Tricks to Making your Large Wedding or Corporate Event More Engaging!
We host weddings and corporate events of all scales but no matter the size it is important to us that our clients and guests feel warm, invited and comfortable. The atmosphere and energy of an event can make or break it. Most event planners have a “look” they’re going for, but not so much a “feel.” To make your function more intimate you need to make planning decisions that control and enhance its energy.
Our advice is applicable to both corporate clients wanting their staff and clients to mingle, and for brides & grooms wanting their families to feel comfortable. Here are some of our easy tips to create a more intimate networking space for your next event:
ANTIPASTO BAR (Appetizer Buffet Bar)
In lieu of plated antipasto or butler service or cocktailing hor’s d’oeuvres, the antipasto buffet bar changes the way you kick off your reception. Upon entry, its grandeur presentation of antipasto, cheese, fruit, seafood whets the appetite and entices conversation. It forces people to get up from their arranged seating and interact with one another in line. Because it is already set up on entry, people are in the mindframe to introduce themselves and mingle. It gives clients an automatic conversation piece to break the ice, plus ITS DELICIOUS.
BAR THEORY – Signature Drinks and While-you-Wait
Much like the signature drink, having something up at the bar to read or do while they are waiting for their drink to be made is also very effective. Funny photos, childhood photos, catered or specialty treats, some fascinating news or tidbits of info are all great ideas. These always lead to conversation, “Did you see what they had at the bar?”, “Go try One/Check it out!” encouraging conversation and movement.
MASTER OF CEREMONIES
You need an MC – A VERY GOOD MC. Be honest about who you select too – if your sister or maid of honour isn’t the best at public speaking give them the honour of a speech, but have someone else direct the flow of the event. The MC needs to be ok with public speaking – a funny family member, a trustworthy friend, coworker or even a professional DJ. They should love talking in front of people, have a sharp wit and an inkling for improvisation should something go astray. Those who need to adhere too strictly to a script can wind up “reading” the script, which can get boring and sucks the energy out of an event.
When creating a floor plan we tend to seat guests who know each other together for comfort. Instead, try and organize a table so it is 50/50. Seat half who know each other and half who don’t. Then seat the half that know each other back to back with tables of people they know or close enough for them to visit. This theory encourages networking. Should they want to converse, they now have to either introduce themselves to people at their current table, or get up and physically walk to another table – at which point – they will probably be introduced to the people they don’t know at that table.
PHONES – Discourage Phones & Encourage Phones
Know what kind of event you are throwing and decide whether or not phones will affect the atmosphere. You can request or discourage phones at certain times. Smartphones have the uncanny ability to suck the life out of a room. We have had brides send us wedding photos which would look so much nicer if people were actually looking at the Bride & Groom during the ceremony and not in the process of taking their own photo on their Smartphone.
Event hashtags are popular, better for corporate events than weddings. If you have a hashtag, it encourages guests to stay on their phones. An alternative idea is to tell everyone your will send a Link or USB key of the wedding photos and that you would rather they enjoy themselves than worry about capturing shots of you for your special day.
LOUNGE – Create a Lounge or Cocktail Space
Create a lounge space for your guests – ask our venue to supply cocktail tables near the bar, in the lobby or to the edge of the dancefloor so that people can have somewhere to migrate to after they have grabbed a drink, but don’t necessarily feel like sitting at a table.
A new trend in events is to hire a photobooth. On top of these being ridiculously fun and interactive, they let you be creative and let loose. You leave with a copy of the photos for yourself and most photobooths provide a copy for the Bride & Groom or Event Coordinator. Great pictures, funny moments and encourages interaction. Here are some slides from a recent wedding here at the Station, courtesy of Rockstar Photobooths!
Here at Liuna Station we try and help you make your event personal, seamless and successful. Feel free to ask us how we can help you with your next special event!