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Planning Staff Events Part 1

PICKING A THEME AND VENUE:

With Festive End of  the Year Party planning about to start for companies in the Lower Mainland, it’s a good time to start thinking about themes. Planning an event for staff is much different to planning events or parties for friends, family or paying guests. There are different expectations, different levels of willingness to participate and staff safety at the end of the night. This will be the first of a 3 part series that will look at some of the main elements of a themed corporate event:

  1. Picking a Theme and Venue – Top Options that Everyone will Enjoy
  2. Incorporating the Theme – Entertainment and Décor
  3. Food and Beverage – How Much and Understanding Corporate Safety

PART 1: Picking a Theme

One of the keys to a successful event is the theme. When planning a corporate event, it can be hard to balance the desires of all your colleagues and make everybody happy – which is why the first thing you need to accept is that it is impossible to make everyone happy. But, there are some themes that tend to get most people more excited than others. The reason? They are easy!

For example, planning a fancy dress party, no matter how fun the theme, where staff have to take the time to plan and put together an outfit is hard. However, planning an event where they just have to where clothing in a common colour, like black or white, is easy.

Here are a couple of easy themes you can incorporate into you next corporate event:

  • Black and White – this is a classic and can be accompanied by more creative décor themes like Winter Wonderland, Hollywood Glamour, France (think mimes) or Masquerade,
  • A Day at the Races – Everyone has a nice dress or basic suit they can pull out,
  • Decades – 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, are all easy, know what to expect themes. What turns most people off creating costumes, is not knowing what everyone else will be wearing! With decades, you can be guaranteed that everyone invited has either lived in during that time, or have at the very least seen a movie set then,
  • Favourite Film/ TV/ Music Star – yes, this is a costume theme, but people tend to be quite passionate about their favourite shows so you’d be surprised how many will get into it,
  • Toga Party – again very easy, grab a bed sheet and some bobby pins and you are good to go! Again though, this could lead to less desirable visions of your fellow colleagues, especially if those pins start to slip!

Courtesy of hollywoodreporter.com

Once you have a theme sorted, the next thing to organise is the venue. You want something that either works with your theme, or allows you to create your theme from scratch depending on your budget. One thing to remember is to always book a venue that holds slightly less people than you expect. For example, if you are expecting 100 guests, book a room that holds about 80, that way the room will feel busier than it is and it gives guests the subconscious impression that everyone is there and it’s the party of the century!

Courtesy of Adore Imagery Photography

Here are a couple of other elements to consider when sourcing a venue:

  • Catering – Can you choose your own (and therefore have the freedom to negotiate) or are you locked in to using their preferred caterer? Food can be the biggest drain in an event budget so having the option of bringing in your own food or to gather quotes for the best price can save you a high percentage on the overall costs.
  • Beverages – Does the venue have the capability to provide alcoholic drinks? In BC in particular liquor license laws can be tricky and for most events you will be required to purchase a special events license. The license itself is quite cheap (starting at $25) but the applicant is required to hold their serving it right certificate and will be held responsible for the safe service of alcohol at the event. Keep in mind too, that if you do have someone who can apply for the license, buying your own beverages wholesale can save you a lot of money.
  • Audio Visual Capabilities – If you are planning a presentation, or you have a band booked to play, having the right equipment and someone who knows how to operate it properly can make all the difference. Ensure you have this discussion during your first meeting with the venue as the cost of renting equipment along with an operator can add up. If it’s an evening event, you may also be required to pack down and remove all equipment at the end of the event which can mean hiring additional staff to help, and adds even more cost.

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