Well…even better than a worm, you will get your pick of the best suppliers. Reliable and professional suppliers get booked up early during events season which starts to hot up any time after July (and because everyone needs to party after the hum drum of end of financial year!). This includes photographers, venues, caterers, hire companies, staffing companies and other event services.
Similarly, for suppliers to provide your event with the best service and their best product, more time will allow for more planning. Especially if you require any level of customisation for your event, booking early gives you time to communicate your wishes and for the supplier to best meet them.
On another note, booking early means you will quite often receive priority with booking of certain hire items, and if you are booking staff for your event, you will most likely receive their A-team, instead of outsourced staff members.
Ace your invitations
There are so many great web based invitation management applications these days which help in creating invitations, coordinating guest lists and managing rsvps. The best thing – heaps of them are free. If you have time and are looking for a good response rate, be sure to follow up and ensure guests have received your invitation as many firewalls will block some of these ‘e-vites’.
When sending your invitations, be clear about the event parameters from the outset. Does the event require prior work or for social events, does your invitation include partners or not, or kids?
RSVPs: We live in a last minute society and so you will likely receive a flurry of RSVPs late in the piece. Ensure the RSVP date provides enough lead time to advise your suppliers of any changes to final numbers.
Think outside the box (of wine)
While most people love to eat and drink, it’s a good idea to provide substance to your event in the way of activities, themes or entertainment. Especially when catering for big crowds, you will most likely have all walks of life and that includes people who don’t drink or who aren’t mad social beasts.
Although it’s hard to cater to everybody specifically, having a creative platform for guests to engage with each other will help create a memorable event for all. Some ideas might include:
- Live food making stations such as live izakaya style food stations (Japanese bar food), live carving and serving of meats & fish, fresh oyster shucking, dessert decorating stations
- Live ice sculpting or functional ice sculptures to house drinks or fresh seafood
- Cheese, wine & beer matching or tastings
- Origami instructional placemats for your guests to amuse themselves
- Photo booths with dress ups – create your own or book a professional that can supply printed photos to your guests
- Mad-hatters tea party
- Book live entertainment such as comedians, magicians, beatboxers or jazz duos
- Slushie machines with alcoholic and non-alcoholic options
- Cocktail making parties – book an expert cocktail maker to instruct your crew on how to make 3 different cocktails…and drink them (not to say that requires much instruction)
- Cupcake decorating classes
Master your dietaries
Don’t forget to ask in your invitation for guests to submit their dietaries. If you end up ordering the Italian buffet and have 5 people who are gluten-free, chances are they will go rather hungry indeed!
Dietaries can be a minefield these days so if you don’t want to delve into the dark depths of people’s bowel movements, just get your suppliers to cater for the basics – vegan (which will include your vegetarian and dairy free guests) and gluten-free.
This one is central to your event. Again, the best venues tend to get snapped up fairly quickly, so do your investigations early. Make sure you check the terms and conditions offered by the venue (eg. Minimum bar spends, closing times). Do you want the flexibility of organising your own outside entertainment or catering, or do you have to use their suppliers?
Most importantly, remember we are coming into Queensland’s wild weather season. If you are planning on booking an outdoor venue, make sure you check into their wet weather policy and whether they have one. Fingers crossed isn’t always quite enough 😉