To have the perfect party you do not need to break
To have the perfect party you do not need to break
Firstly your venue, now I think this is the trickiest of all as you will inevitably have some sort of restrictions whether it is that you are having the party at home or are booking a hotel or venue for a large party or corporate function so you have to think carefully on this one.
If you are having the party at home in just your regular living space then it is usually best to try and adapt this with moving furniture to make it a more open area, have chairs against walls etc. Also try and change the ambiance by using lighting you can hire or buy in pretty cheaply some low level lights or just keep the lights down to create an atmosphere for an evening function. If you are having your gathering during the day then obviously it is much better to have as much light in the space as possible, open the curtains wide and make it light open and airy.
If you are having a marquee or a gazebo style extension then you may want to hold the entire party in here away from the house and in that case you will be able to treat this event like you would one being set up at an external venue with the set up much the same as explained further on in that section of the report.
If you are having entertainment or speeches the main rule is that the entire audience must be able to see and to hear what is going on so some sort of amplification depending on the venue type and size, some lighting change for the performance area and a platform or stage so the speaker and or performer can be seen by every member of the audience.
The best way to create the perfect event is make sure that the initial hour or two make the perfect impression. They say that we as humans make up our mind within the first few moments whether it is going to be a great event in the same way as interviewers or audition panels do of prospective employees. So the meet and greet section of any event is crucial, you must have a team of people or a dedicated host to meet and greet everyone as they arrive, they must feel welcome and at ease immediately and its always great if you have some form of refreshment to hand to them as the coats and bags are removed and placed in a secure place. This will enable the attendees to relax right away and not have to search for a drink.
Also good if the first few people are introduced to each other as they join or re acquainted if they know each other in passing, this breaks the ice a little and stops having awkward groups of one or two scattered around the room.
Have some simple low key music playing in the background something suitable for your event i.e. not heavy metal for most crowds as even though you may like it its not for everyone, or visa versa no classical for a punk party! To be safe always opt for some low key easy listening, modern jazz instrumental is good or some classic swing played low.
It is sometimes a great idea to have some live music playing in one area as people arrive, a string quartet, a harpist, a saxophonist or a small jazz trio work a treat.
Ice breaking in this first part of the evening is essential so it is most important that the guests are made comfortable and are offered refreshments both with drinks and some small snacks and canapes are perfect but more importantly you want to hear laughter and the sound of people enjoying themselves so some form of strolling entertainment is ideal for this. There are a multitude of choices depending on your style of event and/or budget. Here are just a few examples.
Live statues - people can stand and watch these and they are always a talking point, they can be any style under the sun from a traditional Greek god style sculpture to a un earthly alien incarnation.
Interactive characters - these are characters that walk around the reception areas and interact to varying degrees with the clientele. Robots, stilt walkers, fairies, gorillas, you name it it can be found and if you are having a theme party these are a great idea.
Look A Likes - ever fancied having a famous person at your event? Well you can at least have a look alike of some description, how about Del Boy propping up the bar? Or David Beckham sat at your table?
Artists - there are two types of strolling artists and these are always good value. Caricaturists who will en capture the comedic essence of the guest on paper in their favourite environment and this also gives the guest something to take home. And silhouette artists, there are fewer of these and it is a very classic art form, a great souvenir for your guests.
Photographers - now with the digital age you can have a photo studio set up in a small corner of your party and the guests can have their portrait taken, printed and ready on site. They can even have their photo on a wanted poster or the front cover of Hello Magazine!
Comedy Waiters - this is a weird one, imagine a team of waiters that are so rubbish they are funny, sometimes too good though and people may not realise they are a joke!
Incognito singers - interesting concept that usually starts early on in the evening and then continues through the dinner and culminates in a vocal performance, these guys and girls usually seem to be waiting staff, the chef, the sound man or just guests who end up grabbing centre stage and amazing everyone with a operatic aria!
Magical Entertainers, Mind Readers and interactive illusionists - this is the largest section as this is by far the most popular and most successful type of interactive entertainment around. It is tried and tested over many years and millions of event organisers and party planners swear by this type of entertainment as the best and perfect way to make a party memorable and a total success.
Imagine a performer who blends in initially and appears to be one of your guests then as he approaches small groups of people in a simple low key manor the atmosphere in the room starts to become electric as group after group are seen to be fixated on this performer so engrossed in what he is doing that they are unable to move, unable to breath hanging on their every word! Then the laughter, the applause, the screams of excitement and the un denying fact that these people will remember this event for the rest of their lives. Magicians are not all the same so you have to be weary of whom and what style you look for and remember that value is the issue not cost although the most expensive is rarely the best.
Things to look out for is a proven track record, how long have they been doing this, are they a full time professional with experience in parties like the one you are having. How do they dress, how do they talk, do they have professional looking publicity and most important of all do they have testimonials from past clients proving that the events they performed at have been a success and finally do they have a guarantee that they will do what they promise or you get your money back?
The great thing about a top class magical entertainer is that they are totally adaptable, whether you are having 10 people to dinner at your house or a large function with 1000 people in a hotel, they will be able to offer the correct and most suitable entertainment to make your event all you wish. Also if you book the right one you can have a choice of services from a simple hours strolling as guests arrive to close up slight of hand at each table through dinner and even a platform performance or full cabaret show from the same performer. Acts can include comedy, audience interaction, fun, mind reading and psychological illusions so the options with this type of entertainment are endless. There are a number of ways to find the perfect entertainer and whichever way you do this make sure you ask the right questions and get the best person for the job and most importantly your budget.
If you are holding a large party or conference you want your venue not only to be suitable to your needs but where possible a little unusual to draw peoples interest before they arrive. If the only venues that lend themselves to your events are the regular open function suite of the hotel close to you then you should attempt to wedding dresses the room in an exciting and emotionally stimulating way. This is easily achieved with the correct lighting, adding wall art or fabric drapes is great to enable a change of style in the room and the table decorations can be created in all forms using flowers plants, balloons or all the above. Your venue will be able to help you on this.
The after dinner entertainment again is an issue as there are a multitude of choices.
After Dinner Guest Speakers - These can be experts in your particular business or sports and show business speakers or celebrities. These speakers would usually sit with you for the meal and then stand and talk about their experiences in the business or tell jokes and anecdotes of their former or current careers.
Bands/Solo Singers - once again this is a personal choice and depends on the age of the people attending the event as you do not want to book an Old Time Music Hall tribute for mainly young attendees or a rock band for the senior citizens annual dinner, but this is just common sense.
Disco - this is always an old faithful to fall back on and a good DJ and disco can make or break the party, always check the type of venues they have worked at before, what type of equipment they have (is it up to date or are they still using old style light boxes with broken Perspex) once again always good to check their testimonials if they are good they will have a client list and testimonials to prove this. Sometimes a disco may also offer a karaoke service but this is only recommended for very specific groups, remember what you like may not be everybody's taste and you are responsible for making the party a success for everyone who attends.
Magical Cabaret - This is again one of the most versatile of all after dinner entertainments as it can just be a short hit to round the evening off or a full show with audience participation including all that the strolling performer can do plus it involves the entire audience in an emotional journey. Imagine that as coffee is served the performer engages the audience and mesmerizes them with impossible psychological illusions and makes them cry with laughter at the fun interaction as he involves and refers to members of staff or people in the room. What you will get is many attendees thanking you and patting you on the back for coming up with such an innovative presentation.
Food - as covered earlier it is good to have small canapes passed out on arrival as people are entering and relaxing but not to over do these if you are seating them for dinner in half an hour. Sometimes a standing buffet is in order and you could theme the food in traditional ways. For instance mini fish and chips and mini sausage and mash work as well as small bowls of Chinese or Indian style snacks and are sometimes more preferable.
If you are having a sit down meal this could be plated or silver served and some venues will already have catering in place or they can offer you a selection of recommended caterers that are used to working in that particular venue. If you are having a party at home or in a marquee and do not wish to organise the food yourselves there are many companies who specialise in this type of outside catering but once again always ask for a tasting event as well as testimonials, I would also suggest that if this is your way forward you should ask for the phone numbers of at least three of their previous clients so you can check that all is how you would wish it to be.
Do not make the dinner too long and arduous and make sure that there is plenty of opportunity for the guests to get a drink although unlimited alcohol is sometimes a mistake as there will always be someone who takes advantage of this and over does it. Plenty of water should also be supplied with dinner.
So my seven step formula for a perfect event would be.
1. Decide on a unique Venue
2. Give someone the task of being the main Host/Hostess whose job it is to make sure everyone is welcomed correctly.
3. Don't do everything yourself - appoint a team of people all responsible for a particular part of the event or use a top class event management or party planning company.
4. Book your Entertainment - preferably a top class Magician who can adapt to every situation.
5. Decide on your after dinner music or entertainment
6. Chose what format the food should be in
7. Relax on the night and wait for the applause.
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