and to expand what we thought was possible. Our last Cocktail Gala brought so many people into the world of One Girl, and it was an inspiring night. But this year needed to be bigger, and better. So we selected a stunning venue, Two Ton Max. The core team began sending out dozens and dozens of personalised invitations. Our Events team got their hustle on to source amazing furniture and props to style the event, secure the best catering and drinks, awesome performers and music, and sponsors to donate some incredible prizes for the Silent and Live Auctions. They worked relentlessly on it for weeks, and in the last week really ramped it up - all the hard work coming together, and it was incredible to see our epic vision come to life. Chantelle did more design work than we thought humanly possible to make sure we had beautiful banners to share photos and stories of our scholarship girls, our projects and our mission. Dave gave up on sleep for a night to create a totally new and awesome- quirky Do It In A Dress teaser video. Lizzie, our tireless event stylist, enlisted the help of her partner and a friend to paint a beautiful quote onto the wall to make sure the entrance to the Gala had an impact. (And it did!) There were countless trips to Ikea, op-shops and furniture dealers. There were butterflies, stomach knots and an unhealthy amount of hair-pulling; last-minute panic attacks and doubts over whether we could pull it off. Could we really do it? Even the night before the Gala there was a full house in the office working furiously till midnight to make sure everything was in place.
But when we walked into the beautiful venue last Saturday night, we knew we had done it.The atmosphere was electric. The space looked amazing, with our scholars' faces and stories lit up and showcased along the walls. Our eyes were drawn to all the little styling details: cute tins of chalk, pencils and little apples on the tables. And most importantly, the venue was filled to the brim with people - some were old friends and longtime supporters, and there were heaps of new faces too. We were greeted with a room full of people who were there to enjoy the night with us, because they shared our passion for educating girls. And it was spectacular. Despite our last minute freak-outs, everything ran smoothly on the night. Our amazing team of volunteers totally went above and beyond to make sure the event was set up wonderfully, went without a hitch, and was packed up afterwards. We're still finalising our totals for the night, but both the Silent and Live Auctions were a big hit! In particular we want to thank Andaman Hotel, Phuket for donating an AMAZING Thailand Holiday package with flights and accommodation, The Blue Pod Coffee Co for donating a Coffee Machine, and our wonderful drink sponsors: Somersby Cider, Broken River Vineyards, Two Old Men, and Kingfisher and Cricketer's Arms beer - the night would not have been possible without you! Big thank yous as well to Khadija Gbla, for sharing her amazingly powerful story with us, and showing us the incredible impact education has had on her own life; and Emeli Paulo, our wonderful MC for hosting the night with such warmth and passion. There are many more personalised and enthusiastic thank yous heading out to our kickass team of Volunteers, and of course our fearless Events Team - Bec, Cat and Lizzie - and everyone else who contributed to making the night what it was.. keep an eye on your inboxes! Thanks as well to Paul McGinty for capturing the night through these great images.. and, well, since we can't resist a good hashtag (we did call it #onegirlgala after all), here are a few of our favourite Instagrams from the night! In the coming weeks and months we'll be sharing the impact that #onegirlgala has had, and to everyone who came along - thank you again for sharing this night with us. We hope you were as inspired as we were. Update : Together we raised over $38,000 for our work in Sierra Leone. An absolutely extraordinary achievement. You guys rock. Seriously.