In these strange and uncertain times where we have excess time and too much headspace, we can really focus on those things that often take a backseat when we are too busy. One majorly important part of events; including conferences, private parties, bar mitzvahs, and weddings, are suppliers. Often, we don’t really take the time to think about how to create events with a difference, so, let’s use this extra time we have, to think about future events, and how you can make your event memorable.
Choosing suppliers can take a lot of time, it takes a lot of research, depending on the type of event you are planning. A wedding or private party will generally have more suppliers than a conference, but not always. The most important suppliers for a conference are catering and production. If your venue has its own caterer like we do here at BMA House, it is one less job not having to select suppliers, but still, make sure you do your research. Check out their website and Instagram, look at any reviews they might have, look over sample menus and think about what your guests would want and what fits with your brand message. It is often found that the element of a conference people will find the most impactful is the food and drink! Your guests want to feel looked after, they are having to be engaged all day, so a caffeine break and a tasty lunch are majorly important.
Production and AV suppliers are almost equally as important as food and drink, as they are used to convey your content for the day in the most effective and impactful way. Whether it is a small screen for a meeting of six or a 5-metre interactive, LED wall for a 300 person conference, or even a vibrating dance floor with surround-sound speakers at a bar mitzvah (yes this exists), the AV you choose and the quality of your supplier can make or break your event. Again, many venues will often already have an AV supplier or some in-house equipment. Do of course ask your venue about what they have built-in and if there is anything else they can provide you with. Then consider what else you might need and indeed whether the equipment they have works for you. If not, look into an external supplier who can provide what you need, most venues won’t mind you bringing your own production, just make sure to keep your venue and production team on the same page!
Moving away from the necessities of an event and into the finer details that can make your event stand out. Furniture choice isn’t just important in your home but also for your event. Some venues will have their own furniture, generally conference chairs and tables. If you have that little bit extra budget to spend then consider upgrading your furniture. For a conference, make sure you have the comfiest chairs you can get, after all, your guests are sitting on them all day so comfort is key. However, consider also how you want the spaces to look. Think about your brand message; create a colour palette that is bold and memorable. Consider also the style of your venue, make sure your furniture fits with it, for example, in a warehouse-style venue you might want to look at industrial style furniture using materials like re-purposed scaffolding.
Tying into décor, there are of course other things you will want to consider, such as flowers. Now if you are planning a conference, this is something that will likely get set aside, however for a private dinner, a wedding or even a corporate Christmas party, flowers can liven up any venue. Like with furniture, create a colour palette that is either in line with your brand for a corporate event, or in line with your personal style for a private event or wedding. One important thing that often gets forgotten, like food, flowers are seasonal, so make sure to check in with your florist as they will be able to advise you on what flowers you can use at what time of year. Advice from your suppliers is invaluable, so do get their opinion as they are the experts!
The last thing I want to cover, but by no means least, is entertainment in all its shapes and forms. Entertainment can tie into all different forms of events in different ways and is super important in making an impression on your guests, and of course, keeping them happy and having fun! The perfect entertainment for a conference is a team-building activity. Not only are you getting your guests networking, but it is giving them something fun to participate in away from your main presentations. If you are planning a summer or Christmas party, you may want to consider a few different options, such as; music, magicians, games or even performance acts. Performance acts are a great way of creating a spectacle for your guests, and with these, you really can let your imagination run wild. Entertainment suppliers will generally have a large roster of acts with their own pre-organised routines. Don’t be afraid to ask for something more bespoke. Tell them what you are looking for and what you want to create and let them help you bring your vision into existence. After all, they will want your event to be successful and the most memorable it can be, just as you do.
Like with anything, that little bit of extra time and effort spent researching suppliers and talking to them, can make all the difference. A big tip to help save you some time is to ask your venue for their preferred suppliers’ list. Most venues will have a great list of suppliers they have worked with before and can provide you with a great experience, so make sure to look into this, particularly if you have less time to spend researching.
Written by Alex Thorn
Contact us on 020 7874 7020 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
BMA House, Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9JP