Three's a charm: First-time Gala nominees Jaclyn Bernstein and Rob Hulsmeyer of New York-based Empire Force Events became first-time Gala winners, taking home three awards, two of which were for the same event.

Presenting the 1998 Gala Award nominees at the 1999 Gala Awards Ceremony, produced by Patti Coons, CSEP, and Paul Creighton of T. Skorman Productions. This year, Special Events Magazine and The Special Event changed the name of the ceremony to reflect the year in which it was held-1999. Thus, the event was called the 1999 Gala Awards Ceremony & Celebration. The companies and individuals honored, however, were for events produced in 1998.

Little drummer boys: A team of young skate boarders pounding garbage cans-a nod to the popular musical Stomp-was the high-energy finale to the opening percussion performance.

Sound and vision: Colorful, kinetic light, designed and engineered by Shawn Richardson of Orlando-based Richardson Designs, set the tone for the 1999 Gala Awards Ceremony, which honored the 1998 Gala Award Nominees. The ceremony was kicked off by a powerful, multicultural percussion session, featuring African, Asian and Native American drummers, courtesy of T. Skorman Productions. The set, which incorporated tension-fabric sculptures, was designed by Disney Business Productions.

Wedding coordinator Randie Pellegrini of Beverly Hills, California-based Cordially Invited won her first Gala Award for Best Wedding, Budget Above $30,000. That category was one of the evening's two ties. Also a winner for Best Wedding, Budget Above $30,000 was a joint entry by Famous Firsts, Pompano Beach, Florida, and Designs by Sean, Dania, Florida.

Five Star Productions' John and Mary Ross won the Gala for Best Event Produced for a Private Individual.

Tim and Denise Novoselski, former owners of Miramar Communications and founders of Special Events Magazine, The Special Event and the International Special Events Society, were given the Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by ISES president Carol McKibben, CSEP, (far left) and Special Events Magazine publisher Lisa Vested (far right). Through their efforts with the magazine, the trade show and ISES, the Novoselskis have helped the industry achieve the respect and credibility it deserves.

Never one to miss a good party, Bill Clinton paid a surprise visit to the 1999 Gala Awards Ceremony, presenting the award for Best Event Photography, which went to Nadine Froger and Jean-Jacques Pochet, Los Angeles. The Clinton impersonator was provided by T. Skorman Productions, Orlando.