One day I will write a book called ‘Memoirs Of An Event Manager’ and share some unforgettable experiences and untold stories of working across private venue hire in London that deserve to be remembered. Here at GoAskeve and CH&CO, our event management team have hundreds of years’ experience and it is only fair to say that we have seen it all…
One of the first chapters in my book, will without a doubt be about Christmas parties. That time of year that every corporate organisation looks forward to – and so does every event manager!
When it comes to booking your private venue hire in London, so much hard work goes into Christmas every year – from designing packages, creating theming and writing menus to marketing, showcases, exhibitions, tastings, coordination and event delivery itself. This takes an enormous amount of time and effort to ensure we create memories to be treasured forever. But there have been times when things have not gone to plan and there is no greater pain in the world than an event manager receiving a call from an event organiser unhappy with their private venue hire in London!
We all are ecstatic about this Christmas, because now we can party freely and finally after two painful years. So, check out these tips on how to prevent event organisation errors and avoid post-party blues in your private venue hire in London.
Choose exclusivity over a shared party
Many companies believe that sharing an event space with another company for budget purposes is a good idea. I would strongly discourage everyone from doing so. Although they may be a lot cheaper than exclusive parties, the latter gives you a lot more freedom to decide on your preferred private venue hire in London, menu, music, entertainment, order of events, and speeches! Your employees are the greatest asset you have – treat them, reward them for their commitment, do not try to save money on them.
Choose a unique venue over a hotel
I would encourage you to choose a venue with a character and uniqueness – quirky, historic, fun or interesting in some way, much like many of our wonderful venues here at Go Ask eve. Remember, you are creating memories for your people – years later, they have a better chance of remembering a cracking time they had in a 600-year-old livery Hall with a gripping ghost story, but they may not remember the name of the hotel the party was held at.
Plan your running order
Ensure that you understand your hire period prior to entering into a hire agreement with a venue. When it states that you must vacate the premises by midnight, then make sure you do and that this is communicated to your guests before the party begins. To give everyone enough time to depart, the entertainment and service must stop at least 30 minutes before your contractually agreed departure. In my 20 years in the industry, I have seen things going wrong when a venue, after several unsuccessful calls, turned the lights off during a party that had overrun, which also followed by a hefty bill the following day. This is because most venues’ licences only permit social gatherings until a certain time. If this is not adhered to, they may lose their licence.
Choose quality over quantity – less is often more
Although some organisers think that the wider the choice of alcoholic beverages, the better, it is not always the case. Mixing alcoholic drinks can be deadly; it can impair your vision, affect your speech and result in maybe a couple of bad choices, and bad hangovers. Instead, opt for the classic choice of Champagne or a choice of cocktails on arrival, followed by nice red and white wine to accompany the meal, which would also be available after the meal for your after-dinner bar along with some beers and soft drinks. If you want to treat your guests, then go for upgraded wines and go unlimited to ensure drinks last all night. Keep it classy. If someone asks for a drink that is not included in your package, this can be supplied on a cash-bar basis.
Get to know your venue
Familiarise yourself with the space that your hire agreement covers. Make sure you ask the venue to rope off any ‘forbidden’ areas such as offices, cellars, pantries – the last thing you want to hear the day after your long night is that the venue is adding a cleaning charge to your bill, because some of your guests decided to wander off in search for a place to take a nap and left an unwanted surprise under someone’s desk. (No, this does not happen very often, but has done in my lifetime). Also, clarify with the venue whether your guests are allowed to dip their feet in their garden fountain – 99% of places would most certainly say no and fine you if you did. We have seen this too, believe or not.
Choose traditional over extravagant
A traditional three-course meal is something that 99% of guests would expect when going to a Christmas party. Although food stalls, tapas and buffets can also work, there is nothing like a proper Christmas dinner, salmon, turkey, spuds, trimmings, gravy, Christmas pudding. Traditional taste combined with amazing presentation.
Get extra security
On a more serious note, the safety of your employees should always be your priority, especially if you go for an unlimited drinks package. Many venues hide their security costs in their venue hire rate; other venues may ask you to pay this cost on top. Always query what is included in this cost – ideally, for parties over 100 guests, you will need one member of security on the door and one in the room to oversee the show. Never decline paying this cost – it is well worth it – it is for your own protection and may spare you from some nasty surprises.
Get an accidental damage cover
Check if your company has an insurance policy in place that covers any potential damage that may occur during your event. If not, get one, especially when holding your party in a historic monument with antique furniture and décor. I have seen 300-year-old chair being snapped in two during an event, resulting in a £7,500 bill for repair, which we passed onto our client, Champagne spilt inside a grand piano, an ancient wall reversed into. One-off event insurance costs pennies compared to the cost of repair of damaged stairs in the Natural History Museum.
And there we have it! Our top tips for your Christmas parties from our event managers. Get in touch if you’re looking for the perfect private venue hire in London!
Written by Eva Garrett, Prince Philip House.