Showcase: Celebratory events - Advice

Three industry experts on how to celebrate in style.

THE AGENCY - ABI HUMAYUN DIRECTOR, RAPPORT EVENTS

"It is important to ascertain the nature of the celebration and devise a theme that is in keeping with this.

At Rapport, we place great importance on creating a connection with the audience. It is vitally important when planning any event that the audience is the main focus of your ideas.

Guests should be wooed from the minute they arrive at the venue - the sense of excitement and celebration should be palpable. This effect can be created by immersing every sense into the occasion, including the look, feel, sound and general atmosphere. We recently produced a celebratory event where guests were entertained from the outset with a red-carpet champagne reception filled with paparazzi actors, and the stage set created a huge impact as people entered the room. The awards ceremony that followed was high impact, with some spectacular lighting effects and fast-paced video content.

The key is to come up with a strong theme that reflects the occasion and which is strong enough to carry on throughout the event. This could be represented in the event logo, invitations and across all branding. The room dressing, staging and lighting should all tie in, as should any table decor."

THE CATERER - SUZANNE JAMES, DIRECTOR, SUZANNE JAMES

"When it comes to organising a corporate celebration it is all too easy to end up spending a lot of money on an event that lacks style or innovation.

Many venues have a list of in-house caterers, but few clients realise that it is often possible for a caterer to book a venue on their behalf. In recent years we have developed lasting relationships with a number of clients and regularly cater for their events, both in house and externally. This makes life easier for them, because they know we understand their needs and they can rely on the quality of both the food and the service.

It is important to work with the caterer to ensure you come up with a menu that is not only within your budget, but also appropriate for the venue and number of guests. If your event is themed you may want the food to be in keeping with that idea. A good caterer should be prepared to attend a site visit with you and provide a tasting.

If your company has a strong environmental policy you may also want a caterer with a similar ethos. Many now recycle glass, and some, such as ourselves, also recycle plastics, paper and aluminium.

When considering drinks,think about how you want the event to flow. Cocktails or champagne can make things too lively too soon. The big buzz in the industry is tap water over bottled, or bottled water from a brand that donates some of its profits to help water projects around the world."

ENTERTAINMENT AGENCY - GEOFF SEWELL, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, INCOGNITO ARTISTS

"The impression you make on your client or audience, and the positive word-of-mouth that comes off the back of an event, is the main measure of your success.

Combining an innovative theme, great venue, decor and a live entertainment act will transfix even the most subdued and straight-laced audience, and you'll have everyone raving about your event for ages, eagerly anticipating the next one.

Before booking entertainment for a celebratory event you need to ask the following questions: What will make it memorable? Do you want people to feel so good that they spend more in the charity auction that follows? Or do you want people to be so happy and buzzing that they fill the dancefloor for the DJ?

You may want to impress the board directors, or, for the Christmas party, book entertainment that will allow staff to relax, let their hair down and have fun, so it is important to know your audience, in particular what will make them feel important and appreciated.

An essential area for any event is the budget. Remember the saying: 'Pay peanuts, get monkeys'. Spend wisely and you won't regret it."


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