Whether you’re arranging an inaugural event or an established annual affair, you need to guarantee it’s going to be memorable and stands out. So whether it’s your first time event organising or you’re a seasoned pro, read our tips to ensure you give your guests a memorable event that they’ll talk about for months and hopefully even years to come.
Whatever type of event your organising, there’s usually more to do than you first realise. And above all else, you want it to be a memorable experience for all of the right reasons. So before you let your creativity run wild, it’s imperative you get the basics right.
First and foremost, assemble a team around you and pool the resources of friends, family or colleagues. If budget allows, consider hiring an events company or freelance planner to oversee and manage everything.
Hire a great venue
Don’t settle for your local restaurant or bland function room at the ‘hotel down the road’. There are some truly unique, unusual and awe-inspiring venues easily accessible from most UK towns and cities. From boutique and luxury five-star hotels, to more unusual venues and spaces that won’t break the bank.
You will create intrigue and excitement from the moment your guests receive their invite. And memories from the moment they arrive on the day.
Provide great food and drink
Don’t underestimate the importance of providing a good selection of food and drink for your guests – and plenty of it. Whether it’s a breakfast meeting, conference or reception, people are a lot happier if they’re fed and watered. If they’re feeling hungry or thirsty they won’t be comfortable. They may even get irritable and lose focus or concentration during a long event or meeting.
Hosting a drinks reception, party or dinner? Your guests will be more relaxed once they’ve had a glass of wine or two. And with a bit of creativity, imagination and a great caterer, you can certainly create memorable ‘wow’ moments with the food.
Consider creating some theatre with the presentation and service based around the venue or theme of the event. A great example is an event we recently attended at London’s Science Museum. Drinks were served in test tubes, canapés in petri dishes and dry ice was cascading from the serving trays.
Give it the personal touch
When your guests arrive, make them feel welcome on a personal level. Sounds obvious doesn’t it? But so often at events, the first encounter guests have is with the venue security.
Make sure there’s a friendly and if possible, familiar face on the door to welcome every guest. A warm welcome will set your guests at ease from the outset and make them feel valued and relaxed.
Transform a dull space with lighting
Lighting may not be high on your list of priorities, but when planning your event, it’s extremely important. Lighting is a great way to create atmosphere and set the mood. And with a bit of creativity, you can transform a dull space into something extraordinary. So if your budget hasn’t allowed for the most spectacular venue, hire in some lighting and transform the space yourself.
Entertainment and ice-breakers
Walk-around entertainers are a great way to break-the-ice and get your guests talking. Performing unbelievable sleight-of-hand magic under the noses of your guests, close-up magicians create lasting memories and stimulate conversation.
A caricaturist will draw fun illustrations for willing participants. And what better memory of your event to take-away than a personalised keepsake. For business events, the caricaturist’s paper can often be branded and personalised with your company logo or website address. And for weddings or other private parties, include the host’s name and date of the party.
Physical and visual acts such as aerial performers, circus acts and fire jugglers are a great spectacle. They create a real sense of grandeur and wonder.
Hire a guest speaker
Whether it’s a conference, dinner or awards ceremony, a guest speaker will bring a dynamism, energy and interest to your event that you won’t get with an internal speaker.
For conferences and meetings, an external keynote speaker will engage and inform your audience. They will provide insight from outside your sector and bring a different perspective. Book the right motivational or inspirational speaker and they will create lasting memories, and be a catalyst for positive change. If you’re ensure of the difference between a keynote and motivational speaker, see What Is a Motivational Speaker?
Hosting a sit down lunch or dinner? An after dinner speaker will ensure your guests are entertained and leave on a high note. Whatever type of speaker you’re booking, if you want to know how much time to allocate, see our article, How Long Do Speakers Talk For?
Hosts and comperes - holding it all together
A professional host or compere is integral to any conference, meeting, formal dinner or awards ceremony. You don’t want your event to be memorable because it overran or there were awkward gaps between sections.
At a basic level, an experienced host will hold your event together and keep everything running to time. They will make sure your guests are where they should be at the right time and ensure your function runs seamlessly. But depending on the type of event, the role of a host can vary tremendously. From a toastmaster at a wedding, comedian hosting an awards ceremony to a news broadcaster or TV presenter facilitating a conference.
Make them laugh
What better way to entertain your guests and guarantee a memorable event than booking a stand-up comedian? Laughter can bring a real energy to an event, relax your guests and unify an audience. At corporate events, the right comedian can really set the tone and lighten the mood. Essentially telling the audience “it’s okay to sit back, relax and have fun”.
Music – hitting the right note
Music is a very powerful tool and should be a consideration for most, if not all, events.
It’s a very economical and effective way to create atmosphere, fill silences and set the tone, pace and energy. Music can be used in the background during a reception or meal. As walk-on music for a conference speaker or sting for an award. And of course, a live band or DJ will keep your guests dancing into the small hours.
Whatever the event, think about how you can use music to enhance your function and ensure a memorable time.
Give it the ‘wow’ factor
Want to create a real buzz and give your event the wow factor? Hire a celebrity or headline act. Whether it’s a famous comedian, celebrity magician or headline singer/band from nostalgic 80s acts through to more current names.
A famous face will add a dynamic, cachet and WOW factor to your event that your guests won’t experience elsewhere. It’s a sure fire way to create a memorable event and keep your guests talking about it long after.
Relive the memories
You’ve booked a spectacular venue, hired the best caterers, arranged amazing entertainment — setting yourself up for creating an awesome event. So capture those moments and memories forever. Hire a professional photographer and or videographer and let your guests relive and share the experiences long after the event.
Ask your venue for recommendations and choose someone who specialises in event photography. And after the event, don’t just file the photos in an ‘archive’. Create a gallery or post them to your social media, so your guests can access and share the memories.
Gifts and goody bags
Extend your guests’ experience beyond the event itself and give everyone a goody bag when they leave. For corporate events, it’s a good opportunity to deliver promotional material, brochures and company literature alongside gifts. If you’ve booked a guest speaker for your event, you could include a signed copy of their latest book. And through our relationships with speakers’ publishers we can often secure discounted bulk purchases on your behalf.