Stuck on the fence about whether to host a stand-up soirée or a seated celebration? We spoke to the team of business event experts from CIS Event Management to get their top tips for event planners on which format is best for your event.
Dee Nicholas, Founder of CIS Event Management says that, “The answer to the question – to cocktail party or to dine – really depends on your event aims and audience”. Professional event managers know just how important it is to identify your event aims and audience from the outset as these things filter through every element of your event – from venue selection and menu choice to room configuration and entertainment.
The team of event planners at CIS Event Management ask their clients in-depth questions about who is attending and what the purpose of the event is – for example, it may be an awards night for top performing sales staff. In cases where there are going to be many formalities – such as speeches, awards, presentations and displays, Dee and her team recommend a seated event would be the best format.
Where the aims of your event are around mingling and networking, Dee and her team of event planners recommend a cocktail party style event format as this will provide you with a more casual forum for your guests to walk around freely and get to know each other.
Dee notes that there is a common misconception that a cocktail party event will be a cheaper alternative to a seated lunch or dinner. Event spaces and catering packages are effectively priced on duration – so if you are looking to have a 5 hour seated dinner or a 5-hour cocktail party, you still require the same amount of venue hire time, food, beverages and staff to service your event! The only instance that you could look at reducing your costs for a cocktail party event versus a seated event is when you look at a shorter duration for the cocktail party.
Whilst costs for table settings including linen and centrepieces are not relevant to a cocktail party – Dee and the CIS Event Management team encourages their clients to always factor in budget for cocktail party furniture (including bar trees, bar stools and a lounge area) to help fill up your chosen venue and to ensure the comfort of your guests.
CIS Event Management has an AWESOME offer for event planners that like to think outside the square – book your event with them by the end of the month and choose from a range of goodies including custom event app, event photography, DJ and more! Click here to find out more.
We are officially in Christmas party season! Which is great if you’ve already organised your office Christmas party – but not quite as joyful a prospect if nothing’s been planned, and suddenly you’ve been lumped with the task of making it happen.
Sound familiar? For you, the team at Venuemob have whipped up a last minute Christmas party planning checklist to get you through December unscathed.
1. Figure out what your non-negotiables are
This first step is arguably the most important one. Know exactly what you need from your Christmas party and your venue, because it will impact the entire process of planning your event. Decide from the get-go whether those items on your list fall under ‘must have’ or ‘that’d be great’.
Your very-much-confirmed budget could be the non-negotiable. It could be the date of the event. It could be accessibility requirements, or menu items (vegetarian, Kosher or Halal, for instance).
Identifying your non-negotiables and must-haves early will make the rest of the process of planning your last minute office Christmas party SO much easier.
2. Find some venue options
You’re running out of time, and key dates are getting booked out. You could rack your brains for appropriate venues, contacting them one by one. Or you could book the venue everyone’s sick of – again. Or, you could access best options in one spot. Complete with imagery, availability information (vital), function package and menu information, and a rundown of minimum spend requirements for all spaces.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but venue location is worthy of its own item in the last minute Christmas party planning checklist. Is the venue conveniently located for your colleagues or guests? Where is it in relation to your office, and public transport options? How far will they have to stumble post-party? The distance guests have to travel to reach the party often influences how many people actually attend, and how much of a good time they have.
4. Ask the right questions
First up? That’s easy. Ask the venue about your non-negotiables.
Next, we recommend the following questions – depending on your requirements, of course.
What are our catering options? Is there a bar tab option?
How much time will you have for set-up and packdown?
Realistically, will guests be comfortable in the space, or will they be squished?
What’s included in the cost of the venue hire or min spend?
Until what time will we have access to the venue / space?
If you need AV – will you need to pay more?
If you need an exclusive space – will the public be able to see inside / have access to your space?
5. Organise food and drinks
Important checklist item ahead! How many times have you been to an event and thought afterwards ‘gosh, it was fun – but I wish there had been more food’? Avoid those pitfalls by ensuring you budget and plan appropriately, even when you’re in the throes of last minute Christmas party planning.
Will your guests need lunch? Lunch AND dinner? If you’re planning on serving canapés at your event, how many pieces will your guests need to make sure their tummies are lined? Consider when your event starts, and how long you expect festivities to run.
Same goes for drinks! Beverage packages provide more bang for your buck, and can be limited to a particular number of hours for service – this is a great option for when you have a very specific start and end time, and when you have a large number of guests.
More casual? Chuck some money on a bar tab, and let your colleagues buy their own drinks when it runs out. Easy.
6. Make sure guests are going to have fun!
Be honest. Are your colleagues going to need a helping hand to get mingling and chatting amongst different departments? If the answer’s yes, we recommend including an activity in the day’s festivities: go karting, an escape room, or other hands-on, fun experiences. You could even choose a venue that comprises both an activity, AND the food and booze everyone’s looking forward to.
For other teams, the only the thing they’ll need to have a great time is a great soundtrack. If you’re planning on bringing your own music or playlist, double check whether your venue is able to provide an aux cord and speakers, and that you can in fact play your own tunes.
Similarly – if you’re organising a band or DJ, chat to your chosen venue about your plan well in advance so you’re not caught facepalming in frustration on the night.
7. Tee up an after-party venue
This will depend entirely on the vibe and average age of your guestlist, but you may want to consider organising an after-party venue. If that’s the case, here’s the Venuemob hot tip: avoid playing it by ear on the night.
Nothing takes the wind out of a group’s party sails quite like standing on a street corner trying to decide which direction to take, or waiting in line at a club!
Whether it’s a reserved VIP booth or an entire semi-exclusive section of a bar, make sure it’s a done deal before the date of your office Christmas party. It might even be worth sending out an email to your team during the party planning process to gauge how many guests are keen, and which venues they’d prefer for kick-ons.
So. What are you waiting for? Go forth and lock in your last minute Christmas party, and deliver an event that runs like a planned-months-in-advance Christmas party.
With Venuemob on your side, you’ll be sinking a bev (or five) and enjoying a tasty morsel (or ten) in the perfect venue in no time.
Conference attendees may often attend several business events across the year. To ensure that your upcoming conference stands out and leaves a lasting impression, we got some expert tips from the professionals! Dee Nicholas and the team at CIS Event Management have been creating exceptional event experiences for over 10 years all over Australia. We were thrilled to catch up with Dee to get her top tips on how to increase delegate engagement and how to provide your guests with a truly memorable experience.
What do your attendees want? Just ask.
Don’t take a stab at it – go straight to the source to find out what is going to excite and delight your attendees. Engagement, education and networking are all important but a pre-event survey is a great way to identify what your staff want to see in terms of relevant content. Post event surveys from previous events are also a great way to identify any improvement areas (and these can be administered fairly easily through an electronic system such as Survey Monkey).
Create a comfortable environment
Add a personal touch to your conference set up with comfortable lounge areas. Couches and coffee tables help create a relaxed environment for your delegates to unwind and refresh pre and post conference and on breaks. Free Wi-Fi, charging stations and a range of industry relevant magazines are some great added touches that your attendees will appreciate.
Creating an amazing ‘offsite’ event experience at a local landmark venue can be a really exciting addition to a conference. Where delegates have travelled overseas or interstate, it is a nice touch to include an ‘offsite’ event at a different location that showcases local culture and flavours.
Boost team morale by including interactive team building activities throughout your conference. There are so many unique options these days and by surveying your delegates pre and post event, you will be able to identify what style of activities best suits the group demographics.
Conference programs can be pretty intense for delegates (‘information overload!’) so it’s always a great idea to add an outdoor component. Whether you choose to organise a team challenge in a local park or if you are able to host your working lunch outside – your delegates will be reinvigorated by the fresh air. For something different, why not schedule some ‘walking meetings’ as part of your program (this is great for short sessions with small groups or one on one meetings).
Inspire your delegates by including collaborative feature art piece such as a mural or a mood board that delegates can contribute to throughout the conference. Get the creative juices flowing by leaving art supplies, textas, fabrics etc. for your guests to make their mark on.
Food stations and buffets are a fantastic, social way of dining that will increase interaction. Add a little fun to your catering with food station themes or elaborate styling features. Don’t forget when selecting your menu to keep healthy options in to avoid the mid afternoon slump.
Mix up your format
Break up back to back presentations and encourage conversation with some different program formats including panel discussions, live Q&A sessions, debates or ‘fish bowl’ group discussions.
If you want your next business event to make an impact, contact the team of business event professionals at CIS Event Management today.
Roquette Catering have been creating unforgettable culinary experiences for over 12 years. Using only the best seasonal ingredients, the innovative team at Roquette Catering are renown for creating beautiful Kosher menus and for delivering the most memorable events in Melbourne.
Attention to detail is their happy place and the team at Roquette Catering know just how to throw parties that are talked about for years to come. We were thrilled this month to speak to the team at Roquette Catering to find out about their favourite flavours for winter PLUS some expert tips for event planners.
What are the team at Roquette Catering’s favourite flavours for the cooler months ahead?
We are loving Middle Eastern cuisine at the moment. With its hearty flavours, slow cooked and braised offerings and traditionally served in a family style manner, what is there not to love!
What advice would you give event planners on how to choose the perfect venue?
Awareness of the potential venue challenges is essential for creating a successful event, but only half the battle. How do you avoid these challenges or tackle them as they come up? Simple: you need a game-plan.
Roquette Catering’s 4-Step Game Plan to Manage any Challenge and Create and Awesome Event
1. Collate all your questions into a single document and bring it with you when assessing venues. Simply present it to the venue when you arrive and tick off all questions, to make sure you learn everything you need to know about the venue.
2. Invite your caterer along to view the kitchen. It’s important they know what facilities are available before selecting your menu!
3. Obtain costs for any additional equipment that may be needed in the kitchen or elsewhere as early as possible, so you can assess and budget them into the venue price.
4. For destination events, your best bet is to hire a coordinator who has experience in planning events at your destination.
Food trends for 2018 – what are the ‘must have’ menu choices for 2018?
Back to basics – good, nutritious and real food rather than over complicated dishes.
Homemade everything from dips, condiments, pickled and kimchi. Ethical and sustainable food is a highlight.
Meat alternatives such as our kale and quinoa patties rather than your traditional burger.
What can event planners incorporate as an exciting point of difference for their Bat Mitzvah or Bar Mitzvah?
Personalisation – with so many celebrations it is easy to mixed up into what everyone else is doing. By adding a level of personalisation from menu design and concepts to styling, printing and entertainment, guests will feel like they are celebrating the individual.
To celebrate your next event in style, contact the team of catering and event experts at Roquette Catering today.
*Feature image credit – Charlene Miller. Styled in conjunction with The Style Shed
Winter food has traditionally been synonymous with slow cooking, comfort foods and rich flavours. These days, corporate event planners are looking for tasty, seasonal menu choices with a healthy focus. We spoke to the team of foodies at The Catering Company to find out what’s on the menu for winter.
What are The Catering Company’s favourite flavours for winter?
Since January, our heads of department have all been working really hard at updating our “Build Your Own” menu. We have some new flavours on the menu that are proving to be very popular! Some of our hot sellers for the cooler months are:
Savoury baked bites – Lamb filo cigar with sumac yoghurt.
Golden, fried and crispy – Risotto balls with mushroom, rosemary and garlic aioli (this new flavour is a mouth-watering team favourite!).
Grilled goodness – Vietnamese turmeric and lemongrass chicken skewer with nuoc cham.
Sliders and burgers – Chicken katsu slider with Asian pea shoot slaw.
Lots of businesses host conferences throughout winter – how can corporate event planners add a special touch to their catering?
Corporate meetings have changed a lot over the years. People are moving away from sandwich platters as they are finding the bread component too heavy to consume alongside cakes, pastries and danishes. Event planners have been halving their bread component and adding our amazing seasonal salads. Our most popular would be the broccoli mentioned below (the tahina and lime dressing is a taste sensation!
Chargrilled broccoli & zucchini salad w tahini, lime dressing which is light, vegan, gluten friendly and bursting with flavour and goodness.
We have introduced poke and Buddha bowls to the menu for corporate catering. It allows for team members to leave the office with their lunch. Removing yourself from the office environment over lunch promotes health and wellness, bringing back to work inspired minds!
Buddha Bowls, are new to our menu. They are big bowls of wholesome goodness. Most are vegan and gluten free.
Tofu & black bean Buddha Bowl – white quinoa, black beans, silken tofu, roast sweet potato, grilled eggplant, cucumber & corn salsa – this dish is a stand out favourite and a hot seller.
Serving suggestions – what are The Catering Company’s top food styling predictions for the cooler months?
Grazing tables for functions are soooooo hot right now!
We think we do them especially well because of our Italian heritage. There is no skimping on charcuterie, cheeses and bread for our spectacular masterpieces, which includes prosciutto carved straight from the bone.
It’s a definite show stopper and really wows all the guests at the party. We head straight to the Epping markets to select green foliage, heirloom cauliflowers, tomatoes and punnets of fresh herbs to complete our tables.
Thank you to the team at The Catering Company for the winter food inspo (and for making our mouths water).
The team at Complete Function Hire enjoys working with Melbourne’s most talented event planners and incredible venues.
On this week’s blog, we were delighted to speak to the team of foodies at White Card Food & Events to get their food trend predictions for the year ahead and some great tips on how to create an event that your guests will remember for years to come.
What are the White Card team’s catering trend predictions for 2018?
Wedding and event planners are going to continue to opt for shared menus and grazing stations this year. This style of catering is so wonderful for all kinds of events as it allows people to explore new flavours in a fun way and it also creates a visual experience too.
We love featuring local produce through our menus and another food trend for this year will be around creating innovative ways of healthy eating including Buddha Bowls and really gorgeous mocktails.
Our spaces vary so much – from the elegance of the Immigration Museum to the rustic industrial feel of the Pumping Station .
Our Pumping station is so full of history with unique design features such as beautiful red bricks and metal engines. Minimal effort is needed to turn the space into your own to create your dream event. We have also enhanced the space with rows of Edison festoon lights which creates a gorgeous ambience for parties.
The Immigration Museum is so elegant and full of light. The gorgeous urban courtyard is perfect for a summer cocktail party or end of year event. The Immigration Museum is conveniently located in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD so it is a very popular choice for business events of all kinds.
We love our unique event spaces and work closely with our brides and corporate event clients to ensure we create extraordinary event experiences that incorporates their own personal style.
What are your team’s top tips for organising memorable events this year?
Try and find spaces that offer an experience for your guests. We can organise for your guests to view one of our original steam pumps in action or to lie back and enjoy a planetarium show before a cocktail or dinner event. Incorporating one of these special experiences will leave a lasting impression on your guests
Guests love a grazing table with an interesting selection of tasty bites. We find that grazing stations enhances the event space and creates a real wow factor when guests arrive
Get in early if you have your heart set on a special event space for end of year events!
What’s new at White Card Food & Events?
We are currently finalising our end of year packages so stay tuned to White Card & Museum Spaces for more details very soon! Baja was a huge success in 2017 and we are working on something very special for the end of this year which we can’t wait to share.
Planning the company end of year event can be stressful for event organisers. Be sure to impress your colleagues, clients and boss with these great tips from CIS Event Management!
Know your audience.
Understand who is attending your event. This will help you make decisions around menu selection, ice breakers, venue location etc.
Outline your event aims.
What are you trying to achieve? Is the event a reward for the hard work of the staff or appreciation of your stakeholders and partners? Like all events, determining the aims from the get go is an important exercise.
Make it easy for your guests.
Be clear as crystal with your invitations. Go the extra mile and include directions, details on where to park or details for sourcing fancy dress (if your event is themed). Always consider what is going to make your guests lives easier!
Team guidelines for staff end of year events.
Ask Management or HR to send a quick reminder (for staff events) around alcohol policies and acceptable behaviour.
Budget for incidentals.
Allocate a little extra budget for incidentals (such as last minute guest invitations by management).
Budget for an AV technician.
Where your audio visual requirements go beyond the norm (e.g. microphone, lectern, data projector), you should consider budgeting for an AV Technician to be on site at your venue. This will help you avoid any unforeseen technical issues so that your event can run to schedule.
Check your contracts.
Get to know your venue contract and understand terms such as slippage clause (which is the adjusted price per person increase should your numbers fall below a certain amount). Never sign anything before totally understanding it and getting sign off from management.
Check, double check and triple check every last detail!
This goes without saying! A professional event manager is fastidious about every detail – we check, double check and then triple check every aspect of each event.
Working with a professional event manager such as CIS Event Management, doesn’t mean that you will miss out on planning parts of the event. Professional event managers are called in to either manage events end to end, or to work closely with event planners to support them during busy times.
With event season in full swing, the team at Complete Function Hire are busy delivering furniture, equipment, AV and décor to Melbourne’s best venues. We see all kinds of Christmas events – from casual family fun days in the park to glamourous VIP client events (and everything in between). So, what makes a corporate Christmas party really memorable?
On this week’s blog we were honoured to chat to Dee Nicholas, Director of CIS Event Management to get her helpful tips for event planners. Dee has been producing amazing events in Melbourne, Australia and all over the world for over 25 years and we enjoyed getting her expert advice on how to make sure your Christmas event is talked about for years to come.
Mix It Up!
The easy option is to do what you did the year prior however variety is the spice of life! There are so many incredible event spaces in Melbourne – the possibilities are endless. If you truly believe you have ‘been everywhere’, why not let your imagination run wild in a warehouse style space or one of Melbourne’s incredible gardens? It is good to mix up the format up too – if you have had a formal seated event in the past, why not mix it up with a cocktail party style event or a picnic?!
Get creative with your invite. The Christmas Party is seen as recognition to staff (or clients) for their hard work and many look forward to the event each year. To help with getting maximum attendance, create an exciting invite with a teaser of what they may expect on the night.
The WOW Factor
Whether it be incorporated into your entertainment, your styling, your menu choice or your gifting – it is always important to think about incorporating points of difference e.g. signature cocktail designed especially for your business, a special theme, interactive activity or high tech digital element.
Food, Glorious Food
Food is always an important factor when creating an amazing event. Ensuring there is ample food, as well as variety and consideration of guest’s special dietary needs will always be received well. Food stations, Charcuterie and Cheese tables and dessert buffets are all very popular at the moment. Incorporating food stations will ensure that guests can continue to ‘graze’ throughout the event and it can become a stylised feature and talking point at your event, creating a lasting (and delicious) impression for years to come.
For end of year staff parties and client entertaining events alike, it is always important to place emphasis on recognition. A well delivered speech by Management including company highlights for the year will help end the year on a positive note. A personal touch is always well received and appreciated.
Break The Ice
Do your guests know each other? For larger businesses with multiple departments or for client entertaining events, it is possible that guests may not know each other that well so it’s important to break the ice. Interactive activities such as Gif booths, photobooths and roving entertainment are great starters.
Complete Function Hire are proud to be an Official Event Supplier Partner of the exciting Kennedy Twilight Beach Polo 2018 which hits St Kilda’s foreshore this February. We look forward to providing furniture and décor hire (with packages designed to suit the beach) for the exciting range of private and corporate hospitality options on offer.
To be held on Friday 16th February 2018 from 3pm – St Kilda’s foreshore will be home to the thrills and excitement of this glamorous event. While the world-class Beach Polo will be the star attraction, guests will also enjoy sumptuous food, wine and a vibrant social scene, while fashion will also play an integral part on the day.
Facts about Beach Polo in Melbourne
• The Kennedy Twilight Beach Polo first launched to rave reviews in 2017.
• With in-excess of 1800 people at the 2017 event, St Kilda’s West Beach came alive to a carnival atmosphere with live crosses showcasing the event on Channel 9 and Channel 10 news.
• St Kilda shares the limelight with iconic locations such as: Miami, Ibiza, Dubai, England, Singapore & Thailand where Beach Polo is played.
• The game is played on a smaller arena, with a larger ball and only 3 x players per team.
• The game is highly competitive, fast paced yet different to field polo as the sand impacts both player and rider.
What guests can expect
The Kennedy Twilight Beach Polo is now a major event on Melbourne’s social calendar and caters for both corporates and individuals who wish to witness and share in the excitement of this world-class sport.
Guests can experience the polo from within a number of private and syndicated marquees all overlooking the polo field and beyond and all with first class views of the polo field and all the action – including the entertainment, live feed, large screens and the CHADSTONE – FASHION ON THE SANDS.
The event is held from 3pm – 8pm and is the perfect timeslot for corporate entertainment or a Friday catch-up with friends, in a location that is easily accessible and simply stunning.
With spectacular views of St Kilda, Port Phillip Bay and beyond, guests can be entertained in a relaxed environment, with premium service, food and beverages. It’s an event not to be missed.
The Complete Function Hire team LOVE being part of winter events in Melbourne! On this week’s blog, we were thrilled to chat to our dear friend’s at JAK Creative to find out what makes winter events so cool and what the hot event styling trends are for the chilly months ahead. Here’s what Kerryn Howell, Creative Director and guru of all things event styling had to say about winter event style.
“Winter is a great time to get creative especially at JAK Creative. In Winter, we get to spend time rugged up at our desks (in our colour coordinated Ugg Boots and fingerless gloves) trawling the world for inspiration. This year there has been some wonderful trends coming through that you’ll be able to see in our work later in the year. And there are also trends that we are dying to embrace, just waiting for the perfect briefs to unleash them on!
Over the past couple of months there has been an influx of inspiration from overseas. The world of Design and Interiors has been busy with loads of international fairs and showcases and we recently had Denfair right here in Melbourne.
There is some real stand out trends which will effortlessly translate into super stylish event spaces. Some of them make great hybrids too. Most of them will transition right through into the new year and beyond. I also expect to see some of these looks emerging through Spring Racing Carnival 2017.
Here is our top Winter Trends. I hope they inspire you too!”
Timber is being appreciated in every which way right now. Stacked, cut, joined or moulded. Rings exposed or grains exposed. Raw or polished. High-End design or timeless Scandi style are all perfectly acceptable.
Add fire or candle light for the nights. Add botanic touches and organic details for day time. Raw linens and fur throws add texture, softness and neutral tones to keep it feeling classic. Bold colours and graphics bring it into the now.
Green & Gold
This combination used to be something I avoided at all costs (I think it had something to do with merchandise from Australia winning the America’s Cup in the 80’s). Later in life I learned that green could be foliage or a cushion and gold could be furniture, a vase or charger plate. This changed everything and I now find them quite enchanting as a combination. When in doubt, change the context!
Again, greenery and foliage are the heroes of this trend and work as a print or graphic as well as actual plants. Secondary elements like concrete and marble are great additions too.
Pantone’s colour of the year ‘Greenery’ has been a big influence on this trend across all design industries from print and fashion to interiors and technology.
Be sure to watch out for the next instalment of our winter style blog featuring more hot winter event style trends from the team at JAK Creative.