Who doesn’t think that they can plan a great party, but with 20 years of event experience we know that things can go wrong. We’ve compiled a list of the top ten things you shouldn’t miss when planning an event you don’t want to forget.
1) The guest list is always the first place to start. You may have great ideas and thoughts for what and how you want your party to turn out, but you should always take into account what your audience wants. Build a profile of the typical guest and try to hit as many hot spots with them as possible. This will dictate how the party feels, no matter how much entertainment, great food, theming, gifts and beverages; if your guests don’t understand then the magic won’t come.
2) Invitations; The first opportunity to fire your guest’s imaginations. This is your first impression; leave a little mystery and excitement so they are always wanting more. An old school formal invite still has a place, valued far higher than a text or a Facebook notification.
3) Food; in my 15 years of events, no matter what the setting, people always mention the food. It isn’t hard to add a few touches that will be remembered. If it isn’t your thing, call in friends who can help deliver good food. Always prep the day before, it makes the whole event a lot more stress free on the day. If this is a stand up event then have little surprises that delight. Perhaps a demonstration chef that shucks oysters on request, with a variety of sauces to accompany. Gone are the days of the much loved chocolate fountain, replace it with something more intriguing and enthralling for your guests. Not sure what we mean? Try these exciting pieces featured at our previous events; a
chocolate tap, edible fragrances, or better yet, an edible mist orb that releases a zero calorie vapour of the tastiest treats.
*Top tip - if you’re not a foodie or maybe just on a time restraint, get yourself a secret chef to come in and cook for you, leaving before your guests arrive so you can pass it off as your own!!... Works every time!!
4) Entertainment; this needs to be designed around not only your desires, but mainly your guests. Try and make whatever you do as interactive as possible. People love to get involved; they feel part of what goes into making any event memorable. If you are having any live entertainment always make sure you have seen them live before-hand. Second hand recommendations are always risky. Be sure to plan your music in advance, with a playlist for each stage of the party. No one wants to be listening to heavy metal rock when the night is winding down. Why not ask guests beforehand for their top 3 party tunes and add them to the playlist.
5) Location; getting to the party easily is always important. People want don’t want to feel like the party is a pain to get to, making it easier to get there builds the anticipation. If your budget stretches far enough, lay on a red traditional route master mystery bus to collect people and take them to the venue. Always surprise and delight.
6) Venue; Try and choose a venue that has a wow factor, inside is more important than out. Surprise guests by choosing a venue that looks dowdy on the outside and build the sparkle on the inside – this way can also save money. After all, your guests spend time inside the party not outside. Venues and organisers work in partnership and most venues will be helpful with advice and guidance. Communication is key to building a good relationship, if the venue is clear in what you want and what you are trying to achieve then they will inevitably try and make your event wonderful and bespoke to you.
7) Theming; this has the ability to take your guest’s breath away, although don’t forget that this can take a chunk out of your budget for other areas. The impact of spectacular scenery lasts for a smaller period of time than interactive entertainment. Direct a larger portion of your budget toward entertainment, food and drink as opposed to dressing the venue and creating Hawaii Beach in your village hall. Take time to source themed elements as you will always be able to pick up bargains. Charity shops are a great place for dressing venues inexpensively.
8) Drink; firstly never run out of alcohol, you will be reminded of it forever if the unfortunate happens. Secondly, as a host, start drinking several hours after everyone else. You have a duty of care to your guests, if you are out of action early on then poor decisions will be made. Pour one glass at the start and nurse it for a while. Don’t be the hostess crying in the bathroom whilst your guests have burnt through the canapes! Always try to throw in something new into the mix. If it is the latest cocktail, a new spirit or a great new wine. Take the time to find the best deals for drinks as it is always one of the largest costs. You can get your ferry paid for by wine shops in Calais and also save a fortune on great wines.
9) Transport; make sure you have this organised. When looking back, people rarely remember how they got to the party but they will always moan about how long it took them to get home. There are many ways to ensure smooth arrivals and departure, contact your local taxi firm, organise a mini bus, find out the last trains home etc. Make sure your guests will get home in one piece. Don’t let those with who’ve had one too many travel alone, no matter how good an idea they think it is.
10) Have a plan B for everything. Look at all of the ‘what if’ scenarios; rain, power failure, no food and always have a backup plan. Have all of the relevant telephone numbers for your suppliers close to hand. Event organisers don’t have folders just to look organised, but because things go wrong. Anyone can follow a manual to organise an event, but how you deal with spontaneous issues is what defines a great party planner. Focusing on the blame element will never address that current issue, concentrate on finding a solution that fits. ‘Got a problem, find a solution’ is a cracking mantra that will serve you well when planning and managing any event, ensuring you start and finish your party with a smile.
Pepler Lee Events Private Parties
Private parties are all about you. With over 20 years of event experience, extensive location knowledge in this country and abroad. Together we will turn your thoughts into a reality. We have years of experience at creating the magical and delivering unique experiences for every special occasion. We can help you and your company with Corporate Parties, Team Building, Overseas Incentive and Summer Balls.
Contact us if you want to chat about your private event requirements