The Ashridge House events team guide to… planning your perfect party!
The impact of COVID-19 on people’s lives has been felt across the globe. As the lockdown continues we need positive events to look forward to more than ever before, and what could be better than a belated celebration with your friends and loved ones? With social distancing now the norm, families, friends and colleagues have had to postpone parties and miss out on celebrations, birthdays and anniversaries. While virtual gatherings on Zoom and FaceTime have helped to bridge the gap – we know nothing beats being surrounded by loved ones and familiar faces to raise a glass, enjoy good food and hit the dancefloor!
With this in mind, the Events Team at Ashridge House have compiled our top tips on how to plan the perfect postponed party and celebrate in style:
Research and explore all your options!
- Pick up the phone or request a call from the venue; websites are great for headline information, however it’s important to speak directly with the Events Team so they can understand your vision and suggest the best options available
- Visit the venue virtually! At Ashridge House, we now offer personalised video venue tours and event proposals to help you visualise our event spaces
- Don’t be afraid to plan your party. Current uncertainty can understandably make you feel hesitant to confirm a date, however, many venues are now being flexible with their booking policies to help put your mind at ease. Once a date is in the diary, it will give you and your guests something to look forward to!
Keep this in mind, but don’t let it limit you!
- Make a plan based on your total budget of how much you would like to spend on food, drink, entertainment etc. Be flexible, you may need to adjust each category up or down a little
- Look at event packages for great value options, at Ashridge we offer different packages to fit your budget and are flexible on our minimum numbers where possible
- Speak to the Events Team for advice on suppliers; they will have good relationships with a range of great suppliers who offer them the best rates, saving you time and money!
- Remember, your events planner is there to help. They’re always on hand to support with budget planning and making sure you get the most for your money.
3.The date and guest list
To ensure your guests turn up!
- Send a ‘save the date’ before you book your event, via email or by post for the personal touch. There will be so many missed events taking place once social distancing ends, so get your date diarised asap!
- Get creative and use an online invitation service such as Paperless Post. Keep your guestlist simple, think about who you would like to see at your celebration. Are you reconnecting with long lost friends? Or focus on catching up with those closest to you after months of separation.
4.The food and drink
The best bit!
- Read through the menu options thoroughly; it’s a good idea to ask any menu related questions before you book to ensure your venue can cater for your vision
- Create a bespoke drinks menu to speed up the bar service. Include a personalised signature cocktail to add your stamp to the party!
- Cater for your crowd; consider the dietary needs of all your guests, and make sure great aunt Sue has access to that medium-dry sherry she likes so much!
- Think out the box: you don’t have to offer a traditional 3-course seated meal, look at BBQ menus, street food ideas or grazing tables
- If you need inspiration, ask for suggestions or organise a menu tasting with your coordinator (one of the big perks of planning an event!)
5.The décor and entertainment
Setting the scene
- Do you have a theme? Would you like to dress the space yourself or have a ready-to-go venue? Think about how you can give your event the wow factor!
- Style the space: when dressing the venue think about colours, lighting and textures. Speak to your events planner for suggestions and suppliers, or brainstorm budget-friendly options like draped fairy lights or arrangements of candles. Does the venue have any existing props they can add – most venues have a store cupboard of unusual items!
- Entertainment can really make an event stand out. Music is key – a playlist, DJ or live band. A photobooth will bring an element of fun whilst circulating entertainment such as a close-up magician can help break the ice. Entertainment doesn’t always have the break the bank, speak to your event coordinator about any in-house entertainment ideas they could offer such as interactive food & drink stands
6.The big day
Let your hair down and enjoy!
- When the big day arrives – it’s all about you! Try to switch off from the logistics and enjoy yourself
- Trust the teams you have been working with. Have a catch up with your event coordinator and suppliers a few days before the party to ensure you have everything covered
- Make sure you know who will be the contact from the venue on the day of your event; their role is to ensure everything goes smoothly, so you can relax and enjoy your event. They will be on hand to help deliver your dream event so you can be the star of the your show!
For further details on hosting an event please contact our friendly events team or call 01442 841027
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