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“Your company did WHAT?”

That’s the general response I get when I tell people how the Marketwake holiday party went down. There’s a few other (read: more colorful) responses, but across the board, the shock and awe are pretty standard.

Because — be honest — how often do you hear about companies forgoing the usual holiday “7-to-11” shindig for a surprise, all-expenses paid, one-day trip to New York City with a +1 for everyone? Never. Absolutely never.

But this was a special kind of year, and it called for a special kind of celebration. We blasted through our 2018 goals (and then some) including launching a new website, doubling our staff and office space, and collaborating on passion projects that we really wanted to be a part of. It was a GREAT year.

So when Brooke pulled the team downstairs to tell us what we’d need for our surprise holiday party the next day, we had a couple of ideas about what we were going to do. But none of them were even close, and that was obvious as soon as Brooke said this: Get out your Delta app because we’re going to NYC.

As you can imagine, shock and awe. Totally.

So, what does a company trip to the Big Apple actually look like? A healthy amount of mimosas, “Welcome to New York” karaoke moments, and even an episode where a carriage horse thought that Brooke’s scarf was something worth nibbling. Hey, you can’t plan every moment perfectly. And really, why would you want to?

Check out where we went, what we did, and what we loved below — both planned and unplanned!

6:45 AM: ATL → NYC

Requirements for this kind of view? Just a few 4:15 AM Uber rides. #WorthIt

“Traveling with a big group was 100% the best part. The only thing that we knew for sure was that we were taking the first flight out of ATL and coming back on the last flight of the day. After that, we didn’t know exactly where we were going next. We were either told moments before we got there, or we weren’t told at all and were surprised when we arrived. It was so “go with the flow,” adding so much more excitement to the entire trip.” – Leigh

8:30 AM: Party Bus

Starting the day right requires a party bus and champagne (of course).

holiday party“In the words of Michael Scott: ‘Ain’t no party like a Scranton party ‘cause a Scranton party don’t stop!’ On the bus, I wanted to make sure to keep the groovy vibes going. I was mixing up song after song like Steve Aoki in a thriving night club in Las Vegas. Then it happened: One More Time by Daft Punk came on and the energy on the bus transformed. Everyone began dancing in synchronization and I put on the best vocal performance of my life, singing lyric after lyric to perfection. I’ll never forget the moments we all shared on that horseless carriage.” – Ian

9:30 AM: Breakfast at Rockefeller Center

Breakfast + team photo + the world’s most famous Christmas tree = Magic

holiday party

“After a REALLY early morning, we were all excited (hangry) to get some food in our bellies and we were not disappointed. It was all a surprise, so as we were lead off the bus we didn’t know where we were going, but we ultimately found ourselves at an amazing restaurant sitting right below the Rockefeller Christmas tree. We feasted while watching people fall on the ice skating rink. Perfect start to an amazing day.” – Bin

10:30 AM: Radio City Christmas Spectacular

What’s Christmas in New York without the Rockettes? We’ll never know…


“Have you ever tried to do a high-kick in perfect coordination with about 50 other chicks while elaborately revolving in crazy combinations around the stage? I have, and it’s never, ever been as good as anything I saw the Rockettes do. They were absolutely iconic. And the drones in the finale! And the LIVE camels they brought onstage! I could go on forever. It was awesome.” – Maggie

1:30 PM: Top of the Rock

We were on top of the world, thinking about how awesome the Marketwake logo would look on a few of those highrises. #2019Goals

“Best part: The top of the Rockefeller Center. The view was specular! My husband had never been to New York before (he was my +1 of course!), and it was amazing to be able to share it with him AND my team.” – Courtney

2:15 PM: Lunch at the Plaza

For a few hours, we were all Eloise at the Plaza. And it was great.

Photo Source: @theplazahotel/@xenaa_ru

“The Plaza was absolutely magical and I felt like I needed an Instagram photoshoot. It truly made all of my white marble dreams come true. Could a design lover like me get any better? And when it came to lunch, I loved that their food market had options. You could get anything: ramen, tacos, pizza, doughnuts, pasta. So very New York.” – Megan

3:00 PM: Central Park

Too bad the weather kept us from ice skating in the park. I guess this means we have to go back?

“Strolling through Central Park is always such a magical experience. However, my favorite part was Brooke acting like a horse whisperer. She petted every horse she saw (whether they wanted to be petted or not). See the picture above for the results of this endeavor.” – Amber

5:00 PM: Rooftop Party in Manhattan

The place where we all discovered our love for spicy margaritas, thanks to one tequila-loving CEO.

holiday party

“With our own section of the rooftop, catered food, and high-rise views, it was a blast getting to experience the High Life together. It was hard to believe we would be back in Atlanta before the night was over.” – Devin

6:00 PM: Surprise birthday celebration for our CCO extraordinaire

Cupcakes from the Cake Boss himself for our favorite Designer-in-Chief. Are we dreaming?

“I was for sure the most surprised when I was hand delivered fancy New York cupcakes from the team. Definitely the best ending to an insane day.” – Maddie

8:30 PM: NYC → ATL

This picture is worth ALL the words.

“The best part of the whole thing was the surprise, and how it included our friends / SOs. It definitely made it much harder to plan, and they easily could have not done either of those things (and it still would have been AWESOME). But Brooke does nothing less than 100% so of course she did that, and it honestly made it so much more special.” – Katherine

After all of this, you know what we found out? When you work with people you care about,  you end up being really successful (and also really happy).

“This team blows me away every day and I am proud to have them represent Marketwake. They work harder than I can even begin to explain and deserved every bit of this amazing trip. But the best part was how much they (we) just enjoyed hanging out, experiencing life, and being ourselves. Work is not something you do so you can live your life, it should be an extension of it. So NYC for the day? With this team? Why the heck not.” – Brooke  

New York City, you were a dream, and just what we needed to inspire another year of magical thinking (and doing). Here’s to 2019!

P.S. Have your own company party story that’s one for the books? Share it with us below, we’ll need something REALLY epic to top this year’s celebration and we’re always looking for ideas!

Maggie Harney

Author Maggie Harney

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