You’ve decided to organise a private event, but you’re not sure how to go about it. That’s cool, it’s the reason you’re here.
Read on to discover how to…
- Determine the aim of the event
- Find the right venue
- Set a realistic budget
- Get the right level of privacy
- Determine the food menu
- Find and accommodate entertainers or speakers
Ready to find answers to your questions?
1. What kind of event is it?
Your event planning efforts should start by asking yourself this question. A corporate networking dinner will have different requirements than a family get-together.
Consider the following sub-questions:
- Who will be attending the event?
- Is it business or leisure?
- Will there be entertainment?
- Will you need technical equipment?
- What kind of food do you want?
It will make your planning a lot easier once you’ve established the aim of the private event.
2. Where will the event be?
Once you’ve established the purpose and theme of the event, it’s time to look at the location. Will you hold your event in the city or the countryside? Indoors or outdoors?
Here are some points to consider when choosing a venue:
- Does it fit with the theme of the event?
- Do the guests want a change of scenery?
- How accessible is it to the guests?
- Will you have complete privacy?
- How much will it cost you?
Tip: DesignMyNight has a good list of private hire spaces for your event.
3. When will the event take place?
You will likely have an approximate date in mind for your event. However, you’ll also want the venue to be available for that date, so keep that in mind when you create a timeline.
Think about the season, too. If you’re planning a Christmas party, then you’ll need to book the venue well in advance to avoid disappointment.
Tip: Make sure you’re clued up on bank holidays and festive seasons.
4. What is your budget?
Budgets can be tricky for a number of reasons. For one, you don’t always know how many people will turn up—and it’s hard to budget in the abstract.
But try to give it your best estimate, and write down a list of best- and worst- case scenarios. You should also find out who’s paying for everything. Is it a personal or corporate expense?
Tip: Read our guide on how to prepare and manage your event budget to get started.
5. Venue hire or minimum spend?
One thing you should consider when choosing a venue and planning a budget is whether you’re outright paying for space or guaranteeing a minimum spend.
Venue hire means that you’ll pay a flat rate for space, food, and drinks. Minimum spend means space is free, provided that your guests spend a certain amount on food and beverages.
Certain places will also offer you a lower cost of hiring the venue, but with food and drinks added on top of the bill.
You should think about the following:
- How many guests will attend?
- What’s your budget?
- Are you able to negotiate a deal?
Tip: Read up on how to negotiate venue hire to make sure you get a good deal.
6. How private should the event be?
The level of privacy you need at your event is also something to consider. It will depend on the purpose of your event (see #1) and who will be attending.
If you’re organising a corporate meeting to discuss sensitive information, or you’ve enlisted a celebrity VIP guest, then you might want to opt for as much privacy as possible.
Think about these points:
- Is the space separate from the rest of the venue?
- Will it be soundproof to protect sensitive conversations?
- Does the venue have a private entrance?
- Will you have separate toilet access for your guests?
You should go over these questions with the venue you intend to hire for the private event to make sure you’re covered.
7. Who will provide the food?
Who provides the food for your event will depend on your deal with the venue. If you’ve opted for dry hire, then you’ll need to look at a third-party catering company.
Catering can also get expensive, so try to work out if it’s cheaper to get food from the venue.
Tip: Take a look at some of the top catering companies in the UK for a solution.
8. How will the food be served?
Food and drinks are always a big deal when it comes to events. One thing is taste and atmosphere, but another thing is to consider the practicalities.
Does your private event call for…
- Drinks and canapés?
- Three-course meals?
Your choice will depend on how formal the event should be, as well as whether or not the venue can accommodate your style of serving.
9. What should the menu be?
Once you’ve determined the most practical way of serving the food, you should give some thought to what will actually be served.
Unless you’ve opted for a big buffet, you should consider your guests’ likes and dislikes. There will also be dietary requirements to consider.
Some of your guests may have dietary needs for a variety of reasons. The menu should include at least one option that works for everyone at the event.
Here are some things to consider when deciding on a menu:
- Halal and Kosher diets
- Vegan and vegetarian diets
- Food allergies (peanuts, gluten, and so on.)
It’s a good idea to ask guests to include any special requirements when they RSVP. But check with the venue and catering company in advance, as well.
If you’re organising a wedding or a birthday, then you might want a celebration cake. Check with the venue if they can accommodate. Otherwise, you’ll need a separate bakery involved.
Drinks are how most venues make their money, so you should consider this when planning your private event. Will you have an unlimited bar, a bar tab, or should the guests get their own drinks?
10. Will there be entertainment?
A wedding or birthday party calls for a bit of entertainment, such as live music band. But a corporate event might also want a comedian or industry speaker at the venue.
Tip: Look at this entertainment agency directory to see what you can get for your private event.
11. Do you need technical equipment?
If your private event features an entertainer or speaker, then you will need some technical equipment.
Check whether the venue has…
- A sound system
- A stage
- IT equipment
- A projector
Tip: If the venue doesn’t have it, you’ll need to contact an AV firm to hire the equipment.
Feeling more prepared?
You should now have a good idea of what’s involved in pulling off a great private event. Now, all there’s left to do is to execute the plan.
Stay with our blog to find out how to do just that.