I attended a New Year’s Eve party that was born from uniquely odd and somber circumstances. The event originated not as a celebration of the arriving New Year, but as a wedding reception. It was, as it turned out, a rather ill fated wedding. My friend’s cousin was scheduled to be married that day, but her fiancé’s last-minute reconsideration left her with a booked wedding hall and no future husband. Since the venue was already reserved and the date called for a celebration anyway, she decided to convert the event into a New Year’s Eve party. The party took place at a popular wedding venue in New Jersey. Converted from an old farmhouse that has stood since the 1600s, the venue is both luxurious and quaint. The interior boasts an elegant, quasi-Victorian ambiance that is balanced by the more rugged exterior architecture that alludes to the building’s humble roots. Expanded into a fairly substantial space over the centuries, the front of the Inn is home to the restaurant and bar that comprise the heart of the venue’s daily operations. The rear half of the building contains the rectangular banquet space that served as the location of the evening’s festivities. The late alteration of the event’s purpose naturally required some revisions of the agenda. Such wedding traditions as the formal introduction of the wedding party, the cutting of the cake and the obligatory speeches were omitted. The professional photographer was no longer needed to capture sentimental moments, but the DJ’s services were retained. The designated seating was eliminated due to both the lack of a wedding party and the exclusion of the would-be groom’s portion of the guest list. It was an event built from the ashes of another event, designed by deleting rather than building with intent. Upon my arrival, I surveyed the venue’s layout and immediately noticed several logistical issues. The hall was filled with tables and chairs except for a modestly sized dance floor in the center. The food was served buffet style with all of the entrees simmering in heated trays along one of the long sides of the rectangular space. With all of the food located in a single location, a substantial line had formed by even the earliest stages of the party. This forced concentration of people was further exacerbated by the proximity of the tables to the buffet area, which confined those awaiting food to a narrow passageway. The single bar was placed by the front entrance of the hall, thus requiring an individual to temporarily leave the party to acquire a cocktail. Despite the poor location, the bar had also quickly accumulated a considerable line of people, a line that moved at a sluggish pace as two seemingly beleaguered bartenders attempted to serve the 150+ attendees. The DJ was located directly in front of the dance floor, a space that was to remain largely unused for the duration of the evening due to the odd musical choices. Rather than stick to any particular theme, the DJ played an erratic sequence of songs that defied any sense of genre or pattern. With alternating selections of country, pop, rock and rap, the DJ endeavored to please everyone and, consequently, pleased no one. As no pair of consecutive songs seemed to appeal to the same audience, the activity on the dance floor never achieved any momentum and guests seemed frustrated with the inconsistent song selections. In addition to questionable choices in music and layout, the food and beverage menus left much to be desired. The entree choices were limited and pedestrian with the ubiquitous choices of chicken, fish and vegetable dishes. I chose the Chicken Masala, which was over-cooked, dry and under-seasoned. I heard similar comments about the steak and vegetable dishes. The liquor and beer selection was also limited and uninspired. Cocktails were made with only the most omnipresent brand of each spirit (Johnnie Walker for scotch, Jose Cuervo for tequila, etc.). Similarly, the beer selection was limited to three widely available brands (Coors Light, Heineken and Budweiser). Considering its newfound status as a New Year’s Eve party, the event ended early and abruptly at 12:30. At that time, the buffet and bar were shut down without prior warning. The guests were rushed out and the employees began cleaning the venue before the space had been emptied. The early ending was a vestige of the event’s intended incarnation as a wedding party, but was still jarring given the joviality of the prior half hour celebrating the New Year. In summation, this event was plagued with a number of substantial problems. Some of these problems were understandable given the challenges of altering the event’s objective at a late date. The abrupt ending, dull drink menu and short-handed bar service would likely have been less noticeable flaws had the event been the family celebration that it was intended to be. However, the status as a New Year’s Eve party, an event synonymous with alcohol consumption, made these limitations far more conspicuous. Other critical flaws, such as the bland food, substandard DJ and maddening layout, are issues that would have remained noticeable had the event’s original status remained intact. In a sense, the event was a case study of how an event’s objective can alter strategic planning and change the perception of various event elements. While fascinating from an analytical perspective, the lackluster experience overall served as a cautionary tale of the importance of matching an event’s purpose with its design.