Designing doyenne Barbara Roos grew up in Cincinnati before moving south to attend the University of Alabama. She got “the bug” to get into the event business when the Atlanta chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation had its first fundraiser over 40 years ago.
“I felt like I have a knack for it,” Roos said. “I enjoy meeting and connecting with new people. I am grateful to have an ‘eye’ for figuring out how to use a space in a way that compliments the flow of the venue and needs of guests. It’s anticipating that anything could happen and being prepared for the unknown. I think through all of the scenarios that I can fathom and come up with solutions before problems arise.”
Now an independent event consultant with Topher Mack Floral & Events, Roos has strung football fields of ribbons, thousands of blooms, and filled spaces with pizzazz and romantic glamour. The inside joke is: “If Barbara approves it, it must be top notch.”
When asked what constitutes a perfect setting, Roos muses that it’s not about a particular china pattern or flatware, but more about considering the guests’ needs. “That is when the perfect place-setting is achieved. If the place-setting reflects the style of the evening and personality of the host or guest of honor, depending on the event, and the guests’ needs are met, … then it’s PERFECT!”
Among her high-level events was the 1995 World Series party for Ted Turner, when the Braves captured the third world championship in the franchise’s history. Also for Turner, she “did” his 75th birthday party, focused on his environmental passion, where she laid out seven 24-foot-long tables representing each continent. She did a party for Roberto Goizueta, former CEO and chairman of The Coca-Cola Co., where she stood elevated, levels above the event to peer down to assure that the glasses on the bar spelled out “Coke.” On a lighter note, she designed a sports-themed party with dugouts, stands and fencing along each side of the dance floor, with custom logo seat cushions in all-star blue and red.
Roos champions health care charities. “There’s nothing I am more passionate about than helping sick children and supporting children’s health foundations. I use my voice to spread awareness about causes and nonprofits that are near and dear to me. The more people know about a cause, the more support it gets.
Professionally, I express that passion in advising nonprofits how to make their events more profitable. I help organizations curate their live auction items and work closely with the team at Topher Mack Floral & Events to produce invigorating visual displays to raise as much money as possible during [charity] silent auctions.”
Outside of work, Roos, a member of The Temple, dotes on family. “My grandchildren are my favorite people in the world. As youngsters, they only heard us call each other by our first names. That’s how we became ‘Barbara and Duke.’ We wouldn’t have it any other way.”
In terms of retirement, she concluded, “As long as I am this happy, I’m never going to retire because I’ve still got a long way to go and a lot to give.”
Roos offers tips to maximize entertaining:
- Have faith in the people you work with. Be open-minded and listen to them because they are pros for a reason.
- If you are having an outdoor event, make sure your team has a thorough weather Plan B.
- Hire a planner. Planners aren’t just for weddings. They help you navigate all of the details for a cohesive event.
- Don’t forget lighting. It’s so important to create a visually beautiful event.
- No matter how stunning the event is or how exquisite the flowers are, if it isn’t properly lit, your guests won’t be able to see the details.
- Have fun. If you have a great vendor team in place, then ideally you should be able to enjoy the party rather than manage the details.
- Marcia Caller Jaffe
- STYLE Magazine
- Barbara Roos
- University of Alabama
- Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
- Topher Mack Floral & Events
- 1995 World Series
- Ted Turner
- Atlanta Braves
- Roberto Goizueta
- Coca-Cola Company
- The Temple Atlanta
- Eric Wittmayer
- Bar/Bat Mitzvahs
- Birthday Party
- Terri Nash Photography
- Christopher Macksey
- St. Regis bar