Whether you’re putting on a conference, organising a stag or hen do for the ages, or are looking for that perfect wedding venue – planning your big day can be a big task. Castles and stately homes can be an ideal venue for large or more intimate parties and events. With that in mind, we have some tips and ideas for planning and organising that will transform your celebrations into something extraordinary and make managing the event a breeze.
Planning Your Event
Whether you have specifics in mind or need some inspiration and ideas to take your event to the next level, the first step is to put your ideas or creative vision in one place.
Gather your ideas
You will have seen those impressive wedding magazine spreads with collages and notes on all manner of attire and décor. While this is helpful, you don’t need to get too fancy. Think about events you’ve attended in the past, ideas for a unifying theme, and any small touches you’d like to add, and see how your ideas begin to build.
Consider your budget
Before you get too carried away, it is worth doing some research on typical costs for key areas: venue hire, catering, entertainment, and – of course – drinks. How many people are you expecting, and what is your cost per head? With these costs in mind, you can divide up your budget and look at what will be possible.
Make a list
Once you are clear on what you want and what can be achieved within budget, it’s time to make a checklist. Be clear on details. Some questions you can ask yourself are: What is the task? When does it need to be completed? Who is responsible for this item? This is a simple and easy way to keep on top of everything and make sure that you are organised for the day.
What are the main features of your party? Selecting a suitable venue can take time, but 2 things are key: size and location. Look for a venue that will accommodate everyone without leaving a conspicuous empty space or your guests scattered. Whether this will be a stately home or local hall, consider the location in terms of transport, too.
If you’re planning a wedding, consider finding a venue that can be licensed for the wedding as well as the reception. This can be a great way to save and to keep track of your guests, making it easier to organise transport and your next ports of call…
Catering is typically charged on a cost per head basis. Knowing your budget will make this process simpler and your options clear.
Consider your costs and what kind of food will be suitable for your type of event. Is your event an all-day event that requires a meal, an evening party that would benefit from light refreshments, or somewhere in between? Depending on how formal your event will be, consider whether a sit-down meal is appropriate. Will a buffet might make things easier, or is a table of light finger food is all you will need?
It is also helpful to consider the space your venue provides. Can food be cooked on site or will you need to hire outside caterers? Food, catering and bar equipment can all be hired by mobile caterers.
Caterers or wedding venues usually provide a limited selection of drinks. Table wine can be included in a package, or you can supply your own wine and negotiate a corkage cost.
Your venue may have an existing bar, so check this out in advance. Whether you plan to provide free drinks or are installing a cash bar, consider comparing the venue’s bar prices with a mobile bar.
If you find that the venue’s provisions do not meet your plans or requirements, a mobile bar is a great way to cater to your guests’ varied drinks tastes. Many mobile bars provide a package price, making it simple to track your spending and stick to budget.
Keeping your guests well fed with a well-stocked bar is half the battle, but how do you keep them entertained?
Again, it is important to consider the venue. Is there room for a DJ or string quartet, or does it have a great sound system for background music to be played from an MP3 player? Whatever you are planning, consider the space and equipment the venue provides. What type of entertainment will match the tone of your event, and what does your budget allow?
Atmosphere and Intangibles
Making all of these elements work together is key to a successful event. Remember that catering can contribute to entertainment, and that a cocktail bar could provide a unique atmosphere to enhance, or even take the place of, live entertainment.
Consider these points carefully and with a little creativity and good luck you can have a fun and memorable event to enjoy and remember.
About the Author:
With over 10 years’ experience in the events industry, Oliver Bennett has seen it all from working for brands such as Gatecrasher to running successful bars and now operating mobile bar and events management consultancy, Bar4hire.com. Specialising in unconventional venues, Ollie’s team are experienced and knowledgeable in managing everything from weddings to corporate events.