Last month, we hosted an Event Planning Surgery which featured a guest panel of speakers from some of our leading venues. The aim was to give small to medium businesses without their own dedicated events team some basic pointers on event management.
Representing a variety of venues, our panel comprised of the events managers from HMS Belfast, Borough Market, Southwark Cathedral, Hilton Bankside and The Swan. With set topics and open questions from the audience, we thought we’d share the panel’s top tips when it comes to pulling off the perfect event.
Finding the right venue
- Ask yourself what you want to achieve from your event and find a venue which will help compliment this – if it’s a networking drinks reception, find a space that will encourage social interaction.
- Decide what your key priorities are for the event and what you’re prepared to compromise on with the venue.
- Venue event managers will always be honest about the limitations of a space and can suggest alternative layouts, so be open-minded about this.
- Regardless of the scale of your event, always arrange a venue site visit.
- Ask yourself who will be attending the event and what will they be expecting – also take into account your event running time.
- Ask your venue event manager how they plan to ensure ALL your guests will get fed, especially if you’re serving canapés.
- Always take into consideration your guests’ dietary requirements – having a variety of vegetarian options doesn’t necessarily mean all your guests will be able to enjoy them.
- Food and drink should be considered a real feature at your event – consider having several food stations to add animation to the room.
- Food stations also puts the impetus on your guests to feed themselves and then they can’t complain about not being served!
- Before your event starts, allow yourself 5 minutes to walk into the space and try to see it from the perspective of a guest. This will give you the opportunity to make any last minute adjustments.
- Remember that venues can be flexible. If you’ve seen a package online but it’s not quite right for you, tell the venue and see what they can do.
- Trust your venue event managers! They are there to help and most importantly they know their venue inside out.
- Be relaxed and enjoy your event – it might be tricky at times, but all you can do is try.